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...."
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."
"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.