White Slaves Ch. 2

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The mercenary ship docked just after dawn in the bustling seaport of Bandar. Though the city itself was just waking and opening another business day, activity on the dock went on at all hours. The vessel docked across from two heavily laden cargo ships hauling textiles from the far east. Long trains of dock workers grunted under the heavy bundles as foremen cursed about schedules and lost wages. The two warriors were barely visible in the crush of humans and demi-humans that were scrambling frantically between the docked vessels and the rows of warehouses that separated the shore from the market area.

“By the gods, I’ve never been in a place so confusing! And the smell!” Milan urged Xena to get them far away from a fishmonger’s cart that had collided with one carrying pickled animal parts. The shouts were coming loud and furious in two different languages.

Xena ignored Milan’s queasy voice as she scanned the piers. She found the yellow sails that marked the slave ships, which were docked at the southernmost pier. As they neared the end of the pier, the crown thinned out. Xena dragged Milan into a side alley that doubled as an open sewer.

“The ones in the red turbans and black pants are the harbor patrol. Avoid them at all costs. Most of them are drawing pay from the Assassin’s Guild. Also stay clear of the ones wearing bright yellow, those are the slavers.”

They picked their way to the adjacent street, which was crowded with spice vendors. The curving route led them to the market yard. It was several acres wide and jammed with stalls and carts bearing goods from all corners of the world. The air was thick with smoke from cooking fires and smoking dens as well as flies attracted by food and animal droppings.

“There,” Xena nodded to a row of long buildings with high windows. “Those are the slave pens. We have to enter near the far side to be close to the slave girls’ market.”

The auction yard was a covered area several hundred feet wide. The area in front of the pen for women awaiting auction was crowded with shouting and whistling men. Xena abandoned any thought of getting close right now. They could wait until the first round of bidding ended. By then the first wave of girls bound for the brothels would be leaving, with a surge of eager customers behind it.

Xena did stroll past the opposite end of the auction stand, where last-minute inspections and subsequent haggling was taking place. New owners were vigorously wiping off makeup used to conceal scars and blemishes or probing and sniffing genitals for disease, while the wholesalers dutifully feigned surprise.

Milan gaped as he stared at a roped off area where a masked stud was systematically deflowering a line of women, since, by law, virgins could not be sold for prostitution. Here and there, a bidder whispered to a guard and passed a handful of coins while a cohort discretely escorted a girl out of line.

“Why buy when you can just borrow, sweetmeat?” Milan turned to his side to see a woman in dark robes. She pulled aside the hem to reveal one of her long legs and her dusky bush. She opened her robe farther and revealed bare breasts the size of melons. “Only a day’s wage, and you don’t have to take care of me afterwards.”

She pressed her case by running her hands up his legs as she grinned lasciviously. She gave him a playful squeeze and whispered an offer in his ear. Xena’s hand shot between them and drew the working prostitute into a swift backhand slap. The harlot fell heavily on her ass, dropping Milan’s coin pouch on impact. She glared at Xena, then bolted off.

“If I remember correctly, you told me the princess was a blonde.”

“Just admiring the scenery, mistress.” Milan protested.

“Give me a break, ranger. She had a harelip.”

Xena’s lying, Milan thought. Even she wasn’t looking at her face.

“The princess and her handmaidens are nowhere around here. Small wonder. What do we do next?” Milan asked.

“It looks like I get to visit some old acquaintances,” she said. The expression on her face told that the experience would be less than pleasant.

“Welcome back, Warrior Princess,” greeted the man in rich, midnight blue robes. He wore his dark hair long and had a short goatee. A ring of gold adorned his nose and an elaborate pendant fastened his cloak. “How long has it been, one month, two…?”

“Four years, Senguro,” Xena scowled at two bodyguards that towered over her. They smiled warmly and fingered the hilts of their scimitars.

“That long, eh? Where does the time go? I hope you’ve come back to take me up on my dinner invitation.”

“Not this time, Soft-Hand,” Xena softened her face and smiled, but her hand was casually resting on her hip now, near the stiletto. “I came to ask about the slavers who are selling western women.”

“Such information is hard to come by, mistress,” Senguro was loosing interest already. “What makes you think I know anything about it?”

“A gold ring with an bloodstone lozenge set in it. The mark of a prime charter Mersin Escort master for the Assassin’s Guild.”

Senguro dropped all cordiality and his thugs promptly gripped the hilts of their weapons. “Who do not brook invasions of their affairs! I could kill you now, Xena, and no one would say a word about it!”

“No, you couldn’t, Senguro, because you’re the last person who can afford to call the attention of the Guild Master upon himself. How much have you been holding back this year, Soft-Hand? Three percent? Ten percent?”

“I would never cross the Guild! No one who’s smart ever does!”

“And I’m the padishah’s daughter!” Xena grinned mockingly.

Senguro waved his guards to stand easy. “You’re going to be the end of me, Xena. All this, for a few lousy moments in North Haven.”

“Most men would kill for that chance, Soft-Hand. Some have,” Xena huffed, but they both knew it wasn’t an idle boast.

“I know,” Senguro said pleasantly. “So what is it you require? The name attached to a poisoned blade? A head to ease a grieving widow’s heart?”

“A girl, Senguro. A Dunwich maiden with hair like gold and elfish eyes. She probably was here within the last few days.”

“The Guild Master left two days ago for the open sea. He sails back here through the Spindrift Isles, then departs for the east at the new moon.”

“You’re sure of this?”

“Have I ever told you wrong? I didn’t think so. I accept your apology, milady, and you can join me for that dinner to express your gratitude.”

“Looks like we part on bad terms again, Senguro. You’ll have to stick to whatever nobleman’s daughter you’re sleeping with these days.”

“Not the same, I’m afraid,” he grinned as he faded into the shadow.

“Don’t tell me that he…” Milan said with a trifle of jealousy.

“You believe everything you hear, Milan. That’s your problem.”

“Can we trust him?”

“No, but he hates the Guild more than anything else. It was his worst mistake, and there’s no way out once you’ve stepped in. He never could think ahead very far.”

The mercenary vessel, the Nightshade, made good time through the Straits of Colchos and headed for the open sea. They could make Spindrift Sound by nightfall of the following day, just in time to catch the Guild slaver as she navigated the reefs around the islands. The assassins would have to hug the outward side of the reef since the beasts prowling the open water were too dangerous and the Duke of Karmanka had a fleet guarding the shoreline.

They had just sighted the islands when the sun seemed to fade from the sky. Everyone was struck with horror by the sinister pall of fog that was rolling across the islands, and soon its tendrils floated towards the ship.

“Avast!” bellowed Captain Morgantheau, a veteran of seven wars on the Blood Sea and retainer to the Dunwich navy. “Lookouts on the bow! Watch for reefs!” A lot of good that would do. By the time shallow water was spotted, they’d be on top of the reef.

“What kind of fog is this, Captain?” Milan’s teeth chattered as the mist closed around the ship. The temperature had dropped severely.

“Devil’s fog, boy,” he spat into the steam rising off the water. “These parts never see mist during the day.”

“Sorcery,” Xena agreed. She shrugged her cloak aside, heedless of the fog, her blades standing ready.

They all noticed the island at the same time. At first, they thought they had been caught by some land-bound current, but a glance convinced them that they were holding their course. The island was bearing down on them, pushing a wall of water several yards high. The crew cried out in dismay as a huge boulder crested near them, which split open to reveal a cavernous maw that carried the reek of centuries from all the oceans of the world. The Nightshade was broken in half, pieces of her hull swirling in the monstrous wave. Xena looked on in horror as Milan was tossed into the air by the heaving deck and plowed under the waves.

“Get to the forecastle, mistress!” Captain Morgantheau shoved Xena up the ladder to the front of the ship. She had just grabbed the rail for support when the deck collapsed under Morgantheau’s feet. He soon joined the rest of the hapless crew in the monstrous hydraulics that sucked the broken ship down.

Xena found a handhold on the lip of the zaraten’s barnacle encrusted jaws, her feet skidding along the water that surged past her. She felt a rough, cold hand seize her around the wrist and haul her clear. She was carried to the top of the crag and cast down at the feet of a band of buccaneers.

“Behold — Xena… Warrior Princess,” scoffed Hafez Makhi. His grin was the last thing she saw before the butt of a spear put the lights out.

Xena was bound at the wrists and elbows with her legs in hobbles. The guards took either elbow and ushered her up the trail and into the gates of the citadel. The little procession drew the attention of dozens of pirates manning the trebuchets and battlements.

“Hey, look! Mersin Escort Bayan It’s feared warlord woman herself!”

“Looks more like fresh fish to me!”

“Hey, I want that bitch in my bunk tonight!”

“You can have her! Crazy slut will probably bust you in half!”

“She won’t be so tough with three or four of us pinning her down!”

“I don’t want her after YOU, Drago!”

“Hey, show us a little more skin, sweet cheeks!”

The rogues crowded around the trail, wiggling tongues and grabbing crotches suggestively. The guards shouldered through them to the doors of the Guild House. They climbed a set of stairs that opened into the audience hall. Makhi was waiting there with Tahir Arrani. Several scantily clad blonde women sat among a pile of furs in the middle of the room. One of them matched Milan’s description of his princess.

“Take her to the harem and treat her with the potion. She’ll be the new centerpiece of my collection.”

Xena went wild with outrage. Her lunge at the grinning pirate was aborted by the guards holding her chains.

“On second thought,” said Makhi, “Entertain her in the lower chambers for a while. Do whatever you want, as long as you leave no scars. But I want her tamed.”

Xena shouted with feral intensity, then the lights went out again as the guards subdued her.

Xena woke up with the feeling of something suffocating her. She had a panic filled moment before she realized that she could still breathe through her nostrils. Gagged, she thought, and blindfolded too. Her forearms and calves were bound in tight sleeves and a belt circled her waist. They were chained so she was spread eagle and hanging in the harness. She could tell by the draft on her skin that she was otherwise nude.

“Looks like she’s coming around.” The voice and the footsteps came closer. A hand carefully pulled her blindfold up to rest on her forehead. It belonged to a Nordic man in his early forties, body lean and hardened from combat. His grin, full of sharpened, silver teeth, identified him as Rostov, Hafez Makhi’s prime assassin.

“This is called the Spider, Xena. Our interrogator uses this as the pedestal of his art. You probably remember that his art is something that most of us do not have the stomach to witness.” Rostov picked up a thick, wickedly curved hook from the table, letting Xena watch the light from a brazier full of glowing coals glint off it. He snorted and returned it to its stand. “No, we’ve got other ideas. A lot more fun, although someone’s got to serve as the entertainment. Of course, we’ve picked you.”

Five pirates barged through the entryway, cursing and snickering, tankards of ale spilling carelessly. They cheered when they saw the naked woman hanging in the middle of the torture chamber.

“Hold up, boys, let’s make her comfortable now, ” Rostov released a lever and pulled a set of pulleys, tilting the cruciform that held the harness forward.

Xena watched the six men as they stripped down. Their hairy legs came into view, then they stepped close enough so she could see them hefting and stroking their penes into hardness, like weapons being brandished before the onslaught. Rostov was the first to touch her. He slicked a finger with his saliva, then rubbed it lightly on Xena’s nipples, which hardened with the sudden chill. The men grunted and whistled approvingly.

Rostov rubbed his cock on her face. He grabbed a handful of her dark hair, pulling her head back forcefully as he pressed his cock against her breasts. He grinned with satisfaction at the loathing and terror in her bright blue eyes. The others stepped forward and replaced him now, running their coarse hands over the soft skin of her body. One was below her with his face buried in her tits, sucking and chewing on her nipples. Two of them were fondling her ass while they pumped their inflamed rods up against her thighs, while one was lapping at her cunt as he jerked himself off.

The huge black corsair with scars across his face was the one with first bid at Xena’s pussy. One of the others handed him a tray holding a cake of grease. He smeared it along the length of his huge tool, eyeing the patch between Xena’s legs licentiously and licking his lips. He smeared another handful of the lubricant over the lips of her pussy, working two of his fingers inside her. He kept the lips parted with his fingers as he steered the dark purple head of his cock into her.

He groaned as he shoved his hips forward. His face was knotted with pleasure as he twirled and rocked his hips, wrenching his cock around inside her. One of the others had greased her chest up and was fucking his cock between her breasts.

The black man came first, roaring at the top of his lungs as he emptied his testicles. The other squeezed her tits together tightly as he shot his load there. The next one moved eagerly between her legs, ramming his cock in and pumping her with short, dog-like strokes.

They took turns at her pussy until their cum had Escort Mersin trickled from her lips and made a puddle on the stone floor. Rostov stood back and watched the five thugs use her lavish body, his eyes wide with glee as he worked on his eight inches. He only came forward when he was ready to pop. He grabbed her hair and held her head still as he rubbed the head of his cock on her cheeks and around her lips. He snorted with satisfaction and growled as he squirted his cum on her face and in her hair. The prime assassin gauged the time, and decided to give the men another half hour before he would call in the concubines to clean up and drug her for the master.

The floating citadel made its way east. The zaraten’s massive limbs propelled it along at thirty knots, closing the distance inexorably with Calimport. When it stopped, the pirate crew set to a group of giant cogwheels. Groaning and swearing mightily, they turned the wheels until the piers were deployed from the recesses in the zaraten’s shell. They went to work arming the frigates that would ravage the city and the coastline for miles. It was easy among the hustle and confusion for Milan to emerge from his hiding place and start climbing.

The ranger had been sucked into the giant turtle’s wake when he hit the water. Realizing he had only seconds to escape watery death, he caught hold on the timbers of the folded pier and lashed himself to it with his pack harness. He rode along for the last four hours, until the creature slowed and the pirates’ frenzied activity made his ascent possible. He ducked through the jungle and made his way to the guild house. The servants loading fresh supplies had left the side gates open and he rushed into the house in a swirl of black robes.

He was overcome with rage when he found the cell holding Xena. The heroine was stripped naked and lashed to a bizarre device. He overheard the groans and crude cheers of the five brutes who were standing around the weird rack, groping at her while she hung in a leather harness and one fucked her. Xena’s brow was covered with sweat, her eyes squeezed shut. Her face was flushed as she tried to breathe around the leather gag in her mouth.

He pulled back into the shadows, taking two heavy throwing spikes from beneath his robes. He pushed the door open and confirmed that there were six targets in the room. They had not noticed him, too caught up in their lust as they waited another turn inside the woman’s silky womb.

He struck the ones waiting at the sides first. The spikes entered their throats, driving them to their knees as they fought for air. The man between her legs was next. The deadly ranger pulled two leaf-bladed daggers from their sheaths and plunged them up under the man’s ribs. The corsair vomited blood as the blades pierced his diaphragm and tore his lungs open.

The other two, still exhausted from their penetrations, died before they could gain their feet when Milan cast the two daggers at them. One was killed instantly as it pierced his eye and lodged in his brain. The other clawed weakly at the cruel knife lodged in his neck as his lifeblood spurted from a torn carotid artery.

Milan used the body of the rapist as a shield when Rostov fired a small crossbow at him. He cast the body aside and leapt at the assassin. He bowled the older man over and grappled with him fiercely. Milan was a bit bigger, but Rostov was a veteran of hundreds of hand to hand battles.

He broke Milan’s chokehold when he shoved a palm under his chin, forcing his head back. The assassin had worked a dirk free from his robes and stabbed, but Milan easily caught and held his arm. He shoved Rostov’s hand into the smoldering brazier. The assassin screamed as smoke and the smell of roasting pork filled the air. Milan finally sent him down with a fist to the back of the neck.

He retrieved his spikes and daggers, then released the bindings around Xena’s arms and legs. She collapsed into his arms and he pulled the gag out of her mouth. Xena gasped gratefully and clung to his shoulder for support.

“Milan,” she whispered as he put his arms around her. He took water from a pitcher on the table and washed her face. Looking around, he found a cloth to dry her off with, as well as her clothes and armor. She pressed her face into his shoulder and clung to him. Milan held her gently and reassuringly as her horror passed. With a deep breath, she composed herself and took the armor. They noticed Rostov stirring in the shadows.

“He’s still alive,” Milan said, slightly surprised.

“Not for long,” Xena said, the steel back in her. She hefted a fallen scimitar menacingly and stalked toward the wounded assassin.

“Wait,” Rostov croaked, “Don’t kill me…”

“Tell me what Makhi has planned.”

“Spare me and I’ll tell you,” he gasped as he clutched his seared hand in pain.

“Start talking, you bastard.”

“He planned to have you drugged and taken into his harem. He was going to put on a show tonight to show you off as his latest conquest and acquisition to other masters of the Assassins’ Guild.” The assassin spit out three of his silver teeth and continued. “They’re celebrating before they overrun Calimport. I’m supposed to pick a lieutenant to put on a show with you after their feast. Please, let me go now!”

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