Ge'alk's Tale

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"This is only the Beginning." These were the words that my tormentors used when I was first bought by the slavers. For thirty days, I hung in a squalid sewer of a pit suspended by chains. Five times a day, my overlord would come by and "teach" me the value of cooperation. Through the pain, I learned much. Through the hatred, I remembered well. On the last day of my torment. My Lord came into the pit and bade me swear fealty to him. I heard a voice not my own issue forth from my body. I heard in horror and revulsion the words that would bind me into slavery. I heard myself beg for his favor that day. Here I learned the value of pain. For four years I was taught the wisdom of the dwarves, the patience of the elves, and the art of war from the humans. My Lord made sure that I had the best teachers in these undertakings. My Lord treated his slaves well. Each slave shared his quarters but with one other. They were given warm rooms and plenty to eat. His generosity did not stop there with me, however. He made sure that I had the finest blades, the strictest instructors, and the most comprehensive training money could buy. My value as "breeding stock" was not overlooked and I spawned a new generation of gladiators for my Lord. At the end of my four-year apprenticeship, I was loosed upon the gladiatorial arena as my Lord's champion. I had the skill of the "higher" races with the heart of my Orcish ancestors.

After five long years of being the King of the Arena, I was taken out of the fights to train my Lord's new gladiators. My sons were growing nicely and were already being taught the ways of the warrior by my Lord's tutors. I served as chief trainer and warrior for my Lord for 8 long years. These were happy years but I was bound by my earlier oath to remain by my Lord's side. Had I free will, I would have returned to the plains and rejoined my tribe. How simple and easy it had all seemed then.

One day, in my Lord's stables, his youngest son challenged me to a sparring dual. I had taught the boy much of the ways of the warrior having become the tutor myself. Willingly, I entered the arena expecting a friendly dual. To my dismay, the boy had other plans. While we were sparring, he drew a dagger from hiding and attempted to strike me dead. My reflexes saved me and I suffered a wicked slash across my cheek. Wounded and dismayed, my mind and body reverted to my days in the Arena. I slew the boy there with his own dagger when he tried to strike again. I sat and watched as his blood seeped out of his sliced neck.

It was that night when my Lord decided my fate. I was to be bound by the chains that once held my youthful form. My blood was to mingle with the dung of the Lord's horses. So spoke my Lord when he found out of his son's fate. That night, I was taken into the all too familiar pit and chained. My tormentor wasted no time and put a dagger to my throat. I watched his eyes as he made his cut and let my life's blood loose. My eyes were growing foggy and my mind was suffering great despair when I saw my tormentor fall over as if from a blow. Strong hands helped me out of the chains and also stopped my bleeding. I felt a tinge of energy enter my body as someone chanted over me.

After what must have been hours, I opened my eyes. The sight before me made tears come to my eyes. My sons had come to set me free. The human who had been torturing me lay beside of me, his skull crushed. My sons bade me to leave the manor as swiftly as a horse could carry me but I knew that to leave would be futile. My oath to my Lord still bound me to his service. Later that night, I crept into my Lord's bedchamber and gently woke him from his nap. At the sight of me, he leapt to his feat calling for his guards. I tried to calm him, I tried to make him understand that I was still bound by my oath. It was then that he struck out at me with a hidden dagger just as his son had done.

As surely as the sun sheds light on the morning, my eyes were opened and my geas was lifted. The act of attacking me directly freed me from my oath and allowed me my freedom once again. As the guards burst into the bedroom, I leapt through the bedroom window and out into the courtyard. I could hear my Lord's shouts as I grabbed one of his horses from a nearby guardsman and fled into the night. Tears of incredible sadness mixed with tears of joy as I left my home behind.

It was nearly a year later when I returned to my Lord's manor. This time I was disguised as a masked guard of a wealthy merchant with whom my Lord did business. Stoically I stood by as my new employer bartered with my former Lord for the trade of slaves and horses. None in my Lord's house knew my identity and I was given an escort to see the slaves that were being sold to my new employer. When I descended into the once regal slave quarters of my Lord, I noticed that the torches and fine tapestries that used to line the walls had been removed. The dampness of the surrounding land had begun to creep into the stone of the basement where the slaves lived. The once clean walls had mold growing along the sides that drew more moisture.

My shock was complete when my escort took out a ring of keys from his belt and unlocked one of the doors so that I might see the occupants more clearly. Inside the room were at least a dozen unwashed and poorly clothed slaves of my Lord. Many wore marks upon their body consistent with the "lessons" that my Lord liked to teach his new slaves. However, these men and women were not new slaves. Faces that I recognized as being faithful servants for years gazed at my masked form with no more life than that of a golem. The stench of decay and excrement fouled the air. The look of horror and revulsion on my face was mistaken through the mask by the guard as a look of disappointment.

"D'ems not de fighters. We keep d'em hobbled."