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Flower of Fire
On his horse, chained as he was, he couldn’t see much of her but could tell even from this distance that she wasn‘t like the other slaves. Her face was filled with such a guarded expression, like all the other slaves, but she still looked like she held on to hope, and he knew it costed a lot to be able to do that. In her golden eyes, she also kept a rage beyond any he had ever seen. It was kind of creepy. A good friend, but a terrible enemy, that’s what he thought when he looked at her. And he decided, after studying her covertly, that he would try to help her, after all, she was elf kin.
“No, please, I can get myself down.” The elf said as they stopped in front of the manner and the soldiers tried to lift him down from his horse. With a grace that seemed almost impossible for one with hands chained, the young man gripped his saddle horn, and slipped off the horse. He approached the front of the horse, patting it on the head and slipping it a carrot that seemed to appear in his hand from nowhere, to thank it for carrying him.
“The master of the manner paid good money for you, you better be worth it.” A skinny, sharp man appeared from inside the gates. His twitchy mustache was as sharp looking as the rest of him. He looked disdainfully down on the shorter elf and wrinkled his nose. “I don’t know what he was thinking, actually paying for one of your kind, even if you are as good as they say.”
“Jokah! What kind of treatment is that to our new guest?” Yet another man walked out from the gates, this one was thicker, with a belly that hung over his pants. The overly large man said this with a barely noticeable hint of sarcasm. His face was as round as his stomach and tinged red. He had a full, fluffy gray beard that saved his face from looking boyish, with beady black eyes. The eyes reminded the elf of the merchants at the seedier part of the market from his old town.
A small wind brushed the young man’s face as the raven on his shoulder flew away. He never took his gaze away from the fat man though. He was more suspicious of him then the other, Jokah, they had called him. The skinny man was in no way a trustworthy man, but at least when he did things, he did them out in the open, unlike the other man who he judged was devious.
“Welcome, welcome, my name’s Halb.” The fat man put his hand out to shake and the flesh jiggled. “From now on this is your new home, we have set a nice little shop up for you which we’ll show you later. We expect you to make at least four tapestries a month with all the proceeds going to the manner. You, of course, will be generously cared for with food and shelter.”
The elf looked down at Halb’s chubby hand and had no doubt that it could strangle him quite easily. He took it cautiously and said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but there is no way that I can make four tapestries a month.”
The unctuous smile was wiped off Halb’s face. “What do you mean you can’t do that? They said you made four in the other city.” Although Halb tried to remain congenial looking, a small crease spread between his eyes.
“Well I had an apprentice before that I had trained, I don’t have one now.” The elf said simply.
“Oh. Well we’ll have to find you another one, won’t we?” Halb’s eyes narrowed a little, and his voice went a notch lower, letting the threat come through a little more. “What is required for your helper?”
The prisoner thought for a moment. “I need someone who is deft with there hands. Preferably a person in there teens, so they are still ripe for teaching, but not as foolish as a child. Someone who can handle hard work without complaining.” He stared directly into Halb’s eyes, “I need another elf, humans just aren’t as good with the use of their hands.”
Halb glared down at him. “We only have one other elf here, and it’s a girl.” When he said elf and later girl, his straight mouth deepened into a frown and the words spewed from his mouth like food gone bad.
“A girl will work.” The elf tried very hard not to let the triumph he was feeling leak into his stony expression.
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|Flower of Fire||Flower of Fire (Chapter 3)|
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