Before you begin reading the chapter, let me give credits to Maladi, author of the breathtaking Heffner Legacy. Thanks to her short GIMP-tutorial this chapter's lighting is a bit more appealing than the original Sims 4 one. I'm new to editing and still learning, but I assure you that I will give my best.
Now, have fun with the probably most time-consumingly edited chapter so far!
A few moons later.
Protego watched as the flames burned even the thickest logs without further effort. The fire heated his head while a chill breeze stroked his back at the same time.
It was late, his body ready to doze off but his mind still processed the news of that day.
So queen Zeuxippe would finally bear the heiress she had always yearned for. Mesmerized, he stared through the flames. Where was that young girl whose eyes had followed him across the whole compound?
The youth, heartstricken and vulnerable after the early death of her mother?
The young woman calling him into her bedroom in the afternoon only to take a break from her duties and share some of her secrets? He closed his eyes in pain – it could have been her caressing his shoulders like the wind did, wrapping his hair around her finger and gently pulling at it.
How would her daughter look like? Would she have her full lips and huge brown eyes? Or Machaon’s green ones and part of his burliness? It was too easy to imagine: Machaon laughing up his sleeve about the fact that he had succeeded in so short a time in what the actual breeding slave, the favorite, hadn’t been able to serve their queen for suns.
Embarrassing. Embarrassing yet convenient. She deserved it. She had never given up hope. And now, only few moons after the ugly incident, it had happened at last.
A tortured moan escaped his lips as he opened his eyes again, not able to endure the darkness any longer that left space for so many scenes. I wonder, he thought. It’s just enough time to make sure I’m not the father.
Beyond that, Machaon – rude, self-important, hard to please – Machaon had been ransomed from the sacrifice. She has never liked him. Why would she mate with him of all men? But then, she didn’t have a breeding slave any more. Even so, she could’ve bought one. Unlike queen Penthesilea, the Orcheons were wealthy. Queen Zeuxippe had always enjoyed her comfortable lifestyle.
The insatiable flames captured his gaze once more. He almost felt as if he was exposed to their greed as well, burning out along with the wood. It was not the first time he had felt like that in his life, but the other one he’d been saved from falling into desperation from the person he had expected it the least. Being born into fear, growing up in fear, he’d finally been rid of it from the princess of his new tribe herself.
As much as he had been afraid of being chosen from one of the women, in hindsight that had been the best thing to ever happen. There had been without doubt few princesses in his age and even fewer would have willingly assured him he wouldn’t have to die to bless the life of his child.
This time, no one would come to comfort him. His new mistress barely looked at him, the master slave let him feel his antipathy at every opportunity and the provider was too stressed with the baby and cooking.
I’m on my own. And there’s no chance it’ll get better any time soon. Being waken by Haimon in the early morning, working with short breaks for a simple meal, working again, going to sleep… The only break-out from that routine was the few words the provider exchanged with him, thus allowing him to speak with her although he wasn’t the highest ranking servant.
I can’t understand why Haimon keeps me away from her. She’s so kind to… just everyone. The heiress would love her when she’d be older. He would enjoy seeing them together. That was, if he still lived then. He’d work hard for it, do everything the queen and Haimon would ask, try to prove he was worth to be kept for household tasks. But he could never know for sure. After all, of what use was a breeding slave when the master slave served that purpose well?
On the other hand, that was a guarantee not to end in the sacred waters. In the meantime, he had settled with the thought that he would never have a daughter on his own. He didn’t want one anyway.
Not any more.
“Dreaming again?” The sudden words broke the spell the fire and memories had put him under and he jerked round sharply just to stare into a face framed by hair that seemed even redder in the warm light. It was watchful but not as hostile as usual.
“Of course you were.”
“I’m sorry,” Protego mumbled dejectedly. Should he try to defend himself? “Everything is done and… I supposed you were inside with the queen.”
“Pha.” Haimon slowly shook his head. “Wouldn’t you have heard us then?”
“I- probably.” Truth be told, he wouldn’t have heard anything while being lost in his thoughts.
A heavy body thumped onto the grass at arm’s length to his left. For a while, none of them spoke.
“It’s almost peaceful here when that girl isn’t wailing.”
“Doesn’t the noise bother you?”
Protego shrugged. “She’s an infant.”
“Gods, I don’t want to have children ever. They’re like plague only that you’re stuck with them for your whole life,” Haimon declared with a sudden passion.
“They’re not that bad…,” the other man objected shyly.
“So you’d like to have one yourself? Be warned, I was told that I’d be killed in that case.”
Haimon’s gestures became more sweeping the more agitated he got. “As if any man would murder his wife for giving birth!” As his counterpart didn’t answer, he continued waving his arms toward the provider’s hut. “If anyone asked me whether I’d like to be the father of that one I’d gladly leave it to that king.”
“But king Serkon is-”
“Her father?” The master slave’s head was now turned toward him and his voice dropped with sarcasm. “Yeah, that’s what everyone shall think. But I’m not dumb. She told me herself it could still be mine and I’d be truly amazed if she could already tell for sure. I mean, look at that thing! In the moment it doesn’t resemble anyone at all!”
That revelation took him off guard, but the master slave had already changed the subject.
“Well, enough talk about me. Why are you here? I figured I knew but she hasn’t even touched you once since then.” Piercing blue eyes cooled his skin.
If only I knew.
And he continued staring at the fire as if the red heat would bear the answers to that question.
This chapter contains extra screenshots in the gallery.