The Central Kingdoms: Noriand
The Kingdom of Noriand was once ruled by a tiger lord who had been bestowed the right to rule here by king Alexei. However he started a slave trade which is illegal in the central kingdom kidnapping and selling off creatures of all sizes and sexes all over the realm. Even enslaving their own first guard wolf shifters. The wolves here aren’t Dhima ice wolves, but regular shifters with a gift of magic, each wear a talisman that allows them to control electricity. Eliles waged war against the tiger lord after he kidnapped and celestial half-breed that was also half of one of these wolves. Her children dethroned him and her oldest son Emerick was named lord of this land and he mated to the half-breed Jade that had been kidnapped, they are expecting their first born soon. Noriand is know where there are fertile mines and land.
However…there are small pockets of illegal slave trading still operating in underground black markets out in the desert…
Underground Slave Markets of Tsumal
Wretched. Rejected. Abused. Lost. These were the feelings of the slaves currently on auction in the markets. Men and women, noble-born and not peering at them, poking and pinching their skin, jerking their mouths open to examine their teeth. It was humiliating and degrading.
But to one, it was the norm.
Her pale hair stood out like a beacon in the dankness of the markets. Her gray eyes drawing potential buyers to her like a bee to honey. She was but a beautiful flower among the sea of despair. Despite her disheveled appearance, she radiated beauty.
She was Ilyra. And she was a Winter Elf.
She had once been a proud daughter of the leader of their clan, having all the benefits due to her station. The Winter Elves had lived in peace and harmony for thousands of years, having never been subjected to the harshness of battle.
And then one day…the slave traders stumbled upon their village…
That was the day her life changed for the worse.
Taken from everything she held dear…made a slave to the whims and desires of man and beast alike…beaten, broken and having her magic locked away the moment she defended herself.
For over 10 years, she had been a slave. Traded and sold at a moment’s notice.
Today was no different.
On her knees and chained between two poles in the center of town so that everyone could take a look at her. She was the first to auctioned, according to the slave trader, Belial.
Speak of the devil…
A slap woke her from the light doze she’d fallen into and her eyes snapped open to see him standing in front of her.
“Wakey, wakey, pretty elf. The people wish to get a look at you.” he grinned maliciously, stroking calloused fingers across her skin. She wanted to cringe away from his touch, but the warning look in his eyes promised much pain if she so much as blinked the wrong way, another thing about her life she was used to. She had been in his possession for almost 2 years, trading her favors for goods each time they stopped in a city along their travels. He was now bored with her, and was looking for something fresh. Hence the reason they were in Tsumal.
She straightened her tired and aching body as much as she was able, the snowflake birthmark on her neck and the tattoo upon her arm visible for all to see.
Looking out at the sea of faces surrounding her, she wondered who her new owner would be and if he or she would be a good master…or a bad one…
It was not uncommon, for those of the Mountain ranges to come down to the towns to do trade with their horses, but also to gain good females for breeding. Often the women of the Njada could not withstand the freezing tempretures of the harsh winter conditions, and so it was seen as a ritual that the eldest sons ride down to trade horses for women that would keep them warm in the winter and bear them strong children, if they survived the elements.
One such son, was Tagor, Son of Eraba. A mighty horseman and noble among the nomadic Njada. Riding on his prized black stallion, he led in a procession of horses that were available for trade, along with four other men from his tribe, all intent on bringing back women. They rode high in the saddle, past the many traders and fanciful stores, where the robed sellers all stopped to pay respect to the Njada. It was widely known that they were some of the most wealthy in the lands, due to the vast tracks of land that they have had for over three centuries.
Tagor pulled up his horse,and dismounted, speaking in his own native tongue to their lackies, to set up the mob of horses in the sales yards, as he wanted to go and see what was on offer in the underground Slaves market.
Seeing the slave trader Belial, he raised his head and then looked over the women on offer, in particular the one that was on her knees between the two poles. What struck Tagor was the marking on her of the snowflake. Could she be one of the fabled Winter elves? Tagor approached the tied slave, and walked around her slowly, taking in her features. He made a few audible grunts, before speaking in his native tongue to an off-sider, who then relayed what was being said to Belial.
“My Master will pay you two horses and a bag of silver for her. Take it or leave it.”
Tagor folded his arms, and waited for the Slave trader’s reply. His dark brown eyes boring into the man’s skull. He detested these traders more than he did any others, especially since he knew how they treated women.
Their leader strode foreward after speaking to his men, walking around Belial’s most prized possession as if contemplating an offer. Belial gulped hard.
The dark-skinned man turned to his companion and spoke something, who nodded before looking at Belial.
“My Master will pay you two horses and a bag of silver for her. Take it or leave it.”
Belial swallowed hard as the taller man stared him down with a hard expression. He decided to try his bargaining chip.
Walking behind Ilyra, he placed his hands on her shoulders, squeezing almost painfully into her skin – a warning.
“Surely, my lords, she is worth more then that.” Belial stammered, sweat pooling at his brow. “She is a Winter Elf. Very beautiful, very subservient.” Belial squeezed her shoulders again, causing Ilyra to raise her head. It was usually forbidden of her to look upon the ones who would be trading for her and she nearly gasped when her gray eyes were caught up in the dark eyes of the unknown man in front of her.
Her breath caught in her throat, for she found he was very handsome. He stared at her with an intensity that nearly frightened her and she quickly looked away, feeling overwhelmed.
“Say…double the price?” Belial questioned, feeling hopeful that the fact she was of the Winter Elves persuade the man to change his mind.
Tagor was no fool, and had met Belial’s kind before. Always after as much as he could get for his women, and Tagor was not about to be duped into paying more than she was worth. The horses he had brought down from the Mountains, were some of the fastest and most noble creatures you ever lay eyes on. A horse fit for a King, and if a man were to have an army that rode such beasts, they would win hands down. Tagor believed the price he offered fair. More than fair….generous. He found the slave trader’s antics to be abhorrent, and he snorted through his nostrils, not moving or flinching as the slave trader tried to make the slave look more appealing, by having her raise her head. This was not the done way and for that alone, the trader should be prosecuted. You could see the veins standing out prominently on his neck and then he growled words to his off sider, who squeaked on hearing it and then nervously tried to relay what was said.
“My Master…refuses to pay more. He said…that his horses are better looking than your slaves..”
Tagor grunted and then turned to leave, signalling to his men to move on to the next slave market in search of women.
Belial’s mouth dropped open as the man and his companion turned to walk away. Belial was a greedy person, always looking for the best deals. But seeing a potential fare walk away grated on his nerves.
“Wait!” he called to them, hoping they would pause. He looked down at Ilyra. Could he afford to part with such a treasure for a meager price? He had heard rumors of the Njada’s horses…and they were some of the best in the land. Even Kings traded gold for such beasts and he began to imagine ways of selling them in other far off lands.
“I will take your deal.” he agreed, stepping in front of the elf and holding up the key to Ilyra’s chains.
Ilyra resisted the urge to sigh. It wouldn’t be good to be caught like that. No money had changed hands as of yet so she was still Belial’s property. She didn’t want to get smacked for her insolence.
But knowing she was about to be passed into the hands of the unknown had her a bit apprehensive. She was thrilled that she would no longer be under Belial’s cruelty, but at the same time, she did know what she was going to be in for when she was passed into this man’s hands.
Her head remained bowed as they began their trading, her posture betraying none of her thoughts.
“Wait!” Just as expected. Tagor stopped but did not turn around. His lacky did however, and bowed politely. “I will take your deal.” Slowly the nomad Son of Eraba turned around and then looked closer at the woman that he had just traded two prize horses and a bag of silver for. The off sider took out the purse and tossed it to Belial, while Tagor snapped his fingers and held up two digits, so that some of his men brought over two horses from their trading stock. Both were fine looking animals, and would fetch a fair price at the sale yards. The off sider then took the key offered to Illyra’s chains and gestured to his Master that he could unlock her. Tagor nodded once, and then spoke firmly in his native tongue, which the off sider listened to and understood. He then turned to Illyra and said.
“My Master wishes you be taken to a bath house and cleaned.”
There was no other words said, as Tagor and his men went on their way to trade their horses and get more women, while the off sider, whose name was Jamai, said quietly. “Master likes you. But you smelly.” He then led the girl to the nearest bath house, that was guarded at both exits. A wealthy business woman who ran the bath house came out and looked the pair up and down before saying. “We don’t clean slaves.” This brought an audible groan from Jamai, who replied;
My Master, Son of Eraba has bought this woman and demands she be cleaned. He has brought many horses to trade, and this will be worth your while.” The richly dressed woman realized who Jamai was speaking about and then looked like she was having a mini orgasm. Clearly she fancied the nomad Lord, and hoped to be able to wash him sometime.
“Very well, but the clothes will have to be burnt. I have something more suitable for her, that your Master should like.” She then beckoned the girl to follow her. “Quick, before I lose my temper.”
She heard the gutteral speech of the man she was sold to and heard him as he walked away. The other man that had been with him turned to her.
“My Master wishes you to be taken to a bath house and cleaned.” he told her. She simply nodded at his words, having not been given permission to speak. “Master likes you. But you smelly.”
She frowned at that. Smelly? Her? She took great pains to clean herself when she was allowed. Having no real home, always on the move, Belial made her utilize the rivers and lakes they came across to bathe in, never letting her from his sight for more then a few minutes.
The man, whom she would later learn was named Jamai, took her to one of the local bath houses, run by a richly dressed woman. She frowned upon seeing them and glared when Jamai stated what he wanted.
“We don’t clean slaves.” she snapped.
My Master, Son of Eraba has bought this woman and demands she be cleaned. He has brought many horses to trade, and this will be worth your while.”
Finding out exactly who’s slave Ilyra was changed the woman’s tune really quick.
“Very well, but the clothes will have to be burnt. I have something more suitable for her, that your Master should like.”She beckoned Ilyra to follow her. “Quick, before I lose my temper.”
Ilyra knew better then to disobey and quickly followed the woman inside.
Several of the woman’s workers were on her like locusts, ripping her closed from her body and scrubbing her down from head to toe. Illyra, no longer the shy maiden, bore this treatment without complaint, ignoring the sight of all the scars and whip marks over her backside. Once she was dry, she was dressed in a new set of clothes that didn’t abraid her skin or itch.
She was returned to Jamai not long after, clean and refreshed. Having a proper bath brought out the gray highlights in her hair and her skin gleamed under the mid-day sun. She stopped before Jamai and bowed in thanks.
Tagor and his men were dealing with many interested buyers in the horses that they had brought down from the mountains. Now all penned up, this gave the Men of the Njada the chance to go and get the supplies that they needed along with other items that they wished to trade for. Some of the men wanted to see if there were any other available women slaves, and so the group split up, leaving Tagor and his brother Rakari standing and overseeing the sales of the horses. They knew they would fetch a good price this year, and both were pleased with the interest, though if you looked at either men, you would be unable to read their expressions. Njada men were imposing figures, much larger than those of the men of the markets. Intimidating to those around them, they were respected and so they should be.
Speaking in their own tongue, they watched the traders warily, while waiting for Jamai to bring back the new slave that Tagor had bought.
“I think you gave too many horses for woman.” Rakari said, not impressed with his brother that he gave the slave trader two and not one. Tagor disagreed. “Woman has mark of snow. Will be able to withstand winter. Winter elf good breeding.”
“Bah…she be dead by spring.” Rakari wandered off to see if he could find a woman in the slave markets, thinking he could do a better deal than his brother. Tagor leaned on the railing and watched his horses, thinking in his own mind that the woman had the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen, but with her in such a disheveled state, he did not want to touch her; not until she had been cleaned.
Jamai seemed impressed with Ilyra and nodded in approval at her clean appearance. If he was right, his Master would be most pleased that he’d completed his task.
Ilyra followed Jamai as he lead them to where Tagor was finishing up a couple of trades. She kept her eyes down as she was taught, but not to the point where she couldn’t see where she was going. They reached the sales yard where she paused a respectful distance from her new Master, her head bowed in subservience as she waited. But she was curious about him. He was different then any Master she’d ever had before.
She chanced a quick look, discovering he hadn’t seen her and Jamai approach. This gave her an opportunity to observe him. He was very well toned in body. She could see dark hairs at his chest beneath his vested top. His beard was thick and heavy upon his chin while his hair was long and flowed to his waist. If it hadn’t been bound by several lengths of leather, she had no doubt the it would have flown like a flag in the wind.
Gulping, she quickly looked away before she was caught. He was pleasing to look at, to be sure, but he was her Master. It wouldn’t do for her to be caught staring at him as she had. As she looked down, her gaze caught on the bracelets that had been a part of her life for as long as she’d been a slave. She could feel her magic, like an annoying itch beneath her skin and yet she had no outlet to release it. The bracelets could only come off in one way…but she was never told how that was.
She touched the metal with a finger, feeling the hum of power that tied them to her. There was simply no use in wishing for things that could not be. She missed her family…but this was her life now.