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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Joy Girls of Zhor

By Christopher Leeson

A word from Overlord:

One of the most active authors contributing to my OVERLORD'S ZHOR UNIVERSE site (now long in hiatus) has been Christopher Leeson.  He has contributed many a good idea that I have been pleased to incorporate into the office mythos of Zhor.  His “The Stake War” became a favorite of mine the first time I read it.  His newest offering below  is a description of “joy houses" and  "penal brothels.”  The basic idea for penal brothels comes from John Norman's Gor novels (but hey, so did the whole idea that inspired Zhor), but he has added a Zhorian flourish. 

Oct 4, 2016


A word from Christopher Leeson:

We thank Overlord for his advice and support for all our Zhorian endeavors.  In Joy Girls of Zhor we also wish to acknowledge our debt to Ranbarth for our use of the character "Master Hoel," first  introduced by him into his Zhorian novella The Lancer's Tale (FM). 

Oct. 6, 2016


Joy Houses, sporting establishments in which free women serve men's pleasure for pay, developed in parallel with the “pleasure houses,” which differs from the joy houses in that their girls are legal slaves.  Buy why were free women willing to compete in a lowly trade usually relegated to slaves?  No doubt some considered it just a job, but in most cases they saw it as the lesser evil than their alternatives available in a harsh world, such as hunger and homelessness.  Also, in times of banditry or war, joy houses offered a measure of protection that was not available elsewhere.

But harlots are vulnerable to exploitation.  Zhor takes care to protect its free women from what could turn into de facto enslavement.  Most city-states have passed regulations protecting the rights of the joy house workers.  For instance, the law forbids women to be placed under a duress to sign a contract that would bind them to a joy house, and also that that such a contract may not be renewed except under magisterial monitoring.

The contracts for joy house girls is rather like like the contracts that gladiators signed in the days of the ancient Roman gladiatorial games.  Most gladiators were slaves, but some were free agents.  A willing freeman could accept a contract that stipulated that he would perform the services of a gladiator under penalty of punishment.  These chastisements normally include flogging and being burned with hot irons for breach of contract.  Some contracts allowed that he might even be killed for revolting against the terms of his indenture. The terms of a man's gladiator service would be spelled out in the agreement, usually stipulating a number of gaming seasons.  At the end of that time, the surviving gladiator would be released back to civilian life with his earnings.

In most cases, a woman's term as a joy girl is one year.  Failure to live up to the agreement allowed for punishment -- usually the switch, the strap, the feather (if she suffers from Signir's Curse), periods of imprisonment, solitary confinement, and bread and water diets.  When the contract term expires, the girls are free to either go contract for another term.  Unfortunately, it is hard to prevent all abuses, since corruption is a perennial problem when governmental bureaucracies have jurisdiction.  Joy houses have been known to bribe officials to record that a forced contract was freely entered into.  But this is does not seem to be a widely spread problem.  The existence of concerned citizen groups that take the girls' part help to maintain the balance.  

Joy Houses have existed as long as civilized history records, but eventually the concept of the joy houses began to figure in the Zhorian penal system.

In the old days, women criminals were sentenced to permanent slavery.  When civilization become less barbarous, legal reform led to the modification of some joy houses into “penal brothels” to punish women who broke the law.  In penal brothels the prisoners did not serve as slaves, but as indentured servants, like the common joy girl does.  In present days, a woman who is found guilty of a felony is typically given the choice of permanent slavery or service for a term in a penal brothel.  Most women tend to prefer the penal brothel option, which carries with it the promise of restored freedom. Their earnings are withheld to pay for restitution for criminal behavior and to settle statutory fines.

Beginning with the first appearance of Ruk's Serum, Zhorian civilization suddenly had to cope with a new problem, an explosion of “natural slavery.”  The serum imposes another person's genetics upon a subject, selected traits which are desirable in slaves.  Most notorious was its sex-change effect.  A male who received the serum became a “Ruk-girl” motivated by an instinct for “natural slavery.”  Interestingly, the transformed male retained his male-intensity sexual drive, even as the baleful injection redirected his orientation toward members of his former sex.  Natural slavery combined with an exaggerated case of lust that would be directed by female hormones acting on a female-structured brain produced a sexually voracious slave girl.  Women who received the same serum were called “enhanced women.”  Their sex didn't change, but they were changed physically, usually to enhance their attractiveness, and they, too, gained the gene that imposed natural slavery.  Interestingly, their sexual desires were not enhanced, because the natural sex drive of women is less intense than the male's.  That is why enslaved serum girls quickly became popular as pleasure slaves, while enhanced slaves were more frequently used as domestic servants.

But enslaved or not, serum girls and enhanced women had drives that had to be sated.  Some sufferers bought relief from hired sex workers, male oenads, for a fee.  But this route was expensive and only the well-off could use oenad service for long. The poor often found sexual relief they craved by joining joy houses.

But the entry of so many serum girls and enhanced women into the joy house market created a need for change.  The subjects of Ruk's Serum, with their natural-slave drives, felt pleasure in being commanded like true slaves, and most of them envied real slaves for their bold and exciting makeup and garments.  A new type of joy house accommodated them, allowing its workers to don slave collars and receive tattoos of the vaec glyph, the traditional slave brand.  Usually, though, joy houses gave their girls hip-markings of a removable variety. 

To give Ruked persons an even more satisfying experience, some joy houses offered a routine of authentic slave discipline for their girls.  In effect, women who entered such a joy house were agreeing to live like, dress like, behave like, speak like, and be treated as if they were true pleasure slaves.  This would continue for the span of their contracts.  The early experiences along these lines were generally successful and the practice spread.  To differentiate them from the joy girls of the traditional houses, the new-style sex workers were called “joy slaves.”  But they were not, of course, real slaves, but indentured servants.

The creation of Ruk's serum had already caused a relaxation of the harsh penalties inflicted on male offenders.  Early Zhorian legal punishment made death or bodily mutilation the rule.  Cities becan using Ruk's Serum as a mode of punishment.  At first an offender was either sent to the slave market or sent home after transformation.  The concurrent development of joy slave houses inspired reformers to license certain joy slave houses to serve as places of legal confinement.  Into them were sent persons whose crimes were too serious for release, but not so terrible to merit a life of enslavement.  Now serum girls could be sentence to terms of indentured servitude as joy slaves.  Most of the time, they were given the choice of choosing true enslavement, but few accepted that option.  Thus there came to be this new variation of the already-established penal brothel.  When the time came for their release from these penal brothels, the ex-convicts would have a trade that they could practice to support themselves. 


One of the most interesting joy girl stories comes out of the famous case of the First Horse Troop of Pyrdferth.  There, about a century ago, some five hundred of the city's knights had become surrounded in a mountain pass and were taken captive by an enemy army.  Instead of the customary ransom, the victorious tyrant had all of them injected with Ruk's serum. The mortified sons of Prydferth were sent home as serum girls, a disaster that caused the demoralized city to yield to all the tyrant's demands.  Though free, the ex-knights suffered, as most serum girls do, from what is called "man-need" and "slave-need."

The stories of many of these transformed warriors have been told by biographers.  These stories generally tell how a certain knight was taken slave, how she fared in training, and what became of her thereafter.  Mimriem of the house of Kyvell has written the greatest number of these books.  Interestingly, Mimriem was herself one of the transformed knight of Prydferth, but she appeared to have suffered from traumatic repression.  It caused her not to feel the cravings that were such a plague upon the psyches of her sister ex-knights.  This emotional condition is no doubt why she remained free while her former comrades of the Troop, one at a time or in small groups, fell into pleasure slavery.  As far as is known, all of the ex-knights are still alive, but it is said that (at the time of this writing) that, of all the lancers, only Mimriem alone remains a free woman of Prydferth.  This fact is amazing, and most people of Pridferth assume it could only be the will of the gods.  To them it seems like the Goddess Haliaka, who look over women and slave girls, has placed them under her special blessing and is protecting them.

As one of Mimriem's biographies tells us, Ringan ob Brank, a junior officer of the First Horse Lancer Troop of Pyrdferth became a comely woman while a prisoner of war.  In this, she was no different from her brother knights.  But Ringan was one of those who stubbornly resisted surrendering to the reality.  She wore manlike garments cut to her trim size and scorned women's frocks.  As often happens when a family member is transformed, Ringan soon became estranged from her family and former friends.  She started to hate life and, in her miserable state of mind, drank and gambled too much.  When her parents cut her off, she kept gaming regardless, borrowing money from usurers, many of whom had criminal ties.  The result was that she fell into debt to the evil elements of the city.  In Prydferth, the criminals usually abducted debtors and sold them in enemy cities as slaves.

Warned that the gang was tired of waiting for payment, Ringan stooped to desperate measures.  She had heard of a layman patron of the temple of Haliaka, one who was paying serum girls a good bonus if they participated in an experiment.

Legends say that Haliaka was a male god who had rebelled against the king of Heaven in concert with his kin.  Cast down by the mighty monarch, the tribe was given the choice to continue to live in Heaven in the demeaning shape of houris – the voluptuous servant girls of the gods – or be chained amid the dark and freezing stones of Kakako, the realm of the dead.  All but Haliaka chose Kakako.  So the king bespelled Haliaka and made him – now her – his houri cup bearer.  It is said that he harshly imposed bondage upon her, even causing her to beget a son, whose name was Yeadon.  But Haliaka proved to be a better houri than she ever had a godling.  In time, the king grew so fond of his pretty concubine that he enhanced her status and let her serve as a goddess in Heaven.

It was believed that the Goddess Haliaka became a protector of women, and especially of serum girls.  Most serum girls appreciated having a patroness in heaven.  They might offer her prayers for favors and boons.  Commonly, serum girls wished to keep from falling into slavery or, if already a slave, one could pray that they should not be used harshly, or that her fate would lead her to a love master.  Many people of faith, observing the world empirically, did not believe that such requests were very often answered.  But it was widely believed that should a free woman offer tribute and beg Haliaka that she should be blessed with slavery (these prayers mainly came from natural slaves to whom freedom was a frustration), this prayer would be inevitably answered.  But the goddess would not be mocked.  Should a wretch think twice about what she had asked and sought to withdraw such a prayer at some later time,the divine one would be very wroth.  The feckless one would still reach her day of enslavement soon, and it would be of a very harsh variety.

Ringan went to this layman. She found him to be an old-looking man, one whom the rejuvenation serum was apparently no longer working.  Such persons' thoughts often turned toward contemplation of the Beyond, she knew.  She was told by this elder that she would receive a hundred silvers as soon as she made a scripted prayer to Haliaka.  A thousand gold pieces would be paid one year later, if she should reappear at the temple at that time as a free woman.  By this device, the wealthy layman wished to learn if the rate of women who were enslaved after requesting slavery from the goddess exceeded the accepted statistical chance for enslavement among the general population.

Ringan was not very pious, but needed money for her escape.  She doubted very much that a few words spoken to a stone statue would plunge her into a life of slavery, but she was quite certain that her enemies could and would if they caught her.

Burning intense before the image of Haliaka, Ringan knelt and recited the prayer that she had been given to learn. 

“Goddess, All-Powerful Haliaka, take from me this burden of freedom.  Guide my destiny, Divine One, and let my every path lead me into pleasure slavery.  If I should live a thousand years from this date, let my life be defined by the collar and the vaec.  For as long as I live, let my face, form, and manner be pleasing to any who admire feminine beauty.  I beg you, Great One, ignite my loins with slave-fire and fill me with your spirit.  Make me your true daughter.  Never let me weary of, nor despise, the labors that my masters should set me to.”

That said, Ringan received the hundred silver pieces and departed on her way.

The fugitive journeyed to a nearby city.  Out of nowhere, an inspiration struck her.  She paid a doctor to give her a fresh injection of Ruk's serum.  She did this as a form of disguise; her face was well known to the gang and she desperately needed a new identity.  Ringan chose an injection made from the coveted genetic material donated by a bred passion slave.  It changed her as she lay in the ward, and she came to look like a totally different woman, younger than before and much more beautiful.

Ringan knew that she would be wretchedly poor living on her silver for an entire year, and prefered to gain an employment where she could be fed and protected for at least a year.  Then, after a year's indenture, she would be able to claim the great sum of a thousand gold pieces.  Resolved, she returned to Prydferth, the city that she still loved, despite her many sorrows and troubles.

Did the ramification of her plan alarm her?  Once they would have; she had feared such an existence like something worse fate than death.  But a new idea had come to mind, as if the sight of her new shape in the mirror had bespelled her.  Was she already feeling the influence of the goddess upon her?  Was the goddess guiding her steps?  Ringan, of poor faith, refused to entertain such an idea.

Once home, she contracted with one of the the city's many joy houses.  Ringan chose one of the older-fashioned type, where the discipline was normal.  She would be a joy girl, not a joy slave.  The first time that a trainer gave her silks to wear, the beauty of her reflection shocked her.  She was shocked even more when a house trainer subjected her to a first lesson in pleasure-giving. It took time to adjust, but before long it made her old pastimes, such as drinking, gambling, and dallying with pleasure slaves seem pale. The eagerness that men took in brolling her matched her own eagerness.  She had become man-craving even before she realized it.  Over the months Ringan, who had taken the professional name of Tayla, acquired the skills of brolling,, teur, and gair with hundreds of variations. 

The joy house catered to male customer fantasies.  Tayla, who had adopted chose to specialize in a fantasy that personally excited her.  She was freaqently selected by customers who liked to imagine capturing and stripping bare a raw an inexperienced serum girl.  Typically, the customer would seize Tayla, roughly draw off her pageboy-style garments, and put a collar about her neck.  Then he would subject "his new slave" a mock drinning, which means initiating a virgin girl to sex for the first time.  Tayla played the game hundreds of times.

By the time that her year of service was up, Tayla was no longer so easily satisfied by the work that she had been doing.  She had a new idea, a daring one.  But before she did anything toward realizing it, she wanted to collect her fee from the temple.

This girl who was again calling herself Ringan did not look at all like the petitioner who had prayed to the goddess a year earlier, but she had brought to the temple proof of her identity.  The layman greated her pleasantly, as he had before.  He gave her a draft for a thousand gold pieces, which could be negotiated in many cities.  Such form of payment was always safer than taking a treasure chest out into the street where so many robbers lurked.

“Aren't you sorry that I returned?” Ringan asked.  “You could have saved a thousand in gold if I had not.”

“True,” the man said, “but the goddess never promises how long a girl must wait before her prayers are fulfilled.   I have only been performing this experiment for three years.  It will not be finished for several more.  I intend to follow the fate of every girl who participates for at least five years before I write my final report.  Return here in another year and receive a hundred more gold pieces.”

“How many girls have come back so far?” the serum girl asked.

The old man gaze up at the illustrated ceiling and smiled beatifically. “Few.  Mighty is the goddess.  Not half of the very few whom I had to pay at the end of the first year checked in at the end of the second.  Those girls who should have come back in by now have not returned.  I am encouraged to think that the goddess' will has been done and all of them have quickly received the boon they prayed for.”

This information disconcerted Ringan, but it only redoubled her determination to return to the safety of joy girl service.  She had come to like joy house work, but slavery seemed like a degradation that she would not want.  Still, she had been thinking about slavery often, a sign that her slave-need was growing abreast with her man-need.  Over the months she had been getting more and more curious about joy slave houses and what it would be like to live like a slave, without becoming one.

But standing there in the temple, she got an idea that, she realized, would make the joy slave experience even more intense.  So Ringan went to a physician of the soul, a braed, a specialist which Earth people would call a psychiatrist.  The brunette serum girl asked him if it would be possible for her to attain true ignition without actually being enslaved.Many women have asked that,” the doctor answered with a frown, “but I have not heard of one proven case in which a free woman, remaining free, has ever been truly ignited.  You must understand that ignition is not just a state of mind.  It is a biochemical transformation that Ruk had made an intricate part of his serum.  Before ignition, a serum girl will feel her man-need and slave-need as if they were forces pushing against her from without.  But ignition changes that.  It markes the moment when a woman's mind and spirit gives permission for her physiognomy to accept a new change. 

“All sex activates enzymes that fills the body and mind with pleasure.  It does this by turning on the natural chemical serotonin that brings happiness and contentment.  But the bodies of serum girls are configured to produce abnormally high amounts of serotonin that are triggered by sexual pleasure.  The euphoric sensation of  having the body flooded with the chemistry of happiness becomes addicting.  That is why pleasure slaves behave the way they do.  She comes under a compulsion to experience this chemical rush several times a day.”

“If it is physical and not supernatural, why do you say that free women cannot experience it?”

He frowned.  “There is something in the mindset of a free woman that blocks her physiological release, apparently.  I have read of experiments wherein free women and new raw slaves were put through the same slave conditioning.  But despite every variable being tested, the slave girls ignited and the free women did not.”

“That seems impossible.”

“There was another experiment.  It seems that a number of women were deceived into believing that they were enslaved and then they were trained in the arts of pleasure slaves.  But the fact was, legal errors had been deliberately made, so that while though they thought they were slaves, they were still free under the law.”

“What happened?”

“In their belief that they were true slaves, they easily ignited, every one.”

Ringan frowned.  “What if I were just temporarily enslaved, and then freed as soon as I had had my slave-fire lighted?”

“I don't recommend it.  Ignition is forever.  You could never go back to feeling as you feel now, never to so much in control of yourself.  And who could you trust to only temporarily enslave you?  As a slave you would have no right of protest about a broken contract, no matter how flagrantly you were betrayed.  And even if all went well, you would suffer the sensual anguish of an ignited slave even as a free woman.  It would be so distracting that it would be all you could think about.  You would be unlikely to achieve a state of mind to excel in any intellectual pursuit, such as writing a book or inventing a new device.  Ignited slave girls who are freed usually return to slavery voluntarily, or else commit suicide or go mad if they are forced to stay free.”

“What if I became a joy slave, and remained one for the rest of my life?”

The physician shrugged.  “You would know that you were technically free, so that solution might not forever satifsy you.  Or it may.  I don't know.  I think it depends on the individual.”

Ringan thanked the doctor and left, bemused.  At last she decided that she was willing to take the risk.  She felt that three was a treasure to be plucked that was more alluring than mere gold.  She knew of an old friend from the First Horse Lancer Troop, one who was a serum girl herself, Waylard.  She hoped such a one would be the least likely to play unfairly with her.  But she hedged her bet.

Ringan found Waylard living alone on a small property belonging to the serum girl's family.  Like with many of the lancers, her family was holding her at arm's length, though they were supporting her by what she complained was a stingy allowance.  What should have been her inheritance was slated to be granted to her untransformed younger brother. 

Ringan and Waylard had cruised the siolate taverns of Prydferth many a time, both before and after their encounter with Ruk's serum.  Waylard was the closest thing to a friend that she had left, so many ex-knights having drifted away or having become enslaved.  In fact, there was a tavern in the city where the cup girls were all former lancers.  Ringan now made an offer to Waylard, that if she enslaved Ringan legally and then freed her immediately after she achieved ignition, she would be paid three times the price that she could have for selling her at the slave market. 

Waylard agreed and they went together to the magistrate's office.  It was unusual for a serum girl to ask for legal enslavement to another serum girl, but the magistrate had served for many years and nothing that dealt with the eroticism in the human heart any longer surprised him.  The procedure was carried out.  Then Ringan went home with Wayland, wearing the collar and the pleasure silks that she had picked out for herself.  She had not gotten a true brand, only getting a temporary ink tattoo, as per her agreement with Waylard.  It would last a long time, but could be easily removed with a sub-dermal enzyme when desired.

Looking at herself in the mirror that night, Ringan trembled with emotion.  In the eyes of the law, the law of her own city, she was now a true and legal slave girl.  An amazing thought!  There was no place in the world where she could now go to be set free.  Only Waylard could do that, for Waylard was her legal owner.  That fact made her feel like her whole life now lay in someone else's hands.  It also made her feel strange, as if some chemistry had been triggered by a change in status and it was at work deep inside her.  She told herself it was just her imagination.

Now it was time for the next step in Ringan's scheme.  It was a common practice to take a raw slave girl to a siolat tavern for training.  In exchanged for a girl's work – serving, doing chores, brolling customers -- she would be subjected to training as a domestic pleasure slave.  So Ringan, haven given herself the slave-name of Jani, was taken to a tavern to work as a cup girl.  Weeks passed and she became acquainted with all aspects of tavern service, including discipline for poor performance.  Being supernaturally beautiful and well-fashioned for pleasure, she was taken to the silks by many different carousers.  She sometimes had more than two dozen men in a single day, which was even more than she had become used to as a joy girl.  But now her orgasms were slave orgasms, not mere slut orgasms that any free woman could enjoy.  That thought always excited her.  In some way that she could not define, experiences that should have felt the same, felt different.

But to the serum girl's chagrin, no matter how she tried, no matter how determinedly Ringan attempted to blank her mind of its cares and surrender herself to mindless pleasure, she could not ignite.  She wondered why.  At last she gave up and passed her days waited for the next time that Waylard would come by to check on her.  She would have her “mistress" take her home and free her.  Jani had decided that she would have to give up her wicked dream of experiencing slave-fire and yet be a free woman.

When Waylard finally did return, she had a man with her.  The three went to a brolling room and Waylard said, “I have sold you to his man, Master Hoel.  He owns a siolat tavern and very much wants you to serve there.”

Ringan was aghast.  “But I have already contracted to pay you three time's my sale price!”

Waylard shook her head.  “Four is better than three.”

“I will pay five times my price!”

Waylard frowned.  “The deal is already made.  The time to offer more was before this.  I should not be blamed.  I'm doing you a favor. You have become a slut who is absolutely out of her mind.  If you were freed today, you'd only get yourself enslaved tomorrow.  You have sealed your own you must accept it.  I have often visited Master Hoel's tavern and I tell that it is a good place to be a pleasure slave.  You may even feel at home there, because many of our former comrades trip about in scanty silks and serve there as cup girls."  She snorted.  "For some, the fate is too good for them."

The day ended with Jani being conducted naked to the siolat tavern that Master Hoel owned.  The pleasure silks belonging to the other tavern had been left behind.  It had become a ritual with Hoel that his newest cup girl would be led to his tavern nude.  Because he knew that Jani had already received extensive brolling and cup girl training, he turned her over to the whip-slaves to be put to work immediately, with one exception.  She was not allowed to do other than teur and gair with customers before she was ignited.  And Hoel wanted to be the one to personally help her attain ignition.

Her temporary tattoo was soon removed, and the vaec was pressed into her left hip by means of a red-hot branding iron.  It wrested a shriek of agony from the beautiful girl, but salve and a bandage took away the pain.  After she was able to work on the floor again, the mirror fact that she now wore a true slave brand made her feel several times more the slave.  She didn't know why that should be but, but the feeling more perplexed than dismayed her.

Hoel visited her almost every day.   When he took Jani into his arms for the first time, his manner of vaec-pelta, a term that means the forceful taking of a slave, surprised her.  He first conquered her fear and then conquered her soul.  She was used to sex, but with Hoel lovemaking was so amazing that it seemed to be a magic transforming her.  She wanted him to never stop.  Could it be that he was just so much better in the silks than other men, or did her heart leap simply because, for the first time in her life, she was being used as a slave by one who was her master? 

One night, Hoel came yet again and said, “I must stop dallying and light slave-fire in you.  I unfortunately will have other things to occupy me for a while.”

Jani gasped.  “M-Master, I don't think I can ignite.  I have long wished that I could, but the goddess has not blessed me.  Have pity on a worthless slave!”

Hoel laughed softly.  “Don't you see?  Up to now, you have been thinking of yourself as one who might soon be free again.  Fire cannot be lit upon damp wood.  But I want to open your eyes and open your heart, pretty Jani. I have opened the eyes and the hearts of all of the other ex-knights, and have show them that by the will of the goddess and by the laws of man, they are true pleasure slaves.  You, too, are a true natural slave.  

"I vow to protect you, as long as I live, from the sorrows and emptiness of freedom.  Freedom is good for the free, but to a natural slave is a bread that cannot nourish.  I will do all in my power to see to it that you daily taste the intoxicating wine of sensual delight.  I have never sold a lancer girl, but should I ever need to, I intend that she goes only to one who truly appreciates the marvel that she is and desires her for a pleasure slave, not a free woman.  Should I die suddenly, my lawyers have already been directed to do the same.”   Scarcely had the impact of these words sunk in than the charismatic roue commenced to brol Jani, brol more intensely than anyone had ever brolled her before. 

He gave the gasping wench no respite.  Suddenlyl her back arched so strongly that she almost lifted his weight.  She started screaming.  It was the sort of scream that came with rushes of pleasure so powerful that it was felt with the intensity of pain.  It was as if she had gone out of herself, that  her soul had been cast free among the stars.  Then the girl was back inside her sexually perfect body and she came volcanically; never had Jani ever experienced an orgasm so overwhelming, one that scorched every cell of her body with the naked energy of life.  


Hoel rolled off the exhausted wench and gazed mildly into that captivating face of hers.  “Dearest Jani, I do believe that the goddess has just blessed you with ignition.”

Jani gawked up at him, dazed.  His words should have horrified her but, inside, she felt not clawing horror but a soothing warmth.  Upon her came a contentment that was coupled, paradoxically, with a species of excitement such as she'd couldn't remember experiencing before.  “I don't know, M-Master,” the stunned girl stammered.  “I don't know what ignition feels like.”

“You are feeling it.  You will now feel it every day for the rest of your life.”  He chuckled softly and stroked her pelt.

Her every nerve came alive.  She reacted to his touch like a startled flock of sparrows.

“Ah, you are so perfect.  You respond like a truly ignited girl.”

“If – If this is ignition, my lord, it feels...very enjoyable.”

Her master nodded.  “I have ignited many serum girls in my time, most of them knights of your own troop.  No matter what they were before, they are now all wonderful women with so much to give.  Rejoice.  You have become what you once begged the Goddess Halikaka to make of you.  You have become a vaecwei, and like the best of vaecweis, you are ablaze with unquenchable slave-fire.”

Jani feared that what her master was saying was true and her alarm showed.

“I am not the villain in this,” said Hoel.  “I did not enslave you; you enslaved yourself.  You asked the goddess for a certain kind of life, and now that life is yours, yours to press to your heart and enjoy to the fullest.  You are a miracle, in your beauty, of course, but not only in your ability to please, but from the fact that giving of yourself comes as naturally to you as drawing in breath.  Truly you are Haliaka's daughter.  I shall safeguard you and your sisters as the treasures that all of you truly are.  The blessings that the goddess has bestowed on each of her daughters shall be taken away as long as I stand sentry over them.”

The physician had warned Jani that she might have to endure frequent waves of happiness and contentment.  She was feeling such a wave now. “Thank you, Master,” gasped a smiling pleasure slave as the sensation overcame her.

The night of Jani's ignition was a long years ago, but as pretty brunette wench she still serves men as a cup-slave wearing pleasure silks that conceal very little.  Master Hoel's affairs have continued to prosper.

Since igniting Jani, Hoel has done the same for additional scores of serum girls from that noble troop of lancers.  It was as if the goddess had made him an agent to help her bestow her blessings upon them.  He spent a fortune in their seeking.  Some had been slaves when he discovered them, some were free.  Over the years he has accepted the submission from so many mastered and seduced girls that he has had to buy a new tavern every few years.  To give his customers fresh faces, he rotates his vaecweis between different properties.  Jani has been rotated several times, and by this date she has worked in most of her master's establishments.  

The passing years have not diminished Jani's man-need and slave-need.  She exists in nearly continuous euphoria -- and a girl buoyed by a laughing heart cannot help but be sweet natured and captivating.  She believes that her state of elation comes directly from the blessing of the goddess.  In gratitude, the pretty wench remembers Haliaka and does honor to her image.  If Jani has regrets, it is only that she had, for so many wasted years, lacked the courage to ask the goddess of serum girls for the brand and the collar.  The only mortal women whom she envies are those who were either braver than she was, or who were better favored by fortune, and in consequence have been pleasure slaves longer than she has been.

As for Waylard, according to Mimriem, the selfish, bitter woman continued her treacherous ways until she went too far and was convicted of a serious crime.  The judge ordered the former lancer to receive the vaec on her hip and the collar around her throat.  Then Waylard was sent to an iron-slaver for training.  Unlike some slaver types, iron-slavers specialize in breaking branded wenches roughly and rapidly.  In a week, most of them, like Waylard, become ignited.  After only a couple weeks more of harsh taming, iron-trained slaves are considered ready to be sent to the flesh-hungry markets of Zhor.  

Waylard would work for several years as a tent-girl.  Tent-masters travel a circuit, often as part of a carnival, and at each stop their girls must kneel before a long row of men waiting to be served.  This is considered to be a form of bondage even more degrading than that of the alcove girl.  Waylard survived because she was strong.  Or was it that her mind was saved after her psychic crust had been broken in the course of her experiences, by the goddess.  Has not Haliaka made from the ruins of her daughter's battered psyche a vivacious natural whore?

As it happened, word came to Master Hoel that another ex-knight had been discovered in bondage.  He purchased Waylard and renamed her Veeda. The tent wench had been correct when she'd told Jani that Hoel's tavern was a good place to be a pleasure slave.  She found it also, at least compared to where she had been.  Veeda has become a sweeter girl than Waylard ever was, and she frequently gives thanks to the Goddess Haliaka for the many kindnesses that she has shown her. 

 The End