Created Friday 12 Jan 2013
Gaius Artorius, ex-centurion and Roman slave trader, a venalicius, prepares to make an expedition to the Kingdom of Armenia at the very eastern extreme of the Roman Empire, where he would acquire more of the finest quality sex-slaves that were his stock-in-trade.
But before he can depart from Rome, a powerful Senator "requests" that Gaius do him a favour. There is a gift for the Emperor Vespasian waiting in Armenia, and the Senator wants Gaius to collect it and bring it safely back to Rome.
Such an important shipment would not normally be entrusted to a mere venalicius, and Gaius knows that something very dangerous lies behind the innocent request, but he cannot refuse.
Soon Gaius and his faithful followers are up to their necks in gorgeous slaves and a deadly secret that would make them a target for bandits, enemy armies and even Rome itself.
The room veritably screamed of doom and pain, and Auriel's teeth chattered uncontrollably as she studied the instruments of torture. A glowing brazier sat in one corner, with a variety of irons already resting in the coals, and there were chains and shackles everywhere. Since she had been recaptured, even the slave's shift had been taken from her, and she felt horribly exposed and naked, her bare feet shrinking from the chilly, blood stained stone of the floor. She wanted to curl up in a corner and pretend that this wasn't happening, and cursed herself for her stupidity and pride. There was nothing wrong with dreaming of freedom. Hundreds of Roman slaves were freed every year. Even gladiators fought their way to freedom and sometimes wealth. But to escape without a plan or purpose was sheer lunacy. But she had been a chieftain's daughter, and filled with pride – until she had watched the soldiers pound the grim iron spikes into the man's wrists and feet and listened to his frantic screams, followed by his desperate gasps for air as his weight gradually collapsed his lungs. She closed her eyes, only to see the glowing brand sear into the woman's forehead over and over, like some terrible nightmare. Except this was cold vicious reality, and not a dream at all. A reality that she now had to face, or die most horribly. To her credit, Auriel now found the strength within her to accept the consequences of recklessness. Ignoring her fear, when the guard released his grip on her arm, she stood placidly in the centre of the floor. She knew that she was beautiful, with fine smooth skin that was unlikely to remain so for very long, so she displayed her gleaming, oil coated body proudly, not trying to conceal her breasts or cunt. However, she kept her head submissively lowered, not wanting Gaius to think she was challenging him.
Gaius gestured for the guard to leave.
The man saluted and obeyed, leaving the wide double doors open. Both guards and slaves were jostling for a position with a good view of the interior.
Auriel was not surprised. Her punishment was to be a public one, both an object lesson and an entertainment. She was going to be mocked and shamed as well as physically hurt. However, Gaius was giving her the opportunity to survive relatively unscathed, provided she displayed sufficient remorse and cooperated fully with her own torment. He looked at her, and she knew what she had to do. She fell to her knees in front of his feet and prostrated herself. "Dominus, I submit myself to your justice. Punish your wayward slave," she cried loudly and dramatically, as if performing to an audience.
Despite her Gaulish accent, her words rang out clearly, and across the peristylium he saw the guards, as well as many of the watching slaves, nod approvingly.
"Very well. Rise slave and prepare for the first punishment." His voice too was loud and theatrical. He could not afford to be seen as soft or weak. He selected a single tailed whip from a rack of similar implements and pointed at a sturdy wooden pillar. "Clasp that pillar with your arms and press your body tightly to it."
With a fearful glance at the whip, she walked over to the pillar, which she saw was stained with dried blood as she drew closer. Suppressing her disgust, she pressed herself against it and embraced it tightly with her arms, knowing that she would need the support.
Gaius stepped up behind her and stroked her back with the flat of his hand. Softly, he said, "Do not let go, no matter how badly it hurts. You may scream as much as you desire, but I cannot help you if you fail to take the whipping." His hand cupped the firm roundness of her buttock cheek and squeezed. "Understand that my regret is genuine. I would much rather have seen you trained and happily living with a good owner." He tapped her back with the coiled whip. "But we are well past that now. Survive your punishment and you may yet live a long and full life."
"Thank you, Dominus. I know that you are being as lenient with me as you can, and I am grateful. I swear you shall not regret it." She gasped when he smacked her bottom with his hard, sword-calloused hand, and then felt a touch of hope when she realised that he was being comforting. She obediently opened her mouth when he held a roll of leather to her lips, and bit down firmly.
Gaius stepped back to the correct distance for the whip, which he knew from long experience. The whip was a kind one, in as much as it did not have metal weights or shards at its tip which would rip skin and flesh, and cut down to the bone. He smiled. He doubted that Auriel would find it particularly kind. With a glance over his shoulder to ensure that the sisters were not in the path of the whip, he swung his arm back, and then struck.