This is short, and I pretty much entirely failed to capture much emotion in it. I really kind of liked the ending of the last chapter though, and didn’t know what to do next =P So here’s my chapter ten/epilogue. I decided I do kind of like it for an ending…but I need to re-write it. Some time when the creative writing muse is around and I don’t feel like I’m forcing the emotion. Hmph. ;)
Chapter Summary: Epilogue told from a different perspective…The End.
Chapter Ten – Epilogue
I grumbled discontentedly to myself as I walked slowly through the town square. My eyes traveled keenly over each shabby vendor advertising their merchandise. There had better be something here good enough for me to take. I had heard of this town, Mandor, I think they called it, from another merchant friend of mine. Supposedly cheep goods of decent quality…probably stolen. The town was small, he had said, but you can always find a good deal. And there’s always something for you to bring back. So I had made the journey over the Revlis Mountains from Eventrium. And now, I was dreadfully disappointed. Vendors tried to shove their wares upon me, but none of it interested me. Gold and silver jewelry and traveling equipment were not what I had come for. I needed a girl.
I was a traveling merchant, away from my home in Eventrium more often then not. My young wife needed a companion; all alone as she was when I left, with only our few slaves for company. I was in search of a girl to bring back for her, to keep her company. A young girl, pretty, not too headstrong. She had to be just right. I quickened my pace. Up ahead I could see the slave dealers, whips in hand, showing off their prizes.
All day I walked up and down the lines, searching. Most of those offered for sale were men. The few women I came across were too old, too ugly, or too broken. The girl must have some spirit left, and she must be young. Disgusted, I turned to leave the marketplace. I would try again the next day. Maybe there would be some new arrivals.
As I walked back the way I had come, something caught my eye. Turning my head, I saw a huge, rough man with a whip beginning to pack up his wares for the night. In the shadows behind him, crowded against the wall of a building, stood two girls. I walked over. Might as well have a look. The man, a raider by the look of him, turned at my approach. His eyes gleamed with greed in the semi-dark of dusk.
I asked to see his slaves. One of them, the younger girl, interested me immediately. I did not spare more than a glance for the other. I looked the young child over, pleased with what I saw. She looked older than she probably was, and not exactly pretty. A result of long months of travel, I guessed. She would look decent enough in a clean dress with a ribbon in her hair. My wife would see to that.
I paid the man what he asked, not bothering to barter with him. I was in a hurry, and the price was good. The sooner I could get back to the inn where I was staying, the sooner we could begin preparations for the trip home. As we walked away, the young child held secure in the grasp of my servant, I looked back. The older girl had walked forward, out of the shadows, and was watching us depart.
The look in her eyes chilled my heart. They spoke of complete and utter anguish. Broken. Hopeless. Her face, so cold and white, seemed carved of granite. She stood perfectly still, like the shell of a girl, incapable of movement. One hand reached out slightly, frozen in the air, towards the girl who followed me away. As I watched, a single tear slipped down her cheek, staining the hem of her dress. Then she fell back into the shadows and I turned away again, walking purposefully on. My new child faltered as she followed me.
~ ~ ~
Something glinted in the far corner of the stable loft. The young stable boy caught the sparkle and ran to the spot, curious. There in the hay at his feet lay a golden oval. He reached down, picking it up. It looked like some sort of pin, a fastener for a shawl. He turned it over. A small portrait stared up at him, a portrait of a little girl no older than he was. She had black hair, red lips, and a blue dress. She was smiling so happily. The little boy laughed, realizing that the object was a brooch. He wrapped it carefully in a scrap of cloth and thrust it deep into his pocket. His mother would think it very beautiful. It would look well pinned to the collar of her dress. Where had it come from? He could not wait to show it to her.