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The Fall Of Barbaria - Book 1 by Victor Bruno

EXTRACT FOR
The Fall Of Barbaria - Book 1 
(Victor Bruno)


FALL OF BARBARIA Book 1

INTRODUCTION

 

As this story re-opens, Captain Varian Princess Alexena’s Chief Army Commander, has brought the ruler of Barbaria some disturbing news. A small and distant state is gathering its force to attack.

There was a rumour. And this was that the State of Sythia is ruled by a woman. A woman as beautiful and powerful as Princess Alexena herself ... if such a thing could be conceived possible!

It is certainly a piece of news which arouses the ruler of Barbaria’s keen interest ...

A naval expedition under Captain Varian was mounted and set sail with confidence. However, Barbaria was led to a shattering defeat by Sythia ... a country which had the good fortune and foresight to retain a stock of weapons from ‘Old Times’ (that is before the nuclear holocaust). They have two Bofors guns, rifles and pistols plus reasonable amounts of ammunition.

This gives the Sythians complete control in any battle. It is rather like one side having a machine gun at the Battle of Hastings!

All Barbarian ships are sunk or captured. Captain Varian bravely falls on his sword.

Princess Venetia, ruler of Sythia. organises an expedition to conquer the hitherto all powerful Barbaria.

 


CHAPTER ONE

 

Princess Venetia settled herself comfortably on the velvet-covered couch which had been set on the poop deck at the after end of her Flagship. She was supported by a pile of silken cushions and, as she customarily did, wore a flimsy white gown edged with purple.  Her magnificent figure was clearly outlined through the thin material, but Princess Venetia cared nothing for that. As the supreme arbiter of the State of Sythia, she could behave as she wished.

In any event, Sythia was female-orientated. All the high positions in the Court were held by women. Men were of lower grade and had come to accept the fact. They were involved in architecture, trading, in the Army and the Navy. Women did not interfere in these matters, provided the State ran smoothly. If a commander was thought to be at fault, he was at once degraded. Any slave, male or female was available to ‘free men’ in Sythia. They were also, of course, available to the women of the Court as well.

Thus we see that the social order in Sythia was slightly different from that in Barbaria. Men in Barbaria had some part to play in Court and were, from time to time, granted favours.

The Court of Sythia was small; no more than 200 women. All were chosen personally by Princess Venetia for their looks, grace, intelligence and, sometimes, their youth. On rare occasions, Princess Venetia had been known to raise a captured slave to the ranks of the Court if she had special merit. This is something Princess Alexena would never have done.

The ‘free men’ of Sythia were well treated and lived comfortably. It was simply that, in general, they were considered subordinate to women.

On the poop deck, awaiting to attend the Princess on the instant, were half a dozen or so slaves. All female, all naked. Slaves were generally kept permanently naked except that male slaves wore a tight leather genital restrainer. This was locked on and prevented sexual intercourse between slaves. Even to attempt some kind of physical contact would earn both slaves a whipping.

Princess Venetia looked down into the hold where the naked galley slaves toiled. There were ten oars on each side of the ship and two slaves shackled on to each oar, one male and one female.

All the women had once been members of Princess Alexena’s Court and had ‘come along for the ride’ ... and also so that they had an opportunity to whip galley-slaves as and when they wished. The males were simply slaves of Barbaria but that did not mean there would be any release for them. They were males and would remain as slaves indefinitely. On the starboard oar was the blonde Lady Helen; alongside a hulking brute of a slave whom she had doubtless whipped on the journey out. On the port oar was the dark-haired Lady Livia, who had acted similarly. Now they knew the reverse side of the coin. Their breasts heaved, their biceps strained as they pulled on the oars. A steady rhythm was maintained; there was no let up. A tapped drum indicated the required pace.

The routine of a galley-slave was simple. Four hours on an oar, eight hours chained in the hold; back to the oar for another four hours, then back to the hold for a further eight hours. That was the twenty-four-hour cycle of their existence ... and always they were under the threat of the whip.

All the galley-slave Overseers were women Each had been specially selected for her height and strength. Some were six feet tall; more when they stood in the high-heeled calf-length boots they wore. They wore simple, short-length tunic dresses of black leather. There were three galley-slave Overseers to each ship and they did two four-hour stints in the twenty-four hours. Needless to say, those stints were far less arduous than those of the sweating slaves of whom they were in charge!

In favourable winds, a square sail was raised which increased speed. But the rowing never ceased. As Princess Venetia’s Flagship, ‘Argos’, was heading west, the direction from which the prevailing wind came, the sail was rarely going to be used on the journey to Barbaria. That meant the journey would take longer. That was of no concern to the Princess. She had plenty of time. It did, however, concern the galley-slaves.

Princess Venetia snapped her fingers. A naked slave-girl quickly approached and fell to her knees, head bowing.

“Red wine,” she said. “A flagon. And two goblets.”

“Highness ...” murmured the slave and hurried off.

“You will take wine, Tavia?” the Princess enquired of an attractive young woman who reclined on a couch nearby. She had magnificent auburn hair and was clad in a green gown which was as flimsy and attractive as that of the Princess’s.

“Thank you, Highness,” smiled the young woman. Only sixteen and daughter of one of the Matrons of the Court, she had recently become one of Princess Venetia’s favourites. It was flattering to be desired and pampered.

The slave-girl returned with a gold-chased flagon and two gold goblets on a salver. Her apple-rounded breasts bounced prettily as she moved. She set down the salver and poured wine. Some six months before, she had lived happily and innocently with her parents and sisters on a small island off what is known as the Black Sea coast. A slave-gathering expedition had swept them up and, along with many others, they were taken in chains to the Sythian capital of Calvi. There, this girl, who was considered to be honoured to be a slave of the Royal Court, was quickly trained into total submission and immaculate service.

Princess Venetia and Tavia raised their goblets in a toast.

“I expect you’re looking forward to Barbaria, Highness,” the girl said.

“Very much so,” replied the Princess. She smiled briefly and thinly.  “It is going to be interesting to humble a woman who, at this moment, is under the impression she rules the world.

Tavia smiled but more broadly. “Not only interesting, Highness, but exceedingly exciting.”

“Yee... eesss ...” said Princess Venetia in a musing voice. She quaffed deeply from her goblet. Her eyes continued to roam over the two female slaves she had had placed on the galley-bench nearest to her ... the two women who had once rejoiced in the pride and power of being Lady Helen and Lady Livia of Barbaria. If anything, thought Princess Venetia, the dark-haired one, Livia, looked more distressed than her erstwhile companion. The big rolling-juddering breasts were drenched with sweat; the mouth was sagging and breath rasping. The ship had been in motion half an hour and already it was evident that Livia was beginning not to pull her full weight. She was riding on the strength of the male slave alongside her.

The Princess’s goblet was re-filled and she watched as the galley-slave Overseer began to stroll up and down the cat-walk which separated the two sets of oars. She was aware that there would almost certainly be signs of flagging, especially among the newcomers. Her four-foot long whip of tightly-plaited rhino-hide was coiled - but ready. She came to Livia, saw her sagging shoulders and evident lack of effort. The whip was uncoiled and trailed. Princess Venetia experienced a little frissom of sadistic pleasure. It was satisfying to see any indolent slave feel the whip but all the more so when she was an ex-lady of a rival Court.

The whip flashed up then cracked down across Livia’s sweating white back, the knotted tip curling round and biting into the softness of Livia’s right breast. A gasping shriek rent the mid-morning air. Livia’s mouth gaped wider and her eyes seemed to bulge disbelievingly at the extremity of her pain. Momentarily, Livia slumped over the oar, continuing to shriek and gasp.

“PULL ... you fat cow!” bellowed the Overseer above the tumult of sound.  “Pull your full weight ... or I’ll flog you to ribbons!”

Terror gripped Livia. Terror of more such awful pain. Groaning with the effort, she began to haul on her oar once again, but now making a much greater effort. It was the terror that gave her the strength to do so. For a few moments, the Overseer contemplated the ugly red welt she had raised across the slave’s back. Then she strolled back down the cat-walk. She reckoned that particular back would carry many more such welts before the four-hour stint was over.

It was noticeable that every slave had begun to make an extra effort. They had witnessed the fall of the whip and they knew it could happen to them.

“How many ships are on the expedition?” enquired Tavia. She was amused by the look of anguished torment on the face of the slave who had just felt the whip. She herself could not possibly imagine what it must be like to be whipped. Just too awful to contemplate ... though nice to watch when it was done to others. She herself liked using a flexible rod on her personal slaves whenever they displeased her, but she did not actually whip them. It was unnecessary and too disfiguring. It was, of course, a different matter when one was dealing with galley-slaves. By the Gods, thought Tavia, it must have hurt when that whip-tip bit into the tenderness of her breast. But she was only a slave. She deserved to suffer if she did not make the maximum effort.

“Just three,” answered Princess Venetia, “including my Flagship.”

“It does not seem very many,” said Tavia doubtfully.

“With our armaments, it will be quite adequate,” said the Princess, almost smugly.

Tavia knew about the miraculous ‘armaments’, but really did not quite understand them. Just so long as they worked; that’s what mattered!

The two women continued to recline, feeling the wine coursing pleasantly through their veins. It was cool under the awning on the poop deck. There was no awning over the galley-slave deck, however; there the morning sun beat down relentlessly. How perfectly hideous to be a slave, reflected Tavia, especially if one had once held high rank. She believed there were quite a number in that category chained to the oars at that very moment. Fate had been unkind to them ... but it had been kind to her. That was the way of the world. Perhaps later, she thought with a little pleasurable shiver, I shall have the honour of pleasing the Princess in the cabin below the poop deck. Yes ... almost certainly that would happen.

Princess Venetia was thinking ahead, wondering about the Princess of Barbaria. Alexena, she understood her name was. That would have to be changed when she became a slave. The name sounded too high and mighty. And this Alexena was going to be made into the most abject slave it was possible to imagine. A thrilling idea! How old will she be, wondered Venetia. Most probably about my age ... in her early thirties. She will be proud and arrogant after her long reign. Probably stubborn, too. So much the better. I hope she is beautiful, said Venetia to herself. Very beautiful. For it gave one more pleasure to humble a beautiful woman. Venetia gave herself up to a reverie of sadistically exciting thoughts.

She was diverted by the crack of the whip and a hoarse scream from the galley-deck below. Livia had just felt the searing bite of rhino-hide again and, almost immediately afterwards, the blonde ex-Lady Helen felt it too. She squealed like a pig at slaughter.

“You don’t seem to understand what slavery means,” bellowed the Overseer.   “It means, first and foremost, OBEDIENCE! When I tell you to pull your full weight, you PULL it! You pull it though you think you’ve got no more strength in you. You’ll pull it because you’ll find you can

drag up that strength. So ... pull ... PULL!”

Twice the whip cracked down again on the command of ‘pull’. Once more across Livia’s back, once more across Helen’s. Their shrieks were terrible but, as the Overseer had predicted, the awful pain enabled them to find that extra strength. They had been on the oar for little over an hour and, like all the other newcomers to such arduous slavery, felt close to exhaustion.

But they must go on ... and on ... and on ... and on ...

Feeling muscle burning like fire with fatigue ...

Groaning ... sobbing ... breath rasping ...

So drenched with sweat it looked as if they had just been dragged up out of the sea ...

Yet always ... on ... on ... on ...on ...on.

The Overseer seated herself at the end of the cat-walk, crossing long bare thighs. It would be good for those nearer the bows to see the striped flesh of those two just under the poop deck. She liked having new galley-slaves under her control. It amused her when they sobbed and sobbed that they could go no longer. They could not possibly. No ... no ... no ... they just COULDN’T! But she made them.

Then, if and when they fell senseless over their oar, she had a means of dealing with that too. A harness would be fastened on to the unconscious, exhausted slave and she would be attached to a hook on the end of a kind of crane device projecting over the side of the ship. Then she would be lowered into the sea. Naturally, when in the water, she quickly restored. Then she would be dunked up and down for a period of something like ten minutes. Half a minute under the water and half a minute out of it. Most refreshing! Most conducive to recovery!

But that was not the end of it.

When the dripping wet slave was hauled back on deck, a penalty had to be exacted for this interlude in her back-breaking efforts. She was fastened face down over the wooden seat on which she rowed and a rod was applied to her buttocks. Ten stimulating strokes! Then it was back to the oar again. And need it be said it was most uncomfortable to have to sit on a newly-striped pair of buttocks.

However, it must be remarked on that the reviving qualities of this kind of treatment were really quite amazing. The slave was soon pulling her weight again and seeming not to stint herself.

In the Overseer’s experience, in the early stints of a slave’s galley-experience, a dozen or more slaves would get this treatment in any four-hour session. Then, as they hardened up, got fitter and more experienced, the number of duckings lessened.

Nevertheless, the whip was still frequently put to use.

The Overseer had little doubt that the two unfit, over-weight slaves who had already felt rhino-hide would soon be over the side.