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Chapter 8

What a day! I had gathered my mind and picked out an outfit for Zarcar, a golden trimmed deeply violet suit. Too many male clothes really had been relocated into my bedchamber. I hadn’t realised until now that my usurper had been changing the room into a permanent setting for him to stay. I had assumed the maids were cleaning my room because it was a mess – not because they were completely overhauling it. But of course, Zarcar didn’t choose any other empty rooms on lower levels. He chose my room; my chamber.

I guess it was equivalent to a dog pissing on a tree to mark their territory.

Zarcar marked my room as his, just as I was now his slave – at least in his eyes.

After choosing the suit and laying it on the bed, Zarcar gazed at it with a funny tilt to his head before nodding and then finally meeting my gaze.

“Get out,” he had said, “When I am done reading a few things, I’ll put this suit on and you will join me for an afternoon dance and then a midnight celebration of peacefully acquiring the city without war.”

When he had said that, I had to bite my tongue.

Killing the priestesses had been murder but no one wanted to speak of it as such.

“… Chyronex…?” Zarcar continued, speaking my name softly, “You better choose appropriate attire. You’ll be on my arm at all times.”

“As a slave?” I had asked.

“As an escort.”

With those three words, my eyes had widened – I had stalked past his hugely inappropriate grin and I had left that moon forsaken room, 6 hours ago.

His lasting farewell had been, “…I’ll see you at sun down… or in a dungeon, either way.”

So for those 6 hours of waiting what did I do? I sat on the rooftop, sunbaking even though it was overcast. I had made a friend with a crow or two, spoken to them kindly and tried to ignore the fact I had to be on Zarcar’s arm tonight as some kind of arm candy… more like army candy.

A war trophy.

That’s what I was starting to feel like and as I told the crows my story, their chirps of agreement would suggest I was right.

That’s what I was. Not just a slave or a companion in his – my – tower. But a prize.

Another slave, like that strange, wild haired woman; Andoll. The moon guide from his land was either odd before he acquired her, or after he squished her will for freedom.

All it told me was I must not let my back down lest I become another Andoll.

I must keep strong while under his watchful eye.

In private, tears or weakness was acceptable.

In front of my captor; a dangerous move.

So, not wanting to deal with being thrown onto the streets and then undoubtedly thrown into a dungeon for being rumoured to use magic – which would happen within hours of my dismissal from the tower – I decide to attend the celebrations with the now infamous war lord.

Everyone wouldn’t stop speaking of his handsome conquest – so easy.

So… strange.

But I decide not to dress down… in fact, I decide to dress to impress. In the most provocatively appropriate way possible.

Zarcar is not in the bed chamber when I go down to find formal attire as the sun finally sets.

When I open the bottom draw of my chest, I find my clothes shoved in disrespectfully. I shuffle through and choose a few different things.

A long and thick purple skirt, a purple ribbon to band around my breasts, completely covering them. I choose black long gloves to adorn my arms, a sign of taming eagles. Not that I was such, but I didn’t want to be seen as a whore at this celebration tonight.

So, wearing gloves, my midriff and shoulders exposed and my hair in two tight braids – basically a I’m-a-proud-virgin hairdo – I head down to the bottom of the tower.

I had a calling inside me that he was waiting for me, so I slip down the stairs to at a time, wearing ribbony sandals made from the finest black stained leather.

I had also applied a priestesses mocking black lip paint, including four black dots around the corners of my eyes to symbolise magic spurting from my soul through my large, silver eyes.

As I finally reach the bottom of the spiral stair case, I see Zarcar waiting by the doorway, his hair strangely groomed into perfect curls. He must have had a bath. He is freshly shaven. He is also waiting for me… impatiently.

Master,” I drawl, provocatively and sarcastically, mainly because I see the irritation in his gaze already at what I’m wearing, “Is there a problem?” I skip my way to his side and invade his personal space by bravely squaring off with him, almost flush against his torso as I raise a brow, my chin pointing up as high as possible.

Zarcar’s cheek twitches but he leans off the wall to straighten his back, bumping into my front, he isn’t fazed as he looks down at me with hot and frustrated black glazed eyes.

“If we were not already running late,” Zarcar speaks to me lowly, “I would not only change your outfit but teach you a lesson about straight, old fashioned discipline, for completely disrespecting my orders by wearing inappropriate attire… but, we shall keep it to leaving the gloves behind. Take them off – and undo your hair braids. Do you intend on hiding your position as escort tonight? You’re clever… but also a slow-witted moon priestess if you think I would not notice nor act in response to such an immature womanly reaction.”

“I like these gloves,” I pout, pretending to speak casually, “Whatever is the matter with gloves, my handsome war lord?”

“Handsome?” Zarcar pauses, narrowing his eyes at me, “So, you flatter to try and win battles, do you? You can do better than that, Chyronex.”

“I could curse you with the Black Death but then many of your war friends and invaders would likely die with you and… oh, my, that’s not such a bad idea, is it?” I slowly smirk, “Perhaps you should watch your words around me, war lord. This priestess of the moon is gracing you with her presence. When I could have easily cursed you already or run you through with your own sword while you slept in my sheets, in my bedchamber, in my t-“

“Silence yourself,” Zarcar lifts his hand and covers my mouth, grabbing my cheeks so I can’t pull back, I simply look at him as if he’s gone mad, “One more word from you tonight and I’ll start to punish you with binding that restricts your freedom… sweety. It’s a good way to tame feisty animals like yourself. In tune with nature… but oblivious, to the hand… literally… holding your life, in the palm of it… all I ask is obedience tonight. I want to see if you can surprise me,” Zarcar drawls heavily, “I am simply taking you in order to observe you tonight. I need to know exactly what I’m dealing with before I begin.”

He lets my mouth go and grabs my elbow, pulling me into his side as he finally starts to leave the tower.

“… begin what?” I ask, flustered and confused.

“Do not speak again unless spoken to,” Zarcar has lost all patience as he pulls me firmly with him, “Stay close and don’t try to make a scene. If you do, it will simply give me a reason to show my people how I tame witches like you in public. So far… you are a typical woman of magic.”

I bite my tongue.

He was baiting me.

I say nothing.

He snorts and continues, “…good witch… look who’s learning?”

Another reason to snap and scream at him.

This time I look away altogether, wishing my ears could curl up and block out his cunning words.

“…now…” he murmurs, “…if you stay quiet and good like that all night, Chyronex… I’ll reward you when we get home.”

“Home?” I ask, blurting it out. I turn to him as he raises a brow at me.

My home,” Zarcar simply rubs it in, with a strong, iron gaze and a firm iron grip on my elbow, “…and your prison.”

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