Ambassadors Mouse LunapicEleric tried the door. “Locked, of course, because isn’t that exactly how the Ciliree treat their guests.”

He smoothed a reader patch over the stone surface. It blinked three times, then went red. He couldn’t unlock it with technology.

He removed the reader patch and attempted a spell. Still nothing. He couldn’t unlock it with magic either.

“Well, if this is how they welcome an ambassador, I shudder to think what happened to the messenger…”

“They’ll send for you in the morning, sir,” came a tiny voice from somewhere behind him. He turned, scanning the room. It was very medieval, with one large bed, one tiny window he assumed would be locked, and copious tapestries depicting everything from the Ciliree’s conquests in battle to their apparent endowments in equipment required for bedroom sports.

“Hello?” Eleric called.

A young woman stepped out from a small alcove. She was wearing all purple, as he’d seen all the servants in the castle dressed. “Yes sir?” she asked in a tiny voice. She was not a small woman, yet she seemed to be trying to disappear or fade into the walls.

“Who are you? And what are you doing in my room?” he asked.

“I’m the mouse, sir. I’m here to…serve you. In whatever way you require.”

She took one more step forward, into the light, and curtsied. He took a better look at her. Not so young then… probably closer to his own age. “I won’t be requiring anything tonight. You can go. And leave the door unlocked when you leave.”

The woman looked around nervously. “I…I am not allowed to leave, sir. I can not open the door. I am only able to take care of whatever…needs…you might have…” she gestured nervously to the bed. Eleric sighed. He had had various heads of state offer him sex slaves before, but they were usually gorgeous young women, trained in seduction and the stealing of secrets.

He was trained to ignore them.

“I see. You are as much a prisoner as I? Very well then. Make yourself comfortable. Stand your vigil, or do whatever you think is required of you, and return to your own room in the morning.”

The mouse glanced behind her. There was a small alcove with a built-in bench, much like he had in his own home for a reading nook. It wasn’t even big enough for a person to lie down. “This is my room, sir. For as long as you are here, this is where I am to remain.”

“Ah.” Eleric said. So, they kept a spy on him not only all day, but all night as well. It didn’t matter. He had a job to do, and he could do it under scrutiny if necessary. He had nothing to hide. It would be good if his hosts would realize that and stop treating him with suspicion.

The mouse walked over to the window, where a small table was set with a smorgasbord of culinary delights. “There is food, sir. Would you like to sit here? Or shall I serve you somewhere else?” He was a prisoner, no doubt, but at least he’d be a well-cared-for prisoner.

“Here is fine,” Eleric said, seating himself at the table. Dinner had been hours ago, and he’d spent much of the meal talking himself to death in a futile attempt to convince the various powers in Ciliree that a treaty with Providece would be a good thing.

She hovered near as he helped himself. Then a thought occurred to him. “They do feed you, don’t they?”

“I may have whatever you don’t need,” she answered, smiling what seemed to be a genuine smile.

“Well then,” Eleric said, “My first command is for you to eat with me.”

He didn’t want to have the argument about how she was only entitled to his leftovers. If the Ciliree wanted to play on his sympathies, it was working.

The mouse sat down carefully in the other chair, as if expecting him to lash out at her at any moment. He motioned to her that she was fine and she took a small piece of bread, then some cheese. When he only smiled and chewed, she took a piece of fruit and began to eat.

“They call you the mouse. Do you have a name?” he asked.

She looked surprised, but answered him in the same meek voice. “Emmicia,” she said.

Emmicia greeted him every night when his hosts locked him in. She seemed genuinely pleased to see him, though he was careful not to encourage her too much. He might end up staying the entire winter, or he could be called away at any time. He had no idea what she did all day. Every night she went obediently to her alcove, although she never failed to offer to share his bed. She even made several awkward attempts at seduction, yet she always seemed relieved when he turned her down.

He wondered how much she knew about his kind. Considering the kind of people the Ciliree were, she was probably confused about his refusal to bed her. She probably had no idea what the consequence would be if he did.

He made a point to report back to Providence every evening before he was confined. Once inside his room, neither technology nor magic would work. The few small features that did work such as the light and the bedwarmer were hardwired into the room. There wasn’t even hot water, just cold from a tap that emptied into a drain against the back wall of a small side room.

Winter hit with a fury, and he was still no closer to reaching an agreement regarding the treaty than he had been before. Some days his hosts refused to see him at all, leaving him to wander the castle and town with no one but a silent guard trailing after him wherever he went.

He began to look forward to the nights when, although he was a prisoner, he could have a few hours of peace with Emmicia. Although he knew they questioned her about his nocturnal activities, he believed she herself had no motive other than to serve him and not annoy her masters.

The night of the first heavy snow he awoke to an odd sound coming from the darkness in his room. He slipped out of the warmth of his bed, immediately shocked at the extreme cold of the room. There was no fireplace. The only warmth was the bed.

He found Emmicia in her alcove, shivering. She had blankets over and under her, but the stone she was curled up on was freezing to the touch. “Emmicia!” Eleric said, reaching for her and gathering her close. He rubbed her arms, trying to get her warm.

She only looked at him. She didn’t seem to be able to talk. He scooped her up, blankets and all, and carried her to his bed. Once inside its warmth, he removed her blankets, tossing them to the floor. Still, she shivered, so he wrapped his arms around her and started rubbing her frozen muscles.

She winced and cried out in pain when he touched her back. Gently, he turned her, moving aside her purple robes to see long gashes up and down her spine.

“Emmicia, what happened?” he asked.

She shuddered against him. “It has been weeks, sir. They check your bed for virgin’s blood, but find none. I tried to fool them…” she held up her hand, showing a cut on her finger that was starting to heal. “But they knew I lied.”

“Why would they care so much about whether I bed you? You offer yourself to me freely. I politely decline. I have no complaints…”

“I…I don’t know why it is so important. All I know is, they feel I am not doing my job properly because I do not share your bed.”

Eleric pulled her gently to him. He did not understand his hosts at all. He certainly didn’t like them. Sharing his bed with Emmicia would make his life much more difficult, but if he had to do so to keep her safe and warm, he would.

The next day, he spoke to every official he could corner about the treatment of his ‘bedroom servant.’ But it was as if he was talking nonsense. The Ciliree did not speak of their servants, at all. They pretended they did not exist. They gave orders to the air, and whatever servants were nearby jumped to obey.

That night, he explained to Emmicia what he would do. “I will keep you in my bed at night, if nothing else, to keep you warm. But although you are a kind and desirable woman, I can not take you as a man takes his wife. Do you understand?”

She only nodded, and curled into a ball in his bed. He had a strong desire to stroke her, to console her, but it would be difficult enough sleeping with her so close. Touching her would be torturous.

When the guard came to retrieve him in the morning, he held Emmicia’s hand. “She is coming with me,” he announced.

The guard glanced at Emmicia, then simply turned and led the way as he did every morning. Emmicia clung to Eleric’s hand tightly, keeping her head down as she followed, just a step behind him. When he was able to get the attention of one of the more influential courtiers, she dropped to his feet.

“Come, you can sit here with me…” he said, leaning over her. She looked up at him with huge, scared eyes, shaking her head emphatically ‘no.’ He let her stay where she was, though it bothered him to have a woman grovel at his feet.

The courtier seemed impressed. He even promised to arrange for Eleric to meet with some other officers who might help his cause.

After a week of keeping her close to him all day and all night, he began to feel the changes in his body, adjusting to expect her. If he dared consummate their connection, there would be no going back. She would be his. He would have to keep her close to him forever after, or he would wither.

A banquet was held, and she sat at his feet, as always. While she was there, his hosts seemed to be pleased. One actually acknowledged her. “Don’t you like our little gift?” he asked. The others nearby snickered as if it was some huge joke.

“Emmicia serves me well in every possible way,” Eleric said. His hosts went wide-eyed at the use of her name, then went back to chortling over some joke Eleric didn’t quite understand.

A guard came, and took Emmicia away. Eleric tried to protest, but was met with absolute refusal. The guard forcibly shoved him back into his seat.

The room quieted. From the head table, the Ciliree monarch spoke directly to him. Eleric heard a click and a hum, and he knew he was being scanned.

“So…” the leader drawled, every other voice in the room completely silent. “Tell us what we would gain from this treaty you propose.”

Eleric hesitated, thinking about what they might be doing to Emmicia. He forced himself to put her out of his mind. If he could accomplish his goal, he could leave, and she would be free.

Eloquently, he made his case. They listened, but he couldn’t tell whether they favored him or not. They seemed to be waiting for something.

When he returned to his room, Emmicia was waiting in her alcove. Tears stained her face, although she was completely silent.

He knelt before her. “Emmicia, did they hurt you?”

She nodded. Carefully, she slipped her shoulders out of her robe, twisting so he could see her bare back. The scars from the wounds he’d healed during the day when he could use magic were fading, but there was a new gash below them.

She turned to face him, her robe pooling at her waist, revealing her womanly breasts. They weren’t enhanced, like those of a prostitute. They were slightly lopsided, somewhat ponderous, and very real.

They were lovely.

Eleric stood and took her by the hands, pulling her up. The robe fell to the floor, but he didn’t let go of her hands. He didn’t let her cover herself.

He wondered why they’d chosen her to be his bedroom servant. They wanted him to bed her, to take her virginity, but he had no idea why.

He kissed her forehead gently. “Emmicia, I can do something to make them think I’ve taken your virginity. In a way, I will have…there will be a little pain, and blood.”

The look of fear on her face broke his heart. “I…without magic, I can’t make it not hurt. But I will do my best to make sure there is as little pain as possible. And a physical examination will show you have been penetrated. Hopefully then they will leave you alone.”

He led her to the bed and told her to get warm. Eleric found his heaviest, thickest woolen nightclothes and changed in the washroom, splashing himself with cold water. The room was already frigid. Hopefully, his body would remain frigid as well.

Eleric joined her in the bed, pillowing her head on his arm while he gently stroked her hair. Tense at first, she began to relax. He placed another kiss on her forehead, whispering soft reassurances to her as his hand touched her shoulder, then her arm.

He guided her arm to rest on his shoulder as she faced him, and he placed his hand on her waist. She jumped just a bit, but he kissed her forehead again and she slowly unwound. Ever so gently, he caressed her waist and her back, avoiding the scars and the fresh wound.

Carefully, he allowed his hand to barely brush the side of her breast every time he stroked. She was warm now…even warmer than the bed. Her breath was even and deep. He kissed her forehead and placed his hand on her breast, squeezing ever so gently.

Instead of jumping, she sighed and leaned into him. His body cried out in desperate need, but he forced himself to be calm. He could not consummate their union, even though his soul screamed for it.

“I’m going to touch your body now, with my hands and my mouth. I want you to…enjoy it. If your body is enjoying what I do, then when the pain comes, it will be brief and quickly dissipated by the pleasure I give you.”

Emmicia nodded, and only winced slightly as he pushed her onto her back. He leaned over her, not covering her, and kissed her shoulders and neck. When his lips found her breasts she arched towards him, and he momentarily lost himself as he kissed her pillowy mounds and enjoyed the feel of her flesh in his hands.

Eleric moved lower, and Emmicia made a tiny sound of disappointment and confusion. “It’s all right…I’ll come back to them…” he said as he kissed her stomach.

He arranged himself between her legs, using one hand to hold down her stomach, keeping her flat on her back. She was panting nervously. He kissed her thighs, then brushed his lips against the damp curls between her legs. He parted her folds with his tongue and she gasped, trying to sit up. He pushed her back down, gently tickling her clitoris with the tip of his tongue. Slowly, her legs rose in the air, offering him better access. He lapped deeper, until her hips began to undulate.

He gently probed with one finger, feeling her tightness. She was definitely a virgin. She began to tighten again, and he suckled her breasts, leaving just one finger inside her, hardly moving at all.

When she finally relaxed again, he carefully inserted a second finger, feeling her begin to tear. She cried out, but he couldn’t tell whether it was in pleasure or pain. He inserted a third finger, moving them in and out of her in a way he hoped would give her enough pleasure to counter the pain. She pulled him to her and he let his mouth fall to hers, kissing her as his hands caressed her intimately.

His erection stuck painfully between them, but as she gasped against him he could hold himself no longer, spilling his seed inside his woolen smalls. He slowed his hands, taking his fingers out and simply covering her mound.

“Does it hurt?” he asked softly.

Emmicia nodded, biting her lip.

“It’s done now,” he said, holding her close. “Everything will be all right.”

In the morning, he awoke to find Emmicia, still in his arms, regarding him with wide eyes. They were curious eyes, neither scared nor seductive.

“How am I still a virgin, and yet not?” she asked.

Eleric heaved a sigh. He wondered if all Ciliree women were kept purposely ignorant, or just the slaves.

His morning erection tented the sheets.

“I used my fingers to penetrate you, and open your woman’s place,” he said, using the words he’d heard his hosts use. “If it had been a true union, it would not have been my fingers inside you, it would have been this.”

He moved the waist of his smalls down, freeing his erection, and lifted the sheets. She stared down at him, wide-eyed, then pushed the sheets away completely, exposing him to the cold air. His erection quickly faded.

“What happened?” she asked, reaching out a hand to touch it tentatively, then clutching her hand back against her chest.

Eleric chuckled. “It only gets that long and hard when I am aroused, ready for a woman,” he explained. “This is how it is most of the time. Otherwise it would be rather difficult for me to get dressed, don’t you think?”

She laughed.

Eleric had never hear Emmicia laugh. He wondered if she’d ever laughed before, or if this was her first time for that, too.

He let her watch him while he cleaned himself in the washroom. She seemed more curious than aroused or smitten.

“Although a woman usually likes to bathe herself after intimacy, I think it’s best if you do not today. We want them to see what happened. We want them to see your virgin blood on the sheets and your thighs,” he explained.

She nodded, and he felt a pang of desire and regret. He could not take her. He could not save her, other than trying to convince her masters that she had done her job.

He made a show of kissing her goodbye when the guard came, leaving her naked in the rumpled bed. He was summoned to the smoking room, where he spent the next few hours avoiding questions regarding the details of his night.

Eleric finally cornered one of the men who seemed to favor the treaty. The man was listening to him, even though he looked like he’d much rather be left alone. Suddenly, Eleric felt an intense fear, followed by a sharp pain on his lower back. He staggered backwards and fell into a chair, but the feeling of the wood against his back caused another wave of pain.

He glared at the man. “What are they doing to her?” he demanded. The man looked aside, obviously uncomfortable. Eleric stood, confronting the man directly. “Why are they hurting her? I demand to be taken to my bedroom servant immediately!”

“She does not do her job,” the man said under his breath, as if it was something obvious Eleric should understand. The man waved at a servant, and Eleric was led away.

They found Emmicia in the grand hall, a guard hovering over her. Eleric ran to her, then froze. He didn’t want to hurt her. He put his hands on her arms and drew her gently against him. He gathered a spell in his hand, then placed the healing energy on her back. Both guards looked extremely nervous and uncomfortable, but they did not stop him.

“We are returning to my room. Send a healer,” Eleric ordered.

Once they were in the room, Eleric made Emmicia lie down on her stomach on the bed. He paced.

A knock finally came, and the door opened to reveal a wizened old woman. She was neither Ciliree nor Providencial; Eleric did not recognize her kind. “You need healer?” she asked.

Eleric nodded and beckoned her in. She stepped in, furrowed her brow, and stepped out again. She muttered to the guard and adjusted something on the panel next to the door. Eleric felt the crackle of magical energy returning to the room.

“The woman?” the healer asked as the door closed behind her.

“Yes. They…they hurt her.”

The healer sat on the edge of the bed and Emmicia scooted to the far side, holding the covers up high to her neck. Eleric sat next to her, and she huddled against him. “It’s all right,” he said, tracing a design on her arm with his own magic. “I will make sure of it.”

“Ah!” the healer said, seeing the gashes on Emmicia’s back. “You want gone?”

“Can you make the scars go away?” Eleric asked.

The healer waved in the air. “Mostly, mostly…”

Emmicia winced once, then let out a sign of relief. Eleric watched the healer as she treated the old scars and the new gash.

“Hmph,” the healer declared, placing the back of her hand on Emmicia’s cheek. “Still pain. You have pain?”

Emmicia blushed deeply and clung more tightly to Eleric. He leaned in and whispered into her ear “Are you still sore? From where I opened you?”

She nodded, but buried her face against him.

Eleric pushed Emmicia gently back onto the bed. His hand hovered over her hips and he said “She was a virgin. She still bleeds.”

“Ah!” the healer said. “You want virgin again?” she seemed very happy about the idea.

“No!” Eleric said a bit too loud. “Just…ease her pain. Please.”

“Ah. I make comfortable,” the woman said, and proceeded to sprinkle herbs on Emmicia’s abdomen. Some slid off her rounded stomach. Small bits stuck inside her navel. The healer took a bottle and shook it vigorously. She poured the contents of it on top of the herbs. It was pure light, rustling the herbs like tiny leaves until they disappeared into shadow. “She rests now. She comfortable. She ready for you soon, unless…you too large?”

“Unless I…” Eleric looked at the healer, but the woman only cackled, gathering her things and winking at him. As she went out the door, the guard gestured to the panel next to the door and she swatted his hand away, shaking a finger at him.

The door closed, and the crackle of magic remained.

Eleric could feel Emmicia’s pain fading as her feelings crept into him. It had started. He had decided to finish it.

“Emmicia, I want to talk with you,” he said. “What do you know of men from Providence?”

She shook her head. “I know nothing of men. Cilliree or Providence.”

Eleric hung his head. He wanted her to understand everything he asked of her, but time was short. “Emmicia, Providential men do not take women for pleasure. I mean, we do take pleasure in women…in our wives. But for us, it is far more than sexual gratification. It is a bonding.” She blinked at him, listening, though he wasn’t sure how much she understood.

“Here…” he said, walking to the water tap. He turned it on and placed his hand under it.

Emmicia looked at her own hand in amazement. “Is this magic?” she asked.

Eleric dried his hands on a towel. “Yes, but the most basic, natural kind of magic.” He dropped his towel on the floor. “Just as science can explain why gravity works.”

“Gravity?” Emmicia asked.

Eleric took a deep breath. He’d put off marriage in favor of his career, most notably for the treaty which was now so very close to becoming a reality. But he’d imagined he’d find a wife who was a true equal in every way, an educated woman who would teach their children and have a life of her own outside of what he created for her.

He could not imagine being married to a woman who had known nothing but dependence and contempt.

Emmicia ran her tongue over her lips. He felt it. The bond wasn’t even complete, and he could already sense what she wanted.

“Emmicia, we are bonding. It is because I have kept you so close to me, sharing my bed. I suspect it is why my hosts have been so insistent on the fact. They know it is a weakness the Providential have.” He went to her, bringing her her robe. “It is not too late. The bond is not yet final. But, Emmicia…” he helped her pull the robe over her head, covering herself. “I don’t want to break the bond. I want to strengthen it.”

She looked at him, and he knew she had no idea what he meant. “Emmicia, I have not yet taken a wife, but it is time. A Providential man taking a Ciliree wife would be beyond scandalous, but perhaps my status as the Ambassador will make it less so.”

“You…would be reviled if you had me? Not just here, but in Providence?” Emmicia began to cry.

“No! No…” he put an arm around her and held her gently. “I mean…yes, people will be shocked. But you will be mine. You will be my wife. You will bear my children…”

She gasped and cried, clinging to him. He didn’t know what to do. Perhaps he should forget the bonding, just keep her with him every day and hope her masters would take pity.

Perhaps he should leave, and give up on any hope of a treaty.

She pushed herself away and looked at him with a happy smile. “You would give me children?”

Eleric laughed at the possessive term. “Yes, Emmicia. If you and I are wed, we will have children together.”

She laughed. “They said…they told me…I am too ugly to bear a man’s children. That is why they gave me to you. To insult you.”

Eleric shook his head in disbelief. He saw in her eyes that she really did believe she was ugly. He laid his hand on her cheek and kissed her tenderly. “Emmicia, please believe me. You are beautiful.” He kissed her again. “And I want you to be my wife.”

He looked to her for an answer, then realized she was simply accepting the concept as she would accept any order from him.

He pushed her away, and got down on one knee. She looked confused. “Emmicia, I am not commanding you. A Providential man does not command his wife. I am explaining to you what marriage to me will mean…yes, there will be difficulties. Some people will think you are strange, in a foreign way, not in a bad way. We will be bonded, and you will feel my pain as I share in yours.” He kissed her fingertips and felt the echo of the shiver that went from her fingers to her toes. “And we will feel each other’s pleasure.” He kissed the sensitive skin on the inside of her wrist, and felt the tingle turn into the seeds of arousal. “Emmicia, I am not commanding you. I am asking you. Do you want to be my wife? Will you please be my wife?”

“You will be kind to me?” she asked.

Eleric nodded.

“And you will give me children?”

Eleric laughed, and nodded. “As many children as you want.”

“Then yes. Yes please. Take me as a wife. Protect me, and take me from here!”

Eleric wasn’t sure how well he could handle those last two requests, but he was determined to do his best.

“Take my hand,” Eleric said, on one knee in front of her. She turned so her legs were off the bed, and clasped her left hand to his left hand. Eleric kissed her fingers and held their joined hands on the same level as their hearts. He gathered the magic, adding it to their joined hands bit by bit. Emmicia watched in fascination.

A bit of fabric irritated his neck, causing an itch. She reached out to scratch it. She didn’t seem to even realize she was doing it. Eleric spoke the words of the ritual in his native tongue, and she repeated. He didn’t worry that she didn’t know what the words meant. He’d done his best to explain to her what would happen, and once she was his wife she would have not only his protection but that of Providence as well. She would be a citizen by marriage.

She closed her eyes at the right time, not because he told her to, but because she knew it was time. The flash was still bright through his closed eyelids. He stood, slowly undressing. Emmicia sat on the edge of the bed, her back ram-rod straight, her eyes still closed.

He draped his clothes over a chair and returned to her. Her eyes were still closed, and he could feel her shivering in the cold room. He cast a spell and warmed the air around them. Slowly, she opened her eyes. She looked at his feet, then her eyes slowly rose, fixating on the staff pointing directly towards her.

He stood perfectly still while she touched it, tentative at first, then more boldly. She was sensing which touches caused him the greatest pleasure. He wondered how those pleasures echoed in her.

He stepped closer and pulled her robe up and off. She slid backwards on the bed, crawling towards the pillows and hugging one to herself as she lay on her side. Eleric climbed into the bed with her, touching first her face, then her arms. As he kissed her, he moved his hand to her breast, gently kneading and feeling in himself the pleasure it generated in her. He discarded the pillow and she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him on top of her.

Eleric had dreamed of his marriage consummation for many years, but none of those dreams prepared him for the reality. He expected to prepare her again, as he had the previous night, but her need was too great. Her thighs opened wide and her opening begged for him to fill her. He found himself pushing inside before he realized what he was doing, and forced himself to slow down. But there was no sense of pain from Emmicia, only a sense of anticipation and desire.

He pushed into her slowly, kissing her collarbone and shifting his weight so they both were comfortable. She enveloped him in every sense, her legs and arms holding him close as her body held him tightly. Experimentally, he rocked, and a jolt of pleasure shook him. His hips took over, grinding against her and into her, claiming her body as she claimed his soul. She kissed him with love and desire as he followed the bright light into the distant void. The light exploded, this time inside his eyes, and he was blinded, floating, joined with woman he had chosen.

When his senses returned he realized he was still on top of her. Emmicia was making tiny little happy sounds as she nuzzled him and kissed his neck. Eleric pushed himself up just enough to look into her eyes. He could see himself there, adored in every way. He kissed her gently, then kissed her again and again as he felt the thrills every one of his kisses caused her.

They faded off to sleep together, then woke in the night to make love again before drifting off once more.

In the morning, Eleric used his magic to turn the water from the tap warm. “Come, wife, wash yourself,” he said. While she was happily splashing in the water, Eleric waited for his door to open. When it did, he spoke to the guard. “My wife requires a more appropriate dress. Whatever is appropriate in Ciliree for a new bride.”

The guard looked surprised, but he said “as you wish,” and closed the door again.

Eleric looked at the closed door, then grabbed the handle and pulled. It opened easily. “And jewels!” he ordered, although the guard was far down the hall.

Not long after, a maid came to the door with a bundle. “Shall I stay and assist your bride, sir?” she asked. He tried to read her expression, but couldn’t tell what the woman thought of the news.

He turned to see Emmicia in the doorway to the bathing chamber, trying to hide herself and looking very shy. He could feel her embarrassment. “No thank you. We will manage.”

Fortunately, Emmicia seemed to know what to do with the complicated garments. Soon she looked nothing like the slave who had been presented to him. She looked like a noblewoman of Ciliree.

“My hair is up!” she said happily, as if this was a meaningful thing. Eleric remembered noticing that all the married women wore their hair tied back or elaborately braided, while all the young women wore theirs free. Eleric donned his best suit, and escorted his bride out into the hall, without a guard.

A servant met them before they reached the end. “The Ciliree wishes to see you in the Grand Hall,” he announced. Whether by ‘the Ciliree’ the man meant the leader or the court as a whole, Eleric could not tell. Emmicia clung tightly to him. He could feel her fear. He took her hand in a Providential way, holding her left hand in his while encouraging her to step slightly in front of him, his right hand at the small of her back. She felt his reassurance, and stepped forward in unison with him.

The Great Hall was filled. Not only were the courtiers all there, but stacks of boxes and assorted furniture covered the floor.

“You work slowly, Ambassador!” the ruler of the Ciliree declared. The assembled court laughed. “I would have penetrated her on principle upon reaching the room.” The room echoed with chortles and outright guffaws. “Then again, once I saw her face, I might have changed my mind…” the room exploded with laughter, and Eleric could feel his wife’s humiliation.

He waited for the wave to die down, then said in a loud, clear voice so all could hear “It is not our way to play sport with sex. I honored the beautiful gift you gave me, and cherished her presence every night.” There were still a few whispers and snickers. “My wife is an extraordinary and beautiful woman, sir. I expect you to treat her with respect.”

Silence fell, and all eyes turned to the ruler. He raised his chin, as if gauging Eleric’s determination.

“My apologies to your lovely wife. And my congratulations on your nuptials.” Someone in the back of the room hiccoughed or snorted. Then the ruler smiled and gestured to the array of boxes, furniture, and other items. “Your wedding gifts!” he declared, and the room applauded. “The furniture, for your house here, ambassador. It is a close house, where I can keep my eye on you.” The crowd continued to applaud sporadically, and they laughed. But this time it seemed to be a genuine laugh, as if the stranger among them had finally come to understand something he’d been too stupid to realize before.

He had no idea what that something was.

“In the spring, when it is warm, you will take your wife home. Show your brothers your Ciliree wife. Dare them to laugh! Then when the weather cools again, you come home to us, Ambassador. Or take your machines back and forth as often as you wish, I do not care.”

Eleric listened carefully, not fully realizing what was happening until the ruler spoke four last words.

“You have your treaty.”

This story isn’t connected to anything else I’ve done. It isn’t even for a prompt. I just noticed that I hadn’t posted a story on the blog for a while, mainly due to NaNoWriMo, and I thought I’d take a little break and do so. I was thinking 2k not 6k, but it is what it is lol! I needed to get a little erotica out of me. And although my WIP has some very strong female characters in it, I wanted to break from that for a bit and write a submissive. I like to think that Emmicia finds her strength now that she is no longer a slave, and becomes a true equal to Eleric and a strong mother to their children.

And I also needed a Christian Slater fix.