Orion’s Embrace – Part 4
I could fight this, I was sure of it but why? My shoulder was killing me from where the mark bled, and there was nothing to stop them from using that to their advantage. At least from what I could tell. Instead, I could go with them, and only fight when it was necessary. I needed time to think and right now the only option was not to start one and allow these despicable men to take me as they saw fit. I knew the men had rules. I was the property of Mathias, and until he said so they were only allowed to touch me long enough to make sure I was bound and moved. That would be the extent of it.
With an almost imperceptible sigh, I tried to straighten up in the cramped cell. Before I could move too much, the door was thrust open, and two large hands roughly grabbed my arms and jerked me out. Talk about a lack of grace. I stumbled in my pained and weakened state and fell into Isaiah’s body. I would have knocked him down, along with myself, if he hadn’t steadied me. One glance in his eye and I saw the old friend. He didn’t seem as hardcore about the current situation as his brother did. Maybe I would have an ally in the end?
Without much preamble or anymore talking from Zeke, my hands were bound tightly with what looked like thick plastic cabling. Something we rarely saw back home. I knew what it was from my studying, but I wasn’t going to let on to that. No this was something I could keep to myself. With my hands securely bound in a way that kept the pressure on the wound, I tried not to cry out as we walked. It was hard, and I knew they could hear the whimpers. The pain wasn’t unusual for people to deal with, but one’s body could only tolerate so much before it shut down on its own.
The last thing I wanted was for my body to shut down on me while I was in the presence of someone that could very well end me. Death was not the way I was going to go out, at least not a death this early. Instead, I tried to hide the whimpers and absorb as much information as possible. Knowledge is power; it’s one of the few things that my brother hated. Well alright, not just my brother, most of the men from my home planet. See while we might have lived a medieval life, we didn’t talk in the old language. Too many of us found the particular words to be confusing or out of date especially when we had to deal with people who spoke nothing like that.
Shaking my head slightly, I tried to dispel the thoughts. It wouldn’t do me any good to think about the past that I could not cling too. No, I needed to focus on the here and now, in the future and what it meant for me. It was apparent to everyone around just what Matthias wanted from me, and yet my brother hadn’t seemed to care one bit. As long as he remained on the throne and in control he would gladly give up his only sibling, the only blood he had left, for a spot to keep it secure. With a sigh, I held my gaze in front of me as I moved.
The trip from my cell to wherever it was they were taking me seemed to last forever. In my current state, everything was going to take far longer than it should. Nothing would change that until I wasn’t in pain. Still, I tried to memorize as much as I could. As a child, I had always had a book in my hand, especially ones regarding ships and the various aspects of them. My father hated it, but my mother secretly encouraged me to study. She had known that my destiny wasn’t on the planet but out in the vastness of space somewhere. If she were still alive, I’m sure that she’d have helped me leave by now.
Suddenly there was a jerk on the chains that had me caught. I stumbled a moment. We were there, wherever there was at least. In front of me stood a rather ornate oaken door. What it was doing in a metal ship was beyond me. Only someone with too much hubris would bother being this much of a showoff. My guards pushed open the door and standing there, across the way, were four other women. They looked to be in better shape than I was, and far prettier. I had an inkling where they were taking me from the moment they started speaking outside my cell.
“Newest prisoner here, Dahlia. Treat her like you would anyone else that comes your way. She’s got a meeting with the boss in two hours. Should be more than enough time to fix her.” I heard Zeke tell the woman standing closest to us. I still couldn’t help but wonder why Zeke felt the need to be the nice one of the bunch. It wasn’t like he owed me anything, not anymore. That debt had been paid long ago.
I could do nothing but watch the man walk away as the woman, Dahlia, grabbed my elbow gently and pulled me further into the room. It was here that I wondered what would become of me. It had been easy for me to remain a strong-willed person throughout all the problems I faced because I knew that my mother and father honestly wouldn’t let me get hurt. Now I was on my own, forced into realizing that I had to fight this battle alone. It was quite clear that my brother, my flesh, and blood, wanted nothing more than to use me as a pawn in his games.
When my eyes took in the room, I was stunned for a moment. This room didn’t look like a torture chamber. It was, though. For any female that wasn’t hip into makeup or cosmetic enhancements, this wouldn’t look like a torture chamber, but trust me, it was. As far as the eye could see were stations of varying degrees. It was clear they had women come aboard this ship as prisoners often, and most, if not all seemed to go through this round of torture to be deemed worthy of being taken to the ‘captain’ of the vessel. It wasn’t hard to see that Madame’s mind was running along those thought trails, expressive eyes showing the fear of what she saw in the room.
“Don’t worry darling. You stand a better chance than any of the other women brought here. I’m his sister, that’s the only reason I don’t have to endure what you are enduring. Each of the women brought forth is prepared, from head to toe, dressed and presented to be a part of his harem. I know that you want nothing to do with this, the oozing brand on your shoulder tells me as much, but the more you resist, the worse it will be. I can only protect you for so long before you are expected to know the rules. Now come. Let me, at least, try to clean you as best we can, hmm?”
Dahlia’s voice broke through my sudden fear, and I allowed the woman to pull me further from the door. I had a sneaking suspicion that the only place on the entire ship that wasn’t monitored by video or voice surveillance was this room. Probably because he didn’t want anyone, but his sister to see the assets of his newest conquests. In some creepy way, it made perfect sense. I understood from the moment that I told my brother no that I would be in this position. I was a slave, now, to whatever sick desires the man that owned me wanted. My only chance was to play along until I managed to escape. I would not be cowed, would not give in to these people.
Allowing myself to be taken gently by the elbow and led to the pool-sized tub I gaped. How anyone managed to fit something like this on a ship, I will never know. Money could buy you anything you ever wanted including an area like this on a vessel. The fact that I thought that all of the materials were probably too heavy for a ship this size escaped my mind for a moment as my clothing was forcibly removed. I settled into the waiting pool.
Fear was the first thought when I watched my clothing fall. Hidden inside my old boots was an item given to me by my mother, one that she bade me protect at all cost. The locket that would not be safe to wear until after I had fled the ship. Just as I was about to say something, Dahlia saw the shine reflect in the light and picked it up. With a gentle smile, she tucked it into a small burlap pouch that would tie onto the waste of my new outfit. A way for me to have something close without them asking questions. She had one on her outfit, and one assumed it was for small odds and ends to deal with one’s day. From hers, she pulled out a set of combs and set them aside for later.
The heat of the water touched my skin, and I winced in pain. It was far hotter than I expected, but I understood why she had it this way. The heat would help to soothe my muscles, and it would aid in getting me relaxed enough that she could clean the dirt and grime from me, and I wouldn’t care. For a moment, I cast aside all of the negative thoughts I had made about Dahlia. She seemed like a charming woman, aside from being under her brother’s thumb. Whenever I left, I would try to get her to go with me, if she chose to leave her brother.
I was sinking deep into the water I allowed it to cover me from head to toe for a moment, coating me, soaking into my skin. The brand on my shoulder screamed out as it came in contact with the water, making me more than aware that it existed; as if I could forget. I would never forget that betrayal as long as I was alive. I swore to myself that I would exact revenge on my brother. Nathaniel had no idea just who he was messing with when he decided to brand me as a traitor.
Allowing my thoughts to consume me, I barely paid any mind to Dahlia as she lathered up my body with soaps of varying scents. She was trying to get me clean, but at the same time was trying to make me presentable enough to join the harem that the creep wanted me to be a part. I needed time, time to prepare an escape. I would learn nothing right now, and that was the problem. I haven’t even been on this ship for a full day yet, at least, awake and conscious of it. I needed to plan, to understand my surroundings before I would even know where to begin. I only hoped that whatever Matthias had designed for me; I would survive.
As each layer of dirt and grime poured into the water turning it a nasty shade of brown, I could feel my own body react. I was feeling refreshed when I didn’t want too. Why would it betray me like this? Why did it even matter? It was clear that I needed to bathe and to clean away the past day. It was only now that I could relax, but could I? Was this something I could even afford? I did not doubt that Matthias wouldn’t try anything at first. At least, that was my hope.