Fill: Finder’s Keepers

This fill was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Ysabetwordsmith and fills the “slavery” square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. 564 words – This is set in the same universe as, and is a rough follow up to, the story snippet “Provisions.”

This is for a Dark Fantasy challenge, and there’s some active and referenced abuse happening…

Finder’s Keepers

The collar, soft supple leather bolted to the wall by a chain of fine gold lengths, chafes her neck until it forms blisters that seep. His hands caress her flanks in barely there flutters of sensation leaving black scorched skin; cauterized her flesh sizzles and smells of cooking meat. His laugh is soft and intimate and she cries out in agony.

She’s an embodiment of purity, gentleness, and freedom, and to be enslaved in any way is anathema to her spirit. To be made bare to the touch of this evil is enough to drive her nearly out of her mind in fear. What he did with her pain after, the way he used her, that made her feel as if the evil had seeped deep into her own heart and even if she could escape she’d never be clean of it.

He’d caught her grazing in the suburban park she used to meet human children, special girls and boys who still believe the true tales of the wood. That park was no longer much of a wood, but the Human Realm had deserted the wilds in favor of concrete and steel, so she’d adapted to the loss and found new ways to make friends. She never calculated the danger to herself in the new space, how bound by roads on all sides it could become like a small fenced paddock, containing her frightened run long enough to allow capture. Dragging her into his carriage of metal she was helpless from there, her wits momentarily lost to flight fear, and her magic dampened by the iron’s cousin. She’s susceptible to all of the ways humans have to fight and hinder the Otherworldy, and this gave him plenty of ways to make her his slave.

The first time she summoned an Elven boy. It was an unconscious act, one made in mortal peril as the wounds covered most of her hide from where he had grabbed her around chest and rear, and she regretted calling them almost immediately. Now she wishes she’d allowed her own demise that first night, before he knew her secret, in order to have saved herself from enslavement, and all the lives of the children that came after. So many, many, children. He had still been present in the bowels of his den where he had chained her to the wall when she first summoned one of her special friends, someone who she had hoped could heal and free her, but unfortunately it was the unicorn Orissa who helped the human predator find new and easy prey. Watching from the shadows he’d snatched the Fae child as soon as the healing was complete and what he wrought upon the boy was unspeakable. She’d cried in shame for her part in their suffering before it ended.

He delighted in causing her damage so softly. He saved the brutality for the young ones, and laid his hands on her hide only in the most delicate patterns, sometimes taking days to build the torment until Orissa unwilling gave in to his demands to summon a new plaything. She wished for death, which she believed would be the last pure, gentle, and free thing she could ever touch again, because what he had found that day in the park he had kept, the children she called he kept too, and what he kept he utterly destroyed.

~~~Notes~~~

Orissa – Otherworldy Unicorns make friends with any young creatures, including young humans, who they used to see more of before the Human Realm became so inhospitable. Their influence traditionally ends once an individual’s “Purity” is lost, which has historically been interpreted to mean virginity, but there are far worse ways to become impure than something as natural as sex and desire.

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