Anastasia looked out the window of her private sitting room. The luxurious space was situated high above the bustling street, and that pleased her because she felt most comfortable when she had some distance above the common masses. In fact, she was convinced that she was divinely entitled to rule over these uncouth people. Her gaze drifted to the magnificent portrait of her father that hung on the opposite wall, and a tear formed in one of her mysterious gray eyes. Every person who saw them said they were her most distinctive feature.
Her father, Darius, had built Magdia from the ground up. The city was perfectly situated at the intersection of the trade routes that joined her world’s four great nations. The decision had been risky, for Magdia could have easily been swallowed up by her larger neighbors during the seemingly endless series of wars that filled the pages of history. Thank goodness the four nations had found value in Magdia’s independence. The small city state gave them a means to trade with the same realms that they were in conflict with.
As Magdia’s wealth had grown, more merchants had established enterprises there. The thriving market for items that were considered contraband in the neighboring states made many men rich and Darius richest of all.
Anastasia’s childhood had been magical until an outbreak of fever claimed her mother’s life. Her father had done his best to raise his only child, and from him she had learned the business and political skills that she found so essential. Unfortunately, he had neglected one important duty. He never disciplined her, and Anastasia had grown more and more self-centered. It was a failing that would prove to cost the overly-indulged girl dearly.
Magdia was enjoying a spectacular summer, but the great sea had been unusually calm, the seasonal rains had been terribly sparse, and harvests had been very small. Up to this time, she had enjoyed ruling over the commercial empire her departed father had built, but the challenge of this situation made her feel very anxious. Darius would have known exactly what to do. That was why his fellow merchants had chosen him to lead them, and he had grown ever richer in the process. His death had put Anastasia in charge, but she lacked her father’s skill, and more importantly, the respect of the other merchants.
Recently, they had made it very clear that they doubted her ability to rule and saw her as nothing but a spoiled girl who had inherited far more than she could manage. A couple of them had said that Magdia would be a better place if she were bearing children and letting some husband take care of business and governance. A couple of men had been impudent enough to offer to marry her and take over. Of course, she had no interest in their crass proposals and had sent them packing, leaving her alone and in charge of her own destiny. In her anxious moments however, she wondered if she had made the right decision.
Anastasia got to her feet and shook off her moment of self-doubt. Her father had taught her to have confidence, and that was precisely what she was going to do. She picked up a golden bell from a nearby table and rang for her maid, Dalia. The pretty blonde hurried into the room a moment later and curtsied.
“I want you to draw a bath for me,” Anastasia said. “Master Taylor will be calling this afternoon. Lay out my new purple gown.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the servant said. The two young women were nearly the same age and had grown up together. Dalia, who was several inches taller than her mistress and a little heavier, wore her hair in two braids as was the custom for the serving class. At one time they had been very close, but the years and their different stations in life had drawn them apart. Dalia had married Seth, a groom from a neighboring household. He was a good enough mate but none too bright, and Anastasia was unable to resist an occasional critical remark about the young man.
Dalia needed over an hour to heat a half-dozen buckets of water and lug them upstairs. Anastasia then removed her robe and admired her nude body as Dalia poured the last heavy bucket into the ornate marble tub. Master Taylor could only dream of getting such a view. He would be a lucky man if she ever decided to accept his proposals. She was in no hurry to do so, for she did not need a provider and no married woman enjoyed much freedom after she was wed.
“You sound out of breath. I will have to find more work for you before you get too fat to be of any service to me,” she commented.
Dalia gritted her teeth. Most households had twice as many servants, but Anastasia never considered how hard her staff had to work. Anastasia had shown more than once that she would not hesitate to punish her former childhood playmate. In fact, she seemed to enjoy making the serving girl submit.
Anastasia stepped into the warm water. “Be a good girl and wash my back.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Dalia replied as she got on her knees next to the tub. Anastasia called her “girl” when she wanted to remind her of the gulf between them. Anastasia sighed as her maid meekly anointed her fair skin with sweet-smelling soap.
When Anastasia’s bath was finished, she stood and allowed Dalia to wrap a soft towel around her.
“Hurry up! I’m getting cold. Why do you have to be so slow?”
“Please forgive me,” Dalia murmured.
When Anastasia was completely dry, she slipped into her underclothing and donned an expensive gown. It was made of embroidered green silk. Her arms were covered to her wrists, but her back was bare to the waist. The neckline dipped just low enough to reveal a teasing glimpse of cleavage. Anastasia had worn the dress at a fine ball hosted by one of her neighbors. Taylor had escorted her to that gala event, and he had hardly been able to take his eyes off of her. Today, however, the couple would dine alone.
Anastasia sat primly in the main sitting room while Dalia ushered Taylor in. He stood half a head taller than Anastasia but was slightly built, and his clothing was the absolute epitome of the latest fashion. The ensemble included a white shirt with a bright red jacket, and the trousers were made of tan leather that fit him like a glove. And yet, she found herself wishing he had more packed into those tight pants than it looked like he had.
She gave a small smile and offered the back of her hand for a kiss, but the rogue put his lips on her cheek instead.
“You look spectacular,” he said. His hand moved to the back of her neck to keep her from avoiding his next kiss, which he placed on her lips.
“Stop it,” she fussed. “The servants will see.”
“I don’t care. I’m proud to kiss my fiancée.”
“I have not accepted your proposal. You have no right to call me your fiancée.”
“I shall have to try harder to warm your heart.” He kissed her again and pulled her to her feet. She placed her arm in his as he escorted her to the garden. They chatted quietly there until he maneuvered her to a secluded corner. Without bothering to ask for permission, he placed his open hand on her bare back.
“Your skin is delightfully soft and smooth,” he whispered.
Anastasia drew a sharp breath. Taylor had grown much more forward in the last few weeks, and she was feeling uncomfortable. His skillful fingers tantalized her back as he pulled her close. She tried to free herself, but her squirming only seemed to encourage him as one of his lips pressed against hers.
“You need to stop this!” she whispered. “Save this for our wedding night.”
“Does that mean that you agree to marry me?”
With her hands finally free, she seized the opportunity to claw his face. He was so startled that he released her, and she was safely behind a bolted door before he could overtake her.
“Now get away from me, before I call the soldiers!” she screamed. “You are no longer welcome here!”
Taylor wiped a few drops of blood from his cheek. “I am going to make you pay for your impudence! You’ll beg to marry me some day, and I’ll make you wait like you’ve made me!”
She shouted back a few threats of her own, but she quickly grew silent. Taylor was no longer present to hear her words, and an unexpected emptiness settled over her. She waited for some time, but he did not return to beg for forgiveness.
Anastasia spent a mostly sleepless night thinking about the many losses she had suffered. Her father’s death had left her broken for almost six months. She had spent most waking hours with him as he taught her the skills necessary to rule Magdia. Of course, she understood that Darius would die at some point far, far in the future, but the reality of his death had not seemed possible. Then without warning, Darius was gone, and Anastasia found herself in charge of the whole realm. But the terrible pain of losing her father paled in comparison to the devastating agony of losing her mother. Anastasia still found herself overcome with tears whenever she reflected on how short a time they had together. Mother and daughter had struggled from time to time, but Anastasia understood that she was greatly loved, and even now as a twenty-two year old woman Anastasia was still not over her loss. She thought she might never be.
* * *
For several days, Anastasia did not venture outside the safety of her mansion. When she finally dared to go outside, she took two burley footmen as escorts, but felt anxious even then. Taylor might be looking for an opportunity to capture her and exact a measure of revenge.
The day was so pleasant that Anastasia soon began to relax a little. She browsed through several of the shops and saw that several of Magdia’s leading merchants had brought in new stocks of merchandise. She made a couple of purchases which she had her footmen carry. After a couple of hours of shopping, she was weary and her throat was dry. She intended to purchase a glass of wine and started toward the vintner’s tavern. She had just entered the main market, however, when she heard a frantic female voice.
“No, you cannot mean what you are saying! My father would never sell me into bondage!” The desperate cry came from a pretty peasant girl named Gwyneth. She had long auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and had attracted the attention of more than a few of Magdia’s male residents. At the moment she was surrounded by the chief constable and four of his men.
“You may as well come quietly,” the constable said. “Your father is unable to pay his debt, and he has sold you to settle it. We have an order signed by Lady Anastasia, and we will take you by force if necessary. Don’t earn yourself a needless punishment! Stop making a scene!”
A number of Magdia’s citizens had gathered to watch the tableau being acted out before them. The hard times had caused many of the peasants to default on their debts, and Anastasia had yielded to the merchant’s demands and enacted the Debt Slavery Act, which allowed creditors to demand the sale of all or part of a debtor’s family until they could work off all that was owed.
Anastasia was aware that the act was abused from time to time, but she felt little compassion for those who did not honor their obligations. She recalled signing the indenture of young Gwyneth a couple of days ago. The girl would have to work for the next five years to satisfy her father’s obligation. It would teach them both to be more responsible. No society could allow peasants to take advantage of their betters.
Gwyneth raised her voice in protest once again. “I will do no such thing! What kind of person do you think I am?”
“I know what you are!” the constable barked. “You are a slave and my prisoner! Do what I told you to do and strip!”
Anastasia could understand the young girl’s angst but knew the command was for a specific purpose. Newly indentured slaves were required to remove their clothing and remain completely nude until they were sold at auction. The procedure was admittedly humiliating, but it served as a powerful deterrent to careless debtors. Being forced to march naked through the streets also increased buyer interest, especially when the slave was an attractive young woman. Gwyneth was fair-skinned and pleasingly shaped. Her firm breasts, round bottom, green eyes, and red tresses would encourage the male buyers.
The young woman was sobbing by the time her last garment fell to the cobblestones. The guards quickly placed leather straps around her wrists, ankles, neck, and elbows. These each had one or more metal binding rings and were the mark of a slave. Gwyneth wailed when the men pulled her hands behind her back and attached each wrist to the opposite elbow. This uncomfortable position kept her from covering any part of her body with her hands and also caused her pert breasts to protrude invitingly. A final rope served as a leash. Every pebble tortured her bare feet as she was led forward, and the constable stung her butt with his riding crop when she showed any resistance. A few waifs quickly gathered Gwyneth’s discarded boots and clothing so that they could sell the items to purchase some badly needed food. Anastasia was glad when the unsavory scene was over.
* * *
The sun was low in the sky when she walked up to the slave market. Gwyneth was already on display, and a sign said that she would be sold in two days. The auctioneer had braided her hair and shaved off her rusty pubic curls to increase her sale value. A couple of potential buyers were inspecting her with eyes full of lust, but the cage she was displayed in forced the men to keep their hands off the merchandise.
Next to the slave market stood the breeding barn where Lady Blanche ran a thriving stud service in which female slaves could be impregnated by her impressive slave, Salazar. Blanche had befriended Anastasia a few years ago and was the only person Anastasia consulted. The woman had chestnut hair and an attractive figure, and she was fifteen years older than Anastasia. As Anastasia approached her, she saw that Blanche was caring for her prized slave.
Salazar was as naked as the female slaves he would be servicing. His head was shaved, and his skin was darkly tanned. A sheen of sweat highlighted his muscular back, shoulders, buttocks, and hard stomach. He was known to be very intelligent and had served as a fierce warrior until he had been captured in battle and sold into humiliating bondage. His neck and limbs were encircled with the wider versions of the leather straps that restrained the females.
Blanche stood next to him, but Anastasia could not make out what she was doing. She had a riding crop in hand to keep the virile slave under control, but she made no use of it. The breeder waved to Anastasia as soon as she saw her.
“What brings you to my humble establishment?” Blanche asked with a broad smile.
“I saw a debt slave captured this morning. I came by to see if she was prepared for sale yet.”
“You must be talking about little Gwyneth. She made quite a fuss when she was brought in. The auctioneer had to smack her bottom a few times before she settled down. When he proved that her maidenhead was still intact she called him some pretty foul names, and two of the grooms had to hold her legs open while her pussy was shaved and inspected. I have no doubt she’ll fetch a good price. Were you thinking of buying her?”
“No, I have all the servants I need,” Anastasia remarked. She felt a guilty warmth as she imagined Gwyneth’s ordeal. Anastasia actually wanted to make sure that the girl had not been hurt.
“I wouldn’t worry,” Blanche said. “Many women learn to enjoy their time in service. They like not having to admit to their wanton desires. Perhaps she’s one of them.”
Blanche stepped back and revealed what she had been doing. Her hand was wrapped around the base of the big man’s thick cock. Anastasia was impressed, for the thing was as thick as her wrist. She knew full well that female slaves had to submit to their master’s desires, but she never imagined that male slaves had to yield to their mistress’s.
“It quiets him,” Blanche remarked. “Come by some day when you’re not in season, and I’ll let you ride him. I can assure you first hand that you’ll leave with a smile of your face.”
The slave smiled arrogantly, and Anastasia blushed. Men could be such beasts. Did they ever think about anything but sex?
“Come here and wrap your fingers around his stalk. It will make your pulse race.”
Anastasia saw Salazar’s jaw tighten. What did this once-proud warrior feel? Did he enjoy spending his days enjoying the bodies of Magdia’s fairest females, or was he waiting for his chance for revenge?
“Oh, it’s hot,” she said as her fingers gripped the swollen flesh.
“Just imagine how hot that rod would feel buried inside you.”
Anastasia gasped softly. She could not help being titillated by the fantasy of enjoying Salazar’s endowments, but she had no intention of losing her virginity in the arms of a slave. Some fantasies are best left unfulfilled.
“He is not bound. Aren’t you afraid he’ll overpower you?” Anastasia asked.
Blanche moved her hand to Salazar’s scrotum. He sighed as she tenderly cradled his testicles in her palm.
“He will not hurt me,” she said. “The soldiers who captured him planned to emasculate him for sale as a eunuch. I bought him just in time to prevent such a waste. He has never forgotten his debt to me.”
“But he’s just your slave. How can you trust him?”
Salazar’s hand moved to Blanche’s firm bottom and squeezed it.
“I am as much his slave as he is mine. We enjoy pleasing each other.”
Anastasia could not believe her eyes when Blanche offered no resistance as Salazar freely ran his hands over the front of his mistress’s trembling body.