This is how Liz’s journey was supposed to end:
With a shriek she came, the force of the orgasm as hard as she’d ever had before. It was some time before she could form a coherent thought. She struggled to compose a few words, some measure of gratitude, but her mouth had forgotten how to speak.
“Shhh… It’s okay. Just enjoy it.” She looked up into the face of her soon-to-be-ex-Master Daniel, smiling gently as his mahogany-brown hand plucked a tendril of hair stuck inside her collar and smoothed it back over her forehead. He let her rest for a moment before rising from the bed and returning with a warm damp cloth to remove the remnants of their love-making.
And love-making was what she could call it. Though she had served him many times before, there had been no doubt he had been the Master, and she the slave, and it was her duty to give him pleasure. This last night, though… While the evidence of his pleasure was indeed splashed all over her body, he had taken pains to finish with her in a way that spoke of a desire to please her tonight.
For tomorrow she was free. Actually, technically, tonight. At midnight.
Two years over. Two years starting with fear and terror and sadness. Ripped from her family. Two years learning and doing things she never thought she would ever do. Two years of lessons in pleasing men, and women, and punishments that were most often painful, and always educational. Two years of learning about the people of a different land, their customs, their sexual preferences; learning that different does not mean bad, and indeed, often meant good. Two years of learning that she was stronger than she ever dreamed she could be.
And tomorrow, she would be back with her family.
But first, there was a ritual to go through. She knelt in front of him as she had done so many times over the last two years. At first, the action had been forced. Then it became habit. Now, it had changed into a true desire to please him. Idly her brain wondered if she would ever want to do this for another man again in her life?
No matter. Right here, right now, she knelt contentedly as he busied himself with a paper. She heard the scratching of a pen, and then the document was suddenly held before her. She reached up for the thick piece of creamy, official paper.
I, Daniel Weiss, Chairman of Alaine Province,
declare that this woman, Elizabeth Peltier,
has served her sentence as a war hostage
with distinguished grace
and is, as of midnight tonight, October 5,
a free woman.
His scrawling, official signature completed the document.
Tears blurred her eyes before she could finish reading the words she had longed to see for two years. She almost didn’t notice the other object he held before her.
“It’s a passport, Liz. It says you have honorary citizenship in Alaine, and can come and go any time you please. I don’t know if your Chancellor will allow you to travel out of Edwal again, but if you can, I hope you will come back to see us someday. There will always be a duplicate of this at the border crossing near your home, just in case they don’t let you keep this when you return.”
Suddenly it was too much, and she threw herself at his feet, choking back the tears. He leaned over and stroked her hair, understanding the struggle. Her parents were back in Edwal, and she hadn’t seen them or spoken to them in two years, and she would never betray them by not coming home, but she knew the opportunities she was leaving behind to return to the stifling and fascist province that was her home.
He helped her to her feet and wiped her tears. “Come. There’s some people who want to say goodbye.”
There were lots of tears and laughter with the other slaves, endless speculations about ‘what-I-will-do-when-I-get-free’, hugs, and the inevitable cake. Then, as the big clock in the hall boomed the hour of midnight, silence fell. Liz had been through this twice before and knew what to expect but found herself so scared she almost fled back to the small room that had been her sanctuary for so long. She felt a calm hand on her shoulder and looked to her side to see Greta standing beside her, her understanding eyes giving Liz strength.
As the clock finished its booming, Masters Daniel, Michael, and Ryan appeared as silently as ghosts. The young women fell as one to their knees, but Master Ryan caught Liz as she started to go down.
“Not you, Liz. Not any more.” The man who had been her trainer touched her cheek gently and stepped back, having said his goodbyes already.
Daniel stepped forward without words and reached to the back of Liz’s neck. He undid the simple clasp, and the beautiful silver and gold collar fell away from her neck. She reached up reflexively to her throat, which felt empty and bare… and free.
“We would be honored if you would join us for breakfast in the morning before you go,” were the only words he said, and the three men departed.
She turned around to see that the others were still kneeling. They were kneeling for Liz. She knew this was a part of the ritual, but it felt wrong.
“No, no, get up,” she implored them, and with that signal, they all bounced to their feet and fell around her with hugs and shrieks of shared joy.
Quickly Liz was stripped of her simple slave dress, and a nightgown of blue satin was pulled over her head. A warm robe was wrapped around her, and the girls, as one, propelled Liz out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and to one of the guest bedrooms. Over the next hour they bathed and massaged her until she was falling asleep.
“Okay, ladies, I think you need to let her go now,” came the soft voice of Greta from the doorway.
“Please,” Liz begged, “please, let someone stay with me tonight. I don’t want to sleep alone.”
“Of course, Mistress,” Greta replied. Liz’s eyes widened at the title. Her dearest friend squealed with delight as she slipped past Greta and climbed back up onto the bed while the rest of the girls gave final hugs and filed out the door. The lights were shut off and the two girls snuggled together as they had many times before. It was a long time before Liz was able to fall asleep, and when she did, it was with a smile on her face as she dreamed of her family, waiting for her with open arms as she arrived home tomorrow.
But unfortunately it didn’t quite happen like that…
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