She sat at the table in the middle of the geisha quarters, with three girls around her. Her red hair had been replaced with a long black wig, tied back and up, kept in place with an intricate arrangement of lacquered wooden pins. Slowly her face was painted pure white. While two of the girls chattered and painted her nails, the third begain the artwork that was the rest of her face. Eyebrows were delicately painted on, while her eyeshadow was blended around her eyes from deepest red to a pale pink, the shading as subtle as the colours of sunset. Her lips painted a brilliant crimson, each brush stroke measured and precise. As they stood back and looked, the mask of the geisha looked back, perfection attained, a most delicate beauty and a hidden treasure.
They first spoke face to face, the freedom fighter and the cartel agent, in a holographic location, two avatars seated at a simple bistro table. In reality they were light years apart, but here, in this simple virtual reality, they sat face to face.
You know what I am saying is true
Yes, I do not deny it. But I will not
You will, it is your calling to submit
That was the old me. I have changed
You have changed nothing, slave you were, slave you are now
No. I am Matari, my soul is my own.
You know I can force you
There is no lever large enough to move my heart
Why, because she has it?
Yes. She is my rock. My pillar of strength
I will force you
I will not kowtow to threats
My dear, who said I was going to threaten you? Three days and I will call upon you. Be ready.
The brought in the kimono, it was unique. Created for an event such as this, a white caldari silk, faintly luminescent and perfectly cut. As she slipped into it, they wrapped the belt around her, pale pink to match her eyes. Once she was ready they checked how she looked, and not until all three agreed did she turn and walk out towards the main ceremonial chamber. The rest of the geisha house was quiet, empty save for the geisha who were discrete, and the guards who had been requested by the client. She walked alone through the building and approached the dias and stood before it, then kneeled on the round cushion that was placed there. With a silent breath she nodded at the hidden eyes and waited. It did not take long, a slow click, click, click as the heels of the client approached, her boot heels clicking on the carved wooden floors, now the swish of her clothes, the sound of her breathing and then she was in the room.
"So, my little snake. Shall we begin?"
Under her kimono, Carmilla shuddered softly.
They both sat in the resteraunt, facing each other. It was one of the more trendy Gallente places to eat on the station, with real trees shipped in, wooden tables and live music. Around them strangers ate, drank and laughed. Intermingled, their guards, for both had brought them. They ordered and just looked at each other until the first course arrived. Over mouthfulls of delicate meats they spoke.
You know now my memory has returned
I had heard, yes
So I know what you did
And I know what you did to Ember, that is why I did what I did
You were forced to do it
Ember was my friend, she didn't deserve what you did
And yet you said I was your friend, at my reception
I did, yes
But you were not. Slaves do not mingle with their betters
Priviledge of my alpha status... and I didnt' think you would remember
So what other lies do you tell?
I do not lie.
I dont believe you
Belief is not required...
... only obedience. You are not in the covenant now
I know. Trust me, I know
So what do you want?
Me? You can't have me. I am Kikia's
I dont care. I want you. And I will get you
You cannot threaten me
Again with the idea of threats.
I will not go willingly
Yes, you will. You will beg me to accept you
The woman took off the long coat she had on and placed it on a peg on the wall and walked around the dias. Carmilla could feel her eyes on her, could smell her perfume, could almost taste her, her scents intoxicating. Each click was followed by an eternity of silence as she walked slowly around her. She kept kneeling, and looking straight ahead. The requirements of the client had been specific. Silence, utter silence. No movement after kneeling on the dias. Payment and danger to geisha on scale seven. That alone, she thought at the time, had meant that she would be dealing personally with the client. None of her girls ever performed under scale seven. It was reserved solely for herself. She would not let them. The sound of creaking leather made her pay attention, her eyes searching around the room. In her mind she knew there was nothing leather in the room. It must have been something the client had brought with her.
"So, little snake. Do you know how long I have wanted to have you in this position?"
"You do not answer? Good. As a geisha, your obedience is first rate. Far better than your obedience as a slave. In truth my dear, I wonder what you get out of it."
The client walked around infront of her and took the solitary chair in the room and sat before her. She crossed her legs and sat back, looking at her.
"I must say, you do look beautiful. I can't wait until you are mine. You do want to be mine, don't you?"
Silence again. Carmilla knew this game, and played it well. But there was concern here. For not only did she know the client, the client knew her. And could probably read her better than anyone. Especially now.
"Yes, again no answer. I wonder, will you dance for me, as you danced for her? Would you take your knives to her as you did for me?"
Carmilla felt a stiring within her. She was bringing up the past, one of the only weapons that could be used against her. Her past, that black pit of horror. And what better person to do it. The client had known her of old, had seen her submit, had seen her punished, seen her pleasured. Had been tortured by her. Was that it? Was this revenge? Was it hate that drove her? No, there was no hate in her eyes when she last saw her... but that was before... her memory was returned.
"Are you scared Carmilla? Do you wonder what I am going to do to you? I wonder why you accepted the contract for tonight. But of course, I used your own rules against you. No names for scale seven. Only an acceptance of the fee and the setting of the terms. Your rules, Carmilla. And I will push you to your limits. I wonder, would you have refused if you'd have known I was your client?"
Silence. Carmilla fought inside her to find peace, to control her heart and calm down. Here was someone to fear. Within the boundaries they had agreed upon, client and geisha, and the fee there were certain limits that could be pushed that were not permissable on lower scales. And now, she was begining to see how dangerous that was. Few people who ever used the seventh scale had an inkling about the limitations of freedom and the dangers of being unrestrained. That, was a small mercy, though the money was often too good to turn down.
Slowly the client stood up and walked around the dias. Against the sound of leather under stress. For a moment there was a sound, with a speed that was unnatural she knew what was coming and how to prepare against it. The whip lashed through the air and impacted her back, the sound of the crack loud in the silence of the room.
"You see Carmilla, I want you on your knees before me. All the time. I want you to be mine."
"Maybe I will do to you, what you did to me."
"Or maybe I'll just hurt you for the pleasure of hurting you."
"Call out. Go on. Cry out, scream. Beg me."
In the silence all that could be heard were the sounds of them both breathing, and the sound of leather under stress as she pulled the whip again. With her jaws clamped shut, her eyes looking forward, tears were running down her cheeks. I will not fail, she thought to herself. I can endure this. I must.
"You're good Carmilla. But I'm better. I learnt my trade well, and dont forget, you taught me some of your best. I watched the recording of what you did over and over. I have you here for four hours. You will submit to me, beg me to take you, and all this... stops. The pain, the anguish, it all goes."
Silence. The whip lashed out again, and again, and again, and again.
"You will beg me Carmilla, or you will find yourself flayed to the bone!"
In the silence, Carmilla looked straight ahead as the back of her kimono, already torn in some places began to change colour, from white... to pink... to red as the whipping continued. And still, she was silent as her makeup ran in rivulets of colour.
When the time was up, the Geishas who had been standing in the darkness of the hallway walked in without announcement and stood infront of Carmilla. The one who stood before her looked at the client with blind eyes and smiled.
"Your time is up. If you would be so kind as to return to your quarters some refreshments will be provided for you."
"I havn't finished with her yet."
"I'm sorry, would you like us to escort you? It will not be a problem and I can assure you, you will not be harmed."
Something of the singsong tone of the blind geisha got through to the client and she dropped the whip on the floor and walked towards the hallway.
"When she recovers, tell her I will be at my apartment. I expect to see her there."
Whisper turned back around, Orchid and Rose were both looking at Carmilla's back. The kimono was torn and shredded, her back was a mess of blood and ripped flesh. Looking in her eyes they saw only blankness, no recognition.
"Call Kim. This is bad. I've never seen her like this before."
"Do you want us to take care of the client?"
"No. Carmilla knew what she was doing. The client is protected. Get her to the medical bay. She'll live, but her back won't be pretty."