Start at the Beginning
Sadira had seen men with those blood-filled eyes before. She understood what it meant, and though she had no chance to collaborate with Tara or the other pets, she knew they'd recognize it too. After the courtyard attack, while others still wondered in confusion, she retreated from the activity. She managed to slip away from her guards while their attention shifted to their captain and his orders. She made her way to the temple's quiet library, abandoned now with the last of the cultists imprisoned, and an old, almost-forgotten balcony facing out over the desert. She wanted space. Wanted to avoid questions about the desert boy's red-rimmed stare.
Her balcony—a beautiful, lonely spot, cool in the shade of the tower—faced out over miles of undulating, bone-white dunes, featureless but for wide, flat stones capping the sands like crests on a wave. The smooth ebb and flow of the desert lulled her into meditative thought; she often came here when she had any freedom to do so—which only happened when Set had business away from the temple, and hadn't seen the need to bring her—to consider matters which troubled her. Here she'd spent some hours kneading sore flesh and bruised muscles, wondering over her uncommon comfort in the sensations. Here, she'd come to understand the lingering sweet pleasure in Set's hard rituals, the gleaming red sting where he'd tested her flesh, subjected her to the rigors and bodily awareness of pain. Here, she'd first recognized how much his appetite for domination actually, surprisingly, thrilled her.
In her earliest years as his pet, before he'd initiated her in the ways of his carnal needs, but after he'd begun laying the foundations of her training, she'd tried resisting him. She balked at humiliating orders, petulantly defied obedience. She flipped the chessboards he made her hold and shoved away the feet he rested on her back. He publicly flogged her three times before she'd turned seventeen. The third time, he explained her next insubordination would be her last. He would cast her away, to become a common prostitute in some hard desert city or another, so he might at least profit from her perfectly good body, if not her willing spirit.
The idea didn't upset her in the heat of the moment, with her back, buttocks, and thighs burning from the bright welts of her punishment. He'd summoned a whoremonger some days later to appraise her value and offer a price, and then he frightened her. An old medicine woman came with the brothel keeper, and shut away in private she'd stripped Sadira completely and prodded her, tested her to see she remained "intact", scrutinized the weight of her breasts and the health of her complexion, not yet extensively marked save for the first few sigils of slavery, and a simple gold stud in one nostril. This examination upset Sadira, filled her with uncomfortable, alien suspicion. If Set exiled her to a whorehouse this would be her fate: perused and appraised by strangers, grasped by unknown hands, stripped and sampled like a ware in the marketplace. A gourd. A cask of nuts. A fat goat. This more than anything struck her deepest anxieties, and afterwards she knelt for Set in contrition. She did not willfully disobey him again.
Set's power over her had always come down to this. Threat. Fear. Indignity. Disgrace. He allowed her to feel safe, as long as it suited him. When it didn't, he dangled the unspoken threat of dismissal, just to see her shake.
In time, he lured her too with drunken, decadent pleasures, and shameful, secret needs. And finally, his possession was complete.
On her twentieth birthday—or rather, the day Set designated the marker of her age, since no one really knew her actual date of birth— the sorcerer placed his collar around her neck. Thin leather, fit with a ring in the front for a leash, stamped with the god-king's sigil at the back. The rules of the house evolved with her new womanhood. Set no longer permitted her to wear clothing of any sort within the temple walls; only the collar, and matching bracers he fit on her wrists and ankles. She could touch no other person, nor allow herself to be touched, if Set did not permit it. He brought her into the chambers of ritual, and she bore witness to the cult in its worship of the serpent god. Sometimes, she became their subject, the flesh for their marks and symbols, the focus of their spells and séance.
This was when she saw the red-rimmed eyes. In the throes of their observances, when the magic took them. This was when she watched them grow rigid with tension and tremble with power, and always, the fiery glow of their eyes turned to raw, scarlet marks, as though their eyes had been stung by scorching desert sands, and rivulets of blood trickled down like tears.
A year into this new routine, Set ordered her to his chambers. She knelt before him as he always expected her to, and he stood naked except for a pair of black suede breeches. The shape of his hardness pressed obvious against the tight fabric. He released his shaft from the clothing and made her watch as he slowly kneaded its length, ordering her not to look away as he stroked it and stroked it.
Perhaps she should have been afraid. Perhaps shamed, or humiliated. Far from it, though, Sadira found it fascinating. Her body woke to him, slowly at first and in sensations she didn't immediately recognize, but she understood one thing clearly: this did not frighten her. Strangely, it excited her.
"Have you ever seen a man's nakedness before, pet?" he asked. To this she answered yes. She'd seen the men with other girls in darkened alcoves of the temples and sometimes even in the shrines. The soldiers never bothered with modesty in their quarters and the training areas, either: most displayed themselves openly to the girls, even asked for kisses and to be pleasured with someone's pretty red mouth.
"Have you touched one?"
She shook her head. Touching was, after all, against the rules. He took her by the hair, though not immediately in a gesture of violence, and twisted his grip to force her eyes up to him.
"Are you lying, whore?"
"No, master. I have never touched any man in such a way."
"I think you lie. You are a disobedient slut. I think you have sucked the cock of any soldier who would give it to you."
Such harsh words. Meaner and more demeaning than any she'd received from him before. But she liked them. They carried in them a hot, forbidden sting, and she understood perfectly what he meant to do with her. Understood...and yearned for it. Though his tone chilled her, she recognized it as another sort of ritual. Not true accusation; play. He hadn't given any instructions, but she thought he must expect her to play, as well.
She wanted him, or at least, she wanted his body. The fierce organ he stroked in such lazy familiarity was a key made to unlock her. Perhaps in later years she would grow to loathe it, but on this hot, bright day, with the looming promise of passion and pleasure making her breasts tingle and her virgin pussy deliciously wet, Sadira's hunger outweighed any fear. When he called her slut, a dark side of her wanted to be sluttish. Naughty and sinful and wild with lust.
"I haven't!" she insisted. "Master, I swear, I have never!"
"Open your mouth. We'll see how just how skilled you are at it, and then I will know."
He guided his long, rigid shaft into her mouth, sliding it all the way to the back of her throat until she choked and squirmed.
He held her there until the urge to gag became almost impossible to bear. Then he released her for barely a second before sliding it back in her mouth again, thrusting so deep it brought tears of strain to her eyes.
"Tell me how many men you've sucked."
"None!" she gasped as she came off his cock. "I swear to you, Master, I have not done so! I have kept your rules!"
He thrust himself into her mouth again, violently, and she made a strangled sound against him. His flesh tasted hot and sweet, his shaft perfect in its rigid demand, and she caught the first bitter hint of semen, salty on her tongue. It all made her hyper-aware of her own wet, naked pussy, needful and waiting.
"How many have you fucked, slut?"
He didn't let her come off his cock to answer, so she could do nothing but try and shake her head, offering muffled denial.
"If I fuck you and find out you're lying, you are going to be very, very sorry. So you had better tell me now. How many men have you fucked?"
"None!" she gasped as he finally released her. Her face was streaked with tears—tears not of pain but only of strain—and she trembled, staring at his cock in front of her.
She didn't want him to stop. She wanted him to do more.
"A woman bleeds her first time. If there is no blood I will know you are a whore and I will punish you."
"Master," she said softly. "I have no desire but to please you!"
This was what she had been trained to say to him when he became dissatisfied with her. In the past he would sometimes relent and offer her a gentle praise as reward, or else he would demand she get down on all fours so he could spank her for whatever transgression had occurred. This time he said nothing at first, kneading and kneading his shaft as she looked up at him, supplicant, obediently avoiding eye contact. Not as though she had any trouble avoiding his eyes this time. They had that red cast, practically demonic, and shot through with blood, a look she associated with mad hunger. She didn't want to think about that. Her focus remained riveted on his cock.
He circled behind her and tapped her on the buttocks to indicate she lift her hips. When she rose to all fours, she felt him tracing the head of his cock along the lines of her cleft, the slick wet head finding her own tender, puzzling arousal like fresh, clinging dew.
"Already wet for it," he said, as if it proved her guilt. "Are you such a slut you grow wet for me without even being touched?"
She didn't know how to answer, so she said again, "I have no desire but to please you."
He ran his finger along her slick entrance, and then slowly slid it into her. Sadira was taken by surprise—but she couldn't help the tiny sound of pleasure escaping her as he slid the long, slender digit in and out, in and out, feeling her.
When he seemed satisfied, he reached out with his other hand and grabbed her hair, tugging her head back.
"Taste," he commanded, and slipped the wet finger into her mouth. Sadira instinctively sucked.
"Does it taste like the pussy of a chaste, well-behaved slave?" he asked her. "Because I think it tastes like whore. What do you think?"
"I don't know, Master…"
Then in one hot, painful movement he entered her, thrusting his whole, heavy cock deep into her virgin entrance, and Sadira gave a loud cry of pain. His hand twisted in her hair and he shoved her face to the floor.
"I did not give you permission to make any noise."
"I am sorry, Master!" she gasped. More tears came, these one tears of hot pain, but she bit her tongue as he took her, his fingers knotting in her hair while the other hand grasped her by the hip, pulling her against him.
He fucked her hard, grunting with frantic effort, but also in a restrained, almost perfunctory manner. Sadira couldn't find her bearings. Her body throbbed, burning, aching from the violent invasion; at the same time, her greedy, desperate pussy thrilled with bright pleasure. How could she have gone so long without such addictive, mounting intoxication before? What yearning emptiness she'd known, before his cock filled her, claiming every deep inch of her.
After some time, she realized he held off his climax with deliberate desperation, taking himself to the edge before denying himself the satisfaction, altering his rhythm purposefully until the threat of impending culmination faded, and then picking up the pace again to near ecstasy.
When he came, it was explosive. His cock pulsed hard inside of her, sending dull alien hurt through her body. She bit her lip not to cry out again. She could feel each jet of semen filling her, flooding her, running out from her pussy and down her thighs.
Then, when he withdrew his cock, a very sudden, strange sensation twitched through her and she found herself orgasming. She came in a fleeting but intense flurry of pain and pleasure; a sudden jet of her own wet cum spurted from her pussy as her muscles violently tightened and relaxed.
"Oh!" she gasped, pressing her thighs together in instinctive shame. She turned to look over her shoulder, but Set only eyed the place of her sex with a strange expression. She didn't understand what it could mean, until he again prodded apart her thighs with his questing fingers and slid them once more into the quivering muscles of her pussy.
"Looks as though you were telling the truth after all, slut," he murmured. "Very good. But you've gone and made a mess."
He stood up, waving a hand. "Clean it up, then you may go and bathe. When you are done come back here and wait for me on your knees. I don't want to hear you make one sound."
Alone at the balcony now, years and years later, Sadira ran a hand through her hair, wondering. The arcanists of the serpent god retained physical echoes of their spiritual machinations during their most intense rituals, and for some time thereafter. Set's eyes during their first congress...he'd chosen the occasion for channeling magical energies. Worshippers of the great snake favored sex rituals, naturally.
Why then today would a nurse's boy, with no ties to the cult, show such stigmata?
She doubted he could have been practicing any of the rituals himself, especially in the open courtyard in sight of a dozen foreign conquerors. If any of the sorcerers had ever mentored an apprentice so young, Sadira never learned of it, and she'd been privy to most of the cult's innermost workings, even if only by virtue of belonging to its maddest practitioner.
Those eyes. Why those eyes? And... what color eyes did the boy possess? Did he have dark brown eyes, like one of the hunting hounds brought by the barbarians? Or...
Or had they been the drab, virulent green of a desert viper?
She'd jumped into the fray so quickly, disengaged the boy and startled him into confusion so fast...and now, she couldn't remember.
Except for one second—perhaps no more than a fraction of a second—they had been the awful, ugly color of a snake's. They'd been the eyes of her master. They'd been Set's eyes.
This is his power over you, the power to frighten you. That is all it is.
"But he is dead." She said it out loud, a ward in the face of old ghosts. "He is gone."
Then why did she still sense him—smell him—everywhere within these walls?
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