Pride 10

The shower’s water ran dirty on the floor, discolored by the dried blood and plaster that had once clung to his body. Sabbath made sure to drench himself thoroughly, letting the fierce pelting of the overhead nozzle wash off most of the grime he had accumulated while journeying through the castle of lions. His hair, which he had unbraided, clung to his neck and shoulders, his bangs plastered to his brow. He made no move to brush them from his eyes, keeping them closed as he let the cleansing waters wash over him.

He wished the waters could soothe his thoughts, Sabbath thinking about this past day, and the many occurrences that had happened in so short a time frame. Arus had finally fallen, all pockets of resistance destroyed. What little of the humans remained free, were being hunted, and even if they succeeded in evading the Drules, they wouldn’t stay hidden for long. Not when hunger and desperation drew them out of the caves and rubble of the destroyed cities.

Even now the humans were being processed, branded and prepared for their introduction into lives as slaves of the Doom Empire. They’d have little time to rest, come the morning the Drules would be putting them to work. They would not be rebuilding the destroyed cities, though camps would be set up for the Drules who would remain behind on this planet to supervise the Arusian slaves.

Of course the prince and much of his armada would not be leaving right away, Lotor staying behind to supervise the first days’ work. It wasn’t just the mining of resources that had to be overseen, the Drules were eager to discover just what had happened to the robot Voltron. To see if any of the pieces had survived the coven’s spell, and if the parts were salvageable.

Sabbath as a commander and general in the Drule military, would not have much to do in these coming days. Not with much of the fighting over with, many of the soldiers able to earn a momentary reprieve before being sent off to fight on other worlds. But before that would come the looting, the men and women of Doom sifting through the rubble to try and find anything of value to claim for themselves. It was an additional bonus to the pay they earned from the empire, the riches the Arusians had enjoyed now up for grabs.

As were many of the people, soldiers claiming humans for their own. Though in truth many of the humans taken by the soldiers were women, the men hungering to slate their lusts on any female flesh they could find. Sabbath had already born witness to that lust, the desires of his soldiers such that they had been willing to go against his orders at the first sight of a beautiful woman. The memory of that assault on the blonde hair maiden made Sabbath bare his fangs, his low incensed growl barely heard over the roar of the shower head.

His rage was only soothed by the fact that he had stopped their attack, prevented it from becoming a full out rape. He still wasn’t sure what exactly had happened, the moments leading up to his discovery of Romelle and her tormentors. Something had come over him, Sabbath finding the act being committed even more abhorrent than he usually did, the Drule springing into action. He hadn’t paused to think, his rage having nothing to do with the fact the soldiers were disobeying his orders. He had just reacted, and all because of the glimpse into fearful but angry blue eyes.

Eyes that seemed to affect him any time he looked into them, Sabbath flying into a murderous rage to protect Romelle. He had even killed for that rage, beheading one of his own men for their daring against the girl. That rage worried him, Sabbath not understanding just why Romelle compelled him to react in such an extreme manner. And with that lack of understanding had come relief, brief though it was. Sabbath had assumed on closer inspection, that Romelle had been the princess of Arus. And thus once delivered to his prince, the girl would no longer be his problem.

How wrong he had been! Sabbath let out a humorless snort, hands clenching into fists. If anything, his arrival before Lotor had sealed Sabbath and the girl’s fate, the prince revealing that the woman Sabbath had rescued was not Princess Allura. As such, he had no use for her, neither personal or political, Lotor quick to toss Romelle to the wolves. Sabbath had instantly objected to that fate, and though it had earned him the anger of many of the soldiers present, Lotor had been amused. Enough to grant him the exclusive use of Romelle, the girl becoming his private slave.

It was not something Sabbath had wanted. Nor did he know quite what to do with the girl now that he had her. Sabbath knew what the other soldiers would assume about them, the Drules expecting Sabbath to spend much of the following days enjoying the girl’s body. They would laugh and be amazed to know that was the last thing Sabbath intended to do, even if he felt desire every time he looked in Romelle’s direction.

If anything, that unasked for desire made him all the more determined to abstain, Sabbath a rarity when it came to Drule men. He abhorred rape, could not, would not condone taking a woman by force. His way of thinking made him a defect among the Drule, and Sabbath was always quick to hide his disdain for those who so enjoyed such a cruel act.

As a child who was the product born of a rape, Sabbath had grown up advised by his damaged mother. She had been quick to instill in him respect for a woman, and her body, to make him understand and acknowledge a woman’s refusal. Women, no matter the species, were creatures to be cherished, to admire and love, and above all protect.

Even if that protective instinct had gained him a slave that he had no idea what to do with! He groaned, and turned off the shower, thoroughly rinsed of dirt and soap. His hair hung down in waves, the strands having spent a life time of conditioning by his braids. Even with the water weighing them down, they would not straighten out completely, a bit of a curl to them.

He shook his head, Sabbath sending drops of water flying everywhere as he reached for a towel. He began rubbing vigorously at his wet hair, though in truth Sabbath wanted to delay leaving the bathroom for as long as possible. He knew what was waiting for him outside in his private cabin, Romelle having been left unattended inside his bedroom.

He had locked the doors from the inside, knowing that to open them required the fingerprints of one who had been authorized access to the cabin. Romelle had no way of leaving, even if she should desire to do that. And if she somehow managed to bypass the door’s security, only trouble awaited her on the rest of the ship. Her beauty would be her undoing, the former princess falling prey to the first Drule she came across.

That would prove problematic in more ways than one, Sabbath realizing he would have to keep Romelle close to him at all times. Especially if she was to leave the cabin for any reason. Not that he expected her to, not with her beauty being such a problem. It limited him in the ways he could command her, Sabbath knowing that even if he were able to trust her, he couldn’t send her out on errands without fear of the molestation she would endure.

Why a simple trip to the ship’s commissary could take hours, Romelle being nabbed by soldiers as she tried to fetch Sabbath’s meals. The same could happen with his laundry, and he had horrible visions of sending her to deliver a message to one of the other Generals, and having her come back disheveled from their attention. The thoughts made him growl with rage, Sabbath violently throwing the towel on the floor. He fetched a dry one, and wrapped it around his body, securing it in place over his hips.

Trying to curb his anger, Sabbath stalked towards the room’s exit, the door swishing open at his approach. He was almost not prepared for the attack that came, his troublesome slave trying to swing a pitcher at his head. She came up short, Romelle lacking the height needed to reach Sabbath’s head. Nor did she get to smash the pitcher anywhere on him, Sabbath grabbing her by the arms, forcing her to struggle against him.

With a loud crash of sound, the pitcher hit the floor, water spilling everywhere. Except for an angry whimper, Romelle was silent, shaking and struggling violently against him. Sabbath let out an annoyed growl, put off by the fight in the little hellion. “Damn it all!” He snapped out, shaking her back as he growled at her. “Is this how you repay me for my kindness?!”

“Kindness?!” Romelle managed to scoff, Sabbath catching sight of her angry blue eyes a moment before she slipped on the water. His hold on her kept her from hitting the floor, Sabbath lifting her up bodily to carry her over to the bed. She panicked further, screaming and kicking out with her legs, going so far as to pull on his hair. He almost dropped her then and there in response, but managed to set her down on the edge of the bed.

Romelle tried to back away from him, but he held on to her wrists, keeping her right before him. “Yes, kindness.” Sabbath insisted, fighting not to stare at her. She was dressed in one of his shirts, Sabbath having found her torn dress inadequate when it came to covering her. The ends of the long sleeves draped down past her fingertips, forcing Romelle to have rolled them back. The shirt itself was long on her, looking like a baggy dress that’s hem went down to her knees. And still she tempted him, the flashes of her shapely legs drawing his eyes to them as she had kicked and struggled against him.

Added to his interest was the fact she wore nothing under the shirt, Sabbath not having made the time to request clothing be sent up to the cabin. He wasn’t even sure what to dress her in, Sabbath thinking she did not deserve the coarse rags of a normal house slave. But to dress her in the flimsy scraps of silk that doubled as a pleasure slave’s outfit was risking too much temptation. Just imagining her in scraps of blue had his eyes darkening, his breathing quickening. It was a reaction not lost on Romelle, she began trying to pull her hands free of his grip.

“Is it kindness to invade my home world?!” Romelle was asking him, even as she fought him. “To destroy it, to enslave my people…to steal me away from my home,
to kill my uncle?!”

“Doom and Arus has been at war for years now.” Sabbath answered. “Eventually there had to be a loser…”

“It doesn’t justify what you have done!” Romelle retorted. “What you continue to do!”

“Let us make some things clear here and now. I do not do anything save what my King and Empire command of me. I am merely a soldier, a man trying to earn a living, and glory for my people.”

“At the expense of so many others!” She protested.

“It is the same for your world.” Sabbath pointed out. “Your men and women doing as your King commanded. It would be a betrayal to act against him.”

“But…”

“We all try to make a life for ourselves, to earn prestige and wealth. Some of just prove more successful than others…” He sighed then, seeing her blink back what had to be tears. “It is unfortunate but the way of war…one side has to lose…”

“But why….why Arus?” He wondered if she expected him to answer that, Romelle lowering her gaze to her lap. “It’s not just losing…” She whispered. “It’s killing and devastation, our homes looted and destroyed….whole families dead. I…” Her voice broke, but she continued, bravely refusing to give in to her tears. “What about MY family. My father and brothers….do they even live?!”

He couldn’t answer with any certainty, but Sabbath had a feeling that any remains of male royalty on Arus had probably been stamped out. The men would be to determined to reclaim the planet, the people too quick to rally behind them. The Drules would want to demoralize the Arusians even further, enslaving those they could, and killing the rest.

His silence seemed enough of an answer for Romelle, she suddenly lifted her gaze, eyes angry even as tears streaked down her cheeks. He found himself leaning into her then stopped, Sabbath knowing Romelle was not his woman to comfort. She was his slave, and he shouldn’t blur the lines between them even more than they already were. But damn if the temptation to take her in his arms was not strong, Sabbath wanting to lick away her tears and tell her that somehow everything would be all right.

He abruptly let go of her wrists, as if distance would help him control that impulse. Romelle brought her hands up to her face, attempting to muffle the heart broken weeping she was doing. Sabbath stepped back from the bed, uncomfortable with her sobbing, and the instincts he warred with. The instincts that told him to comfort this woman.

Instead he forced himself to turn, to walk across the room to a table where some food was laid out. The water pitcher had been smashed, but there was still a decanter of wine. Sabbath poured some now, and after a moment’s pause, brought the glass to Romelle. “Here.” He said gruffly, and she blinked up at him. “Drink this. It will…” He paused, knowing no amount of wine could make her forget her loss, though it could numb her pain at least for the night.

“I don’t want it.” Romelle said stubbornly, turning up her nose at the glass. Sabbath stared at her a moment longer before shrugging his shoulders, and downing the wine himself. It was sweet, almost sickly so, and burned going down his throat. Romelle continued to avoid looking at him, but she wasn’t still, fidgeting in place on the bed. “So now what?”

It was bold of her to ask, Sabbath reacting in surprised amusement. “Now?”

“Yes. What will you do….with me?” She asked. “I heard what that prince of yours said…”

“He’s your prince now too….” Sabbath corrected her, but she didn’t pause.

“He said he gave me to you. What does that mean exactly?!”

“Well, Romelle…” He didn’t hesitate, nor did he take any satisfaction from answering her question. “It means your my slave.” Her eyes widened, looking like two round pools of blue. An instant later she was standing, looking as though she wanted to strike him.

“I am not your slave!” Romelle snapped, shaking her head as if her denial could change her status. “Not now, not ever!”

“I am not exactly….thrilled with this arrangement either.” Sabbath admitted. “But the fact of the matter is neither of us have much choice in the matter. You can attend to me as my personal slave…or…” He trailed off, not liking to have to remind her of the other fate that had almost been hers.

“Or?” She repeated, anxious in the moment.

“I know you heard him. How the prince wanted to give you to his soldiers. The men there were most eager for you…” He looked away from the horrified look in Romelle’s eyes, fighting with his own anger over the lusts that had been displayed in her presence.

“So…my choice is….enslaved to you…or….or…” She couldn’t voice it, anymore than he could, a hand rising to Romelle’s mouth. “I don’t want this!” She suddenly cried out. “I don’t want to have to make such a horrible choice!”

He nearly twitched with annoyance there, Sabbath glancing at her. “You find me that abhorrent?”

“You’re a Drule!” She exclaimed, as if that was answer enough. Perhaps to her it was. He frowned at her, Sabbath wondering if this racism was a personality quirk of Romelle’s, or if all the Arusians felt this way. “You take what you want, and destroy all else…you’ve done it to Arus, and you’ll keep on doing it with no one left to stop you!”

“I suppose we will.” Sabbath agreed. “So long as our King commands it, we will continue our conquest.”

“Why?!” She shook her head then, hands clenched into fists. “No when! When will it be enough for you greedy Drules?!”

“Again, that is up to our King.”

“He is a ravenous monster!” Romelle pronounced. “All of you are!”

“That may very well be the case, but you will withhold from speaking of him as such!” reprimanded Sabbath sharply. He knew it was folly to allow Romelle to have free reign to call the King and crown prince insulting names. If another Drule overheard her, they would be quick to punish her, and Sabbath couldn’t bear the thought of the whippings and beatings that would follow her incendiary words.

“I will not!” Romelle protested. “I will do and say as I please!

“Then you fail to understand the position you are in!” snapped Sabbath, partly in exasperation. “You are princess no more. Your family is most likely dead except for your cousin, Allura. You are nothing more than a slave to the Drule, and many will not tolerate an insulting tongue, especially towards their King! I’m sure you’ve heard the stories…” He added, watching her face grow pale. “Of the kind of punishments the Drules deal out to disobedient slaves..”

“Yes, I know…” She whispered, and he nodded.

“Then you should know not to push me or any other Drule on this matter.” Sabbath said, crossing his arms over his chest. He badly wanted to reassure her that he would never mistreat her in the privacy of their home, but knew it would be a sign of weakness. One she would capitalize on, and would cost her, Romelle wrongly assuming all Drules were as big a push over towards their slaves as Sabbath might be towards her.

“What’s…what’s going to happen to me?” Romelle finally whispered, and Sabbath paused.

“Well…for now you will remain here with me on board this ship.” He explained. “We’re not estimated to remain on Arus for more than a week.”

“And after?”

“And after you will come with me to my home on Doom.” She gasped, and seemed to sway, Sabbath quickly moving to catch her. He reacted without thinking, arms going around her to prevent Romelle from hitting the floor. She didn’t fight the support of his arms, just sagging even more against him.

“Doom…” Romelle moaned, voice pitiful in the moment. “No one ever returns from Doom.”

He didn’t know what to say to that, Sabbath taking advantage of her near collapse to hold her closer than was right. She didn’t protest this, Romelle staring not at him but the floor. She was shivering, no doubt in fear, and he knew he could not comfort her from the truth of the matter. They would leave be leaving Arus, Romelle would come with him to Doom. He could only hope she’d be able to resign herself to the thought of living on that planet, far away from everything she had ever known and loved.


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