Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Star leads the horse out of his stall. She feeds him what she thinks is a carrot from the bucket of feed Ghaunt left for him. Brushing him and whispering to him she tells him whats about to happen. The horse nickers and gives Star a nudge with his head.
Getting the wagon turned around and the horse harnessed only takes a few minutes and Star settles down to wait. She gazes out the small window that overlooks the outer courtyard of the temple. People are rushing about, getting things ready for the feast that would start at noon shortly after the conclusion of the sacrifice.
Suddenly she sees some sort of scuffle in a doorway across the courtyard. Then the door opens wider and a man tosses a small child out onto the cobblestones. The child shows no sign of life until he curls up into a small ball. The man comes out and gives the child a kick and starts yelling. Several Drow stop to watch although no one thinks to stop him.
Star is angry. Angry at the treatment of this child, angry how the Drow treat everyone, angry that Tori was in enough chains to keep a horse from moving, all of it boiling over at what she had just seen. She pushes her way between two of the temple guards and kneels by the child. She places a hand gently on the small back and is relieved to feel him breathing.
“Get away there! Thats my slave... worthless shit that he is... I ought to just feed him to a shadow cat and be done with it. He isnt worth what he eats..”
Knowing she still doesnt dare speak, Star picks up a rock and throws at the man striking him square in the chest.
“What? Who are you? How dare you?” The man sputters and comes close to Star, intending to hit her, but one of the guards stops him.
“I wouldnt do that if I were you. She is one of Ardara's, the mute one. Wouldnt be worth it to anger the Priestess right before the ceremony.”
The man hesitates glancing from the guard to the child face down in the stones. “You're probably right.”
“Pick another slave or take it up with Ardara after the celebration. You dont want her to cancel it... and from the sounds of it this will be a big one. You should see the kegs stacked up...” The guards voice fades as he walks away with the man.
Kneeling Star pulls the child into her lap and looks at his face. A mop of curly dark hair and large dark eyes watch her with curiosity. It was impossible to tell what color his skin was under the dirt and grime. Star thought he looked to be three or four but it was impossible to tell, he was so small and undernourished.
As she stood and lifted him he wrapped his arms around her neck and Star rubbed his back. No one paid any attention as she carried him into the stables.
Once inside Star took what blankets she could find and put them in the cart for Tori. Then she set the boy in the cart and heaves herself up. All the while she had been speaking softly trying to reassure him and asking questions that he didnt answer. She settles herself to wait and the little boy crawls in her lap. Star wraps her arms around him.. “Its all right. I didnt use to talk either...”