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westcorphotels > Dead Rivers - Freedom\'s Gate > Part 24

Part 24

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Well. I could just tell Kyros he'd have to find other tasks for me. Hunting down slaves was never one of my more frequent duties-I carried messages, more often. Spying on garrisons of Greek soldiers, more or less openly. Kyros could send someone else out to hunt his slaves. Myron, for instance. It wasn't a specialized task-not like spying on the Alas.h.i.+, which only someone with Danibeki blood could do.

Though I was half Greek, and so was Tamar, and enough of the Alas.h.i.+ had Greek blood that the escaped slaves and the freeborn Alas.h.i.+ were not easily distinguishable, at least not by appearance. A full Greek like Myron could probably claim to be an escaped slave as well, and be taken in, though Myron could never convincingly pose as a slave; he radiated the privilege of the Greek from every pore of his skin.

But Kyros knew I could do it- he knew I could convince the slaves of Sophos's harem, and more important, the Alas.h.i.+, that I had been a slave. Why? How could he know?

Because he knew that Sophos would rape me.

The answer came to me like an arrow in my heart and I gasped. The smell of s.h.i.+t filled my nose and gagged me, and the thought of Kyros's betrayal gagged me as well. Turning away from the almost-filled basket of s.h.i.+t, I fell to my knees and threw up on the ground. Someone saw me vomiting, and a few minutes later Tamar and Zhanna and Maydan came running to take the basket away and help me over to the river to clean up. "You should have told Janiya that you weren't feeling well," Maydan scolded me.

"No one would have expected you to do s.h.i.+t-pickup duty while feeling poorly."

I didn't even try to explain; I just let her wash me, as I had let Tamar wash me when I arrived at Sophos's harem. I could still smell s.h.i.+t when she was done, but at least it wasn't harem perfume. It was still hot, but I s.h.i.+vered in the wind, and went into the yurt to wrap up in a blanket when we got back to the camp. I had no appet.i.te for supper and didn't want to talk to anyone-not even Tamar. I lay awake until I'd heard everyone else settle down in the yurt, and then went outside to sleep by the fire. I knew I was going to have nightmares, and there was no point in waking everyone else up.

Perhaps, I thought, as I lay looking up at the skies, I was wrong. Kyros may simply have had faith that I could make it work somehow. But Sophos knew. You may realize later how necessary this was. It wasn't l.u.s.t, it wasn't just the desire to rape someone he had no right to touch. Sophos knew that the Alas.h.i.+ would see that rape when they looked into my eyes. He knew that it would ensure the success of my mission.

Did Kyros know?

If he didn't know, it was because he closed his eyes and covered his ears instead of looking at what was right in front of his face.

I expected to dream of Sophos, when I finally fell asleep-or Kyros, pleading with me to believe that he had never given Sophos permission to rape

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