Sunday, 26 August 2012

I am Home

On the far side of the lake she watched as a khanid woman was playing with a small child. There was a happiness she could see in the two of them, even though she could not make out the details too clearly. The girl, only a few years old, and the woman, looked to be in her early twenties. Although it wasn't that apparent, there were guards surrounding the two of them, leaning against trees, hiding in bushes. Some of the other people in the park also looked to be wrong, their stances and the way they were paying attention to things set them aside as guards.

Carmilla sighed and sat down heavily on the bench. Orchid's hand rested on her shoulder
"What is it Carm? Who are they?"
"That, my dear sweet girl.... is my daughter and my ex-wife..."
The words came out almost as a sob, though it was restrained. She felt Orchids hand squeeze her shoulder involuntarily.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know."
"It's okay, I didn't tell you. It's one of my failures, loosing them both."
"Why dont you go over there and...."
"Because I'd be shot before getting half way there."
"What, those guards?"
"Orchid... look at their position. Really look at it. It's very defensible, and they can see anyone coming from at least a mile away. Dont think they havn't already seen us and wondered if we are a threat."
"But she's your daughter!"
"And she's also her daughter to. And I can't go there... it's too painful."
Orchid sat down next to her and soon after Rose came and sat on her other side.
"Why are we here, Mistress?"
"Rose, we are here because I like to torture myself. And see what I can never have again."
"We all have families...."

Something of the way she said it made Carmilla turn to her. The look in her face softened and her eyes glistened.
"What have I done? What have I done to you both?"
The two geisha looked at her and shuffled closer.
"What do you mean? You rescued us both, took us both in and made us your girls."
"You are my slaves... it doesn't matter how I see you both, legally you are both slaves."
"And? You look after us..."
"She's right, you do. We could have been bought by anyone...and who knows what our fate could have been."
"But you have families?"
"Yes... we both do. Just as you do."
Carmilla looked once more at Ithiria and their daughter playing and saw her look up, look at her.
"We're going. Now. Take me away please?"

The three of them stood outside of the hanger bay and she looked at them both.
"Rose. Orchid.... Where are you families?"
"Well.... "
"I think that mine are still in minmatar space, Gulfondi."
"Mine travelled around a lot, though I dare say I can find them."
Carmilla pulled out her comm and called the ship.
"Get the prowler ready, we're going to Gulfondi and then... somewhere else."
"Mistress, you dont' need to do this."
"Yes I do. And one day, you'll realise why I had to. Come on... we have some searching to do."

Carmilla and Orchid stood in the rain on the far side of the street from the door Rose was standing at knocking. The rain that was falling was light, casual and refreshing change from the hot and dusty city. Gulfondi, she mused, I'm standing here with two slaves in the middle of a city that would quite happily kill me for having one, let alone.....

The door to the house opened and a surprised looking woman and a handsome man looked at Rose and pulled her into their arms. Orchid squeezed Carm's hand.
"The good thing about the rain is you can't see the tears."
"I'm not crying," she sniffed.
"Yes you are. You think I don't know you?"
Rose said something to the people and ran across the street to Carm and Orchid
"How long can I stay? I mean... can I stay?"
"Rose..." Carm wiped her eyes, "If you want to stay I will free you. If you want to return to me, you know where I am."
"If I come back to you, will I still be your slave?"
"Of course."
Rose looked at her and flung her arms around her, then around Orchid and ran back to the house.
 "You know she'll come back, right?"
"I wouldn't blame her if she didn't."
"But you know she'll come back... right?"
"I hope so. Come on Orchid, time to get you to your family."
"And you'll offer me the same?"
Orchid slipped her arms around her Mistress and hugged her tightly.
"Carm... I am home."

 Three days later, sitting on the end of the pier with Whisper and Orchid Carmilla looked out over the sea when she heard the shuttle landing. She didn't look around, just kept looking out over the ocean.
She raised her head and turned around. Rose was standing there, dressed in her finest kimono. Carm stood up and looked at her.
"Rose... you came back?"
"Of course I did."
"But... you could be at home, with your family...."
Orchid and Whisper stood up and looked at Rose with knowing eyes and a kindred understanding.
"Carmilla.... I am home."

Meeting of Giants

Lientus, followed by Rose made their way into the lounge at the Geisha House. Carmilla and Orchid were instructing two guards to take a struggling figure away. Lientus looked for a moment at the bound gallente woman, then turned his attention back to his wife. Both of them were wearing the formal Holder garb, ready for the constellation convivium.
"Carmilla my dear, it seems we have.... an interesting occurance at out estate on Seshala III."
"Ooh, and what might that be?"
"Four slaves crashed a shuttle just outside the boundary fence and were followed by another shuttle filled with guards. It seems the overseer at the estate let them in as they asked for sanctuary. The guards demanded them back and he refused. He wants to know what to do."
"Tell him to do nothing...."
Carmilla looked at the mirror and straightened her hair then turned to him.
"Four slaves..... where did they come from?"
"They are refusing to talk, all they are saying is they are from Gehi and...."
"Console, now!"

The overseer of the Estate on Seshala III sat back in his chair and turned on the console when the transmission came through. He smiled at the screen, putting Carmilla on her guard almost immediately.
"All hail, my Lady."
"You have a situation I understand?"
"Nothing to concern you, my Lady. Just four slaves who are requesting sanctuary at your estate."
"They knew it was my estate?"
"Yes, I think..."
"Don't think! Know! Why have you not asked these questions?"
She didn't give him time to come up with a lame excuse.
"I am sending a shuttle over to you. You will put the slaves on the shuttle and after I have returned from my conference we will talk about your position there. Do you understand?"
His smile faltered momentarily.
"No, but I will obey, my Lady."
She cut the transmission and scowled. Lientus massaged her shoulders gently
"What is wrong? Slaves escape all the time..."
"Yes, but they dont come to my estates, they just... go."
"You suspect?"
"I suspect a trap. And I'm not falling into it. Girls, get ready, we're going to pickup some passengers for our journey."

Carm sat in the back with Lientus as the girls guided the shuttle in as soon as they had docked she was out and storming into the reception area. With a smile she saw that the guards had brought the four slaves with them to the area to be placed upon the transport. All of them jumped.
"My Lady, here are the slaves you requested. If we had known you were coming...."
"I was in the area. Now, you four. Where did you come from? Answer me quickly."
The talled slave, a bronze skinned caldari stepped forward and bowed slightly.
"We are escaped slaves from the tyrants estate in Gehi. You are well known to us, we request sanctuary. We wish to serve you."
"You do... do you? And how did you know about this estate?"
"We didn't, we just crashed here. I was not used to pilotting in storms."
"And who are these three that they should come with you?"
"Those that survived the escape. Originally there were ten, but the rest were captured or killed. Hence we throw our selves on your mercy."
"I see.... Guards.... Restrain them. I do not trust unbound slaves in my presence."
The three slaves did not utter a word as they were bound, but she noticed that two looked at the Caldari.
"Put them in the back of my shuttle, usual travel conditions for new slaves, please."
The guards nodded and as one slammed their weapons into the slaves heads, knocking the four of them out.
"Make sure they are securely bound. Have the guards from the other shuttle gone?"
"Yes, they left after the Overseer refused them admission."
"He did what? God, this just gets better and better."
She pushed the nearest slave over with her foot and beckoned to Lientus.
"See this? Shalia Gehi's personal stock. Do you know what would happen if I took these in?"
He was silent for a moment.
"Yes. I do."
"Shalia is on her way to the conference as well," she smiled, "So place a call to her major domo. Let her know we have four slaves we are returning them to Shalia at the conferences end. If I know Shalia, she is comms off at the conference. Now... lets get there, I dont want to be late."

For some time now the Seevadin constellation has held meetings of those Holders who live within it's borders. Invitations to the held conviviums are not requests, and those who are invited and do not turn up are often invited to leave the constellation, sometimes the region. Some, like Carmilla and Lientus, were Holder Minors. Others, like Shalia Gehi had entire systems as their holdings. A meeting of giants.

Outside the conference chamber Carmilla and Lientus, with Orchid and Rose behind ran straight into Shalia Gehi and her entourage. Both Carmilla and Lientus bowed formally, Orchid and Rose both knelt down and bowed, staying in that position. Shalia sneered at all of them.
"Vezila, I must say I almost forgot that I was looking at two Holders. For a moment I thought I was looking at four slaves and wondered why they were not wearing collars and licking my boots."
"Shalia, you are too much. Those two at the back are slaves, and they know their place. These two... well.... this one is one of us, and he looks the part. But her, she looks slave through and through. Maybe I should collar her and give her to you as a present."
Carmilla stood up and looks down on Shalia and the man standing with her. Garouna of Vezila, a fitting Holder to be with Shalia the Tyrant.
"My dear Shalia, were it not that my husband and I are loyal to the Kingdom and Holders Minor, I dare say we would possibly find ourselves in just such a position. Unfortunately, I do not see that changing any time soon."
Shalia scowled. The woman was young, and as beautiful as any Carmilla had seen, but she was no Ithiria, she mused. Power, yes, looks, yes, but the cold heart was well known amongst both slaves and freemen.
"Maybe I will see what I can do to get you on your knees before me."
"Well I know what to do when I'm on my knees before a Holder. Ever slave does."
"Yes, I had heard you were once slave stock. Heavens knows why you are one of us now. I'll have to take it up with the convivium, see if we can't revoke your holder status."
"Of course, my dear, you are entitled to do such. And indeed, if you had valid arguments why I should be removed from my status, and the court backed it, I would acquiese. But if you make an accusation and fail, well.... "
Carmilla just smiled. She was spared the retort by Shalia as the doors to the chamber opened and they were ushered in.
"By the moons, my wife, you play a dangerous game. She can make both of us dissapear."
"I know, and I could have her tit nailed to her bed chamber if I so wished it."
Vezila chuckled as he overheard as he passed and took his seat. Carmilla and Lientus took theirs.

The business of the convivium lasted three hours and in that time screaming arguments took place between Shalia and most of the rest of the Holders. The only person who did not feel the lash of her tongue was Carmilla, as she managed for the most part to agree with everything she put forward. As the tempers died down Vezila stood up.
"Now that we have the necessary busines finished, is there any new business that members wish to be brought forward?"
Shalia stood up, Vezila bowed to her.
"The chair recognises Shalia of Gehi."
"Thank you, my Lord. Many of you here no doubt recognise that we have two new Holders here today, the Lady Carmilla and the Lord Lientus."
She let the murmering die down before smiling a wicked smile and was about to start speaking again when the door to the chamber opened and a small slave scurried in, handing Shalia a message, cringing while she read. With flashing eyes she looked over at Carmilla and Lientus. Who both just nodded.
"I.... hope you will join me in raising our glasses to them. I hope we can expect their undying loyalty in the future. And their adherance to our laws."
Picking up her glass she downed the contents and threw the glass at the slave, storming out.
"It looks like her Major Domo has bigger balls then I suspected. Come, lets hand over the slaves then get the hell out of here.

On the shuttle ride back to their estate Lientus wrapped his arms around her.
"How did you know it was a trap?"
"Come on, oldest trick in the book. Her word against ours that we gave 'sanctuary' to her slaves. I dare say it would have been known that they had committed some crime against her, and we were blamed for it. Would give her she needed to send her troops in and kill or enslave us all."
"Is she that bad?"
"Maybe... but one thing I do know, I have seen her before. Though she didn't recognise me, though I thought she did for a moment."
"When was that?"
"When she was invited to a party my old Mistress held for her friends, when I was just her slave and nothing else. Long time ago."
Lientus laughed and hugged her tightly.
"You are a dark horse Carmilla, but I'm glad you are mine."
He leaned over and kissed her gently. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

You Don't Mess with my Girls

The note was simple. It had a planetary location, a city, a street, a number and a time. Three people had died to get her the note, two of theirs and one of hers. Crumpling the note in her hand she dropped it on the street outside of the address and pulled out a pair of old circular glasses, rose tinted lenses and sighed, squeezing the arm of the man beside her.
"You don't have to do this."
"You do, and that's enough for me. I'll wait til I get your signal."

There was music coming from inside, strong rhythmic undertones, the sound of the heels of the dancers, the clapping and a heavy singing voice. It was unlike any other Gallente music she had heard. Checking her weapons were secure she walked towards the door and into the taverna. The atmosphere inside was passionate and most of the people were watching the dancer, a tall thin woman who moved like she was possessed. But, she mused, another night to appreciate this. Business first. And with a smile that was almost a snarl she spotted the table with her prey.

Two geisha walked along the streets of an obscure border city. The heavy advertising of the Caldari interests flashed garish neon that cut through the driving rain and fog like a subdued nightmare. Under their umbrella's they looked small and petite, but as ever on the neon streets of caldari cities, looks can be deceiving. More than once a gang of youths had tried to stop them, it did not take long to disuade them. Together they stopped at a corner and look up and down.
"That last one bled on your kimono...."
Orchid looked down and stamped her foot.
"Why didn't they just turn around and run after we broke his arm? Why the bravado?"
"Maybe because for them to be beaten by women means more here than other places?"
Orchid hunched her shoulders and let her head roll, her neck cricking.
"How much futher? It's not bad enough that I'm drenched in blood but I'm getting soaked!"
"According to this, it's that blue door over there... come on... lets see how easy it is to get in."

Carm pushed her way through the crowd and fell into the empty seat at the round table full of minmatar. They looked up at her as she leant back in the chair, her hands deep in her duster pockets. Several stood up, hands going to holsters.
"Guys, not here. Sit."
The man at the opposite end of the table from her looked her up and down.
"You. I know you. Traitor to your people!"
He spat on the floor by his chair.
"Let me know why I shouldn't have my men drag you outside and execute you? I'd be well within my rights."
She chuckled.
"You dont have the cojones to do it. The blood in your veins is brutor piss, you do the sebiestor a disservice by being so weak and cowardly. Hiding at the back behind your big strong men. Yeah, all men. That it is it? You like men? Or boys?"
His pistol was out of it's holster and pointing at her.
"You dare sit there, slaver, and insult me?"
"I'm not a slaver, I'm a Holder, big difference. And you messed with one of my girls, trying to get her to turn against me. Loyalty obviously means nothing to you."
"Pah, what do you know of loyalty. Loyalty of the lash is no loyalty. Men are meant to be free. I am free, so are my men!"
"Free? You are all slaves to a decaying republic. You, you however are a punk, and a pretty second rate punk. The only real success you have had has been diverting slave transports. Six hundred rescued was it? Quite a coup, at least... it would have been...... They are on their way to.... Bei wasn't it? At your staging ground? Third moon?"
"How does she know this?"
"Quite, she is bluffing. Something she won't be able to do once I put a bullet in her head."
She smiled.
"You might want to call your boys."

The bestowers were old, but still usable as slave transports. In truth, though old not much had been done to make them any more comfortable. But, as some in the Amarr Empire thought, slaves are not used to comfort. The convoy had been six bestowers escorted by a dozen frigates and two cruisers. For such a transfer no more was needed. When the freedom fighters attacked it was over in minutes, their assault frigates tearing through the defence, and their own transports, large mastodons docking with the bestowers and troops boarded and secured each one. Six hundred slaves rescued, a minor coup for the freedom fighters, a feather in the cap of their sponsor. 

Once the slaves were aboard it was a short haul to low-sec and an escort, and then on to Bei, their secret staging grounds. However, almost immediately as the slaves were aboard things began to take a turn for the worse. On one of the mastodons guards and crew members began dissapearing and eventually the ship stopped broadcasting messages, claiming a systems error. The freedom fighters took no note, it was a minmatar ship after all, such things do happen. And anyway, the fleet was scheduled for repair at Bei.

One by one the ships landed and the slaves were released, the guards puzzled by the lack of movement from the last ship, which had docked hard, shattering one of the landing struts and tilting at an angle. Repair crews were despatched and the ranking officer came over and only realised the situation when the hatch opened and a rag tag bunch of slaves, all heavily armed stormed onto the landing field.  Behind them the golden armoured troops of Amarr, lashing the slave crowd forward with whips and threats. The vitoc staved slaves attacked everything that moved, desperate to show they were worthy  for their dose, desperate to asuage their pain.

Inside the warehouse one of the guards heard the desperate sound of knocking and went over to the door. Pulling back the vision panel he looked into the pleading eyes of two geisha who both started talking to him in frantic Khanid.
"Whoa, whoa! I dont understand you, can you speak Gallente?"
"Yes... uh.. a little. Please kind sir, we need to come in out of the rain!"
"Find a hotel, or a corner cafe. This is not a place for..."
For the first time his eyes took in the two geisha. Even with their kimono's he could see their curves as the wet material was clinging to them. The flimsy umbrella's they had seemed to have kept their makeup and hair neat and that was it. That natural yearning that all men have for women in distress acted and he pulled back the locks and opened the door.
"There now, come in and...."

One of the two geisha, who before looked so helpless now held a large silenced pistol in her hand. She put one finger to her lips as the other frisked him then slammed her own pistol onto his neck, knocking him out. Orchid shook her head and lowered her pistol at him.
"You know what she said, no witnesses."
The sound of the ejected case on the floor was louder than the shot and a voice came from down the corridor.
"Hey, is that the delivery girl?"
"Why yes it is," Rose called out,"Where do you want it?"
A smiling face poked out of a corridor and she raised her pistol and fired, tearing his face away. A cry from inside the room as his companion saw his body fall. Orchid closed and locked the door and pulled out a second pistol.
"Come now Sister, time to go to work!"
On a whim, Orchid turned and looked up at the security camera and smiled before pumping a round into it.

The Leader gestured to one of his men, keeping his pistol trianed on the woman before him. Her state of relax was annoying, her utter calm. It was unnerving.
"Boss, the landing field is under attack. One of the slave transports... the slaves are attacking... I dont..."
"Give me that...."
He took his eyes off of her, it was all she needed. She kicked out at the table legs, pushing her chair backwards, her hands coming out of her pockets with heavy pistols in each, her thumbs already selecting full auto as she pulled the triggers and sprayed left and right.

Outside Lientus swore as he heard the sound of full auto pistols firing and dropped his cigarette and ran into the building. Bloody wife, he thought as he pushed past the screaming patrons trying to flee and watched as his wife was shot down before his eyes.  The heavy barrel of the combat shotgun came up and as the red mists descended he began to fire, his whole body shaking with each blast. 

As the trigger clicked on an empty barrel and the last shell casing pinged across the floor took a breath. The smoke in the air was mingled now with the screams of the wounded and the heavy smell of blood and spilt drinks. Slinging his weapon over his shoulder he pulled out a smaller pistol and walked over to the wounded. One shot each, then knelt down next to his wife and punched her in the chest. She gasped, her eyes flying open.
"You are one crazy woman."
"You hit me!"
"I woke you up is all. And to think you wanted to leave the armour behind this time."
"Okay, you were right.... " she grunted as he helped her up,"This time."
"They are all dead."
"It was just one cell anyway. Have the others reported in?"
"Orchid and Rose have swept the safe house, they have documents, money transfers, no survivors."
"And the landing platform?"
"I dont like using Amarr Mercenaries, their methods are...."
"They have their uses. I dont agree with their methods, which is why I dont want to know their methods, only that they succeeded."
"They did. The staging area was taken after a heavy firefight. They just said losses were within acceptable perameters for the job and documents would be forthcoming after final payment."
She sighed and nodded.
"Acceptable parameters... what the hell is that."
Picking up a bottle she looped her arm through her husbands.
"Come on, back way. I think we'll be too hot here for a while. Tell the girls we'll meet them at the backup site."
"Oh... and don't forget there is a Council Meeting tomorrow. You will have to attend."
"Gah, political nonsense.... but... it's my political nonsense. We'll have to change as well then."

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Rose sat at the bar and listened to her Mistress talking with the clubs owner. Her eyes and ears roamed, looking for threats, familiarity, and.... just waiting. Already she had spotted the plants in the club, those who were security, those who had something to hide. And those who were hiding in plain sight.

She sipped her quaffe and talked softly to Hana, the girl behind the bar. Something about her brought a kinship to mind, they were both after all of the same status it seemed. She wished, above all else, that Orchid was here. The bond she shared with her, once they both had been bought from the slavers pit was forged in love and respect, and a necessity to fight. Whisper too, shared that bond. And their Mistress, after a fashion.

Watching and listening she observed her Mistress and smiled. It was rare to see some happiness in her these days, and the Corvidae Club seemed to make her smile. It even seemed to make her forget her addiction. Pulling a small datatablet from her pocket she messaged both Orchid and Whisper and excused herself and headed to the toilets.

Her instincts served her well. She was already moving before the shadow detached itself from the wall, and before two of them had her pinned against it, two more were down on the floor, the scuffle deadened by the music nearby. Strong hands pulled her into the corridor to the slaves quarters while another hand covered her mouth.

"Stop struggling, sister. We mean you no harm!"
The voice was thick sebiestor, male and a familiar trace she couldn't place. His face, when it appeared infront of hers was handsome, once. Now it was scarred, broken, but the eyes were bright and hopeful. She had seen such hope before, seen it crushed. But, she stopped struggling.
"I know you. I knew you from before. I was there when you were taken, bought like cattle."
"Impossible, only slaves were there."
"Do I look like I am not? I swore on my clan, those that live still, that I would make it strong again. But for that I need women to join me."
She laughed softly at him, with no ire.
"You want me for your bed? There are ways to do that without trying to abduct me."
"I want you free. Do you not want to be free again? To once more walk on our homeworld and feel the wind in our hair?"
"You are freedom fighters?"
"And what makes you think I want to be free?"
He looked at her, a strange look in his eyes.
"We know well your Mistress," he spat the word out,"A pariah and a traitor to our people, a slaver and a murder. Her crimes are too long to list. We would see her dead. We want you to help us."

There are moments of clarity when we can see the future with an accuracy that is profound. She saw the Geisha House burning, the patrons executed on the beach, or dying from the fires that tore through the buildings. The gardens one large mass grave and above all Him standing there, directing the massacre from atop the matari landing craft. Carmilla and the geisha bound and gagged, captured awaiting a trial back in the republic that would be a farse, and a fate worse than death.

This man, was no freed slave, she thought.
"Tell me what you need,"she said cautiously, already knowing the answer.
"We need the codes to land on your whore house. And we need to know when she will be there so we can capture her."
"You dont want to kill her?"
"No," the look in his eyes however said something different.
"Rose?" The voice echoed down the corridor and the people blended back into the shadows
"We will be in touch.... depend on it."

Rose leant back against the wall, shuddering slightly and looked up. Hana was standing by her, looking up into her eyes with a kindly smile.
"Your Mistress is expecting you, you must come.... Are you allright?"
"I'll be fine. I just need..."
Hana held out her hand and took Roses and kissed it gently and held it to her cheek.
"I know, don't worry. You will be fine."
Rose walked back to the bar with her, but at the back of her mind was the talk with the strange Matari. Things were happening. Pieces were being moved into position. She had to be ready when they made their final move. They all did.
"Orchid... where are you my sister?"

Carmilla looked on as Hana and Rose came back and patted the seat next to her, concern on her face.
"Rose, is everything okay?"
"Mistress, we need to leave here. Please."
Carm looked at her girls expression and nodded. She knew her girls, depended on them. Now, more than ever.
"Don't worry, we'll go get Orchid. I know you are missing her, I am too. But she is doing a vital job for me with my husband. But yes, we'll go home."
As they walked out Rose noticed a face looking at her from the crowd of people. She shuddered as she saw the matari, his knowing smile and then it was gone in the throng.