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Authors: Bruce McLachlan

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BOOK: Moonslave
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Trouble is, most of them are not what you might call pals of your country.’

‘Well, I could have a word with her majesty. All it would take is a call, and I can guarantee favourable results.’

‘You’re sure? There’s a lot of support for it over there.

Public opinion’s been up their arse about this.’

‘The public are cattle. We’ll have words with the editors we own, put a scandal with a soap star on the front covers and they’ll be so enthralled we could outlaw breathing eating and sex and they won’t notice.’

‘I’d owe you big for this, Cassandra.’

‘And as part of the favour I need to know what your plans are concerning the premier.’

‘None as of yet.’

‘Come on, I know you must be readying someone to take his place. Unless you make the current one a ghoul, he can’t last much longer. We need to know what to do about our holdings out there.’

‘Well, our great houses have been toying with the notion of dropping one of the generals in.’

‘A full blood vampire? And a military one? You’re kidding, right?’

‘No. We’ve actually had backing for the idea from houses across the world. Seems everyone misses the cold war. We don’t want it back, but we could do with lowering the temperature a little, politically speaking, that is.’

‘How far has this been planned?’

71

‘Well, the easiest route we can see is to stiff the capitalists for all the money they’ve leant us. We borrow more, use it to kick out their people and seal our borders again. A professed return to staunch communism should have a nice chill in the air.’

‘Chill? It’ll be a blizzard.’

‘Come on, Cassandra, don’t you miss it? All that secrecy and paranoia, the tight reigns of throttled information. We were so free back then. Christ, the Net is the biggest threat to us yet. A million mortal idiots tapping away, blabbing about every suspicion they’ve got, hacking into this, monitoring that, it’s getting harder to hide ourselves. In the cold war, do you really think they would have let this technology slip out as unregulated as it is? It’s time we got our prey fearful again. When they’re trying to ban the bomb, looking for spies or sweating at the prospect of nuclear conflict and the Red Menace, they’re not peeking in the shadows looking for us.’

‘I guess, but it’s a bold step. You’ll need to make sure it’s airtight. This could backfire, big time.’

‘We’re working out the wrinkles. There’s a summit meeting in Siberia later this year. All the great houses are coming; maybe the queen would like an invite. I’m sure I could finagle one.’

‘Finagle away, Volodia. I’ll speak to you later.’

‘Good night Cassandra,’ replied the man, and the connection was terminated.

Switching off the system, the seneschal rose from her position and walked to the middle of the room, stroking her chin in thought, pondering the words.

Kira never ceased to be amazed at how entrenched the forces of supernatural status were. The queen basically had full reign over media, law and crime, and she was 72

unable to be discovered, touched, even threatened. And now it seemed the whole fate of the world was planned and plotted, controlled from the shadows. All the conspiracy theories that abounded, all the fears about the powers that be, Kira couldn’t believe that they were not just incorrect; they were vastly inadequate to cover the true scope of the truth.

‘Slaves, in a line, lift your skirts,’ the seneschal snapped, taking hold of the crop and flicking it at the air, the tip rocking with her motions.

The two maids stepped down and turned around, leaning over, legs pressed together, head lowered, hands on their knees once their gloved fingers had hoisted their latex skirts. It was a precarious position; one that meant any response to the crop would probably have them fall over.

Kira joined them, shoving with her arms, throwing herself upright and onto her knees, the corset preventing her from rising normally. She descended the steps and copied the pose in full, opening herself to random chastisement.

The seneschal flicked the weapon through the air, catching a rear and stinging it with a sharp crack. She continued the sadism, punishing her possessions for no other reason than because it suited her current mood.

Kira bit her lip as she was afflicted, the searing kiss making her stiffen and fight to keep her balance. The other women were making no noise; she had to strive to be the same. Holding to her cries she felt the crop slam to her thrice more, the seneschal punishing them all before stopping, imparting a few welts to keep the slaves company and remind them of their station with the dull thud in their flesh.

‘Slave, come with me,’ she commanded, beckoning 73

Kira forth. ‘The rest of you, back to work,’ she growled, causing the others to lower their skirts and scamper away into the rest of the dwelling, returning to the chores they had been set.

Restoring her skirt, Kira walked behind her owner as she left her chambers and returned to the winding paths beyond. All around slaves were cleaning and handling duties, scuttling back and forth, ferrying things required of them. Punishment slaves ambled past, confined and abused within their arduous uniforms, staggering under the stresses imposed upon them, making Kira all to glad to have finally escaped such a placement.

Passing through the area of guest wings, Kira found the place of the visiting clan vacant, their lounge quiet and empty, being cleaned and polished by a team of slaves. She was a little sad to find them gone; she would have liked to actually see them. All she had to remember were sights of the nuns and the vague silhouettes of those who owned them in the audience.

Her eyes covertly lodged on a trio of women that passed by. A leather loincloth hung around their waists, the small panels of material dropping to a point between their thighs, covering from front to back. From the waistband of this garment dropped suspenders, grabbing fishnet stockings that plunged into leather thigh boots. Other than these token garments they were naked. They were not slaves of the palace, for they bore no collars, but it was not this that caught her attention, it was their very physique.

Their mouths were wider than normal, armed with banks of needle fangs. Two prongs emerged from their brow, the small stubby horns rising to wicked points, their eyebrows lifted, perched high by the drag of this contorted visage. Their ears ascended to points, the lobes 74

lost, the length of them fitted with numerous silver rings.

Their hands had fused, two fingers merging to leave them with a pair of large melded digits, a curved talon pouring from the combined summit. Their toes had followed the same path, and they walked on the balls of their feet, their legs gradually adopting the initial stages of a goat-like structure. It was as though they were turning into devils.

Their skin was pale, almost white, but colour remained in the form of a mottled leopard pattern, the soft purple markings distinct, and clearly not the work of tattoos.

‘Greetings, seneschal, I trust your night is going well,’

stated the lead female as they passed.

‘Thank you, Hyrthuz, I am currently on my rounds, but hope to have the rest of the night to myself afterwards.’

‘We would be honoured to have you attend our quarters.’

‘The sect of the Obsidian Fang honours me with such an offer. I shall most definitely accept, time permitting,’

replied the seneschal, giving a polite nod to them before they reciprocated and wandered off.

Looking over her shoulder Kira walked after the seneschal, studying the women from behind. They had to be witches, ones that had been warped from their allegiance. Why had the Flesh Dancers not been affected so radically? If anything, their change had increased a natural beauty, not created a bestial allure. It was hard not to dwell on the visage of the witches, for even changed though they were, they were still beautiful, and Kira wondered what it would be like to be their carnal partner.

One of them glanced back, feeling Kira’s inquisitive stare on her. She smiled and let a forked tongue spill out and flap in her direction, tickling the air before sliding 75

back in. Then her eyes flashed with black light, the opaque radiance spilling into the air as small trails that faded a few seconds later. ‘Such a fine little specimen,’

said a voice that entered Kira’s mind, declining use of her ears, echoing through her thoughts, distinctly depositing the feel of something hot and insidious within her skull. ‘We’ll have to taste you, my sweet morsel.’

Startled, Kira faced forward, following and pretending as though nothing had happened, the sweaty imprint of an alien presence still distinct in the canals of her psyche.

The sound of raised voices drew the attention of the seneschal and she looked into a side passage, one of those that led to various playrooms and other halls of diversion and recreation. Duke Khardekk was biliously responding to one of the lupines. The towering black furred beast was leaning down, jabbing a clawed finger at him as he retorted with a booming growl. Both were conversing in a deep, almost animal dialect, a language the lupine was well suited to, and which the duke, with his command of flesh, was admirably coping with.

‘Is there a problem, gentlemen?’ asked the seneschal.

The two stopped immediately and looked to the new arrivals. Pausing, each glanced back at their verbal sparring partner and straightened up, the duke tugging at his lapels and then preening his tie.

‘Apologies if we caused concern, seneschal,’ calmly replied the duke. ‘We were merely debating some theological matters.’

The lupine gave a grunt of confirmation, cast a glare back at the duke and wandered off, giving a bow that was little more than a dip of his snout to the seneschal as he passed her by.

The duke walked over, watching as the lupine entered the main corridor and vanished from view. ‘Ah, I do so 76

love a good argument,’ he commented with amusement.

‘I can think of better people to incite than the pack leader of the Soul Barbs, Duke Khardekk,’ advised the seneschal.

Noticing Kira, the duke turned his attention away from the passage and to her, his eyes running up and down her curves. ‘All part of the fun, my dear seneschal. But tell me, is this the slave I so recently saw as a pup at your side?’ he quizzed with raised eyebrows.

‘I decided to change her caste,’ she replied, declining to reveal the actual circumstances of Kira’s reprieve and subsequent evolution.

‘I can understand why. She is exceptionally beautiful.

She would have been wasted as a pet. Did you have one of my Flesh Dancers add a hex or two to her, or is this natural?’

‘Partially. The Malefic Kiss was responsible. The anatomical changes can sometimes bring out what lay buried beneath mortality.’

‘Indeed. To lose such a creature to death would have been a crime in itself. May I borrow her for a while?’ he asked brazenly, a smile raising the corners of his lips, a flash crossing his eyes.

‘I’m not sure, duke, she’s very inexperienced,’ replied the seneschal with hesitation, unwilling to desert Kira.

‘Oh, I’ll be careful,’ he stated, trying to allay her fears.

He could see that the seneschal was not concerned for Kira’s safety, instead, there was a greater force at work behind her hoarding of the slave girl.

‘I’m still not sure—’ began the seneschal, only to be interrupted as a male puppy slave scampered around the corner and to her feet, dropping an envelope and then kissing the boots.

‘Pick that up, slave,’ she ordered, and Kira folded with 77

difficulty to retrieve the paper, the duke’s eyes never leaving her, watching her move against her uniform with potent appetite rising in his glare.

‘I have to attend the queen, if you would excuse me, duke,’ the seneschal stated. ‘Could I ask you to look after my servant until I return?’ she added.

‘It will be a pleasure, seneschal,’ he beamed, and with a last look to Kira, the woman wandered off.

Kira could have stayed with her, but the vampiress was going to see the queen. Although the seneschal clearly didn’t want to hand Kira over to the duke, it was also obvious that her owner did not wish to reveal her to the queen either, just in case her interest returned and Kira was removed from the seneschal’s care. It had been a calculated move, but one her owner was not overly happy with.

‘Well, my little slave, shall we find somewhere more appropriate?’ he pondered, rubbing his chin and examining her with new intensity, assessing her merits and conjuring acts to perform.

‘As you wish, my lord,’ she replied softly and respectfully.

‘Come with me, slave,’ he commanded, and started to wander down the passage, heading to the wing where his followers dwelt. Passing through, he entered the deeper regions and to one of the playrooms.

Led within, Kira found herself in a square chamber, the room dark, the walls black, the carpet a deep lush green. Rings were bolted to the wall, spaced equally at chest height. Similar examples adorned the ceiling, ready to ensnare and capture a supplicant body.

One other door provided exit, and an alcove held a cabinet atop a set of drawers. In each corner was an iron brazier, the metal flecked with crooked thorns and etched 78

with strange runes. The interior was dark and dead.

The portal behind them sealed and locked itself, leaving them in complete blackness. With her eyes wide Kira beheld nothing save a featureless void.

The hands of the duke reached from behind, placing palms to her shoulders. She flinched with shock. ‘Shhhh,’

he soothed, dropping the fingers into place one by one, holding her from behind. Could he see in this consuming night?

The padlock at the back of her neck popped open of its own accord, the sorcery of the duke convincing it to release her. The same convincing song had the laces of her corset opening themselves, the cord animated, granted its own semblance of life to slither free and obey the duke. The corset loosened and then fell to the floor.

Then the zip of her dress started to roll down, the hands of the duke still resting on her shoulders as he channelled his very will into the garments.

BOOK: Moonslave
5.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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