The calls of gulls flying overhead alerted the shopkeepers to the returning fishermen. The market was crowded; the growls of Masters barking orders to their overworked slaves joined the gull chorus. One such slave could be seen out of breath as she trailed behind her unforgiving Master. The man paid no mind to his property while browsing the wares, only sparing a glance here and there as he shoved his purchases into her tired arms. She ducked and weaved, trying to avoid bumping into someone. Sympathetic glances from fellow slaves gave her a reason to smile slightly. The wind blew her long hair in front of her face, causing her to pause long enough to jerk her head to the right, an attempt to remove the obstruction.
“Stupid Rabbit! If your hair is that much of a problem, perhaps it is better if I have it removed!” The Master snapped, whipping his body around to face his slave.
“No, Master, I-I’ll tie it.” She replied quietly, turning her gaze downward.
“See that you do.”
She gently set the goods down and quickly did so, grabbing the merchandise as fast as she could. With a silent sigh, she waited until her Master turned and continued his walk. She ignored the passing sneers and slurs from the vendors, only stopping when her Master did. She looked ahead to see what was going on. A small group of dwarves had gathered at a nearby vendor. They appeared to be wearing the same uniform which meant they belonged to the Merchant’s Guild. She watched as the Master made his way over to him, following a few steps behind him. The Guild members turned their attention to the pair, one of them stepping forward to act as their voice.
“Ah, Danarius, you’re early.”
“Indeed. I assume the shipment will be here by the end of the week?”
“I could be persuaded to shorten the delivery time.”
“That will not be necessary.”
At this point, she tuned out the rest of the conversation and bit her cheek to prevent her pain from showing. The goods were light individually but together was enough matter entirely. But, what was she to do? Protest? She was but a slave with no voice of her own. She wasn't allowed to speak unless spoken to. She was nothing to them, just another piece of livestock to use and abuse as he pleased. She glanced around, hoping to distract herself. A few shiny pieces of jewelry caught her attention at a nearby booth; she imagined herself being able to wear them and faintly smiled. It was the small things which kept her going. A feminine voice snapped her out of her little daydream, causing her to turn her head back to the group.
“By the beards of the Paragons, Danarius, feed your Rabbit! She’s a stick! It looks like she is going to collapse!” A female Dwarf snapped and waddled forward, her right hand on her swollen belly.
Danarius narrowed his eyes. “I won’t have you tell me what to do with my slave, Rona, even if you are Marek’s wife.”
Marek frowned at both of them. “Easy, Rona, I know your hormones are crazy but she’s not your concern. Danarius, I will have you be more respectful; she is pregnant.”
“Very well.” Danarius sighed, rolling his eyes at the situation.
“I want to borrow her.” Rona declared.
Both men simply stared. “What?”
Rona crossed her arms impatiently. “Are you daft? I want to borrow her. As I am heavy with child, I am unable to do certain tasks. She can assist me.”
“If you want a slave, my dear, I could always buy you one,” Marek interjected.
“Maybe later, Love, but I want her for the moment.”
“For a few gold, you can borrow her for a few days.” Danarius bargained.
Rona nodded. “Done.”
The exchange of money was done while the female slave watched as the conversation unfolded, bewildered by it all. It was uncommon for Dwarves to keep slaves as their heritage was vastly different from Humans. She cocked her head curiously, side-eyeing Danarius as he pondered the request. He had plenty of slaves to keep his house running efficiently, having one gone for a short period would not hurt. Plus, he needed to remain of the Guild’s good side if he wanted to continue doing business with them. He turned his attention to the girl, her gaze immediately falling to the ground.
“Aurora, you will report to Marek’s house tomorrow. Am I understood?”
“Good. We shall return to the mansion. It was a pleasure doing business with The Merchant’s Guild.”
Aurora raised her gaze just enough to see a victorious smirk on Rona’s face. ‘Just what is she up to?’