[m] i know that everything we did will come around

i take the thought of you and burn it to the ground

POSTED: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:47 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

There were times when he could forget.

The dull slicing sound of metal against the whetstone was droning, a repetitive modulation that lulled him to a stupor. In the reflection of dull gray surface he could see himself, his rugged face, his lifeless eyes. But if he turned the axe just right, sometimes he could see more.

He could see a man unbound by chains, one that could travel and roam and as freely as he wanted.

But when he tilted the weapon again, angling it just so, the fleeting image was gone. Again there was a man weathered by combat, by a dismal regularity. Around him swirled idle conversations, unimportant and pining for substance; yet no one had anything substantive to say. Even still they spoke, longing for some semblance of social interaction. At any moment any one of them would be called away for their next task, and it was unknown if they would return again whole as they were now.

Or if they would return at all.

None of them were really living, he thought, just as he had a thousand times over. But it was all they knew.

The axe continued to glide across the whetstone and sharpened handsomely. The dried blood of some poor, unfortunate soul that crossed his master came off with the blunted metal.

...

"Alright, Amon. Let's go."

Before him stood an aging Luperci, graying and hunched over, but there was a certain keenness in his eyes. His armed crossed over his thin chest and he beckoned forth his gladiator with a bony finger.

Amon stood, easily dwarfing the tiny merchant, and gave him a small nod. He had accompanied the man countless times before, so much so that the slave drivers of Rabenuhr knew immediately who to send for when he arrived to the camp. The older man was almost fond of him, treating him with what Amon could only akin to kindness when they traveled to trade his wares.

And so they went.

He did not ask questions; such was not a part of his task. The destination was never important to Amon, only that his master made it there and back safely. And if he didn't, there would be a hefty price to pay.

They traveled for days, with the silent gladiator never speaking a word and the merchant giving him instruction when needed. This job was no different than the last, and Amon imagined their routine would never deviate. His master dabbled in all sorts of various wares, but he specialized in a questionable substance; small green herbs that would render the recipient sluggish and giddy, stranded in a pleasurable high. The merchant once toyed with the idea of letting Amon inhale the alluring smoke, but the slave refused, fearing it would jeopardize his mission. His apprehension didn't stop the older man from using a bit of his stores himself, though.

Many of his customers were from a city in the east. They found them in the outskirts of the concrete jungle or lingering with their bitter drinks in bars; many of them seemed like regular, harmless people, resulting in Amon's services being unnecessary. Only on a choice few occasions did he have to raise his axe.

...

A few weeks prior his master had ordered him to cut off the tail of a girl that tried to steal from them. It was a circumstance that should have been comfortable for Amon, something he shouldn't have questioned or hesitated to do — and yet he felt guilt clouding his judgement, his sense of duty.

She had tried to loot the herbs off of them, there was no denying that. But when they captured her and interrogated her over the fact, she sobbed and sputtered out how she was just going to resell them, for she was in dire straits and completely at nature's mercy; she couldn't hunt from how malnourished and skeletal she had become; selling the hemp was the only reasonable conclusion her compromised mind had come to.

The merchant would hear none of her crying and instead suggested that they take something from her and teach her a lesson. But something in the woman's sad, scared brown eyes gave Amon pause.

He could almost see himself in her, how broken and ravaged she was. All she wanted was to escape.

But in the end he had to follow orders. It was what he was bred to do.

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