Arc The Lad Fan Fiction ❯ Aftermath ❯ Chapter 20 ( Chapter 20 )
Kharg found that he had little appetite for dinner that evening and ended up just pushing his food around on his plate aimlessly instead of eating it.
Stalker, Alisha and Adrienne all noticed, but none of them said anything. After eating Adrienne and Stalker excused themselves. Saying they had business to tend to, they left the house together.
Alisha stood and began clearing the table. "Are you done with that?"
Kharg glanced up. "Oh, yeah, sorry, I was thinking."
"About your brother?" Alisha took his plate. Table cleared, she sat down across from Kharg.
Kharg smiled ruefully. "Who else?"
Alisha looked thoughtful. "Say Kharg, can I ask you something? You don't have to answer if it's to personal."
Kharg nodded. "Sure."
"You have some cuts on your face did you get them from that ass, Rejak?" Alisha asked.
Kharg touched the cuts at that, realizing he had forgotten all about them. "No, actually I got them from Darc."
Alisha frowned. "But why would your brother do such a terrible thing to you?"
Kharg shrugged. "We got into a bit of a fist fight, he was angry. It just happened."
Alisha shook her head "Your brother has quite a bit of resentment inside, doesn't he?"
Kharg sighed. "I'm no better, I didn't react very well to finding out I was half-Deimos either. Darc suffered scorn and hate because his appearance made his mixed heritage clear while because I looked Human I was treated with affection and respect."
Alisha nodded. "You left a lot out when you talked to my parents, didn't you?"
"Some things are to personal, to painful to share," Kharg mused. "I have no right to say anything about Darc's history, he should do that if he wants to."
Alisha rose and began filling the sink. "That's true, mother still grieves for grandma and grandpa, she's told me a lot of things about them. I wish I could have met them." She began to wash dishes.
Kharg got up and joined her at the sink. "I would have liked to have met father. Mother
told me his name was Windalf . Let me help you with the dishes." He picked up a towel.
They did the dishes in a comfortable silence and just as they finished Adrienne and Stalker returned.
Alisha greeted her parents with a bright smile. "Look mother, father, he does dishes, can we keep him?"
Kharg couldn't help laughing at the looks on Adrienne and Stalker's face. "I do windows too." He hung the towel back up neatly.
"See? We have to keep him!" Alisha pouted.
Adrienne shook her head and sat down at the table. "We have something to give you, Kharg." She held something out.
Kharg stepped over and took it. His eyes widened when he saw what it was. "Darc's ring!"
"I'm sorry, we didn't give it to you sooner, but with all that was going on..." Stalker shrugged. "We found it on the ground where your brother was taken."
Kharg examined the ring. "It's alright, I'm just glad you found it. I know Darc would have hated to lose it."
Alisha moved next to Kharg to study the ring as well. "That's pure silver isn't it? It's beautiful."
Kharg turned the ring over in his hands. “Yeah, it is." His voice was thoughtful.
Stalker tossed Kharg a small leather pouch. "Here's something to keep it safe in."
Kharg caught it. "Thanks." He put the ring inside then put the pouch away.
Just then someone knocked on the door. Stalker opened it. and a robed figure entered.
Adrienne smiled and embraced the figure. "You made it!" she said.
The visitor removed the cloak, revealing herself to be a woman. "I got your message. I'm sorry it's so late."
Adrienne shook her head. "It's alright, are you sure you won't be missed?"
The woman smiled. "No, everyone's asleep."
Adrienne turned to Kharg. "This is my friend, Tara, a healer. She serves Master Devon who is in charge of slaves brought into the city. Tara, this is Kharg."
Tara smiled. "Nice to meet you, Kharg.
Kharg smiled back. "Likewise."
Tara's eyes fell on the birthmark and widened. "That mark, I've seen it some where before."
Kharg frowned. "Perhaps on a newly caught slave?"
"That's it! It was...wait, how did you know?" Tara inquired, startled.
Kharg sighed. "His name's Darc, he's my brother."
"Kharg's the oldest, they're twins. Rejak stopped them on the road and took Darc away," Alisha added.
Tara looked at the mark again. "Rejak thought your birthmarks were a brand of ownership, didn't he?"
Kharg shrugged. "Yeah, that's what he said, he took Darc because I had no ownership papers."
Tara shook her head, not in the least surprised. "Do you know how lucky you were? If Rejak had realized it was a birthmark he'd have taken both of you."
Kharg waved it off. He had other things on his mind. "Is my brother alright?"
Tara sighed. "He was flogged in retaliation for scarring Captain Rejak. I was the one that tended the wounds, they weren't serious."
Adrienne gestured to the living room. "Let's go in and sit down, so we can be comfortable while we talk."
They all agreed and did so. Once they were all seated Tara turned to Kharg. "What sort of Deimos are you? You look completely Human."
Kharg shifted in his seat until he was comfortable. "Our father was a Drakyr and our mother was Human." He realized it was the first time he'd said our father and our mother instead of just father and mother.
Tara looked thoughtful. "You aren't from this land, are you?"
Kharg shook his head. "We came from Ragnoth."
Tara frowned. "Doesn't sound familiar, must be far away from here."
Kharg had no idea, but he agreed anyway. "Sure is, hopefully we'll be able to go home soon."
Adrienne seemed to understand or heard the longing in Kharg's voice. "I hope so too. Tara, where is he being held? In the kennel or one of the special rooms in the house?"
"Right now he's in the kennel, but I have no idea if he'll stay there or he'll be moved." Tara stood and paced nervously. "Perhaps I should go, it's not safe for me to be here, not safe for all of you either. If anyone ever followed me they'd alert the soldiers. You would be attacked, the surviving Deimos would be sent to the auction block, but any Humans among them would be executed."
Adrienne caught the healer's hands. "It's the only way to get information, Tara. I'm not worried, you're always careful."
Tara took a deep breath to compose herself. "In three days Devon will go to town again for two days to meet with business associates. He's taking Captain Erik with him. That means his second in command, Jared, will be in charge. It would be the best time to attempt a rescue."
Adrienne squeezed Tara's hands gently. "Thank you, Tara."
Tara pulled her hands free. "Considering what would happen if the soldiers ever knew about this place you trust to easily."
Adrienne smiled warmly. "We have been friends since childhood, that's why I trust you."
Tara donned her cloak. "You are like a sister to me, but you shouldn't trust anyone. I have to get back." She hesitated than turned to Kharg. "Is there some kind of message that you want given to...Darc? I can't promise I can deliver it, but I'll try."
Kharg gave her a grateful smile. "Just let him know I'm alright and that help is coming."
Tara nodded and left the house, closing the door behind her.
Kharg frowned thoughtfully. "What did you mean by special rooms?" he asked.
"Sometimes if a slave is considered exceptionally valuable Devon has them locked up in a room inside of his home," Adrienne explained.
"I take it that we're going to wait until this Devon person is gone before we go after Darc." Kharg's tone of voice made it clear he wasn’t thrilled by the thought, but he'd go along with it.
Stalker nodded. "That would be best, Devon's servants get a little lazy when he's gone, so do his guards."
Kharg nodded. "In two days then."
The Next Morning...
Breakfast turned out to be a bowl of lumpy, tasteless mush. Darc managed to choke half of it down before pushing the bowl aside.
Miko gave him a knowing look, she'd laid her bowl aside as well. "It's nasty, isn't it? Luckily we only have it in the morning. I prefer the stew we get for lunch and supper."
Darc stood and stretched. "So do I."
A key turned in the locked door, drawing their attention. It swung open and Erik walked in. Three more Deimos were pushed in after him escorted by five guards.
One was a white Lupine, another looked like a lizard walking upright with a scaled body, a snout filled with small, but sharp teeth and clawed hands and feet. The last was a fox looking Deimos, walking erect, looking very much like a Lupine, but more slender of build.
Each new captive was herded into an empty cell and locked in. Once they were secured Erik walked towards Darc's cell. He stopped in front of it, gesturing to two of the guards. Once they were there he unlocked the cell door.
The guards seized Darc's arms and yanked him from the cell. Erik snapped on the shackles. "Go back to your duties."
The five guards saluted then left the building. Erik took a firm grip on Darc's arm and frowned at him. "I don't want any trouble from you." He led Darc out of the building.
Tara had been on edge all morning, waiting for Erik to bring the slave back. She'd already set up everything she needed to tend the cuts. When the knock came it startled her even though she'd expected it. When she opened the door not a bit of her nervousness showed.
Erik entered. "I brought the slave back like you asked."
Tara gestured to a stool sitting next to the table. "Over there, I've gathered everything I need."
Erik pulled Darc over to the table and shoved him down on the stool.
Darc's eyes narrowed at the rough way he was being handled for no reason. A low growl rumbled in his throat before he could stop it.
Erik glared at Darc. “Shut up or I’ll muzzle you.”
Tara raised an eyebrow as she followed them over to the table. "Is something wrong, Erik? It's not like you to manhandle a chained slave like that."
Erik sighed. "I was up late, didn't get much sleep and Devon has kept me running since I woke up. I just returned from bringing in three new slaves."
"I see, that's a shame." Tara began tending the wounds, trying to think of a way to get a message to the captive without getting caught.
Just then a guard burst into the room. "Sir! We have an incident in the kennel! You need to come right away!"
Erik immediately headed for the door then stopped.
Tara knew what he was about to do. "No, take the guard with you. You might need him. I'll be fine."
Erik frowned. "That one is dangerous, you shouldn't be alone with him."
Tara studied Darc. "What can he do? He's chained and in a complex filled with guards. I'll sure he's at least smart enough to see it would be futile to harm or kill me. Go."
Erik hesitated a bit longer than seemed to see the sense of what she’d said. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Be careful, Tara.” He followed the guard from the house, closing the door.
Tara waited a good ten minutes before moving in front of Darc and kneeling so they were eye to eye. “Listen, because I don’t think we have much time. I’ve seen your brother, Kharg, Darc. He’s safe with a close friend of mine that lives in a hidden village made up of various Deimos who are rebels against the rule of a tyrant. Help is on the way.” She stood and went back to tending his back.
There were a lot of things Darc would have liked to ask, but then Erik walked back in and there was no time.
Tara looked up. “So what happened?”
Erik scowled. “The damned lizard Deimos somehow got loose and escaped the kennel by breaking the door down. He killed two guards and we had to kill him. When I report this to Devon he won’t be pleased."
Tara put more salve on Darc's back. "That's a shame, but it's hardly your fault. Are any of the men hurt?"
Erik looked grim. "No, he killed the ones he attacked." He scowled at Darc. “Are you finished? I need to return him to his cell, so I can go report this incident to Devon.”
Tara wiped her hands. “Yes, the wounds are healing well, but I’ll need him brought back tomorrow just to make sure.”
Erik yanked Darc to his feet and shoved him towards the door. “Move, and I’ll bring him if I can.” he didn’t wait for a reply before they left.
Darc stumbled twice as he was dragged across the yard, but Erik didn’t slow down. Once back inside the kennel the shackles were removed and Darc was locked back into the cell.
Erik paused by the man reattaching the door. "When will that be fixed?"
The man inclined his head respectfully. "I'm almost done, Captain."
"Hurry it up." Erik walked off without another word.
Darc rubbed his right shoulder, which ached from the rough yanking. "Rotten, miserable bastard."
When Devon was informed of the incident he was not at all happy. He was furious. "How the hell did he escape? Damn it all, I even had an interested buyer! Incompetent fool!"
Erik forced himself to let Devon rant, but it wasn't easy.
Finally Devon seemed to wind down. "The female cat Deimos and the half-Deimos are probably the most valuable slaves we have. Do make sure they don't escape. You are dismissed, captain."
Erik was gritting his teeth so hard he was surprised none had broken off. He bowed slightly. "Yes sir, thank you, sir." Turning, he left the house, managing not to slam the door behind him.
Next chapter should have Kharg and friends to the rescue plus getting back to the group in Yewbell……R/R please!