[RP Episode] Slavers and Shackles


#142

“I am not a slave!” Halatir’s words came out with greater force than he intended. “Did he send you after me?”


#143

‘‘Ah, so you were a slave? Interesting.’’ analysed the commander, who took in every detail of what Halatir just babbled out without a second thought. ‘‘Who do you think is after you?’’


#144

“The captain. He was in the…fighting…hole. With others on chairs.”


#145

‘‘You were a slave forced to fight then? Well, follow me outside, and i have something to show you that might put your worries to rest.’’ the commander gestured, and lead him outside to his cage carriages, where many pirates, and even a few pirate lords, were imprisoned within. ‘‘Do you recognise your master anywhere here?’’ he asked. Evidently, Halatir’s former master was not present.


#146

“No, he’s not here. He must have run away.” Halatir’s fists clenched.


#147

‘‘That, or he’s dead.’’ the commander comforted him, ‘‘But you have no reason to fear us. What they did was illegal, and all slaves which were property of these murderous scum were granted freedom after our raid. Well, those who survived, at least. Which includes you.’’ he smiled, ‘‘You have no reason to fear us.’’, and then shifted to a sterner look once again when he remembered, ‘‘Do tell me, why did you run from our camp?’’


#148

“i-faino.” replied Halatir. “I did not know who you were, and wanted to escape. I would have tried to do so even if you had not showed up. Aside from Tao-Shel, the other hunter who found me, and one of yours called Rhae, I have no had pleasant encounters with the Niraii.”


#149

The commander blinked at that, and then promptly saddled his horse. He would feel sorry for this foreign elf, and former slave, but… he just didn’t care about every single poor soul’s struggle and feelings. There were too many of those.

‘‘Sorry to hear that. Hope luck starts smiling your way, then. Take care.’’ he said, and rode off with his convoy in tow.

Tao just stood there behind Halatir as he watched them ride off momentarily, and was awkwardly beginning to back away from him, as he had ratted him out to the law.


#150

Halatir stood, stunned. No more would he be treated like a piece of cattle, lashed when disobedient and given grass when he was good. He was free, and with far less bloodshed that he had imagined. He turned to Tao-Shel.

”Would you reach me your tongue? I have no home, and it is almost impossible for me to return to my own, particularly without speaking your language. Might I stay, and help you and your village, such as I can.” He paid no attention to the Nirai’s deed. The soldier had obviously been someone of importance, perhaps Tao’s Chief, and of course his duty had been to turn him in.


#151

Tao froze for a moment, ‘‘Great, now i’ll have to teach this guy how to talk?’’ he thought. With a deep breath, he nodded, ‘‘I could.’’ and began stroking his goatee, ‘‘But what is it you can do for us?’’ he asked.


#152

”I come from village too. Not so different. You need food, I will hunt. You need house built, Halatir knows this too. Make boats, fish, fight.” Talking about his village tripped a memory inside his brain, and with it went all semblance of Common grammar. ”If not, I will find road to…hobage.” His vocabulary of words did not stretch to harbors or ports. ”Place of many ships.”


#153

Tao sighed, ‘‘I would advise against that. You don’t know where to go, and no one here has the time or will to be your guide. Your best bet is to remain then, and wait for a civilian caravan to come through which would let you come along with them to more civilised areas. Which might take a while.’’ he explained, and looked around the village square, which was still teeming with life. ‘‘People here aren’t very trusting of outsiders, but by trying to learn their language and culture, they will learn to respect your efforts. In the mean time, you could do chores for me. Mundane tasks, like tending to the garden, rubbing the temple floor, watering the inside plants, keeping the temple flame alive, and so forth. In return, i will teach you our tongue.’’


#154

The next few months crawled along. Summer rolled by, which Halatir spent under as much shade as possible, and fall began.

Halatir spent those months attempting to suppress his instincts as much as possible. He was a poor pupil, impatient and quick to wrath, mainly at himself. The everyday life of the village galled him, the quiet peace disturbing him. Accustomed to violence, death, and pain from his youngest years, the pervading tranquility of the happy Nirai drive maddened him.

However, the time was not wasted. After a few weeks of hesitant standoffishness, the villagers eventually accepted Halatir into their surroundings. Out of pure necessity, being trapped in an environment whose tongue he did not speak, Halatir did drive himself hard, picking up the Nirai’s strange speech after forced, continual practice.

He kept his end of the bargain as well. Though he balked at first, when performing certain tasks, Halatir kept the temple clean, the gardens spotless, the brightly burning sacred flame, which he vaguely understood to be important, permanently lit.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks to months, Halatir began to notice more about his fellow elves. They were more slender on the whole than himself, but limbre and lithe in their movements. Almost without fail, they obsessed over their appearance, to his amusement and confusion. Bracelets, beads, rings, necklaces, the Nirai loved them, one and all.

Among the other things that Halatir learned was the hunting habits of the southron elves. Instead of larger animals just as elk, bears and the like, to which he was accustomed , the Nirai hunted smaller game. Squirrels, Dormice, hares; the villagers hunted with snares, setting the traps in trees and shrubs. It was along one such game trail that the hunter had found Halatir in late spring.

But despite whatever feelings he might have on the fly, Halatir was free. And for him, that was enough.


#155