I pulled the plow under the midday sun. I stopped a few seconds to catch my breath when I felt the whip on my flanks. The old farmer hurried me along, going until I literally dropped to the ground. He then put a water skein to my lips and forced some stale bread into my mouth. In a few minutes I was back on my feet straining against the leather harness. Much Time had passed since I had last seen my moon-flow and by now my belly protruded 7 inches outward in front of me. The farmer lashed the whip against my back and I slammed myself forward against the harness, pulling the plow until the sun hung low to the horizon. I pulled the plow back to the farmer’s hut. The last of his fields had been tilled and tomorrow we would begin to plant.
He unhitched me and I went about my evening chores. I herded the she-bosk up to the farmer’s barn where they would be milked. When the famer set down his stool and pail beside one bosk , I set to work grooming the bosk’s fur. The white fur would be sheared after the spring planting done and sold to the spinners and weavers. I fought against the spells of dizziness that washed over me, once failing to keep my footing, which made the she-bosk I was grooming sidestep and knock over the farmer and his pail of milk. The famer whipped me until my feet bled and made me stand. I finished my task without further incident the pain keeping my head clear. The farmer still managed to get a full pail out of his remaining she-bosks. When finished the farmer locked me in my cage in the small loft of the barn.
I lay there, motionless; the rise and fall of my chest the only indication that I was alive. I listened to the creak of the wooden steps as the old farmer ascended the stairs. He appeared in the loft toting along a pot of gruel, a water skein and a bundle of rough cloth. He took a tin bowl and a cup from the wall. He ladled the steaming gruel into the bowl. I lay there as hunger gnawed at my insides, I dare not show it though lest the farmer would take the food away to spite me.
He unrolled the cloth and brought out dried fruit and meat that other peasants had bartered for his bosk milk and butter. He put a small portion of each into the bowl and slipped in between the bars. I didn’t take it; I was too tired to even lift my head. He opened the cage, muttering to himself in a language I couldn’t understand. He stood over me with his hands on his hips scrutinizing me with a grim look. He knelt beside me then lifted one of my eyelids. He pinched my skin and shook his head, muttering more to himself. I realized that the man was speaking German. The only reason I recognized it was because of all the WWII movies I had seen when I lived on Earth.
He spooned the gruel into my mouth, forcing me to swallow every few mouthfuls. When I had been fed everything in the bowl, he put the water skein in my mouth and forced me to drink. He locked me in the cage again, gathered up his things and muttered his way down the stairs.
I lay there the way he left me. The thing inside me moved. Tears streaked down my cheeks. I remembered that day in the market.
The Peasant woman noticed me in the auction cages of Ar. “Where have you come from, slave?” “Cos, Mistress” I said trying to hide my growing belly by crossing my arms. She reached through the bars and touched it anyways. “Yours will be born soon, earth girl” She said detecting my accent “You’ll bear it with a bag over your head and the babe will be sold before you could give her suck.” She said with a wicked smile. I shrank away from her.
I never thought this place would be so different from Earth. I saw mothers holding children… but I remembered I was a slave girl, it didn’t matter. I lay in the cages that night trying to undo all the maternal attachment that had grown from me for my child. My Master’s child. If I had to bet my life on a paternity test I would have betted it on my Master. I was that sure about my child’s sire.
Master had sold the entire lot of his slave girls when someone had found out that the slave wine had been tampered with. Master had made me his favored slave up until then. I loved Master more than anything else. If Master would have allowed me to, I would have willingly shed the child in order to remain with him. He sent me away just like the rest. I was a scribing slave and kept busy enough that I did not have time to serve as a paga girl in Master’s Tavern, The White Sleen. Master was also a Trader in domestic goods; He had a small fleet of ships and ties up and down the coast.
When I had first come to Gor, I was found by the Time Keepers, they taught me to read and write fluently in Gorean for the equivalent of an Earth year. I was sent as a scribe to the northern territories of Gor. The ship was captured on its way north and I volunteered to go as an appeasement with the raiders. They clapped me in chains the moment I stepped on board and allowed the original ship to continue north unharmed. They stripped me naked but were shocked by what was on my body. My torso was covered in runic tattoos from my life on Earth. I was a wiccan. The Time Keepers puzzled over the tattoos but became excited when they realized they were runes. They showed me the shocking similarity that the runes had to ancient Gorean text.
Whatever it meant to them, it scared my captors. They referred to me as the ‘witch girl’. Squabbles broke out over what would be done with me. Some men thought I should be thrown overboard, others wanted to hold me for ransom. The Chief sold me to the next merchant ship they came across, which was headed back south to Cos. I was branded in the market with a simple Kajira brand and was sold to my Master for thirty copper tarsks. Most of the men were fearful of my tattoos, but Master Inas liked exotic looking things. When he found out I was literate, he was delighted. Exotic and intelligent: an excellent bargain for thirty copper tarsks.
Master didn’t believe me when I said I was pregnant and that it was his child. Master threw me in with the other girls to be sold. I begged through the bars for him to keep me or free me and let him bear his child. He pretended not to hear me or he didn’t care, of which I know not. I became lost in my melancholy and rejection. Physicians checked all of us over and the pregnant slaves were given deck cages, as they themselves carried valuable cargo. I spent most of my time on deck keeping to myself.
Timor, a farmer outside the village of Minus, had purchased me in one of the slave auction houses in Ar. My value had been reduced to ten copper tarsks due to the growth of the child, the widening of my hips and again from my tattoos. “Just because I was a “painted girl” didn’t mean I couldn’t work hard” he said.
Distancing myself from the thing inside me seemed like the only plausible way to prepare myself for the eventual separation from the only tie I had left to Inas. If it were a girl, she would bring very good money. A slave boy would hardly be worth anything. I tried not to think about it. I turned over to lie on my side in the straw. I thought about Inas. I missed his affection, his kindness and his smile; the way he held me when he took me in his bed. The way he grasped my hair, the sense exhilarated me. His domination over me was firm but I felt like he had tenderness in him that was reserved only for me. It didn’t make sense to me. If he cared, why would he send me away?
I woke in the middle of the night. A cold wind was blowing off the mountains. I tried to sit up when I realized that there was an uncomfortable pain in my abdomen. I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. I tried passing whatever it was but it didn’t work. No matter what position I lay in, I was uncomfortable. Soon the pains picked up a regular rhythm, coming in more frequent intervals. I hauled myself into a crouching position in the cage, my forehead against the cold bars; even though it was freezing, I was sweating. About twenty enh later I felt a pressure building inside followed by a slight decrease; Then a heavy onset of pain. Reddish fluid streamed out of my body between my legs.
I felt the head move down into my pelvis. I rocked back and fourth on my heels, bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet desperately trying to shake the child loose from my body. Eventually I gave up and wrapped my arms around the bars and gently moved my hips in slow steady circles. Over the next few hours the child twisted and turned its way out of my body. I cried when the head started to crown. I wept, babbling jibberish, begging for the pain to stop. The sun broke the horizon when I bore the child into the world.
The baby screamed when it touched the rough, cold planks of the floor. I sagged with relief, I felt euphoria. Still in pain, I remained hunched over, my womb contracting and expelling the afterbirth. When I felt a little of my strength return, I let myself down off the bars. I gently turned the child over, and was rewarded with a fresh wave of bawling. I found a clean patch of straw against the bars on the far side of the cage.
I studied the boy in my arms. A son. His shoulders were broad and his chest was deep; he would be a strong man. Wispy strands of blonde hair clung to his head. As soon as I laid my eyes on his face, all the maternal love I could muster was centered on my son. I held him close and allowed him to nurse. For a short while my world was bright; as bright as my time with Inas. In that moment I whispered my name for him: “Thaedred”. I saw Inas in the boy, the color of his hair, the shape of his eyes
I didn’t look away as I heard the heavy boots tromp up the staircase, drinking in the sight of my newborn at my breast before he was taken from me. I heard the cage being unlocked, before I was yanked out by my ankles. Two tarnsmen yanked me to my feet. One held my wrist from behind while the other firmly but gently pulled the child from my arms. My maternal instincts kicked in when I saw the other tarnsmen unsheathed the knife at his belt. I frantically threw my head back, bashing the tarnsman holding me, in the face. I kicked and twisted trying to wriggle out of his arms. But I was held in a grip of steel. I watched helplessly as the other tarnsman motioned to the old farmer by the doorway. The farmer took a length of twine and tied off the baby’s umbilical cord, cutting it with his knife. The old farmer slipped a length of rope over my head and tightened it around my neck. I was forced to watch as my son, fussing slightly, was wiped down with wool cloth, wrapped in luxurious silks and placed in a tarn’s saddle basket. I was confused.
The Other tarnsman dropped two bags of coins into the farmer’s hand and walked down the staircase with the basket. The tarnsman that held me spun me around and slapped me in the face as hard as he could, splitting my lip clean down to the gum line of my bottom jaw. He kicked me down the stairs where I rolled out the opening of the barn door. I looked up dazed to see the grey salt and pepper tarn spreading its massive wings and leaping into the air flying west away from the rising sun.
I ran blindly after it I sped over the tilled earth and threw myself into the trees trying to keep the tarn in sight. It quickly disappeared from sight, but I kept chasing after it breaking out from the trees into open grassland. A screech of a tarn ripped from above me and I ducked in time to avoid the razor edged talons. The tarn landed twenty yards in front of me. I skidded to a halt and fell to my knees. Without realizing it I let an otherworldly scream tear through my lungs.
The dark brown tarn cocked its head to the side and regarded me with a different set of eyes, as if unaware that humans could make such a noise. The tarnsman grimly marched towards me. I gave up; my spirit shattered into a thousand fragments. I sluggishly assumed the pose of a pleasure slave. My knees as wide apart as I could get them, my hands on my thighs and my back set straight. The tarnsman backhanded me as hard as he could and he proceeded to unload all of his anger and frustration that I had caused him. When finished he strapped me to his saddle and carried me away. I silently stared at the place on the horizon where my son had disappeared to, until it was obscured by dense forest.
The tarnsman stopped a slaver caravan on its way south. He haggled with him over my price ending up with five copper tarsks because of my poor condition. They threw me in the back of a wagon that held bales of sleen pelts and bosk wool. I lay there, half dead from my ordeal. It wasn’t until the evening when the three moons of Gor hung low in the sky, that a physician had a chance to take a look at me. My ribs were broken along with most of the bones in my left hand and arm. He stitched my lip back together and gave me a tea to speed up my healing process form the birth. I was assigned to helping the other slave girls with cook duty.
I sat silently in front of the fire when the embers were dying down. I stared at the western horizon, my eyes smoldering with a new found fire. I made my vow to find my son again even if it killed me. To the men that pass me by I am an exotic little Kajira, to the men that call themselves my masters… I’m a demon possessed bitch.