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Your hulking size did more than intimidate, it frightened me even more than your predecessor did. I had feared Him and His sadistic desires. The perversions He wished to inflict upon my flesh kept me weeping through the days and nights of my captivity. It kept me wishing for His death during each time Ranckor and Icknor threw him in the pit to fight for his chance to claim my flesh.
Now, after that briefest of looks into your thunderous and in-human eyes, I’d give anything to have Him back. At least, I knew what He was.
I had no idea what kind of monster You were. Taller than a man, with more muscle than I’d ever seen on a human before, you moved with an unnatural, lithe grace. They held you shackled between them, but there was no fear in your eyes.
I sensed something else. Not pride. Definitely not pride. You, too, were a prisoner and defeated like me. What rolled into the space between us was an intensity of purpose meant solely for me.
And I knew…just knew You had every intention of claiming me.
He wanted to defile my flesh. You had something else in mind. What that was I had no idea, except You turned me into a quaking mess. I couldn’t face You, so I turned and hung my head against the cold stone of the wall. Bravery to face my newest opponent fled and I bared my back, pitting the strongest part of me against your inhuman stare.
Across cracked rock, you sucked in a breath. It staggered into your lungs, pulsing and wanting, and hell, if it didn’t make my entire body shake. A low guttural growl followed in its wake.
A rumble, barely above the registers of my audible range, vibrated the air. “This female? She is mine?”
Ranckor laughed beside you. “This female is yours to feast upon for the span of a moontide, until you rise from the pit victorious again.”
Confusion rumbled in that deep voice of yours. “You want me to eat her?”
You sound disgusted by that idea, which emboldened me to peek over my shoulder. It settled my nerves a little to think you approached the thought of eating me with as much revulsion as I thought about the idea of being eaten.
Tawny, gold eyes drilled me into stillness. The chains binding my wrists rattled with my need to alleviate the soreness caused by the metal chafing my skin. I would have tried to run, if that thought hadn’t been beaten out of me so long ago. I knew the helplessness of my situation.
Your gaze hardened and shifted over my head to stare at the manacles securing me to heavy chains. Your wide nostrils flared in your muzzled nose, breathing deep, like you were tasting the air. Then you shifted your focus back to my eyes and caught me entranced by you.
This time I didn’t run from your gaze, but found my courage and stared right back. Seeing that I watched you, you gave a sharp jerk of your chin, an acknowledgment of a sort.
“No, not eat,” said Ranckor. He secured the chains binding your hands to rings set deep into the rock.
I knew from the one you killed how strong those rings bound you to the wall. He’d always been testing them to get to me. You would not be reaching me anytime soon. For the next moontide, a week in the way I counted time, I was safe.
“You may feast upon her with your eyes, warrior. And if you survive again, we will allow you closer to the female and let you smell her.”
You growled a deep bass rumble causing me to shrink against the wall. “And after that you want me to eat her?”
“Oh, no,” said Ranckor with a laugh. “Survive again and you will be allowed to touch the female.”
“Yes,” said Ranckor. “Touch.”
“And she will not fight?”
Icknor, who had been quiet until now, laughed so hard his shoulders shook. “Oh, no…she fights, but maybe she will be different with you. Do not worry, we will keep her chained.” He began to wheeze in that weird serpentine way of his.
I hated my captors. I hated how they baited me. I hated how they dehumanized me and made me nothing more than a piece of flesh to be used as a warrior’s prize.
“What use is touching the female?” The gold of your eyes burned in the low torchlight, flickering with alien emotions I couldn’t begin to sort out.
Icknor’s mouth spread into a smile. “Because if you win five matches, you get the female to do with as you wish.”
“She is mine?”
“Yes.” Ranckor and Icknor exchanged greasy looks. “She is yours to rut.”
“And the one in the pit? Did he…rut with this female before me?” Your tongue skipped on the word ‘rut,’ like you didn’t understand it. Yeah, I didn’t like that word either.
More laughter. None of which I found the least bit amusing.
“No,” said Ranckor. “He lost to you.”
You took a step forward, to the extent of your chains and leaned against the steel. Twenty feet separated us. “And what is this ‘rut’ you speak of?”
Ranckor and Icknor bent over double, laughing, then turned to leave.
“Ask the female,” said Icknor. “I’m sure she’d love to tell you…”
They departed, leaving the torch-light burning, and you staring at me waiting for an answer.
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