Votes are in and choice 1 it is!
I want to thank all of you that are faithfully reading and voting. Feel free to leave comments on my writing overall as well as it helps me become a better writer. In fact, that is one of the reasons that I started Prince of Slaves. Good authors write every day. They give themselves deadlines and hold themselves accountable to a daily word goal.
That being said, I kind of bit off more than I could chew with trying to post a new chapter each week. It meant that I would have to write and edit two chapters in one week along with being a stay at home mom who home-schools and whose husband is completing his M. Div. and works full-time, and being the Sunday School teacher, and working part time. So from now on, There will be a new chapter posted every other Monday, but voting is extended to Sunday at 11:59 PM.
Thank you again for your reading. Voting closes Sunday, October 6th at 11:59 PM. You can vote by commenting below or shooting me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Prince of Slaves”.
If you’re new to Prince of Slaves, Click Here to check out the beginning of the story, and if you missed last week’s chapter, Click Here to read Chapter 2!
Please enjoy Prince of Slaves Chapter 3, and God bless!
Prince of Slaves: Chapter 3
Listross hugged Emmya tight. “I should be back in a few days.”
“Please don’t go, Daddy.” She clung onto his arm.
“You know I must. Now be good for Flouth while I’m gone.”
Listross picked Emmya up and tightly hugged her. He felt the soft tug of her curls untangling from his beard as he handed her to Flouth.
“We’ll have fun!” Flouth hoisted her into the air, caught her, and rubbed his large nose on her belly. Emmya simultaneously giggled and groaned.
Listross patted Flouth’s shoulder. “Thank you.”
Flouth shrugged. His long hair swayed in the breeze. “It’s an honor, Prince. Now go so you’ll actually arrive before sunrise.”
Listross kissed Emmya’s button nose and pink lips. He leaned in close and whispered goodbye in her ear. Adjusting the pack on his shoulder, he set out east towards the next farm.
Two days had passed since Listross and the other free Tavalaskians buried their loved ones. Although they were used to the physical strain of digging, the pain of loss brought a new soreness.
Collectively, they had decided to burn the masters’ corpses in the weed pile. Listross refused to dignify them with a proper burial. Keeping the fire as hot as it needed to be was difficult, but they managed to burn everything but the bones. That night, Emmya had complained that she heard animals outside. The next morning, the bones were gone.
After the fire was out, the Tavalashians moved into the Masters’ home. As Prince, Listross took the master bedroom. Emmya refused to share a room with anyone but her dad. Not that Listross minded. Especially with Ideara gone, all he wanted to do was hold her. For two days, that is what he did.
Cuddled Emmya and discussed future plans with Flouth.
When claiming the house, Flouth had found a map. He had brought it to Listross and they studied it. The next closest plantation was a large winery. Listross decided to free them now based on proximity. He traveled by night without a mount for stealth. Flouth had suggested Listross leave the crown behind to keep it safe, but Listross refused knowing it would be a symbol of hope.
The moon ducked under the horizon when Listross came to the first row of vines. He rubbed his tired eyes and looked across the field. In the distance were five small sheds all in a row. Beyond them, loomed a mansion with blossoming trees surrounding it. All the large windows were dark.
Listross smiled and nodded to himself.
He knocked on the side of one of the sheds. Listross could tell they housed the slaves by the ring of tree stumps the the side of the center shed.
He heard rustling inside.
“Quexel? What’s going on?” A young woman stepped out of the door way, rubbing her eyes. Her golden hair was tossed in a wild mane around her face. She took a step back when she saw Listross.
“Who are you?”
“Not Quexel.” Listross smiled and held out his hand. “I’m Prince Listross. I’ve come to help free you and the other Tavalaskians here.
Although still cautious, she shook his hand. “I’m Glasindra.” Her mouth hung agape as if she wasn’t sure what else to say.
“Will you please wake the others? I must speak to all of you before the masters awaken.”
Glasindra nodded, rubbed her eyes, and walked back in her shed. Listross respected their limited privacy and didn’t go in the shed himself, but instead planted himself on one of the tree stumps.
He cast a wary eye over at the large house one more. The sky was lighter, yet the sun hadn’t crested the horizon.
Whispers and groans could be heard from all five sheds. As people started to sit down on the stumps next to Listross, he stood and greeted each one. Out of the first shed came Glasindra, and two other young women. The next three sheds all housed families. One with two children, one with three children, and a family with four children. The last one housed four men. Glasindra acted quite a bit more familiar with one particular single man, Quexel.
“Now, what is this about?” Thyrin stood holding one of his four children on his hip. He appeared older than Listross, but not by much. His light eyes contrasted his tan skin as he stared at Listross.
“I’m Prince Listross of Tavalask. I’m here to free you from your oppression.”
Silently looks were exchanged around the group.
Thyrin kept his eyes on Listross. “Have you freed others?”
“Only those on my plantation. We took care of our slave drivers and we now live in their manor house.”
“Took care of?”
“They’re dead. They all got what they deserved.”
Thyrin nodded slowly. “And you have the right to decide what they deserved? Why did they deserve death? I mean, they fed you, clothed you, I assume they gave you some sort of shelter.”
Listross’s jaw dropped for a split second before he snapped it closed and gritted his teeth. “We were beaten mercilessly by them. Day in and day out. They murdered two of my children by beating them out of my wife. I had no doubt that they deserved death.”
Listross took a deep breath and checked the windows in the house again.
“You all must be horrible slaves. I feel bad for your masters if they regularly had to beat you. We rarely get beaten. When we do, it’s for our benefit. They’re trying to perfect us.”
The sun started to poke out from under the horizon. Listross frowned and swallowed.
Thyrin leaned over and whispered something in his oldest daughters ear. She was still a child, but barely and had light hair like her father.
“Listen, my father was the King of Tavalask. He left me this crown and a note charging me with reclaiming our nation. If you’re not going to help me, then I’ll throw you in league with the Ferronians and you will face the same fate.”
Thyrin’s daughter came back with a thick rope.
“You see.” Thyrin took the rope from her. “I don’t know if what you’re saying is true or not. What I do know is that we will be rewarded by our masters for turning in a run-away who stole a crown and sword.”
Listross slid his left foot behind the stump he stood in front of. “You don’t want to do this. I’m here to help you. I have a daughter to get back to. She needs me. She just lost her mother.”
A rooster crowed from somewhere close to the house. A candle flame could be seen from one of the top windows.
“I thought you said you were married?” Glasindra slowly walked behind Listross.
“I am. Or, I guess I was.”
“What happened?” She looked between Listross and Thyrin.
“How?” Thyrin narrowed his eyebrows. His gaze shifted to two of the young single men. He motioned for them to close in on Listross.
Listross attempted to take another step back but bumped into Glasindra. “During our attack on the manor house, one of the masters escaped. He ran to the barn where we had lived and killed her along with some of the other women.”
Thyrin scoffed. “And yet you wanted us to try the same stupid sceme? How many did you lose total? seventy percent?”
“It would be different this time!”
The front door of the house creaked. Listross glanced quickly over to see a heavy set middle aged man step out. He and Listross met eyes.
Immediately, the other slaves were on top of him. Listross tried to push through them and run, but tripped. The rope tore into his arms and chest as they tightened it around him.
“Release me! Let me go! I’m here to help you!” Listross blinked back the images of Emmya being forced back into slavery. Watching her daddy hung for treason.
“Grab another rope!” Thyrin put his foot on Listross’s neck.
Listross rolled, trying to free his neck. Thyrin fell backwards, releasing him.
“This man wanted us to form a revolt. He says he murdered his owners.” Thyrin lundged held Listross to the ground.
Two glistening black leather boots filled Listross’s vision. “Is that true? Good work, Thyrin. Good work all of you.”
Other slaves tried to tie his legs together. Listross thrashed them about, but to no avail.
The master bent down and smiled at Listross. He took the crown from his head and emotionlessly studied it. “Where did you get such a thing? Stolen?”
Listross kept silent.
“No matter. It obviously doesn’t belong to you.”
Listross rolled over and kicked the man with his bound legs.
The man stumbled and dropped the crown. He frowned at Listross. “You are no good. We’ll have to fix that before the magistrate comes tomorrow.”
He grabbed the crown, stood and walked toward the house. “Thyrin, Quexel, could you please drag him to the cellar. He needs to be taught a lesson. In fact, Thyrin, I think you should be the one to give the consequence.”
“It would be an honor, Master Whaln.”
Listross fought against the ropes as he was dragged.
The doors of the cellar banged on the ground. Listross held his breath as he heard them descend the stairs. His head banged against nearly each step no matter how he tried to hold it.
He closed his eyes against the headache as they tied more rope around his wrists and undid the one holding his arms to his chest. He was hoisted into the air. A cold splash of water forced air into his lungs and his eyes to open.
Thyrin stood before him, holding a terrifying whip. On each of its five tails, various objects were tied on. A piece of bone, a stone, a shard of pottery, and two menacing shards of glass.
Whaln smiled at Thyrin. “Thank you for being so trustworthy. When you’re done here, you may have the rest of the day off. The others may rest after lunch.”
“Understood, Master Whaln.” Thyrin watched as he left.
Listross tugged at his hands. The binds seamed to grow tighter
“This is for your benefit; to make you a better slave and overall person.” Thyrin walked behind Listross.
After the first three blows, Listross blacked out.
* * *
When he awoke, Listross still felt the rope digging into his wrists as he lay in a heap on the ground. Everything ached. His head pounded from the lack of blood. He licked his lips.
His eyes wandered around the room as he sat up. Light shone through the cracks in the cellar door, shining a line of light down the first six steps.
Emmya. Listross forced himself to his knees.
“Emmya!” Listross felt the tears come to his eyes.
He surged forward pulling hard against the ropes. His wrists bumped against something hard sticking out of his back. The pain raced up his spine.
Gently he felt again. The large piece of glass that had been in the whip was now lodged in the small of Listross’s back. He gritted his teeth and pulled.
Although excruciating, it slipped free. The edges were still sharp.
With his hands tied together, Listross gripped it and started to saw away at the ropes between his wrists.
As he did so, the line of light shifted from one side of the stairs to the middle.
The last thread snapped.
Listross put the piece of glass in between his teeth as he finished untying himself.
Voices could be heard outside the cellar door.
Listross quickly and quietly crepted up the stairs and crouched.
The doors swung open, and Listross lunged.
The sharp edge of the glass slipped easily across Whaln’s throat.
The middle aged woman standing next to them screamed.
With ease, Listross gave her the same treatment.
He needed his crown.
Firmly he gripped the shard of glass and strode to the door of the manor house. Two more masters came towards him. Luckily, they reacted too slowly to stop his assault. The corpses fell on the porch.
Others ran up behind him. The slaves slowed as they saw the bodies.
“Do you know where they put my crown?” Listross’s voice sounded rougher than he remembered it.
They just stared.
Listross scoffed and marched through the house, keeping an eye open for any more Ferronians.
Upstairs in the master room on the desk lay his crown and sword. He donned both.
A few of the Tavalaskians had followed him through the house, including Thyrin and Glasindra. When Listross turned to leave, they bowed.
“Just please don’t hurt us.” Thyrin’s eyes were the size of potatoes.
“Why should I show you mercy? I came to help you and free you and yet you sided with our enemy.”
Thyrin gulped. “The Ferronians aren’t completely our enemy.”
“They helped us. We were struggling to produce enough food, so they came to show us how to work better. Our ancestors became their slaves to show them our gratitude.”
Listross stared. His tongue curled in distaste. “Where did you learn that?”
“The masters told us. Who else were we to believe?”
Listross knew the story of their history from grandmother. Even Grink had given his account of how the battles had gone.
“You’re the oldest slave?” Listross scanned the room.
“What happened to all the older ones?”
“We were told they died of starvation or were sold.”
Listross shook his head and sat on the desk chair facing them. “Sit.”
After they did so, he recounted the events of the war twenty two years earlier.
Glasindra’s eyes watered. “I’m so sorry. Will you forgive us?”
Thyrin glanced at his wife and then bowed the Listross. “We will help any way we can.”
Listross knew he needed a plan and fast. Would he:
- Prepare an ambush for the magistrate and whatever soldiers he brought with him. They would have to make it look like an accident to dissuade further inquisition. That would also put further distance between the magistrate and Emmya.
2. Head back before the magistrate’s arrival. If all the slaves worked together, they would have a better chance of defeating the soldiers that would come with the magistrate. Not to mention Emmya would get to see him sooner.