You wipe the sweat from your brow and sit on one of the larger rocks that litter the ground around you. The only road through this part of the Hazy Mountains is thoroughly blocked. Rummaging through your pack you dig out your map and unroll it on the ground. A day and a half to get back to Crumblerock, then three heading north to Highbridge and pass through the mountains there, before heading south again to finally reach Bluelake. Counting up the days on your fingers, you realize that you will arrive days too late. Master Selg will be displeased if his bid is too late to be considered, enough to cost you your position in the guild. Looking at the map again, you try to read the scratched off paths and trails. Maybe something that isn't suitable for wagons will do for you? Squinting hard, it looks like a path south of you was only scratched off twenty or thirty years ago. South here means venturing closer to the Dragon Realms, and the thought of running into a dragon chills your blood. But the map's trail only adds a day at most to your trip, plenty of time to reach Bluelake. Besides, if an actual dragon was roosting this close to Crumblerock the little village would have been abandoned. Likely the trail fell apart somewhere, possibly taking wagons with it.
You look at your feet while waiting for Miss Kelly to come home, hoping she will have calmed down by then. You didn't mean to embarrass her in public. She sent you directly home, while she stayed to smooth things over at the club. Time feels like it is dragging, but a peek at your phone tells you it's been less than an hour. You wipe a tear from your eye as you ruminate on how hurt and upset Mistress is. Hopefully she comes home tonight at all, so you can try to start making it up to her. The night continues to pass excruciatingly slowly, and you wish for nothing more than for it to end. Finally, you hear her keys in the lock, and the door open. Mistress makes her way to the living room, and you see from her expression that trying to explain or excuse yourself would be a bad idea. “Pet,” she says dispassionately, “You need to make a decision tonight.” You nod vigorously; anything for Mistress you think to yourself. “Do you want to stay here, with me? After your display at the club, I am not so sure you actually do.”
With the last dish put away, you have finished your chores early today. Instead of spending the spare time pursuing an interest, you go down to the play room. Mistress has been busy preparing for this evening. You see some custom restraint bars by the bondage bench; they look like they have eyelets for small locks to run through, but these extend out from the metal a couple inches each. Off in the corner though is the star of tonight. A small portable forge sits heating a branding iron. Giggling with excitement, you sit on the bench and think about how tonight will go. You expect it will be painful, but even that idea doesn't help you to sit still. There aren't many ways to more resolutely prove your dedication to Mistress than letting Her brand you. With a good twenty minutes to yourself, you decide to spend them waiting here. Mistress has warned you that you must stay perfectly still, so you close your eyes and think about trying to keep yourself calm.
The wind whips at your face, and you pull your cloak closer. It does little to warm you for the chill feels like it bites at your very soul. Even if the innkeep was only trying to get another customer with that silly story, waiting until daybreak may have been the better idea. It's far too late to worry about that now though, and if you press on and keep to the river you should reach Breyton before three bells. Don't travel at night here, stay on the road, he said. Take the coach or many friends to go to Breyton. You grumble and try to warm your arms, the growing clouds come with blasts of cold air.
The bus slows as it reaches your stop, and your legs ache as you rise from the seat. Last week was rough on them and you are still a little sore. The line of street lamps leads off toward the lone occupied warehouse, long converted into the club. The line to get in enters the edge of your vision as you approach the former warehouse. Stopping for a moment, you decide to skip the entrance and you catch the smirk of the bouncer as you pass by the entrance and continue to the far side of the building.
Sitting on the couch cross legged, you wait. Your laptop is on your lap, but you aren't actually looking at it. Just sitting out waiting for the instant your roommate leaves for the day. The package you ordered finally arrived, and the instant she is gone you are having fun. Your mind keeps drifting to the package in your room. Coils of soft rope, and shorter bits to weave into easy cuffs. A couple other fun things to toss into the mix too. You just need her to leave. The minutes tick on agonizingly, a subtitled video on knot tying playing again.
Standing quietly in the dressing room, you watch me dig through the costumes in the back racks. “I know it's here somewhere, tonight calls for something a little different.” Finally after minutes of shifting outfits around, and I pull something out triumphantly. A suit jacket, with short skirt. The bow tie dangling off the neck causes you to laugh. “Something funny, pet? You should be dressed already.” The outfit I picked out for you tonight could be described as 'A piece of rope'. Picking the skimpy thing up, you reluctantly strip.
Shaking my head, I just sigh. “I really didn't want to have to do this. I was hoping that we could reach an understanding with each other.” I click your leash in place, while you look up at me with a mixture of defiance and confusion. You resist even now, as I tug on the leash. You relent as I pull harder. We head, not down the stairs to the basement dungeon, but to the dressing room. “Pick something, it doesn't matter what, you won't need it for long.” Starting to feel like something is amiss, you quickly grab a modest skirt and blouse.
Sitting on the ground in the small makeshift cell you look out the window. Off in the distance you can see it flying. One of the other girls is crying uncontrollably while a third tries vainly to console her. You thought you were safe. The dragon had been gone for so long. Well this isn't the same dragon, when you finally saw the amethyst colored form flying through the sky you knew why the sacrifice had been months late. By war or by politics your town had only changed owners. The dreams that maybe everyone was free were dashed.