Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! We have quite a selection for you today so let's get right to it!" He motions to the curtain and a woman around 40 comes out with shackles on her wrists and ankles. The chain was kept short so she hobbled to the edge of the stage. Her head was bent down and she stood there without trembling. The auctioneer says, "Slave 436 has been owned only by Mr. Houstis and Mr. Jabcef over her 15 years as a slave. She was trusted enough to care for their children who are now grown and so she doesn't have a purpose anymore." He looks at the paper in his hand, "She can't read or write, but had a wonderful gift with the children." He scans the crowd smiling. "Who needs a caretaker for their children? Good help is very hard to come by."

The bidding began, but only between a few people. I kept looking at the girl, but she didn't seem worried or scared at all. I then turned to look at the people assembled and I was amazed at the different levels of prosperity. Some wore fine clothes, with embroidery, lace trim and beads sewn onto it; others wore rougher clothing, no embroidery, and basic browns and tans. Most of the bidders were male, but there were some women too.

I glanced around the marketplace, and I suddenly saw slaves everywhere; there was one carrying a heavy load and trying to keep up with her owner; another one haggling with a merchant; another one one her knees waiting outside a small building.

"200!" My fathers voice brought me back to the auction. There was a new woman on the block that father had shown interest in before. She was clothed so she was a domestic slave. Again, she stood with her eyes lowered and as far as Adora could tell, was not afraid. A few others bid against my father but he won her for only 350 gold. More domestics were displayed and bid on. Father bought two more domestics before all was done.

"And now," the auctioneer said and the crowd went quiet, "what you all have been waiting for." Once again he waved to the curtain and a naked, red haired woman walked out. She had the same posture as the domestics, but her walk and even the way she stood was enticing. "Now this beauty was owned by Richard. But now he's decided to share his treasure with the rest of us. I'm sure someone can get some use out of her." The bidding began in earnest and the auctioneer almost couldn't keep up. After around 1500 gold, the bidding began to slow until she was finally sold for 2000. The woman was taken off the stage, and the winning bidder was given his claim ticket. Then the process started all over again. Lord Nichoals bought 4 pleasure slaves, so all together he had 7 slaves to bring home.

I wasn't sure what to think of this whole process. On the one hand I knew it was wrong, but the women didn't seem afraid. Have they given up and just accepted their fate, ro is the life of a slave really not as bad as I think?

After the auction broke up, father handed me his claim tickets while he was surrounded by several people to congratulate him.

We walked behind the tent where the slaves were waiting in line. They all wore collars which were either chained to other slave's collars or the chain was being held by a guard. The slaves chained together had all been bought by the same person.

Nicholas, my father, had me give the head guard the claim tickets. The man matched up the numbers on the tickets to the numbers on the girls right arm. Nicholas's group of slaves was the largest. When the man was satisfied, he waved his hands and the numbers disappeard. He approached nicholas who handed him a large sack that gingled nicely when it hit the man's hand. The man then  handed Nicholas the lead chain for the slaves.

Nicholas let them away from the tent to a grassy field, let the end of the chain hang and stood back to look at his new purchases.

"Very nice, my lord," came a voice behind us.

We turned around to see who spoke and a well built man came walking up and bowed slightly to my father. He had blond tossled hair, and an amused smile.

"Kevvin!" My father shook his hand like an old friend. Kevvin turned and looked over the girls carefully.

"Nice selection. Maybe I'll get the chance to hunt one of them down someday."

My father chuckled, "No need for that. You are welcome to sample my wares anytime."

Kevvin smiled, "I know. You keep offering but I never seem to have the time."

Kevvin glanced over Nicholas's shoulder and saw me. "Hello," he said and smiled wider, "who is this?"

My father frowned, "This is my daughter, Adora. She has come to live with me and..."

"You mean you kidnapped me!" I interrupted. "You took me from my home, my planet, and brought me
here!"

My father smiled and reached out his hand to put it on my shoulder. I knocked it away.

His eyes flashed in anger for a moment and he made the hand motions to cast a spell. I cried out in sudden
pain and fell to my knees. I fell forward until I was hunched over with my forehead on the ground. I clutched the grass as waves of pain crashed over me. The pain stopped leaving me panting and blinking my tears away.

"Get up," my father said harshly and I quickly complied. I looked up at my father who was frowing at me, but Kevvin still has his smile. I looked at the girls, but they hadn't moved. No one around us seemed the least concerned either. Surely this kind of treatment can't be legal?

Nicholas saw me looking around and laughed.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

With my father's hand still on my shoulder, we walked into the enclosure. I stopped cold. On each side of the packed dirt walkway were naked females, kneeling and chained to a post from an iron collar around their neck. They had their eyes trained on the ground and the same curly tattoo on their left cheek.

"Father, what is this?" I could barely breathe.

Nicholas chuckled, "They are slaves, my dear."

"You can't be serious. It's barbaric."

"I'm dead serious. These girls, and ones like them, are my stock in trade."

I turned to him, horrified. "Your shipping business. You're a slaver!"

He bowed, smiling. "One of the most respected around."

"Obviously slavery is legal here, but what about elsewhere in this world? Is it legal everywhere?"

"Of course."

I was stunned to silence. Father guided me forward where we stopped in front of a female. She didn't move. There was a smaller post near the woman that had her skills and previous owners nailed to it, and the beginning bid. "Stand up," Nicholas commanded. The woman stood gracefully but still kept her eyes lowered.

He had her turn around and he checked her mouth and various other signs of health. He then pulled out some paper from his coat and handed it to me as well as a feather pen. "The feather is enchanted," he said as if this explained everything. "Write down her number." When I looked confused, he showed me where it was written on her description papers. I wrote it down.

We did the same to several other women. "Are all slaves women?" I asked.

"No, but most are. Most men are too independent and fight their slavery to their last breath."

Soon we came to different group of slaves. They still had the mark on their cheek,but they were clothed. "Why are these slaved clothed when the others aren't?"

"These are domestic, or common, slaves. The unclothed slaves are pleasure slaves."

We walked through these slaves also and I wrote down several numbers as ordered, then we left the enclosure and went to stand with all the other potential buyers in front of the main tent.

A middle age man came walking out of the tent divider and, judging by the papers in his hand, I was certain he was the auctioneer.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Father and Flagg saw me watching the girls, but never offered an explanation nor asked if I wanted one. The girls were quick with their work and soon the table was cleared away. My father led me back to my room, "you will need to change your clothes and these," he made more hand motions and a set of folded clothes and a pair of leather boots appeared in his hand, "Will do nicely." I took the clothes, changed and met him back in the hallway.

We rode in a very luxurious open carriage to the market. Along the way I kept looking for any signs of technology that would tell me I wasn't in this world. I found nothing. The noise of the market place increased as we got closer and finally we stopped and got out. I had been to flea markets back home, but they didn't compare to this. The crowds, the noise, and the smells were incredible. Everything imaginable was for sale.

Father ignored all of it."Don't lag behind, Adora." I remembered the pain from breakfast and stayed by his side. There were creatures of all kinds there. Most were human, but I saw what I believed to be elves, but some other races I could not begin to guess. When I could catch bits of their conversations, I realized everyone spoke English. They all speak the same language? Then when we passed those races where were in groups of two or more, I heard the gibberish of their native tongue. So english is a common language.

Nicholas stopped occasionally to speak with various shop owners. I watched and they were respectful and kept bowing their heads. Finally we reached the dead end of a busily traveled path. A lot of people for a dead end road. I looked around for the reason and I saw it. It was a large tent erected on a large platform. Behind the tent was an enclosure with only one entrance, and two guards stood outside. Obviously something valuable.

"Lord Nicholas!" a voice call out. We both turned and there before my very eyes was a centaur. a real live centaur! I guess my mouth was open because after shaking my father's hand, the centaur turned to me and chuckled. "And you are?" I clicked my mouth shut and swallowed. "A-Adora," I stammered.

"This is my daughter, Sir Tristan. She is not from around here, so please forgive her rudeness." He laid his hand on my shoulder and discreetly squeezed until I started to pull away from the pain. He stopped. I got the message.

"Have you had a chance to look at the new girls, Nicholas? There are several I've got my eyes on."

"No. I just arrived, but if you care to look again you are welcome to come with me."

"There is one beauty that I could never tire of seeing."
With my father's hand still on my shoulder, we walked into the enclosure. I stopped cold. On each side of the packed dirt walkway were naked females, kneeling and chained to a post from an iron collar around their neck. They had their eyes trained on the ground and the same curly tattoo on their left cheek.
"Father, what is this?" I could barely breathe.
Nicholas chuckled, "They are slaves, my dear."
"You can't be serious. It's barbaric."
"I'm dead serious. These girls, and ones like them, are my stock in trade."
I turned to him, horrified. "Your shipping business. You're a slaver!"
He bowed, smiling. "One of the most respected around."
"Obviously slavery is legal here, but what about elsewhere in this world? Is it legal everywhere?"
"Of course."
I was stunned to silence. Father guided me forward where we stopped in front of a female. She didn't move. There was a smaller post near the woman that had her skills and previous owners nailed to it, and the beginning bid. "Stand up," Nicholas commanded. The woman stood gracefully but still kept her eyes lowered.
He had her turn around and he checked her mouth and various other signs of health. He then pulled out some paper from his coat and handed it to me as well as a feather pen. "The feather is enchanted," he said as if this explained everything. "Write down her number." When I looked confused, he showed me where it was written on her description papers. I wrote it down.
We did the same to several other women. "Are all slaves women?" I asked.
"No, but most are. Most men are too independent and fight their slavery to their last breath."
Soon we came to different group of slaves. They still had the mark on their cheek,but they were clothed. "Why are these slaved clothed when the others aren't?"
"These are domestic, or common, slaves. The unclothed spaces are pleasure slaves."
We walked through these slaves also and I wrote down several numbers as ordered.then we left the enclosure and went to stand with all the other potential buyers in front of the main tent.
A middle age man came walking out of the tent divider and, judging by the papers in his hand, I was certain he was the auctioneer.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The room was smaller than the pillared room. My father - I guess I have accepted it - sat at a large round table loaded with food. There was another man sitting next to my father that seemed very reserved except for his observant light blue eyes. His hair was short blond and he was clean shaven. He looked very ordinary, but didn't stop staring at me. My father, on the other hand, was digging into his steak and not paying any attention to me.

I walked up to the table and the man sitting next to my father pointed to the chair directly across from my father, "You will sit there." I stopped and stared. It was a command. I stared at him a moment, debating if I should give in or not. My father stopped eating and watched me along with this man. "No," I said and though no one had been talking, the room seemed to get quieter. The man said it again, with more inflection, "You will sit there," and he indicated the chair again. I moved to stand behind another chair and the man and my father stood up together.

I stepped back in surprise, and my father spoke, "Adora. I am used to getting my way and not being thwarted. I'll give you one last chance to avoid punishment. Sit in that chair."

He stared at me and I realized this wasn't about the chair or where I was to sit. This was about me obeying him and if he could bully me into obeying. If I gave in now, it would be just the beginning. Where would it stop? How demanding would he go? What if I kept pushing?

Suddenly my world exploded with pain and I collapsed, screaming. I curled into a ball and suddenly the pain was gone. I stayed on the floor for a few more moments, panting. I slowly stood and, without looking at my father or the other man, I sat in the chair that they wanted me to.

They sat down and my father said, "That was a warning Adora. The more you disobey me or Flagg here, the more pain you will experience. Now eat, this will be a busy day."

I ate in silence, but watched both of them. My father wore obviously tailored clothes - new clothes, heavily embroidered trim, while Flagg wore nice clothes, but very plain. Other than a small design sewn on the upper left chest area, it was unadorned. They were also different in what they ate. My father ate steaks and very few vegetables while Flagg ate only vegetables.

Flagg kept watching me and I kept trying to ignore him. "Father, what is your name? I recognize a lot, but I don't know specifics."

He swallowed, and smiled. "I am Lord Nicholas, Duke of this land. This is Flagg, my..." he paused and smiled at Flagg, "trainer." I nodded, and stayed quiet for a moment but his answers only caused more questions.

"What do you do Father?"

"I am in the shipping business. In fact, you and I are going to the marketplace today and you will see for yourself." After the meal, Nicholas pushed his plate back and leaned back in his chair. From a side door that I assumed lead to the kitchen, then girls came and began to clean off the table. I noticed they all wore the same thing - plain brown dresses that were shapeless, short sleeved and just past their butt. And on their left cheek, they all wore the same curly tattoo.
The man chuckled, waved his hand, and the swordsmen around me left in all directions. The man stood up and approached me. "Now then, about how you got here." He continued his walk past me, "Come with me." I followed him out of this room and into a hall. The hallway continued his medieval theme and he even had torches in sconces along the walls. "Did you rent this place?"

The man chuckled but didn't answer. I shrugged and kept following. Finally, we reached the front doors and walked outside. This place even had a moat! He stopped outside and I was struck by the silence. No cars, no horns, no planes. I turned around and looked at the incredible castle that we just walked out of. Nothing like this in the states, yet it all seemed terribly familiar!

Now I realized why I wasn't scared. I knew this man wasn't going to kill me. As long as I did as he said, he wasn't going to kill me. I slowly turned around and let my eyes soak in all the details. I could see a stable farther from the house, a horse drawn wagon loaded with straw, but not one modern tool. This was just too complete to be faked.

I stood there rubbing my forehead. All this was giving me a headache. It was all familiar and seemed just right. I was home and this man...I turned to him, "Father." The man smiled. I shook my head, "No! It's not possible! All this," I indicated all around me, "existed centuries ago! Long, long before my time." I looked the man, my father, in the eye, "How did you bring me here? Why? And where is here?"

He held up his hands, "Relax, Adora. I brought you here through magic. The why is because this is where you belong. The where? Well, you're not on your world anymore. You're not in your previous reality or timeline."

He paused and looked at me. "You mother is dead, correct?"

I nodded and looked away, no longer seeing what was around me. "Yes, she died many years ago. I never knew my father. Mother never talked about him much. When I did ask, she shook her head and said she left him before I was born because he was a cruel man." I looked up at him again, "She always said, 'Beware of your father'. Mother said I would know him when we met." I stopped and stared at the man in front of me. I nodded. "She was right. I do know, and you are." I looked around me again, confused. "But how did she, no we, get from here to where I came from?"

The man frowned and I saw the first signs of anger in his eyes, "I'm still wondering that myself." Then his anger disappeared and his smile returned - like flipping a switch. "Let me show you to your room. I'm sure you have much to think about."

"Wait!" I grabbed his arm to stop him, and he glared at em. I quickly released it. "What about sending me back?"

My father looked surprised and a bit confused, "Back? You're home now. You will not be going back. Besides, you have no one to go back to." With that he turned and walked back inside. I followed.

While walking, I realized he was right. I had no husband, no boyfriend, no friends that would really miss me for long, and no parents. My job would probably call my home but I doubt they would do anything more.

My room, when he opened the door, was very spartan. The bed was obviously for only one person, and there was an armoire. Other than a single window without curtains, that was the extent of the furniture.

"We will be serving breakfast soon. You may roam around my house until then. Doors will be locked to rooms you may not enter." With that my father left, closing the door behind him. I laid down on the bed - at least it is comfortable - and thought.

Well, now what? I'm in a strange land, in a low technical land, with no way to get home other than my father who doesn't want to send me home. The crazy thing is that this is all so familiar, but how could that be possible if mother left here before I was born?

I was more tired than I thought, for the next thing I knew someone was knocking on the door. "I'm awake," I called out. A male's voice called back, "I'm to escort you to lunch." I stood up and looked around the room. How do they tell time around here? I opened the door and a guard was waiting for me. I smiled and followed him down the hall. When we reached the door he wanted he opened it and stood aside for Adora to enter ahead of him.
I ran down the hall as fast as I could. The swordsmen were right behind me. My chest was burning from the strain and I knew if I didn't find a place to hide soon, they would catch me. I tried to open doors as I ran past them. They were all locked. Couldn't at least one employee forget to lock their door? I ran around another corner and stopped dead in my tracks. There he was again, waiting for me with several more swordsmen. How did he know I was going to run down this hall at this time?

I turned to run the way I came but just at that moment, my legs protested and rebelled on going another step. I fell to my knees. The other five swordsmen that were chasing me came around the corner and almost crashed into me. I was panting heavily and offered no resistance as the men came closer.

"Bring her to me," The tallest man said. Two armored men grabbed my arms, lifted me and held me before the man. He was head and shoulders taller than me, handsome with thick black hair down to his shoulders, and he wore well tailored clothes. But they were ancient, except the looked new. Must've cost hm a fortune at the Medieval Faire. His eyes were dark and cold and I felt myself tense under his gaze. Damn, he looked familiar! Who is he?

The man reached out, grabbed my chin and turned my head from side to side. "Yes, she is the one. Lets go."

"Wait!" I cried out. "Where are we going?"

"Home."

"How do you know where I live?"

The tall man chuckled, "I didn't say your home." Then he turned around and began mumbling and waving his arms in the air.

The hair on my arms began to stand on end and the static electricity around me began to increase by the moment. The tall man's voice rose and suddenly there was an intense white light and I cried out in pain and averted my eyes. When I opened them again, all I could see were spots.

The men holding me propelled me forward and my next few minutes were taken up by concentrating on walking without being able to see. We walked for several steps before they stopped me. I could tell my surroundings had changed but how much was still a mystery.

I blinked several times but it wasn't helping. I jumped when someone's hand was placed over my eyes, but I waited to see what would happen. After all, I'd just been kidnapped by medieval weirdos and there was no telling what they were capable of. The strange thing is I wasn't scared. Probably just too much shock.

The hand was removed and I could see. I didn't like the view. The men released me but they still surrounded me so I couldn't run away. I found myself in a large room made of stone with large pillars and stone floor with a narrow carpet running from the large double doors at one end of the room to just before a dais directly opposite.

On the dais sat a very ornate chair and the tall man was sitting on it watching me. All the men sheathed their swords while I continued to look around, while asking, "How the hell did we get here? One minute I'm at work and you yahoos show up then I'm somehow here. And where is here, anyway?" Finally I noticed the pillars that held up the very high ceiling. They were carved into naked women. Cute but I had to admire the obvious skill of the artist. Whoever that was.

The tall man was very patient as I finished my sightseeing tour. I turned back to him, "OK. I'll bite. Who are you and where the hell am I?"

The man smiled with a mouthful of bright white teeth. "Don't I look at all familiar, my dear?" The way he said "my dear" and just his looks were driving me crazy. "You do look very familiar, but I don't know you. Who are you?"

The man chuckled, "You are Adora and I am your father."

I stared at him for several minutes before finally say, "You, sir, are a nut."