Lady On A Box, Part One: Failure
Erisi Dlarit felt numb. She'd just been officially cut out of the Xucphra family will -- she'd get no inheritance, no trust fund. Like all the Dlarit cousins, she considered that money her due, part of her irrevocable inheritance. But now, she had nothing to look forward to from the family assets. Sure, they'd look after her until she was 25, as was the family's tradition, but after that? What would become of her? Normally, she'd be married off to a man who valued her inheritance as her dowry. But now?
She was angry for this loss, for sure. But she was more angry at the way they set her up to lose it. That's what it was -- a set up!
When she was 16, the Directors of the Xucphra entity had called her in with an assignment. She was very young, but they told her that this was her job, being the only female of her generation in the family. She was to attend school with Bror Jace, the heir to the Zaltin entity bacta cartel fortune, and court him. It was imperative that the two major bacta producing entities be joined in some way -- politically, economically, or by marriage -- and they told Erisi it was her job to seduce him to marry her. "At the very least," they told her, grimly, "make sure you get pregnant by him. We will not tolerate sloppiness, Erisi!"
The man who had given this command was her father. She was terrified of him, and she dared not question his authority or his order.
Erisi was sent to a gynecologist to assess her "state" and was deemed "not a virgin." Very business-like, the Directors registered their disappointment, then perfunctorily ordered a surgery to restore her hymen, the piece of skin which designated her virginal state. They did this because they thought Bror might prefer a 'clean' girl to claim as his own, but also to ensure that Erisi behaved herself. That way, if she did manage to get pregnant, they wanted to be sure the first man to penetrate her from that point onward would be the heir Jace.
She protested that she was a virgin, she never had sex with anyone or anything! It was not uncommon for a girl to lose or stretch her hymen, especially if she was active and athletic. Erisi was both, doing well in sports and ballet throughout her school years. It's not fair! The young girl cried the night before the surgery, I'm a good girl!
She was awake for the whole surgery, though she had been given a nerve blocker and muscle relaxant so that she couldn't move. Poor Erisi listened to the men talk about her, as they wondered how wild she would be, and what her first fuck would be like for the inexperienced woman.
I've lost my virginity to these men, they're raping me! She wept to herself, even though they were "restoring" her, why are they making such rude remarks about me? She felt deeply humiliated as they rotated her legs around to get better access to her vagina, joking and murmuring the whole time.
Now as she stood before the Directors, she had the same thought, Fuck and run ... that's what Bror called it, what he wouldn't do with me. He was right, the bastard!
She had befriended him, as ordered. He was polite to her, but never extended himself beyond friendship. She made friends with his friends, went to the same parties ... but he simply would not accept her advances. She was forced to report to the Directors every school holiday, and they scowled and frowned in disappointment at her lack of progress. They asked her many questions, asking if Bror had another girlfriend, if he was homosexual, preferred aliens, perhaps? Erisi reported in the negative for each question. Bror simply did not seem to be interested in a sexual relationship with anyone. They'd always warn her to try harder. They'd also check her periodically to see that she was still "intact."
In terms of her sex drive, Erisi was a healthy, normal girl and she desperately wanted a real boyfriend. There were plenty of young men who fawned after her, and it frustrated and angered her that she had to play the cold, aloof ice princess to them. She had to constantly remind herself she was saving herself for Bror Jace. She'd grind her teeth and punch her pillows at night, wanting a real boyfriend! Not a man who represented a political and economic future for those old men who were controlling her sex life ... she wanted a real boyfriend. One who really loved her, who'd bring flowers and kiss her and fuck her because he was so totally into her that he'd die if he couldn't have her. There were hundreds of potential candidates on campus, but she couldn't have any of them!
The more Bror ignored her, the more she hated him. She hated him every time she had to face the Xucphra directorate, and especially when she had to face her father! His rejection of her made her life miserable, but she never thought they'd cut her out of the will! She'd done all she could, she really had! Why didn't they understand???
What will I do now?? A bleak future of destitution stared her in the face, and Erisi didn't like it.
She grabbed a big bodybuilder type of man -- one of the guards -- and made out with him. She was so distraught that she didn't really think about the consequences of slumming with a servant ... He reciprocated amiably, but try as he might, he could not enter her. Aghast, Erisi lay frustrated. Did the man not want her? Was she so undesirable? Is that why Bror Jace didn't want her?
She hated Bror. Why couldn't he just sleep with her, just once?? Then she could have his baby and fulfill the desire of the Directors to bind the two entities. After that, she'd be free ... I suppose I'm free now, she thought to herself miserably, sobbing into the pillow, no one wants me ...
When she woke up, there was a message for her to report to the Directors, and to dress formally. Erisi wondered if this was a sort of "kicking your butt out of here" ceremony. They undoubtedly knew she had taken a guard -- a servant! -- back to her rooms. She wasn't yet 25, they still had to take care of her, they promised!
Erisi willed herself not to panic or cry as she put on her makeup and smoothed out the front of the tight-fitting sheath dress. They stipulated formal, which meant a dress that was impossible to sit it, much less walk. She wore very high heels to emphasize her buttocks and ankles. It was a rather standard uniform for the Xucphra women and courtesans.
... and courtesans! Erisi had never thought of herself in that manner before. It made her sad that the men of Xucphra might only think of her that way. Would they consider her "damaged goods"? But ... I'm still a virgin! The thought depressed her. Never been fucked and they're going to treat me like a whore ... She wondered what the value of a virgin might be?
One of the footmen came to get her. She stood on the repulsorlift platform he'd maneuvered to her dressing room; she couldn't bend to sit on the chair form. It was the type of dress that might tear if you tried. Some dresses were engineered to tear up the side seams, as an attention-getting effect; in that case, you had to cross your legs before sitting if you wanted to retain any measure of modesty. The dress was so tight that no underclothing could be worn anyway. What sort of female first let what sort of male seal her in one of these fabric coffins? Erisi did indeed feel like she was being transported to her death.
As the platform followed the footman, she passed the many portraits of the Directors and their wives, and she noticed the evenly spaced pictures showed beautiful young women with older, stern-looking men. She traveled down the corridor at an even pace, so that the holos came into focus in a steady rhythm, becoming mesmerizing. The images of the beautiful young women combined with the rhythm brought a memory up from the depths of Erisi's mind ... of her mother ...
They were traveling in an old-fashioned wheeled transport down a beautiful, scenic road which Erisi had never seen before. She wanted to look out the windows, but her mother kept talking to her, distracting her from the views outside. Finally, she managed to hop over her mother's lap and she saw the most beautiful woman standing on a box, along the roadway!
"Mama, look! Look at that lady on that box!"
She was pulled abruptly from the window, but she saw another woman, on another box, a little distance away from the first one. "And look, Mama! There are two! I wonder if there are more?" Erisi scrabbled to look out the window, but her mother held her firmly.
"Erisi! Get down from that window! You are NOT to look at those ... those women!" The young girl grew frightened at her mother's angry tone.
"I'm sorry, Mama! But they are so beautiful! Look at their pretty dresses!" The child was still struggling to look past her mother to see if there were more pretty dresses on women standing on boxes.
She felt her cheek sting where her mother had slapped her, but she didn't dare cry because her mother's tone got very quiet and very harsh, "Listen here, young lady -- and remember that you ARE a young lady -- those THINGS out there are not nice women! They are evil, bad women, and you are not to associate with them!"
Silent tears rolled down Erisi's cheeks as she wondered what her mother meant? How could those women be evil? They were dressed just like the women at Xucphra, where her father and uncles and grandfathers worked. Her mother had worn dresses like that, too! Erisi had been looking forward to the day she would at last be fitted for the beautiful dresses ... so how could those women be evil??
Her mother had disappeared a few years later, and she remembered her father and brothers telling her that Mama was a bad woman. Had she become one of the women standing on the evenly spaced boxes on the side of the road ...?
Erisi blinked back the tears which the memory brought to her eyes, so as not to smudge her eye makeup. She had not thought of her mother in many years. Mama ... what happened to you?
The footman moved off to the side of the doorway and Erisi entered the main hall, still atop the hovering personal transport. She was surprised to see people from offworld -- from their clothing, they were Imperial officials. If they're from offworld, then this can't be about my failure! Erisi held in her breath, partly to make sure she looked good in the dress, but also because it confirmed the rumors that her family had dealings with the Empire.
It shouldn't have been a surprise. Thyferra had always maintained neutrality in the Galactic Civil War; bacta was used for healing injuries, and was thus desired by both Imperial and Rebel factions. Doing so was not only economically expedient, but also politically judicious -- the planet intended to fare well no matter which side won the war. However, it was rumored that the Zaltin entity had people deep within the Rebellion, even fighting for them! Xucphra was obviously countering that move by inviting the Empire to their quarters.
Erisi found herself staring at someone in a blood red uniform. It was cut similarly to an Imperial military officer's garb, but it's wearer was obviously female. The suit was tailored to fit her body, which was tall and voluptuous -- not lanky, not fat, but a perfect womanly form. Erisi gazed enviously, feeling the shame of possessing her boyish, bony figure. If I had her body, Bror would have been all over me and I wouldn't be in this state now! Her anger and disappointment made her bite her lower lip and stand up very straight.
"It is now fact," the senior Dlarit's amplified voice boomed around the theatre, "that Zaltin have placed their heir in an elite Rebel starfighter squadron, in order to curry favor with the Rebels when they press any advantage in the galac-"
"You speak treason, Dlarit," the woman in the red uniform spoke firmly, "there is NO advantage to the scum!"
"My pardon, Madame Director." Erisi was surprised to see her grandfather bow deeply to the woman. In her experience, the Xucphra men did not kowtow to any woman, be they family or client. She wondered how powerful the woman in red really was?
Erisi also wondered how the woman had obtained that sort of power, to make the men who'd made her life miserable quake with fear?
"I meant no disrespect toward the forces of the Empire, My Lady," Erisi's grandfather was till bowed down, "and offer any services of the Xucphra entity -- the LOYAL Xucphra -- to counter this treason. We would not have the Empire believe all of Thyferra are traitors." At last he rose up, slowly.
"Very good," the woman's attitude shifted a bit, "as we'd discussed via secure channel, I require one of your heirs, preferably a female, for my plan."
Erisi's father stood up and bowed, "Madame Director, I present to you the only female heir to the Xucphra family. She attended school with the Zaltin traitor, and understands the importance of this mission." Erisi blinked. Heir? Hadn't they just had the ceremony that knocked me out of the will??
Not daring to speak up, she listened intently and actively to the proceedings. She tried not to shiver when the woman in red turned to face Erisi -- the woman had one blue eye, the color of pale arctic ice. The other eye was as red as fresh arterial blood ... Her look was one of a predator. Erisi forced herself to look back at the woman. For some reason, she knew she had to stay on this Madame Director's good side. Whatever the mission her father described, she wanted to do a good job and prove herself worthy! If she did, they'd reinstate her into the will, for hadn't she been called the only female heir??
Erisi put her hand on the repulsorlift controls so that she could maneuver toward the Director if so commanded, but to her surprise, the woman came down off the seating platform and walked over to the astonished girl. Even though Erisi was on a repulsorlift scooter, she could look eye to eye into the face of the taller woman.
There was something about this woman. Not only was she exotically beautiful, but she exuded power and ... sensuality. That was the source of this woman's power. Erisi felt the panic scrabbling at her throat; she knew it was a power she did not have, and might never have. Erisi felt herself drawn to the woman, staring at her full lips, hypnotized by her scent as the woman drew closer.
The Imperial dominatrix pulled up a gloved hand and placed her fingertips on Erisi's chin, and moved the girl's head side to side, inspecting her. She stepped back, "What's your name, girl?"
She nearly swooned at the contact, grateful for her hold on the repulsorlift controls. She heard her father's voice intervene when she did not answer immediately, "Her name is Erisi, Madame Director. She is my daughter."
The woman ignored the man and inspected with apparent indifference at the formally clad girl with her asymmetrically colored eyes. Erisi felt a shiver as the gaze drifted down, then up. It was as if the warmth from her body was abandoning her form to escape to the blazing woman before her. "M-my n-name ..."
"I am Director Ysanne Isard. You will call me Madam. Do you fly?"
"I ... I have had lessons ..." Erisi hated that she was stuttering! why couldn't she stop?
Again, her father's voice projected over the speakers, "She was top in her class at the Home Defense Academy for flight. Undoubtedly, she can adapt to a starfighter if that is your intent, Madam Director."
Isard continued to look over Erisi with interest, "Is this true?"
"Yes, Madam." Erisi was relieved to gain control of her voice.
"We'll see after you've had some simulator time. Hotok," at her command, a rugged looking handsome young man stood up, "assess her."
Erisi stood mesmerized by the beauty of this man, who took her hand and told her to step off the repulsorlift. She did so carefully, but the seams of her dress tore as they were designed to do. The top of the tears moved artfully and seductively up above her hips and she blushed as every pair of eyes rested on the newly naked flesh. When she dared look up, she noticed Madam Isard's eyebrows arched in interest.
She shivered and felt her nipples harden. She heard an appreciative murmur among the men in the chamber and knew she had everyone's attention. Erisi hoped she could change into something more appropriate before this Hotok fellow made her crawl into the flight simulator. After all, she still wasn't wearing underclothing ...
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