Bride of Albis
m/m science fiction
Chapter 3: New Master
Nearly a day passed before he heard the door unlock and Sam had to prepare himself and grip the mirror shard. He was starving and felt weak with fear, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion, but he had held himself ready to attack all day and he wouldn’t let his weakness get in the way of his escape. He was a little surprised at how long he had been left alone, however, since the prince had said he was valuable yet they were not feeding him or giving him water aside from what he could get from the sink in cupped hands. He had expected Tarle to return a lot sooner and he just hoped his strength was enough.
Tarle entered the room and Sam couldn’t help but breath a sigh of admiration. He had changed from white to black and the color set off his tan skin and dark hair and eyes beautifully. He was like a walking dream, but Sam tightened his grip on the mirror shard. Beauty or not, he would take Tarle hostage and find his crew. Tarle smiled at him and came closer.
As soon as Tarle was within reach, Sam moved. He leapt up and the mirror shard was at Tarle’s throat in an instant, with Sam behind him where the Albin couldn’t fight back. When Tarle attempted to grab him he pushed the shard against that tan skin and felt it break. He kept it light, not wanting to kill Tarle, but with enough pressure so that Tarle knew he meant business. Tarle stopped trying to defend and instead stood there.
Sam was practically climbing on his back to be able to reach his throat and without warning, Tarle stepped backwards and slammed both of them back into the wall. The force of his body and the wall knocked the air from Sam’s lungs and black stars danced across his gaze for the second time in as many days. His grip on the mirror shard loosened and it clattered to the floor. He slumped down as Tarle stepped out of his grip.
“That wasn’t very smart, now,” Tarle said, rubbing his throat where the shard had punctured his skin. “The king doesn’t like disobedient servants. You were purchased with the understanding that you were a willing slave.”
Air began to creep back into Sam’s lungs and he gasped.
“That was,” he managed. “Before that bastard lied to me and sold my crew.”
“So you volunteered for slavery in order to save your crew? How noble. Foolish, though, to trust a pirate. You should have known he was lying. And now we have a problem. The king won’t want an unwilling slave, but we’ve already purchased you.”
Sam lay crumpled on the floor, the air finally flowing freely again. The mirror shard was almost within reach. If he could just grab it- Tarle kicked it away from him, then grabbed him and hauled him to his feet.
Tarle sighed. “I suppose the king will have to decide how to handle this. After all, he should have known the deal was too good to be true as well.”
“I’m going to free my crew,” Sam vowed. “And I’m going to kill the Albin who lied to me.”
“You’re going to be a slave,” Tarle said. “I think you’ll find it very difficult to do those things when you’re serving the king.”
Sam shook his head, but he said nothing. Tarle rubbed the cut on his throat, which had stopped bleeding and seemed to be healing remarkably fast. He grabbed Sam’s arm and hauled him out of the room. Soldiers filled the small ship and Sam realized with shock that even if he had gotten the upper hand on Tarle, he never would have escaped alive. They had already landed on whatever planet King Jovis lived.
Tarle said something to one of the guards and the guard handcuffed Sam’s hands behind his back. Apparently they were taking no more chances with him. Then two guards took his arms and Tarle led him out of the ship into a vast, sparkling white ice palace. Sam was in awe. It wasn’t made of ice, he was sure, but it looked identical. He could make out shapes through the walls in the same blurry, twisted way one could see through an icicle back on Earth. And everything glittered. He was surprised he didn’t slip on the sparkling floors but they were oddly warm against his bare feet, not like ice at all. They finally entered a vast chamber dominated by a massive throne, upon which sat the man Sam had seen in the monitor. King Jovis.
Sam shivered. He was still wearing nothing but the loincloth and he felt utterly exposed in front of the guards, the prince, and now the king. He really did feel like a slave and once again, the reality of his situation crashed in around him. He had allowed himself to be sold into slavery to a man who would undoubtedly take him as a bride. He could see Jovis’s eyes widen in appreciation as Sam was led closer to the throne and the king examined him from head to toe. A satisfied smile flickered across the king’s face, but then Tarle stepped forward and began speaking in rapid Albis.
Jovis didn’t look at Tarle as the prince spoke, instead studying Sam carefully, the smile fading from his face somewhat. Sam was willing to bet that Tarle was explaining that Sam wasn’t, in fact, a voluntary slave but was here against his will, because a flicker of annoyance and anger flashed across Jovis’s face. Luckily, it didn’t seem to be directed at Sam. Sam wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that anger and he knew that he might actually want to be obedient to avoid the king’s wrath. But he was still resolved to rescue his crew and kill the Albin who sold them.
After Tarle was done speaking, Jovis stood from his throne and approached Sam, who had to tilt his head quite a bit to look up at the tall Albin as he stood directly in front of Sam. Jovis cupped Sam’s cheek in one hand. Sam blushed at the intimacy of the gesture, his eyes darting towards those kissable lips before meeting the king’s eyes.
“My son tells me you are not here voluntarily. Is that true?”
He stroked his thumb over Sam’s cheek and Sam resisted the urge to pull away from the sensual touch. He considered explaining his entire situation to the king, but he suspected the king just wanted a simple answer.
“That’s true,” he said.
The king said something in Albis and the guards holding Sam’s arms released him. Jovis pulled Sam forward into an embrace. Sam’s hands were still bound behind his back or he would have pushed away, but as it was he went completely stiff and tried to pull away as best he could. He fit perfectly into the king’s arms, however, his head tucking just under the king’s head. But he struggled in the embrace, uncomfortable with the closeness. Jovis released him and he backed up a few steps. The guards took his arms again and Jovis turned to Tarle.
“It is as you say. He is not ready for my service. Tarle,” he said, and Tarle stood up straighter. “I will leave him in your care until he has learned to be obedient. You may use whatever means you deem necessary to train him, but you must not enter him. That is reserved for me only.”
Tarle glanced at Sam in surprise, then turned back to the king. He said something in Albis and the king chuckled and responded in the same language. They conversed for several more minutes in the language as Sam once again cursed his inability to understand. Then the guards were leading Sam out of the room, leaving the two royals to discuss whatever they were discussing in private.
Sam was brought to a large suite of rooms with walls made of the not-ice material, but it was thicker, so you couldn’t see vague shapes through it. He longed to run his hands over it and reassure himself that it wasn’t ice, but he couldn’t. He could only know for sure about the floor as his bare feet touched it. The suite of rooms held a large living area, what looked like an enormous bedroom and bathroom, and a smaller bedroom. He was led to the smaller bedroom and his bound hands were tied to one of the posts on the bed. He was now unable to move at all except a few inches to either side. The guards left, and he was alone.
He thought of the king and how good it had felt to be pressed up against the larger man like that, but how wrong at the same time. He was supposed to be the larger man; he was the alpha. He hated this feeling of helplessness. Plus, he was starving, thirsty, exhausted, and now frightened. He had been given to Tarle to learn how to be obedient and he didn’t know what that meant. Was Tarle going to break his spirit until there was nothing of him left? Was Tarle going to torture him? Or was Tarle just going to leave him here until lack of food and water made him willing to do anything just to survive?
He shifted, uncomfortable against the bedpost. He couldn’t sit or move up or down at all. The physical discomfort was building rapidly along with his hunger and thirst. He would pretend to be obedient in order to get food, he decided. But he wouldn’t break so easily. The lives of his crew hung over him and gave him strength as minutes stretched to hours and he shifted from one foot to the other, then both feet, then one to the other again. He could tell the passage of time from the progress of the sun outside the window. Assuming it was anything like the sun on Earth, that was.
Finally, when he could barely take it any longer, Tarle entered the room. Sam looked up at him, hoping he would be released and given food and water. But instead, Tarle just studied him, then turned and left.
“Wait,” Sam cried. “Wait, come back!”
But the door to the room closed, and Tarle was gone. Sam slumped against his bonds and they dug into his wrists. The sun sank below the horizon in a glorious spurt of crimson gold. A tear ran down Sam’s cheek. He wanted to believe that no one had the right to treat him like this, but at the same time he knew that he was now a slave and his owners did have the right to treat him like this. But why did they have to be so cruel? Surely most people were slaves against their will. Why did they have to torture him just because he didn’t want to be a slave?
The sun had been down for several hours and Sam had broken down into tears twice when the door opened again and Tarle appeared. He didn’t say a word, just cut the bonds from Sam’s hands and pulled him to the bed. Tarle sat on the bed and pulled Sam onto his lap. It didn’t even occur to Sam to run away, so tearful was he, and he allowed the prince to tuck Sam’s head below his in the same embrace that had frightened him when the king did it earlier in the day. Only this time, it felt right and Sam clung to Tarle and sobbed, letting out the fear and frustration of his new circumstances.
When his tears were spent, Tarle helped him into the bed and even tucked the covers around him. The Albin kissed his forehead sweetly and Sam wondered at how gentle he was being after abandoning him so coldly before. Maybe this was his way of apologizing. Sam would have scorned the apology, but he was too tired. His eyes fluttered shut and he drifted off into a sleep filled with towering giants so beautiful that he wept to behold them.