Dystopia Pt. 04

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Chapter 17

Emil shook Perrin’s hand. “Thanks for the collar, its good work. Like always.”

“Of course! Anything for you. Now we’re agreed? Four mutton chops?”

A hearty chuckle bubbled from Emil’s chest. “Yes, yes. My finest cuts next time I’m in town. I promise.”

“Excellent” Perrin grinned. “It’s been far too long since I had some quality meat. I think I’m beginning to forget the taste.”

“You should stop by the ranch when the storm passes. I’ve had a decent tupping this year and I could sell you a couple. Get you all stocked up for winter.”

Perrin rubbed his wolf tattoo on his forearm absently. “You have a point there young Jackson. Perhaps the wife will let me. I’ll have to ask when the weather starts to clear. Faile gets cranky when its cold and she’s liable to bite my head off right now,” he said with a laugh.

A final handshake and he gathered Isla, who was rubbing her collar with a pensive face, and left the blacksmiths. He was going to let her loose on the Weaver’s alone, but her strange panic attack earlier caused him to rethink his strategy. Instead they walked over together, and began combing through the store.

Isla spoke in hushed tones with a young Weaver lass, who nodded in understanding brought several items to the counter and laid them out. Emil tried not to look at them since they were her under…things. Damnit he peeked! Well, it was just some long strips of cloth and some smaller padded ones. He had no idea what they were for, and quite frankly was way too embarrassed to ask.

He spoke to Weaver senior and spoke about various fabrics and their prices by yardage. Emil ended up adding ten yards of a light linen fabric and twenty yards of a thick wool most likely made from his own flock. Perhaps this he would intern Isla at the Weavers and teach her how to spin wool. Then he could cut Kim the wool merchant out of the negotiations entirely. The squat little man was trying to rip him off he was sure of it.

Their items cost a lot more than Emil was hoping at a whopping eighty silver. He figured it was worth it though, because if Isla was any good she could just make clothes instead of having to come back. Just to be safe though, he did buy her two good thick pairs of pants.

Next they stopped by Tack’s, and purchased some thick padded boots that should last a while. Fortunately Tack had a pair of boots premade that fit Isla perfectly, with just enough room for socks. A gold was a lot of money for a pair of boots, but Emil never skimped on footwear. Everything was built from there, and if your feet were bad, so were you.

Finally the general store for some more of that ancient insulation, another half barrel of fuel for the truck and they were done for the day. It was just getting late afternoon, and if they left now they should be able to make it back to the ranch around sunset. Emil was very pleased with their progress.

They tromped over to the truck outside the pony, to load their purchases, but Emil stopped short, pulling Isla to a stop with him a few paces from the vehicle. There was a skinny man in a ragged military coat waiting for them and leaning on the truck. He watched them and waved friendly.

“Didn’t mean to startle you friend. I wanted to speak to you, but didn’t want to interrupt your shopping. I’m looking for work and I hear you’re looking for a hand on your ranch. ” The man said with a smile. He had a relaxed demeanor, and held himself with a confidence. Judging by the ragged coat Emil gathered he was a soldier, who had fallen on hard times.

Beware the man who is too clean, and beware the salesman who smiles too much were two of his father’s favorite sayings; but his mother had often said Opportunity knocks once, be sure to listen. He figured it wouldn’t hurt to hear this guy out.

He turned to Isla, “Please load everything into the truck and secure it. I’ll be inside the inn,” he said handing her his few items. She juggled her load and caught his items without a complaint. Turning back to the gentleman, he gestured to the inn where they could talk.

They sat at the fire pit and ordered a couple of drinks. Emil got his usual hot toddy, and the gentleman got a large beer. He was surprised when the man offered to pay for both drinks, and his opinion of him went up a few points.

Once their drinks had been delivered, they both took a sip with a sigh of appreciation and shook hands for official introduction.

“Name’s Markem, Mr. Jackson. I’m from way south. I was a military man, but my lord was overrun in a spat with another lord. It happens all the time and normally the armies are merged into the victors, but my Aldridge was a good man. Concerned about uprisings the new lord had the competing armies disbanded and spread rumors about immorality and lack of discipline.”

Emil waited patiently as Markem sipped his beer, licking his lips before continuing. “This wasn’t a problem olgun porno for the lowest soldiers, or the ranking generals of course. Privates can be supervised, and Generals are above reproach; but I was just a lieutenant, a mid level man. No, I can’t be trusted to supervise their armies; I could corrupt them. Bullshit. I have superiors too ya know.”

Markem’s knuckles whitened in an unnecessary grip on his mug, as he tossed back the last of the beer; dragging his already stained coat sleeve across his short beard. Emil still waited. Always let the person selling do the talking, and never get excited. His parents advice was coming in very handy today.

“So I was a soldier, without an army. I tried to find work, but no one would take me in; so I started north. Turns out you nothern lot are pretty self sufficient, and have no need of lords and ladies. I kinda like that. Be my own man for a change. The rub of it is, I’m a man who’s good at running, lifting, and fighting; with nowhere to go, nothing to lift, and no one to fight. I asked around and a couple people told me you were looking for a ranch hand. I’ve never sheared sheep, but it can’t be that hard. I’d like to come work for you for the winter. If I work out well, then maybe next year we can talk about me staying on long term.”

Emil took a sip of his own drink. Hot toddies were pretty strong alcohol wise and he didn’t want to get too inebriated during negotiations. He studied the man carefully. Besides his overly thin coat and ragged appearance, he had the physique of a man who had taken care of his body. He may not be as large as Perrin, but he certainly wouldn’t pass out during chores.

It might be nice to have someone else deal with those twice blighted goats.

“Saying perhaps you did come work up at the ranch, I’m not a lord and I don’t have a treasury. What were you expecting as way of compensation,” Emil asked.

“My previous command provided room and board, as well as two gold a month. A wealthy rancher like yourself could probably meet that with ease.”

Emil laughed, throwing his head back and making a scene. His shoulders shook with mirth, and he wiped a pretend tear from his eye.

“Sorry buddy, that’s not how things work out here. Maybe wherever you’re from people kept piles of gold and jewels lying around in vaults waiting to be spent. Out here all my money is tied up in my flock. We don’t have riches in the cold white north, we have assets.”

Taking another long sip of his beverage, he nodded sympathetically to Markem. “If you’re looking for hard currency, best look back in the south. Up here we’re more concerned with survival; and a steady supply of meals goes a long way. Sorry friend, I don’t think I can help you.”

Just last week Emil would have jumped all over Markem’s offer. That was before Isla though. She was already helping out tremendously. In the last week he’d had time to read a bit of his favorite book, taken three baths, and had both bedrooms cleaned from top to bottom. Sure she needed to practice cooking, but she was a quick study and a proactive worker.

Emil stood and dropped a couple copper for the waitress, and turned to go when Markem reached out and grabbed his sleeve.

“Ok, ok. You northerners all all about negotiating right? Well, let’s negotiate. You’re right it’s not the south, and even if I was paid at my old wages there’s not much up here to spend it on. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in the north so how about this. I’ll work for you for the winter, you provide room and board. At the end of the winter, after…harvest or whatever you call it, you pay for my passage back to Shreveport and ten gold.”

Emil smiled inwardly, but kept it from his face. Instead he crossed his arms across his chest and frowned.

“I told you, all my coin is wrapped up in my herd. Coin sitting around in a chest doesn’t help run a ranch. Every last copper is invested back into keeping things fixed, buying feed, and medicine. I simply don’t have that amount of coin. Besides, you said yourself you have no idea how to tend flock. I’ll give you a room, three meals, two gold at the end of the season, and drop you off back in town. You can make your own way from there.”

Markem shook his head emphatically. “Two gold will barely get me to Dallas. I may not know anything about ranching, but I can learn fast and work from sunup to sundown. I saw your little slave girl. I doubt she’s good for much outside the bedroom. Eight gold at the end of season, or five gold and you buy me passage to Shreveport.”

Emil’s eyes narrowed. Isla wasn’t as hardy as him sure, but she’d already made strides to prove her worth. He wasn’t sure why, but he really didn’t like Markem’s insinuations that he bought her just to service him.

Emil sighed and stroked his beard thoughtfully, considering his options. “I’ll give you room and board, passage to Shreveport, porno and four gold after the season. On top of that, I’ll outfit you with some decent clothes. Its my final offer and its more than fair.”

Markem looked at his empty beer mug in deep thought. He sighed, stood and reached out to shake Emil’s hand. “You drive a hard bargain Mr Jackson. It’s a deal.”

Emil shook the proffered hand with a smile. “Welcome to the ranch Markem. Gather your belongings, and meet me outside at my truck. We have a long drive back.”

Chapter 18

Markem shook the rancher’s hand with a relieved sigh. He would have taken a lower bid if he had too, but wanted it to look real. It wasn’t as if it mattered in the long run how much gold Emil offered, he would just take it all anyway.

He watched Emil put on his coat and walk out the door with a smile. ‘Doesn’t have any gold my ass. A rancher like that always keeps a bit tucked away in case of emergency. I bet he has fifty gold stashed away somewhere. That would be enough to Orlando, back where civilized people live. A couple days of playing with sheep, just long enough to get some better clothes, then I steal all his money, his truck, and anything else I can carry and I’m out of this northern wasteland.’

Markem was going to wait a few minutes to make Emil think he wasn’t as bad off as he really was, but then realized that when he walked out of the building with no personal items it was going to be obvious. So he just pocketed the coppers Emil had left for the waitress on the table, and sauntered out to meet him.

He was only a few steps behind Emil, but the man was already in the truck, with the slave girl moving to the middle of the seat to make room for Markem. He hauled open the door, crammed himself in the cab, and they were off rumbling down the road.

Not much was said as Markem was busy mentally congratulating himself on a successful con, and Emil was focused on the road. The slave girl was interesting though. She had her hands folded in her lap and kept her eyes downcast. Her coat was a brown leather, with the fur on the inside and was much too large for her. Judging by the thickness on the arms she was wearing many layers underneath. Not that it detracted from her obvious assets.

All the girls Markem had seen this far north had been scrawny brats with no tits. This girl though had obviously been fed well. Even through her coat, he could see the shape of her was a very decent handful. Her hips were nicely flared as well, and though she was currently sitting on it, Makrem was positive it was a very nice ass.

‘Any man that can keep a slave so well fed is a man who has more than just a little. Perhaps I’ll take her as well, I’ve always wanted a personal cock sleeve. Hey, when I get bored I can sell her in Baton Rouge and get me a new one.’

Aldridge had kept a personal harem of mistresses around the castle. It was one of the perks of the job that they were loaned out to the officers when not otherwise occupied. Captains were pretty high up in seniority, so it wasn’t uncommon to get to enjoy their company. Commander Archer always hated the practice but never stopped him, except for the one time he had gotten drunk and been a little too rough with one of the girls.

It was just a black eye and broken rib, he didn’t understand what the big deal was. He’d had dozens of black eyes, and rib breaks were painful but not debilitating. It wasn’t his fault the skinny bitch was made out of glass. A tough girl from the north though? She could probably take a pounding like a champ.

Markem felt his trousers tighten as he thought about future events. He didn’t have anything else to do so he enjoyed the fantasies as the bleak landscape whizzed by under the black tires of the truck. It was a lot further than he anticipated but eventually they arrived at the ranch an hour after sundown.

He and Emil both kicked their doors open and stumbled out into the wind. It may have been Markem’s imagination, but it felt much colder up here than it did in Ardmore. Of course the wind from the storm cutting sideways through his dress coat like knives, didn’t help any. He helped the slave girl gather up cloth and some sort of pink fluff from the back of the truck where it was tied with a rough twine, and then followed her into the house.

There was a small mudroom before the living space, that was covered from end to end with fat brown rabbits and shit. There was a cage in one corner and most of the rabbits were concentrated on what looked like pelts in another. It was disgusting. Everywhere he stepped, his foot came away crusted with rabbit dung.

Markem would have never allowed this level of filth in his barracks. Not that the privates didn’t try. He had once walked in during a surprise night inspection to find a mule and three half naked soldiers. Whatever was going on, he was glad that he had stopped it before Porno izle it got too far out of hand; but the mess the ass had left behind. Ugh, beyond foul.

The mudroom opened up into a space that started as a kitchen and then became a living room. To his left was a hallway, where he assumed the bedrooms were. ‘Oh god, these hicks probably don’t even have proper facilities. Probably just an attached outhouse.’

Thankfully the smooth wooden floor in here was cleaned to a shine, as Markem walked over to deposit his load onto a table. He was glad that the slave was at least staying on top of the living space. He’d hate to have to spend the next week or two living like the rabbits were.

“Ok Markem. Kitchen, living room, over here will be your room,” Emil walked into the hallway and gestured to a room immediately to the left. “Bathroom and water closet is at the end of the hallway and my room is here. Isla sleeps in my room so you won’t have to worry about sharing your space. While you’re here that room is yours, do with as you will, but please don’t damage anything. Potbellied stove works great, but we try to only use it during heavy storms, like right now.”

Markem was surprised to see an actual bed with several hide blankets and a small pillow in the room only a few feet away from a stove, who’s smoke pipe led straight into the ceiling. It wasn’t luxury by any stretch but it would do quite nicely.

“Thank you Mr. Jackson. It’s already dark, so unless you have anything for me tonight I think I’ll turn in early.”

“Before that, let’s have a meal and get you bathed, you’re pretty ripe,” Emil’s nose crinkled. As he turned to the bathroom and began filling a large tub with water and lighting a shoddy water heater kept in the same room.

‘Oh yeah you’re one to talk Mr. Keeps-Animals-In-His-Mudroom-So-They-Can-Shit-Everywhere.’ He acknowledged that he did stink though, and thanked Emil.

While the water heater was warming, up they went back in the kitchen to find the table cleared and the slave heating what looked like soup over a stove. The kitchen stove wasn’t overly large, but it was certainly big enough to make a dent in the cold of the room. It smelled faintly of burnt hair weirdly, and Markem began wondering about the ingredients in the soup.

‘Free meal is a free meal though. Been two days since last I wasn’t hungry.’ His stomach rumbled in agreement.

He sat at the table, and sighed into the seat. He wasn’t proud of this but it was the first time in a long time he hadn’t scrounged for food, or slept in a crate to try to escape the weather, or hunted dogs… or killed a man in an alley and stole his coin.

His ruminating was interrupted by a bowl of hot soup placed in front of him. He quickly scooped a steaming spoonful into his mouth and rolled his eyes back as the spices and fatty meat mingled in a sweet and savory melange of greatness.

“Holy fuck thats good!”

Emil’s face twitched in a smile. “It was all Isla. Thanks Isla!”

The slave girl at the stove nodded her head demurely. “Of course master.”

Markem just nodded and tore into the stew with a vengeance. He held out the wooden bowl to the slave and waited as she refilled it. He finished that one in record time as well, pushing his bowl away from him with a contented sigh. His eyebrows raised as the slave, confirming that Markem was done, joined them at the table.

‘Slave sitting at the table? They must be pretty romantically involved, for her to be taking liberties like this. That or he’s just a weak pussy.’ he thought snickering to himself.

Thanking Emil for the meal he excused himself from the table and headed for the bathroom to take a bath. The water heater had reached a nice temperature and the spigots on the wall were crude, but easy to figure out. Once the tub was filled with warm water, he gratefully sank below its steamy embrace.

The sheer volume of dirt and grime that fell off him and clouded the water made Markem blanch. He thought he had done a better job of maintaining his hygiene, but apparently not. He grabbed the thick bar of soap from a nearby bucket and began scrubbing himself thoroughly, sluicing funk off as he went.

It took the better part of an hour to scrub himself clean. Normally Markeem would have lounged for a bit and enjoyed the heat of the water, but it was so filthy that he retreated as soon as he could.

‘Well it better than an outhouse, that’s for certain sure.’

Toweling off, he inspected his beard in the mirror. Habit told him to cut it, but he hesitated. Up here in the snow, a bit of extra facial hair would probably help; so he left it alone. He opened the door wrapped in the towel, and was pleased to find a pair of trousers and shirt waiting for him. They were way too big on him, but it was better than public nudity.

The bedroom Emil had indicated was his, already had the door closed. Markeem listened for a second to see if he could hear them fucking, but they were too quiet. He padded over to his new room and found the stove already lit and heating the room. Gratefully, he sunk into the bed and fell asleep in minutes dreaming of his own harem of slaves riding on mules.

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