The weather was warm, a soft breeze rustling through the cherry blossoms. Hadley had a bag of pistachios for himself and another of seeds for the birds.
“This is more like what I remembered,” He said peering out across the meadow, the gentle sloping hill leading downward to the sidewalk near the empty city street. “Quiet.”
He dropped shells at his feet, crunching on nuts and throwing out an arbitrary handful of seeds. The finches and parakeets dove downward and disappeared in the flowering canopy overhead. A rather fat squirrel took his time, cracking into a large sunflower seed, eating its meat quite daintily, even as its jowls bulged obscenely.
“It was never quiet at the palace, never fully sleeping or slow to awake, oil lamp light from chandeliers moving to the rising sun only to complete the cycle once more again, and again.
My last charge, he was a typically boring pet of one of the princes, illegitimate bastard son, not in the bloodline of the crown. The darker skin of southern tribes gave him away, the bastard son, not the pet. I doubt his skin ever felt the touch of the sun. His only required duty was to be draped seductively against the pillows when the prince called for him. He had to oiled, make up done just so, the current rage of adornments, and body prepared for intercourse. That was all.”
The next handful of seed flew out across the grass in an even spray.
“The five are different, so much so that I could not comprehend the level of work each would need.” His sigh was caught on the breeze. “And Cook, there is a right old bird indeed. Smithers, my predecessor, gave her no guidance, no expected budget of intake. Just no caffeine, no sweets, the Lord says they are not to get fat. It would be best if they did not incur much expense.
Bah! What expense is there in milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, a portion of meat at least once a week? Bread and a bit of butter to ease the stomach when it was griped. Oh no, just some oats and tinned fruits, and water to be drawn from the loo.”
Pistachio shells snapped in misplaced agitation. “I had to inquire about the actual budget from Brookings. Old toad needs a wart on that bulbous nose. He had the gall to sneer at me. No matter, Lord Barkley, my employer, was much more forthcoming. And it was the wife, Lady Barkley who made it known that she had always been concerned that the amount budgeted per slave, even with clothing and shelter included had been much too low. Her friends often commented on expensive it was to keep a slave, much less five.
I wonder if they will balk when I present a revised budget? The slaves, all but the two young ones are chafing under the yoke of change. Where there was not a resentment between the two older males, after…”
Hadley licked his lips. “No matter,” he repeated, “the Lord and Lady Barkley have given me a free hand to bring their investment up to scratch and that is what I will do.” He glanced over at the quiet figure, the chin resting against the flannel blanket. Standing, he tucked the blanket more firmly about frail legs.
“I thought one slave was not enough of a challenge. My cohorts said it was easy to become attached managing just one charge, to forget that they are not free, that they can actually return feelings. But how can feelings be real if they are bought? Is it desire or simply lust to be eased by a fuck? It is best to remember that in the end, a slave is no more than property.”
He wheeled the chair back to dull stone manor. He had seen many different acts of shallowness in his time at the palace.
There was something different in Lord Hadley’s touch, the curl of fingers on Cameron’s nape, that he had never witnessed among all the pretty vapid pets, kneeling, fawning, and fucking within the palace chambers.
And its result had upset the balance he had observed within the hall in those first few hours. How could he have known? A simply recalibrating paddling and a fissure of discomfit had appeared when Cameron was returned to hall. No words or pointed looks to his fellow slaves. Just a small smile curving his lips as Cameron took to his cot, unaware of Cade’s open curiosity and Daniel’s furrowed frown.
His silent companion offered no advice.
The nurse gave him a tired smile taking over the chair by its wooden handles. The paper sacks crinkled as Hadley stuffed them into his coat pocket. He smoothed his hair and then tipped his reseated hat, bidding the nurse and his father farewell.
“There is something amiss,” the Cook warned as Hadley made his way through the servant’s entry. “Where ever have you been?”
“On my contracted day off,” Hadley replied, removing his hat and lightweight coat.
Cook opened her mouth and seemed to think better of it by pressing her lips together. Hadley cocked his head to the side in puzzlement.
“Well, go on then.”
“The missus is out in the country with her lady friends, she took the mousy one. The Lord is in your hall, with thems, raising a ruckus.”
“And Brookings?” Hadley all but growled.
The Cook’s face became mottled red and circles of pale white, “Must have forgotten that this was your day off.”
Hadley tamped down his initial vision of a choking Brookings in a haze of red. He straightened his spin along with his cuffs. Without another word to the cook he strode resolutely to the slave hall.
“You!!!” Lord Barkley roared. He brought Cameron around by the scruff of the neck. The swelling black eye was dark and purple but not only that; Cameron’s dark eyes had the audacity to hold a sparking challenge. “It is one thing to black his ass but he can not be seen like this! What would people think?” The lord’s voice rose to the masculine version of a shriek.
Hadley gave himself to the count of three, taking measured breaths, eyes flickering around the room. Mia had her arms crossed sitting on her cot, watching with avid interest. There were tears on Cade’s pale face. Daniel would not lift his head and meet his gaze. It was an interesting observation to note that Daniel’s hands were fisted and buried under his armpits.
The fissure had become an earthquake in less than half a day. What a mess.
“I assure you, my Lord, upon my departure for my time outside the city, all was well.”
“It’s not fucking well,” Barkley returned. “Free hand does not mean marring my property, not their faces anyways, and no physical scarring that will last.”
How about emotional scarring, my Lord? Hadley mused.
“Trust me, my Lord,” Hadley’s voice remained deadly calm compared to Barkley’s tempest, his attention on Daniel. “My methods have been well documented and proven by leave of the King himself, and I have never once caused damage to the face. I have worked as a handler for many years but even a novice understands that rule.”
Barkley took in a deep breath and dropped his hands to his sides. “Get to the bottom of this.” His words were bit out.
“Have no doubt, it will be done.”
“I will be in attendance and I will choose the method of punishment to be doled out.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Hadley responded with a sharp nod, keeping his surprise at bay.
The heavy door swung back with a crash and Lord Hadley marched out with hands clenched into fists at his sides. Brookings limped steadily behind the lord but at the open doorway, he turned and sneered before disappearing.
Fucking old toad.
At Mia and Cade, he pointed to the cots sharply. “Sit!” To Cameron and Daniel, Hadley snarled, “Strip!” Then turned on his heel as the two slaves hastily discarded tunics to find what he needed from the training room.
“Defy me,” He said with cold calm as Daniel flinched on his return. “And I will do much more than black the eye you gave Cameron.” With modified arm binders, he had shoulders wrenched back and the spreader bars pushed legs out as far as balance would allow.
The two slaves stood with identical postures, cock and balls hanging low and vulnerable between spread thighs, hands dangled useless from arms as shoulders were hunched forward. With a crop under his arm, he regarded them both.
“I already know that Daniel landed the blow that blackened Cameron’s eye,” He said conversationally for Mia and Cade’s benefit. Daniel’s jaw rippled from clenched teeth. Using the crop, he rubbed the leather over the slave’s split knuckles. “Had the Lord not been so angry and using logic, he would have realized this. However, it is not Lord Barkley’s concern on the why of it but mine.”
Moving the crop to just below Daniel’s chin in a soft stroke, “Jealous little slut?” He followed with a quick sharp tap between Daniel’s legs against the low hanging sac causing a surprised shout.
“Oh come now? Is it cock you want, little cunt?” Hadley pressed. “I can bend you over and fuck you raw. Even Cade has a cock that could be put to use to fuck your hole, not to mention all of the lovely toys in the training room.
Your master fucks Cade and you make not a peep. But let your Master bring back his prodigal slave, Cameron, his first? And you think fists will get you what you want? Your master’s angry attention, maybe a rough fuck, seeing as Cameron’s paddled and bruised ass was what got him back into the master’s bed? Act like a spoiled child and your master will give you kisses and pet you, forgive you, calling you the good boy and fuck you once more?
Anger makes you stupid. Anger and jealousy.” He gave two short flicks to the sides of the sac, Daniel’s thighs clenching pathetically to protect his balls, and one final blow to the ridge just below the dusky smooth cockhead. “Stupid, stupid, boy.” Hadley muttered over the yelp of pain.
“And you?” Cameron’s face was resigned. “I know more about you now. Lotus House?” Mia gave a muffled gasp of surprise. “I am well versed in their methods. So it surprised me just how lax you have become.”
And you, too, little wench, Hadley thought. “What in all that is above and below would make you take a punch to the fucking eye?” His lips tightened at the barest of response his words were getting from the other slave.
Turning the crop, so the rounded handle slide behind Cameron’s balls, Hadley pressed his lips against the curve of ear even as the handle pressed against Cameron’s anus. “Did you think it would earn you another pity fuck, to remind your master of your mere existence once more?” He easily blocked the head butt Cameron reacted with, while steadying the slave on his feet to keep him from crashing to the floor.
“And here I thought my little lesson made an impression on you?” Hadley quipped, twisting a bruised buttock cruelly. “Yet another stupid boy. One who said he would be a good boy instead. Like I said, nothing but a hole to fuck.”
“So what to do with the two of you?”
Loosing Cameron from his bondage, a heavy hand on his shoulder, he maneuvered Cameron to an unused cot with a bare mattress. He returned the binders and spreader bar to the training room. A little sensory deprivation as well as isolation would put Cameron back into a malleable frame of mind. One that Hadley could work with, to begin peeling back the bad habits to find the slave that had been trained at a reputable house. Scratching his chin, he studied Mia. Her own recalibration would begin by using her to fuck with Cameron’s head.
After Daniel was dealt with.
He chained Cameron to the cot, placing an empty chamber pot at his feet. Cameron frowned at it, hissing at the pull to his eye. Hadley efficiently gagged him with a hard, breathable ball gag that stretched Cameron’s full lips uncomfortably. Dark eyes were watching him with undivided attention, wary and uncertain.
“You need to piss, you piss.” He pointed to the chamber pot. “You need to shit? You hold it until I give you permission to squat and shit.” Uncertainty began morphing into wide-eyed fear. Hadley stiffened his resolved, muffing Cameron’s ears with soft cotton and then sliding a loose hood of silky breathable black cloth over his head.
Chains rattled harshly in the silence of the chamber, none of the other slaves seeming to even breathe. Hadley watched Cameron closely as he struggled with being bound and not being able to reconcile it with information from his senses. Chains rattled harder with a muffled cry. Cameron pulled and pulled, chest heaving and beginning to glisten with cold sweat. With a loud groan from deep with his chest, Cameron slumped against the cot, shaking slightly.
Hadley looked him over without getting too close, even skin in sensory deprivation would send muted signals. Cameron’s wrists and ankles would be raw from the metal shackles. Drool was already beginning to drip below the edge of the hood. There were no tears from what Hadley could observe and that was a good sign. Blocked nasal passages could be a terrible mind fuck, sending signals to the brain that the body could not breathe, even though the hood was loose and the open holes of the gag allowed for breath to move through the mouth.
Mia had Cade huddled in her arms; his head was burrowed against her shoulder hiding his eyes while watching Hadley like a hawk. He could sense that her own time of training was being remembered if the look of worried calculation was anything to go by.
“Don’t be the hero, little girl.” Hadley warned before turning his attention to Daniel. Leaving the binders in place but disengaging the spreader bar, he put a hand to Daniel’s shoulder and elbow. “I think it is time to meet with your master.”
He could feel the shudder run through Daniel’s body as he moved him naked but for the binders out of the slave hall. How could one solitary fuck to a fellow slave drastically change the dynamic of relaxed, easy going slut to such an action of rage as leaving a visible bruise to Cameron’s face?
There was more to Daniel as Hadley had thought from the beginning. And maybe Barkley’s revelation of events would prove to be enlightening.
So much for an entitled quiet day off.