Bride of Albis
m/m science fiction
Chapter 2: The Auction
“Turn around,” a voice ordered.
Sam didn’t know who spoke, but he obeyed and turned around slowly, knowing the Albins on the other side of the room wanted to see him. He saw the admiration in their eyes as they gazed at him and he blushed.
He knew he was an attractive man – he never had trouble filling his bed – but he knew they were looking at him from an entirely different angle than he was used to. He envisioned himself as a strong, alpha male and these Albins were looking at him as a bride. He wondered what they saw in him that was appealing. He had a mess of brown hair that always dried into careless yet appealing waves, and his eyes were a pale blue. His face was like marble, people said, sculpted into perfection. He was muscular, though not nearly as much as the Albins, and tall for a human. His lovers always commented on how masculine he was, how powerful. But the Albins weren’t looking for powerful. They were looking for submissive, or at least that’s what he assumed. And right now, with the lives of his crew hanging around his neck, that’s what he had to give them.
More voices called out commands – raise your arms, turn to the left, the right, bend over – and he obeyed. Occasionally the head Albin would come out to the center and speak in the Albis language, and the other Albins would usually laugh at whatever he said. But there was one who never laughed, who looked at Sam without expression. He was by far the most handsome of the lot but he was like ice. He never called any commands, never said anything, and never laughed at anything the head Albin said. Yet the head Albin seemed to look to him the most, as if he were the one he was trying to please.
Sam was a little frightened of him. He just sat there like ice, watching Sam attempt to obey everyone’s commands and fight the instinct to disobey and refuse. He seemed the least interested, as well, but he was so beautiful. He had a wide face and a wide brow, like all Albins, and smooth cheeks. But it was his lips that entranced Sam. They were wide and full, and Sam couldn’t help but imagine kissing them. He tried not to look at the silent Albin but his gaze kept drifting back to those lips even though the man said nothing, asked nothing. He was frightening, but alluring at the same time.
Finally the examination was over and the bidding began. All of the men scrambled over each other with bids, all of them, that is, except the silent man. The head Albin kept looking at him nervously, but said nothing. Then, when the bidding had slowed to a crawl, the silent man spoke. Sam didn’t know what he said, since all the bidding was being done in the Albis language, but whatever he said made the others in the room gasp, including the head Albin at Sam’s side. There was then a long silence, and then the head Albin seemed to be calling for any other bids. There were none, and it was over. There was some grumbling among the men as they disconnected their monitors and the screens faded to black, all except the silent man who had made the last bid. He and the head Albin spoke rapidly back and forth for several minutes and then his monitor went black as well. The head Albin turned to Sam with a pleased smile.
“Well, you’ve certainly earned your keep. Jovis hasn’t bid on any of my auctions in years.”
“How much did he bid?” Sam asked, unable to stifle his curiosity.
“Want to know how much you’re worth? Well, you’ll have to ask him. Slaves have no business knowing their price.”
He led Sam out of the room but just as Sam was crossing the threshold, the door on the other side of the room opened and he caught a glimpse of Alex being dragged into the room. The door closed before he could see any more but his heart leapt to his throat and he whirled to face the head Albin.
“What is he doing in there? My crew was to go free.”
The head Albin secured his grip on Sam’s arm and shrugged. “I lied. It hardly matters now, slave. You belong to Jovis.”
Sam stared at him in shock. All of the humiliation he had just endured, the thought of the life he was entering, all of it suffered for nothing? He attacked without thinking, punching the Albin in the throat and kneeing his groin at the same time. The Albin went down but there were guards nearby and they easily pinned Sam to the wall. He hissed and spat at them, but couldn’t budge from their tight grips.
“You liar! You fucking liar! I won’t let this happen. I’ll escape and I’ll track you down. I’ll kill you!”
The head Albin moaned and got up from the floor, rubbing his neck and his groin. His eyes flashed with anger. He grabbed Sam by the neck and squeezed. Pinned as he was to the wall by the guards, there was no way Sam could fight as the air left his body and he couldn’t inhale. Stars began to cross his vision and he grew dizzy. The hand on his throat tightened. His body felt weak and trembling as he kept trying to gasp for air. Black spiraled in on his vision and his head fell forward out of his control. Then the hand left his throat and it took a second before he could take a breath. When he finally did gasp in air, it stung against his sore throat even while it began reviving his weak body.
“Don’t ever try that again, slave,” the head Albin growled. “I may have just earned a fortune from selling you, but I would gladly kill you and lose that fortune if you ever raise a hand against me again.”
A fortune, Sam thought in a mind still foggy with lack of oxygen. He earned a fortune from me and he’s still selling my crew.
The guards holding him carried him back to the room with the bunk and bath and tossed him on the bed. The head Albin, still rubbing his throat, glared at him.
“Jovis is sending a ship to pick you up. I’ll have a guard in your room to make sure you don’t try anything until it arrives.”
Sam shut his eyes. He had thought, briefly, about killing himself and forcing the head Albin to lose his fortune, but he loved life too much for that. And the guard would undoubtedly stop him. He heard the head Albin leave and cracked his eyes to see one guard leaning against the farthest wall that, in these cramped quarters, was not too far away. He was still weak from oxygen loss and he lay in bed for what felt like hours. He even dozed off, but his dreams were filled with his crew being forced to endure the same humiliating process he had endured and then being sold off to silent men with kissable lips.
It seemed much too soon when the guard was shaking him awake. Jovis’s ship had arrived. The head Albin entered the room just as Sam was getting up from the bed. He examined Sam, especially his neck where he had grabbed him, and seemed to approve, then took Sam’s arm with a glare as if warning him not to try anything again. They walked to the docks, where a white vessel was waiting. Sam was not surprised by its pristine appearance; he had expected something of the sort from the silent, icy Albin he had been sold to. It was an impressive ship, he had to admit, far nicer than any ship he had seen in a long time and far nicer than the ship he had captained, though of course his ship had an emotional appeal that made up for its age and some of its mechanical faults.
An Albin in a sparkling white uniform waited beside the vessel and the head Albin bowed as soon as they came to a stop. He tugged on Sam’s arm and Sam bowed, too, though he didn’t know why. The waiting Albin was not Jovis, he knew, and was mostly likely a servant sent to collect the new slave. So why were they bowing?
Even though Sam knew that all Albins were attractive, this one was the most attractive he had ever seen. He looked a lot like Jovis, but the features were chiseled and youthful, the lips somehow even more appealing than Jovis’s. He was without a doubt the most beautiful man Sam had ever seen and Sam couldn’t help but stare. Against his will, he imagined the beautiful servant embracing him and covering his mouth in a passionate kiss that stirred emotions deep down inside Sam and made him feel alive again in a way he hadn’t felt for years as Sam submitted to the powerful Albin as he had never done for any male in his life. He shook his head slightly to clear the image from his head; he would not fall in love with the servant when he was sworn to his master and besides, he was not going to be a bride to anyone.
The servant walked around Sam and made an appreciative murmur before turning to the head Albin. They spoke in Albis and Sam knew he was going to have to learn the language, and soon. The servant extended a bag and the head Albin accepted it with a greedy smile, and then the servant took Sam’s arm and led him to the ship. Sam couldn’t help but look back at the ship they were leaving, on which his crew was still trapped.
As soon as they were alone together on the little white vessel, Sam turned to the servant.
“Excuse me,” he said, hoping the servant spoke the common tongue.
“What is it?” the servant said, appearing shocked that Sam was speaking to him.
“My crew is on that pirate ship. I know you may not have the authority, but is there any way your master could buy them as well?”
The Albin stared at him for several long minutes. Then he began laughing.
“My master? You have no idea who I am, do you, little human?”
Sam flushed, knowing he had made a mistake but not knowing what it was.
“No, sir,” he said.
“I am Prince Tarle, King Jovis’s eldest son.”
“King Jovis?” Sam repeated, shocked.
He knew nothing about Albin politics and didn’t know if kings were common or not, but he did know that they were undoubtedly very powerful. And wealthy. Certainly wealthy enough to buy his crew.
“You were told nothing at all, were you,” Tarle mused. “Well, as for your crew, they have undoubtedly been sold elsewhere. My father was not invited to participate in any of their auctions. He has very specific tastes.”
Tarle eyed him, and Sam flushed again. So he was one of the king’s specific tastes? He wasn’t sure if he was flattered or frightened. And it disturbed him a little to think that the man who might be taking him as a bride had a son the same age as him, especially one so beautiful. Albin’s had longer lives than humans, but not that much longer.
But he was mostly upset that there was nothing he could do for his crew. He would have to track them down one by one now, and then find the head Albin and kill him. But how would he be able to do any of that as the king’s slave? He would have to escape, but escaping from a king sounded a lot harder than escaping from a regular Albin. Unless he escaped now, while he was still in transit. There was only the prince on this ship, after all. He studied the controls. They were in a different language but they seemed fairly standard. He had seen Alex at the controls enough times to know how to operate a ship fairly well, but he was a little worried about docking. He might need the prince alive to dock the ship, and that meant he had to get the upper hand on the prince, which would be hard to do as the Albin towered a full head taller than him and was considerably more muscular. But he had little choice.
The prince was watching him, following his gaze to the controls.
“Thinking of running away? It won’t work. My family has just spent quite a bit of gold on you and we won’t risk you getting away.”
With that, he took Sam’s arm and led him to a room similar to the one he had been locked in on the pirate ship, only this was more comfortably furnished with the bathroom in a separate area. The prince pushed him inside and then closed the door, and Sam could hear it lock. He gazed around the room, looking for anything that might make it easier to escape when he was finally released from the room. His eyes finally landed on the mirror in the separate bathroom. He punched the mirror as hard as he could and it shattered. He took the largest piece and went back to the bed, sitting down and hiding the mirror shard as best he could. When Tarle came back into the room, he now had a weapon and a means of fighting the beautiful Albin.