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LazarusLuna

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Our tale starts in the prosperous land of Xiaona. They are the first city to harness the power of water and combine it with magitech it to make everything function here.  Many denizens from across the world come here as it is renowned for its excellent trading practices and where the royal order of magisters reside.  
Servants are said to be of the highest quality and trained according to international protocol - however, some shadow traders have been able to gain entry into the city to sell things that aren't exactly legal. One of the biggest issues they have caused lately are the servants that they have introduced to those who have travelled to this land to obtain the best money can buy. Unfortunately, the "servants" the shadow traders sell are usually slaves from questionable backgrounds and/or haven't been trained properly or at all. There are also rumors that there are "after midnight" auctions held to sell off some slaves that are considered highly valuable. Unfortunately, these rumors haven't yet been proven but anyone with common sense will know other wise. 

(More info to come) 
 

Characters -

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Melissa Voltrech- A human sorceress from humble beginnings. (Middle class.) After all of her studying, training, and hard work, she has finally been recognised by the royal court of magisters as a professional practitioner of magic. As part of this, she has recently moved to the capital and granted her own home, with access to some resources. All she needs now is a servant and she can begin her new life. 

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Alfric - A seemly typical human "servant" with a common background that most of the lower class citizens share in this world - Orphaned at an early age and sold off to slave traders once he was deemed too old to look after by his orphanage. It is unknown if he has received an education as none of his previous owners have said anything. However, he is said to be a hard worker. 

Edited by LazarusLuna
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Mysthero

"Get up slave!"

It was as a good a greeting as any with the exception of the boot to his back. The impact shook Alfric awake before the pain had started to sink in, causing him to wince in shock and no small amount of agony. Alfric wasn't sure if he liked that more than the bucket of water, but at least the water allowed him to have a small drink first thing. He slowly rose up off the floor before taking a look around at his bunk mates, many of which were in the process of being chained and readied for sale. The lack of breakfast was not entirely uncommon on this side of the market and Alfric knew his best chance at a new life was to be sold quickly before he starves or gets beaten to death for breathing too much of the marketeer's air. He quietly reached up to rub the back of his aching neck from sleeping on such a hard flat surface for the past few days. It was better than the boat however, the boat had leaks.

Alfric stood and examined himself quickly to make any last minute adjustments. Though he wore the domestic servant garments given to him by his previous master, they had clearly seen better days. Fraying at the shoulder stitches along with rips and tears from the abuse the journey has had on them. Not to mention the whip marks across the back of the fabric from where he was beaten for having the unfortunate circumstance of standing in the wrong place in the pen. He quickly brought his thumb up to wipe away a smudge of dirt on his cheek so he could look more presentable just as one of the guards grabbed him by his neck and placed a collar and chain around it. As Alfric stood up, he barely had time to turn when the chain was pulled and nearly caused him to lose balance!

He wondered how many of these other slaves were here because these marketeers murdered their masters to resell the merchandise. Before his last master's throat was slit, Alfric remembered enjoying the time in service and dedication. There is a sort of comfort in servitude, knowing that good service reap good rewards for those willing to bend the knee. Alfric wondered if he would get any bidders today, and for that matter... if his new master was going to be at least somewhat pleasant.

Time for contemplation would come later however as he was dragged from the pen and walked like an animal into the daylight where he could hear the hustle and bustle of the city, The markets had a lovely smell of baked bread that was strong enough to pass through the filth of the slave pens. Alfric was brought to the stage just as the auctioneer's gavel hit the marker to solidify a winning bid. The woman on the stage broke into tears as a greasy pig of a man just walked over and grabbed her by her leash to take her away, as was his right. Alfric was brought up to the stage next. He watched as the chain to his collar was attached to the floor between his feet to prevent him from running. Only now as his eyes had adjusted and he started to become more awake did he catch a glimpse of the crowd! It was a decent size and it looked like many of them were somewhat wealthy! Perhaps one of them would be in need of a domestic servant.

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LazarusLuna

Melissa let out a small sigh as she looked at the map that one of her new scholar peers had given her. This unfamiliar city was so big it was easy to get lost if you were not a regular, and it was now her official home, and she was trying her best to not get lost. 
The young sorceress was a long way from the comforts of her small town and parent's home. Since the location was so far away she had opted to not bring one of the maids as she knew it would be unfair on both her maid's family and her own. Thus she was now in a position where she didn't just have her a new role in society or home, but that she now had to purchase her own servant. - Something she had never done before nor had any experience in. 

So far the map had led her through some questionable locations, where she swore she saw some dodgy things going on. However, it was none of her business and she had decided to keep it that way for her own safety. She just wanted to get what she came for and to leave. 
Before long Melissa found herself at an auction house that her associates had highly recommended for a place to get a servant without much hassle and at short notice. From the outside, it looked like it didn't exactly fit in with the filthy streets and inside made her feel poor just by stepping in there. 

The attendant was about to shoo her out of the "invite only" establishment but upon closer inspection, he had noticed she was wearing a special seal that was proof enough that she had the authorisation to be there without an invitation. A privilege that only those involved with the royal order of magisters were bestowed.  

"Right this way, madam" 

It was clear he was trying to make a good impression as bowed to her before guiding to the hall silently as to not disturb the crowd before going back to his business. Melissa looked around the room and there were a wide range of different people. Some looked like they could barely afford to be there while others looked like they used this place as a means to socialise. It also looked like she had walked in just as bidding was being concluded for a young girl on the stage. 

"Going once........ Going twice..." The auctioneer paused for a moment as he waited for any other offers, but he knew no one would dare to outbid this particular noble.  "And sold to our wonderful patron, Lord Fitztle!"

Melissa tried to hide her shock as the "servant" broke down in tears and was practically dragged off the stage by someone who looked like they wouldn't exactly treat her well. She shuddered in disgust as she heard some of the whispers of what this "Lord" would do to the poor girl once he got her home. She then wrinkled her nose as he gave her a smug wink and brushed past her, making sure to "bump" into her as he left. Just where the hell had she walked into? This was a place to get servants... right?

"Our next item is a male servant named Alfric." Melissa swayed her head slightly to try and get a better look at the male who was being secured on the stage. 'why is he collared and chained to the stage?' She thought to herself as her golden ambers scanned his figure. "His last owner tragically passed away last week and thus he found his way back here once again." 'Being resold?' Again she found herself confused. This place was proving to be more suspicious the longer she spent there. "Despite how scruffy he looks he is disease free, has all the correct anatomy, is mentally sound, and is strong as an OX!" The auctioneer let the basic information sink in before he began the proceedings. "Starting bid is 50 gold coins."  

There were a few mumbles in the crowd as some of the female nobles considered buying him for their own purposes while others nagged their husbands to buy them a new toy to play with. Melissa let out a big sigh and shook her head at the ridiculousness of these people before raising her hand to signal that she would start. A woman across from her shot her a glare before raising her hand to indicate she wanted to bid higher. Other obviously lower class checked their coins to see if they could join the bidding war that went on between Melissa and a few other nobles who wanted this servant. 
The back and forth of the bidding war went on with a few other people trying to outbid Melissa but eventually, none felt Alfric was worth more than she was willing to pay. The poor couldn't afford to match her and the nobles that had shown some interest weren't willing to pay more than they felt justified for another "toy" to add to their "collection."

"550 gold!" The auctioneer gasped dramatically. He was clearly enjoying this bidding war. However, soon as it was evident that no one else was going to bid any more he began the closing. "Going once..... Going twice......" He waited for someone else to interject but alas no one did. "And sold to the beautiful madam at the back there!" 

Melissa bit her lower lip as attention was now on her. She hadn't exactly expected for all this fuss over just buying someone for work but apparently it was considered an achievement to win a bidding war. She simply bowed awkwardly before she walked up to the stage. Once there handed the auctioneer the 550 golden coins before signing documents to say that Alfric was now her property. While that was going on the young man was unchained and prepared to leave the stage. Once things were settled Melissa was handed the heavy leash that Alfric was now secured by, but she gave a confused look at why the servant was still leashed and collared when given to her. The odd look was returned to her as it was clear she wasn't used to this manner of acquiring someone. 

"Thank you for your patronage, Mistress Voltrech."  The auctioneer gave a slight bow to her. 

"Come." Was all she uttered to Alfric before she gave a gentle tug on the leash, signaling that she expected him to follow her lead before she began to walk off the stage.

Unlike the previous lord, she wasn't going to make a scene. She had more than enough attention than she desired at the moment anyway. She just wanted out of this disgusting pit of humanity and at home in the warm. 

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Mysthero

It was intense, watching the bidding between noble houses as they seemed to fight to claim him. His last owner purchased him at a bargain of twenty silver. granted he was still just a boy around that time and had more potential then he did value. Once the bidding had escalated he tried to remain disciplined and stoic though his heart began to beat faster and faster at the rivalries unfolding before him. He always enjoyed noble politics, mostly since he got to appreciate them as an outsider rather than an active participant. The only time his facial expression betrayed his feelings was when the number had reached five hundred gold! Certainly he wasn't worth that much! His face turned to mild shock as he saw a noble lady who seemed quite proud of herself gambling with her husband's money. One look at her however and he knew exactly what he was being purchased for, not to say he wasn't in a small way flattered but the woman had to of seen seventy winters and seemed to love over indulging in sweets. Alfric would be lying if he said he was excited at the prospect.

"550 Gold!"  The auctioneer exclaimed and it caused Alfric to turn his head in disbelief! What even happened to cause such an uproar for a servant! He searched the crowd and found the aggressive sorceress had been the one to place the bold bid. His eyes locked on her for a moment as if trying to understand a confounding mystery at which was now in the center of. Maybe he was just in the right place at the right time and she had an excess of coin. He was just a slave after all, and had he not been on the stage she could have just as easily purchased someone else. The gavel struck and he was sold! When a new leash was fastened to his collar and the chain to the floor removed he waited for his new owner to claim her prize. Once she stepped onto the stage he waited for the eyes to connect before lowering his head respectfully in submission. She was kind enough to buy him after all and spare him one cruel fate or another. Figuring if she just wanted fodder to hurl spells at, she could have easily purchased another slave at discount.

Alfric felt the tug on his leash and immediately began to follow his new mistress off the stage. He folded his hands behind his back respectfully and matched her stride by eyeing the placement of her feet. At least he showed that he has had formal training on how to show an owner respect and not waste their time. His blue eyes lifted slightly as she commanded him to come, to which he responded, without allowing fear or anxiety fluctuate his tone. "As you desire." He caught the hellfire gaze given to them by the woman who lost the bidding. It drew his attention to her as they started to leave the auction house. Not wanting to draw any unneeded attention to his new mistress, he merely kept his head bowed to avoid looking too pleased with the arrangement that had just been made.

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LazarusLuna

Melissa simply gave a nod as Alfric acknowledged her as his new master and followed without any theatrics, which was greatly appreciated. She overheard whispers of what she brought him for. A lot were mumbling about sex magic and others spoke of using him as a sacrifice during a ritual. She honestly couldn't believe these people. Had they nothing better to do than make up things and spread lies? She carried on walking with her head held high and without any indication that she was irritated with their pettiness. She didn't care for the looks of envy she got from the chubby lady who went all out during the bidding war either. Although she did find it amusing how the noblewoman snapped her extravagant and obviously expensive fan once Alfric walked passed her. 

Once they were out of the building Melissa let out a sigh of relief and exhaustion. Was this going to be her life now? Dealing with these idiots on the daily?  'Just great...' She thought to herself before getting out the map once more so she could retrace her steps. Unfortunately, the map had only told her how to get from the royal court and to this place and there were no other finer details such as places to get clothes, food, and other supplies. She was really kicking herself internally for it because it only just occurred to her that she should have asked for other information about the city.  'Wait...' Just when she thought she was done for she remembered that the servant she now owned had experience with another master so, in theory, he should know his way around this place!

"Alfric, Do you know your way around this city?" Melissa asked.

She hoped that he did otherwise she wasn't sure how else she was going to make progress in this city. 

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Mysthero

Alfric had taken special care to keep pace with his new owner. Refusing to allow himself to make a bad impersonation. He wasn't sure what the return policy was on slaves but he was certain that he wouldn't enjoy it. There was the matter of her intentions with his life. He was hers now, along with all of his experiences, knowledge and skills, whatever the value.

An opportunity had arisen to put such knowledge the the test! Xiaona was the center of political intrigue and power in all the land. His former master was far better versed in the grand game, but that had afforded Alfric the time to become acquainted with the city at large. From the power production riverfront, to seat of power of the Magister's citadel. The slave pens and auction house meant they were in the market district, which was adjacent to the entertainment district full of theatres, ale houses, and no small number of brothels.

Then there was the royal district, the slums, and the factories. Alfric felt comfortable enough to answer with some confidence to his owner's question. "Yes, Misstress." Short, and to the point.

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LazarusLuna

Melissa smiled brightly and let out an exaggerated sigh of relief at his short reply. It would seem her money hadn't gone to waste after all! 

"Thank goodness." She said, mostly to herself.  She then decided to turn around and take a closer look at her new servant.

Her gold amber eyes burned into his features as she looked him over and traced one of her hands softly over him, this was mostly to scan his body for any injuries that he may have sustained. Despite assurances that he was "healthy." she wasn't about to chance it as she knew that she shouldn't trust anyone in this city so easily. She already learned the hard way when she had to play the "Favours for favours" game with one of her sponsors. 
 As her hand moved over him he would feel a gentle warmth from the white magic she was using to assess him.
 Now she was up and close to Alfric she could see that he really was very pleasing on the eye and very well built. Unfortunately, he showed signs of neglect; His clothes were worn, torn in some places, and had drops of dry blood on them, and he smelled like he hadn't bathed in a few weeks. To top it off, her small scan spell had revealed that he was covered in grazes, bruises, dehydrated, was running a slight temperature, and needed immediate care. If he didn't it was likely he would get an infection and her investment would have been wasted for at least a week. 

"First we need to go to a clothes store to get you out of those rags and into something more befitting of someone who serves under me." Melissa told him bluntly. She wasn't going to sugar coat it. He needed to understand that she had standards that he needed to abide by, even if she hated abiding by them too. 

This would be his first tip-off that she had assumed he was a servant and not a slave. Then again she had only heard rumors about there being the existence of slaves. In her whole lifetime, she had only had the pleasure of meeting servants who agreed to serve people and were happy to do so. The concept of someone being forced into servitude was alien to her. 

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Mysthero

When she ran her hand over him, he nearly recoiled out of instinct to brace for being hit. His eyes even shut as he wince partially to mentally prepare for the sudden sting that would come. There was no sting however, no sudden impact on his flesh that would resemble the usual abuse he had endured the last few months. Instead there was warmth, the hand moving over his body in what he could only describe as affection.

Perhaps that wasn't what she intended, but that was the way it felt and it was as alien to him as the concept of slavery to her. When she mentioned buying him clothes he could only take it as a direct notion of dissatisfaction with his appearance! He had not been allowed to bathe, given clothes, surviving off of one meal a day and whatever water you can find. He must have looked and smelled like a rat! It was clear to him that he must have disgusted her when she touched him and he responded by bowing his head apologetically.

"My sincerest apologies misstress." Alfric stayed in his bowed state awaiting either her dismissal or command, not unlike a well trained dog awaiting it's master's attention. When neither came, he concluded that she was possibly awaiting direction to fix his subpar performance. "Slave attire is very inexpensive misstress, and is readily sold from the market down the road from here. If- If my odor offends you, the livestock pens have water troughs that slaves may use to bathe." 

Though both options were very public and undignified, they were both very cheap. It was not uncommon for people of all classes to watch slaves bathe, often bribing slaves to fight one another in the nude over scraps of food for the entertainment of their betters. There was even a case where a group of slaves were promised a week away from hard labor, three meals a day, and a comfortable bed... in exchange for publically raping another slave while they bathed.

Such was the existence that Alfric lived in. He would much rather bathe in a river or a lake, over the spectacle of the water troughs. The bath houses were often reserved for nobles and magisters. He had heard that beautiful men and women would wash every inch of your body in hot water and expensive oils and cater to any 'needs' that may arise. More expensive clothes, such as the ones purchased from the stores in the market, would be washed and pressed while you enjoyed the services of the bath house. When returned, they would be lined with cloves to keep the fresh clean smell for longer journeys.

Alfric never got to partake in any of this, only got to listen to his former master boast about the well practiced hands that treated his aches, pains and appetites. Must have been an exquisite experience.

Edited by Mysthero
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LazarusLuna

Melissa was taken aback at Alfric's sudden response to both her touch and his reply to her question. Just what sort of life did people live in this city? and why was he talking about slaves? As far as she was concerned he had agreed to be sold off and was highly skilled, hence his price.  She had no idea that half the people who were being sold at the auction were stolen goods or there against their will. As far as she had been informed, everything in that city was by the book and the crime rates were the lowest on this continent. 

"You speak nonsense, boy." She told him coldly, clearly unsatisfied with his answer. "I want to get you some proper attire and I was going to take you to my home for bathing since you smell and clearly need medical attention." She wasn't going to sugar coat it. He stunk to high heaven and she was barely tolerating it. "Take me to a clothing store where someone of the middle class would shop. I refuse to have you clothed in rags."  Melissa narrowed her eyes at him, making it clear that she wasn't to be questioned.  

With that, she stepped aside and waited for him to lead the way so they could get his new life on the way. She made sure to keep a tight grip on his leash so he wouldn't get any ideas to flee. She had paid a great deal for him and she wasn't going to allow him to take her for a fool. Not when others had already tried to swindle her...

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