Remus’s eyes stay focused on mine and I feel my anger flaring at the amusement I see there. He’s always amused. Always taunting me from behind the scenes finding joy in my reactions.
I pull my face out of his grasp, glaring at the ground in disdain. I can’t bring myself to look into Remus’s eyes. Even being this close to him makes me more than uncomfortable. My eyes slowly shift to Margot who stands silently and Remus notices.
“Are you still worked up over her presence?” he asks. Silence washes over us but he knows the answer to what he is asking. He scoffs at me, turning away from me to make his way towards Margot.
“Perhaps I should rid you of her presence the-”
“No!” I scream. I don’t think as I lunge for him, my hands grasping at the material of his clothing, squeezing it tightly. He stops walking, slowly turning to look at me. His eyes are narrowed, slowly taking in the grip of my hands on the material of his clothing. My mind is screaming at me to let go, but I don’t. I hold fast looking him directly in the eyes.
“Don’t hurt her,” I whisper. My voice is shaky as I stare death in the face but he only watches me, his mind working at a pace I can’t comprehend. He finally faces me, standing to his intimidating height.
“Let go, Iris. Now.”
I step back, releasing the fabric. A silence overcomes the room and I swear Remus is going to tear me a new one but he doesn’t. I hear his slow and deliberate footsteps coming near me, tensing when I feel his fingers along my shoulders, lightly tracing my flesh. His fingertips trace from my shoulders to my hands, and he slowly pulls me along with him into the open area of the living room.
We stop walking when we reach the open area that Margot was leading me to in the first place, and Remus decides to turn on me. His grip tightens around my hand and he pulls me flush against his chest, lifting me with ease until my feet rest atop his.
He moves his feet under mine and begins to slowly spin around the room with his hand pressing against the small of my back.
“Tonight, there is going to be an event.” I look up at him, but his gaze isn’t focused on me. His eyes look distant.
“There will be humans with inhibitors. And there will be humans with free will.” His grip on my hand tightens and he pulls me even tighter against his chest. I flinch but keep my mouth shut as his mood has suddenly shifted to one that I am not used to.
“If you do anything to disobey me, or put any form of slander across my title, I promise you Iris…,” his gaze finally travels down to mine and I feel a shiver crawl its way up my spine from the cold gaze that meets mine, “I will make you regret it.”
His tone is one that I haven’t heard in a long time. Not since we first encountered each other. Up until now, Remus has been amused with my presence. But now, he’s warning me. He slowly lowers his head and I feel the warmth of his breath tickling my throat, followed by his lips. He presses a soft kiss on my neck followed by his tongue which traces a straight line atop my flesh.
“I haven’t given you a glimpse of what I truly am, Iris…” A squeal escapes me when I feel a soft prick against my throat. Remus’s lips immediately close around the area, and I feel a slight tug before he licks the spot, his lips moving to my ear.
“Don’t make me kill you tonight.”
Remus wasn’t lying when he said this was an event. The venue alone is dazzling, to say the least. I look up as the Leviathan bow to Remus upon his approach. There are also Leviathan standing outside speaking to one another with smiles on their lips. They look dazzling, but still, they are dull in comparison to their terrifying leader.
My gaze shifts to Remus who walks freely ahead of me. We are matching in color. He’s dressed in his signature white, his hair pulled back and held in place by a jeweled pin. The rest of the jewelry he wears also gives off a white hue.
We reach the entrance to the venue and the doors are opened, revealing the halls of this spectacular event. My eyes widen as I take it in. I’ve never seen anything like it. Within the walls, jewels are embedded giving off natural lighting that perfectly lights up the large room that now hosts Leviathan.
We reach the large double doors and a Leviathan greets Remus, bowing with a smile on his lips. Remus watches him with a blank expression as he scurries away before turning to me. His eyes are so intense, I feel myself beginning to squirm under his gaze.
Unexpectedly, he pulls out a jeweled bracelet. It’s delicate, and he doesn’t speak as he places it on my wrist. I focus my eyes on it, my heart sputtering to a standstill when I see the symbol engraved on Remus’s chest on the bracelet. I know exactly what this is, and it isn’t a bracelet.
My eyes whip up to Remus, his gaze dark as he stares it down.
“This is something I have modified specifically for you, Iris. It’s your very own inhibitor.” My eyes widen when I see the blue light that illuminates from it to the palm of his hand. And as quick as it appears, it disappears.
“If you try and remove it like you so recklessly tried with your friend, it will cut into your flesh and slice through your veins before you can place your fingers around it. Already, it’s coding itself to your nervous system. So, if I wish for you to feel pain…”
Suddenly, pain explodes through me. My skin is on fire and every single cell in my body burns along with it. I open my mouth, wanting to scream but nothing comes out.
Remus angles his gaze in front of me, a small smile playing at his lips.
“Oh no, Iris. You can’t scream. I haven’t allowed it, have I?” he smiles wickedly at me. Tears begin to form in my eyes, and I feel myself growing weak as my brain fights against the mysterious intruder that commands it. Finally, it stops. The pain stops as if it were never there. As if it never existed.
I let out a heavy breath looking at Remus in horror. He steps closer to me, placing his fingers under my chin and bringing my face to his, placing a light kiss on my lips.
“Behave, Iris,” he says right before the doors to the grand hall open, revealing hundreds of Levithan dressed like they are some form of nobility. Thunderous applause erupts from the crowd as they all stare at their ruler in excitement.
The Levithan from earlier appears next to us, gesturing for me to go with him, and out of instinct, my eyes shift to Remus. He smirks, pleased that his training is somewhat effective.
“Go with him.”
Remus is giving a speech. Something that his people are far too enamored with.
I watch from my place near the throne as Remus wins the hearts of his people. They all watch and listen with smiles, applause, and awe. I wonder what it is he’s saying to them. I watch him closely as he speaks. He’s very matter of fact. Strangely, he holds a charisma about himself that I don’t quite understand.
It makes me wonder about how the Leviathan society sees me. From what I’ve seen, he rarely socializes with them. When it comes to these events, he is usually above them away from the crowd. They only ever listen and show their praise. Is the Leviathan race even capable of revolting against him?
Remus waves his hand slowly and says one last sentence in that language before stepping down from the balcony and through the throngs of Leviathan. All bow and show him praise as he passes by.
Are they aware of the sadist that their ruler is? Or do they choose to ignore it and praise him because of the power that comes with his title?
Once Remus is seated at the throne, the party slowly comes alive, light music playing and the lights slightly dimming. I watch in fascination as the Leviathan interacts with each other.
I’m pulled out of my thoughts when I hear Remus laugh. I immediately look to see what has caught his attention, when I notice a Leviathan has caught Remus’s attention and he doesn’t seem irritated by it.
I take in the Leviathan with a newfound curiosity. He looks nothing like Remus’s sibling so I know he can’t be along those lines when it comes to Remus. He has dark hair and dark eyes. His gaze shifts to me and I immediately look away praying that he won’t make a scene out of me being caught staring.
He says something more to Remus in their language before Remus speaks to me in English.
My heart begins sputtering in my chest and I make sure to keep my eyes down as I approach Remus. The Leviathan says something more to which Remus nods, and grabs ahold of my arm.
“This is Alistar. He is a part of our battle force. He was present in the meeting this morning as well.” Remus absentmindedly plays with the bracelet latched to my wrist as if in warning as he speaks to me.
“He says you are very beautiful.” I shift my gaze to look at Remus in confusion, unsure if I’m supposed to respond to him, or his friend. An amused grin plasters its way onto Remus’s lips as he nods his head in the Leviathan’s direction. I slowly turn towards the Leviathan, keeping my gaze down.
“Thank you.” My voice comes out shaky and nervous. Which is exactly how I’m feeling. Remus’ fingers begin tracing patterns along my palm, and I don’t know if he’s doing it to make me nervous or make me feel some form of comfort.
The Leviathan speaks above me in Remus’ language, and I feel Remus’s grip tighten on my arm. I have to stop myself from flinching. Then Remus speaks back to him, and his tone is hard and cold. Whatever it is that Remus says is enough to make Alistar bow and all but disappear.
Remus maneuvers my body around until I am facing him, his eyes focusing on mine.
“Tonight is a celebration. The inhabitants are welcoming me to the city, and celebrating the future.” He slowly begins playing with the stitching of my dress.
“Everyone is fascinated with my new pet. You should see the looks you are attracting. Even Alistar wanted you to join in his entertainment… but that is strictly off-limits.”
“Entertainment?” I ask in confusion and Remus’ gaze visibly darkens as he stares at me.
“My race isn’t ashamed of our sexuality. In fact, we explore it with fervor. So, as entertainment, when a Leviathan finds an attractive inhabitant of a planet, they are welcome to join in the fun and become part of the entertainment. Some pets are traded amongst the elite, pleasing their masters by pleasing one another.” His eyes meet mine and a wicked grin finds its way onto his lips.
“Had you not made a scene, your friend would have become a part of that group,” he says.
I feel my flesh crawl at his revelation and I open my mouth to snap at him.
“And the mighty leader of their race attends these… degrading shows?” I hiss. Instead of anger, I’m met with a smile.
“Yes,” he says simply.
“But you never will.” His eyes meet mine.
“I do wonder how long you can keep yourself this tame, Iris.” His smile widens and I feel like he’s looking into my soul for something.
“I can see the wild part of you clawing just below the surface…”
Before I can respond, the lights dim further, and a spotlight centers on a Leviathan in the center of the room. Applause erupts and he smiles, waving and bowing.
After the applause dies down, the man makes grand gestures with his hands and begins speaking. Once again he speaks in their Native language, and I grow irritated as I stand, unable to understand them once again.
“He’s the entertainment master for tonight,” Remus murmurs to me seeming to sense my distress.
“He says it’s an honor to be chosen to present tonight,” he begins translating.
“He says for our presentation tonight, he has brought an exotic woman from a land far away. She is of Earth, with skin that is tanned yet shines like the sun.” Remus continues to translate for me, but I feel my stomach drop and my nerves dying as I take note of the giant cage being wheeled into the middle of the room. It has a large cover over it, and the crowd erupts in awe.
The man takes a hold of the cover and pulls it off the cage moving it around to open the side door. He picks up the ends of a rope, and yanks on it hard. Horror fills me when I see it. A woman. A beautiful woman, who has a darker complexion. Her hair is a mass of wild and tight curls, that tickle naked back. Even her face is accentuated with high cheekbones and full lips. She’s beautiful, and I can see the fear etched into her features as she is being yanked roughly into the center of the room with not a stitch of clothing on her.
I look at Remus in horror, but he’s watching the whole thing unfold with a small smile on his face. I can only imagine what’s about to happen for their entertainment. My fingers are slowly digging into my dress as they place a large metal post in the middle of the room, locking her arms around the front of it so that her back is exposed. She’s looking around frantically, trying to understand what’s going on.
Whatever restraint I had on my emotions snap as the man pulls a rack of whips into the line of view. There are all kinds, some even having tips on them that are deadly. I look to Remus once again and he doesn’t seem to be bothered by it whatsoever. The master entertainer looks up at Remus and says something in their language. Remus smiles even wider and responds. And I stare in horror as the man below nods, grabbing a horrifying-looking whip from the rack. The woman’s breathing is speeding up, and I can see the furious heaving of her back.
“Remus...” I say quietly, but he doesn’t respond. The master entertainer holds the whip out, looking for a volunteer obviously, and someone steps forward. A Leviathan. He’s handsome of course, and he steps forward, grabbing the whip from the master. He steps forward, lightly running his hand up and down the woman’s back as if testing the texture. I feel sick. He steps back, about five feet away from her, and a wicked smile appears on his face as he hauls back, and a sickening crack resounds throughout the air, followed by her cry of agony. I tense, jumping from the sound. Even more so when I see the deep welt that is now in the woman’s back.
He smiles even deeper, hauling back and whipping her again.
“Remus,” I say a little louder, and when I look up he isn’t paying attention to me. He’s watching the torture with a smile on his face. Another whip cracks through the air and her cries are even more agonizing. My muscles are coiling, and my resolve is crumbling.
Another crack. Another scream. The people around are watching with smiles. It makes me sick. And I feel the emotions I had stuffed down out of fear bubbling to the surface. I think of Margot’s face and her lack of willpower, letting the rage consume me.
I am Iris. I once led a group of brave, strong women. I have fought and clawed my way among the worst to survive, and as another crack sounds in the room, my once dormant rebellion sparks to life. I can’t sit here. I can’t cower out of fear. My eyes shift to the other humans that stand with their eyes down, shame on their faces. They can’t move out of fear. But I can. I can show all of them that we are not beaten. And that there is still hope.
Her cries have morphed into wails. She’s begging for mercy, and the Leviathan are laughing. And smiling. I stare in utter horror at the blood that has begun to trickle down her back and when I look at Remus, he’s still watching with a smile. He’s enjoying this.
My gaze shifts to the guards around us, and the weapons that they have sheathed. They are watching as well, their guard down.
My face is wet with tears, as my emotions wash over me. My people. My girls. Everyone that is now at the mercy of this barbaric race. How can they whip a living being for the sake of entertainment?
I stare in utter horror as the Leviathan finally drops the whip, and makes his way towards her, reaching for his pants.
I jump up as quickly as I can, lunging for the nearest guard. I don’t stop as I pull the blade he had sheathed, running it along his stomach. He collapses in pain as it easily slices through his flesh, and I make my way towards the center of the room.
I take off through the crowd, and gasps of horror, as well as screams, surround me. I swing the blade wildly, forcing the Leviathan to part, making a path directly to the woman.
Another guard comes towards me and I take note that he doesn’t bother pulling out his blade. I wait until he is inches from my face before jumping back, shifting to my left, and swiping the blade at him. He hisses in pain, and I don’t stop to see the damage.
I open my mouth, letting my scream of rage echo over the room as I approach the woman and the Leviathan torturing her. The blade feels light as adrenaline rushes through me, and I throw with all my might watching as the blade easily cuts through the air, lodging itself through his chest.
I’m almost to the woman when suddenly, agonizing pain rips through my body. And I’m paralyzed. The pain is excruciating, and I open my mouth to scream, but I can’t. I take note that the room is silent, the only sound coming from the slow and deliberate approach of footsteps.
The pain instantly stops, but not before I am yanked up from the ground by my hair to meet a familiar set of purple eyes. The black of his pupil is violently dilating, and for the first time in a very long time, I see no amusement in Remus’s features.
He drops me on the ground and I feel pressure on my flesh before my dress is ripped from my skin. I want to fight, I want to crawl away, but I can’t. I have no control over myself. As if sensing my thoughts, the weight that held me down disappears, and I can move again. I place my hand out in front of me to push myself up when suddenly a loud snap fills the room followed by a shooting pain from my left leg. I cry out in agony looking down to find my leg completely bent at a strange angle.
Fingers are back through my hair and dragging me through the floor. With the pain of my leg, and my hair I’m screaming in pain and begging for mercy that I know will never come.
Remus throws me forward on the floor, and as if by his command, the floor’s makeup begins to change. The hard material of the marble shifts into a liquid that swallows my arms and legs. As soon as my limbs sink into the shifted material, it hardens, holding me captive with my exposed back.
I cry out in confusion, pulling and yanking my arms, but it’s as if the floor has molded itself around my limbs.
I can’t move.
At this point, I’m hyperventilating trying to calm myself down, but I know it’s useless. The room is silent and my screams eventually die down to whimpers. I hear the sound of footsteps along with the dragging of something on the floor until Remus is standing over me. He kneels so that he is eye level with me, searching my face.
In his gaze, there is excitement. He looks deranged. Then my eyes travel to what’s in his hands and I feel myself trembling. It’s a whip. With nine different tails attached to it. And on each of those tails, a small needle. My eyes widen, and I look back to Remus, and his smile grows even wider.
“Mental torture is too easy,” he says before walking around me. I feel his presence behind me.
“Let’s try physical, shall we?” I hear the sound of the corded whip draping across the floor before Remus speaks again.
“Now, my sweet pet. I am going to instill the fear of disobedience in you,” he says excitedly. I know that I’m already in a deep enough hole as it is, but I open my mouth anyway, sobbing my hopeless belief.
“I... will never.... be obedient, if it means.... watching... an... innocent suffer... at the hands of a monster...” He’s silent, and then I hear his deep chuckle. The room is so silent, you could simply swallow and be heard. The only sound is Remus’ footsteps as he moves the distance behind me.
“That was very profound.”
Then, I hear a sound that will haunt my dreams forever. The loud whistle, followed by the sharp metal biting into my flesh, and ripping it out with the drawback.