In Thrall

By: Madelene Martin
Author's Note

While some research went into this story, this work of fiction is not intended to be historically accurate, and artistic license has been taken.

All main characters featured in the story are aged eighteen or over, whether or not this is implicitly stated.

This story is for adults only and contains graphic sexual content.



Zahira climbed the stairs out of the steaming hot bath and stepped into her high sandals. She waited as the young servant girl began slathering her with the oily, scented soap, her small hands nimble and practiced. Despite Zahira's general nervousness, it was impossible not to relax somewhat after the luxurious bathing ritual. As the girl worked the soap into her skin, massaging her flesh and soothing her muscles, Zahira daydreamed.

The day had arrived. Tonight she would be presented to the Master of the house, and he would take her as his concubine. After years of schooling in dance, singing and music – as well as all the other household arts - Zahira had finished her education. For the first time she had been able to attend the yearly ceremony, where all the women of the harem were brought before the Master.

Zahira had a fine voice, and so she'd had a chance to sing for him, and his matron mother. But in the end, it hadn't been her talents that had captured his attention. She was a dainty girl, with soft skin, hazel eyes and glossy black hair. She wasn't very tall, but she had a soft body with curved hips and full breasts. She was also the most recent of the harem to come of age, and the Master liked his concubines young and fertile.

Many of his concubines had not been called to his chambers in a long while. The gossip in the harem was that he could no longer service his women - but of course he could never allow anyone to know that. So he continued choosing girls that he liked for the exalted position, adding to their numbers every year or so.

A more tantalizing rumor was that he might be looking for a fourth wife.

Like many of the lower ranked women of the harem, Zahira had been a slave since childhood. She had been purchased by the head eunuch, who had a good eye for beauty. Since then, she'd lived a secure and relatively pampered life among the women of the household. Like all of them, she hoped to be noticed by the Master of the house.

She didn't know which of the rumors she believed. But her goal remained the same. If he took her as concubine and she gave him a son, he might make her his wife.

The servant finished rubbing the soap from Zahira's skin and began to pour tepid water over her body. She shivered slightly as the cool air caressed her wet skin, her nipples hardening and goose bumps rising on her forearms.

She was dried and powdered, perfumed, and dressed in a rich robe of embroidered silk. Another servant applied kohl to her eyes. Her hair was laboriously dried, and she sat for an hour while the two dressers braided it in an intricate style. They gave her a jeweled headdress and a shawl. She was to go before the Master unveiled, since they were to be intimate.

She was allowed to look in a hand mirror. Zahira had seldom seen herself dressed this richly, and felt almost as though she were looking at a stranger. She felt numb more than nervous now, staring at her reflection impassively, turning her head this way and that.

She was, of course, a virgin, though she had heard much about what happened between a man and woman in the bedroom. The harem women were never shy about discussing it, and she had been told exactly what she could do to please the Master, if he was not forthcoming with directions. But for this night, she still felt woefully unprepared. What did she have in common with this old man that she was to go to?

She had seen him only once, and for only a fleeting glimpse. He'd been handsome in his day, the older women always said - but now he was growing frail. His face was lined and his hair entirely gray. Most of his children were older than Zahira was. But he was the only avenue through which to gain more status, wealth and one day - possibly - freedom. A wife - or even a concubine - could be freed by their Master, if he favored her enough.

In the last year or so, she had spent a lot of time being frustrated. Her body was ripe, and she yearned for physical intimacy. She liked to read the titillating books that the women passed around. She daydreamed of the embrace of the handsome men from the stories and artworks. She thought about it touching herself at night when everyone else was asleep. She would sneak out onto the balconies and looked out over the city when teams of workers went by, admiring the strong muscles of their shirtless chests and shoulders.

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