Iohanna turned her back to the goblin in an attempt to run. It leaped at her in full force with a hunger for blood. His nails dug into her back as it crashed into her. Iohanna screamed as the goblin bit into her flesh while its claws flung about shredding her shin.
"My Lord," Sadie stepped closer to him after hearing the young girls screams. She didn't care for the girl, but her death wasn't something she wanted to witness either.
"Enough," Niccolo glared at her showing nothing but discontent with her outburst. He held his stare until a loud crash jolted his attention back to the tent. Niccolo listened for any noise but there was nothing but silence. He turned in an instant and ran inside, disappearing from everyone's view.
Upon entering the tent, he saw Iohanna standing over the goblin, blood coating the front of her and dripping from her outstretched hands. Her eyes were distant as if Iohanna wasn't in control they held tightly to the emerald color keeping her icy blues hidden. The goblin was laying in front of her in a pool of blood without its head.
"What the fuck?" He stepped around the body to approached her at her side. Iohanna's chest heaved from her breathing. "Ioh, Ioh snap out of it." He bent down and snapped his fingers in front of her face. Her head slowly turned towards him and her hands quickly latched onto his head. Her hands were spreading wide to wrap around his skull. "Ioh, stop it. Let go of me."
Her head tilted to the side as she watched his mouth pleading for her to stop. No words came to her ears, his mouth silently moved as she dug her fingers into his scalp. Her nails scratched his skull as she pushed her finger farther inside the holes separating his skin from the bone. Blood was flowing down his face and Iohanna released the cold air from her fingers and began to freeze his head like she did with the goblin.
Niccolo had to tap into his own powers before he could break free of her grip. It would be too dangerous for him to challenge her at this point of time. She wasn't aware of her own actions and he wasn't sure what she was capable of. He needed to find a way to wake her up and fast. Dodging as she lunged at him Niccolo was playing defense against her attacks. He snaked behind her during one of her attacks and hooked the crook of his elbow around her neck. When her icy fingers dug in his arm he was in a battle between frostbite and sleep.
Iohanna could feel the darkness creep into her vision as she fought the man behind her. She let out a scream when she realized she couldn't shake him off. Niccolo could see his people outside from the slit of the tent falling to the ground covering their ears, they were crying out in pain seconds later. He squeezed tighter until she was silenced and laying limp in his arms.
Shoving her to the ground in the puddle of blood at their feet he sunk back to the cot trying to catch his breath. For a child Iohanna showed strength of an adult male and if he were to admit it, he wasn't sure if he would be able to win against her for much longer. Had she been older or trained he wouldn't have been able to. The only question now was if she remembered her powers when she wakes up and how she would behave. Not wanting to risk his or his soldiers' lives he ordered the men to come in to bind and gag her so they could all sleep peacefully before heading out.
Pierce woke up the next morning from the jostling of the cart. He had a minor headache from the lack of oxygen supplied to his brain. Rubbing his head, he sat up to look around, when his vision cleared, he noticed they were no longer back at camp. "Commander!"
Niccolo heard Pierce yelling from the cart and pulled his horse to back where his friend was yelling from. "You're finally awake."
"Yeah, what the hell was all that? How long have I been out?" Pierce wanted to ask about Iohanna, but he feared the news at the same time.
"You have only been out for a few hours, we left camp just before the sun rose." He moved his horse around the cart and removed his helmet for a more private conversation. "I told you to trust me."
"Oh? Then how did it go?" Pierce finally asked, fighting down his nervousness.
Niccolo's face went cold and Pierce felt nauseous. There was silence between the two of them before Pierce finally asked. "Is she dead?"
"No, but it was close for everyone else." Niccolo shifted on his horse. "I underestimated her powers."
"What do you mean?" Pierce studied his commanders face trying to understand.
"She froze and shattered the goblins head. When I walked into the tent, she tried to do the same to me." Niccolo replaced his helmet on his head. "She couldn't remember a thing the moment she woke up."
Pierce laid back on the cart. "So where is my horse?"
"Iohanna and Sadie are riding it. They are both mad at me." Niccolo shrugged his shoulders.
"Can't say I blame them." Pierce lightly laughed while shaking his head.
"It was reckless of me, I'll admit that, had it worked it would have been the easiest way to awaken her control." Niccolo held out a hand to help him on the horse with him.
"Nah, I'm going to take it easy today. You pack quite a punch you know." He waved off his hand content with the supply cart.
"Suit yourself, we should reach Parion today, so relax while you can." Niccolo kick his horse forward back to the front.
It wasn't until the sun was in the middle of the sky by the time they arrived. Pierce was given orders to sell the rest of the slaves. The men were disbanded and relieved for duty allowing them to spend time with their families. Niccolo gave out the rations to the families of the deceased soldiers, ensuring their comfort for many years, while showing Sadie and Iohanna the city before they would make their way to his home for sunset. When they did arrive, he dismounted his horse ordering the girls to do the same.
"This will be your home from now on Ioh, you will have a new training schedule first thing in the morning. Guards are placed around the courtyard, should you try to escape they will lock you in your room and your freedom will be reduced. Start by taking the horses to the courtyard and give them to the keeper. Sadie you follow me." He left Iohanna to her chore and to explore her new home, and ushered Sadie to the slave's quarters where she would learn of her new duties.
"Niccolo?" Sadie looked at him in surprise. They had spent many nights together to the point of thinking she meant more to him.
"From now on you will address me as Master or Lord." He shook off her hands that clung to his arm without looking at her. "Ander, show her what is to be expected of her. I also need you to make sure a room is made up for my niece, she will be staying with us from now on. A proper meal is to be expected within the hour, she hasn't eaten much lately." Niccolo walked away leaving Sadie to Ander without a second thought.
"You heard him, follow me." Ander grabbed the woman by the elbow and led her to a room where she would learn from the keeper. "There is no need for you inside, you will study under Droden and learn how to maintain the courtyard."
"Yard work?" Sadie looked up at Ander with scared eyes. "I can't..."
"Silence, you will do as you are told. I have full authority over the slaves of this house if I do not see fit, I will sell you to a brothel and replace you with someone else." Andor had an annoyed look on his face. He saw this before, many times women thinking they could seduce the master and get light duty. One thing he admired about his master was his disinterest in his slaves, it made his job much easier.
"You are not the master of this house; I will speak with Niccolo." Sadie tried to walk past Ander, but he gripped her arm before she could leave.
"You can try, but he will tell you the same thing." Ander pulled out a scroll and unrolled it. "Read it carefully, if you can." Sadie took the scroll and went still as the words confirmed Anders words. She slowly handed back the scroll to Ander and lowered her head. "Now that we have come to an understanding you will report to Droden for your training. I have things to take care of, you can find him usually by the pond in the eastside with the fish." Turning away Andor shouted one more thing as Sadie stood there motionless. "The guards have orders to kill slaves that try to escape don't be stupid, or do your choice, makes no difference to me."
As Ander disappeared into the house an older man came out of hiding into view. "What's your name child?"
"Sadie, but I am not a child." Sadie looked at the strange man with caution warnings lighting up inside her body.
"Dear, everyone is a child when you reach my age." he walked up closer to her examining her. "Bastards," he spat at the ground. "Oh well, what can I do about it." He turned from Sadie and started to walk away.
Sadie watched in confusion as he slowly walked away. She thought it would be best if she went to find Droden before any other strange occurrences happen. When she finally found the pond, the older man was tending to the fish. "Are you Droden?"
"I suppose so, I have no need for a frail slut like you, return to Ander and be gone with you." Droden waved her off.
"Ander sent me here because this was the only place for me to go. Please, he said he would sell me to a brothel if I couldn't make this work out." Sadie knelt next to Droden and took his hand in hers.
"I'm sure with your body you could make more money and a little fame in a whore house, or even a temple." Droden's eyes focused on her breasts. "If you must stay, I might have some use for you."
Sadie felt sick from the way he looked at her. Before she was taken and her family killed, she lived in a similar home to this one. It was no secret that slaves were passed around among the working men in the house and she would even tease the young slaves that were raped, making them go about their work naked to be able to lead on and witness another attack. There were times she would even see her parents use the slaves, the truth of it was they were the lowest in the house and they had no rights of their own. Now she was facing the same situations those that she made fun of did, and it terrified her. "Niccolo, I mean the Master, said no one else was allowed to touch me." She clung onto that as her last hope.
"Hmm, I will speak with him about that later. I am sure he won't mind now that you are here. In the meantime, collect water and take care of the plants by the statutes." Droden finished with the fish as Sadie weakly stood up to get started on her new task.
"Sir, Sadie is tending to the Garden, the room has been prepared, and the meal is ready to be served." Ander stood at the entrance of the master’s study. The room contained books and scrolls cluttering the corners, and a small weapon rack behind his desk that contained many different types of swords. Niccolo had been sitting at his desk working out the plans for Iohanna and writing up a document to respond to his father request of him to go on leave from his command for a visit.
"Sir?" Ander wasn't sure if he had heard him or not.
"Very well, Ander." Niccolo tossed down the crow feathered quill and crumpled up the piece of paper before resting his forehead in his hands.
Another voice came up from down the hall and Ander disappeared to go deal with it. He returned a moment later with the older man at his side. "Sir, Droden would like a word with you."
Niccolo made a deep sigh before waving him in. "What can I do for you?"
"There's a matter regarding the new girl, Sir." The old man walked into the middle of the room.
"What did she do now?" Niccolo leaned back in his chair his hands outlined by his tight grip in his lap.
"It isn't a matter of what she did, but what she can't do that is the impertinence." Droden stood up tall to show his strength.
"Oh? Go on." Niccolo saw this coming from the moment he assigned her to the household. His hands relaxed knowing it was an easy solution to be fixed.
"She is ordering us not to touch her and complaining about certain jobs because she is your woman." Droden searched his master's face for signs of displeasure.
"Tell her I release her of any former promises and commands." His face showed nothing but annoyance from being disturbed for such a matter. "She is under Ander's command now any further questions will be addressed to him, anything else?"
Droden's face lifted into a smile and shook his head. "Nothing else my Lord."
"Good, now leave me." Niccolo stood up and grabbed his smoke grey coat. "Ander take me to Iohanna."
"Yes, my Lord." Ander couldn't help but to smile himself. He loved his masters trust and the power it gave him.
Iohanna was sitting at the extended table waiting for the meal to be served. She sat in the middle facing the small fountain on the opposite side of the room. The quiet water noises made her feel at ease. "Ander bring out the food." Niccolo sat at the head of the table that was the closest to the kitchen.
"You have a large home." Iohanna attempted to make small talk while they waited to be served.
The kitchen servants brought in many dishes and placed them all over the table. Niccolo picked at the stuffed sheep's intestines and looked at Iohanna. "It's what is expected of me. We start your training tomorrow. After the meal wash up and go to bed."
Iohanna felt his distaste of small talk and silence filled the remainder of their meal, leaving Iohanna worried about the events of tomorrow and too afraid to ask about it. If it was anything like the previous night she needed to be prepared to die at any moment. Pierce had healed her before they departed but he was no longer around, she had no one to rely on around her that actually cared if she lived or not.