Slaves of New Arkos
Mul Warlord, Ranged Commander
Durn was born into a free community of Muls that was thought to be hidden away from the slavers of Arkos. A number of the slaves had escaped together and were attempting to build a new life. The plan originally was to wait to make sure they were not found and then move farther away. But Durn’s mother was the first to become pregnant, and after her many followed. Soon the hidden village was bustling. The men were hunting or farming for food and had fashioned homes. For the first time these people knew peace and happiness. Around the time Durn turned ten, his mother gave birth to his little sister, Cellia. She followed Durn everywhere, and they were oft described by their mother as being thick as thieves.
Unfortunately, this peace was fleeting. The escaping Muls had never thought to question their good luck when the wagon they were being carried in to Arkos was beset by bandits. In the ensuing attack they were able to break free and make good their escape. The “rescue” was orchestrated by a dwarf named Ged who was dead set on making a name for himself in the slaving business. Mul slaves had been dwindling in numbers for years due to their refusal to bring children into a life of servitude. Ged allowed Durn’s group of Muls to go free in order to monitor them and then, one day, recapture the group—including children.
A few short weeks after his sixteenth birthday, Durn was on a hunting trip when Ged and his slavers returned. Durn had returned to the village a bit before the others, carrying some of the game that was to be their dinner. With a mile still to go, it became clear that something was wrong. The acrid smell of smoke was on the wind, and something more. The far off sound. A buzzing in his ear he could not identify. He hurried from the game track he had been on to the main path into the village. Deep, muddy wheel tracks scarred the earth. He and his people did not use wagons because they did not deal with outsiders. Their tracks could mean only one thing.
He ran now, sprinting toward his home. As he approached and the sound of screams and metal on metal became distinct, he moved into the woods, working his way through the underbrush as quickly as possible without being seen. What he saw made his stomach crawl with fear. Everywhere he looked heavily armed dwarves were ransacking the village, dragging away his friends and neighbors, and setting fire to the buildings that had been searched. Heart in his mouth, he moved around the perimeter of the village, working his way toward the home he shared with mother and sister.
Celia’s screams reached him first. He burst out of the woods and around the corner of the cottage. Durn’s sister kicked and screamed with every ounce of fury within her upon the dwarf who held her. Without even pausing to think he let fly an arrow at the dwarf’s back. But before he saw if the arrow struck its mark, he was struck from behind. Durn collapsed, unconscious for the duration of the attack.
Ten years passed. Durn has grown into a man but in a life of torment. Upon awakening he quickly learned the dwarf he had attacked was the leader of the slavers and he was not at all happy that he had taken an arrow to the shoulder. Ged had made sure that Durn suffered every day since. Durn was the opening spectacle in every gladiatorial games. He would be placed in the middle of the circular arena and wild animals would be released. He was given a quiver of arrows and the bow he had used when attacking Ged. He had escaped death until now, but his luck would not hold out forever.
The slavers had sent Durn’s parents directly to the mines as laborers. He had not seen them since the day of the village raid. Ged also had used Cellia against Durn. The dwarf had made Cellia his personal slave and told Durn often how he would make Cellia his concubine on the day she turned sixteen. Durn worked for years on an escape for he and Cellia. A month before her birthday, he had executed those plans. Cellia had escaped but Durn was not so lucky. Ged was furious, as expected, but Durn knew that if he was meant to die, at least now he could rest assured Cellia was alive and well.
A few months after her escape, a message was smuggled to Durn in his cell of isolation. Cellia was hidden in the city. Somewhere in Arkos Cellia was alive and free! The message explained she was being helped by a friend to secure Durn’s escape from the slave pits. Durn was suspicious of this “friend,” but his hope rose daily. His sister was safe and soon he would be with her. He was kept apprised of the plan through messages smuggled to him from one of the other Mul slaves, a young, beautiful Mul who had thus far escaped Ged’s roving eye. Perhaps once he was free he could find a way to also free her…but these were plans for another day. First he needed to escape, and then he could spend time day dreaming about Raina.
And finally the day came. He was to approach a side gate at a specific time, and once through, head directly to The Drunken Gull to meet his sister, after which they would both be quickly escorted out of the city. All went according to plan as he left the compound and cautiously made his way through the city. He made it to the tavern and stepped inside.
As his eyes adjusted to the brightness of the room, he stared about in shock. The room was full of slavers. Including that bastard Ged. Bound and gagged in front of him stood Cellia and Raina. Ged smiled, snaggleteeth showing beneath his fleshy lips. “Durn! Welcome, come join me for some wine!”
His mind was racing, but Durn moved to comply. He had little choice. He towered over the dwarf but dared not make any signs of aggression for fear of what the repercussions might be for Cellia and Raina.Ged smiled again as Durn sat. He spoke as he poured them both a goblet of mead. “Durn, I don’t know what we are going to do with you. For someone in your position, you are much too trusting. Did you think your sister had been free this whole time? Did you think that I was not aware of your foolish plans to try and escape me? No matter, it is all over now. I think you have outlived your usefulness, and I have bored with toying with you. I will cast you in the deepest dungeon and let you rot away…but rot away knowing that both Cellia and Raina will spend the rest of their days serving in my harem!”
Durn dove to grab the dwarf’s neck. He was going to snap it like a twig. Two of the slavers restrained him. Ged laughed and slammed his mug into Durn’s temple. Once again, Durn slipped into unconsciousness.
Durn awoke in a cell, dried blood all over his face and a pounding headache. But none of this registered with Durn. Pain had been replaced with rage. He now had only one goal, and that was to kill Ged. He would not die before the dwarf lay dead at his feet.