My legs were trembling with the effort needed to hold me up right, my every step unsteady. It had been a mistake to get out of bed. I was in no condition to do much of anything, let alone walk. And yet necessity had driven me, it and fear motivating me in a way nothing else might have. The need to get away, to run, to hide, had been what had given me the strength to crawl to the edge of the bed. To ignore the pain lancing through me, my body feeling raw and sore from too much use. It had been on shaking legs that I stumbled out of the bedroom, the fear almost keeping me from pausing long enough to grab my clothes off the floor. I don’t even remember how I managed to get dressed, thinking it a miracle that I was out of there long before Lotor finished his shower.
I hadn’t waited for his permission before leaving. That was probably a mistake, but at the moment I simply do not care. I simply couldn’t tolerate his touch any longer, or the idea of enduring more of his attention once he was done with his shower. I had had enough for one night, and even the knowledge of how Lotor might punish me, wasn’t enough to drive me back to his room and beg for mercy.
I was living in the moment, concentrating on small victories. I was out of his bed, out of his reach. But I wasn’t free of him, thoughts of Lotor tormenting me. Just like they had in my dreams, Lotor just as cruel and unfeeling there as he was in reality. Even the way my body ached, served as a reminder of Lotor. I didn’t know the extent of the damage done, didn’t know how bruised I was, or how scratched up I was. But I was sore, rubbed raw in the most private of places. Lotor had not been gentle one time, using me in a way I was unaccustomed to.
A hysterical laugh began to build up in me. Lotor intended to keep me. For how long I did not know. But it might very well be long enough for me to grow used to this treatment, to the rough sex he demanded of me. I felt sick then, wondering if I could ever truly get used to being used. The lovers I had had in the past, for all their failed attempts to satisfy me, had always exerted a measure of care towards their treatment of me. Certainly they had never treated me the way Lotor had, ignoring my wishes to take their own pleasure time and time again.
And yet I had responded to Lotor’s cruelty. To the act of being used. I wondered what was wrong with me, wondered why my body could find it so easy to climax at Lotor’s hands yet deny me that same release when shown a modicum of care by my previous lovers. It wasn’t fair. He had shamed me more thoroughly than if he had just had sex with me. In granting me not one but several climaxes, Lotor had effectively humiliated me in a way not previously anticipated.
I hurt and I feared, every unexpected sound causing me to cringe. Some part of me expected Lotor, expected him to come and drag me back to his bed. I would have broken down for sure, would have screamed and wept in a way most unbecoming. I would have shamed myself in front of the people that worked in this castle, and that was just as unacceptable as the shame I felt in responding to Lotor.
I continued to walk, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. At times I would have to rest, just leaning against the wall, trembling all the while. I felt as though I would collapse at any second, and it was all I could do to keep moving. To put as much distance between myself and Lotor as I could manage. But no amount of running could get me to stop thinking, could allow me to forget all that had happened. The memories were vivid, such potent flashes bringing to me the taste, the feel, the emotions that had come with every act. Worst of all, I remembered him, the look in his eyes. The cold desire and indifference he had shown, the way he had ignored my pleas, and just used me to satisfy whatever twisted needs he had had.
He had used me whenever and however he felt like, not even sleep giving me a true reprieve. I closed my eyes and shuddered then, remembering the last time he had fucked me. I had been deep in a troubled sleep, unable to escape Lotor even then. My mind, my memories had tortured me, letting me re-experience everything that had happened. Not just during this past night, but to a time ten years ago. To those frequent kidnappings and stalkings, and the choices he tried to force me to make. Choice had been important to him, or at least it had been where I was once concerned. Now I didn’t even have that, Lotor demanding, commanding, and I unable to do anything but obey. Any resistance I offered up was merely token. We both knew Arus would suffer if I truly fought him.
And still it hurt to know he cared so little, that he would just take me in my sleep. That he would use me again when I was still hurting from the last time. I truly wasn’t a person to him, I was just a possession. Something to be used until it broke, and then tossed aside. I was so close to being used up, and yet I knew it wouldn’t end so quickly. Lotor alone would decide when to draw to a close our association. I could only suffer in the meantime and try not to go mad with grief.
Or shame, I thought, turning a corner and coming face to face with several well dressed females. Drule nobles by the looks of them, each one fashionable in their gowns, with jewels dangling from their ears or around their necks. They took one look at me, disdain in their eyes as they appraised my shabby appearance, the loose fitting clothes that were so rumpled. My hair was a wild mess, and I couldn’t even stand straight. I looked exactly as I felt, damaged goods that had been made that way by their King.
The Drule ladies began to speak, but it was not in a language I was familiar with. They didn’t try to hide their smiles, the malicious enjoyment they took to see me suffer so. I tried to walk past with my head held high, but their laughter made me flinch. Even as I told myself it didn’t matter what they thought, to some part of me it did. I knew the whole castle had to know why I was here, and where I had spent the night. They had probably rejoiced in my humiliation, in seeing the woman who had hurt their King finally brought down.
My face burning with shame, I stumbled the rest of the way to the guest quarters of the castle. It was here, that my own servants waited, having spent the night in more luxury than Arus had seen in a decade. I’d stagger into the room, and barely let the door close behind me, before I gave in to the urge to collapse. Concerned voices would cry out, women rushing in an attempt to catch me. I hit the floor anyway, and just sat there stunned. Wanting to cry, and not daring to show anyone how much pain I truly was in.
The women scurried around me, someone bringing me a glass of water. My hands shook too badly to hold it, the water spilling down my front. I shrugged off their attempts to dry me, to speak to me, privately mourning my fate. I look around the room, at the gilded cage that will be my prison. The extravagance of my surroundings reminds me of the wealth the Empire possess. The wealth that will be turned onto Arus, allowing it and my people to prosper. Somehow it doesn’t feel enough for the price I’ve paid, with everything lost to me now. Arus future is secured, but only so long as I continue to give in to Lotor’s demands. I was a fool to think he would ever be satisfied with just one night.
Now I really do start to cry, here in the relative safety of my cage. The women return to my side, kneeling down to embrace me. They try to comfort me in whatever way they can, someone brushing out my hair. No one comments on my disheveled state, or tries to lie that things will get better. We all know it won’t, and I can only be glad Nanny is long dead, and unable to see me so disgraced.
I don’t know how long I sit there, surrounded by teary eyed servants. They grieve with me, they even fear for me, seeing the condition I am in. They don’t even know for certain what Lotor has done to me, but his reputation is enough to leave them scared. I try to spare them from the truth, allowing them to help me only as far as the bathroom. Once there, I insist on going inside alone, not wanting their curious eyes to see my body bared. It is enough that I see it, my eyes critical as I look at each bruise, brush fingers over every scratch. My shoulder will scab over where he had bit me, the dried blood still staining the skin there. I want to scream, but know my servants will rush in at the first sound of my distress. I can only endure in relative silence, stepping into the shower. The water is almost scalding, so hot do I let it fall. I stand there for a small eternity, just letting the hot drops pelt me in the hopes it can somehow cleanse me of the stain Lotor has left on both my body and soul.
Here in the shower, the last pretense fade. I am not a proud woman. Haven’t been one for a long time, even long before I came to this planet and submitted to Lotor. I hadn’t been for months, maybe even years, Arus’ situation bringing me low. I don’t want to think on when I had last felt like myself. I am afraid the answer will tell me it had been a decade ago, on the day when I refused and rejected Lotor, his last plea for marriage between us.
I don’t want to think about that day. I don’t want to remember the feelings that had coursed through me, the arrogance and yes, the fear. I had been so stubborn, so determined to not demean myself by agreeing to become that monster’s woman. Even the thoughts that Lotor might hurt me, might even kill me for my refusal, hadn’t been enough to get me to reconsider his proposal. I had been arrogant, so sure that it would be better to die free, then to spend a lifetime of humiliation, degraded as Lotor’s queen. Now I don’t even have that to console me, no marriage, no crown. Not even his promise to aid and support Arus can console me in this moment. I am too torn up inside, my tumultuous feelings sneering at me. Mocking me for doing exactly what I had hoped to avoid all those years ago.
Now I am nothing, little more than Lotor’s toy. He’s made me understand that again and again, the lessons being instilled in me through the abuse he does to my body. I feel as though I hurt everywhere, even where his hands had merely latched onto me to secure his grip. I bare bruises all over my body, marks of where his mouth had been, and imprints of his fingertips. He’s bitten me, even broken the skin on my shoulder to bleed me. He’s even scratched me with those wickedly curved claws of his. And yet I am not surprised. Lotor has behaved exactly as I had always feared he would. Only now there is no pretense between us, nor claims that he loves me.
It is good that no illusions of such exist between us. We both know why I am here, why I agree to let him do these horrid things to me. It’s not love, it’s not even friendship, it’s simply business. We neither like nor care for one another, we are just using each other. As much as he uses me for my body, I use him in order to see to Arus’ salvation.
I have to keep reminding myself that it is for Arus that I do this. For Arus that I have sacrificed my own sanity and happiness. It hurts all the same, my body being the one thing I had thought I would never barter away. I start to cry then, the sad, awful truth being I had had nothing left. Nothing that could entice anyone else to play savior to me and my people. Lotor had been my only option, Arus’ only chance at salvation. It is perhaps the most painful truth of all, to know there was no one else left to care about my planet, or about what would happen to me. I only had Lotor, and even he didn’t truly care beyond the use of my body.