As expected, they came for her late in the night, the royal guards roughly dragging her from her quarters in the Sultan's harem and down into the dark depths of the palace dungeons. And frankly, Callista was still surprised, that with the Sultan's well known propensity for young girls that she'd lasted for as long as she had.

Captured at an early age by Moorish pirates and taken to the slave markets of Damascus, Callista had quickly attracted the lecherous eye of a wealthy Persian Sultan. And, over the long nightmarish years of sexual servitude that followed Callista gradually blossomed until by her twentieth birthday she'd become the most beautiful and desirable of the Sultan's slaves.

But, in the end it was Callista's considerable charms that eventually proved her undoing. After all, as a slave Callista's continued existence depended entirely upon the whims of her master, the Sultan, an evil old man whose sexual appetites favored pretty little girls over that of beautiful young women.

Entering the dungeon, the Sultan's guards forced Callista down unto her knees before the headsman's blood stained block. Roughly pulling the unresisting women's arms behind her back they were about to tie her wrists when the Sultan suddenly ordered them to stop.

Stepping forward out of the shadows the Sultan met the upturned gaze of Callista's lovely green eyes as he said, "I'm sure we'll have no need to bind Callista's wrists. She's known for sometime that this night would inevitably arrive." Pausing to gaze down upon the beautiful young woman, the Sultan smiled as he continued, "And I'm sure, that as one of my favorites, Callista's well aware of what is expected of her this night."

Fighting back her tears, Callista stared up into the Sultan's eyes and sadly nodded. She'd seen the morning caravan arriving from the west. She'd heard the whispered rumors that it brought the Sultan yet another pretty little girl to join her master's slave harem. And, over the past few years, she'd noticed the abrupt disappearances of the older harem slaves until finally, just a few brief month's ago, she'd found herself the oldest of the Sultan's slaves.

Turning, to hide her tears from the Sultan's gaze, Callista leaned forward to stretch her slender neck across the waiting headsman's block as she marveled at the immensity of her master's final gift. During her time in the Sultan's harem she'd witnessed hundreds of public executions, executions where the doomed always fought in utter futility against the inevitable until the very end. Callista harbored no illusions of escaping her demise but marveled in the Sultan's final act of compassion.

Carefully resting the smooth unblemished whiteness of her throat against the rough wooden surface of the block a faint smile appeared on Callista's face as she willingly crossed her wrists behind her back and awaited the inevitable fall of the headsman's axe.

And still, knowing that in the end she was nothing more then another naked slave going to her death for the amusement of the Sultan, Callista realized that the Sultan had granted her that priceless final moment of self-determination, that moment of fleetingly brief freedom. That, unlike those countless criminals she'd watched going to the headsman's block, the Sultan had granted her the dignitary of a royal death. To die unbound before the eyes of her master the Sultan, to willingly surrender her life merely for his royal amusement.

Thoughts of her willing sacrifice were still swirling in Callista's utterly submissive mind when the descending axe painfully separated her head from her body...