Long Road to the Grave or Galatia's story

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Long Road to the Grave or Galatia's story  Empty Long Road to the Grave or Galatia's story

Post by MissArcana on Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:52 am

I apologize now as it is a rather long story, and still unfinished. Hope it's not too boring.

A Long Road to the Grave

Back when the Roman Empire was in its infancy, in the region of Etruria, there was a humble but prosperous kingdom. It had been ruled for generation by a noble family renowned for their fierce prowess in battle and calm wisdom in peaceful matters. It came that the king of this land had no sons, only a daughter he loved deeply. His wife had died in child birth, a great sign in the Etruscan kingdom. Balance was revealed and there was no greater balance than life and death. He named his daughter Galatia, which means pure white, on account that she was born with pure white hair. Some feared the king’s wife had given birth to a spirit child or that her soul might be half in the spirit realm. These foolish rumors grew infrequent when her hair darkened to a warm chestnut with the passing years. Though the temple priests and clergy remembered and revered her as a good omen for the kingdom. It did not take long for a pretty little girl to bloom into a lovely woman, and her beauty and talents were sung throughout the land.

Galatia was a wonder of the kingdom, beautiful and kind but with the same fierce temper of her ancestors. She was often present at her father’s court, listening, learning, and only speaking when it was pertinent. Her mind was sharp and her wisdom keen. It was quickly know that she was fair of both mind and appearance. It was unusual, but the king allowed Galatia to be trained as a warrior. While she could shoot as arrow with the best of them, her true passion was reflected in the ring of steel and her short sword was an extension of her arm. Galatia was sought after by many a powerful man in the kingdom, including a powerful warrior and advisor to the king, a stoic man named Telus. He began open negotiations for Galatia’s hand in marriage.

Before the negotiations could be finished the king met with an unfortunate fate. While out for a ride a snake struck at his horse and the king was thrown. The rocks of the country side are unforgiving to an aging man and his back was broken upon impact. He was found not an hour later by a patrol who rushed their injured king back to his palace. Though his physicians were wise and skilled healers, there was little they could do for their dying king. His dying decree was that his daughter rule in his stead. Riders were sent out immediately. Galatia stayed by her father’s side as the priests of Aita, their god of death, offered comfort for his passing. The king slipped into slumber and passed peacefully holding his beloved daughter’s hand. There was a week of mourning in which Telus offered support and comfort to the grieving young queen.

Weeks turned to months and eventually Galatia accepted Telus’s marriage proposal. She was young and his experience helped her guide her kingdom through the troubled loss of her father. When she wept, he found ways to make her laugh. Her sorrow slowly slipped away and a year after her father’s passing she was married to Telus. The kingdom, though the masses well-loved Galatia as queen, rejoiced to have a king again. For two all too brief years the King and Queen ruled in peace and the kingdom grew in prosperity. Sadly their kingdom was not the only one growing rapidly. Far to the south the city-state of Rome was beginning a march to the drums of an empire.

The tenuous peace was snapped when riders from the legion appeared and demanded the surrender and acclimation of the kingdom to the subjugation of Rome. The proud people would not bow to the legions. King Telus stirred the army and fortified defenses. Queen Galatia saw to healers and the safety of women, children, elderly, and priests and priestesses. It was in her preparations evacuating some of the smaller temples far from the palace that Galatia came upon a lost scroll. While helping the priests and acolytes pack urns and tools from a death preparation chamber, hidden in a temple to Aita god of death, she heard a most odd noise. No one else heard it. Following the sound Galatia found a small opening hidden behind a neglected jar where someone had stashed a set of scrolls. She could not believe what she had discovered.

The scrolls showed a ritual where one could sway the god of death into making an army immune to death. Death conquers all in time, one need only need negotiate for the time of the battle. Though the scroll did warn of horrors if what was offered was offensive to Aita, the god of death could swallow the entire kingdom, or save it. Though Telus continually reassured her that their armies could prevail, but Galatia had heard of the Legion. She knew that they were but a small stone upon which the ocean of the Legion was break. They could hold, but not long. The Legion would swallow them. Their only hope was to make it choke as they were swallowed, or rip their way from the belly of the beast. If they could not die however…. If their people could not die even if it was simply for one day… In a dark and dimly lit room under the temple dedicated to Death himself, the young queen made a decision. These choices, the real ones that alter history, are not made in the open where everyone can see. The real decisions happen in one’s heart, one’s very soul. Galatia’s path was chosen; she only needed her courage and will to walk it alone.

She informed Telus she would be staying out of the battle, instead she would be staying behind to pray with the holy men and women for victory. Telus was surprised and more than a little irate at her decision. He deemed it the choice of a coward. Did she not have faith in her husband’s ability to win a battle? Had she lost her own courage that she felt they needed divine intervention? She advised him to view it as an offering that Queen was abstaining from battle, her honoring the gods to stand with their army. That was the first of many arguments that would transpire between King and Queen. Galatia did exactly as she said, she went to a temple and locked herself in ritual chambers not to be disturbed. She knew it would make her look a coward, but she could handle some dishonor if it saved her people. A day and night were spent in preparation, grinding bones and mixing the blood of sacrificed animals. As she worked silently, the followers of death knew better than to intervene or assist. Just before first light Galatia locked herself in the consecrated chamber and slowly opened the scroll and began the lost ritual.

Her voice seemed to echo in the tiny chamber, but even as she spoke with strength and conviction it seemed her voice was losing strength in the shadows. As if the walls were moving farther and farther away until she was chanting into a void where her very words went to be strangled in the dark. Without breaking her rhythm, she cut the throats of two mourning doves and pulled out their hearts, placing the eyes and hearts upon a polished bone plate before Aita’s effigy. Using the blood which had soaked her fingers she marked her lips, her eyelids, drawing a line down her throat, and finally a hand print on her heart. The last word of the chant had long since died in the shadows and the young queen sat still in her little circle of light. She knew better than to make a sound, one does not rush death. The oil in her lamp slowly dwindled until the flame was scarcely an ember. Galatia took one slow breath to steel her nerves and watched the tiny flame, spittle, flicker and die.

Darkness swallowed the tiny chamber. Galatia looked for the thin lines of light that should have been peeking under the door from the halls beyond the room. There was no trace of light, as if she truly were lost in the depths of the underworld itself. The younger part of her wanted to run to the door, to find the light and remind herself of the life beyond this tiny chamber. The queen in her remembered the scroll. To leave the little circle prepared of bones and blood would seal her fate, and Death would claim her life. She would belong to death and be unable to make her request to save her people. Time lost meaning in the darkness as Galatia sat, unwilling to loose. The only sound she heard was her own heart beating and her breath. It seemed she could hear the very blood coursing through her veins. Eventually she was not sure if she had been in the room for minutes, hours, or perhaps her whole life time had passed and her mission impossible to achieve. Her breath seemed to slow and still though she did not feel as if she was choking. The constant cadence of her heart slowed, a cold calm descending upon her. It did not hurt, it simply slowed and with each beat, till finally all was still. Though she remained firmly rooted in her tiny circle, it was as if she drifted in the dark stillness like a leaf upon an ocean wave, carried farther and farther from the shore of life and light.

The first sound she was aware of was a wet chewing sound. A sound not unlike that when men and soldiers tore into rarer pieces of meat from the fire. She felt something tremendously large sitting across from her tiny circle. No, her mind corrected, not across. The presence was massive, all encompassing. Galatia knew no matter how she might turn or think to escape that it, no He, was all round her. Her silent heart seized with fear. How could she possibly convince this GOD to do anything. But if not she, who would save her people? They could not defeat Rome. If not their queen, who would save them. The weight of her responsibility stabled her, kept her mind from trying to flee. With new found resolve, Galatia bowed with reverence waiting for Him to acknowledge her. She felt more than heard the words. The cut of hard articulation snapped across her skin like the break of a lash. The open intonations burned as tiny embers blown by a wind from a great inferno though the air was frosty cold. She bit her lip to capture the pained noised that would escape from her throat. The meaning clear even though the pain. “Who are you mere mortal to seek the attention of Death?” If his voice was this how could she possibly negotiate without being torn to pieces. All her plans seemed piteous and weak and in the shadows under Death’s gaze. In her short life she had never felt fear or uncertainty, but Galatia learned true fear. Yet somehow the young queen found the resolve to continue with her desperate plea.

Shaking and choking on the inky blackness she managed to choke out the words. On behalf of her people she, Queen Galatia te Etruria, humbly wished to parlay for the time of her army’s death. For they were all alive and thus were promised to Death as all living things in due time. She only wished to parlay for time. Death laughed and asked what she had to offer. He seemed amused with the little queen bowing before him. Perhaps it was the fact that she was brutally honest. She doubted Death cared for faltering things such as youth or beauty. Galatia saw lying to Death as an insult she could never survive giving. In a way, she had already admitted she was His, as a betrothed already belongs to her husband. Death always gets His due; it is only a matter of time. She offered no gold or jewels, for what use does death have for such things? Galatia offered instead service of herself, offerings of life, giving Death his due long before it was time. It was when she mentioned reaping of fields before their time as offerings that she got the impression he had been amused. He was amused by the concept of her reaping. “My hands are not the soft cream of a simpering maiden,” she called to him, assuming the idea of a Queen working what had amused him. “My hands know toil and labor of the sword, but if it might please you I shall reap for you myself.”

Again the painful voice of Death tore through her. “What if I would have you reap mankind, not simple sheaves of wheat?” Before she could express her confusion Death explained. He might indeed be amused if she were to come to the land of the dead and work for him. Would she, a queen, give not only her own life, but an undefined eternity of servitude, that her people might live a little longer? And so the deal was outlined. He would allow her one year, till the longest new moon of the year. One year to see her obligations as a queen fulfilled to her people. One year to say goodbye to everything she knew and loved. (Or at least farewell till she herself would lead their souls to rest.) She could live that long, but there was yet one requirement that she would need to offer as well as her eternal services. “You must never bare a child. I will render you from soil and clay to the very stone itself. You will never bear life.”

It was only this last request that caused the young queen to pause. Galatia was the last of her bloodline. To not bear a child was not only offering herself but her bloodline and her father’s legacy to Death as well. Could she betray her father and not continue the royal line? It was then her father’s words returned to her, as if whispered in her ear. “My lovely, always remember, we rule for them. If we do not give them all our hearts and minds, all that we are, we have failed our people. Rule with love for our people, my sweet Galatia.”

Tears streamed down her cheeks turning to ash and flaking away. She sat up her head bowed in respect. There was a cold resolve in her words. Galatia spoke as one who had received a mortal wound, her death was accepted, guaranteed even. Why would she not point out the value of her would-be child’s life? Perhaps death was amused with her pain or perhaps her conviction. Whatever it was that caused him pause won her extended time for the armies. Death agreed to give them their battles. Galatia could only nod and bow her head deeper with gratitude. Her blood stained hands resting over her lower abdomen, she choked out the words, and made a deal with Death himself. Cold ripped through her insides like steely claws. There was no containing the scream that tore from her throat. Her senses tunneled, fading until she wasn’t sure she had succeeded. Perhaps Death had changed his mind and simply taken her soul now. Had she failed? Was it all for nothing? Was it over? Did it even matter anymore? Galatia’s thoughts faded in a numbing oblivion.

The first sensation to return was warmth. Light soon followed though her eyes took time to make sense of the blurs moving before her. Sound, there were voices. Galatia came to her senses surrounded by healers from the temple of life. There had been a fire while she had held ritual in the Temple of Death. The priests there in had refused to retrieve her from the locked chamber. The high priestess of Life had sent in acolytes to save their queen. Galatia had lingered between life and death for three days, the head healer had informed her. The battle had been won with in a day of the fire and the army had arrived home only a few hours before. King Telus, hence forth to be knows as The Victorious, was celebrating with his men. The healer tended the few wounds she had before giving her another sleeping drought.

She awoke to Telus’s angry growl at the healer. Still half drugged she could not truly respond, simply lie there and watch as the High Priestess of Life, a lovely woman only a few years older than Galatia, explained to King Telus that his wife was mysteriously barren. (Apparently the Priestess had been checking to see if Galatia was pregnant when looking over her injuries and had felt the hand of Death in the young queen. For whatever reason she could only guess it had something to do with the reason the queen had been in Death’s temple.) King Tellus The Victorious was enraged.

Over the next week Galatia’s strength slowly returned. When she was strong enough to leave the healers chambers, she was confused to being delivered not to her royal chambers, but to a small suite of rooms not far off. Guards were posted and she was prevented from leaving. Galatia was held prisoner in her own castle for two weeks. During this time Telus came to her and demanded to know what she did in the Temple of Death. She told him honestly from the beginning. He swore, calling her a liar and a coward, returning every day to berate and demand the truth. Through the tiny window of her rooms, she could hear the servant women talking while they washed clothes in the wet yard below. Telus had accused Galatia of trying to sell the kingdom to Rome. Evidence and co-conspirators were being gathered.

It was on the night of the first new moon of her last year that Telus came to her one last time. The small council accompanied him. Galatia sat in her small gilded chair and knew this was not a precursor to trial. From what little she'd gleaned from her tiny window, her guilt was a matter of fact. She's suspected this would be a sentencing. Sadly she was right. One last time she began to tell her tale, a last ditch effort that someone might recognize the truth and stop this irrational procession. It was the back of Telus’s hand that stopped her barely a few words from the beginning. Galatia was torn from her chambers by cruel hands that had once been kind. She fought and struggled. She was skilled though unarmed. Their numbers quickly and easily overwhelmed her, binding her hands behind her back. They shoved her through the castle halls. Her dress was torn to tatters. In the main hall they paused only long enough the cut her long curling hair away in fistfuls with knives. The news had quickly spread throughout the city. Queen Galatia was guilty of treason and thus stripped of her throne to be cast into exile. The crowd that lined the streets called for her blood, her execution.

The crowd was nearly a blood thirsty mob as they reached the walls of the city. It was there the High Priestess of Life stood upon a precipice and called for order. There was a brief pause and Galatia was granted a moment to look at the High Priestess. The perfectly clean robed and an oddly large amount of tasteful jewels, some Galatia knew to be from the royal treasures. It all became painfully clear to Galatia. When Telus walked up beside her and took the Priestess’s long slender hand in his, Galatia felt her strength ebb away. Her words had fallen not on deaf ears but upon minds that were poisoned against her by nearly every leader in their kingdom. All she had sacrificed… all she had given… How could they betray her?

Galatia barely registered the Priestess of Life “sparing” the traitor’s life for one of exile. There was no point in resisting the hands that forced her from the city, or the guards who led her far off into the country side, amongst the rocks and hills. Galatia walked as one lost in a nightmare, dazed, and unable to believe what had transpired. Her escort took her from the main road. They were taking her towards a stretch of land that was rough and nearly barren. It was when they marched her directly to a small house in the middle of nowhere her mind snapped back into focus. With a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, Galatia got an inkling her night was about to get so much worse. Horses were tied to a post, she counted nearly a dozen. The laughter from within was unkind and definately all male.

Unable to break the bindings around her wrists, Galatia kicked out at her escort. If she could only get a blade, if she could get her hands free, she could easily best the three guards forcing her into the hovel. A well placed kick between one’s legs dropped one. Her head thrown back broke a second one’s nose. She turned to take the third but could neither dodge nor block his fist careening towards her face. The blow dazed her and he quickly dropped her with a solid blow to her diaphragm. Unable to breathe or stop her vision from swimming, Galatia could scarcely struggle let alone prevent the final guard from dragging her by the hair through the doorway.

With a small heave, he tossed her in the center of a rough room on the dirt floor. Inside sat 9 men, all faces Galatia recognized. Three generals of the Army, Four of Telus’s closest friends, and two wise men who had served on her father’s and then her royal council. These were men that she had trusted, respected and had even loved as family. There was a foolish moment of hope in Galatia’s mind, as brief and easy to miss as a falling star. Surely they had come to help her. No, the way they eyed her body through her torn dress, never glancing at her face. She fought as any once proud woman would. She cracked one’s ribs with a powerful kick as he tried to pin her down. Tulus’s best friend had his nose busted by her head when he tried to grab her from behind. As fierce as the once proud queen was, there were simply too many hands. She claimed a finger or two, but they forced a rough gag of leather into her mouth. Her arms and legs eventually bound. Muffled curses and screams eventually gave way to silence. Her pride would never let her cry. They each took turns and even let the soldiers who brought her “have a go.”

The only respite they offered came with the price of begging and pleading for forgiveness. If she played nice perhaps they would let her have her wretched life. Galatia would not beg for something she had already promised someone else, and when she would not cry or beg they beat her. Sore and exhausted Galatia eventually collapsed to the floor naked and covered in filth. For two days, they kept her in the tiny hovel, violating and abusing their once but no more queen. Celebrating the fact her former husband the king was marrying a holy woman. How could their kingdom not be blessed with such a couple ruling over them? Little did they know their little kingdom would already be ransacked and pillaged if it wasn’t for the woman at their feet. On the morning of the third day they shaved her head completely and tied her naked to a tree.

They were getting ready to kill her when one of the generals spotted a group of traveling merchants in the distance. They looked to be heading far south, possibly through Greece and some even looked to be from across the Mediterranean. Why kill her when they could make coin off her? Had they not paid her taxes and levies once? Why not make some of it back? He sent one of the soldiers over to see if they had a slave trader in their mists who might be interested in purchasing a woman, young, strong and beautiful. He returned with a slave trader. So this is what it came down to, the life of a queen bought and sold for only 30 gold. The price was cut in half when she nearly bit the salve trader’s finger off. The slaver had slapped her, made the deal and retrieved a brand from his saddle bag. Telus’s friend was only too happy to hold her down as the foreigner branded his mark on her shoulder.

The slaver had her bound and thrown in front of him on the saddle. He forced the gag back in her mouth and slowly caught up with his troupe, all the while his hands examined his new “toy.” Once back he threw her to the ground. The other merchants complimented him on the wonderful find, surely fate smiled on him. He frowned when the adult shackles were too large for her small wrists and ankles. (Such a fine bone structure was bound to earn a fair price.) He refused to use just rope, rope was quiet and could be cut. He didn’t like losing property and this one might just stab him in his sleep. With a non-committal grunt he sighed and forced the bindings meant for children on her. They cut into the woman’s flesh, but all she did was glare at him. It became the sport of the traveling merchants to try and break the new slave. She stood too straight and glared most defiantly. No one would buy something that looked like it would kill them in their sleep. Even with the shaved head, she was lovely and sex slaves were always in demand.

They sold her in Rome for only 30 gold as she wasn’t trained and they hadn’t managed to break her of that glare. Though the rage had wilted and it was now a bored look that accepted no master. Three times she was bought sold and traded in Rome. Until she finally broke the nose of her new owner’s wife. The master beat her till he was sure she was dead and left her body lying in the court yard, a warning to the other new slaves. When he rose that morning he was shocked to see her quite alive and unscathed sitting on the paving stones. Galatia couldn’t help a dry little laugh that escaped as her “master,” ran back into the house. Little did he know that she had died, but Aita had sent her back. A deal was a deal, He would not change their accord. It was a painful process, reviving and healing. In comparison the dying was calming, nigh relaxing. Galatia found herslef back in the slave market by noon. This began a slow procession of her days. Bought and sold, each time for a little less. Each new master sure they could break and train her. They would beat her, she’d get annoyed, and they’d beat her to death. She woke once when they threw her on a fire to burn her body. Not the most pleasant awakening. Her last Roman master was desperate to get rid of her, hoping to fetch a decent price in Greece.

The Greeks were no kinder than the Romans, some of them enjoying the fact that she couldn’t die. Though she eventually would get loose and beat them senseless. Galatia would maim them, but couldn't bring herself to kill them, more out of wanting to make Aita wait than any twisted sense of mercy she might have left. She would beat them, then sit across the room and wait for guards or servants to enter. There was no point in running, she'd never escape the city walls. When they eventually came to their reactions were the same. In fear they would sell her again. The next 6 months were an endless processions of hand off and beatings, rapes and cruelties. People bought her, sold her back or traded her. One person tried to donate her to Aphrodite’s temple only to be kicked out by a Priestess. The only explanation offered was that slave did not belong in a temple.

Where once people had called Galatia highness and majesty out of respect, they now spat out Lamia, a Greek name for a ghoul or foul spirit. The next slaver she was “sold,” to was actually paid to take her over the sea and sell her somewhere else. Perhaps an Egyptian would pay for a cursed slave; they had odd priests and magicians in Egypt. Chained to the mast of a boat, Galatia was shipped far from her home country. Though physically exhausted and beaten down, her mind was still swift and sharp. The ship made it’s way to and down the river Nile, and while the sun burned her skin and the waves beat her raw, Galatia learned rough Coptic from listening to the sailor’s speak.

So it was that the once queen was shipped far from her country. The Nile’s delta and the rolling hills of sand in the distance seemed the strange land scape of a poor dream. The winds were so arid they cracked her lips and dried her piercing eyes. Her curls had returned just enough to obscure her eyes, a trick the trader hoped to use to hide her apathetic if not baleful glare. The merchant spoke with a man and she was marched off to be traded off the beaten path. The slave platform she was traded on was in a less than reputable part of the city. The wood was sticky and stank of half dried blood. She was lined up with others and with a blank face she watched an all too familiar procession of lives bought and sold for less pleasant reasons. She wasn’t completely shocked when the merchant and another man she figured to be a merchant pulled her off into an alley.

Galatia gritted her teeth. It wasn’t uncommon for the merchants to “sample” their wares before selling them. She was just contemplating what she might remove from both of them when a third man stepped from the shadows. He moved with the grace of a skilled fighter and there was more amusement than lust in his dark coal lined eyes. She quirked a brow at the strange man before her. Was he buying her before auction? If he was offering that kind of a price he was going to be upset later. Not that she cared. She only had 2 months left. Galatia scarcely hid her amusement when they mentioned this one was unable to die. (If she had a choice, she would have months ago, so unable was close enough.) The man conversed with the merchant who brought her, the one working for the auction seemed skittish. Galatia turned her eyes on that one and he made a sign to ward off evil… either that or it was a sign of disrespect… regardless his fear was nigh palpable. On a whim, she spat in his face. He shrieked and backed away.

Her head turned back just in time to catch the new man’s fist to her face. She watched the surprise on his face when she managed to keep her feet, though the chain between her ankles was far too short for a full stride. He bought her for strange currency she didn’t understand, but the merchant was nearly speechless from the offer, so it must have been decent. He was counting out coins when he asked if "it" spoke Coptic. The merchant said no, Galatia shrugged and insulted her new master’s manhood. Sailors taught you the nicest phrases. His hand flashed out and gripped her jaw bone and lifted slightly. She moved to spit in his face, but he shifted his grip, choking her throat. She stared back angrily into his dark eyes. He was amused by her lack of fear if not her outright anger. “Oh I’m going to enjoy this one.” The merchant warned that Galatia could escape ropes and recommended that he keep her in the child size chains. (He also recommended not wasting the money on custom made ones until he was sure he was keeping her.) The Egyptian merely laughed and said he’d have her broken of the chains in a week. The merchant merely nodded and wished him well, though by the look he clearly thought the Egyptian mad. Probably held his tongue so he didn’t have to part with his newly acquired gold. The Egyptian attached her leads to a horse which he road back to an impressive property.

She was quickly handed off to guards and other slaves. Galatia was starting to wonder if the slave woman in these lands wore cloth above the waist or if it was merely the newest of her “masters” preference that all the women walk around half naked. Two women, fellow slaves, washed her with a bucket of tepid water and brushes. One of them, an older woman, whispered in her ear, if she wanted to live, it would be in her interest to “please the master.” If she wanted to avoid pain, hard work and dedication would spare her pretty hide the lash. Galatia chuckled at the old woman’s notice of her lack of scars. There was no evidence where whip had removed flesh to the bone more times that Galatia would like to remember. No oddly placed bumps or creaks to mark broken bones. What did it matter to her if she was beaten? Even if it was to death. Most of her wounds healed in under a day, and death only held her in dark water for an hour now. In two months her now miserable existence would be over. Respect and any decency had been stolen from her, but her honor would remain intact till the end. It was one of the few things they could not take from her.

She was given a clean skirt-like wrap to wear and a strip of leather as a belt. The belt was a treat she hadn't had in months. Galatia wondered if she would use it to mar a guard or her new master's pretty face. When the two guards eyed her darkly, she simply gave them a look reflecting how wretched she saw them. The two men chuckled and placed bets on how long before the master killed this one. The first said a week, the second countered with a month. Internally Galatia sighed. She’d long since stopped counting how many times she’d died and was dully pondering how Egyptians killed their disobedient slaves. It couldn’t be that different from the Romans or the Greeks. Though even the jaded slave was not eager to be crucified again.

They led her out into an area like a court yard, only it wasn’t paved, just more hot and gritty sand. What a desolate place Egypt seemed. The guards pushed her out onto the sand and closed the door behind her. The grating noise from the other side made her wonder if they'd barred it. A few guards milled about behind the windows on the second floor, clearly waiting for something. Just perfect, perhaps they had some exotic animal they wanted to eat her like a lion or tiger. She barely had time to wonder if she’d come back if something ate her when the opposing door opened. The Egyptian walked out with an arrogance that was nearly evident in his light smile and the powerful line of his shoulders. Perhaps pretty had been the wrong word for her new master. Those high cheekbones and angular jaw held no softness. He carried in his hand two wooden swords, his other held a black smiths tool. Yep, death by animal was looking slightly more appealing.

“Stand there,” he set his practice swords down and approached with the hammer and a tool she didn’t recognize. “If you kick me,” his eyes cold with knowledge, “I will break your legs and make sure they heal crooked.” It was said without malice or pleasure, anger or amusement a simple stated fact. The master walked over and knelt before her, his eyes not leaving hers until he was fully settled on the sand before her. He lowered his head and set the hammer down, using his now free hand to pull her leg slightly forward. It would be such a simple matter to reach down with the chain connecting her wrists and wrap it around the Egyptian’s neck. Even with all the abuse and neglect, she was sure she could still snap a neck. Though again she pondered, what was the point in killing him? There had never been a point to killing any of her masters or the guards and merchants who had abused her. She was a dead woman walking. She wasn’t going to prematurely end lives because they had disrespected her corpse… other lives and people that might be a different matter.

He picked up the hammer and set the tool to the chains. “Bindings were too small, they’ve healed into your skin, so we’ll only take the chains for now.” With a few strokes of the hammer he removed the chains from between her ankles and tossed it up to a guard looking from a window. He stood and grabbed the chain between her wrists. “You see, I dislike having slaves chained,” he sounded bored as he led her over to a small stone protrusion in the wall. “They make far too much noise and distract me. Don’t move your wrist.” He set the tool against the bindings on her right wrist. “So I make it very simple. If you go to run away, I break your legs. If you steal, I take fingers. If you disobey I find some appropriate way to punish you after the guards have had their fun.” The notion of running away was so pointless it was almost funny. As for the other promised injuries, they mattered little. There was no point to stealing, even if it wouldn’t have offended her honor.

Once the chain was removed from both her wrists he tossed it and the tools up to the same guard above. He retrieved the wooden swords and lofted one to her. “I’ll have my surgeon look at those bindings later, but for now you’re going to amuse me. Let’s see if your spite matches your skill.” He started towards Galatia. Galatia didn’t raise the sword to guard yet. For practice swords the balance wasn’t terrible but she wasn’t sure she could muster any reason to fight him.

His piercing dark eyes could tell her hand knew a sword handle, simply from the way she caught and held the practice weapon. He'd even perceived her slight surprise at their balance. From he'd been told this slave should be charging in and trying to take his head off. An angry slave with a weapon should be running at him now desperate to try and escape. Yet there she stood, looking unimpressed and not guarding with the blade or looking for an opening to attack. On a whim he bolted in, stabbing with the wooden sword. Reflexively, Galatia parried. His attack was too focused, she knew there was no point in following through to make an opening, a maneuver that would have left her side exposed. She wasn't particularly eager to be beaten again, but Galatia didn't really want to "amuse" him either. He circled and was slowly testing her prowess. He was erring on the side of caution, not wanting to break this new one just yet. He wanted plenty of time to build into it. Galatia saw no point in playing the fool and, after a half dozen progressing but still novice level attacks, disarmed him and took up both wooden swords.

He couldn't help but smirk. Oh this one was going to be more fun than he'd originally anticipated. Even if she tried to pull anything, he was confident he could overpower a clearly under maintained slave woman. She easily flipped the blades over her hands and planted his at his feet in the sand. Galatia took a step back and turned slightly sideways. He wanted to fight, and she would give him one of appropriate skill. Perhaps some humility would serve this Egyptian well. He rose and flowed back into an foreign but clearly practiced pose. Their swords clacked together in a dance of violence and skill for hours. He was amused and enjoyed watching her exotic style. This was a deadly little flower he'd stumbled upon. Even if it's been allowed to wilt, he mused as her stamina slowly waned and began to fail.

Galatia would not stop or surrender. There was something liberating about being able to fight back unhindered by chains, with a full stride, and against an equal. She could almost forget her current condition and forget, almost, for a fleeting moment. It was only a few hours till her feet began to stumble on the sand. They parted from a set of glancing blows and as she raised her sword to guard, he legs trembled and her knees buckled. Internally Galatia cursed her weakened body. Yes she healed from nearly everything, but lack of food and water left the body feeble though her mind was willing. He gave a fluid bow and called up to the guards to bring food and water for his new slave. She managed to give him a small salute before he exited and she plopped down unceremoniously in the sand.

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Post by MissArcana on Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:14 am

Wicked was amused as he left his new acquisition barely able to stand. She had been surprisingly skilled and with a proper wig and some adornments...He reminded himself not to put the cart before the horse, but if he was right this one would be a good tool. Things had been a little to quiet lately and Wicked always planned to the storm to come. He was sure the Setites were not going to forget the previous pounding they had handed out anytime soon. Extra protection at the palace was key. Especially protection that the others didn't know about. If only he knew then their enemies couldn't find out or plan for it. Wicked didn't smile as his mind focused on contingency plan after contingency plan. Of all the minds on his Pharaoh's secret council, Wicked's was the most brutal and unforgiving.

He washed quickly and ate some fresh bread stuffed with meats as he climbed the stairs. Wicked would watch from the shadows, out of sight from the training yard, as his new slave ate and rested. The light was dimming so the surgeon would have to wait till tomorrow. The last thing Wicked wanted was for dim lighting to allow the surgeon to lame the woman. He heard the servants bring in water, food, a waste bucket, and bedding for the slave. The household knew that new slaves, especially unique or cursed ones, stayed in the training yard for the first week at least. Though he listened intently, the new slave said nothing to the servants who came and went. He finished his meal and waited a bit before he gestured for one of the guards to start provoking her. As far as Wicked could tell she hadn't lost her temper yet, and if she was cursed, he needed to make sure she wasn't too dangerous.

The guard, a young fellow he'd selected for his physical and charismatic appeal. Wicked knew the guard had his pick of the female slaves, and they often went willingly with him when he was off duty. The guard started off kindly enough, offering compliments. He built up to offering to come down and keep her warm. Silence practically echoed his offers and compliments. He even went as far as to offer taking her back to his chambers. As long as she was back by dawn no one would be any the wiser. There was a slight tap that sounded like a chicken bone or pebble landing in the wast bucket. Wicked gave a head nod. The guard had been kind for long enough. He slowly built up anger in his one sided conversation. He was being nice, why wouldn't she at least respond. Was she slow, perhaps deaf or mute. It was alright if she was mute, he preferred women with something in their mouths anyway, and silence was better than prattle and pleading. Silence was his only response.

He began to berate her. Who did the little slave think she was. She was shit compared to him, foreign shit even here, which was worse. Eventually he built up into a tyrad, about how worthless she was. He punctuated an insult by stepping up on the window sill and shifted his shendyte and pulled out his dick. Saying if she didn't respond, he would piss on her like the filth she is. That was his last insult for the evening.

Galatia had been pleased to receive the food. There was even a fair amount of it. It was also slightly nice to be left alone in the odd sandy court yard. She'd slept worse places. They'd even brought her a full bucket of water, so she wouldn't be thirsty any time soon. It hadn't been terribly long into her slow march through strange but tasty bread when a young guard began to call to her from the windows. Compliments from someone to a slave only ever meant they wanted one thing, and the conversation quickly proved her right. She continued to ignore him. Was he trying to be beaten by offering to let her out, or was this a trap of some sort. Unbidden her mind flashed to the hovel so close to the palace she once lived and the hands, tongues, fingers.... She shook her head and forced herself not to choke on her bread. Galatia was content to practice her Coptic by listening to the increasingly abusive words flowing from the guard's mouth.

She'd stood up and was setting up her bedding in the opposite corner from the guard still listening to him prattle like a grumpy old woman. It was when he threatened to piss on her, that she actually turned to look at him. The stupid fool was actually climbing up onto the window sill. He balanced poorly, steadying himself with one hand on the side of the window, the other extracting his soft cock. Yeah, no. Galatia was not dealing with stupid little imps who thought themselves privileged. Without a word, she darted across the small training yard and used her momentum and the small ledges in the stone to climb. She had him by his belt before he'd even realized she'd moved. It was an easy matter to let gravity pull them both into the court yard. Galatia rolled easily with the impact while the startled guard was stunned from the impact.

While the poor fellow relearned how to breath, Galatia scurried over and stole the knife from his belt. (His sword had been left up by the window.) She let him get a good solid breath in before she flopped down on his chest and twirled the knife in his face. Her Coptic was a little halted and her accent something rolling and smoky, but her words were clear. If he chose to expose himself to her again, she would take it off. Wicked almost smirked at the nearly bored tone in her voice, as he watched from the shadows behind the window. With a flick of her wrist, Galatia sent the knife flying behind her and up. It made a satisfying thunk as it stuck into the window frame. She got up dusted herself off and went over to her bedding and laid down. Wicked shook his head, while he was grateful he didn't have to retrain a new guard, he couldn't understand why she's spared him. Not only spared him but made sure his neck didn't break when he'd landed. Then his slave had done the strangest thing and thrown the knife out of either of their reach.

Wicked didn't even wait till the other guards let the boy out. If she wanted out, apparently she could reach the windows. Why hadn't she made a break for it. As far as she knew the boy was alone. Why not slit his throat and make a break for it. Granted, she would have never made it past the city walls, much less his own, but that didn't stop most from trying. What to do with her? He pondered quietly to himself as he retired to his chambers. How did a woman like that end up a slave? She was skilled, sharp, and resourceful, not to mention clearly knew how to carry herself like nobility. Too many pieces didn't add up, but as long as she could be trained, he didn't need her past to add up. As long as some army wasn't marching around looking for her, then she would be perfect to help protect his Pharaoh. Assuming she could be trained.

The next morning Wicked over saw the surgeon removing the metal bands from her wrists and ankles. Really he more watched them cut from her flesh, but was more interested in her reaction. His new slave scarcely bit down on the cypress rod the surgeon had placed between her teeth. Wicked was a little amused that she didn't scream. He'd told the surgeon not to numb the area. By the time the last bond was cut loose, the first one, her left wrist, the wound looked weeks old. The surgeon knew better than to question. By noon, Wicked was once again sparing with his new slave.

Galatia couldn't remember the last time she'd felt full range and control of her movements. No chain shortening her strides or reach. There was a blissful absence of metal grinding on her bones. Not to mention a full nights rest with not harassment and a dinner and breakfast had sped her recovery more then she though possible. Aside from being exposed from the waist up, Galatia almost felt good. So far all this strange new owner had wanted was for her to spar with him in the yard. She found herself enjoying the fight in spite of herself. Wicked was pleased with his investment. Less than a full day and her stamina had tripled and her movements were far more skilled.

Over the next week, he dedicated his early mornings and afternoons to sparking with Galatia. Regular meals and rest quickly restored her strength. Her nearly wasted frame filled out, swelling her breasts and cheeks, softening the harsh lines of hipbones and vertebrate. Wicked had originally guessed her age nearly his, mid twenties, but after a few days re-accessed that his new slave was closer to his Pharaoh's age, perhaps no more than 18.  The two of them began to speak. He called her slave and was oddly alright with her calling him simply man. Her Coptic grew more fluid and fluent to the point he was correcting her accent while they spared. He explained he was a part of their Pharaoh's council. Their Pharaoh or king was actually a woman. That seemed to get something to dance behind the slave's eyes, but what it was Wicked was unsure.

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Post by MissArcana on Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:25 am

As they worked against and with each other an odd harmony was forged from their sweat and skill. Galatia was intrigued by his rigid yet flowing strikes. She often pondered if it was fashioned after a snake or scorpion that his culture seemed to revere. Her new owner had a powerful stride, which increased his range, and yet he never over-stretched it enough to leave an errant opening. It was powerful untainted by arrogance and honed to a perfect dance. The concept of her new owner dancing amused her but she supposed this was a dance that suited him if one existed. Elegantly efficient in it's simplicity yet raw in it's power, drawing on his natural strengths. Yes, his style was fashioned as a predator, lethal and unforgiving both on him and his opponents. It gave her something to study and learn from, and her mind eagerly focused on his moves.

Wicked found the more he studied his slave, the more questions he found to ponder. Someone had spent years training her. Hard work always wins over talent and that was not merely natural talent. Even her foot work was polished. Her style was something completely foreign to Wicked. He knew she'd been shipped over from Greece, but he was sure she wasn't a native. Martial styles and strengths had always fascinated The Wicked, as the knowledge of strength taught him to grow and change his own. She did not fight as a Spartan though she was fierce enough. Her movement perfect, but not the polished presentation of an Athenian or Roman. No, her style was unlike anything he'd seen on this side of the ocean. Where did they fight like this? Where did they train their women to fight like this? Was it the style for women only? If this was the female fighting art, what would it's male counter-part be? Wicked almost grinned, eager to continue adapting his strength and skill. She was a martial puzzle that grew more complex without giving the answers.

Galatia was not forth coming with her skills either. A trait that amused Wicked as much as he appreciated it. Wicked hadn't been long into their second session that he'd found her to be ambidexterity. On a whim, he'd given her a second short sword and was doubly pleased she was proficient with two hands. At first he'd assessed her lacking defense, but was puzzled at how she continued to block his blows. On the forth day he'd finally understood. His nameless slave fought with one blade skyward and the other earth bound. He'd realized that the moment he'd given her two. This had given the illusion of a hair thin line in her defenses even with her lower ribs; one he had attempted but had not yet been successful in exploiting. Wicked was growing frustrated that he could not pinpoint how she always managed to block or meet this wooden blade with her own. It was on that fourth day he realized that it was not an opening at all. Without warning or any tell she would flip the handles over the back of her hands. Earth became Heaven and Heaven earth. Yet she never let it stay either way for long.

By the end of the week, they noticed each other subtly changing and adapting their styles and learning new skills. Though Wicked still called her slave, he was far too pleased. She had been worth the money for the fighting skills alone. He was wondering how he would test her "curse," the supposed inability to die, when the question answered itself. As the week had progressed it wasn't uncommon for them to break practice blades. Wicked kept many in his estate and a barrel had been placed in the corner filled with the faux blades. Perhaps one had a fault line or simply was not made of the same quality, but regardless Galatia found her weapon shattering while she blocked an onslaught from Wicked. He was always in control, but when two of their level go as hard as they had been, sometimes you cannot pull a blow enough.

Wicked watched with his usual precise focus. He saw her take the situation in as his arm followed through, unable to slow enough. She could have brought the other blade down on his elbow, possibly breaking the bone. It was her only option to stop the blow, and yet he read her eyes. She saw the unexpected opening and had already ruled that out. A blow there was slow to heal assuming it healed properly at all. Wicked had allies who would make it as if it had never happened, but his slave didn't know that. She simply dropped her remaining one on the sand and resigned herself to let the blow hit. Cartridge and bone give a very wet cracking almost popping noise when they give. Two things were clear when her felt her windpipe crunch under the wood. First, she didn't fear death. In fact she has almost looked exasperated in her fatal realization. The second was that while she may not fear death, she was far from immune to pain.

Suffocating isn't a quick death. It can be several long minutes before one looses consciousness and falls away. The blow had staggered her and she made no effort to right herself. She didn't look up or reach for him. Galatia always tried to keep some form of dignity when she died. Wicked was entranced. He watched her sit and finally lay down. It was the first time he'd witnessed someone die without struggling against it. Part of him wanted her to struggle. He knew she had enough will to survive. Yet, it was in a way the most peaceful conscious death he'd ever seen. She was mortally wounded, dying slowly, and yet some key component was missing. Wicked found himself kneeling over her. Galatia reduced to lying in the sand and slowly turning a bluish color, had turned her head, keeping her eyes averted from his. Without even realizing what he was doing, Wicked grabbed her chin and turned her to face him. In her eyes he watched thoughts slow and ebb away. Never before had Wicked witness such a perfect view of death. He could see the moment her thoughts ceased and the body struggled to continue. It was only after he'd witness her exact moment of death Wicked realized he'd been holding his breath.

He exhaled and continued to watch her carefully. She was dead, that was absolutely certain.

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Post by MissArcana on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:53 am

He exhaled and continued to watch her carefully. She was dead, that was absolutely certain. Wicked sat there in the sand and watched. It occurred to him, sitting there in the warm sand and lengthening shadows, he'd never asked his procurer details of her revivals. Did she need to be buried? How long did it take? All that he knew is supposedly she was unable to die. The corpse laying in the sand with glassy eyes was starting to make him doubt. He sat and watched her for several long minutes before he rose and began to pace the length of the yard. What if it was just a rumor she'd started to prevent masters from beating her? Greeks were a superstitious lot, it might have worked across the seas. Wicked would never admit it, but there was a small pang of regret he felt, when he doubted she might ever rise. He shook his head to clear it. It was foolish to be attached to a tool, no matter how amusing or potentially useful. He knew that better than any perhaps.

For nearly a quarter of an hour Wicked paced and waited. If her resurrection wasn't swift, her body would have been burned or buried, destroyed long before she came to his house. If she wasn't up in the morning he would assume her truly dead and have her burned. No sooner had he knocked on the door to be let out, did he hear a sound from across the courtyard. It was something of a gasp, though the sound obstructed. He turned to watch her body twitch and tremble. Those striking eyes widen with shock and confusion , her mouth gaped as she choked and her hands rose with hooked fingers to claw at her throat. After a moment of two of panicked thrashing, she turned to her side. Blood and what Wicked could only speculate as pieces of bone and cartilage spat past her lips. There was another wet sucking and grinding sound as she hacked on her side in the sand.

Galatia had drifted on cold dark waves, looking at starless black and grey skies. She'd begun to enjoy these little interludes. At first they had been harsh, the cold water seizing her body in a sharp, bitter grip. It seemed the cold was less these past few times. The water lapping softly, no longer dragging her under. If she lay quietly enough, she could almost make out the pin pricks of stars in the misty dark skies. It was the sudden jolt back to her body that staggered her and made her mind race. Burning heat, the sudden need to breath and a thunderous rhythm of her heart pounding through her skull. She shuddered on her side while her throat expanded and healed itself. She slowly sat back up in the course sand and spat the last of the blood in her mouth.

He stood there against the door and watched. Wicked was almost too pleased that she actually wasn't dead, though it wasn't nearly as smooth of a transition as he'd been hoping. Down for near half an hour. All this and he still had no idea what type of mythical being she was, then again, perhaps she was simply a cursed human. Still feinting boredom he watched her stand up, walk over to the barrel and select a new practice weapon. "Any other little quirks or curses I should no about?"

"None that can be changed." She murmured distantly.

"If there is anything, regardless of how little it might seem to you, I demand to know it." He stood proud and strong. He was after all the master; he owned her. She walked back over to where she usually took up stance and did just that. Galatia was almost amused as he continued posturing. The shadow of a smirk on her face, regardless of any sorrow, irritated him. "You will tell me or you will suffer the consequences." Her sword lowered and there was a slight tremble to her shoulders. Anubis take the cursed woman she was actually laughing at him! No one laughs at the Wicked One's threats!

Before he'd realized it he'd crossed the distance between them. There was no wrath or anger in his actions. It was nearly mechanical for him to attack that which might under-mind him or his authority. He wasn't sure what infuriated him more, the fact that she didn't even try to block his blows or the fact that she continued to chuckle. She finally fell to the ground where he kicked her solidly. Again he offered his order, tell me or suffer. The slave merely shook her head, blood trickling from her nose and lip. "You can harm me and pain me, but you cannot make me suffer." His jaw went slack for just a moment as he tried to wrap his mind around that. "Everyone has pain oh Man." Her tongue flicked past her lips to test the split flesh. "Suffering is the only real choice the living have." Again she chuckled quietly her eyes avoiding his. "After all, what are you going to do...kill me?"

Wicked stood over her for several very long minutes sizing up the woman lying on the ground before him. She had no reason to fear him. Yes he could make her life painful, but pain was a weakness he'd long ago grown to tolerate himself. She had no fear of death. Death seemed to spit her back out. It occurred to him as he stood over her, that he really had no way to control her. His threats would be ineffective, at least until he derived some new ones worse than pain and death. He thought of threatening to burn her alive or bury her alive in the desert, but then it struck him. She had no reason to be lying there. She could have gotten out the courtyard and gone on a killing spree. What did it matter if she died, she would have ample opportunities to try again once she rose? Yet here she sat, not even lifting an arm to defend herself...why?

He would not back down from his stance on a slave, but perhaps he could change his angle of attack. She might be unable to speak of it for all he knew. Wicked began an intensive line of questions? Was it anything that would harm him, his house, anything or one he owned. Anyone in the world? No she did not believe it would cause physical harm to anyone. Magical damage to anyone or thing? Again she said no. Will it prevent her from carrying out tasks he might assign? "If Death truly claims me, then yes." Wicked gave her an unamused look. He asked dozens of questions some simply repeated in a different fashion to see if her response varied. The answer was ever the same no. There was no way she could see whatever she was withholding harming anyone or thing.

The Wicked with his questions answered but his mind unsatisfied turned and stalked from courtyard. He waited three full days before he returned. For three long nights Galatia sat there under the starry sky and watched the moon grow full. This would be the last full cycle of the moon she would witness in her life. How odd it was knowing that this was the last time she would see the sky grow darker and that darkness slowly grow bright again. Was her life like the moon? A bright radiant beauty that would only exist to be swallowed by the darkest desolation. If that was the case she almost worried what the man might have planned for her, but realistically what did she have left to fear? Only one lunar cycle and a half left to go and she would be gone. As terrible as her life had been she still felt no joy in it's ending.

It was so odd to be in a foreign land and know you wouldn't live long enough to see how the seasons changed it. She had seen her summer spent in Rome. Her autumn and harvest spent in Greece. A good chunk of the winter was spent crossing a sea. She would only learn Egypt in the spring, though a part of her was glad she'd never have to learn it's true heat. Would she learn anything of this world as a reaper, or would life be completely outside her knowledge, in truth Galatia had no way of knowing. In the shadows of that full moonlight, Galatia accepted her narrow view of the sky and basked in something she might loose forever.

On the afternoon of the third day servants came and gathered Galatia. She was again washed and scrubbed, but this time they dressed her in fine linens and placed a wig of dark hair on her head. They even went as far as to darken her eyes with coal sticks. It was a little odd to have sandals on her feet again, but they slipped on as if made for her. She was lead to a room with odd chairs and told to wait. There was a nearly terrifying moment when they left her alone in that room where Galatia's mind careened back to her own chambers. Had that been the last time she'd worn good and clean clothing. The oddly set up room and scent of the arid air kept her from completely falling to memory. Swallowing hard she set to wandering about the room, admiring the craftsmanship of the pillars painted tall and the view overlooking the yard of his estate.

In the distance she could see large temples and another expanse of buildings. If Galatia didn't know better, she would suspect that to be a palace. Perhaps that was the palace where the man's pharaoh queen dwelt. He'd mentioned his pharaoh and her husband. They were happily married and with children running around. There was a sting of tears behind her eyes as she watched the sun color the gleaming walls. From everything Wicked had said, his queen was young, but fair though perhaps a little too idealistic. Was this the view looking in on a royal life, not really knowing any of the details? This young queen lived not an hour's walk from where Galatia had spent her lonely nights. Would she give anything for those she ruled over? Would this young pharaoh be betrayed by her husband? No, probably not... they had children, heirs to the throne. Galatia blinked the tears from her eyes. Besides, this lucky ruler had the man to watch her back, and he would kill any who tried.

As if summoned by the thought, the doors to the chamber swung open and entered The Wicked.


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