It's the beginning of my end.
It occurs to me – in a rare moment of lucidity, after so long spent in darkness and in silence – that the old me is dead. Irrevocably lost, gone forever, irretrievable. Gone is the strong protector of the weak, replaced by a maid with intimate knowledge of the taste of women’s boots and feet. Gone is the fearless hero, replaced by a whimpering captive that would do anything to please her female master. I was a dragon knight, but now I’m little more than a bitch in Illuminata’s kennels…
Or, I suppose, a flower in her garden.
In any case, she has tamed me. The words keep bouncing across my mind, impossible to ignore. I’m a broken filly, a domesticated little animal, a lesser woman, not a warrior but a delicate, blooming flower.
The knight is dead, and in its place, the slave girl is ready to be born.
Here in the pitch black privacy of the alcove, which gives my defeat an oddly intimate quality, there is only one possible visitor, and only one possible conversation. Illuminata has asked me that cursed question every day, for an uncountable number of days.
“Little seedling,” she would say. “Are you ready to let the seed crack open, and let the slave girl be born?”
I didn’t answer, for a time. Even so, I lapped drugged water off her boots, licked her hand like an eager dog, bathed her feet with my tongue until every drop of sweat was gone.
Those were answers in and of themselves, weren’t they?
I’m not sure when I broke fully, not exactly. The word simply came to my lips one day, unbidden, like… well, I suppose, like a ripe fruit falling from the tree branch.
I knew, and I know, the implications of that admission. That I would bloom in the delicate femininity Illuminata wishes to impose on me. That I would give up sword and armor in exchange for satin and collars, trade swordplay for massaging women’s feet to perfection.
That I would give up assertiveness for docile meekness, especially in the presence of my betters, like her.
Maybe most importantly… that I would do my best to look pretty for my future buyer.
I’ve been returned upstairs, to the central processing chamber. Illuminata led me here herself, on a leash, and didn’t even bother to tie my hands this time. After my ordeal, my muscles have withered, and my spirit has been broken. I’m as docile and easily led as a puppy.
The vast chamber is still dark, damp, and cold – but I’m eagerly, pathetically happy to see it again. Anything but returning to Illuminata’s garden… anything at all. Besides, there’s people here, and even just hearing their murmurs in the shadows is better than the impenetrable silence that lies below.
Although some of the whispers hurt me – and tingle me – in ways I couldn’t anticipate…
“Who’s she?” Asked one of the slaves a few days ago, when Illuminata visited to inspect the merchandise, her beautiful and cruel smile glittering in the firelight.
I didn’t recognise any of the other captives, and just thinking about that sends a cold shiver down my spine, even now. Rolf and the others I first encountered after my capture, they’re gone. Must have all been sold… or planted in the garden, waiting for the right time to bloom.
“Just another slave,” Illuminata told him. I replay the words in my head, over and over, so often and so incessably that they start to feel alien and inscrutable.
Just another slave.
It’s true, isn’t it? I’ve entered this place a knight, and now there’s nothing to my being, except my lips’ abilities to smooch and cover a foot in kisses. I guess we really have come full circle. I had pretensions to rescue these people, and now I’ve so thoroughly become one of them that we’re indistinguishable.
Hell, if I tried to tell them I’m a knight, they probably wouldn’t believe me. They’d laugh at the patent absurdity of the notion… and the fierce humiliation that courses through me at the thought sends a strange, unfamiliar feeling to my sex…
I lean my head against the naked rock, sighing. I’m just another slave. No responsibility, no burden to bear, no performance to disappoint. The people here don’t look up to me to save them. They’ve seen me licking Illuminata’s boots, and that’s what I’ll always be to them, a human doormat, and that’s okay.
Because I’m just another slave.
When you live in darkness, the merest glimpse of light can shine brighter than a thousand suns.
For a moment, as Illuminata thrusts her torch forth, illuminating the processing chamber with a fierce glee, I wonder if I’m hallucinating. If captivity, weakness, or drugs have finally done me in.
But now. Right next to Illuminata, standing uncertainly as she regards the chamber, is a person I know. A friend I love.
Margaret. Margaret is here.
Her pointy elven ears poke out of her golden mane, but her bubbly self isn’t on display here. She’s assessing the… merchandise, the slaves arrayed by the walls, who pretend to be engrossed by the floor, or the ceiling, or pretty much anywhere that isn’t the two gorgeous elven women standing in the middle of the room.
A thousand thoughts race through my head. Is Margaret coordinating with the Dragon Knights? Is this a clever ruse to break me – us – out? Is she pretending to be a buyer, so she can save us?
So… she can save me?
“That’s certainly…” Margaret says, “an impressive operation you have here, Illuminata.”
The grace of Margaret’s every move reminds me how much I lost. I was always clumsy compared to her litheness, of course, and with her bossy attitude and strange flirting, she always made me blush in the most unknightly of ways…
But looking at her now is making my head spin. I’ve lost so much muscle mass that I look thinner and smaller than she does, a mousy little thing.
When did the world turn upside down? When did Margaret become the figurative knight in shining armour, and me the literal damsel in distress?
I don’t care. I may have been lessened, reduced, cut down to size… but I can be saved. I know I can be saved. I know Margaret will have a plan!
As the two elven women circle the chamber, eventually Margaret’s eyes land on me. In the tenuous firelight, the flames dancing over her face as it emerges from the darkness, it strikes me just how breath-takingly beautiful she is. It’s a silly thought to have, I know, but…
Her golden hair comes alive in the torchlight, and her eyes burn bright against the dark backdrop, like stars. She’s an angelic, almost ethereal vision, a messenger from the surface world, descended here into the depths of hell to drag me out.
My eyes spontaneously track the movements of her slender legs as she nears me. It’s funny. She was always self-conscious about being short, but now she feels like a titan to me, as I stare down, unable to meet her gaze.
Ashamed at my defeat, here slumping on the floor of this cavern, with the taste of Illuminata’s boots permanently on my tongue.
“Interesting,” Margaret says, in what is clearly feigned nonchalance, as she temporarily glances back at Illuminata. “Alright, I think I’ve seen enough.”
“Let me know when you’re ready to proceed,” Illuminata says, with a smirk on her face. “You’ve seen all the recently bloomed flowers, though I think I have a notion of which one in particular you’re interested in…”
“We’ll see about the flowers,” Margaret says, turning back to me. “I’ll be back,” she says next, in a meaningful tone, her eyes affixed on me. And then, in a single heartbeat, when Illuminata can’t see… she winks. That sets my heart racing. It’s like the relentless dark I’ve been imprisoned in for so long is blasted away, by a single point of light.
A glimmer… of hope.
“I’ve always loved gardening,” Illuminata says, looming over me as I lie prostrate at her feet. “It’s a… calling. Sure, it’s hard work, but moments like these are the true payoff. When I choose an ugly seedling, you see, I look past its ugly exterior. And yours was certainly ugly!”
The laughter echoes across the chamber, the other slaves looking away, pretending not to see and hear. I have no such luxury, as I place tiny, delicate kisses over every inch of Illuminata’s boots. Paying homage to my conqueror.
“But no,” she continues, “I see the potential, the beautiful simpering girl hiding underneath. Beneath all that armour and that knightly exterior, this was always the real you, Forte, waiting to be born.”
Her words travel across every inch of my defeated and lessened body like a ripple of arousal and defeat, culminating straight in my sex. I give a small yelp of surprised pleasure, devoting myself even more to the task at hand. Illuminata has slowly extinguished my old self, suffocating it under her soles. But what’s left… What’s left is in awe of her.
And yet, I still hold on to the glimmer of hope. I know Margaret is out there, working tirelessly on a rescue plan. Once I’m out of here… we’ll see if there’s anything of the ruins of my very personhood that can be rebuilt, and reclaimed.
But until then, I do as I am told, and submit to my captor.
“I suppose it is a bit of a bittersweet moment, however,” she says, sounding oddly reflective. “Every project has an end. Every new flower is eventually sold, and I move on to the next seed. You’re about to be sold, Forte, and as much as the idea thrills me, I am going to miss the spectacular sight of you lavishing my boots with your worship. Let’s enjoy it, one last time!”
The only response to her words is the pathetic, slavish sound of my tongue lapping dutifully at her boots. I do my best to polish them to a high sheen, lathering them with the very physical evidence of my devotion, and my submission.
“Think about it,” Illuminata says, “I’m about to get rewarded. I’m going to be paid for everything I’ve subjected you to. Every torture, every hostile takeover, every time I’ve broken something within you… I’m going to be remunerated for it. And what do you get?”
She chuckles, probably revelling in the scared whimpers that spontaneously leave my throat. “Well, I suppose I shouldn’t spoil the surprise…”
I respond to my captor’s words like an animal would: with emotions and instincts. I shiver, grow aroused, feel despondency or fear, but nothing more. I’ve been simplified, since the only task I’m supposed to carry out well in life is… well, this. I lick from the boot’s tip to the ankle, then up and down. I keep soles clean.
And of course, once the boots do come off, I warm toes with my lips, bathe them with my tongue, make sure to keep them fresh and clean and perfect. It’s what my mouth was made for.
I don’t feel like a person anymore. I’m a thing, docile and responsive to instructions, a thing that Illuminata plans to sell. My only saving grace is that Margaret’s ruse is preventing Illuminata from showing me off to someone who might really want to buy me, for who knows what nefarious and demeaning uses.
Then again, if Margaret knew the truth about me, if she knew the real me, if she saw me like this… would she still plan to rescue me?
Maybe, maybe not… but either way, it’s out of my hands now. All I can do is survive down here, and wait for rescue, like all the other poor souls that have been made into human cattle down here.
Because… I’m just another slave.
The air pulses with anticipation, as the light of the torch pushes back the darkness of the rocky chamber once more. As always, when our captor makes her entrance, everyone huddles closer to the rock, trying to turn invisible, trying to not get picked. Everyone except me. I’ve already been below, and I’ve already been broken.
Besides, the others needn’t worry. This visit is for me.
Illuminata and Margaret appear at the entrance, their figures seeming to swim in the flickering firelight.
To people like us, people like me, captives who can barely think of themselves as people in the first place, the two elves are a vision of unattainable royalty. Their femininity is not slavish, but princely. Their litheness is not weak, but supple. They stand tall, casting large shadows against the walls of the cavern, while we huddle close to the ground, like the domesticated animals we’ve become.
The contrast fills me with such shame, with such servility.
And I’m terrified to admit I now find it hot…
There is no slow circular procession around the hall, this time. Illuminata and Margaret beeline straight for me, the former amused, the latter serious. I blink, shielding my blinded eyes as the torch is thrust against my face.
“Alright, Margaret, are you ready to take this little flower home? She’ll make for an excellent decoration!” Illuminata says, and the flame looks alive in her eyes.
There is a long moment of appraising silence, as Margaret looks me up and down. I gulp, wondering how the rescue is going to proceed from here. Will she break me out, or will she pretend to pay Illuminata? If she’s doing it with outside help, then maybe the latter. Maybe she’ll pay, get me out, and then someone will raid Carnation Flowers.
But… what about the other slaves?
I hang my head in shame, realising that with supreme selfishness, I’m thinking of saving myself, first. Forte the knight would be horrified by such craven displays, but then again… Forte the knight is no more. And Forte the slavegirl, the one who licked boots to stay alive, well… she’s a coward of the first order, and just another slave.
Eventually, the two women stand before me. Their faces swim above me, eerie and almost dreamlike in the torchlight. Two pairs of eyes scrutinise me, in all my weakness, in all my failings.
“This slave has lost muscle tone,” Margaret says, deadpan. It sends a shiver down my spine, reminding me of my physical reduction, but I tell myself I should admire her acting performance. It’s convincing, to the point of being terrifying.
“Margaret,” Illuminata says, sauntering closer to her, speaking in an alluring tone, like a siren… “We both know you’re not going to work her in the fields. You’re just going to… well, work her. Muscles are unbecoming on a pleasure servant.”
I shut my eyes, trying to block off the idea that Illuminata has been training me to provide pleasure, not to do hard labour. I honestly can’t decide if that’s more or less demeaning, if it’s a blessing or a curse. I might not be a beast of burden, but I am a sexpet. Is that any better?
“Aye,” Margaret says after another appraising silence, “but she doesn’t look like much. No real curves on her. All scrawny and scared…”
“I will admit she won’t compare to what you’d find in a pleasure house,” Illuminata says with a nod, “but we both know the real reason you want her.”
Margaret feigns being unimpressed, conspicuously inspecting her fingernails. “I bet she’s useless at most of the tasks I would use her for, though.”
There’s a terrible knot in my stomach. God, she really is a good actress, I can almost believe she’s actually here to buy me.
“Please,” Illuminata scoffs. “You’re dealing with a professional here. You’ll find no better slave when it comes to polishing boots and worshipping feet.”
“I will admit, that is an enticing vision,” Margaret concedes, and her acting seamlessly morphs from an affectation of disinterest, to one of lust. She stares at me with wide eyes, pools of desire I can feel crawling across my exposed skin. Her voice takes on a deeper tone, and she looks almost transfixed. “She’s so broken…”
“That she is,” Illuminata says. “A lot of work went into bringing out the properly feminine in her… and stomping out the knightly ugly, of course! Now, my motto is simple, Margaret. Fair wages for fair work. So what do you say?”
As she asks this, Illuminata grabs the length of rope attached to my neck, a makeshift leash that’s become second nature to me. She plaintively tugs it, jerking me towards her.
“Illuminata,” Margaret says at last, hand extended. “Fair wages for fair work.”
The leash passes into her hand.
It’s been days, now.
When we first left Carnation Flowers that day, tears started running down my cheeks. It was dawn, just like it was at the beginning of my ordeal. Selphia slept, and for all intents and purposes it was a morning indistinguishable from that of my search. But I was an altogether different person – I’d been planted and reborn.
In my meek and mellow state, a thousand questions passed through my head. I could have asked them all of Margaret. When are you raiding Illuminata’s operation? Who are you working with? How did you find me?
But I didn’t. I simply let her tug me by my leash, meekly following wherever she led me, in stunned and servile silence.
We crossed the length of Selphia, as the townsfolk slept. We reached the eastern district, and Margaret’s mansion, and its doors closed behind me… and they haven’t opened since.
I stare at the floor before me with almost catatonic stupor. I’m distantly and dimly aware that my knees are hurting from kneeling here for so long, but that doesn’t really matter.
What matters is how spotless the floor looks, so much so that I can catch glimpses of my own thin, defeated reflection in the mirror.
That’s just how Mistress likes it, and she is very particular about the cleaning. And, as I’ve found, she is as proficient with the crop as she is with the lute…
Her faintest touch at the back of my head is enough to make me shiver in anticipation. I know she’s standing above me, inspecting my work. Once, I would have been able to lift her one-handed, but now I know she’s stronger than me, in every way that matters.
“Good work,” she says, and I lean into her hand like an affectionate pet at the praise. “Here, take a closer look at how well you did!”
And with that, her shoe lifts in the air, thrusts down against my face, and slams it into the marble floor I’ve only just polished. I grit my teeth against the pain – Margaret is lighter than even Illuminata, but it’s still more than enough to make me feel utterly and thoroughly pinned underfoot. And that makes me tingle all over.
“Come on,” Margaret says, taking off her shoes. One naked foot slams squarely into my cheek. “You know what I like.”
Not many words are spoken between us. None are needed. I roll over, staring up at my beautiful goddess, the golden crown of her hair, the chipped-ice of her eyes. If a stare could dominate, hers can. Knowing my duty, I gently place many devoted kisses on each toe, on the ball of her foot, on the heel.
She presses her sole into my lips, shutting me up. I think she almost gets lost in contemplating me when I worship her feet, revelling in her conquest, and how glorious it must look and feel to have the once-strong knight so obedient and foot-trained.
There are more questions still that I could ask of her. Did she happen to learn Illuminata had snatched me, and decided to profit from it? Or were they working together from the beginning? Did she commission my transformation to Illuminata? How long has she been harbouring this secret crush on me?
I think back to her playful teasing in the bathhouse, the proffered foot, the reference to “having people kiss my feet”. It all makes sense now, in a way, and so I don’t really bother to ask questions of my owner. I know she wouldn’t appreciate it, but no words are needed.
As she slightly lifts her foot, I switch from kissing to licking. I lap the whole length of her sole, letting her toes toy playfully with my lips before I once again run back down to the heel. She sighs in happiness, enjoying the tongue bath she’s getting from her new footgirl.
We used to be equals, once. A musician and a knight, one happy and outgoing, the other serious and diligent, but equals.
Before my seed cracked open, and the slave girl was born.
I’ve been cleaning the house spotless ever since I was led here. I’m Margaret’s handmaiden in all ways, waiting on her hand and foot, cooking her meals, seeing to her clothes, tending to her feet, and letting her drag my face between her thighs when she feels like it. I’ve never done it before, but the crop is a great incentive to learn fast… and Illuminata has shown me, in intimate detail, how easily I can be molded and trained in the hands of a stronger girl.
Margaret angles her foot, the toes plunging into my mouth and tickling my palate. I mumble softly as my tongue adheres to her sole with a sucking sound. Looking at me with her intense blue eyes, she starts methodically working her foot into my mouth, moving it back and forth, back and forth. Like Illuminata did that very first time, and then many others thereafter.
I do my best to remain quiet. Margaret wants me to contain my gagging and gargling sounds as she slowly lodges her foot progressively ever deeper into my servant mouth. Here, my training really shines. I can take her very deep, and massage her toes with my throat.
I won’t lie. The crushing of that last glimmer of hope hurts a lot. But when hurt and pleasure intermingle, and humiliation feels right, and subjugation is all you think about every day… it does something to your perspective.
I feel like this is where I belong. Slaving away while Margaret plays the lute, her hands deft and soft while mine grow rough and callused.
One triumphant, the other defeated. Isn’t that the history of all humanity? So what I have to complain about? I’m just one of many losers… and I’m learning to value the way my defeat makes me feel.
Of my own volition, my free hand shoots to Margaret’s other foot, rubbing it affectionately, my thumb running across it from the ankle to the toes. She smiles at me at that, and for good measure leans forward, pushing her other foot even deeper into my mouth.
I gargle softly, not giving up the token massage I’m performing one-handed on her other foot. I recognise this for what it is. Devotion, love… and a desire to serve.
As my throat finally accommodates Margaret’s toes, my jaws hurtfully stretched around her conquering foot, I feel a strange calmness. An acceptance of what’s happened to me, and that I deserved it, and that I was right. It’s only fair for better women to rule, and weaker women to serve. I am grateful to my captor and my owner who made me see that.
I will always remember Illuminata. Mostly in my nightmares, but also as the one who broke me first.
So beautiful, so radiant. The way she smiles at me as she turns me into her personal worm for her amusement means the world to me. It makes me feel like she’s right to do this to me, and that I will place my devotion at her feet for the rest of my life. Being a knight was not true to my own self. Being a maid and a footgirl, now… That is my true calling.
And so, at last… the end of my beginning.