Orion turned bright red when Rosemary asked if he'd been married. "No, I... no, Missus, never," he stammered. Did she seriously think someone would want to marry him, or was she mocking him? He tensed for a moment, suspecting he was being made a fool of, but her face looked sincere, and he relaxed. "I don't think marriage is to be my fate. To much water under the bridge for that. Doesn't matter, though. I survived; what more can I ask?" A lazy grin, just a tiny bit forced, slid across his face. Somehow it had been easier to keep up his indifferent facade when people were being cruel to him than it was when they were actually kind, and he felt the mask slipping.
He would have liked to marry. Would have liked to have a companion, someone to trust, someone he could always talk to. But it was too late now, after Snyde and the brothel. Orion reminded himself once again that it didn't matter. At least he was out of there. He fully expected to be celibate for the rest of his life-- but that was better than being a whore. Even if he slept alone, at least he could gather the tattered remnants of his self-respect back around him.
Orion shrugged in response to whether a man would pay to sleep with Bonnie. "Some likely would. Their tastes run different, and sometimes they don't even seem to care who's underneath them. You'd think if you were naked with someone and you saw they were all bruised up, or so skinny their ribs stuck out, or near coughing their lungs up, you'd try to help them rather than taking your pleasure of them. But people never... it never happens that way. They never care if you're alright. All you are is a body, and as long as they can get what they want, they just climb on top of you and go at it..."
Realizing that not only was he sounding increasingly bitter, but that what he was saying was also increasingly less appropriate for Rosemary's ears, he abruptly tried to make his comments a little less descriptive.
"And you're right, they don't like someone who speaks for themselves. I used to be like that too. The clients would complain, and Snyde himself didn't have any patience with it. If you talked back to him or acted like you weren't going along with him, he'd beat it out of you. And if you tried to stop, tried to get away, that's when things got really bad. Shackles and... a lot worse."
He'd been about to elaborate, to discuss in detail what "worse" meant, but once again concern for Rosemary stopped him. She was a decent woman who had a happy life with her husband. Julen. Orion had heard that name a lot; all of the refugees seemed to like Julen very much. Presumably the man was equally kind to his wife. The last thing Rosemary needed was to hear about what it was like when you were a whore.
Orion turned to the three refugee women, an edge of desperation adding urgency to his voice. "Don't go back there. Whatever you do, don't let Snyde get hold of you. It never stops, once he does. He'll make your life a misery till he puts you in your grave, unless... unless you're luckily enough to get away. If people were lucky enough to get away twice, they'd be too lucky to live in the shanty town. You probably won't get another chance, if you fall in with him. Whatever you do, don't go back where he can find you!"
For once, Orion was making no attempt to hide his fear. The three women had to understand the gravity of the situation, and if having a pale, shaky Elf plead with them would help, he wasn't going to concern himself with trying to look tough. If they could see the damage Snyde had done, the emotional scars that remained even after Orion's body had been healed, maybe they would see how important it was that they save themselves from a similar fate.
Orion's face turned a shade or two paler, though, when he realized how overtly he'd spoken out against Snyde. He took a quick look around, his head darting about like a bird's, half expecting to see one of Snyde's thugs behind him, hands already balled in fists or gripping a club, ready to punish the insubordination. Orion would be made an example of-- he had already earned a reputation for being troublesome, and Snyde wouldn't consider him worth sparing. Snyde never had to worry about running out of whores, as long as there were desperate people starving in the shanty town, whose lives could be threatened until they did whatever Snyde wanted.
There were no thugs here. No clubs. That was in the past. Orion's fear was just memories bleeding over into the present. He needed to stop that, he reminded himself sharply. The last thing he needed was for the people at the compound to decide he was more trouble than he was worth, or for his emotional problems to push the limits of their tolerance. He had to pretend he was alright, or they'd lose patience with him and turn him out of the shelter... and he'd end up dead, or back in the hell Snyde had created for his captive servants. Orion would greatly prefer the death option, which Snyde's thugs knew well-- Orion hadn't been allowed near any sharp objects in years, for fear he'd put himself out of his misery... which Orion wasn't allowed to do, as long as he was bringing the bishani in. Deciding who died was apparently Snyde's sole privilege, and his thugs enforced his will enthusiastically.
Orion turned his gaze to Rosemary, and his voice was wary and tight. "How do we make sure they don't send us back, Missus? We can't go back. Not after we came here. Snyde would say we were all traitors, and... well, the ones he killed outright would have it better. What things would make the people here angry, make them want us to leave? What do we need to do or not do, so they won't change their minds?" He wrapped his arms around himself, an overtly self-protective gesture. "Please, Missus, how do we make sure they let us stay? I never want to go back there."