The wagon jostled her as it bumped along the road. She stared at the road ahead as women sobbed around her. She glanced back at the other wagon at the men in a cage, chained and beaten. She had fought as well but a woman’s fists are not as feared as men’s. Her lip was stiff where it had split and there was a trail of blood across her chin where she had tried to wipe it away.
The fight had gone out of her when she had realized her fate. She turned back to the road, watching as other travels walked by, adverting their eyes. Shame, guilt, pity, disgust and emotionless stares; she was use to every kind of emotion on the faces that passed her. Her heart was broken and all her emotions had spilled out from it and onto the muddied ground. She was empty, a slave without rights or freedom.
She watched as a family of five on a covered wagon moved past, pulled by two cows. The man looked at them but the woman looked away with pity on her face. She saw a young girl stick her head out and look around curiously. Her hair was pushed under a white hood and her eyes darted around. She hoped the girl died young and never saw the sorrows of the world.
She was leaving her home, Lorian, to be carried to the heart of Ostapor. She saw a man in dark clothes and a girl on a horse go by. He walked and she rode, and although they traveled together they didn’t seem to belong together. At least they were free, while she was alone and belonged to no one but her slaver.
She looked at his dark hair and it reminded her of Harrison. She closed her eyes and she was back in Lorian. The moon guided her to her lover as he waited for her along the river bank. His hair was curled coals, his lips full and his hands hungry. She could remember them together consummating their love in the light of the moon.
It was summer; the heat had filled her veins with madness. Her legs had carried her over streams and through meadows. She had moved with the sureness of someone who was naïve to the secret workings of the world. Sheltered and sure, her legs had carried her by fading light towards her own doom.
He had been waiting on the bridge, a link between his world and hers. Their two towns traded with one another but did little else. Her people worshiped the land and believed it should remain as untouched and pure as their bodies. They bathed daily, and only copulated for reproduction of offspring. When a child was born the community raised them, there were no mothers and fathers, only the community.
Harrison and his people were from Damshir but only believed in the Lord of Light. They had left Damshir in hopes of building their own small community in Lorian fifty years prior. They had built their town and it had flourished in the fifty years, built on the craftsmanship of their wood workers. They made everything from bows to furniture and sold it all throughout the north and even so far as the Tiam.
She could still hear his voice as he swore to love her always, that they were bound by heaven to bring happiness together as a joined pair and swear eternal love to one another. That she should leave her community and join his so that they might be together. She had done as he asked; she had packed her things and gathered her courage.
She had been caught trying to leave, and her sister had betrayed her. Though they did not have blood relations, Silvia and Celia knew they were born from the same womb. Their green eyes, bright as emeralds could only have come from one person. They differed in that Silvia had hair as bright the sun and Celia’s hair as ugly as mud.
When they had discovered she had soiled her body, they wanted to cast her out. Instead Silvia had gone to Harrison, to make up for her betrayal. When Harrison came he claimed she had seduced him and he renounced her. She had begged him to admit what he said as she screamed that her heart was his and he was her love. Love; the word left a bitter taste in her mouth.
She nearly spat as she opened her eyes and looked at the sullen sky. Cloud blocked out the sun and yet the rain did not come, it just settled and waited. Celia would have cried but there was nothing left to cry. She was empty now. Her sister had betrayed her, the community that had been her family all her life had sold her to buy grain, and the man she had loved abandoned her. She had been a happy little fool, but a fool none the less.
She must have fallen asleep because when she awoke she could see the city in the distance. Ostapor, the name felt dirty in her mind because it stood against everything she believed in. It was unlawful and unholy to own a slave, one of the few laws of Lorian was no one may own another person. Selling them was another thing entirely.
Many were sold into slavery and there were all types of slaves. Pleasure and cooking and killing. All of them were nothing but useful cattle bought and sold. She almost felt like mooing to show that she too was a piece of cattle. That amused her so much she smiled, thought it was twisted and sharp, it was still a smile.
Once she had burned as bright as any flame, filled with happiness and besotted with the aspect of a true love. She had dreamt of a family where she was a wife and her children called her mother. She had dreamed of something different. As she gazed up at the walls of the city her dreams turned to ash in her mouth.