Draft of Part 1 of Vengeance: Road to Damnation is up!
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Here’s another teaser excerpt from the story..
“But then again, what can she understand about slaves if she hasn’t been one herself.”
Cael’s head snapped to the alchemist, his brow furrowed. Galicus was showing the bare back of his right arm. A brand had been burned there, a mark of slavery.
“You were a slave?” Cael asked, whispering. Then more audibly, “Why do you keep the brand? You could magic it away, couldn’t you?”
“You could yours, too?” Galicus replied with the question.
“How do you know I haven’t?” Cael wore thick archer’s bracers in his arms, and had never taken them off when the old Chelaxian had been present. But he just looked at the dark-eyed half-elf like he was slow-witted.
“Why haven’t you?” Galicus continued.
Cael looked at his arms, seeing the Horryn brand with his mind’s eye. He had never considered the possibility. But that wasn’t the only reason.
“It is.. it’s a part of me.” Removing the brand would not make the ghosts go away. Cael remembered how difficult it had been to stop using his slave name and revert back to the name his mother had given him.
Galicus just nodded, knowingly, and watched deep into his eyes.
“People assume correctly that the brands represent a history that we would hate, if not hope to forget. But they disregard the fact that same history has molded us, helped us become who we are.”
What if you hate who you are, a tiny voice asked in Cael’s mind.
“I do not regret my past. It is what it is. And in a way, I keep serving others, even though technically I am a free man. But do you regret yours?” Galicus asked the half-elf.
Cael turned his head aside, hiding it under the hood, setting his eyes on the peaceful landscape of plains and hills. He considered trying to bury the answers under the green earth. But they wanted out.
“Regret? No, I don’t. Those years are lost. They made me into who I am..” He could not deny the truth. “But I still can make someone pay for them..” Cael willed himself to stop. What was he doing? Sharing his past with a stranger? He never did something like that.
“You’re going back with your brother, for those people who made you slaves? To finish your businesses with them?” Galicus probed carefully.
This time, Cael remained silent.
The old scholar just sighed. “Oh well, I can sympathise, again. Not many Molthuni houses or guilds take slaves against their will. But I know those who do, I’ve seen what they do.. and they are despicable people, worthy of the worst fate one could have.”
“They truly are”, Cael murmured under his breath. Galicus understood his thirst for retribution, whereas his brother didn’t, even though he came along, seemingly committed to their mission. Cael wanted to ask about his skills, if he could create explosives for him, to bring about the fate of fire and destruction House Horryn so deserved. But Cael still didn’t trust the man. The dark brother would need to consider his questions, and find out more about him.
Galicus said no more of the matter and they rode in silence.