Book of Kaoz

Preface

The panicked cries reached the hut; rushing to the door she saw the brown leathers the Slavers wore.

No, my daughters, was her only thought. Closing the door she quickly packed a few blankets into two baskets. Securing both twins to her back she picked up the baskets and ran out of her hut.

Outside the sun shone out of a bright blue sky. It seemed a mockery to the villagers. There was no cloud to marr the beauty of the day except for the presence of Slavers. She ran through her village avoiding them at every turn; hearing the cries of women and young girls as they were dragged through the streets to be used then disposed of. The shouts of their men who would defend them crowded her hearing. Most of them would die trying to protect their families and those who survived would be taken and wished they had died as well. The remaining survivors would be sold at auctions along the way to Ilona.

The stories told by slaves gave nightmares to all who’d listen. One of the most known acts was of three brothers and two younger sisters. The head Slaver along with his 1st in command bounded into their homestead carrying the heads of their parents. The children had been asleep when the first attack took place. The sound of rushing feet woke the boys first, the eldest flinging open the door was knocked down in mid stride. He was quickly taken and tied to a chair while other Slavers continued to search the house. The younger boys had run to their sister’s room and told them to hide. When the Slavers burst into the bedroom the boys held up a broom and lit candlestick to defend them selves. In the exchange of blows one of the boys was cut down. The other was taken down stairs and tied to another chair.

One Slaver noticed the dolls lying about the room and searched for the girl he knew would be there. Ordering two others to open the wardrobe he stood in front to catch her. There she was crouched between her clothes trying to hide. She screamed as they grabbed her hair and dragged her out and led down with the others.

Her brothers shouted curses to the Slavers as they saw them throw their sister into the room. She scramble to her feet and cast her eyes about the wildly. The Slaver nearest her slapped her and roughly pushed her to the table. The other Slavers laughed as another took his dagger and cut the boys eyelids forcing them to watch as they ravaged their sister. She struggled and screamed for her brothers as her clothes were torn off her slender body. She was roughly turned onto her stomach. Her feet dangled uselessly as he held her wrists behind her back, he plunged into her making her scream and cry. The others laughed, knowing what he had done. He forced her further up onto the table and plunged into her again.

Up stairs the youngest sister clutched her doll to her chest, as she remained hidden under the bed. Through the floorboards she heard all that happened in the room below.

“You always did have a fondness for young asses!” one laughed

“Try it. It’s much better than even the purest of boxes!” Once they had all taken their part of her, they turned to the brothers who cried silently. The girl dropped to the floor crying and gasping for air as pain burned throughout her body. The head Slaver took her by her hair and pulled her to her feet.

Forcing the thought of those stories out of her head she whispered, “They wont have my children.” With that in her mind she burst into the forest bordering her village. The roots of the trees forced her to slow down else she fall with her precious burdens. Branches pulled at her clothes and scratched her face. Along the way she lost a sandal and hearing shouts behind her she rushed on leaving it where it lay.

Suddenly coming out onto the riverbank she stumbled to a halt. Scanning her surroundings she put down the baskets and carefully untied the girls from her back. Placing each one on her own blankets she reached around her neck taking a gold chain and placing it around the first twin’s neck. She picked up the star shaped crystal and holding it between thumb and index she gently blew on it producing a rosy glow. As it touched the child’s skin it melted away disappearing. Putting the basket in the water she pushed it away.

Quickly going to her other daughter she placed the silver chain around her and picking up the moonstone she whispered, “Adere claris etenim tuus soror, cum vires et concilium.” The stone grew warm in her hand and she placed it under the child’s clothes where it also melted away. The Slavers crashed through the trees behind her before she put the basket in the water. Quickly standing she pulled a small knife from her belt and faced the two men in brown leather. Holding their swords loosely they laughed at her, pulling at their belts, they slowly advanced. Glancing around she crouched as though preparing to attack. She threw her knife at the nearest Slaver then picked up the basket with her daughter and jumped into the river as a last attempt to save her.

“I’m going to have your guts for garters!” the Slaver roared as he pulled the knife from his shoulder.

“Thank you. You just made me 50 gold pieces, Yusef.” Laughing the other Slaver taunted him.

“Da, ya’ll arr nex! ” He growled.

Still laughing he jumped into the river behind her. She was frantically trying to push the basket away when the Slaver grabbed a fistful of her hair. He ripped the basket from her with his other hand then held her head under water. She kicked and clawed at the hands that held her.

Feeling her go limp the Slaver laughed as he dragged her half drowned body to shore. Turning to his companion he said,

“Take the dribble puss and when you come back we’ll have fun.” He said handing the basket to Yusef. Angrily, he kicked her stomach.

“You mangy whore! I’ll make a bitch skin rug out of you!” he yelled as he walked away with the basket.

The slaver grabbed her arms and pulled them over her head while pushing her legs apart. She struggled, screaming as he tore at her clothes but it was useless. After, she curled into a ball shivering as the slaver laughed.

“Don’t worry you wont live long. Just until my friend is done with you.”

She cringed as she heard footsteps approaching. Her last thought was for her child. She had failed in setting her free.

At the edge f the burning village waited the carts that would carry their new slaves to Ilona. Next to them stood Phylo, supervising the loading of their cargo. The carts were made to look like cages with poles crisscrossing each other and a similar door with a heavy chain and lock to keep them safely locked away. To him the Slaver gave the basket. Not bothering to look inside he handed him a pouch and took the infant to one of the carts transporting female slaves. Here he placed the basket making sure the cart was locked as soon as his men threw in the last woman. If it were meant to be, then by the time they reached the compound his Lady would have a child of her own to raise.

Mounting his horse he rode the length of the caravan inspecting each cart before heading to the front. They traveled for two days before stopping to rest. Walking over to their navigator he handed him a scroll.

“These are the co-ordinates for our portal home. And Kian, make sure you don’t get us lost.” He warned before walking away. Taking the scroll Kian sat down pulling out a chart and maps. Making the necessary calculations he reported to Phylo the next morning.

“We’re still 5 kit-katsoff course. If we head 10 degrees north our marker will be visible.”

“Good.” In a louder voice he gave the order. “Break camp, we head out for home!”

They traveled through green moors as the sun shone down on them. The sky was blue and empty of clouds and the wind blew fresh and cool. The climate of this world was much more inviting than theirs. Then again all they knew were the deserts of the Vastitas and the pools of steaming water from the Dragons Weyr. Their lands were surrounded by heat.

Topping the next rise they saw them. The stones were of dark green marble with silvery veins weaving jaggedly like lighting. Sitting atop a dark green marble slab the stones glittered in the afternoon sun. Twice as tall as the giants from Spiguz, only those with co-ordinates or a Book of Portals could find them. Even then only the correct spell and blood would activate them.

Riding to the front of the caravan Phylo brought them to a halt, motioning for Kian to dismount.

“Check the co-ordinates.” He said handing him the Book of Portals. Kian took it and re-checking his calculations opened the book to its corresponding page. He read the passage then stepped forward and taking his dagger cut his palm. Replacing his dagger he laid his bleeding hand on the stone nearest him. Once again he read the passage in the book, this time out loud. Before he even finished the stones began to glow. Small streaks of lightning flew like sparks between them until a nexus of pure light shone in their center.

Looking over his shoulder he nodded for them to go on. Phylo brought his hand up in a fist then dropped it, at the same time urging his horse forward, the caravan followed.

Once the last cart had passed through Kian took his hand away and joined them. The suffocating heat engulfed them immediately making sweat break out on their bodies. Turning back to the portal he spoke.

“Claudi.”The light between the stones faded then went out. Wiping the blood from his palm he saw the cut had already healed.

“There’s a caravan coming through!” The answering shouts brought more of the Slavers out of the compound. They stood at various viewpoints watching their cohorts arrive at the gates.

“Lower the wards!” came the shout from below. Recognizing the voice of Phylo the sentry turned to Skitzo. “It’s Phylo!” he yelled down waving behind him.

“Ha! Let him bring them down himself if he is,” was the terse reply.

Looking a bit confused the sentry lifted his hand, scratching his head he asked, “Isn’t he your favorite?”

Skitzo turned pulling a dagger from behind his back and threw it. The sentry’s eyes bulged in surprise as he ducked behind the railing. Above his head he heard the dagger thump into the wooden post and looking over his shoulder he could see the dagger handle swaying.

“Ah! You missed!” he shot back laughing.

Below, the caravan halted behind Phylo. Seeing that no one had lowered the wards he urged his horse forward pulling out his own dagger. Stopping next to the gate he cut his palm letting the blood pool in his cupped hand all the while mumbling an incantation. Extending his bloodied hand he placed it on the gate. Closing his eyes he slowly turned it sideways. The gates wards began to glow an iridescent green. Taking his hand away the gates slowly opened inward. Awed, the slaves looked at the gates staring opened mouthed at the still glowing wards.

Opening his palm, Phylo wiped the blood away and saw the cut was already gone. Nodding he gave the command to proceed. As soon as the last cart had rolled through, the gates closed. Phylo rode ahead passing a group of Slavers. Looking down at them he laughed. They all had colorful bruises and one had his arm in a sling while another had his leg in a splint. The men glared back at him but before they could say anything a rough voice called out.

“Phylo! Report.” Abruptly he stopped laughing and turned his horse towards the main building. He dismounted before the main steps where Skitzo waited impatiently. It seemed today was one of his better days since his eyes weren’t bulging out and he wasn’t frothing at the mouth in one of his usual rages. Glancing past him to the top of the stairs he saw the Lady Ilana standing in the shadows of the doorway. Her dark red hair was pulled back but here and there strands slipped out to frame her face. From where he stood he couldn’t see the fresh bruises or the sadness in her emerald eyes.

“Ten carts full of fresh meat. Most will go for 200 gps a few, half that." He replied. “Usually we fit more than twenty in a cart,” He shrugged, turning he gestured for them to follow continuing with his report. “Three carts full of women, mostly young girls, as per request.” He pointed behind him.

Walking along the carts Skitzo saw the starved children all the while calculating his earnings at the end of their next trip. Nearing the carts with the used women Skitzo heard a faint wailing. Narrowing his eyes he looked at Phylo and slowly circled the cart. Towards the back he distinctly heard the crying of an infant.

“Unload this cart. NOW!” he roared. The Slavers standing nearby jumped to obey. Unlocking the cage two Slavers jumped in and started pushing the women out. The screaming covered the crying as the men struggled their way to the back. The women kicked and scratched at the men.

“Let her go!” “Stop!” “Keep away!” but their protests went unheeded. At the shouts Phylo went to the back of the cart and jumped out of the way as both Slavers came tumbling out. They landed in a tangled heap, puffs of dust lifted off the courtyard stones.

“What—Get up!” he yelled as he kicked them. Then looking at the women left inside he sent another Slaver in.

“Alright get them out and if they resist again use force!” he glared at the Slaver. Grabbing the first two women he pulled them by their hair dragging them out. They fell in a heap as the Slavers before them had done. Turning back he reached for more until there were two left. That’s when he noticed that the younger one held a bundle clutched to her chest. Phylo surreptitiously walked around the cart until he was behind her. He stuck his hand in grabbing a fistful of auburn hair and pulled her down. The young girl screamed and grabbed his hand still holding on to a crying bundle. Surprised the other woman turned to the younger girl. Taking advantage of the opportunity the Slaver grabbed a fistful of hair. Pulling the woman around he slammed a fist into her stomach. She hung limply trying to catch her breath as the Slaver threw her out of the cart. Smiling he turned his attention to the girl.

“She’s holding something’ Phylo.” He said pointing at her. Phylo rolled his eyes.

“Well get it, raasclat!”He ordered.

The young girl panicked as he advanced and clutched the squirming bundle tighter. As he leaned down she kicked out, her foot connected with his nose. Stumbling back he fell out of the cart landing with a thud on the courtyard stones. Phylo pulled her head farther back until she was looking straight up, his other hand wrapped around her neck squeezing. The other Slaver reached down and pulled the bundle out of her arms quickly jumping out of the cart. Letting go of the girl he stepped around and headed towards the Slaver.

“Lock it up and leave this one here. Get the others cleaned up and ready for inspection.” He called over his shoulder as he stopped next to Skitzo and Lady Ilana.

“She broke my nose!!” screeched the Slaver as he stood holding it, blood dripping from his hands.

“Get back to work, stress merchant.”He said as he motioned for the other Slaver to come closer. Astonished the Slaver looked up from the bundle he held. Pushing the rags back he turned the squirming mass towards them.

“It’s a baby!” he whispered. Neither Phylo nor Skitzo moved, one waiting for the others reaction. A small gasp from behind them reminded Phylo of the Lady Ilana’s presence. She stepped from between them and took the child in her arms. Phylo smiled inwardly hoping this would bring some happiness to her. Skitzo stared at his wife holding the baby. His eyes began to bulge out and spit came flying from his mouth as he roared; “You brought me an infant!”

Turning his attention to the madman he feigned innocence. “I don’t know where it came from, Skitzo.” Lifting his hands he tried to excuse himself.

The Lady Ilana didn’t notice the men; all her attention was focused on the child in her arms. This was her only opportunity and she was going to take it. Turning to face them she heard Skitzo arguing with Phylo.

“Kill it! Get rid of it!” he raged.

“No.” She stood holding the child to her chest. “I want it for my own.”

“What?” he said incredulous thinking of all the gold he would spend on feeding that thing.

“You know I’ll never bear you any children all I ask is to keep this one to raise.” The quietness of her voice and the look in her eyes reminded him of the babies she hadn’t been able to carry to term. The guilt weighed solely on his shoulders and turning away he stalked off. Sighing she turned to Phylo. “Thank you.” She said and slowly walked past him up the steps to the main building.

This is how I came to be. Taken in by a woman who I thought my Mother. The tyrant I knew as a Father. An uncle I wished were my true Father…

Book of Kaoz

ssare78

Joined January 2008

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

A work in progress but very much alive in my imagination.

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