Liz has moved up to the house now that she's finished training, but the reality of her term of slavery is overwhelming her. All the other slaves are here by choice; she is not.
"How did it go?" Ann asked. Liz couldn't answer her. All she could do was stare at Ann's collar - the symbol that she, too, was a slave, and yet Liz knew that there was a gulf between the kind of slaves they were that would never be crossed.
Suddenly her new collar was choking her and before she knew what she was doing she reached up and unhooked it and flung it into the corner.
"Liz!" Ann cried, shocked. Even she would never do something like that.
Liz turned and ran out of the room, not sure where she was going. A few minutes later she found herself in the conservatory. The stars were brilliant in the inky black sky. She wondered if her father and mother were looking up at them and thinking of her, and a burst of homesickness threatened to engulf her.
She'd been sitting in the darkness only a few minutes when the door behind her opened. "Liz?" She heard the tentative voice of Greta from behind her.
"In here," Liz replied softly. The older woman found her way through the dark to sit down on the bench next to the younger woman. In one hand she held the collar, though she made no move to give it to Liz. She placed her other arm around Liz and pulled her close. They sat there in silence for a few minutes. Greta finally broke the silence.
"It's beautiful in here, isn't it? I come in here often. So did a new slave from Cormond, a long time ago, who arrived here for the same reason you did. She was terrified and didn't want to be here and was prepared to fight everyone for as long as she had to until she could go home again..."
Liz leaned over onto Greta's shoulder as the older woman unfolded the story of her own journey and how she ended up staying here for so many years. Liz looked at her in wonder, feeling like this was the only person in the whole world who really understood the fight she was having inside.
"And so," Greta finally finished, "You're faced with a choice. You're about to start another new journey. It's not a journey you chose for yourself. You can spend the entire trip refusing to look around and hope to arrive at the end of it unchanged, or you can join your new friends and learn and see many exciting things that you'll remember for the rest of your life. It won't always be easy. There are times the other girls hate it here, too. There are times they are mad. Sometimes they don't like what they're ordered to do. They hate being punished. But they feel cared for, and confident of their futures.
"Your journey might be a little different than theirs because of why you are here, but Master Daniel will not let you get hurt. Neither will Master Ryan. And neither will I. Can you give it a try?"
Liz remained silent, her mind at once spinning and empty. After a moment, Greta patted her hand and stood up, placing the collar on the bench beside Liz. "Don't stay up too late." She leaned over and kissed the top of Liz's head and left.
Liz stared at the abandoned collar, the symbol of her new life here. What do I do? I can't give in to this! It would be giving in to the very people who brought me here! Going along with it would betray my mother and father! Now, wait. Hold on, she thought looking up at the twinkling dots. It would not be going against her mother and father - she knew they would love her no matter what choices she made. Going along with it would actually be giving a giant finger to Elias Palm! A true 'daughter of Edwal' would resist the enemy, not give in. That was an interesting thought.
Was having sex with men — and women, she reminded herself — wrong? No, not at all. Was it wrong to have sex with many people? Well, her neighbors had always thought so, the damn busybodies, but most of Liz's friends had had at least several partners by the time they were all in college.
Then was it wrong to let people tell her who she had to have sex with? Now that idea made her squirm. She wasn't sure how she felt about that part, but the idea wasn't as abhorrent as it would have been a few weeks ago. She had learned all kinds of things that she could now put to use, and there was a part of her that was interested to try. She laughed. Her boundaries had been pushed back so far she'd probably have to grab binoculars to find them in the distance.
She tried to imagine what it would be like being the "conquered slave on display." She would kneel next to Master Daniel's feet and stare at the floor while he or another leader droned on and on about treaties, or trading between provinces, knowing she was the subject of many lustful stares and whispered questions, but knowing at the end that she would have done her best to make him proud and would arrive safely back at the estate with stories to tell.
Could she survive that? Probably, she had to admit. She remembered how Master Michael had calmed her when she was starting to panic during that first horrible meeting. Maybe Master Daniel could do the same.
Her mind drifted to imagining what it would be like to provide sex to the guests. Perhaps she would be pulled aside by Master Ryan while she was serving in the dining room, and quietly informed that she had caught a guest's eye and he would like her company tonight. She would be a nervous wreck as she took a quick shower and put on a clean dress, refastening the beautiful silver and gold collar once her hair was dry. The collar that told everyone that she was a slave, bound to do what she was ordered to do. The collar that held promise that she would be able to bring pleasure to someone in a way that perhaps he hadn't had in a while, for Master Daniel's slaves had the reputation for being the best trained in the province.
She thrilled a little at the idea of kneeling at her companion's feet, waiting to find out what his desires and requests might be - was he the kind of man that might take his pleasure by giving her orgasm after orgasm and send her back to her room almost too exhausted to walk, utterly spent, with a smile on her face as she fell into a dreamless sleep?
Or would he be the kind who couldn't wait to turn her over his lap for an erotic spanking that left her bottom cherry red, her face streaked with tears, and her pussy as wet as a river? She might follow it with an enthusiastic blow-job given as thanks. Later she would lay on her stomach in bed, unable to roll over on her sore cheeks, and fall asleep with a smile at the memory of the explosive orgasm he granted her while still upside down on his lap - an orgasm unlike any of those at the hands of her old boyfriends.
Or perhaps - she shuddered - he might be the kind who loved to tease and torment and never let her have what she craved. She would beg and plead and serve him obediently and submissively to try to win his favor. And he would bring her to the edge over and over, but in the end he would send her back to her little room to lie awake for most of the night with a fire in her core that she couldn't seem to put out. She would struggle desperately to resist plunging her fingers between her legs, wondering if the penalty for masturbating again might be worth it.
It was only two years. Less than that now. She could do it for that long. And then she could go back home and resume her life. And if she wanted to forget what she had done here, well, she could do that too.
She took a deep breath and picked up the collar. It really was beautiful. With trembling fingers she slipped it around her neck and clicked it shut. Having made her decision, she whispered a goodnight to the stars and her parents, and found her way back to her room.
Ann woke and sat up as Liz crept through the door, and wordlessly put her arms out to Liz and pulled her into bed, the two friends letting sleep take them together into its embrace.