The Throne of chains

Deadly Dalliance: 1

Rain poured down from the stormy sky onto the slaves backs, cooling down their bodies and wetting the dry mine.

Laughs and chatter resounded around the mine for the first time as all the slaves tilted their head back and let the fresh water collect into their mouths. After months of back breaking labour in the dry dirt the slaves could finally quench their thirst and feel a little cleaner.

He sighed in relief as the rain cooled his irritated red flesh. After months of non stopping mining in the heat, his skin had dried up causing all sorts of flesh wounds to fester on his body. He was sure he would have dropped dead in a few hours if it hadn been for the rain.

The whip lash wounds on his back stung every time the rain hit his skin, but nonetheless he was grateful for the water that soaked his filthy body.

He opened his mouth wide collecting the rain water on his parched tongue. He gulped it down and groaned in relief. For a moment his battered body didn ache so much and he forgot about how destitute he was, all he felt was the glorious rain as showered life into his destitute mind and body.

Suddenly a whip slashed into his back. He grunted in pain and fell forward into the dirt, scraping his leathered skin against the sharp loose stones on the ground. No matter how many times he was whipped, the pain never dulled.

”Get back to work! ” The handler shouted at him, furious that the slave had stopped working to drink the rain water.

With no other choice, he slowly picked himself up from the ground wincing as different parts of his body ached in protest and reached for his pick axe. Like the soulless slave he was he swung the axe into the mine wall.

He swung his axe again and again making almost no progress against the hard rock walls of the mine. It had been months already but very few gems had been found, everybody knew this mine was probably barren but alas as a slave he had no say. All he could do was avoid being whipped and continue to swing his axe.

His dull eyes glanced around at all the men wearing torn rags revealing their protruding ribs and raw wounds from being whipped. At least a hundred men were working the mines, a hundred lives coming from a hundred different families, and yet none of them were worth more than the whims of a stupid Prince.

The Prince of their kingdom decided to propose to a lady with the finest jewels from their lands. Despite this kingdom being known for its lack of gems, the obstinate prince refused to buy precious gems from the Kamascus empire that was only a boats ride away and insisted on resourcing the gems from this small kingdom, so slaves were dispatched to dig the mines until a suitable gem was found.

Tens of people died everyday, but that didn matter to the prince.

As a fourty year old slave without a name, he knew that their lives meant nothing to a love stricken prince in pursuit of his princess. They all starved and bled and worked to the bone to find a pretty rock for some spoilt woman to wear on her dainty finger.

He couldn understand why there had to be such disparity. People all bled the same blood and felt the same pain, so how could those born from different wombs be so unequal in power.

While he was whipped for daring to stop working for a moment to replenish his thirst, somewhere in the capital a pampered prince who had never suffered a day in his life was ordering slaves to mine jewels for him…

The hundreds of other slaves beside him did the same and continued working, not wanting to get the whip as punishment. Not that being on good behaviour made any difference. They would be whipped, punched, kicked and abused for pretty much anything their handlers found unpleasant. They were at the mercy of their handlers who had no conscience and even took pleasure in trampling on the lowly slaves.

He had spent forty years as a slave and had come to the bitter realisation many years ago that people did not even consider him human. He was in the unsightly bottom class of society. A being that was no better than an object: a slave.

Once upon a time he was born to brothel woman working in the slums. With no means to raise the child, he was sold into slavery before he reached his second birthday.

He never had a name to begin with, so he went by whatever his new masters decided to call him. He had no identity other than what his masters wanted from him. So for the past months he was called 117, because he was the 117th to be chosen for this mining operation.

From the sadistic lords he worked under as a young boy, to the money hungry labour merchants who didn mind overworking him if it meant a larger profit. He had seen the worst of humanity to the point that he often forgot what goodness looked like.

Now, being forty six years old, his untreated wounds were slowly poisoning him from the inside. His muscles were torn from being forced to overwork, he could barely even swing the axe any more. Most painfully, his heart was in pieces after watching his fellow slaves live lives of anguish. People he had loved as brothers and sisters had been brutally killed before his eyes.

With trembling arms he raised his pick axe knowing it was the last time he would swing it. Tears spilled down his scarred face as he was suddenly filled with memories of his younger self.

He used to be such a resilient fellow who swore he would buy his freedom and come back to seek revenge on everyone who wronged him when he was a slave. That was a dream he hadn thought about in a long time because it only took him a few years to realise that he would never have a happy ending. He would never be free. He would die a slave.

The weights of the axe became too much from his trembling arms. He dropped it and he collapsed into a muddy puddle beside it, unable to get back up.

Lightning cracked through the sky in harmony with the infuriated shouts of a handler screaming at him to get up and get back to work.

He could hear the whip cracking against his back but for the first time in his life he could not feel the pain of the leather lashing him.

He chuckled darkly thinking that the gods had finally taken pity on him; taking his pain away as he died. He glared up at the sky thinking about the lofty gods who gave him this wretched life. He didn need their pity now, he needed it years ago when hope and courage still burned in his heart.

Why had the gods forsaken him? Why was he not worthy of their protection? Why did he have to bare all this pain and suffering when other lived so well?

His fading eyes looked up into the sky one last time, to the home of gods who he had once believed in. He prayed for the fist time in decades, Please, Anything but a slave for my next life.

The sky rumbled and the clouds darkened. Slave 117 was the last of eighteen slaves to die that day, mining for a jewel worthy of the princes new love.

Perhaps a devil was amused by the pathetic last plea of a miserable man, perhaps a god took pity on his wretched soul. The truth is lost forever, but in a new era a child with a terrifying power was born.

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