Note: Just a heads-up that from here on the chapters will be NSFW (‘not safe for work’, meaning adult content such as nudity and sex)
Hm? Oh, you’re here? You’re still here? Really? Don’t tell me you’ve been sitting there all this time while I-
I owe you an apology, then. The reason for my silence.
As you might remember I passed out before, just as I was finishing Sosostra’s story. I think it has something to do with those flashbacks – or visions, or dreams or whatever they are – that I’ve been having. I’ve been doing research.
Someone once told me if you want something done properly, do it yourself, and don’t rush your efforts, so there. That’s my answer. I’ve been doing research on what the hell happened, and I’ve taken my time with it.
Hm? Did I figure out why they’ve been happening? Or why they made me pass out? Maybe. But that’s hardly why you’re here, now, is it? You’re here because you want to hear about this little girl:
So back to Sosostra’s little bundle of hope, Hope. (I am allowed a joke every now and again, aren’t I? You’ll have to excuse me if it was as bad as it just sounded in my head – I’m not used to talking to people for this long, research break or not.)
If you remembered that I passed out before, you might also remember a bit about Sosostra and the life she had chosen for her daughter. She had decided to leave her newly born baby on the doorstep of people she knew nothing about, other than that they were wealthy women from another town who had merely stopped off in Dragon Valley along the way. Poor, stupid Sosostra believed that they would be able to give her daughter a better life than she would have been able to – and you might argue that she was right, depending on your… views.
You see, you might also remember that there was one thing Sosostra was never willing to do. No matter how little she had, no matter how hungry or cold she was, she would never have allowed herself to make money in the one way that she might still have been able to make money.
Now, she was not a bad looking woman! You remembered that, too, right? Most of the men in Dragon Valley thought so, anyway. If she had tried, she could have made a fair amount of money selling her body, but she would never have stooped so low. And she certainly didn’t want that kind of life for her only daughter, who she had given up to give her a better life than that.
Don’t you think it’s ironic, then, that the wealthy women Hope was left with were prostitutes? I mean, what are the odds, right?
Oh, don’t worry. Sosostra never found out. Poor, stupid Sosostra didn’t live long enough to find out what happened to her daughter once she had reached an age old enough to be sold in that way.
But Hope didn’t seem to mind. I suppose you wouldn’t if you were brought up in that way, hearing the typical sounds of their business every day. But, as fate would have it, she-
What? Oh, you want to know what exactly happened to Sosostra? I understand, but, well, to be honest with you, we don’t know for sure, either. All records of her ceased to continue after that first winter alone in the forest. The villagers still reported spotting her every now and again, but one day she stopped coming into town. So your guess is as good as mine!
So no, I don’t know for sure what happened to my unfortunate ancestor. Given the town’s reputation, chances are a dragon ate her. Or maybe the men of the village figured out where she was living, and continued to rape her as they pleased. That option seems more likely, don’t you think? She probably contracted several diseases that way, or maybe she ate the wrong berries and died of food poisoning. Or maybe she simply died of starvation mixed with the cold. Or maybe… Maybe she contracted some disease because of all the rape, then got eaten by a dragon, and took down the dragon with her because of the disease! How funny would that be? Well, not very funny for her or the dragon, but you get my point, right?
My point is, whatever it was, we don’t know for sure, but I can’t see her having lived far past that winter. I’m sorry I can’t give you a better, more satisfying answer. This is all I have.
But anyway, back to Hope, yes?
Those women had a very strict ‘no babies’ policy. A baby’s screaming and crying wasn’t very good for business, you understand, and additional mouths to feed weren’t welcome if they couldn’t feed themselves.
But, luckily for Hope, they had an eye for quality, and they saw Hope’s potential benefits very quickly. A baby with blonde hair and eyes as dark as hers was a promising profit, so Hope was allowed to stay. And it wasn’t like these women were heartless. An abandoned baby, crying in the middle of the night and obviously terrified would bring out anyone’s protective instincts. Whores were no exception to that rule. On top of that they were all used to getting rid of a baby once they found out that they were pregnant. Raising this little one was a way for most of them to raise a baby after all without having to face unemployment.
Shortly after they took her in they went back home to Hidden Springs. Having attracted business with the men in Dragon Valley and their other stops, they knew that they were bound to have more customers in the future – and in a business like that, customers really are everything. If you know what I mean. *wink*
(Oh, all right. Enough with the bad jokes.)
Of course, Hope couldn’t work for many years at first. Not in that way, anyway. But she cleaned, and she helped in the kitchen and she showed customers to the rooms and back out when the other women couldn’t be bothered. For the time being, that was enough for them. As it turned out, Hope wasn’t bad in the kitchen, either, and soon developed into a capable chef to the whores.
And of course it didn’t take long for her beauty to become apparent. Before she had reached the age of ten men had already set their eyes on her, and since she had grown up in this environment Hope believed their attention something to be proud of. They saw her as exotic. The fact that she was off limits only made their lust for her grow, and the other women at the brothel had no problem parading her around, like a prize to be won if only they did well enough and earned the right to her.
Of course, that wasn’t going to happen. She was too young, and while the women loved to show her off they would never have allowed the men to raise a hand against her.
It’s easy to see these women in a bad light, and I won’t begrudge you if you do, but one thing could be said for them.
They looked out for their own. Yes, some in more ways than one. In fact, most of them were sleeping with each other and were very familiar with the others’ likes and dislikes. They certainly looked after Hope – if not in that way at first – and had any man as much as squeezed her butt before she was old enough to work they would have chopped their hands off as punishment. They wouldn’t have banned them from their house, of course. They needed the money as much as anyone, but they were not shy about reinforcing the few rules that they had.
They weren’t shy about teaching their women about them either, and by the time Hope was old enough she had all of them memorised.
Hope celebrated her Sweet Sixteenth, and in her case the name couldn’t have been more accurate. These women had looked after her, and had given her shelter and food when her own mother had abandoned her – she was eager to finally earn her place amongst them. To be able to pay them back was something she had been dying to do for many years before her big birthday. In fact, she had begged them many times to begin her teaching sooner, but they hadn’t allowed it. They had said that the longer she waited the better she’d be, saying that her hunger would make her the best one in the house.
And right they had been. Hope was hungry when it was time, and she was good. She was very good, and in no small part thanks to the vampire whore who had taken on Hope’s tutoring.
Where did it all go wrong then, you ask? Well, I’ll get to that.
But first, let me explain to you the rules they had to fol-
Hang on, there’s someone at the door. Help yourself to more drink if you want – or maybe some tissues? Hope’s life was rather… graphic.
Just sit back and relax. I’ll be right back, but until then go over everything I’ve told you so far.
This was not what you had expected, I take it?
I assure you, it wasn’t what Sosostra had had in mind for her only daughter, either.