PM to join Slaves of a chain, link. (Shiress)

Loxcia gets word of a slave ship and meets a fellow slave along the way.

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

Slaves of a chain, link. (Shiress)

Postby Loxcia Campo on June 6th, 2021, 4:22 am

Kontinese
Common
Char

Sunset

The Docks, Zeltiva

3rd of Summer, 521 A.V


It had been a month since she'd last been here yet the sounds of the waves and smell of the sea stayed the same. It was relaxing. Spring had come and gone just like that, and summer had begun to step it's foot into the door. Warmer days on a higher level, which also meant cooler nights, maybe even a breeze. She'd come down here to calm herself. Finding herself in her own head more often than less lately. A trip down to the docks to watch the sunset deemed the perfect remedy.
She was supposed to take a trip up towards the forests today but procrastination took hold, so she walked around the city all day with a bow as a decoration.

That's what started it. She'd been hard on herself lately to actually do the things that she said she wanted to do. So long she'd been stuck in the mindset of an animal. Everything held on routine. Being told when to eat, sleep, always answering yes to even the most degrading of task only to spare a even more violent assault. A sigh left and a smile almost crept upon her face. The sun felt good, she was relaxed. Home.

There were a few others here at the docks, some for the same reason as she, others for their own personal businesses. It was still the first few days of the season, so the more rowdy and loud types were to be around as expected. As long as they kept their distance and shenanigans' to a controlled minimum, most of everyone didn't seem to mind. She lay on the wooden planks back flat upon them. Her legs dangled from the edge looking up into the yellow-red-purple sky. Her hair bright from being washed she closed her eyes, taking in her surrounding. There were side conversations between others so things were heard. Still though she couldn't let it go un-addressed when she picked up on a conversation.

"I don't know why the Wave Guard even bothers to be around anymore."

" They try and keep everyone safe though mate."

"Ehh Yea, but you can't keep EVERYBODY safe mate. Ya just can't."

"Well what do you propose mate?"

"I say we stop protectin them slaves."

"Ha! Ye sound foolish."

"No I be serious as can. I mean looka East street. Full of poor petchers that can't make a life for themselves either because they don't have the skill, or they are too petchin scared to come outside because they thing a slavers around the corner."

"Mate."

"What? Their pests they are. They bring nothing to the community. Brining down value mate. Now I say we get like Sunberth, just more organized. Make a profit on them. Ha we can even send them up into the Pass use them as scapegoats for whatever's up there so we can expand. The Miza would flow in. I hear there's a ship just off the shallow waters past the docked ships. They don't dock because of the guard, but anyone that can get in contact with them could get a slave I hear. Shyke even if we can't make coin off them it wouldn't hurt to have someone to boss around and do chores. Heh do me too. Because I said so at that. I own em. "

The man's friend didn't respond, disappointed in his friends opinion but never the less wouldn't object or go against the situation.

-Hurt him

Before she'd realized it her bow was drawn and arrow coming out from behind her like a magic trick. The string taught bow curving with a stretching nose as if asserting it's presence. Both men drunk, the quieter one quickly scurried off and away. The boaster seemed unfazed by her action. He stood tall and thick-skinned. He loomed over her, back at an angle to get a clear shot of his chest.

-Let it go

Just as the voice had said it, she wanted to do it but hesitated. She'd never taken a life before. She wanted to, especially those that took so many seasons from her. So many experiences that she'd never get back. The man grimaced.

"You dare draw your weapon on me? See this is what I'm talking about. The guard is giving you shykes too much confidence. Stopping you from realizing who you should be respecting."

Loxcia didn't see it coming. She didn't even feel it, she'd been hit harder by weaker people. This was nothing. Still she was a average height, light small-framed woman and he a giant of a man, human. Always petching human. The strike knocked her well off balance. Her finger slipping and the arrow launching out and into the water. She managed to roll out of the man's grasps, bringing her bow around whipping him in the face before trying to reload an arrow. She was too slow. The man already back in her face.

Her shirt collar yoked up, feet leaving the ground. There was a heavy smell of beer and whatever he ate on his breath. He leaned in closely almost touching her cheek with his hair crusted lips. Hot air brushed across her skin making it crawl. She thrashed about to no avail. She imagined she resembled a child throwing a tantrum.

"This is what's wrong with Zeltiva. Scum like you."

As to have been wishing her a farewell, he tossed her off the docks supplies and all with. There had been a plethora of other people there so she assumed he didn't want the attention of witnesses and possibly the guard. Still rage fueled her body. What did he mean with his words? Everybody deserved the right to life and freedom. If she had the strength, the skill to fight. Rescuing her items from the tide, she waddled to the shore. She could only be upset with herself. She started the fight and lost. Not entirely.

Head perking up to the memory of his words.

"Rumor had it that there was a slave ship just beyond the shallow waters"

She wondered if this was true. To think that there was another ship out there with people, victims of theft. The item being their freedom. She would do something about it. Somebody would. Decision made, she sat on the beach enjoying the scenery and waiting. When the sun finished going down, she make her attempt. She was tired. tired of being treated as a second class citizen. To be classified as "lesser than" and for it to be seen as a normal part of life. No. She would make a way for those stripped of their lives, their innocence, their freedom. Someone had to care, and it would be her.
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Slaves of a chain, link. (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on June 9th, 2021, 6:39 pm

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Lancing boils and abscesses and shoving broken bones back through flesh? Can do.

Vomit, urine, and other foul bodily secretions? Doesn't flinch.

Carving into days-old corpses? No problems.

But, impaling a wiggling, slimy worm onto the end of a fishhook has the good doctor shivering and clamping her eyes closed on a gag as the sharp end successfully penetrates the worm's cold body. No wonder Shiress has been sitting on the dock for nearly three bells, and the fish basket at her side remains empty. Fortunate, really, seeing how much she's fretted about removing the fish from the hook had she caught one.

Oh, the ideas a nearly frantic Aunt is capable of when attempting to learn a new hobby to entertain their stir-crazy teenage nephew. Apparently, fishing will not be among her more successful ideas. Good thing she decided to learn herself before taking Milo fishing. She'd have made a right fool of herself.

If anything, Milo could probably teach her a thing or two about fishing, seeing as he is a born and bred Ravokian, Shiress concludes, as she tosses the line out before her, watching as the poor baited worm sinks below the surface of the water.

The fact that her mind immediately begins drifting to thoughts of her twin brother, her emerald gaze following suit to wander off somewhere other than the end of the fishing pole in her hand, is probably the very reason Shiress hasn't caught anything. In fact, Shiress has thought of little else for the last couple of fortnights, not since Milo. Not since Zane's son came into her life.

Milo.

A smile softens the worried lines of Shiress's face as she thinks of her nephew. Milo, the spitting image of her brother and just as stubborn and set in his ways as she remembers Zane to be at his age. Even the boy's scowl is all Zane, as well as his lopsided grin and mischievous smirk.

So much like Zane.

So, naturally, Shiress has unintentionally withdrawn herself from the boy, letting Milo's grandmother tend to him and see to his needs. She's being selfish and cold, she knows she is, and it's not Milo's fault, but it hurts that Zane isn't here, too. It's like being allowed to taste the batter but forbidden to have a slice of the resulting cake.

Almost enough, but not quite Zane.

Shiress's shoulders slump with a despondent sigh.

Then, of course, there's Nolen. Gorgeous, intriguing, way-out-of-her-league Nolen, with his perfect body and perfect hair, who, oddly, has taken a very sudden, and possibly malevolent -if Caspian is to be believed-, interest in Shiress. Shiress does not believe Caspian, though. Not really. Not when Caspian has yet to say one nice thing about Nolen since Nolen began working at the cottage. In fact, her private investigator best friend has all but-

Nearby voices snap Shiress's awareness back to her surroundings, but it takes a tick for the doctor to realize what had drawn her attention to the private conversation, or, more specifically, its topic.

Slaves.

With a slight tilt of her head, Shiress peered out through a curtain of chestnut hair to a pair of men standing a little way down from where she sat. The longer the two men talked and warmed to their topic, the louder their carrying voices became, their words hooking Shiress just as thoroughly as the worm on the end of her pole.

A slave ship?

Following the trajectory of their gaze, Shiress thought she could see a ship bobbing dark and ominous in the water along the shadowy line of the setting sun. It wasn't the biggest ship she had ever seen, but it wasn't exactly small, either. Could it be a slave ship, full of men and women chained and ready for the auctions? Were there children on board, too? The very thought that there could be had her spine going rigid.

Lowering the pole down beside her, Shiress stood, aiming to circle around to the far side of the docks to gain a better look at the vessel, but a sudden movement had her attention going back to the two conversing men who had suddenly gone quiet, their focus now on a bow-wielding woman with a nocked arrow trained straight at the bigger man's chest. Shiress's brows drew down in a frown, mouth falling slightly open when, with a minute shift of the woman's stance, the dying sunlight caught the surface of the female's skin. Scales. She'd only met one once, nearly five summers back in Syliras, but Shiress knew what she was looking at.

A Konti.

A Konti who, apparently, also found reason to be offended by the conversation between the two Zeltivan boneheads. Unfortunately, the blonde had reacted in exactly the wrong way, deciding to take the bovine pair down a few notches instead of walking away to be offended another day. A lesson Shiress had to learn from experience.

Wait, where had the other one gone?

Shiress's gaze briefly left the altercation in search of the bigger man's earlier companion, only to snap back in time to see the brute of a man grab hold of the Konti and shove her off the dock into the water. Shiress took two hasty steps toward where the woman went over, then stopped, remembering that not only did Konti have scales, they had gills, too. Swimming was probably a given skill. She hoped, at least.

Instead, standing in place, she watched the man stroll away after several ticks, shaking his head in apparent disgust, before stepping closer to the edge of the pier to search the surface of the briny water for the woman. Spotting the blonde head wading off toward the shore, Shiress turned and headed in that direction, fishing pole forgotten.

Shiress spotted the woman sitting alone on the beach, her bright blonde hair contrasting beautifully against the backdrop of the sunset's darkening colors. Pulling off her slippers, Shiress plotted her way barefoot across the dense sand and lowered herself beside the female, taking a quiet moment to appreciate the beauty of Syna's dying light before speaking in a soft tone.

"Are you okay? I saw what happened on the dock."

Shiress's forefinger scraped away a stray lock of hair skipping across her cheek, caught in the gentle ocean breeze, and planted it behind an ear.

"I also heard their conversation." she added, then, after another silent moment, finally turned her head enough to see the woman's profiled features. "Do you really think there's a slave shipped docked out there?" she asked, studying her companion before letting her gaze return to the ever-darkening horizon. "My name is Shiress, by the way."
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Slaves of a chain, link. (Shiress)

Postby Loxcia Campo on June 10th, 2021, 2:09 am

Kontinese
Common
Char


"Are you okay? I saw what happened on the dock."


Loxcia nearly pissed herself and was almost positive she had a heart attack. The voice though sweet and soft spoken caught her entirely off guard causing her to nearly jump from her skin. She hadn't even heard what the woman had said. It all was garbled into one sound. She had come from thin air if Loxcia were to tell the tale. The first thing she noticed were green jewels, two of them socketed in the woman's face. Then her hair long and brown, beautiful and doing it's job at making her eyes pop.

The woman had a very welcoming face that made it difficult for the Konti to be upset that she herself had been startled. A quick look in both directions to verify that the man she'd very recently had a scuffle with didn't return with a different thought in mind. Another thought; could he have sent this woman in his place to bring harm unto her? A slow creep of her hand inched her bow closer to her, just to be safe. Then she heard her question.

The embarrassment set in like flame to a candlestick. She was paranoid, and didn't know why. So much was going on in her life and it had only been a season. Tossing the bow to the side a side shuffle created space for the woman to sit. Guilt from how she reacted gave up the seat but distrust still lingered due to the fact that this was a human, or at least looked like it. She was very aware of the fact that there were some humanoid races throughout mizahar. Some that looked every spit of a human but weren't, and depending on which type you were dealing with were worse than the humans themselves.

It wasn't that she hated humans, well she did, but it was with good justifiable reasoning. Humans were cruel, disgusting, violent, destructive, greedy, petching wastes of life. Especially the men. Her jaw had locked square at her thoughts. She then realized that she would have to answer the woman, leaving a large space of silence between them.

-Yea, I'm alright. He just roughed me up a bit is all.

She'd gotten a second look at the woman now that space had grown between them and by the gods she never thought she'd see the day that she would meet another fully grown adult that was shorter than she. Not wanting to point it out knowing how she herself felt about her height being mentioned by those taller than her. She decided to let it go no matter how adorable she thought it was.

-Is this what people think when they see me? She thought to herself. Maybe that's why the guy tossed her off the docks instead of assaulting her.

Continuing her second inspection, that's when she noticed the scars. The woman wore a black tank top and beige pants that tore below the knee so Loxcia didn't know how she missed something so distinctive. In fact the more she looked the more she was able to read a the woman's story. There small whip marks traveling along her collar bone and shoulders and another scar that peeked from her breast. An unreadable something was amongst their ranks, probably a wound that didn't heal correctly. Her legs matched, having a circular scar on her calf as well as a silver root that looked to be etched into her skin.

There was another brand that she'd seen on the woman's wrist that read "Shiress". She didn't want to ask but the signs were there. Just as a crook could catch a crook, a slave knew what a slave looked like. Loxcia had been taught that there was an unspoken line of respect that slaves had about certain things. Being pointed out as a slave even if free was one of those rules not meant to be broken. If -Shiress wanted to disclose that information then so be it, but Loxcia wouldn't bring it up. It was safe to assume that the woman had come to the same conclusion about Loxcia seeing that her flesh was just as torn if not worse.

"Do you really think there's a slave shipped docked out there? My name is Shiress, by the way. "


Ah, so that was her name then. The Konti sat for a tick with her mouth slightly dropped before catching the drool that threatened to jump. How did she know, and where did she come off asking that type of question? Then again, EVERYBODY that was at the docks witnessed the altercation so she was just one of many that wondered the same thing. Loxcia dropped her head now sitting upright elbows resting on knees. She didn't want to think that there was one out there, but that scream. A season had passed and it still gave her chills. Even if it wasn't 'slavers' specifically, something was out there. Still though, that scream was all too familiar for the Konti to pass it up as anything else. Another breath as violet eyes stared out into Laviku's domain. To think they pollute his oceans with their filth.

- Why? Are you scared? But honestly I don't know. I mean- last season I was here and I heard someone scream. It was terrible....If you could put a sound to the word gut curling, that would be it....I-...I ran away, and hid. Today was my first day back here since, and well.

She motioned to the docks where here altercation had been a live show. She wasn't proud of her previous reaction. She did run and hide, and didn't return for a whole season yet wanted to save lives.

-Revenge The voices speaking loud and clearly today for some reason.

Loxcia turned her head looking at the woman from the corner of her eye questionably.

- Shiress you said? I'm Loxia. What do you think? If there really is one out there? Her eyes watered a bit, not wanting Shiress to notice she continued looking out at the sun struggling to stay above horizon.
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Slaves of a chain, link. (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on June 11th, 2021, 8:01 pm

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The Konti's surreptitious scrutiny was not lost on Shiress, those lilac-colored eyes like a calloused hand roaming her body. It was hard not to squirm, cover what exposed scarred skin she could with her hands while turning away from that keen gaze, but she managed to stay still, though Shiress's eyes took on a squinting quality as she continued to watch the sunset.

Finally, the woman seemed content with what her observation had revealed. As soon as her eyes slid away from Shiress, the doctor took the opportunity for her own analysis, letting her green eyes roam over the Konti. It didn't take long for them to find the telltale signs of possible enslavement or, at the very least, a history of being captured and shackled if the pink, slightly raised scars encircling the woman's wrists and ankles were to tell the tale. Either she had been bound tightly or had put up quite a fight against the constraints. Shiress was inclined to go with the latter, glimpsing the thin silvery scar running the length of the Konti's face.

Several things seemed to click into place at once, the most significant being the woman's emotional response to the topic of slavery because Shiress could very much relate.

The Konti had herself been a slave.

Loxcia spoke, bringing Shiress's attention back to her face. At first, the bite in the Konti's words took Shiress by surprise. Scared? Scared of what? Scared of the possibility of there being a ship full of slaves or scared of her own reaction if there is a ship full of slaves? Shiress didn't have an answer for either scenario, honestly, so she ignored the question and focused on the confession instead.

A sudden wash of empathy crashed over Shiress, causing the doctor's gaze to soften as she studied the other female's profile, allowing a sad smile to slip across her lips before she spoke.

"It's okay to run," She assured, having to reign in need to reach out and hug the woman "especially away from something that scares you. Running has saved my life more times than I care to remember." Shiress paused, then added, "That scream could have been anything and more than likely something you'd thank yourself for not getting involved in."

The doctor let her eyes wander back over the water to where she thought the anchored ship might have been, hidden in the dusky dark blanket settling over Zeltiva.

"As far as what I think, if there are slaves out there on a ship, I think maybe-"

"I could help."

The sudden yet familiar voice jolted Shiress so badly that her back popped audibly as she twisted around with a near scream.

Nolen stood just feet from where she and Loxcia sat, his black-clad body barely visible in the shadows he stepped from, a sheepish smile playing on his plump lips.

"Sorry." he said, lifting his hand in an I-didn't-mean-to-scare-the-shyke-out-of-you sort of way, "I...Shiress, I saw you leave the docks, and I wanted to speak with you. I couldn't help but overhear your conversation, and I have to agree; there's a band of slavers out of Sunberth on a ship moored a little less than a mile offshore. I-"

Nolen took a hesitant step closer, his tall, muscled form coming into view as he cleared the shadows. Shiress swallowed hard at the sight of the gorgeous man, hoping that the dying light was enough to hide the blush heating her cheeks.

"I think I can get you on board...I mean...I have a plan if you want to see for yourself."

It took an absurd amount of time for Shiress to realize Nolen had stopped talking and she was staring. Then, jerking herself from the haze, she laid a calming hand on Loxcia's arm, leaning into the other woman as she spoke.

"I'm sorry, Loxcia, this is Nolen, my-" she very nearly said boyfriend before thinking better of it. Not that Nolen would have objected to the endearment, but more so that Shiress objected to the idea of herself being a worthy girlfriend, "friend." she finished lamely, instead, and cleared her throat. "He's a former Syliran Knight."

Shiress's round eyes returned to Nolen, admiration evident in her gaze. "What sort of plan?"

The hint of the sheepish smile lingering on Nolen's lips transformed into a lopsided smirk, causing Shiress to very nearly melt right on the spot.

"Well," he began, fingertips scratching at the dark stubble lining his jaw, "there might be a need for a physician to, you know, look over the slaves to make sure they're healthy enough for the auctions." Nolen shrugged one thick shoulder, knowing it was a good idea. "It would get you and your friend there onboard, and you can see for yourself."

Shiress's gaze slid to Loxcia, a cunning little smile playing at her lips.

"What do you think?"
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Slaves of a chain, link. (Shiress)

Postby Loxcia Campo on July 1st, 2021, 1:28 am

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There was quietness between the two of them for what seemed like a day. Loxcia fought back tears that threatened to follow her spilling emotions out for Shiress to witness. Her face burned with shame and embarrassment but there was a sense of relief as if she'd taken a step closer towards recovering from an injury or sickness. It was a cowards truth. Someone out there needed help. It could have been a woman, a mother, a child separated from their mother, and all Loxcia could do was run and hide under the protection of the blanket. Why escape if she would keep herself a prisoner? All this hatred for humans and salvers to what avail? She would have been better off swimming out to the ship and shackling herself to the floor boards.

"It's okay to run."


The response causing the Konti to draw a short breath. Instinctively she went to turn her head to argue the comment but knew there was no arguing the truth. A quick sniffle cleared her nostrils before the mucus could freefall to the sand. The sun had preformed it's light show and darkness had began to set in. The transition a beautiful sight to the Konti, colors dancing amongst the waves bringing an end to the grand finale. A small breeze kicked up, a motion of her hand clearing the blonde strands from her face. Another huff.

"Especially away from something that scares you. Running has saved my life more times than I care to remember." Shiress paused, then added, "That scream could have been anything and more than likely something you'd thank yourself for not getting involved in.

As far as what I think, if there are slaves out there on a ship, I think maybe-"


"I could help."

The new voice jolted Loxcia back to mind. The quick transition of a feminine melody to the brash bass that now spoke confused the Konti. Running off speculation with emotion and fear to top it off. She dove. A frog leaping to a lily pad, the lily pad being her bow. The impact of the sand brought a tinge of soreness to her chest, a feeling to be ignored. A scramble, rolling in the sand, grains hindering vision. She didn't need to see, she just needed to shoot. What if she shot Shiress? There was a moment of hesitation that allowed realization to sit in once she saw that Shiress was more fumbled than startled at the new arrival.

"Sorry." The man's voice kindly bellowed raising his hands in defense. Loxcia lowered her bow. Not for the man's apologies, but because of his appearance. It had then dawned on the young Konti that she had never met anyone with the same complexion as she. Given he was a bit darker than she, it was close enough. Traveling the open sea as a slave did introduce her to a many people of different colors but to interact with someone that closely resembled her brought a feeling of belonging upon her. His body as big as his voice, she couldn't help but look him over. Thick shoulders, thicker lips and a skin tone to drown in. Loxcia could see why Shiress grew the more flustered with each word coming from the man's face. He wasn't that attractive though. Not to Loxcia at least.

"I...Shiress, I saw you leave the docks, and I wanted to speak with you. I couldn't help but overhear your conversation, and I have to agree; there's a band of slavers out of Sunberth on a ship moored a little less than a mile offshore. I-"

And just like that the tension was back and in effect.

"I think I can get you on board...I mean...I have a plan if you want to see for yourself."

- How! Her emotions getting the best of her. She didn't mean to come off so strong but right then, right there, she decided that this was her chance to do something and something she would do. She asked again this time more eager as if a task was left undone.


"I'm sorry, Loxcia, this is Nolen, my-

friend."
That was a lie, at least from Shiress's mouth. Loxcia hadn't known the feeling of attraction towards another, but she could call out lust when she saw it, and Shiress stunk of it. Her forehead beaded, the slight rose colors in her cheeks. The way her eyes shifted, even her speech pattern had changed leaving her stammering over words. The doctor, a title she'd just learned about the woman had feelings for this man, could he not tell? Or maybe it was because she was a woman as well? Maybe he was stupid. Either way if he was for sure that there was a slave ship and had a way to board it. She was all ears.

"He's a former Syliran Knight."


The konti had to hold back an eye roll not wanting to offend either of the two. Loxcia had her fair share of experience with Sylirian Knights, former and current. They were the worst. There were some good ones that actually upheld justice and whatever it was they were preaching over there, but Loxcia was thinking of the ones nobody seen. The ones that lined their pouches with the pains of the poor, desperate, and weak. Those that roared in the public eye of justice and order but behind closed doors made their own contributions to chaos and violence. She realized that it wasn't polite of her to think of Nolan in that type of light, especially after he offered to assist them. Still, one could never be too careful and even if Shiress did deem him trustworthy, lust blinded the eyes. All she could do is keep an eye out for both Shiress and herself.

"What sort of plan?"
Shiress pulling her from deep thought.

"Well, there might be a need for a physician to, you know, look over the slaves to make sure they're healthy enough for the auctions. It would get you and your friend there onboard, and you can see for yourself. What do you think?"

Loxcia listened and watched Shiress's eyes slide in her direction with a sly grin upon her face. She had to admit, it was a nice plan. Definitely something she couldn't have thought of herself. A great plan actually, too great of a plan. Woven together like a true crook. A slither of doubt snuck into her train of thought.

-What if he is playing the both of us? She thought to herself. The coin he'd pull in for bringing not one, but two escaped slaves, one of them being a Konti. She pushed the thought away. Now wasn't the time to conspire, it was the time for action. She would worry about the possible traitor later. As of now.

- It could work. she spoke.

- I am a doctor's assistant. Not to question your skill of course, but between the two of us, we could make it seem believable. Maybe actually even treat a few people if need be. A spark of excitement filled her eye. Yes she was ready now. If there were slaves out there on a ship, Laviku would deal with their captors tonight.
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Slaves of a chain, link. (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on July 23rd, 2021, 12:06 am

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Fate

It had to be fate that, of all things Loxcia could be in the large city of Zeltiva, she would end up being a doctor's assistant.

Seeing that Shiress was a doctor, it just seemed too good to be true.

It had to be the work of Lhex.

The thought of fingers belonging to any of the gods or goddesses dipping into any of Shiress's pies was unsettling, to say the least; deities of any kind seemed to lack any fondness for Shiress.

The ever seductive voice of trepidation settled heavily on the doctor's shoulders with Loxcia's compliance, whispering its sweet song of 'what ifs' and 'you are fools' into her mind; what if there are slaves aboard, then what? Kill the guards, set the slaves free, and fire the boat?

Shiress sighed inwardly, unable to keep herself from agreeing that she and Loxcia may very well be fools for this endeavor but fools committed to it nonetheless. At least they had Nolan. Right? Besides, the Konti was right. Indeed, the plan was a believable one, and if nothing else, they could treat any sick or injured slaves.

"You would be smart to never stop questioning the skill of any doctor you assist," Shiress interjected into the silence of Nolan's departure, having sent the man the short distance back to her cottage to fetch her medical bag and apron. "it may very well save a life one day. Doctors make mistakes just like anyone else."

Fifteen chimes later, Shiress had donned her white apron and now clung to the medical bag like a lifeline as she and Loxcia followed along behind Nolan as he led them down a short pier to a set of guards, both leaning on wooden posts opposite one another. They straightened as the trio approached, and Shiress's heart did a little gallop in her chest when the one on the left settled his hand on a sheathed dagger at his side.

Nolan, however, seemed unbothered by this or was very good at hiding his alarm. Shiress was inclined to believe the former. Since his return from the cottage, the man exuded confidence. Shiress saw nothing of the earlier slightly abashed, handsome man that had seemingly intruded on a private conversation. Nolan had returned from his minuscule errand a missioned and focused warrior. All this accentuated by his curt, over-the-shoulder "follow me" demand upon his return, tossing Shiress's bag and apron at her in passing. A seemingly deliberate emotional disconnect. This was slightly disconcerting but very short-lived as Shiress suddenly found her concerns refocused on the pair of guards.

Nolan approached the men, mimicking their stance with a hand to his own sheathed blade, studying them in silent judgment a tick before he spoke.

"This is doctor-"

"Nesta, yes, yes...a petching female, thought you was a man doctor." He cut Nolan's words off, eyeing Shiress from head to toe and back again, his chapped, dry lips peeling back in evident disgust, revealing a row of yellowed teeth. " how 'bout that for some shyke, huh.." He flailed an impatient hand about through the air in front of him "Yer late! Just like a woman to be a petching half bell late! I say Haynes should cut yer pay by half, too. That'll learn ya."

The man motioned to his taller companion, shooing him toward a small boat Shiress had only then noticed, tied to the pier's wooden planks.

"Goat here will float ya over and wait to float ya back. Don't know how many are left to watch the slaves cause they done went to that fancy whorehouse you got in town aimin' to wet their pricks. Been long at sea, you see." The man guffawed at his own lame attempt at wordplay, doing something with his hand below his belt that Shiress refused to witness.

As soon as the guard's back was turned and the other guard's attention diverted, Shiress turned slightly concerned eyes to Loxcia, hoping the other woman could read the 'what are the odds' look in her wide eyes. Nolan, however, seemed unaffected by the fortunate news and, without a word, nimbly stepped into the tottering vessel with nary a stumble, hand upraised, waiting to guide the doctor and her assistant into the boat. Shiress steeled herself with a deep intake of breath, grabbed Nolan's proffered hand, and dropped into the boat, immediately shuffling to the side to leave room for Loxcia to follow.

Aside from the nervous licking of suddenly dry lips and wary glances cast sidelong to her Konti companion, Shiress remained motionless on the short ride to the awaiting trading ship, which, oddly, only got smaller the closer Goat rowed them. A trading ketch, her shipwright father, would have called it. To Shiress, the ship looked too small to carry much of anything worth trading, and with her sails lowered and stowed away, the ship's masts looked bare and downright skeletal against the backdrop of the setting sun. The ship's outside appeared to be well journeyed, her wooden hull split, peeling up in places, and weatherworn. The lack of upkeep evident would have set her father off on a neverending tirade.

Shiress couldn't help but wonder, as their small rowboat slid smoothly up against the ship's port side, directly beneath a thick rope ladder that hung precariously from the railing above, if her sailors could be so incompetent at the upkeep of the ship, what condition must their cargo be in?

A head flew out over the taffrail and a pale face curtained by long greasy strands of nearly black hair peered down at them. Goat yelled something up at the man. Shiress caught the words lanterns, doctor, and stowage, but his accent was so garbled and broken that one could only guess at what he had actually said. The guard shook his head, mumbling to himself as the pale face disappeared, then gestured toward the ladder. Nolan stepped forward, and Shiress thought he would ascend first, but the man stopped, motioning for Shiress to climb up first. The doctor hesitated, realizing that leaving a rocking boat to climb a ladder rope was a lot more difficult than it looked.

By the time Shiress had climbed aboard, her stomach was swaying as badly as the rowboat she had just disembarked, and when she leaned across the railing to watch the progress of her companion's bile rose, burning the back of her throat. Taking a deep breath of the salty air, Shiress clamped a hand across her middle and turned to study the deck of the ketch instead.

"No swabbing her." Shiress mused, eyes skating over the scuffed and water-stained deck, the area she could make out littered with coiled ropes, dirty blankets, and empty barrels. What she didn't see were guards.

A clattering and shuffle behind her heralded the arrival of her companions, and Shiress turned back in time to see Nolan climb nimbly across the railings just behind Loxcia. Reaching out, she grabbed the Konti by her wrist, giving it a gentle squeeze, nodding her head reassuringly. If she currently felt the same as Shiress, she needed it.

Footsteps sounded across the deck, and Shiress tracked the noise to a young boy clambering up through the hatch that must lead down into the cargo hold. And to the slaves. Reaching out to take a lantern from the boy's dirty hand -because that's exactly what he was, a boy, no more than thirteen or fourteen years old- Shiress cleared her throat.

"How long will the guards be gone?" she asked, trying and failing to give the young man a genuine smile, wondering if he was there willingly or if he was another slave.

The boy raised one finger, and Shiress took it as a gesture to either wait a minute or shut up, so when she frowned irritably, the boy shook his head, brushing his fingers across her arm in a featherlight touch. Glancing back up, the boy shook his head, finger still poised. It took a moment for Shiress to understand.

"Oh! You mean one bell?" she asked, and the boy nodded his head vigorously, then wobbled his hand back and forth in a 'give or take' manner before he moved past her to deliver the other two lanterns to Nolan and Loxcia. Nolan, however, declined his with a shake of his head which struck Shiress as odd, but the time she would have taken to ponder this was interrupted as they were shuffled across the deck to the opened hatch and the narrow stairs that lead down into the guts of the ship.

Lifting her lantern high, Shiress was first down the stairs, and as soon as her foot left the last step, she froze. The stench hit her nostrils before her eyes could lift to see the dozen or more slaves that sat chained against the sides of the ships. From what Shiress could see, all were male, and every head was bowed over half-naked, filthy bodies. None looked up, either too weak to do so or commanded not to.

"Docs here!" The cackling male voice that rang out from the darkness to her right was too loud in the too-small space, causing Shiress to nearly jumped out of her skin.

"Now, be good lil' pieces of shyke and open up and say ahh."

The sound started like a low buzz, an unused, sore throated gargle. Shiress lifted her lantern to follow the sound to a man sitting right at her feet. As soon as the light illuminated his face, his mouth slowly opened, setting loose bloody drool that dripped from dry and cracked lips down to his bloodstained chest. Shiress gasped, angling the light further back to the face of another slave as he, too, began his gargled response, a mouthful of blood sliding over his bottom lip when his mouth opened. Shiress's arm shook, casting the light sideways, lighting up yet another face with a bloodied mouth, his throat constricting and relaxing as his tormented song rose.

Higher and higher Shiress lifted the lantern, and each time the shaft of light flitted across a pale face, a gaping, bloody maw opened, and their tormented voice joined the others until the entire lower hold was nothing but a horrid cacophony of pain and torture.

Shiress stumbled backward and would have fallen had Loxcia not been standing so close.

"Their tongues..." she said, her voice strained and trembling, "Their tongues have been cut out."
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Shiress
Every path has a few puddles
 
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Joined roleplay: January 25th, 2013, 7:01 pm
Location: Syliras
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