Solo What is one person's life worth?

Duncan, on his way back from a delivery for The Gem, is drawn to the one of the most unlikely of places.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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What is one person's life worth?

Postby Duncan Rightstone on October 9th, 2018, 1:18 am

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20th Day of Fall in the Year 518 AV


It was midday when Duncan finished his delivery for The Gem and was on his way back. It was raining lightly, almost a drizzle, which was far preferable to the terrible windstorms a few days earlier. As he was on the southern most end of the city, it would take him some time to return. I don't think I'll ever get used to this place. He thought to himself as he made his way down one of the main roads. His path led him through a rather active, not very pleasant looking series of stands and tents. There were also a number of small stages set up between the tents and stands; like some sort of market. There seemed to be a decent amount of activity around the area despite the dismal weather.

He wasn't sure what drove him to do it but Duncan had the strangest of feelings that he couldn't shake. For some reason he thought that he should maybe take the time to wander through the strange market; a short diversion on his way back to The Gem.

As Duncan approached the market, he saw a larger than normal collection of armed guards wandering throughout the area. Once he had reached the meandering path through the tents, he realized exactly what the market was; a slave market. When he was closer to what appeared to be the center of the market, he saw numerous people being pulled out on to the various stages and auctioned off to the highest bidder. He saw men, women and children of all ages, cuffed, in chains and even some in cages, being sold off one by one. The atmosphere among the ground seemed energetic and everyone other than those being sold seemed to be having a good time.

Duncan however found himself struggling to keep his calm. He knew that slavery existed within Sunberth but to witness this particular aspect of it first hand was nothing short of horrifying. Hoping to keep his disgust from being outwardly seen and thus possibly drawing unneeded attention, Duncan pulled the cowl of his cloak to better hide his face. He couldn't however help but clench his sapphire fist as he walked his way through the market. The desire to do something, anything, to stop what was happening was as powerful as the despair of not being able to.

When he saw the broken, blank stares of the slaves as they were bought by others, he did the only thing he thought he could; he offered a silent prayer to Izurdin to help them find strength. I know...it's a prayer that is too little, too late for these poor souls yet, Izurdin, if even one of these people can find the strength to escape this horrific display, I ask that you show them your grace.

A moment later, Duncan passed by a tent; the opening flanked by two rather burly looking, heavily armed men. As he continued past it he heard a voice from within. It was a man's voice, slimy and sickening to Duncan's ears. "Hey, buddy, I saw you out there a bit ago. You obviously didn't like the stock those newcomers and has-beens had for sale did ya? No, you're in the market for something more...exotic. Come on in and see." Not immediately understanding why, Duncan stopped and turned slightly toward the tent opening. It was dimly lit inside with the tent flap only partially pulled aside by a gloved hand.

"There ya go. Gotcha interested huh? Come on in. Boys, step aside, let the gentleman in." The two guards took a couple steps to the side to allow Duncan entry. Still wondering what in Izurdin's name he was doing, Duncan ducked through the opening and stepped inside.

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Duncan Rightstone
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What is one person's life worth?

Postby Duncan Rightstone on October 9th, 2018, 2:26 am

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Upon entering the tent, Duncan's sense of smell was assaulted by the overpowering scent of incense. There was a light haze of overly-sweet smelling smoke hanging in the air. The tent itself was a small pavilion and appeared to be semi-permanent. There was a large bed against one side of the tent, unmade with the covered tossed all about. A nightstand stood to one side of the bed while a large chest sat at the foot. Large poles were sunk into the ground to serve as supports which is probably the only reason the tent was still standing after the windstorms. There was a large canvas rug on the ground in the center of the tent with a few smaller rugs near the bed. There was a small table with a couple of chairs and on the side of the tent opposite the bed was a short platform with a large cloth covering something rectangular beneath.

The man who'd invited Duncan inside stopped in the center of the tent and turned. He was human, about as tall as Duncan was and moderately overweight. He had short, graying blonde hair and a wisp of a mustache. Dressed in relatively fine, colorful clothing, he wore a pair of light leather gloves. His face was pock-marked and his eyes seemed to perpetually squint. Duncan took a quick glance over his shoulder to see one of the guards watching him through a small opening in the tent flap.

In the same sickly, slimy voice, the voice of a merchant you knew would try to pull a fast one on you simply by the sound of his voice, the man said, "Welcome my boy. Name's Chester Wollhouse III purveyor of the greatest stock of meat you'll ever lay your eyes on. As I said, I saw you out there, lookin all disgusted by the garbage those other crooks throw up for sale. And as I said, I got something you'll love!" Chester rubbed his gloved hands together and took a few steps toward the small platform holding the veiled object.

Duncan wasn't exactly sure what he was doing there. He wanted nothing to do with this wretch of a man but he couldn't shrug off the nagging feeling in his gut that spiked whenever he felt about walking away. Deciding to play along at least for the moment, if for no other reason to figure out what drew him to the market, the tent and why he couldn't find the strength to simply leave, he said as calmly and collected as he could, "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wollhouse. You're right, I found what I saw outside to be disgusting; definitely not what I was hoping to find this day. So you say you have something that would interest me?" Duncan didn't bother with introducing himself. He bet that Chester didn't care either. It was all about the sale.
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What is one person's life worth?

Postby Duncan Rightstone on October 9th, 2018, 3:12 am

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Chester grinned widely, a missing tooth completing the slimy feeling Duncan got from him. With the excitement of a man looking to sell something, Chester started his pitch, "Yes, indeed! Alright, so I can see by the muscles built on muscles and the colorful fist there, quite nice by the way, that you're an isur. You people are all about the good stuff. You ever hear of a Kelvic?"

Duncan simply nodded his response, wanting to speak to this man as little as possible.

"Excellent! They're amazing creatures they are. So many possibilities. Well, it just so happens that I recently acquired a wonderful specimen, primo stock!" He emphasized his words with grand gestures to further his point.

"You still interested? Wanna see?" Chester walked closer to the platform, reached for the cloth and pulled it back. On the platform stood a cage roughly 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide and 5 feet long. Held inside was a young human girl wearing only an iron collar. A chain ran from the collar to the base of the cage. She had long, multi-shaded brown hair and an angled face. She appeared to be asleep. She had bruises on her face which told Duncan that she was likely forced into being unconscious rather than simply sleeping. He felt shame and disgust when he saw her. Disgust at her situation and shame that he couldn't just snap Chester's neck followed by the cage bars, pick her up and take her far away from there. While he could likely snap Chester's neck with a flick of the wrist, probably before he even made a sound, the guards were still an issue. They were heavily armed and appeared to be watching Duncan quite closely from outside. Plus there were the countless other armed individuals in the market.

Just as he was mentally struggling with all that was going on and how to handle it all, realization suddenly slammed into him like an isurian fist. He'd prayed to Izurdin and asked for at least one of the slaves to find the strength to rise above their situation and receive his grace. It would seem that, for this girl, strength had arrived to help her rise above...Izurdin's grace had appeared in the form of Duncan.

Chester, still baring his gap-toothed grin, continued the pitch, "You like don't you? I can see that you do. See, this one as I was saying, is a primo piece of meat. She's trained to work leather, a valuable trade for someone like you to take advantage of. She's beautiful too, wouldn't you agree? I know that you do. Oh, get this! She's unspoiled as well!" Chester nodded his head in affirmation of his own words.

"We had to knock her around a bit though to keep her in line. She got a bit out of hand so we had to take her out for awhile. But, I assure you she's untouched otherwise; a rare find indeed." Chester patted himself on his chest, obviously proud of his restraint in the name of more profit.

Duncan sighed softly. If he were going to save the girl, he was going to have to momentarily lower himself to a level he never imagined. There was going to be only one way to save her that avoided her death and most likely his own. He would have to engage in a business transaction with the foul waste of flesh pitching the sale of a living, thinking being.
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Duncan Rightstone
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What is one person's life worth?

Postby Duncan Rightstone on October 9th, 2018, 3:58 am

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Resigning himself to the fact that he was going to actually attempt to purchase another person, he held it in his mind that he was doing so to save her and to be the very thing he prayed to Izurdin for.

"An interesting piece you have here to be certain. Hopefully in subduing her, you didn't do any permanent damage. So...is there any family associated with this one? I wouldn't want complications with someone foolish enough to attempt to take her back."
Duncan was not as in tune with the finer details of negotiating a business deal like many other isur. However, as all isur in Sultros grow up around a culture devoted to crafting and trade, he at least knew the concept. For the moment, he decided to try and frame his questions in a way that gave him information about the girl that may be useful in helping her while making it sound like he was just wanting more details about the potential purchase.

Chester was all to eager to answer Duncan's questions. "No family. I acquired her from a guy who got a little to far in debt with the wrong people. He's no longer around if you get my meaning. As for damage...let me see here." Chester looked around the tent for a moment before heading over to the nearby table where sat a large bowl of water.

Duncan in the meantime asked a couple more questions, "Also, how do I know she's actually a Kelvic? All I see is a passed-out girl in a cage."

Chester picked up the bowl of water and walked back over to the cage. "Ok, so get ready. This will show that there's no permanent damage and if experience tells me right, you'll see that she is truly a Kelvic." Chester overturned the bowl into the cage. As the water splashed over the girl's face, Duncan watched as her eyes slowly blinked a few times before fully opening. As her eyes opened, awareness set in and the girl began struggling against the chain and the collar. When she saw Chester, she was instantly surrounded in a swirl of colored lights, her body consumed for the briefest of breathes before it was no longer human. Instead, where the girl was there was now a large cat. Larger than many pet cats Duncan had seen before yet far smaller than Ebon, it was beautiful.

It's fur myriad of browns with a bit of gray earthy tones broken up with wide black patterning. It had black spots on its head, and its ears were black. Partly broken-up stripes ran from the corner of its eyes over the cheek, from the corner of the mouth to its neck, and along the nape to its shoulders. Elongated blotches continued down its spine and formed a single median stripe on the loins. The underparts and legs were spotted, and the tail was marked by large, irregular, paired spots. Its legs were short and stout, and paws broad. Its chest and front legs held a powerful looking build despite the animal's smallish size. Under three feet in length with a roughly two foot long tail, it stood a little under two feet tall at the shoulder. The cat's teeth were huge, its upper canines easily two inches long.

When the cat saw Chester, it lunched at him from inside the cage, its large paws barely fitting through the bars. It growled deeply, punctuating the sound with violent hisses.

"See, Kelvic and no permanent damage." Chester said, still grinning. "So, whatcha say? You wanna buy? I'll sell her for a fair price of 900 gold mizas."

Duncan coughed heavily at the mention of how much Chester wanted for the girl. While he had that much, it was a staggering amount. He already felt horrible for attempting this in the first place. Giving this filth that many mizas would make the whole situation even worse.

"900...almost fair. I mean, let's be honest with each other here, Chester. Can I call you Chester? See, while there doesn't look to be any short-term damage from your care of this girl, there could be long-term issues that haven't presented themselves yet. Also, she clearly isn't broken. You say she's unspoiled. While that is a bonus, she is going to be a handful to say the least. I mean, I could die the first time I take her out of the cage. 500 gold mizas." Duncan silently cursed himself with every word he spoke yet tried to tell himself over and over that he was doing this to save the girl.

Chester chuckled, not all that happily. "Sir, you are close to insulting me. But, maybe she is a little dangerous. That makes it more exciting though. 700 gold mizas."

Duncan didn't want to push his luck too far. This man was dangerous and if the deal fell through, he would lose the girl and make an enemy in the process. "You aren't going to get much more for a girl who could bite your face off without question. 600 gold mizas and I will take her off your hands and take the chance."

Chester thought it over for a moment and then announced that it was a deal. Duncan counted out 600 mizas and paid the man. Chester then had the guards carefully arrange for the cage with the cat to be loaded up on a small two wheeled cart that he threw in for free. Duncan picked up the handle on the cart and quickly made his way out of the market. The cat curling up at the back of the cage, staring at Duncan with no small amount of fear.
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Duncan Rightstone
Izurdin's Hammer
 
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