Friday, January 23, 2009

A Life of Tribulation

Desmond Fehr is a patient man. He was never the first to bow, but always the last to raise his eyes. He endured one master after another, never to complain. This perserverance and adherence to the doctrines allowed him to taste some measure of success in the countryside. He had a house and a family. Life was good.

But then the Valklear came. Like demons, they descended upon the village. The funerals lasted for days, and the next master made sure that nobody would even think of helping the Valklears the next time. For a moment, Desmond regretted not accepting their offer. He chose to stay behind.

Days turned into weeks, and months turned into years. The Valklears never returned. Desmond became the proverbial rock among the community. Distant wars started and ended, and even the Elders came and went. Their impact was only felt later. Taxes grew larger and larger, and the taskmasters grew more and more demanding.

Eventually, the master had no choice but to sell his servants. The golden ships descended from the heavens. Eventually, Desmond and the others were brought into a market. The buyers were a suspicious lot, and everyone was carefully inspected, and Desmond could see the uneasiness on the broker's face. Desmond's turn came and went. After the auction, they were loaded into a shipping container. The doors closed and they were engulfed in darkness. There was a rumble, and the container started to move. People started talking to pass the time. Most of it was meaningless, but one particular conversation sparked Desmond's interest.

"The holding pattern was a mess, so the Master sent us on the outer hull to replace some of the armor plates. He said that we would be cheaper than having the station crews have a look at the ship. So there I was, working on the outer hull, finishing the engravings on one of the new armor plates that we replaced. Then I saw it. It was an Armageddon-class battleship in an atrocious condition. Some of the outer plating was missing, and there was rust all over. I mean, keeping a divine ship in such a condition is a discrace!"
He was interrupted by one of the other Brutors.
"It wasn't rust."
"It wasn't rust, and it wasn't a divine ship."
"You mean.."
"It was blood. That was a Bhaalgorn."
"We were bought in bulk. Just think for a moment. I'm too old for honest work, and I was certainly not bought for my rugged looks."
"No.. no no no.."
"Yes. We're going to a blood farm."
"Keep your voice down! We don't want a panic!"
"Does it really matter? Maybe i'm lucky and get trampled to death."
"Shut up.. Shut up. Shut up!"

The old man got his wish. The blows echoed in the suddenly-silent container. After a few minutes, the doors opened. The guards dragged them both away, cleaned the stains and left the rest in darkness.

Desmond prayed.

1 comment:

Leumas said...

Excellent storytelling. Enjoyed the imagery.