Cage of Glass – Chapter 1

This is the start of a short erotica novel that should keep us company for about thirty chapters.
This first came into being as an erotic short story written in 2016, then I tried to strip the erotica element out of it, but for some reason it never did seem to quite work.

I may have found a way to make it work, though. Therefore, I welcome you to the adventures of Eteri, a young ceramist who finds herself at the service of the immortal ruler of her kingdom.

And said ruler has quite the hands-on approach…

(All characters over age of consent – in case of the Zalethi, many millennia older…)


The valley below looked like a glistening spiderweb, each golden bead the warmth of a home so similar to the one she has been forced to leave. And Eteri, watching from the bitter and proud height of the castle’s tower, felt like a fly trapped in that spiderweb. 

It was hard to guess how high she was – higher than most birds flew, for sure. The glass did not give her any answers, only the reflections of a tanned girl with black hair and soft brown eyes. 

No matter how much she tried, Eteri did not recognize herself in the reflection. She was used to her body being tired and dirty from a full day of sweating at the workshop. Those perfectly-cut hair would be covered in soot and dust, and her nails black with mud. 

The person looking back was just as pristine as a freshly-baked ceramic plate, shining hot from the over. 

Here yes shifted towards the valley again. Maybe from here she could pinpoint where her home was, where her family surely was looking up from a window so similar to this one, trying to catch her amidst the splendor of the Zalethi’s castle, hidden between its thousands mirroring surfaces, the waterfalls of crystals that reared in blades of foamy glass. 

“What are you looking for, little flower?” 

Eteri shuddered. She had not heard her coming. The voice that whispered from behind her had a smooth and bell-like quality, more similar to the echoes of brazen bells than a human voice. She shivered, and the strings of glass beads, her only clothing, tinkled with their own whimpering cries. 

“I…” she had been instructed not to speak out of turn. But this was a direct question, so she was supposed to reply. There was no way she could say no to the immortal ruler of her world. “I was looking for home.”

“That is a silly notion,” the Zalethi said, appearing at last in the window’s reflection. She was tall enough to contain Eteri’s image completely. “Isn’t this supposed to be your home now?”

“Yes, Eternal Grace,” she replied with a crease of doubt in her voice. Did that question imply that she still had a choice?

But what kind of choice? She surely would not walk out of the castle with her tail between her legs, dragging herself to her family and tell them that it had all been one big mistake.

And that yes, she could not give herself up in place of her older sister, after all. Tatia would become the slavegirl and Eteri would be free. 

Her sister would be brought to the Castle, undressed, and then covered as she was, with tinkling crystal that showed more than hid, in a tantalizing promise, the curves of her body. Tatia was taller, plumper, and much more beautiful than she was. She would become such a perfect ornament. 

“That much you could.” The Zalethi set her hands over her shoulders. It was not the first time she touched her, but Eteri doubted she would ever get used to it.

She did not want to get used to it. 

That would mean she accepted she was just a thing to put on display, like her ceramics from the workshop. 

“I see it in your eyes. I can feel it in your breath. You crave nothing more than to leave this place of ceramic and glass and go back to your simple life with your simple people. You have just to ask.”

Eteri shivered, and her breath hitched in her throat, because she knew the woman behind her understood her desire so well. 

The Zalethi overwhelmed her.

She looked more like a living statue than a woman: her skin smooth and slightly reflective, it was dark as ink and filled with sparkling stars and nebulae. The first time she had seen her, back when she was a child, Eteri had thought that the Zalethi looked like night, bottled up and shaped in the form of a gorgeous maiden. 

What other form could be worthy of the Herald of the Gods?

But there were no Gods to pray to at that point. Eteri was altogether alone. 

Her head fell against her chest, her shoulders slumped. She looked like a branch about to break under too much weight. 

She was giving her what she had always wanted. So why not to take it?

But then, raising her gaze just a bit, she met the Zalethi’s face – the part that was not hidden by her tall helm. Mostly her wide and thick lips remained visible, curving into a mirthful smile. 

Eteri balled her fists. 

“I have asked for the chance to serve you, o Eternal Grace,” she croaked. Her stomach felt like someone was filling it with lead. But she did not buckle. “I believe my word is one, even as a slave-girl, for your will is one as well.”

The smile soured into a tight frown.

“You know what will be required of you,” the Zalethi warned her. Those bell tones now deep and dark like the crevices of the earth. Her hands let go of her shoulders and slowly fell over her chest, cupping Eteri’s slight breasts.

The touch of her smooth palms was warmer than she had expected, but the inevitable strength they possessed meant she would always live by their will. 

“I do know.”

“For your body will be property. You know what you are giving up.”

“I would rather give up my own than see it taken away from my sister,” she replied with rebellious whisper. Her fists trembled and the furious tinkling of the beads covering her arms filled the silence between her and the Zalethi.

“Now you are being unjust, but it is to be expected of one so ephemeral.” Her hands lowered, moving to touch her stomach. Eteri shivered again, drawing in a surprised breath as an unseen and foreign fire came to rest, treacherous, between her legs as she pressed against each other. “You speak prideful words. And for what? Your family will forget all about you. Your sister, whom you so dearly love, will see memories of you turn to dust, to be visited once and then never again, her sorrow dulled by the unerring grind of motherhood and age. You will become a faint thing, a regretful glint of light upon water. Is that what you wish to be?”

“I have spoken,” Eteri replied again. 

“And I have heard.” A low chuckle escaped her dark lips. “You think yourself so clever. But I have seen all that there is to be seen beneath the Sun. You have heard me call child even governor Thesanthei, who is so ancient he couldn’t say when he last saw a dark hair on his head. I speak to all of you with the same moniker, because that is all you ever are: meaningless variations on a single note. Waves falling ashore with no identity or goal.”

“If that is true, then one could wonder why you are so keen on taking in new slavegirls, o Eternal Grace.”

“Ah, careful now,” she chuckled, one of her fingers moving aside the beads and playing with her navel, sending a wave of heat beneath her skin. The Zalethi did not breathe, but the echo of her words felt like a thin fire all over her skin. “Let’s not tilt your bravery into obscenity.”

“I will still take my sister’s place as your slavegirl,” she stated for the third time. She gently closed her mind.

“You would give me your everything.”

“I will give you my body i-if that is what you desire, o Zalethi, Eternal Grace, Herald of the Twelve.” She dragged in a shaky breath through her dry lips, but she did manage to keep speaking, even if each word felt like walking on a thin blade hanging above the deepest abyss. “But I will keep my mind, and my sorrow. They will be a keepsake for my family.”

The Zalethi laughed. 

That bell-like sound washed over and through Eteri, striking her resolve like the swings of a mallet.

“So self-assured! So be it, your stubbornness is useless, but so endearing. And as for the rest, we shall see…” her hands pulled her against the Zalethi’s body. Eteri felt her smooth and glassy stomach against her back. Her breath caught in her throat. “I wonder how long you will keep your sharpness, my dear? You may find that a strong will and good intentions will not last long in my embrace. And time dulls every edge.”

“I-It may be,” she replied as the Zalethi’s hands rose to cup her breasts once again. “But I shall keep my promise.”

“Let this be our little wager, then,” said the woman made of glass and stars and night.

Author’s Notes: I’m really sorry for those who wanted more Runo and Artumes, but something went wrong in my creative process and I can’t seem to proceed down that storyline.

Also, I have been working on a few chapters in this universe before and I felt like going back to it, especially now that I have hopefully sketched the novel from start to a satisfactory end. I hope you will enjoy this. And sorry for the inconvenience. Sometimes the Muse is fickle.

Thanks for reading and being patient with me.


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