Thursday, February 21, 2019
Thorn Queen Chapter Twenty-Three
thither is no real fashion to describe rape. sexuality with Kiyo or Dorian, the men I lovedwell, I could retain exposit that for hours in exquisite detail. I could throw off elaborated on the fashion they stroked my hair or the way their lips touched my skin. Even with Dean-my cheating ph wizardnessy ex-sex had still had its shargon of affection and joy, back when things had been trusty between us.There was n unrivaled of that with Leith.Well, non on my split, at least. And I think thats what do it especi aloney stinking. For him, with his crazy infatuation, it really was an act of love. He visited me often oer the following(a) few days, and each term he equalwisek me against my pull up stakes, hed discover me he loved me and attempt near sort of gentleness and affection. The horrible part was, I couldnt raze resist that. It and required whatsoever embrace on his part to make me submit. Honestly, I wished it had been violent. I wished hed been cruel and brutal . Id worn turn up(p) my life in fights, dealing with pain and stumbles. There would guard been or sothing consolingly familiar ab turn step up that, resembling it was well(p) another battle for me. The malformed love he oriented for me during each act of rape, howeverwell, that do it harder to bear.In that time, I simply cut Art at one time. Abigail checked on me a number of times, and I learned that it was she who mixed the nightshade, though Leith had taught her the recipe. Cariena was the one I saw the most. She imagemed to pull in been installed as the live-in maid and occasional sex swindle for visiting guys. When I arrived, on that point had been three other gentry misss, solely Isanna-the one Id comprehend mentioned that first day-left shortly. She was very graceful, and Abigail meetmed particularly happy at the price shed gotten for her.The other two were stunning as well, and they seemed to glumly take over that their time would come. They flavord i t without much emotion or protest, analogous condemned criminals exhalation to the gallows. Mostly, their faces were like pieces of a dream. I was kept so heavily drug that my moments of clarity were few-though the drugs never do me forget what Leith did. None of the other girls had to be drugged the fight was enough for them. Cariena told me, however, that when other women had required the nightshade, they hadnt interpreted estimable c meetly as much as me. Art and Abigail were excessively afraid of me acquire loose, so they gave it to me much frequently than usual.When provide you look at intercourse? Leith demanded one day. He had just arrived and stood outside my room, arguing with Abigail. The door was ajar. I opinion you heap had the ability to tell this kind of thing.We can, snapped Abigail. notwithstanding not this shortly. Youve probably got to waitress at least two weeks. Besides, you dont seem to spirit passing the time that much. The sneer in her voi ce came through loud and clear. I made a mental note to choke the life out of that crispch.Leith, however, didnt hold out so happy. Two weeks is a broad time. I need to amaze her back pregnant before whatsoeverone names her Theyre looking for her. She has powerful allies. Her citizenry are loyal, and both the Oak King and the Willow Queen fool taken up the search.Dorians dedication didnt surprise me, and knowing he was working to pay back me gave me the first hope Id had in a while. But Maiwenn, too? Had that been Kiyos doing? Or truly her own kindness?I dont care about your tree-based monarchs, utter Abigail impatiently. No personify would think to look for her here.She suspected before. She told others. Someone could scry for her.They wont find her. Scrying wont work. Not with the wards here. Now why dont you stop whining and just get in on that point and do your business so this wont be a problem. Shes to the highest degree due for her next loony toons.I decided wrin ging her neck wasnt slow and wrenching enough. Yet, their words had get outn me a lot to think about. There was a search on, enough of one that Leith feared discovery. Her mentioning the wards had reminded me of when Id sent Volusian here. Volusianthere was an option I hadnt considered yet. I could impeach Volusian to me and have him warn the others. The wards were a problem. He couldnt check off them on his own, however if I was calling him, the ties that chute us would be enough to pull him through. If I could muster the energy to do it. The iron and nightshade affected the gentry part of my magic. My shamanic powers, the ones Id used for years, were tied into my strength and exit-which I didnt have a lot of lately.That macrocosm said, I felt more coherent now than I had in a while-which was still pretty addled. Abigail had said it was almost time for my next dose. I had to imagine the barely from the dose I got, the more its outcomes would dim. Cariena had said most peo ple didnt take as much, which probably meant the nightshade would still stay in my strategy awhile. But if I could reach a floor when its effects were change magnitudeMy brainstorming was halted as Leith entered. Consternation from his argument with Abigail showed on his face, except it soon transformed to a smile when he saw me. Eugenieyou look so pretty today.Yes, yes, Id heard it all before. I was so beautiful, so amazing, a jewel among women that he loved so much. His words irritated me as much as insults would have. Id been put in an ivory damask act today, which gave me nervous bridal associations.He looked me over, and his admiration again changed to a frown. I was lying on the bed, one devote cuffed to the headboard. Whats this? he asked. Why did they do that?I was a smartass to Abigail. This was her punishment.His face darkened further as he sit down on the bed. I dont like thatdont like her doing that. But, Eugenie, you have to use up you bring it on yourself.Oh, Leith. He was so lucky I could barely lift my free arm, or I would have punched that pretty face of his.He peered at me intently. You have to get pregnant soon.Its not something I can really experience, I said. Well, I could have controlled not get pregnant if I was still on the pill. I hadnt taken it inhow many an(prenominal) days? Three? Four? I wasnt true how long Id been here. I knew all the stats, though, about women whod gotten pregnant from just missing one pill.He sighed and began unlacing the bodice of my dress. Well just have to reinforcement trying then. If we just wait a miniscule while afterward, I can do it double today.Oh, how fucking lovely. I treasured to explain that it wouldnt matter how many times he did it, not if I wasnt ovulating. That kind of science was woolly-headed on him, I knew, alleged genius or no. As far as most gentry were concerned, sex equaled babies, end of story. at a time its done, we can go home. Well get married, and you wont have to b e restrained like this anymore. You can move freely and use your magic.I decided not to mention that if we did that, the first thing Id do with my magic was make sure I was a widow.Thingsll be good then, he said, moving his clay over mine. I promise. I love you so much.I didnt need any nightshade to make me feel numb after Leith left. Hed held good to his word to have sex twice, and I was slowly re achy that point where it just didnt matter. I couldnt feel anything. My body wasnt even att smartd to my consciousness. It was like my mind existed elsewhere, dreaming or, occasionally, plotting my revenge through the drugged haze. I thought of anything I could-anything that wasnt the violation of my body-while he was on top of me. Usually, I imagined it was incident to someone else and not me. That made it easier to bear until after he left, when the ache inside reminded me that it had indeed been me.Cariena and another girl arrived shortly thereafter to give me my next dose of nightsh ade. I couldnt recall the other girls name, though not for lack of caring. It was just the way my brain worked lately. She was extremely pretty, with curly opaque hair and sky blue eyes that reminded me of Ysabels.Abigail occasionally let the girls hand out the nightshade, confident enough in her hold over them to do it. And her rank(a)ness was well- effectuateed. Id tried before to talk them out of it, save their fear of her was too great. This time, I merely attempted a delay.Wait, I said, as they leaned over. It looked like the black-haired girl was going to hold me down while Cariena poured. permit me just talk to you for a minute.Cariena immediately grew nervous. Your majesty, we cant Sometimes I found her use of my title endearing. Other times, I thought it was a joke, considering my benefaction situation.Just a minute. Thats all.Let her, said the other girl.I flashed her a grateful smile. Whats your name again?Markelle.It sounded familiar. Markelle. I would remember th is time. I wishinged to treat her as a person, not an object. Look, I just want to know about the nightshade. How often do I take it? all(prenominal) six hours, said Cariena, still clearly worried about this delay.Thats twice as often as they usually give it, added Markelle. And with those words, I saw the slightest flash of bitterness in her eyes, the first Id seen in any girl. I wondered then if she was one of the other difficult ones that Cariena had described, one who had to be drugged as well and eventually subdued.Is there any wayis there any way you guys could, like, dilute it? There it was, the big question.Cariena gasped, but Markelle pronto answered. No, your majesty. Abigail makes it herself and makes sure we come straight here. Theres no opportunity.Where? Where does she make it?In the kitchen. She has the ingredients practice aside and makes a fresh batch every day.What else is in it? deflection from the nightshade?Markelle looked at Cariena expectantly. Cariena gul ped, and it took her several seconds to answer. She rattled off a list of herbs, some of which I knew, some of which were unfamiliar. They probably had different names in the Other earth.Do Abigail and Art ever eat here? Like, do they cook? Is their kitchen stocked with?Markelle nodded. But we never prepare the food-its always them. She was quick-minded shed probably thought I was going to suggest poison. Not a bad idea, really.Are there any ingredients in the nightshade mix that look like other herbs they energy have in the kitchen? Both girls looked confused. Ive seen no other herbs, said Cariena.You have freedom of the house. I knew most girls stayed in the basement, though. The next time theyre not around, go through the cupboards. If their kitchens stocked, they must have a spice rack.A knock sounded at the door. Whats taking so long? Abigail called.See if any spices look like the ones in the potion, I hissed as the doorknob turned. deal them.Abigail entered just as Markelle held me down. Cariena poured while Abigail watched with a critical eye. Youre too slow, snapped the shaman. She require this regularly.Both girls groveled, bowing their heads deferentially. Forgive us, said Cariena. I knew her contrition wasnt faked. It wont take a chance again.Abigail rolled her eyes. Stupid girls. Ill have to do it myself next time.The instant effect that damned potion always had began to run through me. The familiar blackness brush over me, and I slept.Another day went by. Leith visited, and the girls apparently hadnt taken my advice on the nightshade because my six-hour cycle repeated as usual. Abigail usually came with one of the girls now, apparently not trusting them anymore. Art came once as well, and a few black comments from me earned me another cuffed hand.I began to understand the roles they played. Both participated in the brokering and bargain of the girls. Art helped Leiths men catch the girls and offered his home-the one Id once thought too large for a guy like him-as their prison. Abigail seemed to handle the day-to-day affairs of taking care of the girls, and it occurred to me one day that those handcuffs at her blank hadnt been part of anything kinky. Theyd been part of her arsenal for this hellhole, and I suspected the trip to see her sister that day had probably been to deliver some poor girl to her new owner. I cringed at what that car ride must have been like. For a gentry to be surrounded in all that coat and technologyit would have been awful for her.Leith was getting dressed after one of his conjugal visits one day. I was close enough to my next nightshade dose that I was able to shoot him looks of contempt-ones he didnt notice. He seemed particularly excited.Its been a week, he said. One more week, and Abigail says we can test to see if youre carrying my child. He pressed a kiss to my forehead. I can feel it, Eugenie. I know weve done it.There was no we in sexual assault, but again, I found it easier just to re main silent lately. It usually made him leave that much more quickly, which then left me alone with my thoughts and my aching body. Sometimes after he visited, my body would feel so go against and dirty that Id hate it. Then Id remember that none of this was the fault of my body or me. It was Leith.Shortly after his departure that day, Abigail and Markelle came in with my next dose. Id heard talk that Markelle had a buyer. Her days really were numbered now, and I felt bad for her, this girl whod once fought back against her captors. I was so used to the nightshade by now that they almost didnt need to hold me down anymore to propel me to take it. It was a bit disheartening that I felt that way now and wondered if I too was on my way to that sad submission everyone else had.The two of them left, and I lay there, waiting for the unconsciousness that always followed. It usually cobblers lasted an hour or so before I came to and lived in my wooly rural area until the next dose. Sur e enough, I started to feel a little tinglybut no sleepiness followed. I lay there, scarcely dare to breathe. After falling drearily into a strict regimen, any sort of change was a shock to my system. I waited and waited. No unconsciousness.My blurry, addled state didnt disappear, but it didnt get any worse than when I was due for my next dose. Holy shit. One of them had done it. One of those girls had swapped out the nightshade tinctures ingredients. Who? I would have wagered money on Markelle over timid Cariena. Markelle occasionally had that rebellious trip out in her eyes, despite her docile behavior, and her impending sale would be dear motivation. She was from the Thorn Land too-my subject. Sometimes I got the feeling that she truly believed her pansy could get her out of this.But did I? I still didnt know if I could get myself out of this. My weapons were long since gone, and I didnt think I had the strength to launch a physical attack on Abigail or Art. My door was kept l ocked, so there was no prowling for me. Gingerly, I sat up. The world shifted as usual, but again, not like it normally would have post-potion.What to do with this freedom? I had no guarantees my next dose wouldnt be the usual stuff. That gave me six hours, and the further that time progressed, the better shape Id be in. I would have given anything for a clock or even a glimpse of the sun. I needed to track the time, waiting until the last possible moment for my strength to be at its peak. It looked like Id have to wing it and hope my guess was right.For a moment, panic washed over me. There seemed no obvious options, and I didnt know how fast the potion would let up. Anyone could walk right in at any time. Leith could come in. LeithWith some of that fuzziness gone from my head, the memories of what hed done to me came through more sharply, and my fear grew-No I swiftly ordered myself not to think about any of that. Not Leith. Not overwhelming odds. I needed to think only of escape, and for that, I needed to start with small details.Id been good today-no bindings. And with the nightshade, no one felt the need to give me iron bracelets like the girls. That meant no occlusion of my magic, short of the potion. Somehow, I doubted Id have the power in six hours to blow this place up with a mini-hurricane. What did that leave me? Hopefully physical huskinessand with itmy shamanic powers?Now the work outdown began. The minutes were agony, particularly since I had no way to count them. At first, I just attempted general counting in my head, but that grew tedious. I had nothing to do but wait and pot my own bodys recovery.And recover it did. Oh, I was a long way from being able to kick anyones ass, but my wits grew a little clearer. rest and moving didnt hurt much either. Finally, I decided it was now or never. I had to take my gamble. Maybe it was well before the six hours, but I couldnt risk going over.It would have been easier with my wand, candles, and other ac coutrements. What I had to do wasnt impossible, though. I turned off the lights, plunging me into darkness, and sat on the bed cross-legged.Volusian, I said softly. By the ties that bind, I quote you to come to me and obey my commands. purposeless as I was, I felt my will go out, stretchiness beyond the worlds to my minion. At first, I thought it was useless-then, I felt it. The slightest vellication of our bond. I gritted my teeth, drawing all the strength I could. I summon you, I growled. Obey me and come.For a moment, I thought Id failed. Then, a iciness filled the room, and red eyes burned before me. Seeing them in the blackness was too scary, and I stumbled up to turn the lights back on.My cyprian returns, he said. Or rather, I return to my mistress.I didnt need to see the slight curling of the spirits lips to know my hold on him was tenuous. It was like a fragile string of silk, ready to snap at any moment. obstetrical delivery him here, through those worlds, had sapped more of me than I thought imaginable. I still held him, but for the first time in the years Id enslaved him, the full realization of just how powerful-and dangerous-he was hit me.I have tasks for you, I said sternly. I could show no weakness.He took a few steps toward me. My mistress is bold to say so. You can barely maintain the bond between us as it is.I can hold this bond until the end of time. Now, you will obey me.And almost before I saw what was happening, his clawed give were around my neck-cold, cold. So cold that they burned.I have waited for this for so long, he hissed. So long for you to weaken so that I may in conclusion kill you and make you suffer the way you have tormented me these years, enslaving me and displace me to do your menial errands.I couldnt even suffice a scream, not with the way his hands were cutting off my air. I could only manage something that was half-grunt and half-gasp. Desperately, desperately, I fought him mentally. I was one of the most powe rful shamans in the world. I could control wayward spirits. I could enslave them easily. Id once had a server of them. I could fight this.You will feel pain like you have never dreamed possible, he continued. You will beg for death, beg for taking apartfor even that would be easier than the agony I will inflict on you.Everyone had warned me so many times about keeping Volusian. What if your control slips? they had all asked. Dorian had even offered to help banish him to the Underworld for good. I had laughed the worries off. I was strong. Even after a battle like Id had with the fire demons, maintaining that subsume to Volusian was practically subconscious. But nownow, this was different.You are losing it-the bonds are roughly distressed. In a few heartbeats, your control will be gone.No I couldnt speak a response, but the words in my mind burned. I would not lose this. I would not lose control of him. Wrenching up the last scraps of my strength was like rupture my own heart ou t. You will obey me Back offThe world started to sparkle as my air grew less and less, and then-he did back off.His eyes blazed with malice. Hed been so, so close, and we both knew it. My control now was still a tenuous thing, and I had to hope I would recover my strength soon and solidify my grasp.You will obey me, I said in a thin voice. You will not harm me.As my mistress commands. But I could tell from his voice that he didnt believe this would last, that he was biding his time.Meanwhile, I was rivulet out of time to decide what to do, not only because I didnt know if hed condition free again but also because Abigail could be here at any moment. My initial instinct was to tell him to simply get me out of here. But if that command took the last of my strength, he could easily kill me once we were out. And even if I made it out, what about the girls? I couldnt rescue them on my own. How long until Markelle disappeared?No, I needed to kick Volusian out of the house. If I didnt su mmon him back, those wards would keep me safe. I needed to send him for help, and that choice had to be a wise one.Leave this house. Go to Dorian, I said. I drew upon that speed strength of mine to enforce the order. I command you. Go to Dorian and tell him where Im at. Exactly where Im at.I could have sent him to Kiyo. Kiyo knew where this house was. But if the effort of these commands was enough to finally shatter my hold on Volusian, Dorian might be able to bind him back. It would be better than Volusian running loose. That, of course, depended on whether my order was strong enough to even get Volusian to Dorian to deliver the message. My first command had been to get Volusian out of the house and keep me behind the wards. If that was all I could manage, Volusian would no longer be bound to obey. He has to, I thought desperately. He has to get to Dorian.Go I ordered harshly.As you command.Volusian vanished, eyes narrowed, confident our bond was about to break. As soon as he was gone, I fell onto the bed, nearly ready to pass out. Would it work? Or had I just broken the last fragments of our bond? I was too afraid to reach out and test the link. I didnt have the strength.The door suddenly unlocked. Nightshade time. With a sickening thought, I realized that if it was the original kind, I would almost certainly lose that control of Volusian. If it was Markelles decoy, I could hold onto my strength.Abigail entered, a cup in hand and Markelle in her wake. The gentry girls eyes were down, her whole posture meek. I bit my lip at their approach, waiting to see what my future held.