A Slave to Man and Magic

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm


Thank you so much to everyone who has commented so far, I really appreciate it! I hope you enjoy chapter three.

Chapter 3 (v.1) - What To Do?: Rylie

Submitted: May 15, 2019

Reads: 13

Comments: 1

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Submitted: May 15, 2019

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I was lucky that the only form of magic I showed was Light, the only kind that doesn’t change how you look. As you use the magic more the rings in your eyes get thicker, or so I was led to believe. But not for Light Blessed. They could be anyone. Unfortunately for me, my luck seemed to be wearing thin.

It had been months since what I called the ‘Braxton Incident’. It was the dead of winter and, despite the incredibly hot summer, temperatures dropped to an all time low. Noel and I, having been slaves for a few years, were prepared. We kept a pile of wood buried in the dirt of our home. Though most slaves treat each other well, people get desperate, and a little wood goes a long way in winter.

Despite our preparedness, disaster still struck. Usually, once the ground freezes, it stays frozen. That was not the case this year. For whatever reason, right after the first snowfall of the year, the weather got warmer, melting everything. Of course, the warm weather didn’t last.

I cursed as I tried to light the wet pile of sticks again. I had one of our very rare and valuable pieces of flint in one hand and a small piece of steel in the other. The spark wasn’t the problem. Finding something dry to burn was a little harder.

“I’m going to go see if I can find something else,” Noel told me with a nod.

“Don’t bother,” I snapped back, trying to light the fire once more.

Noel ignored me as he climbed out of our hovel and out into the rain. I closed my eyes and took a deep breathe. It was cold and I just wanted to sleep without being afraid of seeing people’s death. So far being Light Blessed, if that’s what I truly was, did not seem like much of a blessing.

I ran my fingers through my hair before trying the fire one last time. I snarled in frustration and threw the flint and steel down, not even caring where they landed. I laid down on my pile of rags I called a bed and said to no one, “I guess we’ll freeze to death today.”

I closed my eyes and it was silent for a moment. I opened them again, “Maybe visions aren’t all the Light Blessed can do. They have to be good for something, right?”

I closed my eyes again and tried to focus. What I was focusing for, I wasn’t really sure. I could feel a sort of… energy pulsing all around me. It came in waves, some stronger than others. But I felt nothing below that.

I screamed in frustration, muttering about how useless magic was when I felt heat trickle inside me. I froze and suddenly I felt hot all over. This must be it, I thought, excited. I focused on one word: fire.

I looked down at my hands and was amazed to see the small fire that blazed out of my pinkie finger. That didn’t do much good. I still wasn’t able to light the pile of fuel on fire. I closed my eyes, prepared to concentrate again. I focused on my frustration because that’s what seemed to activate it last time.

This time I picked two words. Fire and wood. I felt a sudden heat and I opened my eyes to see a small fire burning. I cried with glee before I was hit by a sudden wave of exhaustion so horrible that all I could do was fall over, asleep.

*

Even though it was only once every few weeks, I found myself working in the kitchens much too often for my liking. It was a January morning, Aaro and I were to serve Mistress Constance her breakfast. Master Sloan was out of town on business. I thought that would make things easier.

I woke before even the sun. Mistress Constance woke early for a Magic User. I dressed in as many layers as possible before kissing a sleeping Noel on the cheek and leaving.

There was something peaceful about strolling through the silent and empty Slave Camp, piles of snow stacked all around me. I took a deep inhale of the crisp air and found myself smiling. I met Aaro outside his house and still there was a smile on my face.

“What’s got you so happy,” Aaro asked with a smile of his own.

“It’s a beautiful day,” I replied, simply.

Aaro took a step closer to me and put a hand on either side of my face, “Uh, Aaro? Whatcha’ doing there?”

“Your eyes look different. They look… reddish on the outside.”

“What,” I squeaked. I knew that I made fire a few days ago but I hoped that it was in the range of the Light Blessed abilities. As a slave, I never really had a lot of chances to look at myself in the mirror and no one else had commented on it. What was I going to do?

“It’s probably just a trick of the light,” Aaro brushed it off, letting go of my face. He took a step back and smiled again. “Ready to go feed the she devil?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

*

The kitchen fireplace was almost always burning so the kitchen was nice and warm when we got there. Mistress Constance was a pretty light eater in the morning. She liked fresh bread but the dough was prepared the night before so all we really needed to do was bake it.

“Alright, Ry. Um, this is the first time I’ve worked in the kitchen. Do you mind showing me the ropes,” Aaro rubbed the back of his head, not daring to look me in the eye.

“When an almost-eleven-year-old knows more about the ways of life than a twenty-one year old, you know you’ve hit a low point in your life,” I replied, already walking over to the cabinets to pull out the necessary dishes. “Do you know how to make tea?”

“C’mon, Ry. I’m not an idiot,” Aaro responded, looking a little offended.

“Could’ve fooled me.” I handed him a bucket. “Go fill that at the pipe and make some tea and the pitcher of water. Use whatever ice the Water Blessed left in the icebox. Apparently our Mistress only enjoys ice water. I’ll deal with the bread.”

Once Aaro was on his way, grumbling about how he wasn’t, in fact, an idiot, I walked over to where the covered bowl was sitting on the countertop. I pulled out a small scoop of flour from the cabinet just below and floured the counter, my hands, and the dough. I kneaded it before splitting it into two loaves.

I took the bread and put it onto a tray before leaving it on one of the stone shelves in the fireplace. Soon, the smell of cinnamon and sugar started filling the air, making me realize how hungry I actually was.

Once it was done cooking, I cut two slices off an slipped them in my pocket. One for me and one for Noel. Then I decided to cut off a third slice for Aaro.

It wasn’t long until everything was plated and we were summoned.

“I’ll take the tray of food, you get the water pitcher, teapot, and glasses.”

Aaro nodded and we were on our way.

*

The dining room was exactly as I remembered it, except for one small difference. Candles were lit all around the room. I eyed Constance with suspicion. She sat at the head of the table with a bored expression on her face. She was wearing her usual makeup but her sleep wear was not nearly as fancy as her evening wear. It was a little disappointing. I loved looking at fancy clothing, I just hated wearing it.

I placed the tray down and smiled as I served her toast. Two slices, one with butter and one with jam, just how she likes it. I even remembered to put it on her special breakfast china. I was not going to get in trouble that day.

“I forgot the glass,” Aaro muttered to me.

“What do you mean you forgot the glass,” I whispered back.

“Where is my glass? I cannot eat without my water. Are you now neglecting your duties, slaves?” Constance started drumming on the table with her fingertips. Her painted face was pulled back into  a scowl and she looked truly terrifying. It was in that moment that I realized how much Salem, Constance, and Sloan truly frightened me. How much the powers I had frightened me. “I bet this was your doing, girl!”
I was too shocked to respond. I didn’t want to throw Aaro under the bus but she had seen who brought what in, right? While I was busy choking on my own tongue, Aaro was unphased. “I apologize, Mistress Constance. This was my doing, allow me to go fetch your glass.”

Before leaving, Aaro gave her his crooked grin. It was a little bit of a rare expression on him, but when he smiled, his icy green eyes seemed brighter and his red hair seemed to glow. Aaro was single, despite his looks, smarts, and age, but I had known girls to trip over themselves when they saw that grin. What was he up to?

I stood there, not quite sure what to do with myself. Constance stood from her chair and came to stand in front of me. She gave me a smile so full of warmth that I couldn’t help but smile back. That just made the blow hurt that much more.

After the initial shock, I was angry. I was so done with being slapped by these Magic Users. At least in South Town nobody was constantly marking up my face.

“Get up,” Constance said as she sat back down. I did and I brushed myself off with as much dignity as I could muster.

I almost screamed with relief when Aaro walked back into the dining room, his normally pale face looking red. He must have ran, bless him.

He approached Constance with a weary smile on his face and gently placed the cup down. I was so angry in that moment I would have broken it over the bitch’s head and earned a whipping. People always said, despite my blonde hair, that I had a redheads temper. Let’s just say I was glad that it Aaro handling the sharp objects.

Suddenly, I felt the heat trickle inside me, and I felt fear. I needed to calm down before I set my hair on fire or something. I took a deep breath and tried to think of things that didn’t piss me off. I was a slave. Slaves had to be calm.

Aaro poured some of the water into the glass before giving Constance a stiff bow. Quick as a flash, she grabbed Aaro by the front of his shirt. I took a step forward, the anger flaring back up. I looked around for a weapon but instead of seeing weapons, I felt every single fire in the room. All those candles, and I felt heat inside me, too. I had to calm down.

“You’re a good slave,” Constance cooed to Aaro. “Unlike her.”

“I assure you the mix up was entirely my fault,” Aaro told her, adopting his Magic User vocabulary over his slave one.

Constance smiled at Aaro, nodding. “How old are you?”

The smile dropped just a fraction, just enough for me to see. “Twenty-one.” Aaro smiled again. Slaves must put on their best faces. We had a lot of rules, didn’t we?

Constance’s smile widened, she looked almost like a cat. She began stroking Aaro’s chest, making me clench my teeth. Still, I could say nothing. I had to think about Noel, Aaro could take care of himself.

“Won’t you join me for dinner,” Constance, a twenty-five-year-old, married woman, pouted. “I’ll be ever so lonely without Sloan here.”

That was all I could handle. The rage that I kept tightly leashed finally snapped. I could feel every bit of fire in the room, the light pulsing faintly behind it. Without thinking I released my anger, thinking of the candles. I fell to the floor, exhausted, as all the candles in the room flared.

Constance let out a small shriek, dropping Aaro’s shirt. After a beat of silence, her eyes narrowed into suspicion. “I’ve never seen every single candle in the room flare light that.” She paused. “Except when the Fire Blessed are here.”

“Well, Mistress Constance, that is simply absurd,” Aaro laughed. Absurd was a word he just taught me. It made him sound all fancy. “There is no possible way that that was magic. You are Wind Blessed, if I remember correctly, and Rylie and I are just slaves. It was probably just a draft.”

“Just slaves,” Constance muttered to herself as Aaro stepped to the windows.

“See, this one has a broken latch, you might want to get that checked up on,” Aaro told her as he ‘closed’ the already shut window.

“Do you need anything else, Mistress Constance,” I asked, keeping my eyes trained on the floor.

“Why did you fall?” Constance completely ignored my question.

“I was frightened, same as you,” I answered, carefully keeping my eyes trained on the floor. “That’s all. May we be dismissed?”

“Yes, yes.” Constance waved us off and I stood with relief. I wobbled for a few seconds until Aaro grabbed my arm to steady me. Aaro and I made it to the door when she said, “Aaro? Tonight, sunset. For dinner.”

Aaro nodded before following me out of Big House.

*

“You’re Fire Blessed,” Aaro hissed once we were a safe distance from the house.

“No!” Aaro was helping me walk and I could barely muster that response. I pulled the bread from my pocket and started chewing on it, trying to regain some strength. Who knew that magic took so much energy?

“Rylie, I can see your eyes. That little bit of red I saw in them this morning, it’s a ring now. It’s more noticable. You need to stop using magic before you’re discovered all together. What would Noel do without you?” Aaro stopped his rant as something dawned on him. “Are you Light Blessed, too? Is that why you asked about the visions.”

Seeing no point in lying to him, I nodded. “But you can’t tell a soul.”

“Of course I wouldn’t!” Aaro stopped me, making me face him. “Ryie, do you realize what a gift you have? You’re a human who’s blessed. And not with one blessing either, two! That’s incredible!” Aaro continued to walk before frowning. “But seriously though, no more fire. You’re gonna get caught.”

“I didn’t mean to.” I let go of Aaro’s shoulder, attempting to stay standing on my own. My knees wobbled a little, but other than that, I was fine. I was just tired and strangely hungry.

Aaro suddenly stopped again, “What do you mean you didn’t mean to?” He grabbed my shoulders. “You can’t control it?”

I shook my head.

Aaro seemed to have an internal freak out but, being a level headed person, he quickly shook himself out of it. “Okay, I can teach you as much as I know about the Blessed but I know nothing of how to control your magic. You’re going to have to find an actual Blessed for that.”

“Oh, yeah. A Magic User that’s willing to help a human. That’ll be easy to find,” I muttered, sarcastically.

“Okay, whatever. I have work in the mines, now. Where are you going,” Aaro asked, brows raised.

I didn’t have work until later tonight. “I just have something I need to go do. It’s important.”

Aaro sighed, shaking his head. “Just… don’t do anything stupid until I can come talk to you. I know that’s hard for you.”

I punched Aaro’s shoulder lightly, glaring at him. “Don’t be mean.”

Aaro smiled and gave me a hug before setting off to work. I breathed a sigh of relief at being alone again. I loved Aaro, I really did, but sometimes that boy could stress me out.

*

I looked into the deep, still water with a frown. Aaro was right, the red was a little more noticeable now. I loved the Witch’s Well, just not for the reason people think.

The well sat on a quiet hill and not many came to drink out of it after the ‘Braxton Incident’. Not many wanted to drink the same water a baby was drowned in. I didn’t blame them.

I enjoyed coming to this spot to think. It served as a sort of reminder. It reminded me of what happens when I am weak. When I stand by and do nothing. It was also where it all began, the last few months had been crazy.

I smiled into the well, thinking about my new found fire powers and how much I could still probably learn about being Light Blessed. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel weak. I didn’t feel like I had to just sit by and watch as Salem drowned a baby. Or when he buried that knife in my brother’s thigh. I felt powerful.

“Let’s see how much I can do, Cole.” I tightened my hand into a fist. “I promise to you, I’ll kill that bastard as soon as I learn control.”

I jumped down from the well, “There has to be someone willing to teach me.”

 
 


© Copyright 2019 Adrienne Whitaker. All rights reserved.

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