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chapter_nine_-_a_candle_in_the_dark [2013/08/06 20:06]
penguinwriter created
chapter_nine_-_a_candle_in_the_dark [2018/07/29 01:22] (current)
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-Chapter Nine: A Candle in the Dark +Chapter Nine: A Candle in the Dark 
- The trundling, rocking motion of the wagon as it rolled over the lumpy countryside could have been once described as soothing, even melodic in its own special way. Takkris closed his eyes and focused on the rocking, bumping and swaying motion of the wagon. He didn’t belong there, in a caged wagon filled with all sorts of grimy, yellow toothed men. He was the only child there, hardly twelve years old. Unlike the others he was well washed, his skin still had that youthful glow about it, and his teeth were pearly white and his hair was so fine it was almost like spun gold. It had a few snags in it and a couple places where blood had crusted and matted the hair to his head but overall he looked nothing like the people he was stuck with. The wagons rolled and rocked on as he tried his best to block out the horrific stench that clung to him like a blanket of filth. ​+ 
 +The trundling, rocking motion of the wagon as it rolled over the lumpy countryside could have been once described as soothing, even melodic in its own special way. Takkris closed his eyes and focused on the rocking, bumping and swaying motion of the wagon. He didn’t belong there, in a caged wagon filled with all sorts of grimy, yellow toothed men. He was the only child there, hardly twelve years old. Unlike the others he was well washed, his skin still had that youthful glow about it, and his teeth were pearly white and his hair was so fine it was almost like spun gold. It had a few snags in it and a couple places where blood had crusted and matted the hair to his head but overall he looked nothing like the people he was stuck with. The wagons rolled and rocked on as he tried his best to block out the horrific stench that clung to him like a blanket of filth. ​
   
- Takkris reached a hand to his cheek. He had soft lines to his face, with his long hair he could have been called beautiful rather than handsome. His hair was soft and silken, the parts of it that weren’t matted or filthy at least. His skin was darker than most of the people from Grachyr, he had the bronzed, permanently tanned look of the Aldmeir Dominion, even though he stayed inside all day and the only sun he got was from his window. Little wonder as his mother had been born there, he had the coloring of her skin and her beauty but he had his father’s hair and his soft umber eyes. In the right light his eyes shone like shimmering pools of warm honey. He had a softness to his eyes. A compassionate and gentle demeanor was how his mother liked to describe him, but in this context it was just another look of weakness. ​+Takkris reached a hand to his cheek. He had soft lines to his face, with his long hair he could have been called beautiful rather than handsome. His hair was soft and silken, the parts of it that weren’t matted or filthy at least. His skin was darker than most of the people from Grachyr, he had the bronzed, permanently tanned look of the Aldmeir Dominion, even though he stayed inside all day and the only sun he got was from his window. Little wonder as his mother had been born there, he had the coloring of her skin and her beauty but he had his father’s hair and his soft umber eyes. In the right light his eyes shone like shimmering pools of warm honey. He had a softness to his eyes. A compassionate and gentle demeanor was how his mother liked to describe him, but in this context it was just another look of weakness. ​
  
 He was beginning to understand that he couldn’t be that little boy anymore. He could not stand to be compassionate or kind to strangers, it was strangers who took him from his home and it was strangers who were going to sell him off like some piece of meat. No, he would have to change, break from the mold his mother had once worshipped. He would have to become hard, callused and cautious if he was ever to have any hopes of survival. His knowledge would have to be used to thwart those around him that would see him undone, that would see harm visited upon him. And most of all, he knew that he would have to harm another person. A terrible grievance he could have never seen himself committing in a million years. He was beginning to understand that he couldn’t be that little boy anymore. He could not stand to be compassionate or kind to strangers, it was strangers who took him from his home and it was strangers who were going to sell him off like some piece of meat. No, he would have to change, break from the mold his mother had once worshipped. He would have to become hard, callused and cautious if he was ever to have any hopes of survival. His knowledge would have to be used to thwart those around him that would see him undone, that would see harm visited upon him. And most of all, he knew that he would have to harm another person. A terrible grievance he could have never seen himself committing in a million years.
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 His calm and quiet exterior made him appear shy and reserved, when in truth he preferred to watch people and their reactions before making any himself. He was aware that was fairly strange for a child but it gave him great insight. He discovered that the quieter he was, the quicker people were to reveal their intentions to him, whether overtly or through subtler ways. Despite all his oddities, he never felt like there was something wrong with him, or that he should change in some way, shape, or form. He was confident in who he was, even if others may not have been. His mother always made him feel loved and safe. Something he poignantly missed sitting in the filthy wagon next to the other desolate souls waiting patiently to die or be sold and worked to death. He imagined when you knew you were going to die, the way in which you died didn’t matter much.  His calm and quiet exterior made him appear shy and reserved, when in truth he preferred to watch people and their reactions before making any himself. He was aware that was fairly strange for a child but it gave him great insight. He discovered that the quieter he was, the quicker people were to reveal their intentions to him, whether overtly or through subtler ways. Despite all his oddities, he never felt like there was something wrong with him, or that he should change in some way, shape, or form. He was confident in who he was, even if others may not have been. His mother always made him feel loved and safe. Something he poignantly missed sitting in the filthy wagon next to the other desolate souls waiting patiently to die or be sold and worked to death. He imagined when you knew you were going to die, the way in which you died didn’t matter much. 
  
- He still dreamt of home, of his rich posh life at the heart of the Grachyr Kingdom. His father had been a harsh man, but he always did right by his family. Or so he thought. It wasn’t until his mother passed less than a year prior that he realized it wasn’t his father, but his mother that had provided him with protection. His father had no sooner finished having men come to carry her things away when he sent a different set of men to take his only son away too. There were no words, no explanations for the betrayal, only a single look that Takkris had glimpsed as he struggled and was lifted up. Taken away from the only home he had known. A look of utter disgust and loathing painted his father’s wizened features. A filthy rag was shoved in his mouth and he had fought to scream out to his father for help, for an explanation,​ for anything. Nothing would come, just as no help would ever come for him now in the slave caravan.+He still dreamt of home, of his rich posh life at the heart of the Grachyr Kingdom. His father had been a harsh man, but he always did right by his family. Or so he thought. It wasn’t until his mother passed less than a year prior that he realized it wasn’t his father, but his mother that had provided him with protection. His father had no sooner finished having men come to carry her things away when he sent a different set of men to take his only son away too. There were no words, no explanations for the betrayal, only a single look that Takkris had glimpsed as he struggled and was lifted up. Taken away from the only home he had known. A look of utter disgust and loathing painted his father’s wizened features. A filthy rag was shoved in his mouth and he had fought to scream out to his father for help, for an explanation,​ for anything. Nothing would come, just as no help would ever come for him now in the slave caravan.
   
- Takkris had read about them in passing, they operated mostly on the outskirts of the Kingdom. The slavers rarely dealt in children, but a few higher profile groups did and they were handsomely rewarded for it. The latter information was given to him in bits and pieces by over hearing the slavers talk and the murmurs of the slaves he was now stuck with. He hadn’t always been penned in with the broken men who were to be bought and sold like cattle in some city that flouted the laws of common decency. He had had his own carriage. It was small but posh and filled with comforts. He had decent food he was able to wash and bathe himself, he had clean sheets on a clean bed and it was a smoother ride by far. It was at the front of the caravan, which avoided much if not all of the stink from people crammed into barren wagons with hardened iron bars for walls and a sheet metal roof that leaked rusty droplets when it rained. Over the bars were thick sheets of oiled cloth that kept out the rain and most of the sunlight, leaving the people inside constantly in the dark. There were no fresh breezes, nothing but the fetid stench of human despair and suffering. The thick cloth also made it hard for Takkris to tell where they were, dull blurry shapes were the most he could make out, and only when the sun shone from a particular angle. ​+Takkris had read about them in passing, they operated mostly on the outskirts of the Kingdom. The slavers rarely dealt in children, but a few higher profile groups did and they were handsomely rewarded for it. The latter information was given to him in bits and pieces by over hearing the slavers talk and the murmurs of the slaves he was now stuck with. He hadn’t always been penned in with the broken men who were to be bought and sold like cattle in some city that flouted the laws of common decency. He had had his own carriage. It was small but posh and filled with comforts. He had decent food he was able to wash and bathe himself, he had clean sheets on a clean bed and it was a smoother ride by far. It was at the front of the caravan, which avoided much if not all of the stink from people crammed into barren wagons with hardened iron bars for walls and a sheet metal roof that leaked rusty droplets when it rained. Over the bars were thick sheets of oiled cloth that kept out the rain and most of the sunlight, leaving the people inside constantly in the dark. There were no fresh breezes, nothing but the fetid stench of human despair and suffering. The thick cloth also made it hard for Takkris to tell where they were, dull blurry shapes were the most he could make out, and only when the sun shone from a particular angle. ​
   
- Back in his own carriage he had been reasonably comfortable,​ there was more than enough fresh air and generally a stiff breeze that rolled on through his windows and he was fed and taken care of even if he was still a prisoner and a slave. The first time he ran away they had berated him after catching him no more than twenty steps away from the caravan. As if he hadn’t eaten his vegetables after dinner, the treatment was insulting and so Takkris bit and kicked and screamed, but they treated him like no more than a riled up pup. He was placed back inside, scolded and told not to do that again. Naturally he tried, almost immediately and had made it that night nearly fifty paces from the caravan, down a steep hill. If not for the hill he was sure he could have gotten farther away. He had slipped and fallen and by the time he had picked himself up the slavers were on him like dogs on a bone. They smacked him around that time and warned him that if he tried anything foolish again he would forego his comfort. Concerned for himself and reeling from the beating he took from both the ground and the slavers, Takkris bided his time for nearly a week. Then while they were stopped and disposing of the dead slaves and the dogs were busy, he slipped out and made a run for it. He had gotten pretty far that time. He could have almost tasted freedom. If not for a traveler on the road he would have been able to get away. The traveler found him and offered to take him somewhere safe and when the slavers came looking the traveler lied to them at first, feigning ignorance about the boy. It wasn’t until he saw the golden glow of coin that he changed his story completely and without a moment’s notice or care he gave up Takkris’ hiding spot.+Back in his own carriage he had been reasonably comfortable,​ there was more than enough fresh air and generally a stiff breeze that rolled on through his windows and he was fed and taken care of even if he was still a prisoner and a slave. The first time he ran away they had berated him after catching him no more than twenty steps away from the caravan. As if he hadn’t eaten his vegetables after dinner, the treatment was insulting and so Takkris bit and kicked and screamed, but they treated him like no more than a riled up pup. He was placed back inside, scolded and told not to do that again. Naturally he tried, almost immediately and had made it that night nearly fifty paces from the caravan, down a steep hill. If not for the hill he was sure he could have gotten farther away. He had slipped and fallen and by the time he had picked himself up the slavers were on him like dogs on a bone. They smacked him around that time and warned him that if he tried anything foolish again he would forego his comfort. Concerned for himself and reeling from the beating he took from both the ground and the slavers, Takkris bided his time for nearly a week. Then while they were stopped and disposing of the dead slaves and the dogs were busy, he slipped out and made a run for it. He had gotten pretty far that time. He could have almost tasted freedom. If not for a traveler on the road he would have been able to get away. The traveler found him and offered to take him somewhere safe and when the slavers came looking the traveler lied to them at first, feigning ignorance about the boy. It wasn’t until he saw the golden glow of coin that he changed his story completely and without a moment’s notice or care he gave up Takkris’ hiding spot.
   
- His only comfort was that the man never lived to spend that gold. No sooner had Takkris been extradited from the thick underbrush at the side of the road had they slit the traveler’s throat and taken back the bag of blood stained coin. They blamed his death on Takkris and unceremoniously looted the corpse before rolling it into a ditch at the side of the beaten dirt road. It was then that Takkris was thrust into the cage with the rest of the slaves. They were told that if he escaped, they would be beaten and for every minute the child was gone, one of them would be killed. If they kept the child inside and safe they would all get extra food and water. And so the slaves became his jailers. There were far more slaves than slavers and there were always at least two pairs of sunken eyes watching him. He couldn’t scratch his head without a wave of tension rising and rolling through the crowded wagon. He had tried a few times to escape, the bars were just big enough that he could slide through if he tried really hard, but he had barely turned sideways when one of the slaves yanked him out and set him back down hard. +His only comfort was that the man never lived to spend that gold. No sooner had Takkris been extradited from the thick underbrush at the side of the road had they slit the traveler’s throat and taken back the bag of blood stained coin. They blamed his death on Takkris and unceremoniously looted the corpse before rolling it into a ditch at the side of the beaten dirt road. It was then that Takkris was thrust into the cage with the rest of the slaves. They were told that if he escaped, they would be beaten and for every minute the child was gone, one of them would be killed. If they kept the child inside and safe they would all get extra food and water. And so the slaves became his jailers. There were far more slaves than slavers and there were always at least two pairs of sunken eyes watching him. He couldn’t scratch his head without a wave of tension rising and rolling through the crowded wagon. He had tried a few times to escape, the bars were just big enough that he could slide through if he tried really hard, but he had barely turned sideways when one of the slaves yanked him out and set him back down hard. 
  
- The slavers were rather proud of their design and while it meant they had to give up extra food and take Takkris out every few days to hose him down in order to keep him reasonably clean, they no longer had to watch him like a hawk. The slaves did a fine job of that and it was well into their second month of travel and Takkris still had not tried to escape again. The slavers relaxed their guard to sparing only a few glances at Takkris per day. Takkris stared at his small hands and balled them into fists. He had never been particularly strong or notable. He was smart, and he read about many different subjects ranging from mathematics and engineering to art and poetry. He knew how many hours, minutes and seconds were in a day and he could count as well as any accountant could. His mother had fed him books like he were a starving child and he digested them faster than she could provide. But physically he was nothing special. He had never had a hard day of life until the moment he was sold into slavery. He barely had to lift a finger most days. His food was cooked and brought to him on a silver platter. He would read and eat at the same time, hardly ever taking his eyes from the small printed texts he kept close by. He would have been a scholar or a professor at one of the great academies had he stayed there. There was never any need to learn how to run, to fight or to escape capture, and now he wished he had learned nothing but. +The slavers were rather proud of their design and while it meant they had to give up extra food and take Takkris out every few days to hose him down in order to keep him reasonably clean, they no longer had to watch him like a hawk. The slaves did a fine job of that and it was well into their second month of travel and Takkris still had not tried to escape again. The slavers relaxed their guard to sparing only a few glances at Takkris per day. Takkris stared at his small hands and balled them into fists. He had never been particularly strong or notable. He was smart, and he read about many different subjects ranging from mathematics and engineering to art and poetry. He knew how many hours, minutes and seconds were in a day and he could count as well as any accountant could. His mother had fed him books like he were a starving child and he digested them faster than she could provide. But physically he was nothing special. He had never had a hard day of life until the moment he was sold into slavery. He barely had to lift a finger most days. His food was cooked and brought to him on a silver platter. He would read and eat at the same time, hardly ever taking his eyes from the small printed texts he kept close by. He would have been a scholar or a professor at one of the great academies had he stayed there. There was never any need to learn how to run, to fight or to escape capture, and now he wished he had learned nothing but. 
  
- Takkris had shut his eyes and was ready to nod off to sleep when the wagons stopped rather abruptly and hushed voices pierced through the oiled cloth to his small ears. There was something concerning enough that they’d stop the wagons which meant there was a potential for escape if the other slaves could be distracted long enough to miss his exodus. Takkris gently pulled out two iron nails he had been slowly wiggling loose over the course of the past month. The nails were thick and old but pointed and sharp which is exactly what he needed. While he could slip through the bars now that he was thinner, his refusal to eat much only seemed like a protest of the food and the other slaves were quick and eager to eat what he did not, the oiled cloth was lashed to the bottom of the wagon. If he popped out of the bars he would be doing the slavers a favor by catching himself in the cloth. The nails were to cut through, he tested them a couple days back, making tiny nicks in the cloth was easy even doing it blind as he did to avoid suspicion. He sat with his legs crossed and the two black nails resting in his palm. He knew he had to create a diversion of some sort, something for both the slaves and slavers, but he could not think of what.+Takkris had shut his eyes and was ready to nod off to sleep when the wagons stopped rather abruptly and hushed voices pierced through the oiled cloth to his small ears. There was something concerning enough that they’d stop the wagons which meant there was a potential for escape if the other slaves could be distracted long enough to miss his exodus. Takkris gently pulled out two iron nails he had been slowly wiggling loose over the course of the past month. The nails were thick and old but pointed and sharp which is exactly what he needed. While he could slip through the bars now that he was thinner, his refusal to eat much only seemed like a protest of the food and the other slaves were quick and eager to eat what he did not, the oiled cloth was lashed to the bottom of the wagon. If he popped out of the bars he would be doing the slavers a favor by catching himself in the cloth. The nails were to cut through, he tested them a couple days back, making tiny nicks in the cloth was easy even doing it blind as he did to avoid suspicion. He sat with his legs crossed and the two black nails resting in his palm. He knew he had to create a diversion of some sort, something for both the slaves and slavers, but he could not think of what.
   
- As Takkris racked his mind for a solution, he overheard the slavers talking to a pair of voices that were new to him. “No, I’m telling you no! The roads south are dangerous Amman! There’s been raiding and cutthroats throughout the area, just a few days ago bandits sacked King’s Valley and burned the damned town to the ground. We ‘‘cannot''​ go that way. Not unless you want our precious cargo stolen and our throats slit for being where we shouldn’t. Take the road south away from King’s Valley and then circle back up north on the other side of it. You clear Amman?” the voice said.+As Takkris racked his mind for a solution, he overheard the slavers talking to a pair of voices that were new to him. “No, I’m telling you no! The roads south are dangerous Amman! There’s been raiding and cutthroats throughout the area, just a few days ago bandits sacked King’s Valley and burned the damned town to the ground. We ''​cannot''​ go that way. Not unless you want our precious cargo stolen and our throats slit for being where we shouldn’t. Take the road south away from King’s Valley and then circle back up north on the other side of it. You clear Amman?” the voice said.
  
   
- “Clear as a bell. A few extra days won’t do us no harm, you just be sure to tell our clients that we’ll be running a bit behind schedule. Wouldn’t want them a thinkin’ we’ve run off with their merch, now would we?” said a familiar voice, presumably Amman.+“Clear as a bell. A few extra days won’t do us no harm, you just be sure to tell our clients that we’ll be running a bit behind schedule. Wouldn’t want them a thinkin’ we’ve run off with their merch, now would we?” said a familiar voice, presumably Amman.
   
- “I’ll be riding up to Fresin now then. The way after King’s Valley seems clear, just be sure to avoid the patrols on the north leg after Culthier. There’s a new captain near the eastern border and he doesn’t take kindly to slavers,” said the first man.+“I’ll be riding up to Fresin now then. The way after King’s Valley seems clear, just be sure to avoid the patrols on the north leg after Culthier. There’s a new captain near the eastern border and he doesn’t take kindly to slavers,” said the first man.
  
- The sound of heavy swift movement echoed through the night and the slavers drew up towards the front of the caravan to speak with the driver. They speech was hardly above a murmur and it drew the slaves attention more than Takkris could have hoped. They had crawled forward to the front. He had almost forgotten that his eyes must have been shut for at least the last hour. They must have thought he was asleep. Now was the perfect time for escape. He slowly opened one eye, the slaves had crawled up to the front and were intently listening to the slavers argue and talk. From the frightened murmurs amongst the slaves it sounded like the slavers wanted to cull the weakest and frailest of them in order to lighten their load and make up for the lost time by going faster. Without any prying eyes to watch him, he slid a nail into each hand and slowly as to avoid attention bent his arms behind himself and made two large cross slashes into the oiled cloth. It was nearly cut clean through, just a tiny bit of a pressure and they’d rip open.+The sound of heavy swift movement echoed through the night and the slavers drew up towards the front of the caravan to speak with the driver. They speech was hardly above a murmur and it drew the slaves attention more than Takkris could have hoped. They had crawled forward to the front. He had almost forgotten that his eyes must have been shut for at least the last hour. They must have thought he was asleep. Now was the perfect time for escape. He slowly opened one eye, the slaves had crawled up to the front and were intently listening to the slavers argue and talk. From the frightened murmurs amongst the slaves it sounded like the slavers wanted to cull the weakest and frailest of them in order to lighten their load and make up for the lost time by going faster. Without any prying eyes to watch him, he slid a nail into each hand and slowly as to avoid attention bent his arms behind himself and made two large cross slashes into the oiled cloth. It was nearly cut clean through, just a tiny bit of a pressure and they’d rip open.
  
- He pulled his arms back and gripped the nails like tiny weapons. He risked opening his eyes completely but saw no slave keeping watch. He knew he had only a few moments before everything returned to normal and his window would be gone. He slipped through the bars, he hardly had to suck in his breath to do so now and he dropped down onto the cloth. For a gut-wrenching second the cloth held. He swore a thousand, thousand curses in his head before it finally gave out and quietly ripped, depositing him on the hard clay ground with a ''​thunk''​ and a groan of pain. It was dark and Takkris was small, which only helped his chances. His eyes were adjusted to the dark and the lanterns attached to the side of the caravan were focused at the front so the slave wagons did not draw too much attention. He could make out a roadway up ahead amid sparse trees and brush. He glanced heavenward and affirmed his suspicions, the road was north, which meant it probably went into King’s Valley. Since the slavers didn’t want to go that way he knew it was the closest thing to a safe haven he’d ever get.+He pulled his arms back and gripped the nails like tiny weapons. He risked opening his eyes completely but saw no slave keeping watch. He knew he had only a few moments before everything returned to normal and his window would be gone. He slipped through the bars, he hardly had to suck in his breath to do so now and he dropped down onto the cloth. For a gut-wrenching second the cloth held. He swore a thousand, thousand curses in his head before it finally gave out and quietly ripped, depositing him on the hard clay ground with a ''​thunk''​ and a groan of pain. It was dark and Takkris was small, which only helped his chances. His eyes were adjusted to the dark and the lanterns attached to the side of the caravan were focused at the front so the slave wagons did not draw too much attention. He could make out a roadway up ahead amid sparse trees and brush. He glanced heavenward and affirmed his suspicions, the road was north, which meant it probably went into King’s Valley. Since the slavers didn’t want to go that way he knew it was the closest thing to a safe haven he’d ever get.
  
- His legs were weak and his knobby knees trembled against the strain as he ran as fast as he could while remaining as quiet as possible. It wasn’t until he was out of sight of the caravan did he run flat out. He couldn’t imagine bandits would be much worse than what was coming for him. He knew the kind of people who would buy him, men with too much power and sickening tastes. He’d be used up like some sort of doll and then killed. He refused to suffer through a living death like that. He would rather die at the sword or knife of a bandit than be tortured by perverted, twisted creatures wearing the skin of a man. He ran for his life and didn’t stop until the sun began to peek above the trees to his right. He had kept the stars in his sights as much as possible, using them to guide his way. Judging from the maps he had seen he was anywhere from two to seven leagues from the farming village of King’s Valley.+His legs were weak and his knobby knees trembled against the strain as he ran as fast as he could while remaining as quiet as possible. It wasn’t until he was out of sight of the caravan did he run flat out. He couldn’t imagine bandits would be much worse than what was coming for him. He knew the kind of people who would buy him, men with too much power and sickening tastes. He’d be used up like some sort of doll and then killed. He refused to suffer through a living death like that. He would rather die at the sword or knife of a bandit than be tortured by perverted, twisted creatures wearing the skin of a man. He ran for his life and didn’t stop until the sun began to peek above the trees to his right. He had kept the stars in his sights as much as possible, using them to guide his way. Judging from the maps he had seen he was anywhere from two to seven leagues from the farming village of King’s Valley.
  
- If he was lucky he knew he could continue north and take a path up the western mountains to a small cerelune processing town of no import. It was regulated enough that if he could reach there the slavers would never dare touch it. That and they would have to trek through bandit territory to reach it and with such a slow moving caravan they’d be ripe for the picking. Meanwhile Takkris could reasonably slip through. He had the whole thing plotted out in his head. He would try to find shelter in one of the burned out husks of a home and sleep for the night. He was tired and fatigued and thirsty. His lack of eating as a way to slim himself down had side effects he had not anticipated. It weakened his already pathetically low endurance and made him feel dizzy and nauseous when he tried to keep going. He had stopped running for nearly an hour now. He hadn’t the energy in him and the fear and worry had all been burned out. +If he was lucky he knew he could continue north and take a path up the western mountains to a small cerelune processing town of no import. It was regulated enough that if he could reach there the slavers would never dare touch it. That and they would have to trek through bandit territory to reach it and with such a slow moving caravan they’d be ripe for the picking. Meanwhile Takkris could reasonably slip through. He had the whole thing plotted out in his head. He would try to find shelter in one of the burned out husks of a home and sleep for the night. He was tired and fatigued and thirsty. His lack of eating as a way to slim himself down had side effects he had not anticipated. It weakened his already pathetically low endurance and made him feel dizzy and nauseous when he tried to keep going. He had stopped running for nearly an hour now. He hadn’t the energy in him and the fear and worry had all been burned out. 
  
 He knew his body was searching for an alternative fuel source in the absence of both food and now fat. What little he had would be used but at the rate he knew he would have to move and his physical state, that wouldn’t last even a full day. Instead his muscle – what little there was – would be cannibalized so he could keep functioning. But the higher functions of his brain; reason, logic and strategy, the very things he counted on for survival, would be the first to go in order to conserve his body’s energy. He knew what he had to do but that didn’t make the progress any faster or his struggle through weak twigs and sparse undergrowth any easier. If Takkris was to make it to King’s Valley he knew he had to stay in the brush, the road would make his journey easier but if there were bandits still around he would stand out like a candle in the dark. Worse yet, if the slavers came after him, the road would surely be their main means of conveyance. He knew his body was searching for an alternative fuel source in the absence of both food and now fat. What little he had would be used but at the rate he knew he would have to move and his physical state, that wouldn’t last even a full day. Instead his muscle – what little there was – would be cannibalized so he could keep functioning. But the higher functions of his brain; reason, logic and strategy, the very things he counted on for survival, would be the first to go in order to conserve his body’s energy. He knew what he had to do but that didn’t make the progress any faster or his struggle through weak twigs and sparse undergrowth any easier. If Takkris was to make it to King’s Valley he knew he had to stay in the brush, the road would make his journey easier but if there were bandits still around he would stand out like a candle in the dark. Worse yet, if the slavers came after him, the road would surely be their main means of conveyance.
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 Amman hefted him up into his arms, cradled like he might have actually cared for Takkris. But he knew that Amman only did it because he didn’t want to damage his ''​merchandise''​ and take a hit to profits. The lochjir was coursing through his veins now, slowing his heart to a sluggish, wet pound every few seconds. Consciousness was slowly being stripped from Takkris, layer by layer he felt it coming. The inevitable, dreamless sleep that wouldn’t be too different from dying, and yet he knew that death was very real if the tellis leaf wasn’t extracted from his stomach before it poisoned him. He had to hope that he would wake up, that the tellis leaf had absorbed enough to wake him before Amman had predicted. Though he was once at peace with death before, he had one final act to commit before his demise. He wanted to live if only to see it come to pass. ''​I am going to put you down like the filthy beast you are Amman. I''​ will ''​kill you for what you have done.''​ He felt comforted by his murderous aspirations as the last layer of his waking mind was flayed and cast aside, dropping him into a dreamless, drug-induced sleep. Amman hefted him up into his arms, cradled like he might have actually cared for Takkris. But he knew that Amman only did it because he didn’t want to damage his ''​merchandise''​ and take a hit to profits. The lochjir was coursing through his veins now, slowing his heart to a sluggish, wet pound every few seconds. Consciousness was slowly being stripped from Takkris, layer by layer he felt it coming. The inevitable, dreamless sleep that wouldn’t be too different from dying, and yet he knew that death was very real if the tellis leaf wasn’t extracted from his stomach before it poisoned him. He had to hope that he would wake up, that the tellis leaf had absorbed enough to wake him before Amman had predicted. Though he was once at peace with death before, he had one final act to commit before his demise. He wanted to live if only to see it come to pass. ''​I am going to put you down like the filthy beast you are Amman. I''​ will ''​kill you for what you have done.''​ He felt comforted by his murderous aspirations as the last layer of his waking mind was flayed and cast aside, dropping him into a dreamless, drug-induced sleep.
  
 +== Previous Chapter ==
 +[[: Chapter Eight - Blood, Sweat, and Tears]]
 +== Page of Contents ==
 +[[:Book One - The Forging of a Blade]] ​
 +== Next Chapter ==
 +[[: Chapter Ten - Lucky Number Four]]
 +
 +
 +\\
 +
 +Article By: [[wiki:​user:​penguinwriter|Penguin Writer]]
 +
 +----
 +[[category:​Arts]] | [[category:​Fiction]] | [[category:​Novels]]

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