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Rated: GC · Novella · History · #2229295
Born into nobility sold into slavery her fate is in the hands of very big and powerful men
Chapter 1

Siofra awoke to the sound of gunshots and shouting. She cowered under her blankets, afraid to move or even breathe. After gathering her courage, she sat up and threw the blankets off of her head. Her eyes and nose began to burn and it hurt to breathe. She tried to look around but it was dark and her eyes were starting to water so bad she couldn’t see. She thought she saw movement and she was suddenly snatched up inside her blanket. someone was pressing her blanket to her face and running with her. She tried to fight, but she was only nine-years-old, and she was small for her age. They were strong and wearing heavy clothing, gloves, and a gas-mask.
As the person ran she heard a muffled voice tell her, “Keep the blanket over your face. It’ll help with the burning.”
She didn’t know what else she could do, so she complied, hoping they wouldn’t hurt her.
A few seconds later she heard the voice yell, “I have a child here!” and she felt a second set of hands on her as they ran together.
After what felt like an eternity of torture, the blanket was ripped off of her. Someone poured milk on her face over and over while wiping it off. Someone else rinsed her hair out over and over with water. Then someone wrapped a different, much scratchier blanket around her. She was shivering, terrified, and her eyes and nose were still burning as a man picked her up and carried her to a car.
“We tried to wash as much of the tear gas off as we could,” she heard the man say, as a woman in a police uniform took her from him. “She’ll need new clothes as I'm sure the clothes she has on her are covered in chemicals.”
The woman held Siofra trying to warm and soothe her. “It’s going to be ok. You’re safe and it’s over now,” she gently cooed in a strong Irish brogue. Siofra was too scared to move, and it burned to breathe, so she sat and quietly cried. “Oh... what’s yer name love?” She asked, trying to pin Siofra’s golden curls back, away from her face.
“Sh, She, Shee, fr, rah, Sheefrah” She managed to say between sobs and shivering. Her overlarge blue eyes stared tearfully up at the small woman. The officer had kind blue eyes and straight strawberry blonde hair, which she tied tightly back under a police cap.
“Well, Siofra, Love, I’m going to get you somewhere safe and warm so you can get washed off. I promise.”
Siofra smiled slightly and snuggled into the woman’s arms. She was grateful for her kindness.
A few minutes later she heard Gilroy, her servant who was a year younger, crying loudly. His bright red hair was soaked and sticking to his forehead and his face was nearly as red as his hair. The same man came over carrying him and said. “I’ve got another one. I’d like to know just how many kids there are in there.”
Siofra found her voice and timidly said, “It should just be Gilroy in the big house. Father doesn’t let the other children stay in the big house. I don’t know how many children are in the little house, but I know Abby’s in there. She’s only ten. Father let me play with her once. She just arrived.”
There was a long silence before the man nervously suggested. “We probably shouldn’t put these two in with the other kids.”
The woman holding her nodded with a worried expression and held out her arm. The man set Gilroy down next to Siofra and they took each other’s hand, slightly comforted to be together.
They waited for what felt like hours, shivering and watching as everyone they knew and loved was arrested. Some of them fought and others were brought out on stretchers. The woman asked four or five times if they could please leave. Finally a big man with a shock of greying red hair gave her permission. He was dressed sharply in a dark uniform with gold stripes, brass buttons, and a shiny cap with a gold star. The man seemed angry that they were still there, but he softened and addressed Siofra and Gilroy.
“I am so sorry, loves. You were supposed to leave an hour ago,” he said, smoothing both of their now crusty, but mostly dry hair. “Officer McConnell has been trying to take you two someplace warm. Unfortunately there was a huge miscommunication. She’ll get you showered and fed in no time, I promise.” He then stomped off in a huff, Siofra figured probably to give whoever kept them from leaving a good talking to.
When they finally arrived at the police station, Siofra and Gilroy were both given long warm showers. Officer McConnell helped Siofra to wash the chemicals off her skin and out of her hair. She then gave her warm clean clothes. She told them that her name was Brigid McConnell, but that they could call her Miss Brigid. She stayed with them the whole time, comforting them and asking them questions.
There wasn’t too much either of the kids could tell her about Siofra's father, Jupiter, or his business. He had been very careful to keep as much as possible a secret from Siofra. Gilroy on the other hand was far too afraid of Jupiter to say a single word about anything. Brigid ended up mainly just staying with them, caring for them and keeping them company.

Chapter 2

About the time the sun was peeking over the windowsill of the room they were in, Siofra heard the front door of the police station burst open. A second later she heard her great uncle Apollo’s voice loud and clear, echoing through the station. “Where is Siofra?! Siofra Ithel! I want to see my niece right now! Is she hurt?”

“No sir,” an officer answered startled and a bit frightened. “She got a little gas in the raid, but she was washed off immediately. She’s with officer McConnell, right through here.”

Apollo came rushing into the room. He looked tall and intimidating compared to the officers, his long dark curls wild and loose. As soon as he saw Siofra his piercing dark eyes softened and he rushed over to her. “Oh thank goodness you’re okay! Are you hurt?” he asked in a soft Welsh accent, scooping her up.

Siofra shook her head, starting to cry again, but this time in relief.

“Oh paidi mou! You’re safe now. You’re coming home with me,” he cooed, calling her by her Greek nickname and kissing her on the forehead. He then lovingly handed her to his right hand man, Aelfric, who looked small compared to him. “Aelfric will take good care of you while I deal with the paperwork. Are you hungry?”

Siofra nodded, and snuggled into Aelfric's strong arms. He smiled kindly, his large brown eyes warm and comforting but his greying black hair uncharacteristically tousled. “Apollo thought you would be. Let’s you and me go eat.”

An officer stopped them. “You may not take her until the paperwork is completed.”

“You are addressing a Marquess,” Apollo stated authoritatively, nearly staring the man down.

“Well Mr. Marquess, this is not Britain and the rules still stand.” the officer countered, putting on as much confidence as he could fake. “We can do the paperwork in here, and your servant may bring in food, but she stays here until we’re done.”

Aelfric looked questioningly up at Apollo. Apollo took a deep breath and nodded. He took Siofra from Aelfric and sat down, cradling her to his chest. The officer let out a huge sigh of relief and sat across from them.

“I am sorry to have to ask this, but how do I know she will be safe with you?” the officer asked with an accusatory tone.

“Why would she not be?” Apollo asked, looking confused.

“The manor was raided because we found out Jupiter was taking in displaced young women to use as sex workers.”

“WHAT!?!” Apollo shouted, nearly standing. His grip tightened so much it almost hurt Siofra as he growled, “Just wait until I get my hands on him! I’ll make him wish he was never born!” He then suddenly froze and looked sadly down at Siofra. “Oh God! No…” he whimpered, burying his face in her curls.

Siofra couldn’t understand what was going on. One thing she did know, if her father had hurt one of the girls, Apollo really would hurt her father. Apollo was the head of the family and everyone submitted to him, unquestioningly. She hoped he wouldn’t hurt her father too badly. Apollo loved them, she argued to herself. As terrifying as Apollo was acting, she still somehow felt safe, and loved as he softly cooed over her in Greek. He was just angry. He wouldn’t really hurt her father.

“Well…it doesn’t appear he, erm, sold the services of... anyone who was staying in the manor house. Although, she and the redhead here were the only ones in the main house. They appear to be special in some way.”

“She is. She’s Jupiter’s daughter. And Gilroy is the son of one of Jupiter’s favorites, so yes, they are special.” Apollo said, rocking Siofra a little, but he looked murderous.

When Aelfric returned, he saw how angry his master was. His whole demeanor instantly went from submissive to menacing. “Kyrios! What happened? Are you hurt?”

Apollo shook his head and patted the chair beside him. He began explaining everything to Aelfric in Greek rather than English. Aelfric looked as though Apollo had just stabbed him as he slowly sat beside his master. He put one hand on Apollo's shoulder and stroked Siofra's hair with the other as he turned and looked over at Siofra. The devastation was clear on his face as Apollo continued.

Siofra knew very little Greek, but she knew that Apollo, Aelfric, and Jupiter all spoke it. Apollo was proud of their Greek heritage and was determined to not lose it. He was the only one to speak it to her or try to teach her to speak it though, so she couldn’t make out what they were saying.

“If you wish, I will handle the paperwork?” Aelfric offered sympathetically, switching back to english.

After a brief pause Apollo nodded, “Yes, thank you. I will need you to take the lead for a few hours. You carry my full authority.” He took a deep breath and continued. “I will fly her home to Wales and return with Alexis. My barrister,” he explained, turning to the officer. “He is going to be busy.”

Aelfric nodded and took charge. Meanwhile Apollo leaned back trying to catch his bearings and snuggling Siofra.

After several minutes Apollo looked sadly over at Gilroy. “I will be taking Gilroy also. This has to be terrifying for him too,” he added, gently smoothing the frightened boy’s bright red hair down. “I will do my best to undo as much of the damage my nephew has done as possible. I swear to protect the children who were trusted to his care, also. It’s the least I can do.”

The officer looked over at the scared little boy curled up on officer McConnell’s lap and nodded. He then turned and handed Apollo the paperwork to fill out. “Jupiter will be staying here in Ireland, in our custody.”

“That is probably for the best,” Apollo sighed. “All the same... if you happen to have any large Norse men in your custody, I would highly recommend putting him in with them. If you do not have any, I may be able to find one or more willing to donate their services.”

The officer shook his head with a snort. “Don’t tempt me,” he muttered.

Chapter 3

Apollo flew Siofra and Gilroy to Wales in his private plane by himself, without a co-pilot. He was chattering away on the radio the whole time and looking far more nervous than she had ever seen him look. There were a lot of other people on the radio, most of them speaking other languages. Apollo spoke a bunch of languages, so it seemed to Siofra that no matter what language they spoke, Apollo answered in their language. In reality, there were a few that he only barely was able to decipher. Being able to speak English, German, and French though, he managed to figure out the gist of most of the transmissions. The plane was small and he let Siofra talk on the radio the whole time, so she was able to stay close to him.

There was a runway on the back of Apollo’s estate and they were met by two servants as soon as they had landed. One of them took Gilroy from Apollo as he disembarked but he kept Siofra. Apollo carried Siofra to a luxurious suite, lovingly tucking her into a large fluffy bed.

“I have to leave to handle everything. Try to get some sleep paidi mou.” Apollo whispered. “I’ll be back as soon as Aexis and I take care of the legal stuff. You, love, are safe here. No one here will let anyone hurt you and you are the Lady of the manor until I return.” He then kissed her forehead and slipped silently out.

Siofra lay awake for some time, her mind going over the previous night, then the previous week. Everything she had ever known had come into question within the last week. Now everything was irreparably changed just within the last twelve hours.

Only a week ago she had been skipping down the wood-paneled hallway at her home, her blonde curls bouncing as she went. She had known that England was at war. Her father, Jupiter, was a British businessman of royal blood living in Ireland. Because of that, the British government had been sending girls to stay with them in the safety of their Irish estate for almost a year. Many had gone home at this point… but, had they? That officer had said her father was… selling them? But they were people. People weren’t bought and sold, were they?

Three new girls had recently arrived and one was ten-years-old. Siofra had really wanted to meet the new girl. She had hoped for a playmate. Being the “Lady of the house” all the servants submitted to Siofra, and were required to play with her. But she was not allowed to play with the older children, and the younger ones had all been sent home.

Siofra froze, They had gone home… right?

Her mind drifted back to the day Abby had arrived. Siofra had Gilroy, the son of one of her father’s slaves, to play with. He was only a year younger than her, but he was a boy and was often busy with chores. She really wanted another girl to play with and hoped maybe her father wouldn’t give the new girl as many chores.

That felt like a lifetime ago, when Siofra had slid down the banister landing deftly on her feet at the bottom, looking for her father. When she hadn’t found him in the house, she had known he was over in his business office. She wasn’t allowed to go over there except with him.

She tried to shut out the memory of that horrible day. She really didn’t want to think about it, but her mind wouldn’t let her leave those memories. The ones that had made no sense at the time, but now made perfect sense. Horrible sense. The memories that made her feel lucky and scared at the same time. They also made her feel guilty. Had her father protected Abby, like he protected her? She was starting to think, probably not…

Her memories took her back against her will, painfully sharp and detailed.

She had grabbed a snack from the kitchen and sat down in the breakfast room to eat. Gazing out across the large back garden she could see her father’s business building. She watched as Gilroy went in the back door, his bright red hair shining in the sunlight. Gilroy can come and go as he pleases, why can’t I? After all, I’m the Lady of the manor and he’s just a slave. The thought caught in her mind. Just a slave? Who am I kidding? He had access to more of the estate than I did. And what makes me think I’m any better than him? He knows how to do way more things than I can.

Siofra had made up her mind to go over and ask her father why Gilroy could go over there but she couldn’t. With her head held high she had defiantly walked out the back door toward the business building. She remembered thinking, I hope father’s not TOO angry with me for going over there to look for him.

She had slipped silently in the back door of the office and quickly closed it, hoping she hadn't been seen. She tried to sneak unnoticed down the long dark hallway, toward her father’s office, before one of the servants stopped her.

She was only two doors away from her father’s office when a man came out of a room in front of her, blocking her way. He turned to look at her and smiled, but his smile did not feel friendly.

“Well, who do we have here?” he asked, reaching out and stroking her curls. “Aren’t you a pretty little thing,” he cooed, looking her up and down. “How about if you come back into the room with me.”

Siofra tried backing away but he followed her.

“Don’t worry, Love, I won’t hurt you, too badly” he told her, taking hold of her hand.

Siofra’s oversized blue eyes were even bigger than normal in her tiny face as she froze in fear. She didn’t know what to do, and she was so afraid of how much trouble she would be in, but she wanted to make the man go away. She pushed her fear down and raised her voice as loud as she could.

“Leave me alone!” she screamed. “Father! Help!”

The man looked at her like she had two heads and then laughed. “Don’t worry, I’ll be your daddy now.”

She tried to pull her hand away but he was too strong as he shoved her through the doorway. She screamed and bit the man’s hand, trying to get away. She saw her father’s long black curls as he peeked in the doorway just in time to see the man back hand her.

“What’s going on in here?” Jupiter asked gruffly. “Siofra?”

“This one’s got a bit of fight in her, but don’t worry, I don’t mind,” the man said with a smile.

Siofra saw Jupiter give an annoyed sigh and pull his stiletto from it’s sheaf in his boot, diverting her attention as the man advanced menacingly on her . She knew her father would be angry, but she had never imagined he would use his knife on her.

Siofra froze in terror as her father grabbed the man by the hair. “You know the rules!” he growled. “No roughing the merchandise, and if they say no, it’s final.”

“I want into the seal breakers club!” the man demanded.

“You will never be part of the seal breakers club!” Jupiter spat. “You have a bad habit of damaging merchandise.”

“You just lost yourself a customer!” the man sneered, and tried to pull free.

Jupiter held the man firm. “Yes, I did,” he sighed sadly, and sliced the man’s throat.

The man grabbed at the gaping wound, blood cascading down the front of his shirt and onto the floor. Jupiter tossed him casually off to the side.

So much blood. Siofra had never imagined there could be so much blood.

When Jupiter turned to Siofra his face was hard and cold. “What did I tell you about coming in here without me! You have no idea how close you came to… who knows what! And you lost me one of my best customers too! I should make you clean this up!”

He had grabbed her by the arm and dragged her into the office with him, slamming the door shut behind them. “Sit down while I wash my hands and tell one of the slaves to clean up.”

Siofra had timidly curled up on a chair in the corner. She had been shaking and crying while her father tried to clean the blood off of himself, grousing. "I need to tell Gilroy to get someone to clean up."

It had felt like forever before he came back, and even a week later her mind was still trying to process what had happened. Jupiter had been much softer when he had returned. He gently picked her up, lovingly holding her on his lap.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you,” he had softly apologised into her mass of curls. “But you scared me. That man has a history of being cruel. Those rules are there to protect you. I’m sorry that you had to see why.”

Her father had held her on his lap, comforting her while he did paperwork, until it was time for dinner. He then held her hand while they walked together back to the manor house. Neither of them had said more than two words to each other the whole afternoon.

All she could think about as she lay in a soft, warm, safe bed at her uncle's, was Abby. She hoped her father had protected Abby too… but after what the officer had said, she doubted it.

She rolled over and cried herself to sleep, wondering if everything she had ever known was a lie.
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