The Dancers
by Doctor Mercurious
Silphe had never gotten used of being a slave, despite having been one since she was ten. Maybe it was because of her temper, as fiery as her wealth of cascading hair; perhaps it was her iron resolve to better herself, evident in eyes as hard as emeralds. More likely it was her first master, a kindly old soul who never made her wear chains and taught her to dance so well; he treated her like the daughter he'd lost to a bad flu. Whatever the reason, Silphe simply could not put herself in that mindset, and it had cost her. Entertainer-slaves such as herself were worth their weight in gold, but her stubborn streak had gradually lowered her price as master after master decided she wasn't worth the effort to break. Now, for a mere 100 gold imperials, someone could own her.
Someone now did, in fact.
She glared out of the slave-pens at the stork-like figure in the gaudy robes -- red with orange sparkles, of all things! -- as he carefully counted out the required amount into the slavemaster's hand. Her would-be owner already had a slave -- a foreign, raven-haired beauty about Silphe's height with hazel eyes and creamy tanned skin. He'd obviously let her dress herself, as her garments were of a tasteful forest-green. A glance down at the woman's callused feet told her that she two was a dancer as well. She wore a slave-collar of course, but no restraining chains; a good sign.
The cage door swung open. "Here be yer new owner, Red," the slavemaster growled.
The other slaves in with her shot envious glares her way, but she ignored them. She tried to remember to not glare and bowed low. "A pleasure to be serving you, Master," she murmured the so-called proper response to a new owner.
He didn't seem fooled for a minute. "I highly doubt that," he returned. There wasn't much Silphe could say, so she kept quiet. She couldn't afford to irritate another owner; if her price drooped too low she had no hope of ever buying off her slave-debt and winning her freedom. Not that there had been ever much hope of that, but it was something she could use to keep her spirits up on a bad night.
"Here," he said. "let's clean you off, shall we?" He pointed a finger at her and muttered something. Instantly the past day's grime and sweat skimmed off of her like a snake's skin and fell to the ground. Even her teeth felt clean.
She gaped, new resolutions forgotten. "A sorcerer?"
He smiled at her. "Never seen one of my Art, have you?"
She shook her head dumbly, mind awash with speculation. There were many gruesome tales of what a sorcerer would need a slave for, but they were just stories, after all.  At least, Silphe thought, looking at the wizard, I hope that's all they are.
The sorcerer's living arrangements did not fill her with confidence. He rented a few rooms in the poor section of the city; he had his own bedroom, an area he called a 'lab' that he forbid Silphe and her fellow slave -- Pasheria -- to go, a common-room, and a small bedroom for them both to share.
"I'm afraid I've hit a bad patch at the moment," he apologized. "So I'm going to be leasing your services out quite a bit."
"Yes Master," Silphe said with unfeigned eagerness. Since by law she would get a third of the commission each time he did so, it would mean more money towards buying her contract and freedom. She would still have to split it with the other girl, but she could live with that.
Pasheria, for her part, merely bowed before him. At least, Silphe assumed it was a bow. She spread her arms out and bent low, balancing on one foot while raising the other, toes curled. It was an odd but very graceful gesture. "Blessings on your seed, Master," she burbled.
The sorcerer looked embarrassed. "Just a simple 'thank you', is necessary. Oh, would either of you be terribly offended calling me just Faener? It's my use-name, and I much prefer it to 'Master'.
"Yes, Faener," they both said. Silphe nodded to herself; it appeared that the rumors about sorcerers and their true-names were accurate.
"Much better," he sighed. "I've rented practice space in the Performers' Guildhall; only an hour every other day I'm afraid, but it's all I can afford at the moment. When the money starts to roll in I'll rent more time."
Pasheria settled to the floor in front of their master and Silphe did the same, although not quite in the same position. The dark-haired dancer had folded her legs in a very odd position; it looked like her feet were somehow tucked on top of her legs instead of underneath her. "What kind of dances will you wish us to do, Master Faener?" Silphe asked. She just couldn't bring to call a sorcerer by just his first name, even one as familiar with her as this man was.
"Something sensual, but no public displays of sex if that's what is worrying you," he returned. "I plan on using my magical arts to...enhance your performance. I want to build a reputation as an exotic act, so that we will command large purses sooner rather than later.
What? Silphe had never heard of using magic as part of entertainment. Sorcerers were considered too rare to waste on such trivial matters. She resolved herself not to question his intentions; this was simply too good an opportunity to ruin.
Somehow he guessed her thoughts -- or maybe simply read her mind, she wasn't sure -- and smiled. "Hardly usual, is it?" She said nothing and kept her eyes downcast. His chuckle was warm. "You're right; it's not." His tone grew serious. "Truth to tell, I lost most of my money conducting research on new spells, far different than what has been seen before. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that a run of bad luck saw to the depletion of most of my funds. I decided that earning my fortune back this way would be surer than hoping my research will be successful."
"How will you use spells in our act?" Silphe blurted out, forgetting the honorific.
"Mostly illusion spells to add scenery and music, as well as to make the two of you look like various creatures of legend," the sorcerer answered. "I'll start with simple illusions and get more exotic as the quality of our clientele increases."
"Master Faener is very wise," Pasheria said, pressing her forehead to the floor.
"We're going to need practice while under the effects of your spells," Silphe muttered aloud to herself. Thoughts of deference withered under her excitement. "I'd like to start with an hour's worth of practice a day at least -- practice hall or no -- with you casting your spells."
"Whatever my lady commands," chuckled Faener.
Silphe suddenly realized just how she'd been talking to him and pressed her own forehead to the floor very quickly "Please, my Lord, I didn't mean to presume!"
"Ah but you did," he corrected, "and rightfully so. You know far more about your art than I do. Therefore, I shall consider you the master in these matters." His serious demeanor returned. "Just don't forget yourself in public, please."
Silphe nodded, biting her lip. He'd have to discipline her, else risk any city guardsman who might overhear deciding to administer whatever punishment he thought was appropriate.
"Excellent," he beamed. "Your first scheduled time at the Guildhall is tomorrow. I suggest we go over what the act is going to be and go on from there. I think our first item is to come up with a catchy name..."
It took less than a week for rumors of the Mystic Dancers to spread throughout the city, and ten days to escape the walls. After two weeks, Faener was having to turn down requests so Silphe and Pasheria could have a break between performances. Silphe was glad of it, even though keeping a breakneck pace would buy her freedom in six months. Faener was, next to her first, the easiest master to serve. He spent most of his time at whatever place he was conducting his magical research, and when she did see him he was very cordial. Privately he never treated her as a slave, merely as a business partner. Faener tried the same technique on Pasheria, but he stopped when it made her so obviously uncomfortable. She was very friendly with Silphe, on the other hand. The red-haired dancer found her fellow performer had been sold into slavery at birth and had been trained to be a dancer as an investment. Unfortunately, that master proved to be overly fond of betting on gladiatorial games and had inevitably wound up gambling Pasheria away. The first week when they had to share a bed -- their bedroom had been too small for more than one -- Pasheria had opened up to Silphe, and the stories had made her hair curl. The dark-haired girl had served under masters who would abuse a slave any way they could get away with under the slave laws. Two had raped her almost nightly. Any scrap of rebellious quality had been long since expunged from her; she was so worn into the groove of being a slave she knew how to be nothing else. Silphe wondered what such a person would do with freedom, or would they just sell themselves again.
Silphe felt bad for her.   It was the reason why, on their second night sharing a bed, Silphe didn't resist when Pasheria began to caress her. Or why they still shared a bedroom even though Faener could afford to house them in more spacious quarters. Silphe had been owned by a few women who wished her to pleasure them, but the thought of entertaining her own sex in the bedroom held no attractions for her. During most of the time spent with Pasheria under the sheets Silphe failed to cum -- that Pasheria was able to bring her to orgasm at all was a tribute to the dark-skinned dancer's impressive sex-play skills. Silphe realized her dance-partner had been so thoroughly brutalized by men that she could not think of them as other than creatures of pain, even Faener who Silphe would have cheerfully pleasured if he asked. Which, much to her frustration, he never did.
They never did the same performance twice; that was one of the reasons The Mystic Dancers soon became so much of a high demand. One evening would see the audience sitting in a moonlit grove while the two dancers frolicked around trees dressed only in a cloud a butterflies. Another time the room appeared to be underwater; Silphe and Pasheria -- with help from Faener -- levitated through the air, appearing as if they were swimming. Faener was creative and his artistic talents -- which didn't extend to his clothing for some odd reason -- served him well in the crafting of his illusions. He also always added a few conjurations to keep the audience guessing. Silphe still giggled whenever she thought about the bald senator who discovered a real live octopus clinging to his scalp after a performance.
Pasheria didn't laugh at that, however. Pasheria never laughed. Smile, yes, but not laugh. It worried Silphe. She'd met slaves who never laughed before; they were usually one step away from madness and a tiny step at that. Silphe did seem to notice that she smiled a lot more after their pleasuring, so she allowed Pasheria to take her to bed as often as possible.
On the second month, Faener had marvelous news.  Their current rented quarters was more than a few steps above what it was originally, even with all the money the sorcerer was spending on his research. With six rooms at an upper-class inn and a real bath -- Silphe didn't mind spending extra gold on that luxury -- she was hard-pressed to recall when in her life she'd had it quite so good. On that particular morning Pasheria had climbed in to the tub to wash Silphe's back -- and probably more than that -- when an excited Faener burst into the bath house. "I've done it!"
Silphe felt Pasheria's hands stiffen on her shoulders and gave the sorcerer a mild glare. "And what have you done, pray tell? Besides interrupt our bath, that is."
The latter part of the comment didn't even seem to register with him. "I've actually devised a new spell! And just in time, it appears!"
"Just in time for what?"
He was clearly excited. "I've received word that for the King's First Advisor is throwing him a birthday party, and he's having acts from all over the kingdom compete for a substantial purse." He took out a scroll and waved it at Silphe. "He extended us an invitation."
"WHAT?" She screeched. Even Pasheria looked amazed.
"This is the chance we've been waiting for," he burbled excitedly. "The proposed winnings will be more than enough to buy both your freedoms...and net a tidy sum in the bargain."
"I see," Silphe said faintly. After all these years, the prospect of freedom seemed unreal. Her pessimistic side reared its head and reminded her of what Faener had just said. "You said competition. How can you be sure that we'll win?"
"With aid from my new spell, we can't lose," he smiled. "No one will have ever seen anything like our act."
"What does it do?" Silphe asked. Pasheria clung to her silently.
"It's a variant on transform magicks -- something totally new. Would you two like to try it out?"
"No reason to wait."
He clearly had not yet realized she and Pasheria were naked, let alone that Pasheria was embracing her from behind. His eyes were gleaming with joy, and she found she didn't have the heart to refuse him. "Sure."
"As you will, Master Faener," Pasheria intoned.
"Excellent," he beamed. "This particular level I'm casting the spell at will last for about an hour. I'll be using a different variant for our performance...we can discuss it later."
Unintelligible words rolled off Faener's tongue as he chanted and sawed at the air. Silphe knew nothing of magic, but experience with Faener had taught her to recognize how the words sounded whenever he cast an illusion spell or minor conjuration -- and this sounded very different. Almost immediately, she felt both hot and cold at the same time. Before she could react, there was a shifting sensation in her legs. She could actually feel them become somehow liquid as Pasheria's legs slid into them. Silphe gasped at the odd sensation -- not painful, almost like being sexually penetrated -- as her and Pasheria, from the waist down, commingled and became one.
"I call it 'conjoinment'," Faener beamed. "Any two people who have this spell cast on them become connected to each other."
She seemed to have trouble moving her -- their -- legs. It dawned that she couldn't unless Pasheria agreed to the same movement as well. By the gods, she thought to herself in horror. This is worse than slavery! To be forced to ask permission from another to even move? She managed to keep her voice even as she said, "You're sure this lasts only an hour?"
"Oh yes," he assured her. "Strictly temporary."
Good, she thought. "I'll give you this, it's certainly different."
"I think it is quite pleasant, Master Faener," Pasheria said in a warm voice.
Faener smiled. "Capital!" Their state of undress still hadn't registered. "Well, I need to head off and draft a letter to the Sorcerers' College; they'll be wanting to hear about my discovery."
Silphe gave a plaintive sigh as the oblivious sorcerer left. "I do believe he's having trouble with reality."
"It appears so," Pasheria agreed.
Tentatively Silphe stroked their shared right leg. It felt like her own even though it looked different. "Lord know what purpose this spell is supposed to serve. Sorcerers certainly are strange."
"It is just the thing for lovers," the dark-haired dancer murmured. "Imagine being able to feel your lover's body as your own does in the throes of pleasure." She felt Pasheria's hands reach in front of her to cup her breasts. Silphe wondered at the intensity of the mild contact then she realized that she was also feeling what Pasheria was experiencing. Silphe had no idea Pasheria desired her that much up until this point. The twinned sensation of groping and being groped was making her aroused.  Only the thought that it wasn't her arousal but someone else forcing the lust to the surface cooled her reaction to Pasheria's skilled caress. "Relax, Silphe," Pasheria purred. "Enjoy. It is not as bad as that, is it?" The other dancer seemed to be very turned on by their current state.
"It's certainly...stimulating," she moaned as Pasheria nuzzled her neck. It was, but only on a purely physical level. Pasheria was aroused, so Silphe was becoming aroused. Sharing the same loins robbed her of any decision in the matter.
"More than that." Silphe felt Pasheria's arm as she moved it between their shared legs. "Mmmm, we're quite tight."
Silphe wished she could argue but there was no hiding it from Pasheria in their current state. It would be very easy to surrender to the passion. Considering what she was already feeling, this particular lovemaking session would be a memory to cherish when she was old and withered. Give in, an inner voice pleaded. Just once.
"Yes," she murmured aloud. She willed their legs to spread and they did so. Pasheria moved her fingers to the pussy they now shared and massaged; Silphe put one of her own hands between her legs to help. With the other, she played with the nipple Pasheria was leaving unattended.
I just hope I can keep this up, she thought to herself. The room is already starting to swim. Actually more than that was happening. Her senses reeled and narrowed to the touch of Pasheria's fingertips on their pussy, her own on her breasts, and the rush of feeling that came from experiencing someone else's orgasm right alongside your own.
Just before she lost consciousness she thought, I'll still be glad when this is over.
When Silphe awoke, it wasn't. They were still conjoined.
They were lying on their sides in a soft bed with satin sheets. A large picture window gazed out over a lavish garden. The interior walls were of stained wood and marble floors. Outside, a stone wall was visible with a very distinctive banner floating in the breeze.
She shook her head to clear it of sleep. "Only the King's Palace can fly the royal banner," Silphe protested.
"That is true," Pasheria agreed. "Since that is where we are, I believe there are no legal issues."
"This is impossible, Pasheria. How long have I been out?"
"Four hours," came the answer.
"How did we get here?"
"I was aided. It appears that if one of us is unconscious, the other has unrestricted use of our legs. However, since you were kept unconscious someone had to support you."
Silphe levered her torso up to stare at Pasheria. "What's going on?"
"Faener betrayed us," came the blunt answer.
"No," she protested faintly
"Yes. We have been given to the King as a gift." Pasheria spat the word out as if it was rotten. Giving a slave away meant that their value could be reset by the new owner. And if their current owner was the King...
Silphe ended that thought. She had to. "There has to be some misunderstanding. Why would Faener do this?"
"Take a look at the ceiling of our new bedroom," Pasheria answered. "Perhaps it will give you some idea."
Silphe turned her head to glance upward at the elaborate fresco of the room. She gasped. Depicted were female conjoined pairs of various types pleasuring each other.
"It would appear as if we are the King's dreams come true," Pasheria continued. Through Silphe's growing shock, she noted that the dark-skinned dancer's voice was surprisingly even. "What would a man pay to possess his dreams? What could a man such as the King pay that a sorcerer would want? I do not know."
"Why knock me out?"
"Because you would have fought, which may have spoiled whatever the deal was between the King and our former Master."
"No," she said, fighting to keep a wail inside. "Why the elaborate deception?"
Pasheria shrugged. "Perhaps trust was a necessary part of the spell. Does it matter?"
Yes, a part of her screamed. Gods-dammit, I liked Faener! It stung her to the core that she could have been so fooled. A glimmer of hope shined inside her. "Pasheria, could we stand up please? I need to see something."
"Certainly," she answered.
'Standing up' proved to be very complicated. It took several minutes for them to coordinate their movements enough to rise to their feet. When she felt how top-heavy they were, that hope died inside. It threw their center of gravity off, and she could tell by the strain she felt that long-term endurance would be a problem. Worse, she couldn't really stand upright. Pasheria was right behind her of course, pushing her torso forward just as she felt herself pushing the other woman's torso back. Pasheria reflexively put her arms around Silphe, which seemed to help their balance a trifle.
"No," Silphe cried, and this time let the tears fall. "How can we dance like this? It'll take years of retraining!"
"Which will eat into the reserves we both managed to save as The Mystic Dancers," Pasheria interjected.
Her calm tone infuriated Silphe; she wanted to whirl around and slap her, but such freedom of movement was forever denied her. "How can you be so matter-of-fact? Can't you see what Faener's DONE to us? What choice have we but to remain slaves?"
"So what do you suggest, then? Suicide? We could, you know; that would certainly cause bad feelings between the King and Faener. No doubt such a possibility was discussed and then discounted."
"No!" Silphe had known slaves to take that route to freedom.  She considered them cowards.
"Then we must be proper obedient sex-slaves to His Majesty," Pasheria continued. Her tone had changed, become firm. "He can legally have us executed if we cause him trouble."
"We're his fantasy, remember? Where would he get more such as us?"
Suddenly Pasheria pulled on Silphe's hair hard. The attack was so sudden Silphe yelped and became distracted. With her attention wandering their legs folded up underneath them and the tumbled onto the bed.
"What was that for?" Silphe demanded, twisting to look at Pasheria.
Anger glittered in the other woman's eyes. "You are not stupid, Silphe; think. I am sure Faener would provide another joined pair of women to the king if something untimely happens to us."
With a realization like a slap, Silphe knew she was right. In fact, Silphe bet herself that the king might want more than one set of joined female slaves. Still, a spark of rebellion burned. "But I don't want to live my life as a slave! No one should have to!"
"I agree," Pasheria nodded. "But the way of the world is such that there will always be masters and slaves , and that rising above a lowly station almost never happens." She smiled. "It could be worse though. We will always have each other."
"But I..." she half-sobbed. Pasheria put a finger to her lips.
"Shh," the other woman said. "I know, my dear Silphe, that women are not your taste between the sheets. How could I not? I have been trained in the erotic arts as thoroughly as in dancing. But I fell in love with you anyway. Do you know why?"
Silphe, tears streaming freely down her cheeks, shook her head wordlessly.
"Because you placed my needs above your own." Now Pasheria was weeping, the first time Silphe could recall her showing strong emotion. "No one has ever done that."
"I don't want to stay like this," Silphe wailed. "Not a slave, and not chained to you like a cripple!"
"In this life," Pasheria murmured, "we seldom get what we want. Often, we must learn to accept what we are given." Silphe felt Pasheria slip her arms around her for a warm hug. "I confess I find our new bodies arousing. Perhaps I can teach you to love them as well."
As Silphe felt again the light touch of Pasheria's hands on her nipples, she knew that the other woman would try her hardest. With her own body betraying her and Pasheria helping to crumble away her resistance, she wondered low long it would be. Imprisoned once at the age of ten, and now again by Faener, Silphe wept bitterly while that choice was still within her power to make.