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15 December 2012 @ 08:33 am
FIC: The Windmines of Bora Bora - 6/11  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: The Windmines of Bora Bora
Part: 6/11
Rating: R
Configuration: /
Warnings: slavery, despair, previous rape and torture mentioned, off-screen rape, frequent and graphic violence, suicidal thoughts
Word Count: 3.400/36.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Ivan, Smelly
Summary: Barely having survived the punishment for his attempted escape, Ivan wonders if there is any point to his survival. But then he notices Smelly opening a door...



Even though the gloved hands roughly grabbing his hips were long gone, Ivan could still feel their prints burning on his skin.

Even though he was lying on a bed of rocks in some remote tunnel, his mind was still in the guardsroom that he had been taken to after his unsuccessful attempt to escape.

Even though he had been tortured and raped so often during his time as a pet that he had lost count, it still hurt. Not physically, he could ignore that. But inside. Despite everything, it hurt inside.

And it would hurt every time again, Ivan realized that now.

He could tell himself that the scrapes and bruises only hurt his body. That they could not touch his soul. But it wouldn’t help. Sooner or later, one of them would get past his defenses, use him in a way that once again left him feeling soiled in a way no shower would ever be able to wash away.

Why did it still hurt, after all these times? Why did he still care?

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Ivan noticed Smelly rummaging around nearby.

When the guards had been done with him, they had just thrown him back into his cave. Bleeding and broken, they just didn’t care. Either he would be easy prey for his enemies now, or he was still fit enough to fight and then to work the next day. Both outcomes had been fine with them.

Given his current state of despair, Ivan wouldn’t even have raised a hand if Madrigal or his goons had found him first.

But it had been Smelly, unmistakably repugnant Smelly, who had found him lying by the gate to the slave compound, more unconscious than not. It had been Smelly who had dragged Ivan through the cave and along endless tunnels until they had found a place he apparently considered halfway safe. Smelly had even checked him for serious injuries, at least as much as one could under the circumstances. Well, at least he had made reasonably sure Ivan wasn’t silently bleeding to death.

Normally, Ivan would have been touched by this display of care and friendship. But all he felt inside was that numb void. This emptiness that told him he’d never get out of here again, that he’d never get a life worth living, and that he’d probably be better off if he died right now.

In a way, it reminded him of his sister.

Thinking of his former family made Ivan groan in disgust. Those people were sick, certifiably sick. That they belonged to one of the Royal Houses running this empire felt like a bitter joke to him. It seemed this world was getting the rulers it deserved. Perverts and slavers, drug-pushers, pimps and psychopaths of interstellar renown.

Just where he fit into the bigger picture himself, Ivan had no clue.

Probably he would be better off if he just walked in on Madrigal and offered himself to be made an example of. Or he could drop himself from one of the wind-catchers, turning himself into a crimson splotch in the orange dust. Merely cutting his wrists seemed positively pedestrian in comparison to his other options.

“Get some rest.” Smelly mumbled softly above him. “I’ll fetch some water.”

Ivan didn’t even bother to turn his head. What the hell was that misguided wreck of a human doing anyway? Why did he even care? At first, Ivan had thought Smelly was hoping for some protection, some kind of recognition for his constant assistance. But now it seemed Smelly had just formed some very odd, very one-sided attachment.

What a fool, Ivan thought bitterly. He’ll have to find another master to lap up to once I’m gone.

He turned around on his rocky bed, trying to find a position that, if not being more comfortable, at least hurt in a different way.

I could bash my head against the rocks until it’s over. Just again and again until I pass out. And in case I wake up again, I’d just continue. I wonder how often that happens down here.

Again turning around to the other side, Ivan spotted Smelly sneaking through the half-dark cave in front of the tunnel he was lying in, his bare feet hardly leaving footprints on the packed dirt floor. Smelly was heading towards another security gate, but probably not the one the guards had dropped Ivan through some hours earlier. It had felt like miles of caves that Smelly had dragged him through, definitely more than the few dozen meters he could see right now.

Maybe he ought to slit his wrists anyway, Ivan wondered. That way, he’d be dead and cold long before Smelly returned.

Down in the cave, Smelly soundlessly sneaked up to the gate and slipped through as if there was nothing remarkable about it.

Where the hell is he going to get water anyway, Ivan asked himself. That stuff’s more precious than gold down here, does he have a secret stash or something? And why’d he waste it on me, of all people?

Only then he realized that Smelly had just opened the gate. The heavily secured, definitely locked iron gate.

Rubbing his face to get his mind to clear up at least a little, Ivan flinched at the smell of duct tape that still clung to his wrist. Duct tape the guards had used to tie him to the table in their room, laughing at him and squabbling over who’d get to be the first.

But the ugly memories this time didn’t have enough force to keep Ivan away from the riddle that was currently stalking his mind. Had Smelly really just picked an industrial-grade security gate? That stinking hobo? Without so much as hesitating?

Squinting, Ivan stared down his tunnel, trying to find a hint that would help him make sense of this all. But in the meager light of the cave, he couldn’t spot anything unusual. The gate just looked like any other gate down here in the tunnels. There were countless of them, and they were what separated the masters from the slaves down here. If you were on one side, you were one of the masters. If not, you were a slave.

And fucking Smelly had just fucking opened the fucking gate!

What in all the Empire was going on here?

Groaning with pains in various parts of his body, Ivan sat up. It didn’t look like the gate was in disuse, quite the contrary. He could even make out the soft green glow of the pinpad’s power blip as a faint gleam on the ground. But for some very odd reason, the alarm hadn’t sprung.

Ivan’s mind was racing. Was Smelly a sleeper agent for the guards, spying on the slaves in the name of the BoBo MEGs? Or had Ivan’s cursed sister found a way to torment him even here, on the last leg of his voyage to a miserable death?

The last notion was so outlandish Ivan couldn’t suppress a sarcastic snort.

He wouldn’t put it behind his fiendish sister to actually have a spy here among the slaves on Bora Bora. But that spy definitely would have been a LOT less fishy than Smelly. No, Princess Anita Dracon would never step so low and involve a soft-spoken, highly odorous hobo in her elaborate, cruel games.

So whatever it was, it had to be something different. Only Ivan had no clue what it could possibly be. Who in all the empire could benefit from having a spy here among the slaves? Or maybe Smelly wasn’t spying on the slaves, but the guards, maybe he was working for a some criminals planning a heist on Bora Bora. But why didn’t he spy among the guards, then? And what the hell was worth stealing here on the bloody rock, anyway? Nothing, really.

Groaning, Ivan held his head with both hands.

This was leading nowhere. There was absolutely no point in having any sort of spy among the slaves of Bora Bora. No one cared for slaves, neither for their opinions nor for their lives, for that matter.

Smelly, of all people?

Again and again, Ivan’s mind got stuck on that fact. That slightly retarded guy? The longer Ivan thought about it, the more he came to the conclusion that he must have overlooked something crucial. Maybe he had even dreamed Smelly opening that gate, which wasn’t too improbable considering the sorry state he was in. Maybe he had overlooked someone on the other side of the gate helping Smelly. Which, of course, would pose a whole other set of questions.

Again, Ivan groaned. This was still leading nowhere. He really should stop thinking about this and instead concentrate and watch for Smelly returning. Maybe he would find some answers to this riddle that way.

He settled into a slightly upright position, as comfortable as possible on the bare rocks he was lying on. At least, this way he would be able to keep an eye on the gate without craning his neck. He felt sore enough that getting a stiff neck on top of everything else was about the last thing that he wanted.

Slightly incredulous, Ivan found himself smiling.

Had it really been only a few moments ago that he had been pondering to slit his wrists? Was he that easy to distract? Apparently, yes. But Ivan also knew he wasn’t just distracted. This intriguing little puzzle Smelly had presented him had been enough to remind Ivan of his strongest asset. He was too curious to just give up. He wanted to see what was going to happen next, he was curious to learn how his own story was going to end, and in a way he was not willing to consider his story finished until he had brought it to an at least satisfyingly bloody end.

Right then, Ivan caught a motion on the other side of the gate. It was Smelly, no doubt about that. Nobody else was so covered in dust that he looked like a moving rock. And that bush of hair was also pretty unique.

But just like on his way out, Smelly approached the gate as if there was nothing unusual about it. He took hold of one of the bars, pushed the gate open, slipped inside and closed the door behind him again. Just like that. No attempt to pick the lock, no stranger who could have helped him. Even though he couldn’t be too sure about it in the low light, Ivan could have sworn the lights on the gate’s lock had never changed from ‘locked’ to ‘unlocked’ during the whole thing. Maybe the lock was broken?

Silent as an alleycat, Smelly approached their cave. He was carrying something in his tunic which he had gathered up for the purpose, once again revealing much more of his anatomy than Ivan would have ever cared to see.

Smelly was up in their cave within seconds, way before Ivan could have thought about something smart and appropriately caustic to say. So he just stared at the other slave, fuming at his unusual lack of words.

“Oh, you’re up.” Smelly remarked softly. Kneeling down next to Ivan, he took at least half a dozen full water bottles out of his tunic, a veritable treasure down here. “Come on, have a sip. You need it.”

“WHAT! THE! FUCK?!” it suddenly bust out of Ivan.

That had been much less eloquent than he had hoped for, but then again, it was only Smelly he was talking to. The other slave just stared at him for a long moment, startled and blinking owlishly, at least that was what Ivan assumed the expression underneath his luscious facial hair to be.

“I saw you walk through that door. You didn’t even have to pick it.”

“Oh.” Cocking his head, Smelly seemed genuinely embarrassed, of all things. “You weren’t supposed to see that.”

“Right. And what exactly was it that I have seen that I shouldn’t have?”

“Me walking through a door?” At least, Smelly had the decency to sound apologetic.

“No kidding.” For several seconds, Ivan stared at his companion, wondering what to say. “What the fuck is going on here?”

Pensively, Smelly rubbed his nose, which basically consisted out of him rubbing the bristly shrub in his face, little bits of crusted dust falling off.

“The Emperor sent me here, to check what’s happening to the slaves.”

“Yeah, right. Why the fuck the Emperor would care for slaves?”

“The Emperor cares for each and all of his subjects.”

That last line was the well-worn catch phrase of the Phoenix Knights, and even though it was delivered in Smelly’s soft, slightly mumbling voice, it sounded disconcertingly self-possessed.

“Oh please, Smelly, really. You, a Phoenix Knight? And why in all the Empire would you tell me that?”

“Because I trust you.”

“Then you are even more of an idiot than I took you for.”

This time, Ivan was sure Smelly smiled under that bristling beard of his. “Well, you wouldn’t sell me out, though, would you?”

For a heartbeat, Ivan was tempted to reply something snarky, but he knew he wouldn’t sell out Smelly, even if he was merely protecting a particularly colorful delusion.

“See?” Smelly remarked calmly as Ivan didn’t reply. “And apart from that, we psions should watch each other’s back, right?”

“I am not a psion.” Ivan replied with a frown.

“Now who’s hiding something here?” Smelly sounded positively amused. “I can almost taste your potential. You’re one of the strongest psions I’ve ever met.”

“And what good is potential if you can’t use it? I can’t even light a fucking candle!”

Smelly cocked his head, intrigued.

“But you are... This is weird. Seriously? You should be really strong, as far as I can tell.”

“You are talking about weird? What am I to say? And how the hell can you tell that I am supposed to be a psychic?”

“Your energy. I can sense it. And it is a whole damn lot. If you wanted to, you could just blast this place to cinders.”

“Believe me, I’ve tried. There was nothing I wanted more than finally getting a grip of those wondrous talents everyone told me I was supposed to have. But nothing. Not a spark.” Giving a sigh, Ivan looked directly at Smelly. “Why am I even telling you this, you’re probably madder than a -”

Ivan broke off, staring at the pebble that leisurely rotated a few inches above Smelly’s outstretched palm. For several long moments, Ivan did nothing but look at the stone, his thoughts racing.

“You are a fucking Phoenix Knight?”

Smelly merely nodded.

“Which one?”

“Sir Yaden.”

“Never heard that name.”

“I am new. This is only my third assignment." Smelly replied, smiling almost apologetically. "They just wrapped post-production on my first movie.”

Considering the fact that Ivan had spent several months in various prisons before he had been sent to the mines of Bora Bora, that made sense as well. It was a rare enough thing for a new Phoenix Knight to take up his oath it usually made big news everywhere in the Empire. Every kid could cite the list of Phoenix Knights in active duty. Forward and backward, including their squires. But if Smelly had been knighted only recently, that might have passed Ivan by in prison.

“And the Emperor sent you here to check on slaves?”

Smelly nodded. “There’s too many slaves getting lost here. Way more than normal, and there’s something really rotten about the whole thing.”

“Do the BoBos know you are here?”

Smelly shook his head. “No, we don’t know yet who’s behind all this.”

“You are a Phoenix Knight.” Ivan repeated flatly, bringing a heart-felt laughter out of his companion.

“Well, it still feels quite weird to me, too.” Pressing a bottle of the water he had brought into Ivan’s hand, he added: “Here. Drink. I want to try something.”

“Try what?” Ivan asked, but drank as he had been told.

“Your powers. I can’t believe you can’t tap all that energy.”

With a deep sigh, Ivan sat down the bottle. Too many people had tried making him jump through loops, and he had failed every time. He really didn’t need a repetition of that. “Smelly, please, I really don’t want to -”

“Oh shut up. I have a suspicion what is wrong.”

That sounded so honest that Ivan just couldn’t resist becoming curious. Maybe this weird person in front of him did have an idea that all his tutors had overlooked.

“You said something about flames, so you’re a pyrokinetic, yes?”

Ivan nodded. “I am supposed to be, yes.”

Smelly grinned widely.

“Try to make a flame.”

“I can’t.”

“I believe you. But I want to see what happens when you try.”

So in lack of a better argument and more than a little overtaxed with the whole turn of events, Ivan stretched out his hand and started to focus. Just as he had been taught, he tried to empty his mind, condense his internal energies until he -

“Okay, are you doing something already?”

Disheartened, Ivan dropped his concentration.

“I told you I couldn’t make fire. I concentrate, and nothing happens. I once managed to almost light a candle. But it took so much out of me that I fainted when the wick was barely smoking.”

“I see.” Smelly sounded intrigued, despite everything. “Have you ever tried using your powers when not concentrating?”

“That’s not how it works.”

“That’s not how it works for them.”

“What do you mean?”

“Here, try this.” Smelly gesture with his right hand, snapping his thumb out of his closed fist as if striking a lighter. “Just imagine lighting a flame above your thumb.”

“This is apeshit.”

“Try.”

A little hesitant, Ivan tried it even though he knew it couldn’t work. And of course, it didn’t.

“See, as I told you.”

“Again.”

Not in the mood to argue, Ivan tried again, with the same results, as expected.

“Again. Make fire.”

Once more, he snapped his thumb. Nothing happened.

“Again. Fire.”

Nothing.

“Again. Fire.”

Nothing.

“A - “

Smelly broke off mid-word as suddenly a large flame roared out of Ivan’s right hand. Not as in ‘a large candle flame’, but as in ‘a fucking roaring welding torch’, the flickering glow dancing red and orange on the cave walls, radiating heat and light.

With a yell of surprise, Ivan shook his hand in panic, the flame gone as swiftly as it had appeared.

“What the FUCK?!”

But Smelly only chuckled, a warm and surprisingly amiable sound, his eyes sparkling.

“As soon as you switched off your mind, your powers took over. You’re not a cerebral psion like almost all others. You are a visceral psion. Like me.”

Ivan could only stare at Smelly in open wonder. Completely at a lack of words, he tried again, just snipping his thumb, trying to find that unfocused state again. And incredibly as it was, for the second time in his life, he conjured a flame from thin air. Smaller this time, just a proper flame, hovering above the tip of his thumb. It was the most magically beautiful thing Ivan had ever seen.

“You really should turn that off, now.” Smelly reminded him.

“You think I’ll exhaust myself?”

“No, you’ve hardly scratched the surface. But we’ll draw unnecessary attention. And I still have a job to do here.”

“Right.” Staring at his thumb a little wistfully, Ivan asked: “Will you train me?”

“Under one condition.”

“Yes?”

“You help me with my job here, and I’ll help you with your powers.”

“And your job is exactly?”

“Find out what’s happening to the slaves here.”

“Right. So you have no clue yet?”

“No. I only know that there’s a lot of things going on in the deeper caves, and we’ll have to take a look. I could use someone guarding my back down there.”

“That sounds like a deal.” Actually, that sounded like a miracle. Finally learning how to use his powers, finally doing something useful even while locked up here on this cursed rock, and all that with a man who just might be the first real friend he ever had? It was almost too good to be true. “Agreed.”

Smelly nodded, apparently just as excited about the whole thing as Ivan. “This is going to be so much fun!”


 
 
 
Meridaemeridae on December 15th, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
Squees happily!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 15th, 2012 12:49 pm (UTC)
:D
hinky_hippo: Christmas G/Dhinky_hippo on December 15th, 2012 11:11 am (UTC)
WHOA! *jaw drops*
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 15th, 2012 12:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Milady OMlady_om on December 15th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
Ha. When you said something 'cool' is going to happen, I figured Smelly would be involved. Good cover :)

And, yeah, this is a weirdly happy chapter. Odd.

P.S. you should probably add a warning for suicidal thoughts.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 15th, 2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
Well, it WAS kind of obvious, I admit. Smelly likes his cover way too much, but that's for another story... ^^

Warning added, thanks for pointing that out. And I think it's quite fitting that this is a happy chapter despite everything. Sometimes in life, the best and the worst moments seem to come hand in hand.

Thanks for commenting!
Jayregnet on December 16th, 2012 06:53 am (UTC)
Thanks! Great development :-) glad that good dear hearted Ivan is heading towards redemption!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 16th, 2012 08:38 am (UTC)
Well, I have to thank you! Glad to hear that you like the direction this is heading - I think you will LOVE what's coming, then. ^^ Loads of kick-ass redempting ahead, so to say. Really looking forward to see how you think about it.
debbiemethosdeb on December 16th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
loved it ,wow I knew there was something off with smelly but I never would have guessed that.I am glad that smelly is giving Ivan something to work for .I was getting worried that he had given up.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 16th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
Nah, Ivan doesn't give up so easily. He was tempted, yes, but he has survived quite a lot and will survive quite some more. ^^

I was a little afraid Smelly had been too obvious - I mean, a guy wearing no shoes, able to walk on all terrain as if glued to the ground... Well, maybe it was for me because I knew what I had to look for. There are still tons of undercover-yaden-stories coming, so probably it'll get easier to spot him with each time.

Thanks for commenting!
idolme922idolme922 on December 16th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
First of all anyone who reads Slavefic IS warned about almost everything.

Next , Smelly? Really? Really awesome!! What a great chapter! You have such a way with surprises!! :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 17th, 2012 08:08 am (UTC)
True about the warnings, but I can very well understand that there are some things squicking people out, and not necessarily things that are obvious. So I am all for being very thorough about the warnings.

And I am soo happy I was able to surprise you with Smelly! I am so used already to Yaden appearing undercover basically EVERYWHERE that it felt totally obvious to me, but all the better if it wasn't!

Thanks for commenting!
Milady OMlady_om on December 20th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
For the record, I am not squicked by anything here. Most of the time I ignore warnings anyway. I just know some people who can handle a ton, but are very sensitive to suicide/suicidal thoughts.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 20th, 2012 12:11 pm (UTC)
Never thought you were.

But I can perfectly understand being sensitive about some subjects, and I really want to be thorough with my warnings, so I honestly appreciate you pointing this out for me.

Suicide (luckily) is something completely foreign to my mindset, so I just didn't realize it's worth a warning. Thanks again!
leigh_tapscottleigh_tapscott on December 16th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
Admittedly, I Know NOTHING this universe, but the story intrigues me! (And the characters!)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 17th, 2012 08:17 am (UTC)
First of all, welcome to the Phoenix Empire then!

You can find a little explanation on the universe and a list of all stories in the Phoenix Empire Story Index and Timeline here: http://rynthjan.livejournal.com/39341.html

Please do not hesitate to ask us if anything is unclear or if you want recommendations on where to go next!

We're so happy you like that universe we've created here and hope you'll find many more entertaining stories. And thanks so much for the kind fb!

Edited at 2012-12-17 08:17 am (UTC)
littlenilittleni on December 17th, 2012 03:50 am (UTC)
*blinks in surprise*

Wow you totally caught me offguard. I did not even give Smelly a second glance, thinking this was an 'Ivan the Cannibal saves the day' fic.

Now of course I really want to know more about the backstory about Phoenix Knights.
How do you join, who can join, when did they start, what is their motto, do they have a annual christmas meeting, all the sort of things that you want to know but can't find on Wikipedia.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 17th, 2012 08:26 am (UTC)
Well, I am amazed that I managed to surprise you, but all the better, I think. In many ways, this IS a story about Ivan saving the day, only that he doesn't do so alone. And damn will he do a lot of day saving until this is over.

Hehe. The Phoenix Knights are a fascinating bunch, and for a good reason. They are the personal buddy knights of the Emperor, much like the Knights of the Round Table in the old days. Picked exclusively by the Emperor for reasons not made public, they are his representatives, special forces and most important propaganda tools.

And while there is nothing about the Phoenix Knights in the Wikipedia (yet), there is quite a bit about them in the Phoenicipedia: http://phoenicipedia.wetpaint.com/page/Phoenix+Knight
The site's still under construction in many ways and I don't seem to get the search function running properly, but there IS already a whole lot of information in there. Maybe that'll answer most of your questions. If not, ask and we will answer. ^^
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on January 13th, 2013 06:53 am (UTC)
Link above is outdated. Please use: http://phoenicipedia.wikia.com/wiki/Phoenix_Knights
triptyxtriptyx on December 18th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
YADEN!!!!!!! :D :D :D YAY!!!! :D I wouldnt have thought ever that there is Phoenix Knight under Smelly!!!! :D :D :D AHHHHH!!!! How is this going to develop? :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 18th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
I am so happy that I managed to surprise you with Yaden!

And you already have a rough idea what happens when a Phoenix Knight is involved - things get messy. ^^ But don't worry, you'll see what's going to happen live and in full color soon enough.

Thanks for commenting!
BerthaBlueberthablue on December 20th, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)
Yaden!!!!!!!!!!!

(My mom is lookin gat me like... WTF why are you making little squeaky noises, are you choking on something?)

I was totally surprised!

The intermingling of current events and brief hints of the torture that Ivan went through were perfect. Just enough to give it that horrifying flavor without being graphic or shock-value.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 20th, 2012 08:43 am (UTC)
Hehe. So very happy I managed to surprise you there! Still have a few surprises coming, I promise.

Your poor mother. She should be happy her daughter is reading, reading is healthy and makes you smart, doesn't it?

Thanks a lot for the compliment, I was worried it would look like me chickening out of a rape scene. Very happy it feel gruesome without being overly graphic. *HUG*
hab318princesshab318princess on January 12th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
wow... just wow!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on January 13th, 2013 06:52 am (UTC)
Thank you, dear!