Notes: Suggested music tracks:
For the whole series
For chapter 1
There once was a large townhouse in Rome situated on the Palatine hill, not far behind the Baths of Augustus, which was well known among the locals as the forbidden house.
It had been long abandoned, the land on which it stood left unclaimed for over more than a decade. Although ownership of it would instantly make you one of the richest men in Rome, no local warlord or wealthy merchant dared to touch it.
Most locals who lived on the Palatine didn’t remember the name of the family that once lived there anymore. The few who still did, would not even whisper it, in fear of the consequences.
It had belonged to a powerful and wealthy senator, who lived there with his wife and children and his grand household of slaves. He was a honorable man, well-respected and well-liked among his peers and the people. His family’s ancestry had been part of Roman history since the very foundation of the capital.
All that could not protect him from horrible tragedy.
Some say, he and his whole family were murdered at the very site during the last tumultuous days of the reign of the Mad Emperor. Others claimed that they were imprisoned and executed in the arena, to function as a example to the other nobles. The house itself was burnt down, all of the valuable possessions confiscated, and what little remained that was of any worth looted, the walls and floors stripped bare, till there was but a skeleton of scarred wood and stone left standing.
They said that the house was haunted.
A shrunken figure, more skeleton than man, dressed in rags, with his face hidden behind a black mourning shroud, was often seen wandering near the ruin at night, when the air was cold and the sky pitch black. They said it was the spirit of the senator who had returned from the underworld to mourn his family and to exact vengeance on those who had wronged him. On quiet nights, when even the winds were still, you could hear him weep as he wandered through the ruins of his past life.
It was agreed by all that the house was cursed, and would bring bad luck to anyone who had anything to do with it.
So, whatever remained of the once affluent home just sat there, like the bare bleached bones of a great sea monster stranded on shore, forgotten by time, avoided by the living, left to fate or the Gods to decide what to do with it.
On cold evenings, when the moon was new, the senator's ghost would return.
Without knocking, Arya burst into her sister’s room and immediate pulled a face when she saw her still sitting at the dressing table with her slave Shae by her side. “Good Gods, are you still not finished?” She groaned. “It’s almost midday. We were supposed to be there before noon.”
Both older girls ignored her. Shae, because it was not her place to directly address the little domina, and Sansa, because she really wasn’t in the mood of having another quarrel with her troublesome little sister right now.
“Are you happy with this now my lady?” The slave girl asked, suppressing a sigh. She held the gilded round mirror in front of her mistress. Sansa turned and bowed her head a little to inspect her hair. It was parted in three, with the sides tied in a bun at the back. The middle part looped back and was raised high, like a beehive. It was known as the nodus style. Currently, this was the very height of fashion among the young aristocratic ladies in Rome. The popular but insanely elaborate hairstyle also took hours to get right, and Sansa’s natural red locks had been subjected to Shae's hot curling irons from early dawn, after which the slave had struggled for hours to bundle the whole thing together with a tight fitting but well hidden hairnet, and a small treasury of gold and silver hairpins. The result was a labor of love that looked absolutely stunning, but despite of this, it still didn’t satisfy or reassured Shae's domina much.
“I am not sure.” Sansa muttered as she turned her head and scrutinized herself in profile. “I am still not happy about this with the necklace.” She placed her fingers on the heavy gold chain with fire-red gemstone pendants that rested in the crevice of her bosom, fumbling it nervously. She gazed up at her trusted slave. “Do you think this matches well with the rest of the outfit?”
She was wearing a silk dress with long embroidered sleeves that was cut low at the back. It was richly decorated with a delicate wolf pattern in gold thread. The lovely pale blue of the dress brought out the deep blue of her eyes. Sansa truly looked the very picture of the goddess of beauty and loveliness. However to her anxious, slightly irrational mind, Sansa might as well had dressed herself in rags with a mad windswept crows nest for hair. Nothing seemed to be good enough, and every funny look Shae gave her, was quickly interpreted as scrutiny.
“It’s damned ugly, if you want to know what I think.” Arya huffed. She plopped down in an armchair, glaring at her sister with ever growing impatience.
“Nobody wants to know what you think Arya.” Sansa snapped back, sounding just a bit too spiteful to appear ladylike. “Go outside and play with the dogs or something. Leave me alone.”
“I would love to really - if you finally can make up your mind and get your fat ass out of that chair.”
“Arya!” Sansa yelled back, glaring angrily at her through the mirror, but not turning around to face her in fear the whole impressive heap that was currently balancing on her head was going to collapse. “I am not fat! Shae, tell her that I am not!”
“Little domina, your sister is not fat.” Shae sighed, rolling her eyes, as she quickly stuck a couple of more pins in the beehive, just in case her mistress was going to freak out and jump out from her chair, undoing all of her hard work. It was not like it had not happened before.
“Well, you look fat in that dress.” Arya replied, smiling cheekily. The smile immediately vanished from her face and she pressed her lips together, when she saw her lady mother enter the room.
“Mother!” Just what Sansa needed, someone who could tell that little brat to back off. “Arya said I look fat! Tell her I don’t look fat in this! I don’t right?” She added in a softer voice.
“Arya.” Catelyn turned to her youngest daughter and stared at her with a little scowl. “Stop teasing your sister.”
“But she is taking ages!” Arya exclaimed, hardly able to contain her annoyance and excitement any longer. “We’re going to miss it mother! They are going to do the famous fight between Titus Pullo and the Germanic Skull Giant for the play this afternoon in the public gardens and we’re going to miss everything!”
“No we won’t.” Catelyne said calmly to reassure her. “The play isn’t going to start before noon, and they always schedule half an hour of poetry reading before the first act. You don’t mind missing that, do you now? Now be a good girl and go play in the garden. I’ll make sure your sister is ready soon.”
Arya rolled her eyes. She jumped out of her chair, and let out an overly dramatic sigh as she walked pass her sister.
“You still look like an old cow.” She muttered under her breath.
“Mother?!” Sansa shot Catelyn a pleading look.
Arya stuck out her tongue at her older sister before she turned and ran away.
“She is a complete menace!” Sansa complained. “She always does these things to spite me!”
“Calm down now my dear.” Cat said, putting her hands on her daughter’s shoulders as she stared at her in the reflection of the mirror. “You know the way she is. Don’t kick up a fuss about it.” She gestured for Shae to leave them alone and gently stroked her daughter’s long red curly locks between her fingers. She looks so much like me when I was her age. Is this how it was for my own mother? One day you hold her in your arms, no more but a precious little babe, and before you know it, 16 summers have passed and you are preparing her to be married off to a man she barely knows.
She sighed, brushing these slightly depressing thoughts aside as she stroked her daughter's shoulders.
“Now what’s the problem with the necklace?” Catelyn had overheard her daughter speak to Shae when she was making her way to Sansa's chamber. “I thought you loved it?”
“Viserys gave it to me. Of course I love it. I just don’t think it fits with the dress.” She fumbled nervously with the delicate silk fabric. “It’s too plain, and the color is all wrong.”
“There is nothing wrong with your dress. It’s a lovely shade of blue and it brings out your eyes. We had it made for you only two days ago. When you tried it on you said you liked it.”
“What about the hair and my earrings? I don’t think they match.”
“They are fine. Stop fretting.” Catelyn replied. If there was anything that did not make sense, it would be the necklace Viserys Targaryen had given her daughter as an official token of their betrothal. It was too heavy, made of a thick golden chain. The Targaryen family sigil, a fearsome dragon emerging from the flames, was clearly visible on every one of the 5 huge gem encrusted pendants. Of course she knew that it was a custom of courtship for her daughter to wear her betrothed's gifts in public, but it did bother her that it should look this hideous, lacking in any modesty and taste, as if the boy wanted to mark her daughter with a gilded slave plaque to let the whole of Rome know that she was soon to be his property.
Sansa was too much occupied by her own worries to notice her mother’s dismay of Viserys’s vulgar gift. “I just don’t want him to think I am ugly.” Sansa muttered, staring at the necklace.
“If that boy would ever think that, seeing you like this, then he is either a fool, or completely out of his mind. I think you look absolutely beautiful.” Catelyn added, with pride and a touch of sorrow in her voice.
“Why would it matter what you think mother?” Sansa blurted out, almost rolling her eyes. “I want him to find me beautiful. I want him to like me. I am to be his wife next year. I want to look pretty for him. What if he thinks that I have no taste whatsoever for picking out these rags?”
Knowing her daughter well, Catelyn sighed deeply. “So you want to change everything again?”
“Please mother.” Sansa looked up at her, smiling sweetly. “Just a little more time. I want to look perfect for him. It’s our first real date together. I don’t want him to remember me looking all horrible. It would absolutely spoil everything.”
“Oh my sweet silly silly girl.” Catelyn sighed. How could she not give in when those azure blue eyes were pleading with her like that. “Half an hour then.” She said, trying to sound strict. “But not a minute longer. Or your little sister is going to go mad as a spring hare.”
From his experiences, Petyr knew that there were two kinds of drunks who frequented the brothel: The good kind, who swayed into his cell on unsteady feet, sandals already dangling from their toes, and who collapsed on his stone bed like freshly slaughtered sacrificial oxen. When he helped them to undress, he would find their cocks in a half-limp state, not unlike their owners, and they soon shriveled into uselessness when the clients further drifted off into wine induced stupor. Those were the type of drunks Petyr very much preferred. They often couldn’t remember if they had received what they had paid for after they woke, and more then often, they left his cell without so much as laying a finger on him.
It was the second kind of drunks he absolutely hated and dreaded. They were more often bulkier men, either from the military or farmer profession. They were habitually loud and almost always angry, and in general had no patience whatsoever in their drunken quest to find a slutty hole to fuck. If they did not get what they wanted fast enough, they often did not refrain from using violence.
“Holy Jupiter!" His client grunted. "By Juno’s fucking cunt!” With a sweaty hand, he pulled his tunic further up and took another long swig from his goblet before pouring a good portion of the cheap wine over the naked slave’s backside in what must be the most idiot way to try to lubricate him. “Your hole is too fucking tight!” He exclaimed, tossing the empty goblet away.
Petyr knew that it wasn’t. He had been kept as a sex slave in the brothel of Gaius Dominicus for more than a decade and had been fucked most thoroughly by almost anyone who had a cock in nearby Subura. Say what you may think of it, but it was certainly not that tight anymore.
Ever considered that it is your cock that is too fat? Petyr thought, trying to shift his lean, almost emaciated body under the client’s impressive weight. Or maybe you’re just too drunk to be able to find it, even if it was the size of an elephant’s cunt.
He didn’t say it out-loud though. There had once been a time, when he was still a scared and thoughtless, little idiot of a boy, when he would have said it right in his client's face, but his master and his vicious slave supervisor had both quickly beaten and whipped that insolent streak out of him most efficiently.
“Too fucking tight!” The drunk bellowed again, pulling Petyr closer by yanking on the chains of his rusted dog collar in a clumsy effort to force his way in. Petyr gasped when the hold of the metal around his neck became too tight to breathe, but his client was completely oblivious to his struggles. The grasp of his large sweaty hands now dug like talons into his buttocks, the man’s fat cock pounded into him like it was a wooden pole being drilled into the ground.
Still failing to gain even an inch more, his client then pushed his dry fingers in, and ran it along the side to make it wider. Despite the pain, Petyr had to give it to the drunk brute, he was rather persistent. Then he winced and bit on his under lip, feeling something tear as the swollen head was forced through. His client, believing that he was finally getting somewhere, started pounding even harder, forcing the slave to suck in his cries to not spoil his patron’s mood. For a while, it all seemed to finally go according to the larger man’s satisfaction, when during one of his clumsy thrusts, his cock slipped in at an odd sore angle and remained stuck again. The drunk cursed loudly, and Petyr saw from the corner of his eyes his client’s hand reach out for the sheathed dagger that still hung from his belt. Petyr’s heart leaped in his throat. He knew where this was heading. He still carried the scars near the pink delicate flesh of his sphincter from the last time this happened. Something had to be done, and it had to be done quick.
Petyr leaned forward and dislodged himself from the larger man in such haste that his client fell backward. As he lost balance, he still tried to hold on to him, but Petyr, with his backside covered in oil and drenched in sweat, slipped away like a slick eel wriggling out of a fishing pod.
“How dare you!” The client huffed, his voice a low, angered growl. “I wasn’t yet finished!”
As he raised his hand to strike him, Petyr quickly dropped down on his knees and held his hands up pleadingly.
“Please forgive me dominus.” He told him, his head down, his grey green eyes cast to the ground. “I just wanted to make sure that you’re comfortable and are enjoying yourself.”
“No I am not! You worthless bum boy!” He said, slurring in his speech. “You’re fucking too tight. I need a bigger hole.” He slapped hard on the slave’s buttocks and took his dagger out. “Turn around.” He ordered with the blade already pointed at Petyr.
“Dominus.” Petyr tried, too busy trying to safe himself to notice the sting. “I can assure you, there are better ways for me to please you. You don’t need to do this.”
The brutal slap that he received on his cheek in response almost knocked him off the bed.
“What!? I am not going to let a piece of worthless filth bugger me!” The larger man huffed with much indignation, after he had drawn his own conclusions. “How dare you to even suggest this?!” Almost vibrating of rage, he tried to force the slave around to cut him, but Petyr was younger and much quicker then the big clumsy oaf, and managed to keep away from his grasping hands. Instead, he slipped on the floor and kneeling, he hastily took hold of his client’s knees and shoved them far apart, before he placed himself between his legs.
His client watched with astonishment how the slave’s damp black curls ducked between his thighs.
“What are you doing you little sh-“
What followed was a succession of broken gasps when Petyr took his fat swollen organ in his mouth. Skillfully, he worked on him. He slipped his talented tongue under his shaft and guided the tip deep inside his throat, till the man fell back on the stone bed, his eyes rolling backwards and loud moans escaping his throat while he let his dagger drop from his hand.
After that, it didn’t take Petyr long to make him come.
For the rest of the afternoon, the dreadful dagger was left forgotten on the floor. The bad drunk had transformed into a good, very unconscious drunk, who snored all of his paid time away in the dark dank cell and otherwise remained harmless to Petyr. Quietly, he watched him sleep. Tucked away in the opposite corner of his small prison, he was careful not to make any noise with his long chain that bound his collar to the iron grid of the small window near the ceiling.
Pensively, Petyr glanced at the cracked ceramic bowl that was placed on the floor near the curtained doorway. It already contained 4 tokens. They were little more than wooden sticks branded with his master’s insignia, but to Petyr they meant everything. He only needed one more, which he was about to receive from the offensive drunk once he had risen from his stupor. It seemed that tonight, at least, he did not need to go to bed starving. He looked up to the tiny window in his cell. It was a beautiful day outside. The tiny patch of sky that was visible to him was a clear cloudless blue. A small genuine smile worked its way across his face.
It was on rare days like these that Petyr thought that the spirits of his ancestors were smiling down on him.
As soon their litter arrived at the entrance of the Porticus of Livia, Arya darted away into the closed off public garden, dragging her dear mother along to go see the ghastly play. Sansa was left with her chaperone, an old house slave named Septa, who was virtuous and loyal, and well trusted by her mother. Sansa felt her belly tighten when she made her way down the shady arcade to the mulberry orchard where she was supposed to meet Viserys. When she finally saw him lounging in his small private litter in the shades of the trees, surrounded by two of his household slaves, her heart rate picked up pace.
The young noble looked up at her, and greeted her with an amused smile. “You look very well my lady.” He said.
“You’re too kind.” She replied with a generous smile.
He looked so handsome with his beautiful white hair and his pale porcelain complexion, his perfect pink lips smirking at her. She gracefully offered her hand to him, which he took and kissed most affectionately. Sansa felt a tingling sensation shiver down her spine.
“I see you are wearing the necklace that I have offered to your father for your hand.” He gestured to his slave to bring her a comfortable chair.
“Yes, thank you so much for your gift.” Sansa replied while she sat down. “It’s very beautiful. I absolutely adore it.”
“Good.” Viserys gazed up at Sansa’s chaperone. “Does she need to stay with us?”
“My lady mother wants it so.” Sansa replied, a tad flustered.
“Oh come on. We’re not infants anymore. Besides, we’re betrothed. You will be my wife soon. Surely I can have one private meeting with my soon to be bride without some old hag watching over us.”
Of course it was ridiculous that her mother had insisted for Septa to come along. She wasn’t a babe anymore. She didn’t need anyone to look after her. Sansa squirmed when she realized how incredibly childish she must look to him.
“You can go.” Sansa told the old slave woman without turning around to look at her.
“But domina said I should stay with you.” Septa objected.
“Just go already.” Sansa urged, feeling her cheeks flush red in embarrassment.
“Mistress, I really don’t dare.” Septa replied.
Viserys stood up and slapped the old slave in the face. "You stupid old hag, be gone with you! Or I swear I will have you flogged.”
Sansa tried to stay calm. Of course Viserys's sudden outburst had rattled her, but it was hardly the first time she had seen a slave being chastised by her betters. Father always says that a good dominus must never spare the whip. She reminded herself. He says that slaves are like children, if you don’t correct their wrongs, they will ruin themselves. Viserys was just teaching her to not be disrespectful.
“So my lady.” Her betrothed sat down again and snapped his fingers to receive a cool wet towel from his slave to wipe his face and hands. “Finally, we are alone and free to speak our mind.”
“It’s a very good idea of you to invite me to the gardens today.” Sansa said, smiling again. She wasn’t going to let that little unfortunate incidence spoil her date with him. “It’s such a lovely day.”
“Yes, I guess it is.” He crossed his legs and draped his arms over the back of his seat. “I wanted to see you and get to know you a little better before we are officially wedded and bedded.” he studied at her, slowly cocking his head to one side. It was difficult for her to make out if he liked what he saw or not. “I’ve only looked at you from afar, during one of your father’s dinner parties. You look quite nice from a distance –“
Sansa winced at the word. Nice looking? Is that all what he thinks of me? Nice is just one step away from being “plain” or worse “acceptable”. Nice was not going to be enough to make him love her the same way she believed she loved him. Sansa sucked in a breath to keep herself from succumbing to something quite similar to a panic attack. Being called nice was a total disaster.
Viserys had hardly noticed anything of her distress. “-but you never know.” He continued, waving his hand in a dismissive manner. “One doesn't want to buy a lame horse - or an ugly wife.” He added with a grin.
“D-do you think I am ugly, my lord?” She asked fearfully. Oh Gods! If he says I am, I am going to die, right here.
“Huh? No, no, absolutely not.” Viserys replied, still not having a clue what he was doing to her. “You’re quite a fetching creature, far better than I’ve imagined really. Most of the girls of the noblest families of Rome are either too fat, or too thin or too dull looking, as if, as a rule of law, the money and titles attached to them have to compensate for what kind of horrendous injury they are to the eyes.” He leaned forward, his blue eyes locked with hers. “But you…you have something deliciously wicked about you. You look like the sea in winter, calm on the surface, but such secretive turbulence flows underneath the waves.” She trembled ever so slightly when he took her hand again and traced his thumb over the fine lines of her palm. “You look like the sort of girl who could devour a man in her bedchamber…” He liked his soft pink lips and glared at her. “Tell me my lady, what do you like?”
“W-what I like?” Sansa muttered.
“Yes.” Viserys said, still glaring at her with a predatory look in his eyes. “What do you like to do when you’re at home.”
“Well-“ Sansa tried, still not having a clue what he was on about. “I like to read. I like to write poetry. I am very good at sowing and embroidery.” Carefully, she spread out her sleeve to show him the little direwolf that she had created in gold thread. “I’ve made this myself. The pattern was quite difficult, but my slave Shae helped me with it.” She told him with a touch of pride. When he didn’t respond, she quickly added. “I-I also like singing, although I am not very good at it yet. I do take lessons, to improve my voice.”
“Rrrright, and what do you like to do in the evenings my lady?” He asked, not wanting to give up so easily.
Sansa was now really starting to get confused. His dream prince was asking her all these questions about her and when she truthfully answered he seemed so incredibly bored. She had no idea why. “The same things I suppose. Although I also do enjoy dancing a great deal, especially at my father’s dinner parties.”
She felt her cheeks flush hot again when her betrothed clearly rolled his eyes at her.
“No you silly goose -" He commented, rather rudely. "What do you like to do in bed, when you’re alone?”
“R-Read poetry?” She really thought she was break down in tears soon. “If-if the light is not too bad.”
“You are very green aren’t you?” He snapped, leaning back in his litter, suddenly losing all interest to push further. “How old are you again?”
“16 my lord.”
“16? Really?” He eyed her up and down. “I thought you were much younger. Most of the girls of your age are already married.”
“My father did make a match for me with the son of senator Antonius Albus when I was 14, but due to circumstances, it didn’t come to pass.”
“Senator Albus? oh I do remember him. Wasn’t that the guy with the big nose and the shrieky voice? I used to hate it when he spoke in the senate. It’s like listening to a trained parakeet for hours without end.” He paused when he thought of something. “My uncle...he executed him, didn’t he?”
“Yes, the emperor put him on trial and he was found guilty of treason. They…crucified him.” Sansa still remembered it well, because her father had tried to plead to the emperor to spare him from such a gruesome death. It was against Roman law to execute a Roman citizen in such a horrific way. Normally, crucifixion was only reserved for criminal slaves. The emperor must have hated poor senator Albus with a passion.
“Yes." Viserys snapped his fingers as he remembered. "That's correct! The old bore was crucified, as was the rest of his household. So…you were very un-lucky.” Viserys looked at her pensively. It was one thing to marry an old bride, but to marry one who could bring such bad luck to his family…
“My mother has consulted the Vestals. They said that with the blessings of Venus and Mars, our new union will be an auspicious one.” Sansa hastened to say. This time, she knew what he was thinking.
“Right. It does explain your age, but not your naivety.” Viserys muttered.
Sansa was getting quite despondent. “Shall I read to you my lord?” She opted, trying to change subject. “I have written a poem yesterday. The mulberry tree in our garden was in full bloom, like these ones here, and it was such a beautiful sight. I felt I had to put down something to commemorate it. Do you want to hear what I have composed?”
“No thanks.” Viserys said, not looking at her. “I detest poetry. It’s utterly boring.” His gaze, after having wandered all over the garden, was set on a young slave girl who was taking a stroll with her mistress. He gestured at one of his men to come to him. “You see that young nymph over there.” He said to him. “The one with the lovely eyes? Ask her mistress how much she costs and bring her to me tonight together with that Nubian girl.” His slave bowed deeply and was about to rush off when he beckoned him back. “Make sure she is clean before you buy her. Otherwise don’t bother.”
Sansa felt so upset and humiliated that she could hardly keep her calm and polite appearance any longer.
“I was just arranging a little entertainment for tonight’s dinner. My friends are coming over.” Viserys explained in a matter of fact voice.
“W-would you like to take a stroll in the garden my lord?” She asked, forcing a smile, while fighting against her tears as she fumbled with her sleeves in her lap.
“No, it’s far too hot. I don’t want to end up sweating like a pig again. I just came from the baths." Then after a brief awkward pause. "There is a play in the atrium this afternoon. We could go see it. Sit in the shade together. They say it’s quite good. It’s an enactment of the famous fight between Titus Pullo and that large Skull giant that happened last year in the Colloseum. They got a dwarf to play Pullo and a real tall fellow to play the other one. It should be much more entertaining than this.”
He stood up and offered her his hand, which she took.
“Get the dark one over there too.” Viserys told his slave when he returned, his eyes already set on a new olive skinned slave girl who he saw reading to her mistress in the shade. “I like the way she rolls her tongue over her lips.” he added.
Somehow, Petyr managed to keep smiling politely at the drunken fool as he rose back on his feet in a pace that was not unlike that of a snail trying to crawl out of a gutter. Come on you big fat time-waster. You spent the entire afternoon snoring on my bed and now the sun is almost completely down. Get out already.
His smile dropped when he saw the client leave his cell, parting the raggedy curtains without dropping a wooden token into his bowl.
“Dominus!” Petyr came after him as far as his chains allowed. “Forgive me, but are you not forgetting something?”
“What?” His client said, half turning around in the outside corridor.
“The token. The one my supervisor gave you at the counter.” Petyr pulled on his chains, half leaning out of his cell. “You need to drop it into this bowl here.”
The larger man pursed his fat lips and patted over his belt and pockets. “Can’t find it.” He replied after he had hardly bothered to look. “I must have lost it somewhere.”
“Well, it’s definitely not in here.” Petyr said, raising his eyebrows and forcing himself to keep smiling courteously, and not sarcastically. He was right. His cell was completely bare, except for the stone bed and the bowl. There was no place to lose the damn thing, even if you were a complete clueless cretin, like the big lumbering log standing right in front of him. “Please sir. Take a better look." He urged. "You have to give me a token. They won’t know that I have received you if you don’t.”
“I don’t give a fuck about that. I paid didn’t I? That’s enough. And you weren’t that good anyway.” He wobbled away from Petyr’s cell. “Trant!" He shouted at the slave supervisor of the brothel. "You old dog! Next time, give me something younger and more loose! My heart almost gave up trying to screw that scrawny little thing.”
Petyr slowly counted to 20, and glanced down the narrow corridor to make sure the obnoxious git had really left before he uttered a harsh scream. Not that good? Go try and find someone else who can swallow that disgusting cock of yours without choking on it you son of syphilitic whore! May the Gods give you warts on your cock and may your balls drop off next time you visit a brothel!
Frustrated, he kicked against the grid that separated his cell with the adjacent one. It startled the slave girl next door, who uttered a shriek of fright in response.
“Is your crazy acting up again Littlefinger?” Petyr sucked in a deep breath and immediately stopped when he heard someone chuckling behind him. “Do you need me to remind you how to behave?” The slave supervisor said, standing in the doorway with his hand on his whip.
“Trant.” Petyr turned around to face him. "I need another client.”
“It’s well past the 11th hour*. Surely, there aren't any more coming for today. How many tokens do you have?"(*around 5 in the afternoon)
“Well, close then, but not close enough." Trant said with a smirk.
“I had 5 clients. The last one didn’t give me a token.”
“Yeah right.” Trant answered. “I know you a little longer than today Littlefinger. Go try to fool someone else.”
“I am serious! He kept me busy the whole afternoon and I wasn’t paid for it. Look.” Petyr strained his chains as he tried to get closer to plead with him. “Just for once, can you not be lenient?”
Trant kept grinning at him. “You need to get at least 5 to get fed.”
“For fuck’s sake! I told you I had 5. Come on, show a bit of mercy, I haven’t eaten for four long days.”
“I don’t see how that would be my problem?” Still that loathsome little grin. No doubt he was enjoying himself immensely.
“I’ll suck your cock.” Petyr offered, his grey green eyes staring at him.
Trant thought about it for a moment, just to waste time and make Petyr suffer. “Nah-" He finally said, pulling his belt up from his waist. "I just had a good go at that Gippo slut from three doors down. Don’t want to tire myself too much.” Without his grin leaving his face, he suddenly took his whip out and cracked it down on Petyr’s left thigh. Petyr winced. The nasty blow was not vicious enough to leave a mark, but it was still very painful. “Cheer up.” Trant told him before he left. “You have four, so at least you’re not going to get completely trashed by me.”
Petyr slowly rubbed over his aching thigh and sank down on the floor while he silently cursed that obnoxious brute under his breath. His empty stomach growled loudly, as if his hunger had been amplified by his disappointment and anger. He wondered, had he not looked forward so much to finally be fed a meal tonight, would he still be so horribly upset about it. His stomach certainly seemed to think so. Unable to pacify it in any other way, Petyr finally crawled to his bowl and took out a dry loaf of bread hidden underneath. It was little more than half the size of his hand, and was months old, stubborn as rock. Somehow, despite being bone dry, it still managed to mold. Petyr wet his lips and nibbled on the fuzziest corners. He was so hungry, he wanted to shove the whole thing in his mouth in one go, but he was too afraid to finish all of his rations. Trant was a real cruel bastard, and wouldn’t mind starving him for weeks. He had seen it happen to others before.
He really had been here for far too long.
A flickering light poured through the iron grid that partially covered the wall partition between his and the neighboring cell. His neighbor had lit an oil-lamp to receive a late visitor. Soon after, he heard laughter coming from the client and the young Celtic slave girl that he was about to bed.
The girl had arrived only 4 months ago. She had wept for 2 of those, was which about average for any new arrival. Petyr himself had kept it at 3, although he had been much younger then she was when he was first sold into prostitution, so perhaps the comparison wasn’t entirely fair. Besides, except for a few occasions in which his master and henchman had been truly exceptionally cruel to him, he had managed to keep his eyes dry ever since. Petyr had long learned the hard way to never let it get that far. Succumbing to grief and self-pity was not the way to survive in a place like this. Hidden resentment and rage proved far better aids to him.
Similar to Petyr, the Celtic girl also appeared to be a quick learner. She moaned like a pro, and occasionally even managed to sound like she really enjoyed it. Nymph-like, with her hay colored hair cut short, and with small almost non-existing breasts, she proved very popular with those who preferred young boys. Petyr knew that he was too old. The men who came to the brothel preferred the very young, and for them, at 26, he was practically over the hill. He would have been discarded by now, sold to the stone quarries by his master years ago, if it wasn’t that he naturally looked younger than his age. Still, strands of grey were starting to show at his temples, and the first fine lines were appearing on his face. If Trant didn’t let him shave, a thin rugged beard would appear within 2 days, making him look like a full adult. It was not difficult to imagine why the boyish, child-like creature in the cell next door had stolen away so many of Petyr’s old clients since she turned up here.
Petyr may have lived a truly miserable life in the brothel for the past 16 years, but he never really had to starve before if he did his job right. But now, he frequently found himself going to bed hungry. His belly, never much to begin with, had shrunken considerable during the last few months, till it appeared hollow, even when he was sitting. He didn’t want to admit it to himself, but he was close to looking sickly. That was very dangerous, for it was one thing to remain lean to look youthful, but if he looked too weak, or may merciful Eleos forbid, he really became ill, none of the clients would have him, and then his master would not think twice to dispose of him. Petyr knew he would never survive long if he was sent to do hard labor in the stone quarries. With his natural wiry frame and lack of muscular build, he probably won’t even last a week.
Chewing on his meager ration, he listened quietly to the fake excited shrieks coming from next door. His grey green eyes then fixed on the slave girl's wooden bowl that he could see right through the iron grid partition. He could not make out how many tokens she had collected for today, but it must be more than what he had. The token of her current client lay on the floor in front of her stone bed, right next to his discarded sandals and tunic.
He kept staring at it for a long time. Then, by chance, a kick of her client’s feet sent the token flying nearer to a hole in the grid. It was, perhaps, even near enough now for him to get hold of it. Quick and agile like a cat, he reached out and snatched it, and without a second thought, he threw it into his own bowl.
Unseasoned and perhaps also lacking much in wisdom because of her young age, the Celtic girl quickly got herself in a quarrel with her client, reproaching him loudly not being unable to find her token. Petyr winced when he heard her getting beaten up by the brute. She cried after her client had left, lamenting in her native tongue for an hour or so, with some broken Latin mixed into, just enough to make Petyr aware that she was also cursing like an old fishwife. Much to Petyr’s annoyance, when it was time for their supervisor to do his round and feed the slaves, she was still at it.
“Just hand me the tokens Littlefinger.” Trant said, looking annoyed. “You don’t need to hold out your bowl to me if you don’t get fed.”
Petyr held out all of his tokens to show him. “I have five." He said with a smirk. "So you do need the bowl.”
“How in the name of Caerus’s lucky cock did you get the last one?” Trant sneered. “You said you had only 4 just an hour ago. You didn’t receive any more clients.”
“I miscounted.” Petyr said, his smirk turning into a broad smile.
Trant stared at him, then he noticed that the girl next door was weeping. He parted the curtains of her cell to check on her. Noticing her black eye and the bruises on her face, and quickly counting the tokens in her bowl, he finally put 1 and 1 together. “Right. I don’t know how you did it, but you are a fucking asshole Littlefinger.” He said with a loathsome, mean little grin.
Petyr just smirked back at him. Coming from a selfish worm like Trant, the insult was practically a complement. “Food please, and would you be so kind to scrape it a little bit closer from the bottom this time.”
Trant just glared at him while he filled Petyr’s bowl with stew. He was extra careful to ladle from the top so it would be thin and watery. Petyr kept smirking at him, for he had not expected anything else from that swine. For a moment, he feared Trant would drop his bowl, just to spite him, but he managed to get hold of it before the evil bastard could think up of something so cruel.
“Enjoy it while you can. Who knows when you’re going to be that lucky again.” Trant told him, and tossed a piece of bread at his feet.
Petyr quickly grabbed hold of the fresh bread and dunked what was left of the old one in the stew before stuffing it in his mouth. He was still chewing and swallowing it down when he heard Trant visit the slave girl next door, yelling harshly at her to shut up. He must have whipped her too, for she cried out frightfully. Petyr tried not to listen to it, and kept slurping down the stew as fast as he could, but somehow, it did somewhat spoil the meal for him.
“Shut the fuck up will you!?” Petyr sneered, kicking at the grid partition after Trant was gone.
The slave girl cursed him loudly in her native tongue, and cried out the Latin word for thief.
“Shut up!” Petyr repeated. Then, a little less harsh, he added; “Shut up...if you do, I share my meal with you.”
He had not really expected that she would listen to him, but she actually did, and the sobbing stopped. Much annoyed, and already regretting that he had offered, Petyr looked down at his bowl. There was still one third of the stew left. He was so hungry that he could almost faint, but he took what was left of the small piece of old moldy bread, soaked it in the stew, and ate it. Without giving it a second thought, he pushed the rest of it through the hole in the grid. I’m going to count to ten. If she doesn’t take it, I am going to grab it right back. He told himself. But petite hands, thin and trembling, hastily picked it up and took it out of his sight. Petyr groaned but otherwise said nothing. He took whatever was left of the fresh bread and hid it in a gap between his bed and the wall.
Mercifully, he didn’t hear anything from her again for the rest of the night.
“Can you please stop laughing! It’s not funny.” Sansa pleaded with Margaery, scowling at her best friend.
The two girls were sitting together, looking out over the beautiful garden in the back of the enormous townhouse of Margaery’s family. It was late in the afternoon, and the sun was setting, casting it’s warm glow over the elaborate paintings and mosaics of flowers and fruit trees that decorated the walls of the sun room that was open to the covered walk surrounding the garden. It was Margery’s favorite place in the house, far away from the busy atrium where the slaves were busy with their chores, and from her father’s noisy tablinium where he received his guests and clients.
“Did you really tell him you like reading poetry in bed?” Margaery asked, giving her friend a naughty smile before she popped a piece of cooked honeyed quince into her mouth. “Oh I can imagine his face!” She laughed giddily, hiding her smile behind her hands.
“How was I supposed to know what he meant!? He could have been a little bit more specific.”
“Well, even if he was, my poor friend here would not have known how to answer him anyway.” Margaery teased.
“You were supposed to console and advice me, not mock me.” Sansa lamented. A slave passed by and offered her a golden plate piled high with figs filled with sweetened curd cheese, but she waved it away. She was way too upset to eat anything. “It was a complete disaster. I had my first date with my beloved Viserys and I bored him so much that he actually yawned! And he didn’t even notice the dress I have especially let made to look extra nice for him. Oh Margaery, please stop laughing now. I feel like a complete idiot.”
“I am sorry.” Margaery replied, trying to stop a string of giggles. “I told you, no matter how much clothes you put on and how good it looks, men only want quite the opposite. If you want our young dashing Targaryn lord to pay more attention to you, you should have gone to him wearing no dress at all.”
“Stop it!” Sansa blushed. “Honestly, I don’t know why I even put up with you. You have a mind like a gutter.”
“It’s the truth. You know it is.” Margaery replied, picking a plump deep red grape from the vine.
“What am I going to do?” Sansa panicked. She gazed into the garden, sighing deeply. “We have another date next week. I don’t want to bore him to death again. We have absolutely no shared interests what so ever. He doesn’t like poetry or reading or taking strolls in the garden. He only wants to talk about things I know absolutely nothing about. How am I supposed to keep him happy?”
“My dear friend-“ Margaery said, taking her hands and squeezing them lightly. “Do you want help?”
“Yes! Of course I do, but…how exactly?...how can you help?”
“Well, judging from what I have heard from you, he does have a strong interest in something that might interest you too, if only you would give it try.”
“Margaery…you don’t mean…”
Her friend smiled knowingly, crossing her legs as she sat back. “I learned a great deal about it because of Loras.”
“Loras?” Sansa wrinkled her nose. “Oh Gods, you don't mean you two are –“
“What? Oh no! No, absolutely not. Eew! Whose mind is in the gutter now? No, what I meant was that Loras often hires slaves from the local brothels. He let Calvus find them and brings them here to entertain him."
“You’re joking?” Sansa blurted out, completely astonished. “He is bringing them here? To your parent’s house?”
“What’s wrong with that?” Margaery shrugged, nibbling on a piece of sweet wine cake.
“Everything! If one of my brothers would dare to do such a thing my mother would die of shame, and my lord father would definitely lose it and discipline him for it.”
“Why? We’re part of a noble family with a well-respected name. We shouldn’t do such scandalous things.”
“Well, our family, like the Starks, are also well-respected in Rome, but my father doesn’t make a fuzz it about. In fact, grand-mamma actually prefers it this way. She says she then has a change to keep an eye on what Loras is up to.”
“Your family is so strange.” Sansa sighed, shaking her head in utter disbelief.
“No. My family is very practical and open minded. Believe me, we are really not the only ones from the aristocracy in Rome who hold orgies on a regular basis to entertain ourselves and our guests. In fact, from what I have heard, your beloved Viserys, is actually a real connoisseur of such matters. It seems that the young Adonis cannot skip one night without calling prostitutes to his chambers.”
“That’s a lie. It must be.” Sansa object, getting quite upset again. “Where did you hear it from?”
“My aunt, who heard it from a freedman, who heard it from a house slave of the Targaryen family.”
“It’s probably just stupid gossip.”
“It might be, it might not be.” Margaery leaned closer to Sansa and whispered: “They also say that he has the bedroom manners of an insatiable wild animal. So… you better be prepared, don’t you think?”
Sansa felt her cheeks burn. “How can I prepare for it?” She blurted out. "I thought we were not supposed to learn or even think about these things till we are properly married.”
My darling friend-“ Margaery tutted, shaking her pretty head. “Your mother and father really have something to answer for. What were they thinking when they turned you into such a naïve young lamb.” She sat back in her chair, leaning her slender back against the soft velvet cushions. “Tell you what, Loras has his friends from academy coming over for dinner tomorrow. He is planning to hold a small party in the evening and will be providing the appropriate entertainment. If you want to learn anything about these matters, you are more than welcome to join us.”
But, if it’s for Loras and his friends, the party will only have girls. What can I learn from any of them?”
For a moment, Margaery just stared at her with a look of complete astonishment on her pretty face, then she burst out in giddy laughter.
“What?” Sansa asked, feeling every bit the fool.
“Believe me my sweet sweet Sansa, there are ways to enjoy yourself with these girls, even if you do share similar anatomies.” She caught the look Sansa was giving her and she tried to regain some of her posture to not further embarrass her. “But I can assure you, my brother will certainly also ask for boys. In fact, I think he has a slight preference for them. I can help you find one who’s suitable, and then you can - you know - stay the night at our house to enjoy him. What do you think?”
“Sex with a slave?” Sansa said, making a face. “I think it’s quite shocking! That's what I think! And it is dangerous.”
“I didn’t mean actual sex. Good Gods, you don’t want him to enter you, and risk dealing with his bastard child in 9 months time to dispose of. No, I mean you can enjoy yourself in many different ways with a slave without ever running the risk of getting pregnant.”
Really?” Sansa furrowed her brows. She still found the very thought of it quite improper, but some darker and more rebellious part of her was also very much intrigued by the idea, particularly now with her future love life with her beloved Viserys on the line. If there was a way to do this without any real consequences, she was very tempted to give it a try. “How?”
“Well-“ Her friend replied with an alluring little smile. “That’s something for you to find out.”
The next day was as worthless as the previous one. By the end of the long afternoon, Petyr only had gathered 4 tokens, enough to prevent a good lashing, but not enough to get another bowl of measly stew. When Trant showed up to collect the tokens, Petyr had to restrain himself to not clench his fist and hit him right in his smug grinning face.
“Four.” Petyr said moodily, holding it up for him to see.
With hindsight, Petyr could have expected it. In the late afternoon he did notice that Trant entered the Celtic slave girl’s cell and didn’t leave again until a full hour later. But he had been too busy with a client to follow any of the conversations that went on between them. So when Trant took all of Petyr’s tokens and tossed them a door further down in the Celtic slave girl’s bowl, it still somewhat came as a nasty surprise to him.
‘What the hell did you just do?” Petyr asked.
“Nothing.” Trant shrugged, faking innocence, and crossing his bulky arms over his chest. “Oh look at that. You don’t seem to have any clients today.” He commented, nodding his head at Petyr’s empty bowl.
“What are you talking about? You just took all of my tokens and gave it to that whore next door!”
Trant didn’t answer him, but kept grinning his smug little grin right into Petyr’s face.
Petyr gazed up at the ceiling and sighed when he guessed what had been happening behind his back.
“I see.” He muttered. “And?” He asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Was her cunt actually any good?”
“Better than your asshole.” Trant grinned. “Otherwise she wouldn’t have gotten what? 9 tokens?” He shook his head, mocking him. “Now that’s impressive. That girl really knows how to be efficient. I wonder what our dominus would think though, when he reads the ledger tonight and finds out about your disappointing contribution.” He clicked with his tongue. “I think you better prepare yourself for a very sore backside.”
“You can’t do this.” Petyr objected, shaking his head, and smiling defensively like a man with a nasty toothache, not wanting Trant to know that he was upsetting him. “I am going to get lashed till my whole back is open when he thinks I have not made him a single coin.”
“You should have worked harder.” Trant said, laughing while he turned around and started walking away from his cell.
“Wait, wait!” Petyr rushed after him, straining his chains till he felt his dog collar tightening around his throat. “I’ll do anything. Anything you want. Please, at least put me down for 3. I really don’t want to get thrashed again.” He finally admitted, no longer smiling, and so very very scared. Last time he was flogged he couldn’t sit or lie down for a month. In his current weakened state, it was going to finish him.
“You got nothing I want Littlefinger.” Trant told him. “You should have offered it to me a couple of years earlier, before you started to become a real pain in the ass.”
“Trant!” Petyr shouted down the corridor, getting desperate, but unable to rush out any further with the dog-collar choking him. “Please! You can’t do this to me! Trant!”
He heard the slave girl next door laugh at him loudly.
“You mean fucking bitch!” He swirled around and started thrashing the grid partition. “You serpent whore! I only took one from you! I am going to be whipped to death for this! I should have let you fucking starve!”
Go to hell. Came her defiant reply in broken Latin.
“Shut up Littlefinger!” Trant barked from behind the counter. “We got a late costumer! Behave yourself you stupid lunatic!”
Petyr immediately stopped and rushed out. Leaning as far out of the doorway as his chains allowed, he peered around the corner to find out who was there.
“So?” He heard Trant say to the young man, who was dressed in a green tunic, and wore a slave’s plaque with a rose emblem around his neck. “Are you looking for something specific? Do you actually have money to pay for our services?” Trant added, almost sneeringly.
The suspicious look Trant gave to the young slave didn’t trouble him at all. “I am here on the orders of my master Loras Tyrell.” He proclaimed in a clear voice, standing stiff and straight as if his dominus was here and was scrutinizing his bearings. “I am to hire slaves to provide the entertainment for his dinner party tonight.”
“Oh well, then you have come to the right place.” Trant said, his stance immediately softening when he realized that the slave would spend his master’s coins. “We have all types here, and for a reasonable price. What does the young master prefer?”
To this the young slave just shrugged. “Young, pale, just the usual type.”
"We have plenty of pretty young girls to choose from. I will go and round some up for you to take a look at, shall I?”
“No, not girls.” The Tyrell slave replied. “My master has a taste for boys.”
“Ah.” A pause. “How many?”
“He requested at least 3.”
“We only have 2 at the moment. We sold one last month to the quarries, but he was all used up.”
Trant rounded up the two Germanic boys who were usually kept chained together in the cell nearest to the counter, and stood them in line next each other for the Tyrell slave to inspect.
“What do you think?” Trant asked, showing his greasy salesman's smile. “Cream of the crop, right?”
“Actually, they are not the best looking ones.” The young slave muttered, shaking his head as he studied the naked sex slaves. “Their features are quite coarse. They’re built like turnip farmers and there is a dead look in their eyes, which I don’t like much.”
“Well, this is all what we got.” Trant said, scratching his beard and looking annoyed. “To be honest my friend, it’s way pass the 11th hour, you will have a hard time finding any boys still available for tonight in any of the other brothels. So…” He spread out his hands at him and grinned. “You either take these buggers or you fuck off home to your master empty handed and give him and his friends blue balls for the rest of the evening.”
“I didn’t say that I am not taking these two.” The young slave quickly said, now wanting to risk it. “How much?”
“30 Sesterces for each of them, but because it's you, 35.”
The slave paid him, despite the obvious extortion. “What about a third?”
“We don’t have any more male prostitutes.” Trant told him. “We do have a girl who sort of looks like a guy, maybe you could check her out.”
They both turned their heads when they heard someone shout down the corridor.
“Ser! Ser! Are you looking for another boy?” Petyr yelled out. “I do apologize for my supervisor. He must be very tired because he has grossly miscounted. Last time I looked I still had a cock between my legs. Please ser, take me along!”
The young Tyrell slave gave Trant a much puzzled look.
“You don’t want him.” Trant sneered. “You wanted something young. He’s too old.”
“How old are you?” The house slave asked, walking to Petyr’s cell to take a better look at him.
“19.” Petyr replied, licking his lips anxiously as he gazed back at him.
“He’s lying.” Trant told their customer. “He’s been 19 every bloody single year. Ever since I started working here. He’s more like in his late twenties.”
"You're lying to me?" The Tyrell slave asked.
“No sir, I mean I do look younger, don’t I? I could easily pass for 19.” Petyr smiled cheekily.
“Ha! In your dreams!” Trant snorted.
“He does actually.” The house slave commented, eying Petyr up and down. “At least he looks way better than those two Germanic apes you’ve showed me. A bit skinny perhaps, but not too bad. He looks youthful and is built delicate enough, just to my master’s liking.”
“He is a lot of trouble this one. You’re mad if you want to waste any coin on him.” Trant warned.
“No I am not.” Petyr replied calmly, looking the Tyrell slave right in the eyes. “I know exactly what men like your master want.” He said quietly, a smile flickering on his face as he wet his lips again. “Take me with you. I will please him, you will see. You won’t regret it.” Petyr leaned a little closer to him, his chains rattling between his legs. "I am going to suck your master's cock all night like a thirsty little lamb suckling on his mother's tit." He whispered hoarsely in the younger man's ear. "He's going to scream when he comes in my mouth."
There was something about how Petyr fixed his grey green starey gaze on his target, his mouth spreading into the most seductive, roguish smile, while he rolled the tip of his pink tongue over his moist lips that could melt even the hardest of hearts and awaking the most passionless of loins.
The young Tyrell slave felt something stir down below and decided, without another second thought, that he would rent all three for his master.
“Attach him to the others.” He told Trant while he handed over an extra bag of coins to pay for Petyr, trying hard to keep his legs crossed to hide his erection. “I need to get moving. I have to be back and present these to the young master before night fall.”
Petyr, still completely naked, was yanked by his chains out of his cell by Trant and was fastened to the chains of the other two.
“If you think you have just escaped a good trashing, you are wrong.” Trant hissed in Petyr’s face. “I’ll make sure our dominus knows and remembers this. As soon as you’re back, you will get flogged.” He gave a hard yank on Petyr’s dog-collar, making Petyr bow his head to him. Despite the nasty threats, Petyr couldn't stop himself from smirking back at the malicious bastard. “Enjoy your backside while you still have one.” Trant sneered, and cracked his whip on Petyr’s back, right before the chain gang left the brothel.
Notes: Sorry guys, I promised to post today but the next chapter is still a bit of a mess and needs rewriting, so please bear with me, I will get the next chapter up next week, the 16th of Feb, or you can get keep updated on any new posts via my Tumblr account.