72 Vhalar, 719 morning
Abra had traveled with a slave trader for the past several trials and finally they arrived at Noatun. The trading of slaves was something Abra had never witnessed before. You had to be a certain type of twisted person to want a slave and then happen to have the money to get one. The slavers were quick to set up tents and prepare for the big day. They had little time to waste before they needed to pack back up and move to the next Melrathian city.
The slavers made it so easy to find exactly what people wanted by doing categorical showings of the slaves and allowing in depth inspections of their wellbeing. Most of the showings focused on laborers since this was a fishing heavy area. The wealthy sought strong and loyal slaves to take dangerous jobs on their ships. Then, once the slaves were gone through the next category was run. This went on for breaks all while the slave master personally set up an auction block.
There was a lot Abra could have learned about this trade but he was too focused on figuring out how he would force the slave master to pay him for the emotion altering services he had been providing. The master was too mentally sound to be easily manipulated with ether so he had to use his wit on this one. He bided his time to talk about payment until the auctions actually happened.
Surprisingly, the slave master wasn’t the one who did the auctioneering. He sat back pensively while his avriel subordinates did all the work. He put the entirety of his focus into fixing problems with the execution of the day’s operations and making sure his slaves were in presentable shape. It was the only time that Abra saw any sort of passion from the cold slaver.
The initial rounds of auctions passed without a hitch. Some slaves were sold while others weren’t even bid on. Others were priced so high from the start that nobody in this city was going to be willing to pay that kind of money. Abra could see people taking notes though, maybe to send a message ahead of the slavers to Raelia to inform them of the premium selection.
The final rounds of auctions started after a break of intermission and at long last the Unwanted slaves were up for sale. This was what Abra had waited for this whole time. These were the slaves that nobody had bought yet in prior cities. A chunk of these slaves had been ‘cheered up’ for lack of a better term by Abra with the use of his empathy and it was time to see if they would sell.
First up was the first one that Abra had ‘fixed.’ Abra reached out with his ether and the slave’s mental anguish washed away. He wasn’t sad, angry, or anything really. He looked about as neutral as he could be when trials before he had been so broken that he had to be drug along the ground. Bidding started and he was sold with ease.
“Looks like my temporary modifications were good enough to sell,” Abra said to the master in a low whisper. “Now might be a good time to discuss my payment.”
“I guess you did alright,” the master said as another altered slave was sold without any issues. “I’ll let you have your pick out of the Unwanteds when we’re done.”
“An Unwanted?” Abra asked with genuine anger that his spark wasn’t fast enough to stifle. “I deserve more than that! These slaves were unsellable before I came along.”
“Thank you for your help. If you’d like to make your pick you can do so.” He jotted something down and pressed his hand onto a piece of paper then handed it to Abra.
“I want five slaves of my choosing, I don’t care if they’re Unwanted or not,” Abra demanded in a louder whisper. He sent a pulse of ether to the slave on the acution block and she shouted in pain as her tangle was assaulted by irrational fear. The avriels quickly took her to the side and replaced her with the next slave.
The slave master looked at Abra speechlessly. “You play dirty mage. But I cannot give you what you want. You may have a slave of your choosing, but not of the premium selection. They will sell for far more than the value you have added to the Unwanteds. Let us agree and put an end to the mind games.”
Abra was tempted to lash out again but he calmed himself down. “The whole purpose, if you recall, of me helping was to get several slaves so that I can perfect my long term emotional modifications. In addition to the one of my choice, you can give me two of the remaining Unwanteds. I don’t want you as my enemy… I only want what’s fair. Think of what I may be able to do for you next time you come to Melrath.”
Abra’s plea was plenty enough for the slaver to hand him two more strangely marked papers. “The avriels will help you if you show them those papers. I will send for you next cycle.”
After the trading was all done Abra went to the avriels and they helped him pick out the slaves that he was owed. These avriels knew how to behave in front of associates of the master and were the first ones that treated Abra with any sort of respect. Before the final sun had set, Abra finished with them and had picked out the three slaves that he desired most.
He had not only acquired three living breathing humans as slaves but he had paperwork to prove they were acquired legally. There was a surprising amount of paperwork involved that ranged from the most recent transaction dating back to the exact date of birth. When growing up, Abra always thought of slavers as Avriel who took children from their homes but these had been born into slavery.
Now that Abra had what he wanted, he didn’t quite know what he should do. He was far from his home physically but a trip through the Untold would make things very short. He looked at his downtrodden properties and led them out of the town. “I’m Abra. I am your new owner as I’m sure you already know. I am a magician, as I’m sure you also know. Why don’t you introduce yourselves?”
The only one to speak up was Crimson. “Master?” she asked innocently. She tilted her head up just enough for her eyes to meet his chin. “I’m Crimson.”
“Hello Crimson. Why don’t you tell me what you like to do?” Abra led them out to where merchants were getting ready to set off. He was going to travel through the Untold to get home but he could only Escort one person at a time… he didn’t think he would have much luck escorting the big guy either.
“I like to serve,” Crimson said after contemplating her answer. It wasn’t the answer Abra was looking for exactly, but it was satisfactory enough.
“What about you?” he asked Brent. Brent looked at him with glazed over eyes and didn’t say anything. He hadn’t even really heard Abra.
“Okay, what about you?” Abra asked Ivana, “are you mute too?” He knew the latter two slaves had problems with their tangles. He intended to use them as test subjects to cure their tangles without having to go through the annoying process of finding volunteers. He had hoped they could at least talk…
“I’m Ivana. I like to sew and take care of children.” She didn’t lift her head at all.
“That’s nice,” Abra said kindly. He wasn’t as mean as the slaves were expecting. Now Abra turned his attention to a merchant and slipped him some coin. “Take these two to Raelia on your journey. This is payment for the delivery and food for them. You are not to have them do any labor.” Abra drew out the approximate location of his home and the Merchant responded with a nod and an approximate date of arrival. Brent and Ivana went with the merchant and Abra left with Crimson with her chain in hand.
They walked sans conversation out to the forest where Abra made sure nobody was watching them and then absent mindedly cut open a passage into the Untold. Crimson’s eyes opened wide when she saw what he had done and stopped moving when he tried to walk through.
“Master… what’s that?” she looked absolutely mortified.
“We will travel through Emea itself to get to my home. You have nothing to worry about. The others were sent with the merchant because I can’t predict how they will react during the trip. You strike me as normal enough. Stay close to me and there’s nothing to fear.” There was a lot to fear, actually, but he wouldn’t mention that.
“Yes master,” she said submissively.