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24 July 2011 @ 10:23 am
FIC: "His First Assignment", 1/1  
 Author: osirisbrackhaus 
Story Title: His First Assignment
Part: 1/1
Rating: R
Configurations: F/m
Warnings: reference to abuse; reference to rape of a minor; emotional cruelty
Word Count: 2300
Characters: Lady Ornella; Wesley
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse
Summary: Wesley was the sevenhundred-eighty-first courtesan to be ranked Class A in the entire history of the Courtesan's Guild; a history that spanned almost all recorded history of the human race. He was sold for an unmentionable sum to the Duchess Ornella of Del'Morad, a wealthy planet on the rim. But the first assignment the Duchess had for the young courtesan would push him to the borders of the humanly possible, and beyond...
Feedback: Please!
Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index

-

“Your Highness? The courtesan has been delivered.”

The servant bowed deep and with flawless precision. He knew better than to anger the Duchess by appearing negligent. Her expectations were high and her temper was... legendary.

“He is waiting in the drawing room at your convenience, as you requested.”

Duchess Ornella looked up from the book she was reading, dismissing the servant with a flick of her fingers without even so much as looking at him. Silently, she set the book aside and stared into the flames of the open fireplace she had been sitting at.

So finally, she would learn if the ungodly amount of money she had spent on that boy would pay off as she had hoped. Hope and fear and self-loathing battled inside her like armies, but the only outwardly sign of that fight was a twitch of her flawless, porcelain face, a sparkle in her brilliant green eyes.

She had thrown all her iron convictions overboard. She had indebted herself to people all over the empire, stealthily, so her husband would never suspect anything. For the first time since the war, she would rely on somebody else's work but her own. She would risk everything she had worked so hard for, and what for?

To save the life and sanity of a boy she shouldn't even pity. A Dracon boy. One of THEM.

With a soft sigh, Lady Ornella rose from her chair, clutching the small locket she was wearing on her necklace. There was work to be done, and in perfect keeping with Moradi tradition, she would rather die than let the work wait. One of the very few traits that made this frozen dirtball of a planet bearable in her eyes. Moradi people were gruff, xenophobic grunts, but diligent to a fault.

Plastering the semblance of a polite smile onto her face, the duchess walked through the long corridors that connected her suite with the 'drawing room'. She almost snorted at the malapropism. Del'Morad was barely habitable for humans, with temperatures that dipped low enough to freeze carbon dioxide. But it was ridiculously rich in minerals, rare gems and metals, and naturally humans were living here now. Only that there were no buildings in the traditional meaning of the word – all life happened at least forty feet underground. So there were no buildings, just a maze of tunnels and caves.

But 'drawing cave' really wouldn't sound appropriate, would it?

Finally, she arrived at her destination. Seeing the two guards at the door, she hesitated for a moment. Had her husband found out about her plans? Were they here to arrest her? Or was her husband about to play one of his cruel games again?

But then one of the guards noticed her and nodded. She knew him, a young lad from the city, honorable and terribly impressed by his duchess. Had things been different, she would have loathed herself for abusing such a youthful infatuation, but alas, things were as they were. So she smiled at him through her lashes, just a hint of an emotion, making the young guard blush violently.

“Duchess”, he snapped with a crisp salute. “We thought it would be good to have someone look after the... slave.”

And probably, he was right. A courtesan, coming from off-planet on the day of the duke's thirtieth coronation anniversary surely would send tongues wagging all over the place. Especially as the courtesan had been brought to her, not to her husband.

“Thank you Joran, that was rather thoughtful. It would have been a shame if my present would have been damaged. I want him to be a perfect surprise for my husband.”

That should be enough information to calm the gossiping in the palace, at least for now. Only as a second thought, Lady Ornella noticed the relived smile on the guard's face.

Good heavens, she realized, the boy had thought she wanted the courtesan for herself! What a grotesque idea. Only, that the plans she had with the boy were even more grotesque than that. Sometimes, Ornella wondered if there actually was a limit to what she was willing to do to survive. So far, she had found none. Only ways to scare her of herself.

With a firm nod, she gestured the guards away.

“Please make sure we are undisturbed.”

The guards saluted again, and Ornella entered the room.

Once inside, she firmly locked the door behind her before she even looked around. A part of her doubted she would have the cruelty in her to do what she had planned. Another part hoped she wouldn’t have it in her. The rest of her already knew she would. She would ace this, leaving all the real Dracon wondering how she had managed.

With grim resolve, she turned around, searching the windowless room for the courtesan.

And of course, there he was. Kneeling in perfect display of obedience next to the settee, eyes on the ground. Fifteen years old and already worth as much as a small planet. Hopefully he was worth his money.

“Stand up.” she ordered briskly, watching the slave rise in a motion that seemed inhuman in its fluidity.

“Turn around.”

The courtesan did as he was told, turning with the grace of a trained fighter, showing such effortless elegance that Ornella almost wanted to keep him for herself for a while, if only to learn how to make her movements so mesmerizing. But that was not why she had bought him.

“Undress.”

If the courtesan was surprised by the order, he didn't even show it for a heartbeat. With a slight motion, no more than a shrug, he loosened the robe he had been wearing, the subtle garment falling off him like a sheet of water.

Silently, Ornella walked around the young man. She had chosen well, she had to admit. There was no physical similarity, that would have been too obvious. But there was the same combination of boyish vulnerability and manly determination that was such an irresistible lure to her husband. The same honest eagerness to please, just like her son.

She felt her throat constrict at the thought. But it had to be done. This was just a slave.

“Your name is Wesley.” she finally said.

“Yes, mistress.” A good voice, firm but not harsh, able to carry a lot of emotion.

“Look at me.”

As ordered, Wesley turned around to look at his owner. Dark brown eyes, sparkling with intelligence and curiosity. What a godawful waste, Ornella thought, full of disgust.

“I am your owner.” she said firmly, trying to convey the utter importance this fact held. “Never forget this.”

The courtesan merely nodded, waiting for further explanation.

“Tomorrow, you will be given to my husband, Duke Anklam of Del'Morad, for his pleasure.”

Again, Wesley merely nodded.

“But while you serve him with whatever he desires of you, you will never forget one thing. I am your owner.”

This time, a tiny smile crept into the courtesan's face. After all, a Class A courtesan was so much more than a mere fuck-toy. He was trained to become everything needed, from dumb boy-toy to brilliant entertainer. At his master's command, he could become a gruff huntsman, addicted to the thrill of the kill, or a sensitive master musician, or a trusted friend. Or a spy, if that was asked of him…

“And as your owner, I will give you only one assignment.” Ornella had to concentrate hard not to let her worry shine through her voice. So much hinged on this courtesan getting how important this was. “During the time you serve my husband, you will do your utmost to satisfy him. You will satisfy him to a degree and in a way that he will never again lust for his son. Is that understood?!”

Wesley's smile vanished instantly. This was... peculiar.

“What is it that your husband lusts for in his son?”

Ornella involuntarily gritted her teeth. What actually, indeed? Ever since the boy was old enough to understand, he had been beaten by his father, tortured, raped. All in the name of what the duke called ‘education’. Her husband hoped to bring out some spark of rebellion, only to crush it again and again. He wanted his son to be of the strongest steel, forged in pain and tempered in hatred, until the boy would kill his father and supplant him in perfect Dracon tradition.

Then again, that sounded awfully complex for the duke. Perhaps matters were a little simpler than that.

“He wants to break him.”

“I am not sure I understand my assignment, mistress.” the courtesan asked cautiously after a moment’s hesitation. “Am I to allow your husband to break me, then?”

“Don't you listen to what I say?” A dangerous note crept into the duchess' voice. “What good is it to my son if you break?”

Slowly, the courtesan began to understand what was asked of him, and his eyes grew wide. Before he could ask another question, Ornella continued to drive her point home.

“You will tempt him with the possibility of breaking you. You will resist his attempts, and yet give him hope that he will one day achieve what he is looking for. You will bind his interest to you, you will enrage him, tempt him, taunt him by all the countless means at your disposal. You will suffer at his hands like no other creature has suffered before, until he sees you as his greatest challenge and your defeat as his highest goal. Is that understood?!”

“Yes, mistress.” There was no more eagerness in Wesley's voice, only a leaden determination to do as he was asked. After all, he had been bred for this task and been trained ever since. “How long am I supposed to hold your husband's interest?”

“Until my son is duke.”

Ornella's voice was cold and harsh as the ice that covered the mountains above. This had to end. The boy was the only thing that was worth protecting around here, and she couldn’t do it on her own. Gods knew she had tried. But she could not stand by idly, watching that brute of her husband slowly destroying what could have been the first honorable Dracon duke in her eyes.

“And what if I don't survive that long, mistress?”

The duchess' slap to his face came so instantaneously that Wesley didn't even think of evading the hit. Suddenly, her controlled face was livid with a passionate anger that scared Wesley almost as much as the prospect of a lifetime of torture. Her green eyes flaring with a cold fire that seemed to drown out everything around him.

“If you dare to die before your time,” she hissed icily, “I will personally haul your rotting corpse back to that guild of yours. And I will demand a replacement and an apology, for they obviously have not sold me a Class A courtesan the first time round.”

For a long moment, she stared at the young slave.

“Death is not an option.” she finally stated, regaining her composure almost as rapidly as she had lost it. “For none of us. Is that understood?!”

“Yes, mistress.”

“Good.”

Calmly, she pulled her locket out of her blouse, picking a tiny data-chip out of a hidden compartment.

“Here. I have collected some material on my son, so you can get an idea what you are deflecting from.” She tossed the chip to Wesley who caught it easily. “You should have come with the necessary headware to read the chip. Do you need anything else?”

“Not right now, mistress.”

He sounded so defeated and yet so determined that Ornella almost decided to stop this atrocity as long as she still had a chance. Who was she to trade the life of one child for another? Who was she to decide?

But then, Karl was family; Wesley was nothing but a slave.

And 'Family first'. This was how things had been done in her house proper. And this would be how she always did things. At any cost. Even her own soul, if need be.

“Then learn what you can, and get yourself ready. I expect you to pick an outfit that will instantly… incite the duke.”

Wesley nodded, now all professional again.

“Fine. I will call for you during dinner tonight, I expect you to be ready.”

“Yes mistress. I will not disappoint you.”

The scoffing laugh of the duchess was entirely mirthless. “I expect no less.”

What a damn waste, Ornella chastised herself. But still, it had to be done.

Family first. Even if this family now consisted only of her and a Dracon child that wasn't even of her blood. But then again, family had always been more to her than blood. It was the ones you loved despite better knowledge.

She turned around and started to leave, only to stop as her hand touched the handle of the door. “One last thing, Wesley.”

“Yes, mistress?”

“Good luck.”
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
 
 
 
aubergineautumn on July 24th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
GAH. Heartless and heartbreaking.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 24th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
Heartbreaking, yes. Heartless, well, the duchess was just trying to protect her child. Thanks for commenting!
(Deleted comment)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 24th, 2011 11:20 am (UTC)
He. Really glad you liked it. And yes, the duke deserved every little bit of it. No tears on that funeral.
Charis: faun with panpipescharisstoma on July 24th, 2011 10:33 am (UTC)
Wesley obviously survives the Duke long enough that the son is of an age to stage a investigation into how his father died. It is so nice to know the end is happy, sort of, as you put in place a character preparing to go through the shredder.
Excellent addition to the other posted stories.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 24th, 2011 11:22 am (UTC)
Wes' only regret is that he didn't find any other way to get out of this alive but by framing the duchess. Well, and of course that the duke didn't suffer more. :D

Thanks for the compliments! Though it's all grace to my lovely wife picking out the best scenes for me to write, actually.
BerthaBlueberthablue on July 24th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
Holy damn! Poor Wesley!

As sick as it is, I hope the efforts paid off! I couldn't imagine being the duchess - what a terrible decision to have to make!

Lovely description of the absolute despair and desperation she is driven to!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 24th, 2011 11:31 am (UTC)
Really glad you liked it!
I have to admit, Lady Ornella is one of my favourite characters with all her larger-than-life emotions and all the drama. What a luck this isn't the last we have seen of her. ^^
Jayregnet on July 25th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
Great job!
Intriguing backstory and how Wes was able to frame the Lady... Looking forward to more for sure. And more empathetic to Wes now. Did she put in the mods or was it the Duke? Thanks!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 25th, 2011 06:30 am (UTC)
Thanks for commenting!
Most of the mods were put in by Lady Ornella, as she took quite an effort to make Wes as irresistible to her husband as possible. Some of them, like the office headware and the CVO are standart for a courtesan of that level. Only the tiniest part of the mods were added by the duke.
ruefullruefull on July 24th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Brilliant and disturbing, very well done!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 25th, 2011 06:31 am (UTC)
Thanks you very much, glad you liked it.
MusesPetmusespet on July 24th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was awesome!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 25th, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)
Thanks! Though, as mentioned before, most of the awesome goes to my lovely wife for picking out the best scenes for me to write.
spikes_evilbintspikes_evilbint on July 24th, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC)
Excellent start. Would look forward to learning more should you decide to continue it.

Edited at 2011-07-24 09:45 pm (UTC)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 25th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks so much!
Right now, I've got more than enough on my plate already, and there's not much to tell in terms of a story until Wesley leaves Del'Morad for good, at least in my eyes. But I'll keep it in mind, maybe a plotbunny will bite.
littlenilittleni on July 26th, 2011 09:51 am (UTC)
And the plot thickens. Wesley is indeed worthy of scars to have survived in this household. No wonder the young Prince is intrested in him. Beware of those plot bunnies, they have deep fangs and tend to hold on tight.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on July 27th, 2011 07:07 am (UTC)
Oh, I have enough plotbunny scars to know about their teeth! I still remember painfully the day my lovely wife lay on my stomach, thinking aloud, saying 'What would have been different in 'Troy' if the initial peace meeting had happened in Troy, instead of in Sparta?'
That bunny had teeth, I tell you, several hundred pages long! ^^
triptyxtriptyx on July 31st, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
:S :S :S I am so worried for Wesley...This is really a terrible assignment!

And there are so many questions now: How was the death of the Duke was arranged? Does the Duchess son know Wesley is who took all the torture that was for him? How was it that Wesley got sold, wouldnt the Duchess be worried he told someone of who murdered the Duke?

But in all it is :S for me since with 'How to Start a Household' I already decided Wesley is my favorite, but I never thought this was his past :S...and now I am somewhat hopeful he is going to have it better with Leesha...

Thank you so much for this! :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 1st, 2011 06:46 am (UTC)
Can't give any details on the death of the duke, that's for Wes to tell someday in the future.
But no, the duke's son doesn't know, and neither his mother nor Wes will ever tell him. But the son will make a significant appearance in one of the upcoming stories, so maybe that'll shed some light on the matter, too.

Also, the fact that Wes was sold instead of executed by public torture (which would have been normal for a slave even merely suspected of killing a noble) is one of the great question marks of his story. There is no reason for Lady Ornella to fear any sort if impeachment, as Wesley would risk his life saying anything else but what he already has, see above.

Really glad you liked the story, and yes, Wes with his history and complex personaltity is one of my favourites, too.
triptyxtriptyx on August 1st, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)
Even if I hope know it will get somewhat better for Wes I will never cease to be worried for him during this time! :S

Public torture even more torture than what he already has suffered for how many years?? :S :S :S And now I will be so intrigued how he was saved from this and got sold instead! :D

Is he in danger of someone uncovering all this now that he is Leesha's property? :S

Thank you for writing background for him even if now my brain will be providing terrible things happening to him during his time with the duke! :S! :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 2nd, 2011 06:35 am (UTC)
First of all, really happy you enjoyed this snippet.

'Death by public torture' is the classical, standart punishment for a slave that has attacked a noble. Though I have to admit, it's not a punishment holding any special terror for Wesley any more.

And no, there is not really a chance of anyone uncovering anything, for the simple reason that no one is looking. Judicially, the matter is settled, and all surviving relatives of the Duke are rather happy with not having had to kill the old bastard themselves.
We will meet Lady Ornalla and her son again soon enough, so you'll be able to see how Ornella has coped with what she had to do and if Karl (the son) is still out for revenge for his father's death (or reward, for that matter).

Stay tuned!
triptyxtriptyx on August 3rd, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
I am immensely enjoying the universe you and Beryll are writing! :)

Though I have to admit, it's not a punishment holding any special terror for Wesley any more.
I just hope that the Duke's death was at least 1/100 painful of what he put his son and Wesley through! >:|

I see this is in 5017 and Leesha buys him in 5023...how long was he in the Duke's hands? :S

Thank you, I look forward to more! :)
Beryllrynthjan on August 3rd, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
Wesley was with the Duke three years before the poor man had his "unfortunate accident". Then he was locked up for over a year while the trial lasted. After that it took the dutchess a while to find a byer until finally Chrities took him off her hands. Then he was at Christies for about a year before Leesha bought him.
triptyxtriptyx on August 3rd, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
:S Well three years with that ~poor man~ would be enough to be not scared of death by torture... :S :S

Thank you! :)
hab318princesshab318princess on August 6th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
great story
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 7th, 2011 10:51 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it and thanks for commenting!
idolme922: Hiacynth McCawidolme922 on September 19th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
This puts a few pieces of the puzzle together, and creates a few more questions, which I know will be answered in due course. I love this verse and I'll take this moment to say thank you to you and your lovely wife for creating and sharing.

:D Alana
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 21st, 2011 07:36 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! The fact that you enjoy the world that we have created really means a lot to us and makes writing even easier.