The Strange Gets Stranger
I must have slept late from yesterday’s job and run-in with Giroth. I was roused by three fellow low-ranking thugs with a shout of my name and a splash of water to my face. I was then harassed to get up and get bathed because a wealthy partner in our slave trade was visiting this day. There was to be a grand feast this afternoon and every member simply must attend and look their best. Finally! Something more resembling my true tastes was going to be taking place! I doubt these poor slobs that woke me up would be anywhere near regal enough to take part in a dinner with someone of such high status.
Seeing that I had completely forgotten to clean up last night a shave and a much-needed bathing was definitely in order. I cleaned up quite nicely, all-in-all, and far better than those poor scrappy tricksters. As I was gazing into the mirror I thought about my possibility of talking and discussing the politics behind the slave trade and the importance of my family’s part within it. I would finally have an opportunity to show my true worth and quite hopefully move up from these measly lower ranks.
I was sitting upon my bed when we were called and informed that the dignitary was approaching the city. We were to report to the grand dining hall to wait for her. Once I had entered the room, it wasn’t quite what I had expected. The walls were lined with paintings of many great leaders and long-passed champions of the Arena. The table itself was decorated with splendors such as I had never quite seen: candles, goblets, decorative pieces, it seemed like no empty space was spared. The many cooks dashed around the room making sure everything was placed just right as I and my fellow Brothers made our way to the side offered to us. I sat toward what seemed like the end of the table, no doubt having seating for ranks in the order they belonged, far away from the dignitary and the highest ranked among us. Kreigal, the leader of the faction, was sitting next to the head of the table, where the most decorated and plush chair sat. It did not seem long before we were instructed to halt our discussing amongst ourselves and the dignitary’s arrival was announced. We all stood as Angharad filia Alicia made her way into the room. She was a tall woman, towering over many in her party as they followed her into the room. She looked like she was tougher than half of the men amongst her. Yet in this sea of brute strength, this Elf woman seemed to command the whole room. Quite frankly, I had never been so captivated by a woman, given their subservience to us in the home. And though that power was alluring, I craved the power she had, keeping my eyes off her frame. Once she had sat and made herself comfortable, we were allowed to sit, given the subtle cue by our commander.
By the Gods was the meal fantastic! I had never heard my Brothers so quiet at meal time! Course after course was brought out by the cooks and servants, each one seemingly better than the last. I had not dined like this since I was at home!
Once the meal was completed, the political talk began. The middle and lower ranked members were ushered out, immediately cutting off my chance to speak with those powerful people sitting at the head of the table. Before I could become too distraught, I was lead into the communal recreational room, far down the hallways from the splendid dining hall. I had spent many nights meagerly gambling with some spare coin and watching the playful scuffles between two drunken men. Call it a high from the previous day, but I had a purse full of coin and I was not about to leave without it overflowing.
We played this game called “Gluckhaus” that this northern fellow had recently introduced to the gaming floor. I found myself quite lucky at it, so the large bets were not an issue for me. After a back and forth of losing a few turns here and there, I quickly found myself amongst a dwindling number of people who were tired of losing their ale money to me. Eventually a familiar group of lower-ranking members decided to sit down and make themselves comfortable. The one playing me (I had had too many drinks to quite remember his name) told me he would go all in if I would. I quickly agreed, unable to resist the temptation and the opportunity to keep up appearances. We played the longest game I think I had ever played, but finally I came out victorious! My opponent shook my hand with his rough ones as he congratulated me and motioned for the men behind him to bring him something. Confused, I waited and watched as this figure emerged from a corner in the room, clad in little more but rags. The human female stumbled as she was dragged by one of the bigger men and tossed toward the table. She whimpered. My now smirking opponent held her up by the hair to show her dirty face and very plainly stated to me, “Here’s your winnings, Marcus. Have our worn-out whore.”
I was rather astonished by this bestial act of unkindness toward whoever this woman was. Even I, who was raised to believe women were beneath me, thought this was rather harsh. She reeked of sweaty men and ale, smells to which I had become unfortunately accustomed. The poor girl seemed to have been passed around between these immoral sorry excuses for Brothers. Without a word, I immediately stood up and grabbed the beaten down female, escorting her out of the room, followed by hoots and hollers of obscenities and things I could possibly do to her. It took all I had to keep my mouth shut.
It did not take me long, given her evidently broken spirit, to take her back to the meager room I stayed in. Pulling her in and directing her to the center of the room, I shut the door behind us. My weakness got the best of me as she cowered toward my bed and sat down as if ready for another round of barbaric acts. She even whimpered softly as I moved closer and sat down beside her. It was a shame what they had indeed done to this beautiful woman. My heart ached at her pain!
I brushed back her light hair to view her full face, dirty with a few bruises and scratches. Her eyes were red and slightly puffy, no doubt from crying. She cowered at my touch, but I assured her that everything was fine. She didn’t seem to believe me and still backed away from any movement I made, so I attempted to reassure her. I believe that I finally got through to her as she appeared to relax some. In spite of her clear exhaustion she spat at me, “You’re not going to do what they did, are you?” Once I assured her that I had no intention of taking advantage of someone in such a battered state she gave me a rather sarcastic response that made me smirk some, “Well at least that is where you draw the line.”
I managed to get her to talk some after bringing a bucket and some water in for her from the bathing room. With my back turned to her, I instructed her to clean herself up. She did so in silence until curiosity got the best of me. I simply could not resist asking her about how she’d ended up in such a predicament. She was rather vague, but I did not press. Apparently her name was “Anne” and she had been sold off by her father to a passing slave caravan. On their way into the city, the caravan had been attacked, allowing her to escape. She managed to find a place to hide in the city for a while until she was found by The Brotherhood’s members. They secretly brought her back to the hall and then up to their quarters. She spared me the details of what happened to her once she arrived, but it was clear to anyone she had been severely abused.
Once she was done bathing, I heard her ruffling to put her dirty clothes back on. I stopped her and instructed her to get into the truck at the foot of my bed and retrieve something of mine that would fit her. She told me she was done, so I turned about to retrieve the bucket to take back to the bathing room. I could not help myself but to gaze over this perfectly rounded form that almost seemed to stretch out my tunic. It took all I had not to stare too long before clearing my throat. I silently opened the door and set the bucket outside of the room for the chamber maid to pick up later.
Luckily my roommate would be gone for the night, having been sent on a run with a few others to pick up a shipment of slaves. I offered her my bed to sleep in, given the filthy condition of my roommate’s side of the room. I will not lie and say that I did not sneak a peek at this full-figured goddess as she settled into my bunk. I look at her as I write this and find her captivating, something about her touching me deeply. However in this business one must not get too attached. And Gods know she is not safe here.