Armando stumbles over heavy chains linking his wrists and ankles as the guard shoves him onto the platform. The richly dressed fat man begins shouting to the crowd in his harsh language, pointing to the captive sergeant. He is turned around several times, and paraded across the wooden planks before a massive audience of dark-skinned Qadirans. Despite the indignity of the treatment, Armando has already learned that resistance brings exceptional levels of pain, delivered expertly to punish the behavior, but not damage the merchandise.
Bidding is slower than for the previous offering, a young woman with nearly pitch-black skin, and Armando is uncertain if he should be offended or relieved. Eventually, with what sounds like a great deal of name-calling and insults, the rotund auctioneer coaxes a few bids from the crowd. The fat man looks disgusted and seems about to accept the final offer when a loud voice rings out, silencing the murmurs and causing a collective gasp of surprise.
Although the sergeant cannot see the last minute bidder, the auctioneer breaks into a broad smile and shouts “Bay-ya!”, clapping his hands together to end the auction. As the northerner is escorted off the platform, the next sale, a strangely dressed gnome in a battered hat, is pushed forward.
Armando waits with the other purchased slaves as numerous clerks process the transactions and distribute the goods to their new owners. Eventually, the light-skinned man is pulled from the pen and brought forward, where a broad-shouldered man in white robes is completing payment to the clerk. The guard carefully removes the shackles, utters an unintelligible warning, and steps back as the buyer turns around. Armando’s heart sinks as he lays eyes on the all too familiar tattoo on the man’s bald head. The Tuskan General glowers at the soldier and gestures for him to follow as he stalks away from the slave markets.
Gods save me. Couldn’t I have been bought by anyone else? Like a nice necromancer. Or a demon from the ninth hell…