Story for the day: Compassion of a Crime Lord

Many seem to like Ladrei. Here is more of him.

 Compassion of a Crime Lord
       Ladrei sat on in the corner of his large divan, leaning with all the ease a comfortably wealthy lord could exhibit. He reclined and hummed in pleasance as two from his harem came to attend him. They massaged his wiry form, traced the boundary of his handsome face with their delicate fingers, fed their lord from the silver bowl of lush fruits that lay before them, grazed his neck with their painted lips, whispered depraved phrases in his ear, and though their eyes were wicked and sincere in their sentiment, he felt little care emanating from them beyond what they were paid to consider. He surveyed his acquisitions, his lavish residence, his silken cushions, his embroidered garments, his trove of eager and luscious women, his finery adorning his many tables, and though he was pleased with all he had attained there was a barrenness to it that pleased him not. He sighed with heavy disenchantment and felt that he should enjoy a challenge to rouse his interests.
       His quiet musings were interrupted when there was a knock at the door. He listened for the particular succession of sounds to indicate his visitor as one of his men and he called for the guest to enter. His posture straightened and garlanded ears perked when he observed two of his guards coming toward him pulling along a young woman. He opened his mouth to receive the fruit the two exposed women at his sides wished to impart and while he obliged their desire to feed him, his eyes were otherwise employed.
       The woman brought before him trembled. The guards at her sides held her arms to keep her from escaping and she kept her darting gaze to the ground, not wishing to pay any insolent looks to the crime lord she was made to face. Her form though frail was not unpleasing to a discerning male eye. Her delicate features, untamed raven hair and glowing complexion recommended her in the bloom of youth and her beauty was only disparaged by her apprehension to look up and display her blue eyes.     
       Ladrei took immediate interest in such a reluctant and timid creature. "Who have you brought to me, Nidello?" he asked, stroking his chin.  
       "This is Jarrmoni's girl, my lord," one of the guards said with a slight bow.
       Ladrei raised his brow as his interests heightened. "Is it. And why are you here instead of your father? I would remember if a young inpala owed me something."
       The young woman was bid to speak but she remained silent, only parting her lips to utter a phrase of introduction but then forgetting her words when the Lucentian term reiterated in her mind. She swallowed numerous times, attempting to release her tightened throat and compel herself to speak, but she pressed her lips together to keep any phrases of impertinence from escaping. 
       Ladrei simpered to see the woman shrink in his presence. He stood from his place and made a slow advance toward her. He hovered near her in silent observation. Although he was not as tall or foreboding as the two armoured guards beside her his furtive smiles and genuine inquisitiveness gave him a malicious air. "Speak to me, inpala," he said in a firm tone. "Why are you here?"   
       The young woman inhaled and closed her eyes to gather courage enough for a comprehensible response. "My father sent me to make the payment for his stall, my lord," she murmured. She looked everywhere except at the guild lord who had addressed her, regarding the opulence of her surroundings and feeling besieged as she attempted with all civility to absorb it. The harem of tittering women, the two voluptuous and stripped creatures on the divan, the exquisite craftsmanship of the furnishings, the extensive rugs upon which she stood had all entreated her sensibilities of inadequacy in Ladrei's company. She suddenly realized she had been silent for too long when the guild lord folded his arms and gave her an expectant grin. "He apologizes for the late payment and hopes you will accept his offer, such as it is," she said, fumbling on her words as she held out a small coin purse for him to take.
       Ladrei plucked the purse from her trembling hand and though his hands were occupied with untying the strings, he noticed the young woman staring at his escorts with looks half averted and half engaged. He obstructed her view and made a blatant inspection of the young woman. Her striking countenance and slender form was ruined by her paucity in dress. "Such a pretty, young inpala," he purred at her. "Your father does not believe in dressing his daughter well?"
       The girl coloured a little and gathered her torn shawl about her shoulders. "My father does not have enough to-"
       "I know how much your father has," Ladrei asserted. "I control how much he puts in his pockets. I know he has enough to make his payments to me. Did he think I wouldn't notice one hundred silver missing from my accounts?"
       The young woman was uncertain if Ladrei's inquiry required a response. She searched for an answer but found little to reply. "I don't know, my lord. I can only ask for forgiveness on his behalf." As she made her answer, she gasped and stood back when Ladrei approached. She became terrified to think the illustrious guild lord was displeased with her ignorance and believed he moved to punish her. In her endeavor to escape his reprimand, the two guards beside her took hold of her arms and held her in place before their lord. She made a few pleas for leniency and raised her eyes to beseech her master.
       The wily elf smiled to see the woman so terrified of her own imagination. He had no notion of penalty in the slightest but decided to use her horror for his amusement. He narrowed his gaze momentarily to give himself a vicious manner and he laughed to see the woman's legs quiver in fear.  "Let us see how your father tries to deceive me," he fleered, pouring the coins from the purse onto the table before him. He knew the deception employed by his clients and expected there to be some mistake in the amount. He was not disappointed. He shook his head and laughed when he counted the meager sum. "There are fifty silver pieces missing from his payment. He knows the penalty for being late is an additional fifty silver for every month he refuses to pay me."
       "My father knows and he asked me to beg your pardon," the woman said, looking away.
       Ladrei scoffed for the intended impertinence and he understood the reason why the woman was sent in his client's stead. He shook his head to think of how cruel an object to utilize one's own children as a form of currency to obtain a clemency undeserved by the parent. He recognized the woman's trepidation and ordered his man to unhand her. She eased a little when she was released, but her guardedness improved when she suddenly took a step forward.
       "My father said . . ." she nervously began, and then she exhaled, "He told me to obey any command you would give me, my lord."
       Ladrei gathered the woman's intimation by the shirking of her shoulder. "He thinks you're only worth fifty silver?" He clicked his tongue in disappointment. "Such a pity. He does not know what a precious inpala he has." He molded his hand around her chin and lifted her head to examine her ripe features and delectable neck. He thrummed, pleased with the colour and brightness of so meek a woman. He felt her shiver at his touch and he grinned as he supposed the reason for her anxiety on such an account. "You've never been with a man before," he surmised.
       "No, my lord."
       "And you think you can please me?"
       "I would try, if I must," she said quietly, and then added, "for my family's sake, my lord."
       Ladrei admired her bravery but saw no need for it given the circumstance on his side. "Do you know what I enjoy doing to my women?" he said, tormenting her a bit further.
       The woman shook her head.
       Ladrei snapped his fingers and the two women on the divan leapt to his side. He turned them around and exhibited the equal marks of his guild's insignia gracing their bare shoulders. "They smile when they're branded," he said, passing his hand along the flesh of the two escorts. "I enjoy owning my women and they are pleased to me mine. I treat them well and in return, they come to me when I call for them. Perhaps I should do the same to you to teach your father how to send an appropriate incentive."
       The woman's gaze fell to the ground and tears streamed down her warm cheeks. The idea of servitude to such a politely demeaning man was unbearable, but she said nothing in her defense and only stood with her hands quaking at her sides. 
       Ladrei sidled the woman and inhaled the scent in her hair. "Chikalo, inpala," he whispered in her ear, conveying his falsified desire to take the remainder of her father's payment in a more pleasurable manner. He looked to his guards. "Leave us. All of you."
       The guards were only too delighted to leave with the two escorts and harem girls for though they could not touch them, they were permitting all the pleasance in looking. They waited by the door, their hungry eyes watching the many curved hips of the women bound out of the harem, and they followed them, leaving their lord with his young prey. 
       Ladrei waited. He listened for the sound of their footsteps to dissipate and when they were gone, his bearing altered. His broad shoulders eased, his stern character faded and he expelled a decompressing sigh. "Alone," he exclaimed, sitting on his divan. "Would you care for some tea with me?" He took the silver teapot on the table before him into his hand and began pouring two cups of freshly brewed tea.
       The woman looked at the guild lord in bemusement. "Tea, my lord?" she asked, uncertain what to make of his change in manner.
       "The finest loose Bajo leaf," he boasted, lifting a silver cup toward her. "Dried in the sun and
      bound in a hand-woven mesh. It steeps quite well. Come, inpala. You will have some with me."
       The woman was astounded by his sudden kindness and forthcoming invitation. "You're not going  to. . .? That is, you don't want-"
       "To take what I can easily have? No," he said smilingly. "I am interested in challenges, not in taking advantage of a young and innocent inpala. You are tempting, and were you older and not here to pay for your father's mistake, I might consider adding you to my collection." He motioned toward his empty harem and noted the girl's hesitance to move toward him despite his attempts to be affable with her. "Sit," he commanded in a more forceful tone.
       The woman came to his side, fearful of his cruel temper returning, and accepted his offering of tea and kindly conversation.
       They had a small conversation, the chief of the speaking done by Ladrei and the chief of the listened performed on the side of the woman. He asked her numerous questions on the subject of her employments and education, her housing and living situation and the more he displayed his willingness to listen, the more she spoke. She told him of her tutelage as a weaver, or her meager consequence since her father forced her from the house, and of her need to manage their family's stall of materials while her father enjoyed the comforts of the Lucentian flower houses. Ladrei nodded and hummed and the more she revealed to him, the more he understood her poorness of dress and her willingness to help her relations. Their name of Injya had been ruined due to her father's schemes and though she was not happy working at the stall from morning until night each day the need for a pretty girl to attract new patronage was impressed upon her. The more money the stall made, the less she was paid and the more her father disappeared into brothels for amusement. She had refused to impart her name to others to disassociate herself with her family, there had been little economy on her father's account the past few months and her sense of familial duty was forced on her.
       "I own all the pleasure houses in Lucentia city," Ladrei laughed, pouring another cup of tea for the woman. "Now I know where to look for him the next time he decides to send you here."
       She smiled demurely at his consideration and said, "My name is Iraiya." She looked into her cup of tea. "Thank you for being understanding."
       "I was an inpalo once. I was never lucky enough to have such a considerate father as yours," he said with a wink, "but there were many missions I was forced to take. I didn't enjoy carrying them out but I had to if I wished to survive."
       There was a small smile exchanged between them and then a pause in the conversation. Each of them sipped their tea but Iraiya's gaze continually fell toward the empty harem.   
       She recalled seeing the eagerness of the guards as they left with Ladrei's escorts and wondered if such coveted women were protected from hands other than his. "You allow your women to be with others?" she quietly asked.
       "No," Ladrei replied, leaning back on the divan. "Part of the deal for their treatment, inpala, but I pay them well for the work they do."
       "Were they also sent here by their families?"
       "Many birds come to my nest came in various ways. Most of them I purchased from slave traders and illegal pleasure houses."
       "You saved them?"
       Ladrei scratched the back of his neck. "Well, I wouldn't call it that."
       "Taking them from one illegal trade and placing them into another?" Iraiya said with a smile.
       "I do nothing illegal, inpala," Ladrei professed. "I only regulate. My subordinates decide to carry out the illegal business."
       "But do you not make money from their dealings?"
       Ladrei gave the woman a sly grin. "You will not let me win, I know."
       Iraiya blushed and made averted glances at the complacent lord. She decided that she liked him despite his being a crime capitalist, but from the revelation that he had purchased the lives of his woman, and possibly his guards as well, to save them from horrid fates, she could not shake the notion that he was endearing. She brushed her long hair behind her ear and was determined to smile at him. She caught him in the midst of a slow descending glance as he sipped from his cup. She realized that though he may have been benevolent, he was not without his desires. A feeling of warmth and embarrassment rushed on her when she noticed his observation of her subtle motions continuing.  "Would you really make me one of those women?" she shyly said.
       "If you like," said Ladrei, shifting closer to her.
       "Even though I don't look like those women?"
       "I can appreciate every bird who comes to my perch, inpala." Ladrei canted his head and spied her with depraved curiosity. "Would you enjoy the challenge of pleasing me?"
       Iraiya hardly knew what to answer. "Do those women please you?" she asked, averting his query.
       "No," Ladrei shrugged. "But they believe they do. If you are interested-"
       "No, no. I was just wondering." 
       Ladrei tapered his gaze. "Were you," he artfully said, placing his arm upon the cushion behind her.
       There was a stillness between them, Ladrei quiet in his examination of her beset features and Iraiya silenced by the force of his unspoken fervor. She wished to move away and to be close all at once. There were many emotions riling her sensibilities, there was gratitude, agitation and expectancy, and yet she could not bring herself to move on any one of these sentiments. Soon there was nothing to decide. He had moved for her. His hand briefly brushed her hair and she was forced to look in his direction. His lips curled in a half-smile and he eyed her with insatiability. He refrained from moving forward and merely remained at a close distance, waiting for her to act. She craned toward him and then stopped. Her lips would not do as her mind had asked and though she bade herself to endure, her body would not follow her command. She could only stare back at his handsome features and hope he would gather her want for more than was being conveyed.
       A moment in such an immobile manner had passed and though it had seemed infinities to Iraiya, Ladrei had felt all the persuasiveness of the moment upon them. He would keep his promise and not venture to place his hand between her thighs as he wanted but replaced his desire to invade one of her crevices for the other. He gripped her chin and pulled her close, impressing his lips upon hers. He was met with some reluctance but any disinclination was soon dissolved. She melted into the bend of his arm as he encased her and he delicately devoured his young quarry. He decided one kiss was enough to tempt her and he pulled away with a depraved grin on his handsome face.               
       "You're not as I thought you would be," Iraiya said, unable to regain her breath.
       Ladrei raised his brow. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, inpala," he said contentedly. "You may leave if you wish, but first we must make them think I'm doing unspeakable things to you."
       Iraiya's cheeks grew warm and she raised her hand to cover her wide smile.
       Ladrei began shouting terrific obscenities and he bid his companion to do the same. She attempted not to laugh between her exaltations but they took equal turns, calling out each other's name and panting in heated achievement. He made many grunting sounds, which caused Iraiya to clap her hand over her mouth to quiet her mirth, and he encouraged her to follow suit but she could not without succumbing to laughter. He cried out in completion and made many moans of how wondrous she had been.    
       "You must remember to cry when you leave and tell everyone how cruelly you were treated," he whispered.
       "But that will give you a bad reputation," she said, keeping her hands away from her tears of laughter.
       "Will it."
       Iraiya fleered in surprise. "But I will know that you did nothing to me."
       "You will, inpala. And who would believe you if you told the truth?"
       "No one," she said warmly. She was still confounded by his kindness for a guild lord of such infamy but said nothing to oppose his request. She thanked him once more for his cordiality and hoped they would meet again, perhaps under the same circumstances. She began to wish her father would be careless in his payment to his lord and she prepared for her marvelous exit.
       The guards standing by the door of Ladrei's residence were laughing and making gestures of approval to one another upon hearing their master's triumph when the door behind them was suddenly thrown open. The woman they had brought in ran out and scurried away in fits of tears, proclaiming how despicable a man Ladrei Maccadrin was. They grinned stupidly at each other as she leapt away and wished how they could be as brutal as their lord was.
       Iraiya turned the corner of the Maccadrin Guild and stopped to recollect herself.  She had made a resolution to see her wicked master again and was grateful that he would not take that which at the beginning she would have given but by the end could have been easily attained.