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She didn’t speak. For going on three weeks. She didn’t speak. Not to anyone. Even Anne tried to prompt her with small words or utterances. But she had simply…gone mute. The girl that walked around the Manor, lifeless empty tired eyes and no appetite was not who they recognized. Of course they couldn’t dare oppose Lord Nolan… the Negro slaves anyway. Already a couple of the white ones had in protest declared him an abuser and left of their own free will, having another gig lined up or enough money saved to move on. But for her and those of her ‘kind’…that was a luxury that wasn’t afforded.
They had to put up with it…suffer with it…cry lie and wallow with it. Act like pain didn’t hurt. The broken or mutilated limbs, bloodied noses, things much much worse. It didn’t make sense. Why it had to be her…why it had to be them. What had they ever done to anyone other than try to live and survive? She had started losing so much weight, her once shapely figure now bony and gaunt.
“Zad, you’ve got to eat for bloody sake! You’re wastin’ away!” Anne exclaimed near afternoon as they took one of their only two breaks of the day. She stared at the food in front of her blankly.
“At least drink somethin’ now Zadie.” Still no reply.
“You think by doin’ this that it will get back at ‘im?” At that, her emaciated gaze lifted to her.
“You think by killin’ yerself that it’s gonna get back at ‘im?”
“Anne, lighten up on the poor thing! She really went through it.”
“No, I can’t do this. I can’t sit here and watch you kill yerself over an undeserving piece of sodshit! He’s not worth it! You ‘ear me? He’s NOT worth it.”
“Then what would you have her do? It’s not like she can quit and go elsewhere.” All eyes including hers turned to the girl who had spoken. Some of them sucked their teeth at her.
“What? It’s true and you know it. Look, I respect and appreciate all the equality that has went on between us but this is where I have to draw the line. The truth is that we aren’t in the same boat as they are. We have freedom. They don’t. To ignore that is most cruel. Not just for them. But for us.” She didn’t stop to hear the rest, dismissing herself from the table.
“Zadie! Wait up Zad!” Anne called but she was ignored. Where. is. it? It was mid nearing winter and in a couple of months time it would be six years since she’d been enslaved here. Six long fruitless years of hell. She had to try… she had to find it. Find it and free herself.
Something was more than off. She hadn’t seen him in almost two months. He had been in that time ‘taken’ out so to speak by the groundskeeper, loaded up into a carriage and forced to do more of those damned exhibitions. Through all of the pain and humiliation thoughts of her enabled him to endure it. It was foolish he knew. His heart had been surrendered so quickly and he still really didn’t know much about her. But he knew one thing. She was his mate. His one person that was meant..no…created just for him. He felt that strongly with every molecule in his body. His ears perked at the sound of the bolt being removed. Turning, he was met with the face of Lady Charlotte Nolan.
“Surprised? Were you expecting someone else?” She asked quietly, gripping the set of keys in her hand as if she felt they would disappear.
“I wasn’t expecting such a pleasant visit from such a beautiful woman.” Though she tried not to show it, her pale cheeks grew rosy.
“Your husband is a fool for neglecting you.” Another open book to read. He could see it all over her. She was filled with jealousy, envy, hatred and low self esteem.
“What of it could you a beast know?” She replied, voice cool.
“You wear it as well as you wear that dress. It covers you like a thick blanket. Anyone with eyes could see what has happened.” Swallowing, she must have found it difficult not to but in time let her eyes drift down the entirety of his body. Unlike her, he had nothing to cover with. He was bare for all to see. She seemed pleased in what she saw for the rosiness in her cheeks grew a darker shade.
“Well, perhaps you aren’t as dumb as we thought. Perhaps your taking outs are benefitting you.”
“Perhaps.” He answered smoothly, letting her eyes eat away at him once more.
“How curious it is that my husband came to obtain you. I’ve never much heard the story of your arrival to this place.”
“And that curiosity is what led you all the way down to the bottom cellar. To hear of a story.” He mused, a smirk forming.
“Perhaps.” She answered with one of her own.
“Well then my Lady, allow me to entertain you.”
She didn’t have much time. He was due back any moment. Looking through his belongings, she quickly grew frustrated. Where the hell was it? It couldn’t be that far…Fumbling open a drawer, she found a box that had an ornate lock on it. What was here she wondered as to why he didn’t even want Lady Nolan to see it? Looking around almost frantically, she searched for something to break the lock. To which she came up empty. Letting out a frustrated growl, she shoved the box back into the drawer and hurried on her way, picking up her duster. She would search this entire house if she had to.
The lock to his cage clicked open and for a moment he stared at it in disbelief.
“How do you have that? I thought only-”
“Only the groundkeeper or your handler had possession of it? Don’t make me laugh. My husband cannot hide anything from me. I am just as much owner of this property as he is.”
“And yet you are confined within these walls with only lavish diner parties to show for it.” Stepping into the cage, she didn’t stop until she was uncomfortably close, her breath felt on his neck.
“Being down here has made you rude. Very rude.”
“Are you the one who will teach me manners?” Each passing second, the unresolved sexual tension within her had all but erupted and she visibly eyed him as though at any moment she would devour him.
“Maybe I should.” Smirking, he knelt in front of her, accepting her fingers breeze through the kept strands.
“This will be our little secret yes?”
“But of course my Lady.”
“In exchange for this little…transaction…so long as I visit you, you are free to roam the grounds above. Long as you stay out of sight and out of the way.”
“You are most gracious my Lady.” Biting her lip, she leaned down to press her rouge stained lips to his.
“Where have you been?” Turning to face a rather bored husband, Charlotte Nolan smiled demurely.
“In the gardens for stroll dear.”
“Hm? Is there something wrong?”
“No. Nothing. You are aware that we have been invited to attend Lord and Lady Rothingham’s Christmas party yes?”
“How could I forget darling?”
“Right. Well, make arrangements for that as well as figure out how we are to keep our slaves and seasonal help for the winter. You know the winter is the time we lose most of our help.”
“Yes my Lord. At once.”
“Good then. Call me when dinner is ready.”
He heard her steps, however light and quiet they were, he heard them as they approached his door. The bolt to the door was opened and in she stepped.
“Kieran? Are you awake?” He looked up from where he lay and watched the candlelight play off of her shadow. At no answer from him, he heard the soft swish of her nightgown and nightrail before he answered.
“Have I angered you?” She stopped and turned to see him sitting up facing her. Smiling, she closed the door behind her and ran to the bars, outstretching her hands to cover his.
“No… no you’ve not angered me.” Her voice sounded different… as if it had not been used.
“Why did you not come to see me?” He asked and he did not withdraw his hurt at the fact. She tightened her grip on his hands before letting go of them completely.
“A…a lot happened since the last time I saw you Kieran.”
“Nolan?” He asked, catching the way her body language tightened up.
“Yes.” He wanted to ask…wanted to demand she tell him what he did.
“Why now?” She swallowed and looked up at him, her entire face full of guilt.
“I… I missed you.” The way those damned eyes pulled him in. Sighing, he pressed his forehead against the bars.
“I too have missed you little one.”
“I’m sorry…sorry to not have visited you. You probably got really lonely.”
“Without you yes.” There, the shadow of a tinkling laugh and he smiled.
“Kieran…I am going to free you.” He lifted his head and looked at her like she had lost her entire mind.
“You’re going to what?”
“I’m going to free you. I’m going to find the key to get you out of here.”
“And….why would you do that?”
“Why would I not?”
“You don’t know me.”
“I do know you Kieran. I’ve known you for couple months time now.”
“Right. But not completely.”
“Well, let’s get a chance to know one another. Completely.” Sitting down, she smiled at him, hands once more on his. Giving up, he opened his hands and allowed their fingers to intertwine.
“As you wish.”
He laid awake, a soft willowy arm housed across his abdomen. Glancing down at the dark flowing locks that covered her back and some of his chest, he swallowed. They had been married now for seven years. Not one child had been produced from the marriage. He knew that members of society were talking. Wondering what was wrong. Of course he could have her instituted into a Mental Hospital at any time should he desire it. Lack of wifely duties performed. Barren. Incompetent. Whatever reasoning he desired to give. Rid himself of the problem. But then, where would that leave Zadie? He would have to get married a second time and start the whole bloody process over again.
Sighing quietly, he removed her arm across his waist. It had been years since they’d last had a go. Actual literal years. And it left him satisfied for only a moment. In the actual moment. Once it had passed, he found himself bored. Everything was lackluster. She was lackluster. She wasn’t Zadie. Quite a shame. Charlotte was very much still beautiful. They’d married young, when she was just a girl of 16 and he 20. Now at 23 and 27, things between them had begun to fizzle. He supposed he’d keep her around for the connections and to have the arm piece. After all, she wasn’t entirely innocent. She knew exactly what she was entering into when she married him. The benefits she too would receive as wife of a Baron. It would have been stupid of her not to accept his hand.
“Where are you off to?” He heard her ask behind him. Turning, he took her in. She had never been very heavy in the bosom area but even still, the petite shapely breasts did certainly stir the eye. Smooth flesh, that of a rose petal, delicate peaches-and-cream complexion. Long dark hair traveled down her shoulders like a slick brown river and a slim flat stomach faced him.
“For a nightcap.” He answered, lifting his robe across his shoulders.
“Yes?” He asked, looking up from tying the robe closed.
“Why have you not given me a child?” The question gave him pause and he honestly couldn’t answer. What could he tell her? Licking his lips, he took a deep breath and cleared his throat.
“We haven’t talked about offspring so I assumed it wasn’t important to you.” She drew away from the covers and came to press her hands against his chest.
“It’s always been important to me. You’ve just never asked.” But of course.
“My sincerest apologies.”
“May we discuss it then?”
“Of course.” Smiling, she withdrew and slipped into a nightrail.
“I think I’ll join you for something warm.” Throat tight, he accepted reluctantly, extending an arm.
He watched as she sighed and gripped her hands together in her lap.
“That’s inexcusable. To put someone through all this.”
“Unfortunately, it is just the way humans are. They are extremely self destructive and are incredibly greedy. They don’t care about anything other than self seeking affairs.”
“Not all. I’m not like that.” Squeezing her fingers, he gave an apologetic look.
“Yes. You aren’t. But that has thus far been my experience.”
“It makes me angry. That people have treated you as no more than a vicious beast. Caged you and exploited you. It’s not right.”
“In this world… in this life…it does not matter at the end what you look like on the outside.” She was contemplative on that and let him outstretch his hand to grab hers.
“Though evil men sit in high places that have made it now so.” Lifting her eyes, she bit her lip.
“My people lived in a land called Yischaphere. We were all one people united at one time. But there were those who desired to take the power away from my line. They were called Ivenir. They broke off from the rest of us and desired to live as they pleased.” She was quiet as she listened, his story most interesting.
“As the times spanned, we grew careless in our dealings and began to infiltrate the lands of the humans. Because they did not understand us… because they feared us they began to hunt us. Vampyre they called us. Beings that did not deserve to live, for they were far too fearsome and dangerous. I hated them simply for this reason, thought foolishly that my kind were superior to them. And yet… they were determined to find a solution to wipe us out.”
“You didn’t do anything to them…” She put in, clutching at her dress. He licked his lips.
“Yes but it did not stop them from trying to destroy us. Swords. Bullets. Silver. Not even the rumor of sun could kill us. But something about the strange light metal proved lethal and it was for that reason that my kind fled the east. 17 Houses in total fled and settled in the city of London and attempted to rebuild our country again away from the humans. But it was the Ivenir who began to intermingle and now noble or not…we stand at a crossroads. Be like the humans. Kill them. Or be destroyed.”
“What a story…how terribly sad.”
“With time and maturity, you come to understand that it really does not matter. We all are living in the world together. Should it not be peaceful?”
“After all I’ve told you..about my origin…it does not bother you?” Her eyes grew sad.
“No… it doesn’t. It never should. You’re just a bit different from me is all. It doesn’t matter about the blood eating.” At that he laughed.
“I would say that poses a vast difference between the two of us.”
“Yes as you have so repetitively reminded me… you’re not human.”
“And nothing Miss.” Smiling she gave a nod.
“I too am saddened at your story. Truthfully, it breaks my heart. How similar they are.”
“Yes being born into this accursed life of enslavement is the most horrible torture possible for any living thing. Both of my parents died on another side of town and my former enslavers abandoned me once they moved up into society. I have been on my own since I was 13 years old. East Side of London is the worst place possible for a young girl to grow up. No matter the color.”
I have done what I know how to do. I tried to stay away from the more obvious forms of employment. Thank God no one paid me much attention. They called me lucky when I was brought here. Good family. Good money. Make them like me enough perhaps they would find it within themselves to pardon me and free me. All of it is bollocks.” Sitting up straighter, she began to fiddle with her night dress.
“I don’t know if it is possible for me. I’ve been born into this life.” Sitting up straighter, she began to fiddle with her night dress.
“But you… you were not. You had a family at one point. You had happiness. You had a chance to be whoever you wanted to be. Regardless of difference. I can’t see you being some blood thirsty monster. I’m sure you found a way for it without being too harsh.” She lifted those beautiful dark eyes upward.
“That’s why I’m going to free you Kieran. That way at least one of us has a chance to make it. I have to see to it that you are able to live outside of this cage.” Her passion struck him and he smiled at her, shocking her with the flash of beautiful teeth.
“You are so very kind Zadie.” Her heart beat faster at his words and she sighed.
“I suppose I should go before I draw suspicion.”
“Do come again. Soon.”
“I will. I promise.”
A/N: Whew our two loves are growing in friendship. They are darling hehe. Aye so Lady Hoe-lan...I mean Nolan uh.... she too much. Kieran playin the game and I ain't mad. Our poor Zadie.. Nolan is truly evil. How he's traumatized her. I wanted to show some contrast here in the chapter... as in my studies, I found that some... READ SOME...Enslavers...they felt conflicted (as they should have). The institution under which they rested mandated one thing... but their own personal and humanly moral feelings also fought against it as well. Nolan's feelings towards Zadie are very much valid and historically accurate. *tryna keep it as historically sound as possible y'all WHEW LOL*
I read that the branks' psychological torture lasted way longer than any physical torture it inflicted. That's deep I cannot even imagine having to go through that. How noble is it of our leading lady to desire to free our baby K? *sniff* I have a couple more chapters planned to update. Amazingly, I have finished this short work LOL. I told y'all I was writing. I will update at a time and a time so as to not bombard you lol.