A Fosamar Story
Josun Tristoff stood in his private bathroom, in his private wing, staring at his diminutive privates in the full-length mirror.
The door opened. Iliana poked her head in, just enough, keeping her eyes cast away from his nudity.
“Get a pair of scissors. I need you to trim my pubes.”
She had just begun her new position, maidservant to the Tristoff heir, two days ago. He had been away on business until late last evening. Their first meeting had been … unfortunate.
When he finally arrived, he came with a surprisingly old prostitute whom he apparently didn’t want to fuck in his own bed. Iliana was in her closet, unpacking and organizing her clothes, when she heard the sounds of sexmaking. The groans and moans – hers obviously faked – came to an abrupt end after about 4 minutes. Iliana heard the faint tinkling of his belt and muffled conversation. She decided it might be safer if she announced her presence with a witness present. After a few beats, she walked out from the closet with her hands behind her back and her head down.
“I’m sorry for the surprise,” she said. “I’m your new maidservant, Ilyana. I was rearranging my closet when you arrived.” She trembled with fear – she’d heard what had become of his last maidservant – and she was barely able to speak.
“What?” Josun, quite drunk, had stumbled when he realized he wasn’t alone with the prostitute. “Who’re you? What’re you doin’ here?”
Iliana swallowed, her face colored. “I … I’m Iliana, your new maidservant.”
“What – what were you doing in there?”
“I just moved the last of my things in today. I was organizing my closet. I didn’t know what to do. I’m sorry.”
The sixteen-year-old heir looked the prostitute up and down, and his shame flared. In the cold post-sex clarity, he saw all of her wrinkles, the way her earlobes sagged with the weight of dangly earrings, the black ghost of a mustache. He shuddered, pointed to the door, and commanded her, “Out.”
“What about my money,” she said, hips cocked and a hand on her hip. Her lipstick was smeared around her lips, making her sneer far less effective.
“Send a bill,” he said. “Go!”
The prostitute was gone, but her cheap perfume hung in the hair like a threat. Josun turned to Iliana, looking like he was going to wring her neck. He was already practicing on his hands. Instead, he spun and strode out of the room and slammed the door.
The pubic hair request was her second impression.
She did it, of course, what else would she do. The term maidservant is a misnomer, she is a slave owned by the Tristoffs.
“Thank you, Iliana,” he said when she finished, then added a perfunctory, “sorry about last night.”
“That’s ok, sir. Already forgotten.”
It was an honest mistake, he wouldn’t fuck a prostitute in her bed. He didn’t realize it was her bed until he met her.
He brushed away the loose hairs and examined himself in the mirror. “Nice work, nice work indeed. They say trimmed hedges make the tree look bigger.”
“Yes, sir.” She had never heard that one before, but figured it was true enough. For him, though, even razing the bushes wouldn’t help the tree.
JOSUN, a voice buzzed from the intercom.
“Ugh, gods … dad.” He walked over to the intercom and pushed the button. “Yes, Father.”
WE ARE GOING TO LUNCH WITH ABERNO ELDANA AND HIS FAMILY, LEAVING AT ELEVEN HUNDRED. YOU MUST NOT BE LATE.
“I’m always late because I’m hoping you’ll leave without me,” he said to himself, then into the intercom, “Yes, Father.”
Iliana helped him to pick a suit and tie for lunch, even helped him to get his tie knot perfect. She was surprised by how nice he was, he even seemed a gentleman toward her. The rumors were that his last maidservant had been raped and murdered, her body found floating face down in the Montrecka River, near the docks. Everyone thinks he did it, but charges were never filed. But all during the morning and through lunch he had been kind to her. She knew that his bad behavior was probably related to alcohol, so she was not looking forward to his return after the gala.
One thing at a time.
After lunch, Josun and his attendants returned to his quarters so he could change into formal attire. His father had commissioned a suit for him, an Izzara original design, one-of-a-kind. The coat fit tightly around the waist and extended to mid-thigh. The pants were fit slim and straight, a black satin stripe along the outseam. Iliana didn’t see what was so original about it.
The suit cost 11,000 credits. Iliana knows that because Josun told her so. A small fortune to someone like Iliana, life-changing money. Not “fuck you money,” but enough to buy her freedom, with a little bit to spare.
“How do I look?” Josun asked, turning from the three-panel mirror in his closet.
“Splendid, sir. Very fashionable.”
JOSUN. JOSUN! WE LEAVE IN FOURTY-FIVE MINUTES. YOU WILL NOT BE LATE.
“The Savior’s blood and guts,” a new swear. He poked the intercom on the wall next to him and replied, “Yes, Father.”
YOU WILL NOT BE LATE. YOUR LAST CHANCE. UNDERSTOOD?
He sighed, then forced himself to stand up straight, almost clicking his heel, and replied, “Yes, Father.”
Josun did not request Iliana’s company at the gala, which she was glad for. She spent the evening in the venerable Tristoff family library, at the center of the mansion. The room had a mellow odor: leather, paper, adhesives, wood finish. The collection was so extensive, they employed a librarian full time. His name is Alaster, and he lives in an apartment above the library.
“There’s a hidden ladder,” he said with a sly grin. She mistook this as flirtation, but really he just loved showing people how the hidden ladder works, it’s ingenious.
“Where? I see the hatch, but there’s nowhere a ladder could come from.”
He sauntered underneath the hatch, which she also mistook for flirtation, then pulled on a sconce. It clicked into place, and what had been the support between two bookcases slid out, revealing a ladder. Iliana now sauntered over to the ladder and began climbing it.
“Uh … Iliana, my bedroom is hardly –”
“Oh I don’t mind.”
Alaster joined her in his apartment, and she managed to convince him to fuck her. He protested for much longer than they usually do, but she didn’t mind the chase. Afterwards, she put herself back together as best she could, then went back into the library to browse.
Compared to the rest of the mansion, Josun’s quarters were scarcely decorated. Crossed swords above the mantlepiece, and a painting by one Joshi D. Gosta above his bed. When she returned from the library, she found a man standing in front of a console in the anteroom. He stood with his hands folded in front of him, staring straight ahead, and did not react when she entered.
She smiled, “Hello, I’m Iliana. Josun’s new maidservant. I’m sorry we haven’t met.”
“It is my fault, miss Iliana,” he replied, with a bow. “I was serving my punishment for contradicting master Josun, I only returned moments ago.”
She supposed he had been thrown in jail, but wanted to look no further. They looked each other over for just a moment, each pitying the other.
“If I’m being honest,” she replied, “what you just told me terrifies me.” A tense moment passed in silence, then Iliana snorted “Good thing I’m not being honest.”
The expression on the butler’s face did not change, nor did he look at her. He stood just as he had when she first came in, erect, shoulders back, head held high.
“If you’ll excuse me,” he said with a bow, then right-faced and left Josun’s quarters.
Iliana shrugged. The butler – damn, she didn’t even get his name – must have been born into this life. Probably raised from a babe to butle. He spoke of his punishment as if it were the most normal thing, something that he deserved even. She was a new slave, sold off by her own father desperate to pay Jerrod, a moneylender who had threatened to kill him. So he did what any despicable asshole would have done, he sold his daughter. The timing was fortunate – for her to go to a “good home,” as her father had wished – the requisitionist for the Tristoff estate happened to need a female. He was able to pay off the debt and then some.
Iliana returned to her private room and changed into her nightgown, then settled into the wing-back chair with a book.
The Civique Museum of Arts hosts the gala event each year – a fundraiser for their in-school programs. Truly a noble event, they raise millions and it basically all goes to the kids, really. It’s a gaudy, high-fashion, party thrown inside the museum. A ticket costs 25,000 credits, it’s a donation, mind you. Really cuts out the riff-raff.
Not exactly, though. Sometimes the riff-raff finds a way to make him or herself into a millionaire, sometimes even a billionaire.
Josun spots the man from a distance.
“This way,” he said. His date – Merida Amorath, a spectral horror chosen by his father – had her arm hooked into his. He tugged on it and pulled her off to a hallway that flanked the grand ballroom.
“You’ll pull my arm off, brute,” she spat. He continued to pull on her arm, she resisted him the whole time.
Merida shrugged, said, “I like him.”
I bet you like him. You’re both a horse’s ass.
“That may be,” he said, “but I don’t. Let’s go get a drink.”
Down the hall a pair of doors were propped open. They heard the drums and bass first, then the vocals and guitars, then the cymbals – The Krafters, I Want Drugs. Inside, the floor bustled with activity. A peppering of tables around the perimeter. In the center, a giant bar with stools all around it. A couple hundred of the richest and most influential people in Fosamar, standing around sipping cocktails and making connections.
She held him by the arm the whole way over to the bar, then sat down immediately. He had to get rid of her, get her a little tipsy and then pawn her off. He chose to stand, ordered their drinks and made polite conversation with a few people who passed. Each time her drink would get low, he would order her another, and another. She was no lightweight. The bitch had at least five drinks before she seemed to be having any fun at all. Josun waited until she was annoying the hell out of the guy on the other side of her, then slipped away.
He walked almost halfway around the room before he spotted her standing with a group of people, many of whom he didn’t know.
“You’re finally a man.”
The voice was irritating, as if you could hear the acne. Josun turned toward Elias, but not completely.
“And so you now consider me fuckable?”
“Maybe I do.” The hair on the older boy’s face was slicked back with grease. It formed a cohesive shell with a mirror finish. He mimed slicking his hair back, then rubbed his hands together. Josun turned away to scan the crowd again. When he walked away, Elias said, “Call me!”
Several people noticed his approach and faded from the group, leaving the remaining people looking around wondering what happened. Nyora never saw him coming, Josun approached from behind. When the remainder of the group saw him, they too fled, leaving Nyora alone.
“Hey Nyora,” he said, causing her to tense every muscle in her body. “All alone again, I see?”
“They saw you coming, they had the chance to hide. I would have too if I had seen you.” The young lady was beautiful, even with the look of disgust. Josun didn’t seem to notice the way she was looking at him, or didn’t care.
“Oh come on, they just wanted to give us some space. Can I get you a drink?” He had a practiced saccharine smile on his face, the snarl of a predator.
“No. For the last time, No,” she said, her face beginning to flush, then added, “Leave me alone!” The last part was said in a way that carried through the ballroom over the volume of conversation. Soon, the whole room grew quiet, eyes searching the room to find the cause of the interruption. Soon all eyes were on the pair, drawn by the drama of the debasement of an heir to one of the most reviled houses in Fosamar.
Josun looked around at the people staring at him, his face getting redder by the heartbeat. His fingernails dug into the palms of his clenched hands.
“Fuck you,” he whispered to her, then spun and stormed out of the room.
Conversation returned as soon as he turned, rising back to its previous level before he had left the room. He went out through the same doorway he and Merida had come in, then back down the hallway to the front of the building. The reverberant clock clock clock of heeled shoes trailed him.
“Wait! Josun, wait for me.” It was Merida. He shuddered imperceptibly, but continued walking. “What happened? I was sitting at the bar, having a wonderful conversation with – oh, I forget his name – when the room suddenly went silent. You should come back and sit with us at the bar. I don’t care about what happened, won’t even ask.”
He stopped and sighed, then turned to face her. She was quite pretty, actually. Long, flowing auburn hair with a flower pinned at the side. Almond shaped eyes that always seemed to be smiling. He wasn’t being fair to her, he resented her because she represented his father’s control over his life.
“Okay. Okay. Yeah, we need to talk, anyway.”
They went back to the bar and he ordered another round of drinks. Josun was honest with Merida, which she took well. She really would be a fine wife, he just couldn’t help but rebel against dad. Once the truth was out, they both seemed to be much more comfortable together, they even had some fun. They danced, they socialized, they got really, really drunk.
Several hours later, Iliana heard muffled voices, probably Josun and the butler, coming from the hall. Her room has two entrances: from the hallway, and from his room.
She sat upright in the chair, clutching the book to her chest. The knob on the door to his chamber turned slowly. Josun, still very drunk, stumbled through the door and fell to his knees, skidding on the polished stone floor. Iliana scrambled to him, helping him to his feet.
“Sorry, I…” He started to walk away toward the door he had just fallen through.
“How was the gala?”
“How was fucking the librarian?” He sneered over his shoulder, eyes flickering with playful malevolence, jealousy. The butler must have known.
Josun pounced, grabbing Iliana by the shoulders. She was surprised by the strength in his hands, more so by the intense look on his face. His expression was dulled by the alcohol, but the eyes blazed.
“Was he good?”
She barely heard the question. “Let go of me!” She pulled away from him, knocking him off balance.
One hand held on to her shoulder as she backed away, spinning him around. Josun Tristoff went down like timber, hooked his chin on the foot of the bed, his lifeless body slumped to the floor. She ran to him and turned him onto his back and checked his neck for a pulse.
Nobody was surprised, disappointed, or mournful when Josun died, outwardly at least, even his father. People still came to his funeral – he was a Tristoff, afer all – but they only came to pay their respects to his father. In other words, to kiss his ass.
Iliana was tried and found not guilty of manslaughter, merely a formality. But she was still a slave to the Tristoffs. They had no where else to send her, so they put her in the kitchen. The dishroom to be exact.