She did not exist. Her mind had slipped somewhere between pleasure and pain and she cared not where that was. She was free of everything, her duties, her responsibilities, even her own thoughts and worries. The moments were blurring into one simple thing, the sensations of being completely powerless, completely controlled, and thus completely at peace.
The sounds of fist against the heavy oaken door pulled her from this ether and drew her back to her body, back to the cold stone cell she and her lover had sought refuge in. She blinked a few times, crashing back into reality, for a moment unsure why her body wished to rise, despite the bonds holding her fast, and her mind demanded she remain still.
The banging returned with more urgency.
“I’m sorry, M’Lady, but you are needed. Immediately.” The voice was loud and firm.
She shook her head, her curls of raven hair remaining pasted to her brow with sweat. Her breath came in ragged gasps as she tried to find herself. There was a flash of steel, the blade catching the crimson hues of the hearth. Her wrists and legs were freed and she was pulled to a sitting position by her lover’s free hand.
“Do you need water?” His voice mirrored the urgency of that beyond the door.
She raised a hand to dismiss the offer. Her voice was yet to return. With shaking legs she stood, staggered the length of the cell and retrieved her robe. If they were interrupting her session, something urgent must have happened. She had to regain herself. Her companion was at her side, brushing her hand away and belting the robe for her. She did not stop him.
“Biatta,” he asked, his voice thick with concern, “are you there?”
A nod was all she offered in response.
The door was unbolted and eased open. One of the guards, his tabard a plain red with gold piping, stood in the hall.
“M’lady, there is a slaver in the society halls.”
That brought back her voice.
The guard broke eye contact and looked down the hall. “He was introduced to the society six months ago, M’Lady. He was offered membership three weeks past.”
Biatta stepped closer, her smaller frame still forcing the guard to step back. “That’s ‘when.’ I want to know ‘how’.”
“We don’t know yet, M’Lady. I understand that he had full letters of introduction, as well as the personal recommendation of Sir Grann, and Sir Grann’s personal companion.”
She started to stride down the hall, her legs now shaking with anger. “I want to see Sir Grann in the southern library within ten minutes. I want-”
The guard cut in as he moved to keep pace. “I’m afraid that’s impossible, M’Lady. Sir Grann is dead.”
Biatta shook her head but continued to stride.
“As was his companion,” the guard continued. “His wife is being brought into the chapter hall in the market district to be discreetly informed and agents are already sweeping his estate per our agreements with him.”
As they reached the main stair, Lady Knight Biatta stopped and turned to look at the guard. “Tell me plain. How many has he taken.”
The guard swallowed hard. “We have, at present count, four girls who have left Society gatherings in his company that have not been seen since. We fear that number may be conservative. M’Lady.”
“She’s scrawny,” the Kahjiit in the brown cloak said as he felt Meganni’s arm. The young Bosmer flinched from his thick paws, pulling on the leash bound to her neck.
“Aye” the other man replied as he gave a pull at the leash. “But she’s the last I could get for you. Cover’s blown. Gotta go lay low for a while.”
The figure in brown nodded. “And she won’t be recognized in Skyrim you say? On the off chance she is seen on our way? This one would prefer not to answer too many questions.”
“Nah,” the slaver said, spitting on the ground. “She’s never been that far from home; spent most of it here in Daggerfall, an orphan I’m told. And besides, they all look the same don’t they?”
Meganni’s new owner nodded once and handed over the sack of coins. “Then you’ve made this one happy, slave-man. Very happy.”
The leash was passed from hand to paw, and the Bosmer began to plot her escape.