Location || Ziugen - Waiting Room
Iona stumbled as she stepped wrong, once again, the heel of, what they called her shoe, went left and her ankle went right. She was barely able to recover by latching onto a wall before her angle twisted too far. "Who makes these things!?" Iona wailed to the empty pristine corridor. These shoes were a nightmare. A living nightmare. She knew what they were, of course, heels, not just any heels, but high stilettos, her ankles were six inches above the ground here petite feet wrapped in a crisscross of black leather to keep them secured, hideously huge gemstones running along each strap, a shoe so hideous that it reeked of overcompensating indulgence. As she leaned against the wall, for the seventh time since walking down the hallway, Iona looked around the large white marble hall, there were no guards, but they didn't need any, she had spotted seven holorecorders so far, three that were made obvious so whatever slave going through would know they were being watched and four they didn't want people to know were there. 'How!? How do people walk in these things!?' Iona wanted to scream with frustration as she had nearly twisted her ankle so many times she was terrified of letting go of the wall.
Iona could run full sprint on a wet pipe only four inches across and not sway. She can sit steadily upon a floating rock and not tremble. Her sense of balance was impeccable even before she was a Jedi, but these things were monstrous. She could remember watching her 'betters' back on Coruscant back when she would sneak up to pickpocket, steal ration bars which, while bland and with an almost, and thankfully, indecipherable taste were far better then what she normally could get, or when some of them would come down to the lower-city on some charity event to make themselves feel better, how they stood in these monsters, these shoes that made them look so regale, so potent, so beautiful... Walking so far above the dirt that she lived in as if they lived on another galaxy. Iona had always dreamed of being like them, even if only for a moment, being beautiful and never having to worry about the next meal or what corner to avoid if they didn't want a blade in their back, and now, now she would rather walk barefoot then on these things.
Perhaps it was the tight, confining shimmering emerald dress that clung far too closely to her curves and made her feel like she was being smothered, or it could have been the cosmetics they had applied to her face, it felt like she was wearing a mask, a mask that she couldn't take off and that was 'part' of her yet wasn't, or, it was her hair which constantly irked her now that it wasn't in her lovely ponytail kept far away from her face. Now it fell in waves around her shoulders, clipped to fix her frayed, burnt ends that came from cutting it with her lightsaber, meticulously prepared so that, instead of her normal straight hair, it now had gentle curls that gave it depth, Iona had not recognized herself in the mirror when Nancy had shown her. The face looking back at her was that of the women who she used to hate and envy in equal measure. The face of a woman who would sell for a hefty credit value, but put enough makeup on anything and they can pass as beautiful, or, well, Iona was fairly confident that was how it worked, why else have it if it didn't?
Iona pushed off against the wall and took a few, small tentative steps down the hall, her hands held out to her sides acting as counter balances as she did her best not to stumble as she kept going down the hall, but one thought had stayed with her the entire time, where were the other slaves? Why was she the only one here?
Iona collasped into the soft chair in what, she can only assume, was a waiting room. At least she had discovered the answer to her question as three other women were also in the room with her. Each one wearing beautiful clothing, each one beautiful, although they weren't all the same. A young twi'lek say huddled in a corner chair, her makeup running from her tears, when Iona had asked what was wrong, the oldest of their group, a beautiful mature Zeltron woman had said a certain Hutt with a peculiar taste had taken an interest in her bidding. From the sound of it, Iona could hazard what those taste were, some of her friends, in the past, who grew desperate for food would do... jobs for money and sometimes they would come back beaten or cut up... sometimes they never came back. For the girl's sake, Iona hoped the cavalry was coming in because she didn't want to see that again.
"I hate the waiting," the mature Zeltron, Larrise said, her husky voice well used to sending chills down the spines of the opposite, and likely, same sex. The Zeltron made a show of examining her nails as if bored with teh entire thing, "I suppose they need to keep the boys waiting, last time I sold for a nice mill," she said, her voice purred with satisfaction.
"You like this?" Iona asked in disbelief
Larrise made a show of looking Iona offer before sniffing as if she didn't find her worthy of the attention, "Of course, the trick is just finding the right buyer. They think they are here to pick, but they aren't, if you're clever, you can pick your," she paused before stressing the word as if a bashful teenagers admitting her first love, "master."
Larrise let out a pearl of laughter, "Its not different then being 'free', find the right man, get a nice place to live, get pampered by those not smart enough to figure out the game and when you get bored of him, throw up a fuss until you get put back into the store to look for the next adorable little puppy. If you're really lucky, you sometimes get ones that can backup all their bravado. Then, you get one of these lovely little things," she said and caressed the collar around her neck, unlike theirs which were bulky and gray, hers was paper thin and was forged of a beautiful silvery metal. Iona blinked when she realized it wasn't a shock collar. It was jewelry, nothing more then a stylish symbol of ownership. The woman had no reason to be kept there.
Iona starred at the woman for awhile, at first, she didn't believe what she was hearing and then... and then she understood. People did what they needed to to survive, some people tried to blend in, others trying to control the situation.. others made them think they were okay with it, that as long as they didn't let it get to them they weren't really bad off, that, in truth, they had somehow managed to cheat the system and weren't the ones at a disadvantage. She had lived with those kinds of people her entire life, girls who would come back and stay in the hole in the wall she called home for a place to sleep covered in bruises but with their chins held high, looking down at her for the squaler she lived in while they made do things they weren't proud of, at least they didn't live like she did. It made them feel better, to see someone living differently and believe themselves to be better, to validate their decisions to themselves so they could live with the decisions they were making.
"I'm sorry," Iona said and she meant it, "For what they did to you. It won't last, you'll be free."
Larrise shot her a venomous look, "Free to what? Starve? Do you hate me?" she asked and giggled at Iona as if speaking to a child, "Because I know how to survive in this world? To thrive? You think you are special? Toothpick of a girl like you, I see pieces of meat like you come through here all the time, believing the universe is anything more then something that will chew you up and spit you back out just to do it all again because it loves the taste, the screams of your pain as you beg them to please stop, to just stop hitting you."
"They will stop," Iona said, "Very soon."
"I can't wait," Larrise said her voice filled with venom, "Not for your delusions to come true, no, I can't wait for the next month, or two, maybe even six months, when your buyer brings you back after breaking you, breaking that innocent little spirit of yours. I'm going to be watching your auction, sitting in a bed being massaged and drinking the finest of blossom wines as you are a broken wreck sold for half the price you were just a month ago."
Iona gave the woman a large smile, "We'll see."