The buzz of conversation, faint to begin with, began to grow. As Kess continued to lick and suck Sparr’s fully-engorged cock, even the other Olm peered into the circle. The half drunk Urst made boisterous comments, elbowed each other, and hooted their approval. Even Gret pushed her way into a favorable viewing position, staring intently at the steamy scene. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the show.

By this time, Kess had grown bolder in her attentions. Popping her mouth over the bulging head of Sparr’s cock, she pushed her lips as far as they would go, pulled back, then again plunged forward. She held the position for a heartbeat before pulling back with a gasp. A tear dropped from one eye.

“Unnnh,” Sparr moaned. “Oh, fuck.”

Kess stopped, looked to Sparr curiously, then resumed. She was, he realized, working to please him without encouragement or threats. Alternating between taking his cock into her mouth, and tonguing his shaft sweetly, Kess, too, seemed to have lost her earlier reserve. Her tongue, lips, and hands worked together, easing Sparr toward release.

“Omigod,” Sparr said. “That’s so fucking nice right now. Don’t stop.” His cock twitched in Kess’s slender fingers.

“Arrat! Arrat, yo!” This time Tawn interjected, as Kess pulled back, confused. Saliva ran down her chin. Tawn stepped forward. “Bu sooshay, gahn!”

A call of approval went up from the Urst, their hoots of lust filling the clearing. One man, drinking deeply of spirit, had yet to finish before his neighbor tore the skin from his hands for his own turn. That man in turn was knocked aside only to fall to the clearing, laughing aloud. The others clapped their hands or bellowed in drunken delight.

Kess sat back, letting Sparr’s cock slip from her hands. A touch of her earlier worry had returned. The young woman’s eyes went from her captors, to Sparr, and to his cock. Only after further exhortations from both Tawn and Gret did she finally lay back. Kess spread her legs.

Driven by lust, Sparr knelt to take her. She wanted him, he was sure of it. The look in her eyes as she had pleasured him, her efforts to take as much of him into her mouth as possible, the pliant way she lay back for him… all were sure signs that she yearned to give herself to him. At least, he told himself so. Sparr banished the doubts as quickly as they surfaced. If he didn’t fuck her, there would be consequences. The Urst, already shouting encouragement, would hardly accept a sudden stop to the show. Sparr pressed his cock against Kess’s slit.

“Ahhh,” Kess gasped. “Plai…” Her hand shot toward Sparr’s hips as if to push him away. As quickly, she pulled it back.

“Yeahhhh,” Sparr groaned. Kess’s folds were wet, welcoming first the tip, then the head of his cock. “Fuck.” He pulled partway out before easing forward. Her flesh accepted another inch.

As he took her, Sparr kept his eyes on Kess. She returned his gaze, her expression one of worry and desire. The lovely woman was frightened, but equally slick with lust and anticipation. Sparr watched with amazement as she offered herself to him. The sight of the submissive beauty further stoked his lust.

Kess lay back, legs parted. Sparr, kneeling, began to work himself deeper.

“Mmmm,” Sparr groaned. He pulled his cock free so he could slide it back and forth across Kess’s clit.

“Oh,” she said, her gaze now switching between Sparr’s face and his cock.

He penetrated her again, her slickness welcoming him. Kess winced.

“It’s okay,” Sparr said. Kess would understand his soothing tone, if not his words. He slowed for a moment, only rocking his shaft slightly. Not until his lover relaxed did Sparr again push forward. He was more than halfway in now.

“Ahhh,” Kess moaned. Her lips parted, as her eyes began to slide shut.

“Yeah,” Sparr said. “It’s sweet.”

Firelight danced and flickered across their bodies. The warm light shone on Kess’s breasts, and highlighted the hollows of her neck. She writhed against the pallet, arching her back, fingers clutching the ground. Kess was warming to her lover. Beyond them, the circle of observers urged them on, voices raised in incomprehensible cries.

“Unnnh,” Sparr groaned. He blocked out the scene around him, savoring the coupling with Kess. Her slick pussy felt blissful against his surging cock, her beauty intoxicating as the firelight played across her parted lips.

“Oooooh,” Kess moaned. “Aieee!” She looked down to see Sparr’s cock impaling her. Kess muttered something, then shook her head slightly before laying back again. A small shudder shot through her body.

“Yes,” Sparr gasped. Unable to restrain himself, he drove forward hard, burying the last of his cock in Kess’s dripping gash.

“Aieeeeeee!” Kess cried out. Her hips twisted against him as her back arched. “Owwwww.” She held the tortured pose for several heartbeats before collapsing back onto the pallet. “Hooooo,” she gasped, at last releasing a pent-up breath. She was his.

Sparr didn’t let up. Gripping Kess’s legs tightly, he built up speed. Her slick pussy offered less and less resistance to his pumping cock, but remained beautifully snug. Gradually Sparr’s thrusts grew from tentative to vigorous. He worked her greedily, mixing deeper strokes with shallow ones to tease her clit. It was heavenly.

Nor did Kess seem to mind. She still squirmed against him, but only to heighten her pleasure. She grunted when Sparr pierced her depths, and sighed when he worked some particularly sensitive angle. The brown-skinned woman’s eyes slid entirely shut. Her lips parted and her breath became rough. Kess was wrapped in bliss.

“God yes,” Sparr gasped. How long had it been since he’d had sex? In terms of waking days it had been just one week, but he’d been in cryo sleep for months. Hormones raged through him. His balls ached for release. As much as he wanted to savor the encounter, his body would soon unleash a powerful orgasm.

“Ohhhhhh,” moaned Kess. “Mmmmmmm, oh.” She shuddered.

Their bodies slapped together now, the sound overpowering even the banter from the boisterous onlookers. Sparr’s balls bounced against Kess’s ass, while her breasts jiggled deliciously. The moans and gasps escaping Kess merged with those from Sparr. They would climax together.

“Nnnnnh,” Sparr grunted. The heat of the fire and his exertions put a sheen of perspiration on him. He pumped Kess with near brutal force. All of the tension, fear, uncertainty, and conflict of the past two days welled up within him, ready to explode.

“Oh, oh, oh, ohhhh.” Kess’s brow knitted in concentration. Her mouth opened even wider, ready to cry out in delight.

“Ahhhh, ahhhhhhh,” panted Sparr. He stiffened. “Ah fuuuuuuh…”

“Aieeee!” His partner came first. Kess’s pussy convulsed, clamping down on Sparr’s cock. Her body went tight, trembling against him. “Oh, hnnnnnh, oh.” The woman raised her head off of the pallet, tossing her braid wildly. The tremble turned into a shudder.

“Fuuuuuuuh,” Sparr cried out. He tossed his head back in abandonment. “Ohhhh!” His hands tightened mercilessly on Kess’s legs, holding her in place as he released an enormous blast of cum into her depths. “Oh god!”

“Mmmmmm,” gasped Kess, still torn with orgasm. Her eyes were shut tight, her head turned to one side. The shudder, originating from her pussy, seemed to reach every inch of her smooth, dusky skin.

Sparr shot another blast of seed into Kess, soaking her already slick depths. “Aaaaaaaaaah, fuck yeah,” he groaned. The wave of pleasure plateaued, reluctant to leave him. The last of his cum pulsed out. Finally, drained, Sparr collapsed next to Kess. She smiled at him weakly, her breath still ragged.

For a moment all were silent. The fire crackled, the waterfall played its soothing song, but no voice was raised. Then, the crowd erupted. The Urst let out a collective howl of approval, stomping the ground or clapping. Several of the men struck each other with enough force to send the other tumbling, apparently an acceptable behavior. Gret nodded her head somberly, as if having witnessed something of importance.

Two of the rowdier men approached. Sparr, naked and exhausted, tried to rally himself for combat. The men, however, simply tugged him to a standing position and laughing, pressed the skin of spirits into his hand. With boisterous slaps to Sparr’s back, they returned to their comrades.

The spirit wasn’t nearly as bad as he had imagined.


“I have translated seventy-one words, with an overall confidence of eighty-five percent.”

The implant was programmed not to interrupt Sparr’s sleep, but it had no compunction against feeding him information while he relieved himself. The mood in the camp had changed noticeably in the twenty-four hours since the Urst had captured him. He was still guarded

when outside the wagon, but not as closely as the day before. Several of the Urst even grinned at him in passing. He and Kess must have put on a memorable show the previous evening.

Kess herself was more difficult to read. After their session, Sparr had led her back into the pool for a quick bath. The two shared the spirit, bathed each other, and exchanged a few furtive kisses. That night in the wagon she had pressed herself against him, sharing their warmth as earlier they had shared their bodies. But before the sun rose, she slipped back among the other Olm. Whatever social customs bound them were impenetrable to Sparr.

“Vonde,” Efreem said quietly. “There, Vonde.” At least Efreem was still sociable.

Sparr peered through the bars. After less than an hour of travel, the band approached a town. The outskirts were a jumble of crude huts, built haphazardly against each other, around the stumps of fallen trees, or over boulders. More of the Urst milled about, stacking boxes stuffed with spices, rolls of fine fabric, crates of bottles, and flat boxes the contents of which Sparr could only guess at. The driver of the wagon called out to a pair of men who waved back nonchalantly. A wagon full of captives seemed undeserving of even a second glance.

Vonde proper was less ramshackle than the Urst huts had suggested. Once their wagon had been waved through the gates by a pair of indifferent guards, they proceeded along a busy thoroughfare of merchant stalls and shops. Boys sold cups of steaming broth from kettles, while girls sang high, sweet songs extolling the virtues of their pastries. The structures mostly were constructed from wood, but the planks had been neatly cut, and Sparr noticed that the shop doors in many cases had been inlaid with bits of metal, glass and polished stone.

Once, while the wagon was stopped to await the crossing of a party of laborers, Sparr observed something curious. A man dressed in close-fitting linen robes stopped to purchase a pastry, paying with an ornate token. From the view Sparr had of the transaction, the token was unlike anything he had seen on the planet. Not only was it intricately designed, it glinted of burnished metal. Though thin, the token had the appearance of having been made from several discs pressed together. He longed for a closer look.

The opportunity to do so would have to wait. The wagon turned, the driver cursing and whipping the dray beasts down a narrower street. Homes, some with stone foundations, pressed close. Men and women who could only be servants were everywhere, scurrying with purpose and self-importance. The male servants wore ribbons of colored silk on their breasts while the women wore similar badges fixed to the base of tall, conical hats. Each strived to outdo the others, parcels clutched in their hands, chins thrust forward. No matter how thin the veneer, Sparr thought, privilege will find a way to make itself seen.

The wagon reached a square. The driver, directed by Gret and Tawn, found a spot to settle the wagon. The other Urst leapt forward, unloading crates and bags from the top of the wagon, feeding the dray beasts, and securing a small perimeter. Sparr and the Olm were for the time being kept inside the wagon, but were fed a passable meal of bread and dried sausage. Sparr chewed, watching as the market square came to life.

The center of the square held a platform surrounded by three ranks of seating. More of the servants Sparr had earlier observed strode forward, jostling one another to place ornate sun shades over the choicest seats. The shades were decorated in groups of three colors, blue edged with red and grey, yellow with silver and black, and orange with white and silver. The center seats, clearly those with the best view of the platform, went unmarked. Idly, Sparr wondered who yet waited to claim such privilege.

Sparr no longer needed to guess at his fate. He and the Olm were to be sold as slaves. The market square no doubt was the home to numerous trades. Already, Sparr saw vendors stacking pyramids of elongated fruit, black tinged with orange. Textile merchants fussed over tables of silk, linen, and an even finer material unknown on Earth. Elsewhere, vendors of paintings, batiks, pottery, and glass arranged their wares in pleasing displays. None achieved the prominence of the elevated center platform. Humans would be bought and sold here today, and Sparr would be among them. How, he wondered, had the vile practice re-emerged here, when it had been banished on Earth for a thousand years?

The rasp of the wagon door pulled Sparr from his thoughts. Gret, with the assistance of several of the Urst men, began urging their captives one by one onto the square. “Maint, out!” she shouted, which his implant translated as “Now, out!” One at a time, women first, the slavers fastened the Olm to a thickly woven rope and led them forward. Sparr they bound last. Gret’s eyes lingered on him before turning away. The group was steered to the back of the platform, where they waited.

The square filled. Even well into the sky, the light from the fat, orange sun was little more than pleasantly warm. Nonetheless, as the wealthier inhabitants of Vonde arrived, they quickly settled into their covered seats. Servants fussed about, making miniscule adjustments to the shades and snapping at one another over subtle infractions. Behind them, and with considerably less fuss, a row of merchants found seats. These men and women, equipped with ledgers and elaborate quills, waited dourly.

Meanwhile, the carts and stalls at the edge of the square did a brisk business. Porters with hand-pulled wagons stocked up on hides, horn, planks, scraps of metal, and other building supplies. A woman, tall and fair, called out to the crowd from atop a pair of stilts. Sparr, with little else to draw his attention, admired her technique. If someone showed an interest in the woman’s clay amphora, she would spin once and recite a scrap of song or poetry. If they made a purchase, she would spin twice, rewarding them with a more complete verse. Her assistant, no more than a boy, collected tokens and handed out the clay jugs.

A quiet fell across the square. From one side of the plaza came an armed party escorting a pale, drawn man almost as tall as Sparr himself. The man was dressed in the same style of tight fitting robes that Sparr had seen earlier, but much more colorful, with bands of blue, orange, and yellow crossing from his shoulder to below his hips. He was otherwise unadorned, but walked at a leisurely pace which conveyed nonchalance and authority.

At the same time, from the other side of the plaza, an entirely different procession made an appearance. A rank of young women in pale blue robes entered first, followed by an equal number of young men dressed in yellow. All were attired to highlight their sexuality. The women’s robes of billowy fabric cut deep in front, offering teasing glimpses of their breasts, while the young men were dressed in loose pants but tight fitting vests showcasing the strength of their chests, shoulders, and arms.

Behind them strode a woman of middle years, her blonde hair pulled back into a severe braid, decorated with jewels and glass. She carried more flesh than the younger women, but with confidence and grace. Like the younger women, she was draped in pale blue robes. Between her heavy breasts bounced a pendant that Sparr couldn’t quite identify.

They met in the middle. With restrained acknowledgements, the gaunt man and the gowned woman took the two center seats. Two each of their retainers joined them, while the rest found room toward the back. Sparr surmised that the two shared authority, but not necessarily with ease. Once they were seated, the sale began.

Sparr and the Olm weren’t the first to mount the platform. Two fine-boned men were led forward, their skin darker than any Sparr had seen on Earth. The auctioneer, a thin-faced man wearing a grey tunic, spoke a few sentences, his hands twirling and darting in elaborate gestures. Sparr’s implant caught a few words. “Skill … tool … two … price.” An assistant held up a bolt of brightly-woven fabric, indicating the two men. Sparr surmised they were skilled weavers.

Bidding erupted at once. Two of the seated elites stood immediately, jostling for attention. Frantically they shouted numbers too quickly for Sparr, or even his implant, to follow. Their servants hovered nearby, scrambling with quill and parchment to keep up with their masters’ shrieked commands. When at last it was over, Sparr couldn’t even determine who had won the bidding. Both of the parties settled serenely into their seats while their servants again fussed over the sun shades like preening birds.

Next, several children were led to the front of the platform and auctioned one at a time. Sparr gritted his teeth in disgust as the assistant extolled their virtues. The bidding this time around was less intense. Traders from the second row checked their ledgers and called out bids in flat tones. Rarely did they compete with each other. Instead they dutifully collected a boy here, a girl there, until satisfied. Each pressed a few tokens into the auctioneer’s hands before departing with their new charges. If anyone besides Sparr was troubled by the scene they kept it to themselves.

At midday it was at last their turn. Tawn spoke with the auctioneer, gesturing toward the bound prisoners. The man nodded, consulted with his assistant, then called forth the first of the Olm women.

All of the captives, Sparr included, had been dressed in plain shifts. The first woman, a friend of Kess’s, was prodded forward. She took in the crowd with a fearful expression as the assistant began his description of her abilities. Sparr’s implant picked up “wood … eat … nice” before the bidding began. Bidding was slow. None of the elites in the front row showed interest, nor did the remaining traders behind them. Finally a man in the final row raised his voice. The bidding ended and the woman was hustled away. She gave a final, desperate call to her friends then was gone. Sparr felt a knot growing in his gut.

Next came Kess. As before, the assistant worked the crowd. Sparr’s implant reported “eatnice, and fuck.”

“What?” Sparr cried out. Efreem shot him a questioning look.

As with her friend, bidding started out slowly. One of the third-row merchants called out a number which the auctioneer seemingly found offensive. Again, the assistant offered details such as strongmeal, and yes.

A murmur passed through the crowd. One of the assistants to the blue-robed woman stood and issued a sharp command. Immediately, the assistant approached Kess. Without hesitation, the man rended her shift in half. Kess’s slim, sweet body was on display for the crowd.

The blue-robed woman stood, her movement silencing those around her. For a moment which seemed to stretch on forever she regarded Kess, eyes sweeping up and down the Olm woman’s exposed body. Finally she uttered a single word. Sparr never learned whether she had bid high or low, only that at her word the process ended. The woman’s assistant tossed the auctioneer a few tokens. Kess was theirs.

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