Solo Welcome to the Chaos

Asterope gets her first taste of Sunberth.

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

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

Moderator: Regime

Welcome to the Chaos

Postby Asterope on November 8th, 2018, 9:42 pm

Image
53rd/Autumn/518 AV

Aster had lost count of the days. They'd traveled by wagon first, and then by ship; the travel was long, as she'd expected, and hard. The waves had been rough often, and the wind out at sea had been cold; but the opportunity to once again bask in sunlight and fresh air was more than she could ask for.

Over the course of traveling on the ship, Aster had felt her pallor fade and her energy return with every second spent under the sun. It had allowed her time to recover somewhat, and to regroup her thoughts and emotions. Anxiety and paranoia still clouded her thoughts, but she no longer felt so apathetic; she had hope now, and it seemed to have reignited other emotions along with it.

Traveling on the boat was slightly more relaxed than it had been in the wagon; most people were too busy to keep a direct eye on them, so she and the other slaves were allowed a moderate amount of freedom, provided they kept their heads down and stayed out of the way.

Aster was pressed up against the railing of the ship, staring out over the sea when the city came into view. Wind whipped her hair around her face, and an early morning fog made the air hazy, but she could still see the buildings quickly approaching. Sunberth, if she recalled correctly; that's where they were going.

She'd never heard of the city, and she had no idea what it was like, but she supposed she would find out soon enough. As the ship drew closer, the slaver that had been escorting them began to shout, beginning to round the other slaves up.

Aster lingered even as he shouted for her, inhaling the salt laden air deeply before she turned her back on the approaching city to join the handful of other slaves. They were bound in a line, their ropes tied together. Aster craned her neck curiously to try and get a look at the port as they sailed into it, the ship bumping gently as they docked, but it was difficult to see from the back of the line.

The gangplank was lowered, and after a few more minutes, they were being led off the ship and onto solid ground. Adjusting to the ship hadn't taken long for Aster, but readjusting to land seemed to be a different story. Her legs shook faintly as she swayed, automatically trying to make up for movement beneath her that wasn't really there. It took a few stumbled steps before she righted herself, though her legs still felt wobbly.

The city was vastly different from Ravok. There was a smell in the air that Aster couldn't place, but it was stale and dirty. People moved around, shouting, many of them dressed raggedly. Dirt and dust filled the air, and as they left the bay area, Aster noticed the houses were rundown, some seemingly even abandoned.

Shouting broke out somewhere ahead, and Aster stretched up onto her toes to try and see what was happening; eventually, she passed the commotion. Two ragged children who couldn't be older than twelve or thirteen were fighting in the street, and Aster felt her stomach drop like a stone when she caught a glimpse of flashing metal as one of them drew a blade.

Blood hit the street, though from who or what sort of wound she couldn't say. The crimson soaked into the dirt ground quickly, as if it had always been there. They kept moving, and Asterope peered over her shoulder as she walked, but the boys quickly fell out of sight as they turned a corner.

She swallowed hard, curling her fingers into her hands, nails digging into her palms as she stumbled along, feeling nauseous. It was becoming increasingly apparent what sort of city Sunberth was.

Word Count: 642
Image

If there's a light at the end, it's just the sun in your eyes
User avatar
Asterope
Shattered star
 
Posts: 256
Words: 221135
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 4
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)

Welcome to the Chaos

Postby Asterope on November 8th, 2018, 10:30 pm

Image
Eventually, they were led to a marketplace, bustling even in the early morning. It took Aster a few moments to realize what the market specialized in, however; around her, people were hauled around by ropes and chains, collared and dressed in rags. Slaves. A few stands around the market had people lined up on them, and others standing below were shouting numbers.

Aster clenched her jaw, a sour taste in her mouth as she watched people around her be sold like common goods, realizing that she was about to experience the exact same thing herself.

The slaver located an empty stand, promptly dragging her and the other slaves over and herding them all up onto it. The rickety wood creaked beneath her feet as Aster climbed the steps, staring out over the marketplace. Without even realizing it she squared her shoulders, raising her chin as a frown curved her mouth down sharply.

Already they were attracting a crowd. She wasn't in much better shape than the other slaves; she was weak and tired and dirty, her hair greasy and uncombed, her skin stained with dirt, her eyes tired. Yet Aster could feel the gazes on her, for despite all that, she stood out like a sooty diamond in a pile of coal. Her golden horns shimmered in the watery morning light, her rosy skin luminous; even in ragged clothes, she could not have looked more out of place.

Bidding started promptly. Aster shut out the shouts, not paying attention; she didn't want to. She watched people gesture to the other slaves lined up with her, nobody seeming to dare set a price for her yet. Finally, someone pointed at her and yelled a number. She tuned out the voices, not wanting to hear it, not wanting to know how much they thought she was worth.

People drifted over to join the crowd; a tall man in a leather jacket strode over, standing somewhat apart and watching with narrowed eyes, his arms folded over his chest. Aster could feel his gaze on her like a physical weight, and glanced at him, meeting his eyes for a moment.

He smirked, and Asterope swallowed, looking away. At least in the institute there had been a reason, a purpose; this was just for profit. She felt like an animal at an auction house, or a piece of meat being bargained over at the butcher's. It wasn't a pleasant feeling, to say the least. Around her, the slaves were gradually being sold off, shoved off the stage ungracefully to whoever had bought them.

Beside her, the slaver was yelling something at the man who was standing to the side, seeming offended. She blinked, listening in again, bringing her attention back to her current situation.

"Are you out of your petching mind?" The slaver bellowed. "You're trying to rob me! When's the last time you saw a creature like this? She's easily worth triple that offer!"

They were arguing over her; how much she was worth. A creature like her. Aster's ribs suddenly felt too tight, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to laugh, cry, or scream. Perhaps a combination of all three. But she stayed silent, her lips pressed tightly together, her nails digging into her palms hard enough to draw thin crescent lines of blood. The faint sting was a welcome distraction.

Word Count: 559
Total: 1,201
Image

If there's a light at the end, it's just the sun in your eyes
User avatar
Asterope
Shattered star
 
Posts: 256
Words: 221135
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 4
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)

Welcome to the Chaos

Postby Asterope on November 11th, 2018, 3:59 am

Image
The two went back and forth for what seemed like ages but must have only been a few chimes at most. Aster didn't hear the final price agreed upon, and she preferred it that way; she only became aware that the bidding was done when the rope that attached her to the other slavers was cut.

Aster jerked her head up, having focused her gaze on the wood beneath her feet, her mind anywhere else but her current situation; she was rudely forced back into reality as the man sauntered up the steps to the platform, a smirk on his face, and took the rope that also kept her wrists tied together.

She hesitated for a brief moment before following as the man gave a tug on the rope, leading her off the platform, looking pleased with himself, as if he'd just bagged a rare piece for a collection. Then again, perhaps that wasn't far from the truth.

Asterope surveyed the man who was to be her master with a narrowed gaze; he was a fair bit taller than her, with a clean-shaven jaw and dark, greying hair. He looked marginally cleaner and more put-together than many of the people she had seen so far, though he still seemed slightly worn, for lack of a better word.

He glanced back at her, his smirk widening, showing his teeth in what was more of a snarl than a smile. "Like what you see, sunshine?" He asked, with a rough laugh. Aster blinked, startled at being addressed so suddenly, and pressed her lips together, keeping silent.

"Good thing it doesn't matter what you like. You best get used to it," He continued, shrugging with one shoulder, before he gave a sharp tug on the rope he held. Asterope stumbled forward a step, but managed to stay upright as she followed the man into the streets of Sunberth, casting one last lingering glance back at the slave market behind her.

Aster tried to get a handle on the city as they walked, but it was difficult; the streets were twisting, and the buildings were rundown and haphazard. Then again, she supposed if she survived in Alvadas, she would be able to manage. At one point they came to a river that seemed to split the town in half, which they were ferried across; she made sure to take note of it as a land mark.

Eventually, they reached their destination; it was a complex of worn brick, and the man leading her nodded curtly to a handful of people leaving the building as they approached.

"Got a new pet, I see, Gire," One of them jeered, prompting laughter from the rest. Aster felt her cheeks flushing, and lowered her head, hiding her face behind a curtain of unwashed red hair.

"Exotic, too," Another chimed in with a whistle. "Bet she cost you a pretty penny."

The man, Gire, let out a grunt. "Worth every copper," He said. The group exchanged a few more brief words before they left, and Aster was led inside the complex, up some stairs, and finally into a small apartment. The word apartment was generous, even; it was a single room, with a hearth in a corner and some rundown furniture.

"Welcome to your new home." Gire turned to her, pulling a blade from his belt, and cut the ropes binding her wrists. They fell to the floor with a quiet, dull thud, and Aster rubbed at the raw, red lines they had left on her skin. "I wouldn't recommend trying to run."

Aster frowned at that. Of course the thought had crossed her mind, but she wasn't so stupid as to do that; if she was going to try and get away, she would at least come up with a plan so that she had a fighting chance. She remained silent, though, instead peering around the room she found herself in. She wrapped her arms tightly around her stomach, trying to make herself seem as small as possible without even realizing it.

"I'm sure you heard I'm Gire; Alard Gire, at your service." A smirk played at Alard's mouth. "But you'll be calling me sir. And what's your name, sunshine?" The man asked, crossing the room to sit on the edge of the bed, leaning back and propping one foot on the opposite knee, watching her with a critical eye. He seemed quite sure she wouldn't try to run after all, which made Aster tempted to try, but she didn't.

"Asterope." Her voice came out rough, and she had to clear her throat after speaking.

"What a petching mouthful of a name," The man snorted. He stood abruptly, moving towards the hearth, using flint and steel off the mantelpiece to light the charred remains of wood sitting inside it. He stoked the embers until a pleasant fire began to roar, filling the room with warmth and warding off the chill of the morning air.

"C'mere, sunshine." He said, absently; with his back to her, Aster couldn't see what he was doing. The nickname irritated her, especially since he had bothered to ask her name, but his voice sounded amused. She had a feeling it had less to do with what she was, and was more of some sort of joke she wasn't understanding.

After a moment, she cautiously approached the man, who was still bent over by the hearth, and lingered a few steps away.

Word Count: 907
Total: 2,108
Image

If there's a light at the end, it's just the sun in your eyes
User avatar
Asterope
Shattered star
 
Posts: 256
Words: 221135
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 4
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)

Welcome to the Chaos

Postby Asterope on November 11th, 2018, 4:29 am

Image
He straightened up suddenly, and Aster stumbled back a step in surprise, but he strode forward. Reaching up with one hand, Alard gripped her jaw tightly, yanking her face up, his calloused fingers rough on her face.

Aster struggled in his grip, her hands flying up to grab his wrist, her fingers digging into the sleeve of his leather jacket. Her golden eyes were wide, her pulse hammering with panic as she tried to jerk her head free; what was he going to do?

Something bright caught her attention out of the corner of her eye, and Aster glanced down to see a long piece of metal in Alard's hand, the end twisted into a red-hot design. A brand. The panic coursing through her doubled, and Aster scrabbled at Alard's arm.

"Let me go!" Her voice was pitched high with fear, but he didn't have much trouble keeping his grip on her despite her struggles; he backed her into the wall beside the hearth, pinning her in place as he raised the brand, a smirk on his face.

Aster could feel the heat of it as he moved it up beside her face, the glow nearly blinding; her breathing was ragged as she pressed back into the wall, trying to get away. There was a long pause where all she could do was hold her breath and wait, her entire body tense, but finally the brand moved away from her face. "Nah," Alard spoke, casually. "Wouldn't want to mess up that pretty face. Gods know I paid enough for it."

Relief washed through Aster, her heart still pounding, making her limbs tremble as Alard took a step away from her. But just when she thought he was done, he reached out to catch her wrist, dragging her hand towards him. "I do need to mark you as my property, though. Somewhere everyone can see so we don't have any...misunderstandings."

Aster stared up at him, registering his words as he grinned down at her before the brand was pressed into the back of her hand. She jerked, letting out a cry as heat washed through her hand, lancing through her nerves like fire; she could hear the sizzle and smell the faint charring of human flesh.

Tears streaked down her face, but Alard held her hand firmly in place for a few moments until he finally lifted the brand. He held onto Asterope's wrist a second longer, admiring his handiwork, before releasing her.

Aster drew her arm to her chest, cradling her hand close, trying to contain the sobs of pain she felt bubbling in her chest, though tears continued to drip from her eyes. The back of her right hand was throbbing painfully. Aster examined the burned skin, lips pressed into a thin line; it was red and raw, and the brand had left a symbol of an eight-pointed sun on her skin.

She could have laughed then at the irony of it; was this some sort of sign? Was this a test of some sort from Syna? But why would her goddess force her through so much pain and suffering? What point could it have?

The questions swam through Aster's mind as she covered the burn with her other hand, trying to calm herself and focus. It took a few moments, but a light shone from her other palm for a brief moment, and when she dropped her hand, the burn was beginning to scab over. Ageing it by a day had done little, but it was better than nothing. If she did it daily, the burn would be healed in no time.

Alard hadn't been paying attention, his back to her as he cooled the brand and set it to the side. "Good. Now that that's out of the way, I won't have to worry as much. We wouldn't want anyone trying to take advantage of you, now would we?" He grinned at Aster as he turned back around, but there was something about it that made her very uneasy.

"Anyone with brains will leave you alone if they see that. Nobody wants to mess with the Sun's Birth. Or at least, no regular person. The other petchers might be a different story." Alard seemed to mostly be talking to himself, but Aster nodded mutely anyway; it was good information to have, though she didn't know who the others were.

After a moment, she dared to speak up; it seemed even capture and slavery couldn't keep her curiosity at bay. "What's the Sun's Birth? And who are the others?"

Alard stared at her for a moment, then let out a rough laugh. "Petch, aren't you an innocent little thing. You should be thankful that I snatched you up and that you didn't end up on the streets. You wouldn't last a minute." He shook his head, crossing back over to the bed and sitting down again, taking the time to pull off his boots this time.

"Firstly, here's the deal, lovely; it seems you might not be as quiet a thing as I thought you were. I'll tolerate any questions you might have in here, but the second you step foot outside that door with me, you won't speak unless spoken to. Is that clear?" His voice was sharp when he asked the final question.

Aster pressed her lips into a thin line, and jerked her chin up and down once in a nod of understanding.

"I want to hear you say it."

She was too tired to fight back, and the dull throbbing still pulsing in her hand reminded her of why that might not be a good idea. "I understand. Speak only when spoken to outside this room."

Aster thought that would be enough, but clearly it wasn't. Alard cocked his head, his eyes set firmly on her face, holding her gaze. "Yes, what?" He asked, and he sounded increasingly impatient.

Recalling his introduction earlier, Aster inhaled deeply, and forced the words out. "Yes, sir. I understand." She felt disgusted as soon as she said it; with him, with the whole situation, with herself. The fingers of her good hand curled in towards her palm again, digging into the cuts from before, the stinging of the shallow wounds keeping her focused.

"There we go. We'll make a good slave of you yet," Alard laughed. "Go on then, sit. I'll give you a quick explanation, since otherwise you might end up dead in a gutter somewhere, and what a waste of coin that would be."

Aster bit her tongue, and lowered herself to the floor where she was, tucking her knees to her chest and watching Alard as he sat thoughtfully, seemingly debating where to begin his explanation.

Word Count: 1,121
Total: 3,229
Image

If there's a light at the end, it's just the sun in your eyes
User avatar
Asterope
Shattered star
 
Posts: 256
Words: 221135
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 4
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests