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 Post subject: The Beginning of an Erra
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:33 am 
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Chapter 1: Village Paths

My village was a small mining town just west of the great Kingdom of Northumbria. It was simply called Erich. I had lived amongst those mountains until I became old enough to be of no use. That is where my story began.


Early one fall morning on my 15th year I started the day in that dirty little town as I always had. I got up from my simple straw bed and walked nimbly to the small basin to try to wash the soot from my face. It was useless, after all. No matter how much I removed, one step outside would lead to my becoming covered once again. Every mining town is this way. Soot fills the air and lungs, blackens the eyes of the miners and the lips of the wives they kissed. The children played in it as if it were sand using bits of stone as their treasure that they must bury, find, and re-bury for their own amusement.

That morning I got dressed in my normal dress of cotton undergarments and socks, leather shoes, and a burgundy wool bilaut. This dress made me feel beautiful. The color set my grey eyes ablaze and seemed to give my long dark brown hair a copper shine to it. Although this seems a fancy color for such a small town, most of the women wore some form of red. The wild roses and poppies in the surrounding area lead to our people learning how to extract the dye from such flowers and to use it for our linens. We gained some remuneration by offering our services to travelers who wished to bear such lush colored cloth. Mostly the men chose to wear black, gray, or brown. This was mostly due to the fact that many a man worked in the mine and thus color was of no need as it would all become black in time.

Mother was out in the yard feeding the sheep what fruit we had that had rotted, looking to see if we could get one more bushel of wool from them before the winter winds came. Father had gone off to the mines before the sun had risen as he had every day that I can remember only to come back when his skin matched the night he walked home in.
I walked over to mother to say hello. She turned at the sound of my footsteps and her smile became a little less, almost sad. Mother was always a little uneasy. She was always wringing things in her hands, worrying about money or food or clothes. We were not rich by any means, but we seemed to almost always manage to have food at our table and clothes on our backs.

“maidin mhaith, máthair” (Good Morning, Mother)
With a slight pause, she replied “maidin mhaith, iníon” (Good Morning, Daughter) and went back to feeding the sheep.
I sighed. “What is the matter? You seem unwell this day.”
She kept silent for a moment more, then asked “ Have you seen your father? He has not been home since the morning before this.”
I never noticed when father came home as he was a silent man who never wished to speak. He came home and ate in his room or came home long after dinner had past and all were asleep.
“No, Máthair”.
She did not seem surprised, but more worried as she rung the rubbery celery in her hands while the sheep ate that pieces she had thrown.
“I assumed he went to work and was to be back late, but he did not come home last night.” Mother said.
“Will you go look amongst the shops for me? And if he’s not there, at the tunnel entrance to the mountain. He may have woken from his adventures and gone to work.”

Adventures indeed. Mother liked to cover up the fact that father drank too much. But alas, I could not let mother worry until the celery became mush in her hands.
“Of course, Máthair. I’ll be back soon”.
She smiled wryly and turned back to her duties, the circles dark under her eyes.

I went inside and filled a pouch with some apples and bread for the journey. I left before my mother had finished out in the yard and waved goodbye. She did not look up. I sighed and went on my way.

I reached town before noon and weaved my way through the marketplace to the local pub. No sign of father. I tried the inn. Maybe he had realized he would not make it home and slept here? I walked to the counter and felt a sudden unease when my eyes landed on the disheveled gray hair and greasy face that was the man at the counter. I asked the man about father. The innkeeper looked me up and down in a very un-christian way.

“Miners daughter, aye?” he smiled.
“Do you think your father could afford to stay here?” He reached out and pushed my hair back. I sneered and stepped back.
“Nevermind.”
I left in a moment and glanced back to glare at him. He just stared and smiled. How disgusting.

Father was nowhere in town that I could see. I even checked the alleys and gutters in case he had fallen in.

I walked the mile to the north to the mountains tunnel entrance. Although the men were deep in the tunnels working, the blacksmiths squire, Acair, had set up shop near by to fix the broken picks that were sure to happen. He was a nice lad, about 17, who had been working the the town blacksmith for a few years now. We here childhood friends, but we had not said much to one another since the night he got a wailing for his “misconduct”. His father found us asleep on hillside after a day of trying to catch rabbits. We were only about 6 and strayed too far from home. We had gotten lost and grew tired and laid down to sleep. Man and women never even registered to us yet at that young age. However, his father thought it would scar the family name. We were not allowed to see one another again.

I gingerly walked up, trying to make eye contact from as far away as possible. Acair looked up. He smiled.
“Erra! It has been a long time. Not out chasing rabbits are you?” He fained fear, looking around and under counters, his eyes darting”. I laughed, relieved.
“No rabbits today. Just looking for my Athair. Have you seen him?”
His eyes shifted up in thought.
“mmm….no I do not think I have seen him today. When did you last see him?”
“ Máthair has not seen him since two mornings ago” I replied.
“He did not come home last night?” He asked.
“Correct, but please do not tell the men. If father is drinking already, I doubt I want to see what he will do if he gets any more stressed.”
He pretended to lock his lips. “My lips are sealed, my lady.”
“Thanks, Acair.” I smiled and excused myself, explaining that I needed to keep looking for mothers sake. He understood and waved goodbye as I walked down the road back towards town.

Having spent my day away looking for father, I reached town and stopped to eat my apples and bread, preparing for the journey back home. Hopefully father had returned on his own. Feeling uneasy at the thought of returning to the house without him, I looked once more around town. No one had seen him, or refused to speak on the subject entirely. Feeling distraught, I decided to head home. The road was long and it would be dark soon. I realized I did not bring my cloak and sped up my pace.

It was sunset when I reached the halfway point to my home outside town. I felt an uneasiness and stopped to look behind me. No one was there, but it felt as though I was being watched. I turned and hurried up the road, bound for home, the unease deepening. I hear a cart coming down the road in front of me. Quickly, I hid myself behind a tree at the woods edge trying to stay out of sight. My heart quickens as the cart passes, my imagination making me fearful after a long and grueling day. The drowsy farmer rode his cart by without even noticing me in the shadows.

I let out a sigh and chuckled slightly at my silly behavior. What would anyone want with me? I started back onto the road when I heard a loud crack from the woods behind me. Then I felt it. Something had hit my head hard and my sight left me. All I could feel was the mossy floor hit my cheek before I lost myself to the dark.

- To Be Continued -


Last edited by Erra on Sat May 16, 2015 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Sat May 16, 2015 11:43 am 
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Chapter 2: Fearful Awakening




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Darkness. I stayed in darkness for a long time. My world shifted and swayed around me as I slowly awoke. Laying on my side I opened my eyes, but still blackness.
“Have I gone blind? What is happening?!” I thought.
Squeaking was all around me. “Are those rats?”

I tried to reaching for my eyes but my hands were bound as well as my feet. Panic runs through me like lightening as I tried to break free, struggling at the restraints and throwing my head back blindly. I screamed.

“LET ME GO. WHAT IS GOING ON!?” I yell, sweat pilling on my forehead.
I realized the squeaking is wheels grinding against their wooden axles.
“WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME?!” I tried to wrestle my way out of my restraints. Nothing.
“LET ME GO! HELP!”

Suddenly the vehicle stopped. I heard the loud thud of someone jumping, then footsteps. A lock clicked as the door beside me creaked open. A light shined in revealing that I have been blindfolded, bits of light reaching my eyes through the material.

“Ah-!”
I shrink from the pain as my captor grabs my hair roughly and pulls me to my knees.
I could smell his breath before he even spoke. Tobacco, alcohol and rotten meat. Disgusting.

“Shut up.” He whispered fiercely. “You shut up or I’ll gag you, wench...and if I have to gag you, it means you won't get any scraps. I can't have you starve on our travels, now can I? It would be bad for business.”
He threw me to the floor, my already bruised cheek catching a few more dark layers from the floorboards. The door slammed and his footsteps walk away, the carriage jostling to life once again.

I found myself shaking. Shaking with anger, resentment, fear. I closed my eyes and try to think, but my head was foggy and throbbing. I tried to reach out and feel my surroundings with my bound hands, my fingers barely grazing the straw and grime beneath me. I could smell farm animals, but heard none. I felt the stones we traveled over as my cheek continued to bump the floor in time with the carriage ride. I did my best to turn over to my other side. I listened for any sounds of the outside world, but the carriages old squeaking wheels and rocky choice of road wiped everything else out. I was lost, trapped, afraid.

“If I scream, he will come back. If I lay here, I will never get out.” I thought, my eyes welling up. I tried to let myself relax for a moment, but my fear and panic got the best of me and the conscious world disappeared beneath my fingertips.

.................


I awaken to the still squeaking wheels.
“How long have I been in this place? Is it daytime? Night?” I thought groggily.
I opened my eyes and try to see through my blindfolds material.
I cannot tell. Panic began to set in again. I tried to swallow my fears and think.

“breathe..breathe.”

I shift my weight to one side and try to roll over to a wall, feeling the area in which I am captive. I try to feel for the door. I roll and shift along the walls of my prison until I feel a breeze coming through the doors bottom edge. What a relief to smell fresh air again! I breath deeply, trying to clear my head of my doubts and fears. I pressed my head against the doors edge, trying to think, it’s sharp edge biting me a little.

“Sharp. The edge is sharp!”

My heart races as I let myself hope for a way out. I shift and shift until I have turned all the way around. I touch the edge of the door, feeling for a good point and begin rubbing my bound wrists against the sharp wood, quickly at first, then methodically.

It felt like I had been working for hours to no avail. I tried to adjust my wrists in different ways, but nothing seemed to pop or loosen.
“What are these bindings made of?!”
I tried to rub quickly again, but my arms are weak from my attempts.
Suddenly, I felt the cart lurch forward and stop.I heard the loud thud of someone jumping, then footsteps once again.

”Mo Dhia!” (Oh my God!)

I roll to the back wall and try to hide my hands. The door clicks and opens again. I brace myself for the pain of my hair being pulled. Nothing. I wait and listen. I heard the man's labored breathing as he stands there.

“Girl. It’s time that you eat something.”

“I’d rather die.” I sneered, spitting at the sound of him. I hear him climb into the carriage. Sweat drips down through my hair as I brace myself. He grabbed the front of my dress and pulls me up. I heard the sounds of him ripping open paper before he tried to force feed me. Rotten meat. Sweaty, grimy fingers. I bit down hard. He screamed as I tasted blood.

“SOITH!” (Bitch!)

He pushes me back roughly and I fall to the floor. I gasped as I land on my fingers hard. I gag as his blood tried to force it’s way down my throat. I spit it out letting it roll down my cheek.

He reached down and grabbed my jaw roughly, shoving a dirty rag between my teeth.

“Starve if I care, Soith! You’d be dead if you weren't the reason for my coin!” He says angrily.
He exits the carriage and slams the door, locking it behind him.

To Be Continued...


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 Post Posted: Sat May 16, 2015 1:42 pm 
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Chapter 3: Passing Ships

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One day. Two days. Three? Five? I’m not sure anymore.
I could not hold out much longer without food. My captor forced me to drink by pouring drink over the gag between my teeth. I hate that man with such burning passion and my fear of him lessened in comparison. I wish I had taken his finger when I bit him.
My hands went numb a long time ago. I suppose it’s better that way. I’m sure my finger broke when he pushed me. I wonder what it looks like?

My body was so used to the rough jolting of the carriage that I still felt as though I was moving anytime we stopped. It was sickening...especially the day our trip was over.

I heard the man's footsteps coming toward the back door. Then I heard another sound….people. I tried to scream for help, but the gag was too thick. My heart raced with anger and hatred. I hit the walls with my head trying to make enough noise for someone to notice me.

“I am here! I AM HERE!” I had to get someone to help me.

The door clicked and slammed open. He saw me struggling and grabbed my shoulder, turning me over and pushing my face to the floor. He laughed at my muffled screams. He cut the bindings on my legs. I immediately began to kick, my toes tingling from the sudden rush of blood. He leaned on my calves to stop my noise.

“If you kick I will slit your tendons. Women don’t need to stand to work.” I felt his knife against my ankle and stiffened. He released my legs.

He grabbed my arms in his massive hand and pulled me backwards from the carriage. I forgot how to stand and my legs gave way. I was afraid again. Where was I? Where was he taking me? My captor pulled me up roughly.

“WALK!”

I could see the light of day through my blindings. I could smell the sea and hear the merchants shuffling their wares and shouting out prices. I could hear people walking by me, talking, laughing, living. Didn’t anyone see me? Was I invisible? Help me!!

Suddenly my blindings were ripped from my eyes.

“Mrrmh!”

It was too bright! Everything shined white as my eyes watered and slammed shut before the sun's brilliance. The man guided me as I tested my eyes. Colors came before shapes and shapes before detail. Eventually through blurring tears I was able to see that I was in a seaside marketplace.

The market was bustling with life. Merchants selling jewelry, tonics, various foods and spices I have never seen. As I looked around I looked to the merchants with pleading eyes.

“Help me!” I thought. “Have you no pity? Can’t you see I am here against my will?!”

It wasn’t until I stopped trying to make eye contact with them that I noticed I was not the only bound human in the midst of the market. Men, women, and even some children were bound, dragged along by their captors. My stomach dropped. What is this place?

I looked at a young boy to my left. He sensed my eyes upon him and looked back at me. He began to cry, his face crumpled with grief. He looked away and tried to hide his face from his captor. She did not seem to take kindly to tears and stepped on his heel as a reminder.

We arrived at a large wooden building on the edge of port. I had never seen the ocean before. It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Ships blocked out the sun, Large wooden monsters with their thunderous sails billowing in the wind, their wooden bowels creaking at the waters edge.

I am tied to a standing pole outside of port as though I was just livestock or a riding horse. There are others tied here too. myself, a lady, and the little boy. My captor comes around the standing pole to stand in front of me and I see him for the first time. He is a broad man of about 6 feet. His hair was brown at one time, but all of the road dust has covered it in a dirty white. His skin is tanned and leathery from the sun and his clothes are of a different country. I don’t understand.
“What does this man want with me? Where is he sending me? Am I a slave? Has my fate been decided already or do I still wait for my owner to pick me from a crowd?” I had so many questions and no voice to project them.

The man grabs my chin and turn it up to face him, his dark eyes glaring.

“I am going to get your papers, girl. No one is going to help you here so don’t even try it.”
He lets go with a pinch and saunters away into the building. I turn and look down at the boy. He is staring wide eyed at the ground, his body shaking.
I look to the woman to my right and she is staring at me with sad eyes. She has no gag, but does not speak.

“mmmrrrmph!” I muffle my pleas at her. Why not scream? Surely he is lying! There must be someone here to help us!

“It’s no use.” She whispers, her eyes shifting in search of listening ears.
“We are in a slave port. All here are pirates and criminals. No one cares for your fate.”
Her eyes darkened as she tried to hold back her feelings. She looked at me and at my gag.

“You must keep quiet, but I will help you remove your gag. If you enter a ship with that, no one will be able to help you nor care. You will starve.”

I looked at her wide eyed, my fear overshadowed by my excitement to speak and breathe correctly once again. I nodded. The woman leaned in as though she would kiss me. I stiffened. A piece of the rag was hanging across my lower lip. She grabbed it with her teeth and pulled. The rag sloppily fell to the ground and I coughed violently. I licked my chapped lips gingerly.

“Thank you.” I said gratefully.

“It is all I could do for you.” She replied.

“Do you know where we are going?” I asked, looking at the ships.

“Persia.”

My eyebrows furrowed as my heart jumped. I had only ever heard of Persia once before. It was a desert kingdom of sorts far far away.

I realized my eyes were dripping tears, but I had no feelings other than a deep darkness in my stomach. I did not understand.

“Don’t cry.” She said, looking at the horses nearby. “It’s a waste of water.” She stood taller and took a deep breath. “Forget where you are from, protect your face, and stay silent. You will survive.”

“How do you know?”

She looked back at me slowly, blankly.

“This isn’t my first time in the ships, though I fear it will be my last.” She stared blankly at me, but didn't see me.

The boy began to cry once again.

To Be Continued...


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