Friday, December 08, 2006

Excerpt from my new novel "The Spartan Slave"

Please first read the Synopsis of "The Spartan Slave" (previous post).

You can access the above from the sidebar or by simply scrolling below.

The excerpt set out below is "Part 2" of the "Prologue" to the novel, which is quite long and therefore, has been released as a "Special Edition" by the publisher.

You can read Part 1 at the publisher's site :

Warning: The contents of the excerpt are for mature readers only and if you are offended by certain types of content, you must stop reading immediately and move on to another site !
The content below is under copyright protection and may not be reproduced or published elsewhere or e-mailed without the express permission of the author or the publisher.

Part 2

A few months later, in the kingdom of Mithir, in Phrygia

That scene and that conversation with Kyros echoed in Leonidas’ mind as he waited for the princess. What he witnessed then at the symposium seemed harmless now, especially after having visited this strange kingdom of Mithir, located in a hidden valley within the mountains and accessible only via a secret pass. He was a slave here, about to be evaluated by his future owner, the princess of Mithir.

How had it all come to this? In a few short weeks, he had descended from the status of a chief’s son, one who was like a prince in his homeland, to one that was no better than some poor helot who toiled all day for a pittance on some citizen’s farm. He was a slave—a mere pleasure slave!

He had nothing now—no possessions, and no name. Nothing except for a thin band of gold around the bottom of his shaft that proclaimed him to be a body slave of the Queen-mother. He was more fortunate than the rest, for even if Zarira did not choose him, he would always belong to Mahilya, the Queen-mother of Mithir and its absolute ruler. Everything had changed the day she used her tongue to cleverly fasten the golden ring at the base of his shaft. ‘It is a trick of the tongue,’ she explained to him later, demonstrating exactly how this was done by applying pressure to a particular point on the cleverly designed ring. She trusted him with these secrets and now, he was entrusting his own person, his body, his soul and all that he was to her daughter. His love reached a depth not possible, as he felt himself naked and alone before Zarira, the princess he had pledged his love to; his very being a mere shadow of her existence.

She would have many slaves who would care for her and love her and he was just one among them. Why had he agreed to this?

A beam of sunlight lit up the central area of the wooden circular platform on which the slave, Gor, stood. This was Leonidas’ new name; his slave name by which people called him. This platform was itself cleverly balanced around a wheel that moved, in a slow rotation that afforded everyone a good view. Two floors below, a pair of mules plodded slowly around a circular shaft in the subterranean depths of the ingenious building—designed by master Nidon for the slave monger, master Bagi, who served the royal house of the satrap of Mithir. The showing would begin shortly, and the Spartan was going to be the first slave that would be shown to the princess for her evaluation. It was not really necessary but the Queen-mother insisted that no changes be made to the traditional procedure, except to add Leonidas as one of the candidates that the princess would choose from.

In order not to waste the energy of the mules, the master Bagi also used them to grind corn that was fed to the slaves in his establishment, as the turning shaft also moved the mill stones that were cleverly attached to this device. It was an ancient Persian design, assured the master Nidon, when the new building, with its private showing area, was inaugurated by the Queen-mother several years ago. The master Bagi was a shrewd man and took great care in managing the business. He had a reputation to keep, as the favored slave vendor for the palaces of both Mithir and Tirnit—two royal kingdoms that were fierce but friendly rivals that sought to maintain the peace through formal marriages.

The master Bagi specialized in body slaves for the royal households and noble families. Any slave unfit for his purposes was quickly resold to one of the other merchants, who dealt in farm slaves or slaves for the household. Over centuries, his family and the master Nidon’s family had established a unique partnership. The master Bagi provided the slaves and the master Nidon’s family was responsible for their intricate and elaborate training. All slaves meant for a Queen-mother, or a future one, were personally trained by the master Nidon himself or his father, as they had their own personal reputations to uphold. Training a body slave for the Queen-mother took several years. The slave was first presented as a candidate. Periodic evaluations were then made by the Queen-mother herself before the final presentation, which was usually a simple ceremony that was open to the public. Various natural gods they worshipped were invoked and their blessings sought, before the Queen-mother took these body slaves back home with her. Trees were especially sacred, and also the living bodies of the slaves, who were worshipped in a way by the Queen-mother and the general populace, as her body slaves commanded great respect throughout the city.

A portion of the huge building was also open to the general public, who would be admitted on several important occasions to witness the selection process—a curiosity for most folks, who actually came there to get a glimpse of their revered Queen-mother. A few of them were even granted private audience, chosen by one of her body slaves at random from the crowd to be brought before her and publicly presented; a great honor that always brought loud hoots and cheers when the lucky man or woman from Mithir was greeted by the Queen-mother.
The showing of the body slaves was a big event in Mithir, especially when the daughter of the satrap was to become the next Queen-mother of Tirnit. There would be feasts galore, dancing, music, theater performances in Greek and other local languages and an atmosphere of joy, comfort and pleasure for the people.

Outside, in the giant courtyard that housed the building where the presentation would take place, a number of colored tents had been set up, each offering guests different treats, delicacies, cooled drinks and tokens or souvenirs baked in clay, with intricate designs, shapes and forms. There were also shows put on by local artistes from Mithir—jugglers, magicians, acrobats and mimes, who put on various street shows based on the ancient legends of Mithir. Many of these involved fierce coupling between various gods, and it was therefore highly amusing to observe the antics of the mimes as one resisted the advances of the other until the final moment, when all resistance was pushed aside and the man possessed by the woman. In most of the legends, the woman was the key player—a daughter who saved the kingdom from destruction by a demon or other tales. In each of the tales, the Queen-mother converted conflict into peace, violence into love, with the performance usually ending in a ritualistic orgy that was cheered on by the spectators.

The giant slave attracted the most attention for he was a Spartan; a captured prince, it was rumored, as he had been a guest in the Queen-mother’s palace, enjoying the comforts she provided for a few weeks before becoming her slave. Now, it was rumored among the populace, the Spartan youth had become desirous of becoming a body slave to the princess Zarira and had offered himself at the showing. Before he was sent to the display area, he and other men stood on a raised platform in a separate part of the courtyard while the general public walked around them and commented on their various attributes. Leonidas attracted the most attention due to his enormous member, and the fact that he was already a body slave of the Queen-mother. Many of the people there could not understand why she did not simply give him to her daughter instead of having her select him from these nine other slaves who hoped to be selected.

Zarira was clad in white—a loose gown that enveloped her from head to toe. It was transparent and light, and she felt as if she was floating in this ancient Persian garment. It was cool, as it trapped all the breezes and fanned them to her naked sides; a naturally relaxing feeling as she stood at the edge of an arched doorway. Small figurines set within the carved niches in the walls of the arch, which were actually tiny phallic shaped lamps, seemed to concur with her hesitation as she balanced herself on the threshold, their flames wavering slightly. Behind her, the Queen-mother—surrounded by several of her body slaves—the satrap, some of his wives, his son Salil, and their slaves, waited in line, as Zarira entered the viewing room. Here, she was met by Master Nidon and Master Bagi, who bowed graciously to her and guided the princess to a luxurious couch that had been set before the wooden platform.

Pulling the gown lightly over her head, Zarira tossed it to Master Bagi before she reclined on the couch and looked directly at Leonidas. Around her couch, but set a little distance away and behind, were numerous other couches where the royals reclined, with the Queen-mother occupying the couch nearest to Zarira along with three of her body slaves.

Some musicians who were hidden in the shadows behind Leonidas started playing their instruments while the Master Nidon, with a bow and a flourish, announced the start of the viewing. Various slaves ran up to the guests, balancing goblets of watered down wine and delicacies in silver goblets that were quickly snapped up by the waiting royals, who settled down in comfort on their couches, as they knew it would be some hours before Zarira was done testing all the slaves. On the other side of the platform, a small fence held back a crowd of curious spectators from Mithir, who wandered in and out of the building, to either view the showing inside, which could get tedious, to the various entertainments outside.

Leonidas felt vulnerable and even a little weak in his knees when he saw Zarira. For a moment, he thought he might faint and his mind wandered, as in a flash, the few weeks he had passed in this strange land of Mithir passed before his eyes. Would he ever be the same again, once this strange viewing ceremony had been concluded? Would he ever return back to his homeland and see his father Lysander again and also his mother?

He knew his parents’ history now, and fully understood why his mother had behaved in that manner in the symposium. In fact, given his current state of knowledge, he was surprised that his mother had shown so much restraint over the years he had known her. It was disconcerting for him to analyze this in his own thoughts, as he realized how shallowly he had understood her and how quick he had been in passing judgment upon her. She had sacrificed a lot for his sake and now, it was his turn to do the same but not for her, but for the sake of his love; his one and only love, Zarira. He was sure that both Lysander as well as his beloved mother would understand. He desired to see his mother so much. He wanted to express how sorry he was for his past behavior, and how poorly he had understood what he’d seen.

“Knowledge is something that is dangerous to men”, his father Lysander had told him once, during a hunting trip. This was his favorite time, as he and his father would often talk quietly for hours, while they waited for their prey in some quiet spot. Here, his father would share his knowledge and wisdom with Leonidas, as he talked to him about various things from philosophy to the ways of men and even the gods, who were all around and who governed every aspect of their lives. During his annual visits to the village, Lysander made it a point to take Leonidas on a hunting trip alone, so that he could bond with his son and pass on his secrets to him; the knowledge that Leonidas would need to know, in order to become a wise chief according to the principles laid down by Lycurgus, in keeping with their ancient Spartan traditions.

“Sometimes”, his father had told him, on one of many such trips out in the mountains while they tracked a rare species of mountain goat, “the right kind of knowledge can prove very dangerous. It may alter a man’s thinking, his perception and beliefs, everything that he has stood for, all at a moment’s notice.”

At the time, he had not understood what Lysander really meant. At this moment, however, those words seemed to echo in his mind, as he finally contemplated his fate and his future. The knowledge he had acquired in the past few weeks had changed him forever. And everything he had learnt in Macedonia, in his home village, seemed meaningless. His very essence, his very being, had undergone a profound change.

Only time would tell if he made the right choice. The only choice available to him if he was to pursue his true love. How would it all end? Was this itself the end of his life, as he had become a slave by choice, and did he have nothing to look forward to, apart from being close to his beloved? Was that enough for him? Would he one day, look back with regret to this day? The day his bondage was irrevocably sealed—his fate now tied to the princess for life? He wondered what Lysander would say to him, although he may understand why he chose this path. It was Leonidas’ legacy to become the next chief, and people back home would always blame him for leaving them like this, despite the great fame that his family had achieved over the centuries.
How would they react to this news, that their future chief was now a slave and would no longer return? Who would continue the line of Lysander, as he had no other son? Would his mother Varinia be compelled to produce another son, to replace the one she lost to the land of his birth?
These questions tormented him suddenly, as he stepped down from the revolving platform and approached the lovely princess Zarira, who waited for him with a knowing smile on her lips. She parted her lips and stuck her tongue out seductively as he stepped down, as if anticipating the pleasure she would soon receive from him, as her first candidate. The room erupted into cheers and although the applause was deafening in that enclosed room, he hardly heard it, as his mind was now far away, reliving the first day he set foot in the satrap’s palace.

Had it only been a few months before since he arrived here? It now seemed to him as if an eternity of time had passed since that fateful day when he had crossed over the mountains, along with the ambassadors from Mithir, who accompanied him all the way home from Macedonia. He wondered where they were now and what they were doing. Perhaps they were in the audience, watching with a sense of astonishment, while this proud young man consented to the state he was now reduced to—an animal that would soon be touched, felt and exhibited before a crowd of spectators who had come to watch and comment on his performance.
Per their ancient traditions, he was supposed to put on a show and display his talents before the people of Mithir, as it was their cheers which would ensure that the princess’s choice was well received. The Queen-mother and the rest of the court were counting on him and even expecting him to be the best, so that even Hiral, Zarira’s husband, would have no problems in accepting him.

Unknown to Leonidas, a different fate was in store for him, one that he would have never imagined. To him, the exalted status of body slave to a future Queen-mother meant nothing. To him, it was sheer bondage—a bending of his will and a humiliation that he should not endure, due to his birthright. But who could have predicted this outcome? No one, he thought, as Zarira gripped his shaft firmly in her delicate hands. The noise of the crowd rose to a crescendo of applause, as the showing formally began.

Behind Zarira, Leonidas saw the Queen-mother whispering something to the satrap, who nodded and shouted loudly in the direction of the spectators; “Here is the chosen one, my people of Mithir. This is the choice of the Queen-mother herself for her beloved daughter and your princess. Choose him above the others, if you respect your Queen-mother.”


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