Characters: Victoria "Yasmine" Martin, Nasser Husni, Samir
Rating: Hard R, for violence. It gets pretty twisted.
Word Count: 1,684
Total Words: 5,179/20,000
“Gentlemen, enough of this talk of business. We’re all going to make a lot of money, so what is there left to discuss? Sit, drink, watch the entertainment!”
The richly-dressed men nodded in appreciation and agreement and milled around out of the smaller meeting room and into Nasser’s grand hall. There were only a handful of candles lit, concentrating their light to the head of the room where one woman stood, scantily-clad, ankle chained, eyes downcast. The merchants’ wives and fiancees were entering from another room, chattering and rustling in their elegant robes. A hush came over them when they mingled with the men and saw the young woman. Everyone quieted, but began mumbling to each other, whispering and musing. What was this? A handful of them had been here before and seen the show, or some version of it, but they just nodded and shrugged, waiting.
Without warning, hidden instruments began, two drums. One was low with a heavy bass sound, one higher and faster. The woman appeared to begin spasming, but rhythmically, hands moving slowly into the air as she jerked. As they reached the level of her head, her face moved up slowly, first looking upon the crowd, then moving past them to the ceiling. Her body began more fluid movements as more drums kicked in behind the scenes, a horn of some sort interjecting here and there. As she danced, four stone balls placed around her like a compass rose into the air. The guests, especially the women, all gasped and gave excited little shouts of surprise. Fantastic! Nasser had a magician!
The balls floated, dancing and bobbing, weaving in and out between her bare legs, around her arms, her head, passing dangerously close to her body and each other. Four more, placed equal distances from each other and where the first ones were, rose and joined them after a few minutes. They sped up with the tempo of the music and the mage girl’s dancing. A few of the guests applauded and politely cheered encouragement during some of the more spectacular moves, never knowing that high in the rafters, Nasser had three skilled guards with crossbows pointed right at the heart of his beautiful chained jester.
As the music began a beautiful, gentle changeover, the lights in the room began to pulse, the flame of every candle itself growing larger and smaller with the beat to create an amazing effect. A tendril of fire, controlled by an unseen man to create an even more spectacular illusion, rose from the large pillar candle directly behind the woman. The guests gasped, mesmerized. It whipped in and out with her stone balls, splitting off into tongues and flying through the air above the heads of the audience. The balls appeared to catch fire as the man focused and they worked in perfect harmony, a snake of fire still flying about. Then, in a flash, all was dark and silent.
Nasser grinned at the astonished noises of his guests. He knew this performance by heart. They’d practiced it for months. Every note, every jerk of the whore’s body was planned perfectly, timed to get just the right reaction, keeping his guests hooked. The music would grow again. Bit by bit, the fire would return, lighting the room, and she would perform her spectacular finale, floating into the air, hauling the chain, although it would be obscured by the sea of fire that would dance below her, rising with her and nipping at her bare toes. His guests would return home, talking of nothing for days, weeks. Word would spread of the magic he held in his power.
Startled, he looked around, searching in the darkness. Who was…? Did someone…? The music began on cue, but the light did not return when it should. Clueless, his guests chattered excitedly. It was black as pitch as he felt around, mumbling panicked apologies as he bumped into people, heading in the direction that he thought the closest door was. He smashed into the wall, but found a handle within his reach. He tore it open and was blinded momentarily by the sudden bright light. His two stars stood there, as scantily-clad and painted as he’d just seen them minutes earlier. The literal fire dancing around behind them in his receiving hall was white hot, but it did not compare to flame burning in the woman’s stone-gray eyes. Bodies of his servants and family lay dead, necks snapped or corpses burned where they had fallen, trying to flee or trying to fight them.
Surprised? Did you truly think you could contain us here? That you could contain me with chains?
The same way I do this. She punched her fist out and he felt as though it landed squarely in the middle of his chest, flinging him back and pinning him to the door.
“That is not my name!” she screeched wildly, out loud, suddenly frenzied. Nasser felt a huge amount of force suddenly barreling into him. The fire mage, a man he knew as Samir, put a calming hand on her back and she let out a deep breath, regaining control. The force let up on Nasser, although he was still pinned at the chest. The woman he’d known only as Yasmine, the force mage, stepped toward him, closing the gap slowly. “Your days of torture are over, Nasser Husni. Your bloodline is over. Every memory of you will be erased from here. You will burn in the rubble and no one will remember you.” He tried to reach for her and with a jerk of her head, she forced down his hands, pinning them to his side. She met his eyes again and raised her hand to his throat, gripping it and squeezing with more force than a woman her size would normally contain in her little hand. His air supply was partially cut off and he wriggled, fighting her, put now his legs were pinned, too, and he was helpless. Samir turned away, his wall of fire still standing around them, ready to destroy anyone who tried to save their master.
Her voice rang in his head again. I have waited years, gathering strength, practicing, feeling out the inside of each and every lock you placed around my ankle or wrist or neck, learning the mechanisms and exactly what little levers and gears to press. Surprisingly complex things, those locks. And I could do nothing as you beat me, burned me, cut me, and raped me, then gave me over to your men to do the same thing, because I happened to have the curse of beauty and I happened to be owned by you. But do you really, truly, think you can own another human being? You could chain my body, but you never could have owned my mind. And my mind, as it turns out, is much more powerful than anyone will ever know. She removed her hand, but he still could barely breathe. I could crush your windpipe with a thought. But no. She released hid throat and he took huge, desperate gulps of air. I will have more fun with you.
Nasser let out a hideous scream as she made a tight fist and he felt his testicles enter her vice grip. A sickening squishing noise and a crunch preceded the ooze of blood through the gold dress pants he wore. Samir flinched, but did not turn to look. Nasser’s vision went white from the pain and he felt himself numbly fall to the ground. “Reznik Husni?” he heard distantly, a thousand miles away. His guests had come searching, probably found the door he’d been pinned against blocked, and found the longer way around. The two mages responded instantly. A woman was burned up in fire so hot she was dead within seconds. Another man found his body snapped in grotesque ways and slumped to the floor. Several others were dispatched that way before the group slammed the door, hoping to barricade themselves. Instead of pursuing, Yasmine laughed a broken, somewhat crazed laugh.
She raised her arms and her face, as she had done such a short time ago during her performance. The building began to shake and the wooden beams began to crack and splinter. A tremendous rumbling noise and a deafening crash mixed with screams as the roof collapsed in the hall, crushing any remaining guests who had not found any other way of escape. Samir threw out his wall of fire as Yasmine worked to bring down the rest of the great, sprawling estate, protecting only this room. As the roof split open, the night sky and its canvas of endless twinkling stars revealed itself. She took a long breath of the fresh outdoor air. She had not seen the sky in eight years, chained in his dungeon several stories below. The home, now a ruin, burned around them, a narrow path waiting for their escape through the fire. The force mage knelt down next to her former captor where he lay, white and gasping. He appeared to have given up and that seemed to give her some pleasure, from the amused look that crossed her face.
Nasser, she called to him and slowly he stirred, focusing on her face. He couldn’t even find it within himself to look frightened anymore. Come back to me… Once she had his attention, she told him quietly, “My name is Victoria.” She crossed her wrists over his shoulders, fingers outstretched, then flung them apart in opposite directions. His head jerked violently, his neck snapped, and he was instantly dead. For a moment the woman relished her victory and stood, before she began to sway violently. Samir rushed to her and caught her as she collapsed, power entirely spent. Carefully, he climbed through the flaming rubble, carrying her out and away to freedom.