So on top of his other responsibilities, Listross will now also be a teacher. Fun!
Alright, dear Readers, time to be honest. I over-burdened myself. If you considered supporting me on Patron, thank you. Unfortunately, I don’t have the energy or time to regularly post on there as well. Never fear, though, for I am working on a map, and it will be posted with the next chapter.
I’m pretty excited for this chapter. I hope it’ll kick things up a notch where we lost a bit of momentum last week. Voting is now open until Sunday, December 1st at 11:59 PM.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following along with the story this far. If you’re new to Prince of Slaves, click here to read the Prologue, and if you missed last week, click here to read chapter 6.
Without further ado, please enjoy Chapter 7!
“I know it will be difficult to keep the children quiet, but we must.” Listross looked over his following, scanning the crowd. “Thankfully there are plenty of trees in the area to hide us, but we are only about three hours from the village. We will attack at night. By this time tomorrow, I hope to see everyone settling down in homes by fireplaces just as you all deserve.”
Flouth, who stood at the back of the group, applauded softly and the rest followed.
“Let’s try to avoid a fire tonight and eat our meal cold. We don’t want the smoke drawing unwanted attention.”
“Yes, Prince,” Wanetha stood and started emptying various food items from the cart, commanding some of the other women to chop and slice.
“Those of you needing to learn to read and write, please meet over there, and I’ll be with you in a moment.”
Thyrin and the majority of the slaves that were new chattered excitedly amongst themselves. Listross smiled and waved as they passed by.
“Prince?” Bolfreed stood in front of Listross, and Listross took a step back. For some reason, the man always wanted to be uncomfortably close when taking, and Listross didn’t like having to appear to look up to people, it always made the crown shift uncomfortably on his head.
“I’ll take Rawruin and Grink and we’ll keep watch.”
“Good.” Listross nodded. “Since you’re the fastest, I want you to go try to map out the edge of the village. See what’s there and the best way to enter.”
“Understood.” He saluted and jogged off.
Listross scanned the horizon, mentally preparing himself for the next battle.
Listross bent down and picked Emmya up. “You know you’re getting big to be picked up like this.”
“I didn’t ask you to pick me up.”
Listross smiled and raised an eyebrow at her. “Do you want me to put you down?”
She gave a small frown and nodded. “I”m five now. I’m a big girl.”
Listross held in his chuckle and licked the back of his teeth setting her back down.
“Are you going to kill people again?”
Listross paused and bent down to her level.
“Why are you asking?”
“When you kill people they die.”
Listross nodded, still not quite sure where this was going.
“We were really sad when Momma died, and if you kill people, aren’t you making a lot of people really sad?”
Listross stared into her deep jade eyes, seeing so much of her mother in them. He placed his forehead against hers. “It’ll be okay, Emmya. Yes, I will kill people, and that will probably make other people sad, but the people I will kill have made a lot more people sad. With them dead, a lot more people, like me and you, will be happy.”
“I don’t know if I can ever be happy someone’s dead.”
Listross sighed and put his hand on top of her head. “You’ll understand…”
Listross stopped mid-sentence as a giant steed ran past him.
“Stop that horse!” A female voice called.
It continued to run to the crowd of people gathered.
Thyrin leapt to his feet and swiftly grabbed its reigns. It dragged him a few feet before slowing to a stop, panting.
Gently, he stroked the beast neck, calming it down.
A young woman with straight blonde hair, flowing the entire length of her back stepped out of the woods. Her dark brown eyes scanned the group and blinked. Her eyes saw the horse and Flouth and she smiled brighter than the sun at noon. “You stopped him!”
She raced over, holding up her long skirt as she ran over. “Thank you so much. He saw a snake and got spooked. Unfortunately, I was lost in thought and not holding on tight enough.” She rubbed her rear and sighed.
“I’m Eppra.” She quickly glanced over the crowd. “This is quite the caravan you’ve got. Where are you all heading? There’s a village not too far from here. Maybe you all should stop there. I’m sure we could find…”
The words fell off of her tongue as Listross rose and started walking closer, knife in hand.
Her hands covered her mouth and the color drained from her cheeks. “You’re all slaves!”
“Bind her,” Listross commanded, and immediately people moved. Thyrin grabbed her from behind, Flouth raced over to grab rope.
“No need to bloody rope, Flouth, just hold her steady.”
“So the rumors are true then?” The girl looked at Listross awed. “The slaves are rebelling. You’re quite an impressive group, Sir.” Eppra bowed her head the best she could.
Listross raised the blade above her bowed head, but paused at Emmya’s scared gasp.
“Please Prince Listross, I know you have every right to kill me if how my family treats slaves is anything like you have suffered, but I am not like them. I want to help you. I want us Ferronians out of your land and back into our own. I know you have no reason to trust me, but what I tell you is true.”
Listross gulped. “Flouth, take the women and children away.”
Flouth nodded and gathered a few of the mothers to shoe the little eyes away from the scene.
“I also want to warn you that I’m the daughter of house Tizkul. We’re a small noble house, but I can assure you if you kill me, you’re path going forward will only be more difficult. Let me help you.”
“Prince!” Bolfreed runs into the clearing, catching his breath.
Listross turned toward his scout.
“There’s a group of four men from the village approaching on horse back.”
Eppra sighed and shook her head. I told them I’d be fine, and they never believe me.”
“Grab Grink and have them taken care of.”
Flouth runs back. “List, if we do that, the village could get suspicious before our attack.
“But we can’t just hide all of this.” Bolfreed motioned to all the areas they had set up camp.
“Prince Listross, I, Lady Eppra Tizkul, assure you that I wish your people no harm. I wish to help the Talavaskians get their own land back and return to the state our countries were in before the famine.”
Listross turned back to her, brow furrowed deep. “You really want to help?”
She nodded, meeting Listross’s eyes with boldness.
“Then this is what I want from you.” Listross sheathed his weapon.
- “Go. Take your horse and ride back to those men. Tell them there’s nothing this way and convince them to ride back into the city. After the moon has risen and candles are blown out, take the weapons your village has and bring them here. Bolfreed will be trailing you, and if you stray, his arrow won’t.”
2. “You’ll be our hostage. If your family loves you, they’ll give up their little village without a problem. And if they try to fight, we will let them know that we’re not asking we’re demanding.”