A/N: I apologize for the unfortunate delay in the coming of this chapter, I have been very sick with the flu (or something similar), and it is still persisting. I haven't finished fully editing this one, but I don't know when I will be up to doing it again so I am putting this up to satiate reader imaginations. Really all I am doing in my editing is adding a bit more detail, and cleaning up my run-on dialogue. You might see what I mean. I'll re-upload it once I do eventually finish too.

After this, the rest of the story is all in my head and I haven't even written a rough draft yet, so updates might be less frequent. I do promise to try to be regular in my future posting however; perhaps I should set myself up on a schedule.

Chapter 4

Kaelin couldn't recall his trip to the dungeon, too dazed and confused in pain to care where he was left to die, but when his large, liquid brown eyes opened he instantly remembered where he was. The bed was hard but had been covered in pillows for some reason, and the room was warm because the warden had a large fire going; the cells were usually kept cold so the prisoners were miserable. It was well lit, and a hearty meal sat on the table next to him, it seemed like the only thing that would remind him he was a prisoner were the bars that took up one entire wall.

He was lying on his stomach, and he felt a cool cloth on his back where he had been Marked, gently cleaning the wound. He turned his head slightly to see none other than Fargo himself standing behind him, eyeing a healer of some sort that was soothing his wound. "Ah, you are awake. I expected that you would sleep a lot longer, but this had to be redressed. I apologize for waking you." Apology or none, the man planted his foot on the person who had awoken him and shoved rather sharply. Why should Kaelin's comfort and rest matter to the Star's man-in-charge? The servant didn't seem right though, his eagle eyes set in a face almost as young as Kaelin's own catching every movement, but he didn't complain or even stop working for a second. Did he think he deserved it like that man that thought he deserved to die last night? He was definitely one of the invaders, but was he an assassin out of gear? Why was he there, why was the Muadhii'tai there for that matter?

What in the Nine Hells is wrong with these Callandorians? the boy thought, every single one of them that I have met has been absolutely out of his mind! Why in the world would they care if his wound that that evil man had imbedded in him festered until he died? He certainly wasn't built for physical labor; although he loved to run and swim and be athletic in the castle walls, he had only left their confines a few times so he wasn't very hands-on when it came to work. He wasn't stupid though, he knew that could be changed over time forcibly if need be, and he intended to play the part so he could achieve his goal. Hopefully there would be no need for any punishments; he had figured they would have beaten him blue by now, but they didn't seem very demanding as of yet. Not Fargo, whose blue eyes patiently watched as the eagle-eyed man hurriedly finished wrapping the boy's neck in bandages, not the un-liveried Callandorian servant who seemed gentle even though by all means he should hate his patient. Event he Star himself, always smiling, seeming regretful of his evil deeds, his green eyes always laughing even as they ogled Kaelin like a girl, the exact same way they had Schala as he watched from his window with his exotic Princess! His hatred almost overwhelmed him for a second and he wanted to try and escape, uncaring of the consequences, but he quickly put a lid on it. He had to stay calm.

When the healer had finally finished his duty, The Tai spoke up, his voice raspy and oddly un-noble-like, like he had originated on a farm, and the Prince found his ears listening eagerly. "When you feel up to it, I will prepare you an instructor for your educational lessons; you must be literate in many things before you and begin training for Muadhii. Just let me know, you could start now if you wanted. I will not coddle you and tell you that you need to rest first; a real man gets up after a battle and continues until his quest is completed. Your quest is to become a Muadhii. I know you are a real man, I can tell. I would have wanted to recruit you had you not wanted to draw the blood of the Star, and if he thinks he has gotten a control on you then I am pleased to give you the ability to join our ranks. Phalion was your name?"

Kaelin didn't answer or move. Did they have farms in Callandore? Wasn't it all desert? Why was he being insolent? He knew the answer to none of the questions, and at first, it didn't faze the elder killer. "I personally want to know the name of every one of my soldiers, that way I can respect them for their accomplishments."

Still no answer, but Fargo's voice didn't waiver. He spoke as if he spoke of milking cows. "Fine boy, I will call you nothing. The Star has ordered you broken for disobedience, and although a slave has never been made into a Muadhii, I do not tolerate insolence and am quite adept in whipping a young prisoner into shape. You chose your path, now you will accept it like a man or you will allow yourself to be beaten into submission. It doesn't matter to me; pain is part of the training, so either way you will suffer. It is up to you to decide the level of that anguish. Your wound has now been treated, and Andre and I will return later to do it again until you are able to do it yourself. Have you ever treated a wound before? Probably not, if you were truly a manservant to one of these soft-skinned Gehannin Nobles. No matter though, just let me know when you are ready to get off your ass."

The young man with darting vision stood and grabbed his healing materials, and exited the cell before his superior; the elder locked the bars behind him, and didn't turn back as he headed for the door. Right before he disappeared from sight, Kaelin gave a grunt. "Muadhii'tai." he called, more of a statement. The other stopped but did not look behind him. "Boy." he named.

"I will be ready for lessons this afternoon; I have no wish to remain caged up."

"I will come at get you then later on and bring you to your teacher."

It was that simple, the Prince was left alone to brood. He considered escape for only a moment, but he knew it would be impossible. Recalling the night before, he was certain that Kerridin had performed a spell on him, and it definitely hadn't been elemental. Kaelin only knew elemental spells, and he hadn't even been sure others were known, but that chant could only have been magic. Not knowing what the spell had been, he was almost afraid to do anything. Could the man with long blonde hair see him now, or had it been a homing spell so his location could be tracked, or was it that he couldn't leave the confines of the castle without dying? No way to tell. He wasn't adept in the ways of curses, but he wondered if he used his focus ring if he would be able to sense something. Unfortunately though all it did was make him feel his pain more acutely, he could feel the symbol etched in his skin. It was shaped like a diamond with the sides concave, surrounded by smaller diamonds, he was sure it was the royal sign of the Star. It enraged him to be Marked with the emblem of that man, to be his slave, but he couldn't show anymore anger. He had to remain calm, so that he would eventually be allowed in the presence of the man he was to kill once more.

He couldn't think about his mother and father then, or Phalion's widow and fatherless child. At least Aurelia would be allowed to go home, and Schala was alive. He wondered what her new profession would be, it almost brought a smile to his lips to think of her cleaning dishes; she hated any type of physical labor, but thinking of when they had both been free made him more upset, for now they were both property. He would never again get to lay in the flower gardens and do nothing, or swim in the pools in the courtyards, or make Professor Minde furious. He wondered if the man was still alive. Never again would he get to study magic with his mother or Kingship with his father. He would never be king. Funny how he hadn't wanted to be when in was required, and now he couldn't when he wanted to. His beautiful mother would never host another dinner party or give a public speech. He was curious as to how the city was faring; was in shambles or was it already in the process of being repaired? Would the people rebel or just give in to their new situations? Would Phalion's family move on or be devastated? Would the Callandorians stay in the castle, or would they just leave a governor and go on to conquer the next city? There were so many questions!

At least training with the Muadhii he would stay near Kerridin, no matter where they went, but he wanted to stay here; this was his home! What if that man moved into his parents' room though? The thought of it was disgusting! God damn that man with his cool words and laughing eyes acting like he had done nothing wrong! He was a horrible person! The way he had been impressed that Kaelin had tried to kill him, the way he said the boy was pretty like a common whore! The way he had grabbed him by the chin and touched their faces together like they were lovers, he hated that bastard! He could see why Aurelia was so afraid to be engaged to him, the man was a pervert! Remembering that small glimpse of his fantasy that he had had when he was with the Princess embarrassed him so much he wanted to bleed himself!

He would never see Aurelia anymore, and he forced himself to drag his mind off that touchy subject, for he would never get to hold her in his arms again. Even if he did see her, he would have to hide his face, for if she recognized him she would reveal his identity and he would be instantly eliminated. He hoped Schala had gotten the point when he had given his name that he could no longer be Kaelin in the eyes of the public. He would need to hide his face from the other Nobles as well. He had noticed that some of the assassins wore a style of shirt that covered them from just above the nose, leaving only the eyes to see with, he wondered if he would be permitted to choose his own outfits. Well, until then, he needed to stay out of the main halls, and do whatever he could to hide his appearance.

There was no mirror for him to examine himself with so he had no way of seeing his current condition, but he did know just by feel that he was practically black with dust and soot from the fire. His shirt was ripped down the back and was barely hanging on his shoulders. His hair was filthy and full of moss from his swim in the moat, and one thing he knew for a fact was he hated being dirty.

He glanced around the room to see what they had provided him for a means to clean himself. It was about a ten by ten foot space, the one wall just bars, with a bed, a small table, a toilet, and a sink. That was at least one nice thing about being imprisoned in this castle; it had plumbing since it was from the Old Kingdom, and even though down in the dungeon the water would not get hot, at least it ran. He quickly filled the basin and cupped his dark hands into it, then splashed the water on his face. The liquid instantly turned murky. He pulled the ripped shirt off and soaked it, rung it out a few times, and then repeatedly refilled the sink until the water stopped getting filthy every time it was touched by the cloth. Kaelin was going to give himself a sponge bath, but he wanted warm water to do so. Using his ring to focus he whispered the spell to create fire and almost burned himself when the water went from freezing to boiling. He was still so bad at casting! He would definitely need to study if he got some free alone time, but he didn't know if that would be permitted. After it had cooled down enough so it was usable, he ran the rags of his shirt over his face and chest to scrub as much of the dirt of as he could without the use of soap. It took many dips before he could even feel remotely clean, then he had to dunk his head completely in the sink to work at his hair.

Now at least somewhat presentable, he had nothing to do but sit and dwell on his life to come until the old man named Fargo came to retrieve him for lessons. At least they had provided him with some food that he slowly munched on, not really wanting to eat but knowing he was hungry.


It was a good four or five hours before the Muadhii'tai returned, the boy had had enough time to take a nap and it had been the only thing to do. "Come on boy, I've prepared a lesson for you. Let me see your back." He demanded and grabbed Kaelin by the arm, yanking him to his feet and examining his bandages. "Still looks good, seems clean. Let's go."

Without releasing him they marched out into the hall roughly; Fargo seemed very different than the way he was that morning, angrier. Maybe Kaelin should just have told him his 'name'. His chocolate eyes glanced around the castle to see what had been going on since last night and it seemed that everyone there was stationed to clean it up from the battle the night before; even the soldiers and the citizens of the city were scrubbing off scorch marks and sweeping up broken glass. Good, at least it wouldn't stay in shambles, but he didn't want it redecorated either and it would need to be with all of the wall hangings and vases destroyed. As they made their way through the halls to the guest quarters Kaelin could only hope that Aurelia was already gone, and fortunately no one noticed him as they made their way into a room secluded from the others. It was completely bare inside other than two plain, large pillows, and none of the visitors rooms came like this. They must have cleared it out of all objects that they thought could even remotely be used for a weapon before he was allowed in, he must be a high security prisoner slave. That made him smirk to himself; he definitely never thought anyone would think he was dangerous. Well, soon he would be dangerous, so they did have reason to fear. Besides, if he wanted to kill his teacher, he could just light him on fire like he had that assassin last night. No one seemed to know about that though, and if they did they would think it was the now deceased Prince who had done it; he needed to keep his skill a secret. Also, he didn't plan on killing anyone other than Kerridin Star.

The man that walked into the room from the attached bathroom however could have been the leader's twin, only his junior; and it made Kaelin tense up and snarl. It wasn't him, but the resemblance was uncanny. This guy's hair was cut short, and he had no beard and was about ten years younger, clothed in all white flowing robes. "Hello Phalion Kaedis, I am Cettrik Asortia and I will be your instructor today." He introduced, completely unafraid, and reached out to take Kaelin's hand in his. When the youngest in the room jerked away, he received a sudden punch to the back of the head that caught him completely off guard and knocked him to his knees. "You will show respect to the Pacifists boy, or I will be forced to show you what a person who is not can do to a snot-nosed kid like you, you hear me?" yelled the man as he jerked him back up by his ear. He opened his mouth to talk back, why he could not know, but the cream-clad man raised his hands. "Fargo, Fargo, I will not tolerate this violence and you know this. So Phalion doesn't want to touch me, that is his decision. I am not offended, I do look very similar to his new leader and I can understand why that would enrage him."

Those sharp eyes fell onto the Prince who was gently massaging the nape of his neck above his wrapped wound. "I know your policy on my ways Cett, but I am only following orders. I was friendly to him this morning, and I was told by the Star that if a friendship cannot be forged to beat him into submission. It is the way of a slave after all, Divinity, he was lucky to have received anything from me and he blew it."

"That isn't the way things are in this room, or any room I am in for that matter. Slaves do not get punished in front of a Pacifist. I know, you have never been in charge of a slave before, but now you are aware. You can leave us; we have a lot to learn today." Kaelin thought it was interesting that the person who seemed so friendly could be so stern, but Fargo wasn't about to give up. He was very determined, and it was obvious that he was used to being the one to give orders, not take them. "Lord Cettrik, he doesn't know our ways. I don't think he should be left alone with yo—"

"What is he going to do to me? He has no weapon, nothing to be used as a weapon, and I am aware of the sly things he did last night. He will not be able to deceive me, now that I know his nature. He wouldn't have damaged the Star either, had Kerridin known his ways. I can protect myself."

The old man opened his mouth to protest some more, but the man in white literally shoed him out of the room. "I'll be waiting outside if you need me Divinity! Just call for me! I'll lock this behind me…" was told through the door, and then Kaelin was alone with this new man. He turned and gave the boy a heartwarming smile, then produced a folded poster-sized letter chart and began to leisurely spread it out. "Well now, we do have work to do. You must be fully educated in both regular reading, writing, and the such, as well as our culture, before you can begin your Muadhii training. I know this might come as a shock to you, but in Callandore everyone is educated, not only the nobles. So let's get to work, I shall begin to teach you the alphabet. Go on, have a seat." He pointed to a pillow, then began to speak without even waiting for the Prince to move. "Now, I am going to point to a letter and say what it is called. I want you to draw it in the air for me, and repeat what I say. Is that understood?"

There was no way that the Prince would be able to pretend he wasn't educated, and he knew it. "I can read." He stated plainly. "Oh you can?" This seemed to astonish the teacher. "I was told you were a manservant."

"I was, but I can read and write."

"How is that now? I was under the impression that Gehannins had no educational system except for their royalty." This was true, but Kaelin had had a nursemaid when he was just beginning school, and she had learned to read and write with him so she could help him privately. Yes, she was years older than him, but many of the servants had children that performed menial tasks for the Nobles. This lie would be easy. "I was the butler to a Noble family, and the daughter and I were very close in age. The family thought it would be good if I attended her classes with her so I could assist her with anything she needed, but I learned too. The professor even gave me homework assignments. Is he still alive?"

The blonde only sighed with sorrow. "Unfortunately I do not know. I have not yet sent away the souls of the dead, so I do not know who is on that list. They haven't even all been collected yet, there were so many. And so many that have been found but haven't been identified yet, possibly whole families wiped out. It is a true shame…" and as tear fell down his face, the Prince was stymied. Why was a Callandorian crying over the loss of Gehannins, and people he didn't even know? Send away their souls? What was a Pacifist? "Why do you cry? I thought all Callandorians thought that death was necessary to break and steal a nation. Why do you care if the enemy has died? They weren't your friends."

"Ah, but Phalion, all life is my friend. I am Callandorian, yes, but I do not approve of useless slaughter that could be avoided if negotiation was involved." Was it possible that this man was a rebel or something? "So you are against Kerridin as well? Wow, I didn't think I would find a person from your country who hated that man too!" he commented, but it caused the man laughed heartily as he wiped his eye. "I do not hate my brother Phalion, and it is very disrespectful for you to call him by his name. He should be the Star to you."

His brother, Kaelin knew it! Any trust he had almost developed broke instantly and he jumped to the defensive, drawing in his thick eyebrows. "Well, are you going to tell him I disrespect him Priest?" he shot out, but Cetrik only raised his hands like the other had thought he had weapons or something. "Oh of course not, I think it is very comical. He needs some disrespect every now and then. Besides, I do not want him to punish you on my account; I know you will get plenty of that on your own. How did you know I was a priest though? I thought the Gehannins were not informed about our culture, so you would not have been able to tell from my robes. How?"

Damn, the brown-eyed boy had forgotten about that, he had learned from Aurelia that Kerridin's brother was a priest. "Oh, I was told by a traveler. You know, one who went there and actually survived to return and tell the story? Pretty rare huh?" Another laugh ensued from the man, he wasn't easily ruffled. "Alright, so you are educated, but you know nothing of my people other than that I'm a priest, so you call it. Alright then, I suppose your schooling will begin with lessons about my home."

Kaelin crossed his arms and plopped down on a pillow. "Fine, but keep in mind that I already know you are a bunch of vile evil vultures who like to separate families and beat slaves."

"You are a feisty one aren't you?"

"That's what your deplorable brother called me, that and pretty. Fucking pervert."

"Well you are pretty. Like a girl. But you won't be if you are as spirited as you are, for you will be soon covered in scars."

It didn't insult him when Cettrik said it; his voice only rang worry when the words were on his lips. Not like Kerridin, who said it like he wanted Kaelin to be a woman. Well he would be shown wouldn't he? At least it wasn't custom then for Callandorians to fancy young boys.

"Anyways," the religious man continued, "let us begin with the caste system of Callandore, which is now your system whether you like it or not. I will test too, so retain what I say.

"The lowest people in the land are the serfs, peasants I think you call them. They are the ones who retain jobs like baking, building, smithing, and all the things that the higher ups need to survive. They must have a business license to run shops, and they must pay taxes, but the taxes are fair. Every year each city holds a contest to see who is the best at their profession, and are given a cash bonus as well as a chance to provide that skill to the leader of that town and perhaps even the Star himself. You get much honor for being the best at what you do, so everyone tries to do so. You see, honor is the most important thing in our society—"

"Yeah, I know. And the things you think are honorable are crime and murder. Get on with it."

"You think you know, but you do not lad. We will touch on that later though. Anyways, the next higher level is those who serve the lords themselves and the traveling merchants who serve no one lord at all. If you work directly for a lord, you are highly respected, for only the best could do so. Merchants who serve no one can get many different things from different tribes and lands to trade, so they as well are respected. Many are asked to join the staff of the reigning lords, but accepting would lower their status, so it is rare. The next level would be those who do more that create objects, the Muadhii, the soldiers, the Pacifists and those of the like. I am a Pacifist, although I can see why you would think I am a priest by Gehannis' standards. The most distinguished thing about me is I took a vow to never hurt anything or anyone."

"Then why are you so respected? I thought the Callandorians only thought war and fighting was honorable, how can one who has vowed to not fight fit into the ranks?"

"Ah, well you see, only a man or woman who is pure and clean of bloodshed can send the souls of the dead to the Courts, so without us, all the dead roam the earth and are not honored in the heavens. We have many other duties as well, but that is the most important and therefore keeps us safe."

"Well what if someone was going to murder someone else and didn't want their soul saved? They could kill his Pacifists, then he would not go on?"

This seemed to disturb Cett deeply. "Why yes, but to kill someone who is not armed or trained to protect themselves is the most dishonorable thing you can do, and the only reason one would kill a fellow lord would be to take his title, which would then be worth nothing for the one who hurt the innocent. That is like killing a child to make the parent suffer before slaughtering them."

"My mother was innocent, she couldn't protect herself, why was she killed!?"

"Was she killed? By a Muadhii? That is terrible and wrong! If you know the person who did it then you should report it to my brother this instant, no Muadhii is to kill civilians during a battle unless attacked by one, and even then they are supposed to just incapacitate the person unless they have no other choice! I know Kerridin assigned Protectors, who could have disobeyed that law?"

Oops. Kaelin couldn't tell Cett that his mother was the Queen; he had almost let it slip. He had no choice now but to lie and dishonor a man who did nothing, for he couldn't accuse Kerridin who had not left the castle. Thinking back, he had seen men herding the public away from the fighting, were they trying to protect them? "It was dark, I would not recognize his face." Was all he could come up with. "What about the Queen though? She was innocent. She was killed and Kerridin just dismissed it as 'necessity'."

"Do you think the royal family was innocent? No leader is free of blood on their hands. Had she ever sentenced anyone to death? Had she ever imprisoned a serf and they died in the cell? Had she ever sent a crew out to a new land and never heard from them again?"

"Of course she did, but they were criminals or explorers! The criminals deserve to die, and the explorers leave for the good of the country to try to find new cures and things!"

"Really? And you were personally sure that all of the people sent to their deaths were criminals? They couldn't have been framed? I've heard you have a weak judgment system in this country, guilty until proven innocent and rarely so that is. How do you know those who died were bad? I'm sure some of them were, but all? And the explorers, I am sure many of them did want to go, but you don't think that some only went for the money? I've heard your Queen had no means to pay the citizens who worked in the cities, and so therefore they had no reason to want to be the best. Therefore, they always struggled for funds to feed their families. You do not think that some left so they might strike rich? And then died for their need of money that your Queen could have easily provided to them here in the city? No, there was blood on her hands for sure."

"So you think she deserved to die!?"

"Absolutely not, I think no one deserves to die. But she was not covered under the Law of Pacifism, that was my whole point."

This was terrible, mainly because Kaelin knew the man was correct. He hadn't known the cities were so bad, but everything else was right so why not that? Still, it was his mother who was now dead! "What… what about the Prince? Had he shed blood in your eyes?" he choked quietly.

The blue-eyed man sighed. "Alas, no. He was an innocent; he was just a boy like you. He should have just been enslaved like the other nobles, and normally would have been if it hadn't been for that prophecy. However, he wasn't even killed ceremonially like he should have been had he not been innocent, he was found dead and no one knows who did it."

"So Kerridin didn't do it himself?"

"No, and it should have been him if it needed to be done. You see, he is the one who the prophecy mentioned, taking over the country, so he did in a way have a right to kill the boy. If not, the boy would have killed him for sure, so it could have been justified. Instead he was just murdered."

"And I will kill Kerridin for murdering the royal family, and I will be justified in doing so."

"Yes, you do have the right to do so, since your family was hurt, although it would be more appropriate for you to kill the man who did the deed. However, since you do not know the face of the one who did it, that man's leader is the next best choice. Kerridin told me you would kill him."

"He did?" What the hell was that man's problem? Could he possibly fear the Prince?

"Oh yes, he was quire ecstatic about it. He says it will be a challenge."

"Damn him! Why is he so arrogant!? That is why I will become a Muadhii and end him for good!"

Cettrik just laughed, almost like the one across from him wasn't threatening to brutalize his own brother. "Let us continue on with our lesson Phalion, all this talk about ending my brother is hurting my stomach with laughter. Anyhow, the others on the same level as the Pacif—"

"Why do you think it is funny that I'm going to kill Kerridin? You don't think I can do it?"

"No, that isn't it lad. I think you certainly can actually! Well, if you plan very hard and practice anyway. It will not be an easy task, I promise you. It reminds me of when he and I were children. We always used to spar, and he would always win, and then we would laugh as I told him I would be the death of him. I believed it too, until he killed father. He hadn't planned on it, but for my brother the best situations always happen for him spontaneously. After the deed was done, it was custom for him to have to kill me as well, for I would be the nearest one to challenge him and it would be my duty to do so when I was a little older. He didn't want to do this, and I didn't want to challenge him, nor did I want to die. So together we agreed that it would be best for us if I became a Pacifist, for I had never killed anyone yet and was still innocent. I hadn't wanted to do this at first, for at the time I wanted to be a great soldier like everyone else in my family, but all in all I think it was for the best. I love who I am now. You remind me of me before that incident."

"Except you never wanted to kill Kerridin."

"Once you get to know him, you won't either. He really is a great guy."

"Impossible! He is a murderer and he destroyed my life! I am his slave for the Queen's sake! How can you even think for a moment that I would be able to forgive him!?"

Cettrik reached out and put his hand on Kaelin's shoulder, and the boy didn't flinch. He had nothing to fear from this man, and he was actually kind of alright, for Callandorian scum. "I do not want to argue with you my boy, let us just continue with our lesson, alright? After all, we only have so long until you are returned to your cell, and I'm sure you don't want to be there."

The Prince hesitated; he hadn't realized that he would be put back into jail. "Alright Priest."

"Call me Cettrik, or Divinity if you insist on calling me by my title. Not Priest."


"That's right! Now, other than the Pacifists, the soldiers and the Muadhii are on the same level, although we are just slightly higher because we have more respect. It's all a little complicated, for it really depends on our rank within our separate departments. You see, Fargo doesn't have to show respect to me because I am not the High Diviner, but he does because I am Kerridin's brother. Within my own job I am just a middle level man, but outside, because of my relations, I am pretty high in the caste system. Fargo would not show respect to the High Admiral of the army either, he would expect it, even though they are almost equals. The only difference is that Fargo willingly serves and Jauk is expected to, he was drafted."

"What do you mean? Who is Jauk? You mean Kerridin doesn't control these soldiers?"

"He controls soldiers; he has to be a general of very high standing to be accepted as the Star. However, there are no soldiers here. It was not planned to attack Gehannis, so there were only the usual regimen of around two hundred Muadhii that always accompany him along. The Muadhii are a separate body, they serve whoever they please and they set the price that has to be paid for their services. Most of them serve the Star, and all train under him, for the Tai is the only one who can raise them through the ranks, but many leave to serve smaller lords once they are eligible to do so. Many think that if they help a lord kill the Star, then they will be raised to Tai by the new leader of Callandore. The only Muadhii that cannot chose who he serves is the Tai himself, Fargo. The Tai always serves the Star, no matter what."

"So you mean the Tai is a slave like me?"

"Oh no, if he doesn't like the current Star, he can order a lesser Muadhii to join a different lord and kill the Star. You will never be able to choose who you serve, my brother owns you."

"How could he stop me from leaving after I am trained?"

"He Marked you Phalion."

"Yeah, I know that, but what does the Mark do? Not all slaves got one, so I know it's special."

"Well, you are correct. Only dho'tei get Marked and it is usually by the dho'tei trainer, not the Star himself."

So that was it. Kaelin didn't know what a damn dho'tei was, but he knew that was what Kerridin had originally wanted him to be, and it was that title that had made the man get so close to him. Just the word scared him, even Aurelia had been afraid of being turned into one. He gulped deeply. "Wh…What is a dho'tei Cettrik?" he whispered.

Those blue eyes looked away. "They… well; they are a slave that serves only one purpose. They are basically there to show how good a leader is at disciplining. They will not disobey a single command, and it is their prime duty to be shown off so others can see how well behaved they are. Only the most attractive are chosen."


"Well," Cettrik seemed slightly embarrassed by this subject, "it is custom for a Lord to have them dance for the guests, or provide…other… services for them."

The color drained from the boy's face. "You mean he Marked me as his… and I am going to be trained to… to…"

"No, no I don't think so. He wants you to be a Muadhii, he told me so. He Marked you as a dho'tei because the one who brands is bonded to the slave, and how I do not know, but they then have the ability to control some of the actions of that person. That is why the dho'tei obey so well, and that is why he did it to you."

"So he made it so I can't kill him then! He promised me I would be able to and he lied!"

"How did he promise?"

"He told me he would not directly order me to not kill him, no, he'll just do it inadvertently! Bastard!"

"Do not give up hope yet my friend, if he made a promise he will not break it. You still stand a chance, you must be strong though."

Kaelin couldn't believe this. Even though he heard what the man in front of him said, it didn't matter because he had been turned into a whore. Like a common peasant! What would that disgusting freak do to him? Would he be sold off for profit? No, he couldn't let this happen! He had to hone his skills, his magic, he had to protect himself! He was the Prince for Queen's sake!

Although he had thought it no longer possible, tears welled over his eyes and streamed down his face, and he tried to cover them with his hands. He was such a baby! How could he expect to kill the leader of this people if he couldn't stop crying?! He couldn't stop though, he was pathetic. In front of a Callandorian too, why wouldn't the tears stop falling?! He simply curled up into a ball, and sobbed his heart out.

"Oh… Oh dear. Oh goodness! Phalion lad, are you alright?" Cettrik questioned worriedly and laid a hand on the boy's shoulder, and before they both knew it the older man was holding the Prince, rocking him softly. Kaelin didn't know why he felt so much trust for the blonde, but he needed someone to comfort him and the other seemed willing to do so, petting the one in his arms' hair softly and whispering words of placation. "It's okay my friend, its okay. I'm not going to tell you things are going to be good from now on, but it will not be as bad as you think, I can promise that. My brother is not that bad of a person, I swear it. I'm not going to tell you to stop crying either. You need to cry, mourn the family you lost last night. Your life will not be the same. At least know this, and I will always be here if you need someone to talk to, and I will never judge you or think you are weak if you need to do this every now and then. I know you won't think of me as a friend, I'm just 'Callandorian trash' to you, but at least know that you can trust me to not tell anyone else of your feelings, something they would call weakness."

It was a few long minutes before Kaelin could get a grip on himself, and as soon as he did he slowly pulled away from the embrace, not comfortable in a man's arms. Before, only his mother held him like that. He didn't know what to say, he was very embarrassed. He had just accepted affection from a person that looked almost identical to his largest enemy. He simply aimed his red eyes at the floor.

"Well Phalion, I think that should conclude our lessons today, but I don't think you should leave like that. You look terrible. You look like I beat you!" That made the blonde laugh. "Come on, before you go, take a bath in here and let me treat your wound. I know they don't have a good way for you to clean yourself in the dungeon. Do you want to do that?"

The brunette did want a proper bath; the sponging he had done had barely removed the top layer of filth from his body, but he knew he couldn't be left alone and after the recent news he didn't want to be naked in front of anybody. Still, this man seemed so kind, he wouldn't harm him. Why was everything so hard now?

He nodded only slightly, and the blonde jumped to his feet and pulled him to his. Together they made their way into the bathroom; it too had been stripped to practically nothing. Kaelin was surprised to see soap! Cettrik turned on the water and adjusted the temperature, then chuckled when he saw the other examining the bottle of cleaning supplies. "Yeah, I convinced Fargo and the others that you weren't going to kill me by squirting shampoo in my eyes. You must have done a lot of damage last night; they seem to think you are a horribly violent mentally unstable psycho that loves the sight of blood with the way they wouldn't even let me have a pencil to teach you with."

"I am dangerous Cettrik." The Prince stated lowly, as if realizing it for himself. "I got past four assassins to reach Kerridin before they apprehended me. I half blinded a man with his own weapon; I even killed a man last night."

The Pacifist frowned slightly. "Did you enjoy it?"

Kaelin had to think first before answering. "…No. I hated it. Even though they were the enemy, I regretted everything I did. I can't even feel honor like you would had you done it. They only thing I would have felt justified doing would have been ending Kerridin, but I failed that and now he owns me. I almost did him in though, and I am proud of that."

"Well, believe it or not all that you just told me is good. You see, had you liked committing all that pain, you would not have been able to join the Muadhii. They do not want bloodthirsty killers in their ranks; only well trained, disciplined men who can follow orders. Wanting revenge though cannot prevent you from becoming one, for it is a natural feeling for one who feels betrayed. You might not feel honor now, but you will. You were very honorable last night; my brother couldn't stop telling me all about it. He admires you so much; I don't think he's ever been so excited. You will learn. Well, you had better get in the tub, before Fargo comes to carry you away."

The brown-eyed boy did not feel comfortable stripping down in front of a Callandorian, especially right after Kerridin's 'excitement' with him was just so casually mentioned. The thought of that man talking about him and thinking about him and just being made Kaelin feel like he was covered in a thin layer of slime that would not wipe off. "I think I already know the answer, but I don't suppose I could do this alone?" he attempted, and received a sharp yet apologetic shake of the head. "I wish you could, but no. I cannot leave you unattended."

The boy only sighed. "I figured that was the case." He told, and slowly began to pull the rag of a shirt over his head. Lifting his arms up made his Mark hurt, he could hear it crunch and was sure it had probably began to bleed a little as the scab ripped. It would feel nice to soak it in the water for a little while, even if he was watched the whole time. Being watched shouldn't bother him, he thought, he was almost always bathed by servants female and male, but this was different, although how he couldn't pinpoint. He turned his back to the man as he began to unlace the grungy pants, but was blushing like crazy as he let them drop to the floor and stepped out of them. He quickly jumped into the warm water and sunk deep down to his chin before he could stop too. The water wasn't hot, but it stung the wound on his back like hell, yet he wouldn't lift back up and let the man see him naked again for he life of him. He did glance over to the other though, and to his surprise, his face was flushed even more than his own could have been. Great, was this bastard thinking of him like that too? Was he going to have to deal with things like this for the rest of his life now, being ogled by all the perverted men of Callandore?!

"What, you wish you owed me too, like your gods-forsaken brother? Maybe he'll sell me to you, after I'm trained to be a good little obedient whore!" He spat furiously.

"Not at all Phalion!" the other rattled fast as lightning, as if he had been holding his breath. "Why would you think that?"

"Well you certainly are trying hard to not stare at me. Why, are you afraid your brother will get mad if you take me first? Is that why you comforted me, you just wanted to touch me? Why don't you just jump in here with me and force me to service you? I'd rather have you do it than Kerridin." He couldn't believe he had just said that, what was possessing him? If the man did try to do what he had suggested, he would strangle him to try and get away, he had no doubt.

Cettrik seemed appalled and on the verge of being insulted. "I would never do something like that! I… how could you…"

"How could I? How could I not? I'm not blind, I know what you want. You're a deviant just like your deplorable brother—"

"I am celibate Phalion! I am blushing because I haven't ever seen anyone naked unless they were dead! You think I wish to see you? I want nothing more than to not! I do not want to be tempted by the ways of the flesh no more than I want to see you beaten and degraded!"

The red filled Kaelin's face again, but this time it was embarrassment for his words. It would only make sense that a priest would be celibate, how could he be so stupid? He had offended the only person he could stand to be around so far of the new inhabitants of the castle! For Mother's sake, he deserved to be smacked! "I… I'm sorry." Was all he could mutter. He didn't expect to be answered, and it was a long time before he was.

"It… it's alright." Was the grunt he received.

"You don't understand Cettrik! I am going to be used, I know it, and it scares me! I don't want to be…the thought of it just… especially with him… I'll fight to the death before I let him or anyone touch me. I don't know you, you could have… and…"

"I understand Phalion; you do not need to explain further."

After that, the two sat in the room saying nothing to each other, Kaelin washing the dirt off and Cettrik straightening his robes and the such. It was the older who broke the silence. "I want to get you something else to wear other than those ripped rags. I am just going to open the door and request Fargo bring something. I'll be right back."

Wow, he must have been horribly embarrassed to leave Kaelin alone, even for a moment. "Uh… Cettrik? Do you know if it would be possible to get something to wear that covers my face? I… I don't want my family and friends to know that I have been captured. If there isn't anything or that breaks any rules then it's okay, but…"

"In Callandore, slaves show their faces to let others know that they fought valiantly before they were captured, to gain as much honor as a slave can, but I know you do not feel honored. If you are ashamed, there is a Callandorian style of dress that would cover you. It is made for those who live in the desert, and it hides the skin form the sun. If it would not dishonor you too much to wear the clothing of your enemy, then I can have it brought for you."

Well, there wasn't any Gehannin clothing that covered the face, and although it wasn't the Muadhii shirt he had hoped for, he figured he wouldn't be able to wear that until he was a Muadhii. "Alright. That sounds fine." He agreed. Cettrik nodded and left the room.

He felt like such an asshole. He couldn't say he liked the man, but he definitely hadn't wanted to hurt his feelings. He was the only person so far that hadn't threatened to beat him, and yet the Prince had let his mouth run. He had to get out of that habit, he wasn't royalty anymore. People didn't have to put up with his lip now; in fact, the Pacifist could tell Fargo what he had said and he could get hurt as soon as he left the room, so the man didn't have to break his vows and do it himself. He immersed himself underwater. Would he ever be able to trust anyone ever again? Would he ever have another friend? He couldn't talk to the nobles, they would blow his cover and the younger ones never got along with him anyways. Now, Gehannin servants would be higher in status than him, would they even talk to him? He couldn't possibly be friends with a Callandorian! No, he would most likely be alone for the rest of his life. Could he bear it? If he got to kill Kerridin Star, he thought he could. Would he have to share the man's bed to get close enough to do the job? He certainly hoped not, the thought of it made him sick and it reminded him of his fantasy with Aurelia only the night before. Aurelia! Oh, never again would he get to touch her body, to kiss her lips, to—

He was suddenly yanked out of the water by his shoulders, pain ripped through his wound as he sputtered. It was Cettrik who held him, and the man looked petrified. "What the fuck!" was all he could say as he yanked away, slick from the soap, staring the crazy man in the face.

"Gods Phalion I thought you were trying to drown yourself! Do you know what my brother would do to me if you killed yourself in my presence!? Don't scare me like that! I almost had a heart attack, and I can't Cure myself! Are you okay? Do you need me to fix anything?"

"Calm down! I was just resting, I hadn't even thought of dying! How can I kill Kerridin if I'm dead? If I do that, he wins! I'm alright, okay? I'm fine."

He couldn't believe the man was panicking so badly, what in the world would his brother do if he had committed suicide? It must have been something bad.

The Pacifist did calm down, then he realized he was standing directly over the naked young man. His eyes trailed a bit before he turned so florid he almost looked purple, and he turned his head so fast it could have made the wind sing. "I'm having clothing brought, let me treat your wound while we wait shall we?" he suggested, his voce an octive higher than it should have been. Had Kaelin's body not have been the cause, he could have laughed at the situation. Instead, he sat up and held his head up with his hands as the blonde began rubbing a soothing salve onto his back. When Fargo had done it he had been gentle and it still hurt, but when Cettrik did it there was no pain, only a sense of euphoria. He almost worked magic with his hands and his medicine. "There. Now at least that shouldn't be a bother anymore, you'll be experiencing much more pain in the future that it is the least I could do to fix this. I'm pretty sure, after all, that my brother will not want me fixing you every time you get hurt, or how will you learn? Is their anything else you want fixed while I'm at it, any bruises or cuts?"

Kaelin thought about it. Just how bad would he be getting hurt? "I… I don't think there is anything else. How do you do it?"

"I'm a Pacifist Phalion, healing is one of my duties. I can Cure almost anything."

The Prince wondered if magic was involved, he hadn't heard any incantations spoken. Besides, how could Callandore be 'haters of magic beyond all' if their Healers used it? He could understand Kerridin secretly getting away with it, but not an entire sect of people!

His thoughts were interrupted by Fargo entering the room with a pile of dark green clothing. He simply sat it down, then exited the bathroom. Cettrik picked up the outfit. "I will have to show you how it is worn probably." He stated, very uncomfortable with the idea. "I think I can figure it out." Phalion assured, and the other visibly sighed with relief. "Alright. I am just going to stand right outside the door." He told and exited the room.

He must have been getting more comfortable with the Prince, leaving him twice now. Or maybe he was just very embarrassed about the whole situation. Either way Kaelin got out of the tub and picked up the clothes. They were all dark forest green with brown accents, very earthen. He slipped in the pants first; they felt very different from Gehannin trousers. They fit around the waist, but they billowed around the leg, then got tighter again just below the knee. He thought it looked stupid at first, but then he saw the boots. They came up to just the place the leggings straightened, to make them more comfortable being tucked in. He slipped them on too, they fit perfectly. Had Fargo taken his sizes in his sleep? No, Cettrik had given the old rags to him, and he had based these off of those. The shirt was thick and billowing as well, and that was good because he currently liked clothing that hid his figure. Attached to the neckline of it was a hood made of a stretchy material that had an oval for his face to fit out of. Before he slipped this on he used his focus ring to call the tiniest bit of an air spell to dry his hair, he didn't want it being all wet inside the weird headpiece. Then over his head it went, his face poking through the hole. He tucked it into the pants and pulled everything together with a leather belt, then went for the last and most important piece. It was a headpiece that had a leather strip to tie around the forehead and keep it stable, then the rest was like a scarf. He let each side droop a little before bringing the right side up to cover his face above the nose down, and secured the end in the strap. He wrapped the left side around his neck once, then let it hang down his back.

He looked at himself in the mirror, only someone who had gotten close enough to examine his eyes before might recognize his and even that was a slim chance. It was hot, but he liked it. He even liked the color. He stepped out of the room, and again Cettrik looked immensely relieved, almost like he was afraid that Kaelin would come out butt naked. "Ah that's better. I'm sure you don't want to hear this but the style suits you. Well, our lessons are over for today, but you will come back to see me tomorrow. Hopefully soon I will have a shrine built that we can continue our studies in, but for now it will be here. If you step outside, Fargo will be waiting to escort you back to your cell."

The Prince couldn't think of anything to say after such a formal dismissal, so he just turned and headed for the door. "Goodbye." He stated plainly and grabbed the knob.

"It was nice meeting you Phalion, I look forward to seeing you again." The blonde called out awkwardly as he exited the room. He didn't answer, for he too looked forward to their next meeting and he didn't know why. The man was a filthy Callandorian! Fargo simply looked at him, nodded, and grabbed his arm again roughly to lead him down the hall. If Cettrik had treated him like this he would be a lot less confused! "The clothes look good boy, much better that those rags you were sporting or the dresses all you other Gehannins wear." The Tai grunted. If had meant to be a compliment it failed. Gehannins did not all wear dresses! They wore loose fitting toga wraps! That comment was downright insulting, and he opened his mouth to tell the man so when he heard two voices that he recognized and froze his blood coming around the hall.

"I am truly sorry that this had to happen while you were visiting my Princess, but you must understand, it had to be done. You understand, don't you my dear? You, who know Callandore almost as much as a Callandorian? You know why I had to strike tonight?" that smug, cool voice spoke. Fargo's grip tightened on Kaelin's arm, and it was right that it should.

"I understand my Lord. You must know I do not approve, but I understand." A strong, feminine voice followed, and the two people the Prince wanted to see least right now walked into view. Kerridin was surrounded by six Muadhii, and was wearing deep red again, although a different outfit than the night before. Next to and very close to him walked Aurelia, her head down and somber, clothed in a gorgeous dress of dark blue like her eyes. She had an armed guard of twenty following behind.

"I know you were happy about your betrothal, and I am deeply saddened that you are so upset. Still, keep in mind that I still need a Moon, and you are always welcome to join with me if you so choose. I am a kind man, and I would not hurt you. We could even work around our cultural differences, and let your dad keep his land."

Was that bastard proposing to her, to his Aurelia? His hate surged, if it wasn't for so many soldiers he would kill him now with nothing but his hands!

"I am aware of your offer, and you can be sure I will consider it for the good of our two lands. Until then, I do have a favor to ask of you."

Could she actually marry that man? That would be most terrible!

"Yes, my lovely? What is it you need?"

"I would like a gift actually, if you can spare it."

"Anything. What would you like?"

"I am interested in one that you captured last night, and I would like to take her as my own. I know that in Joridia we do not keep slaves, but I would like to start, perhaps to get me more in the feel of your culture so that I am ready if and when we join."

Kerridin seemed delighted by this idea, and the Joridians seemed appalled. "Alright. Who was it that you were interested in? Just describe her and I will know who she is."

"Actually, I met her and know her name. It is Schala, and when I saw her I fell in love, even before you took her. If I could just take her with me, I would be so overjoyed. She is very beautiful."

So that was it, Kaelin thought with relief, Aurelia was only trying to save Schala. He felt a flow of love for both of his women.

When he heard the Star chuckle though it dissipated. "My dear, I would love to give her to you, but unfortunately I have already chosen to raise her as my female dho'tei'tai. She is already Marked, or I would consider it, even though with her beauty it would be hard to find another I liked as much. She really is gorgeous, isn't she?"

"Oh please my Lord, I will pay handsomely for her, anything you as—"

The man's hearty laugh cut her off. "My dear, I don't need any money. I am the Star of Callandore! There is no price on her, I am truly sorry. However, I can promise you that after she is fully trained, I will have her Serve you if you come back to visit me, for nothing in return. I promise she will be worth your while, she will blow your mind."

Aurelia didn't try anymore, even she could see the battle was fruitless, but it made Kaelin sad. As the pair got closer, Kaelin realized he just wanted to run to his redheaded lover and kidnap her. He knew it was dangerous, but he didn't care, as she walked past him he looked right at her. She glanced at him and he melted, but there was no recognition in those dark blue eyes. She simply tilted her head to the floor; she probably thought he was a Callandorian. He sighed to himself, full of sorrow, and next looked to the man who had caused him all these problems. Kerridin recognized him, and was staring right into him with those light green orbs. He did not back down, he glared right back, and Fargo reached up and punched him in the back of the head like he had in the classroom. He did not even yell out, although it hurt like hell. He would not give the crimson-clad man the pleasure of hearing him do so.

As the two meandered on past him, Fargo continued his rough lead to the dungeons. Kaelin was about to start his silent mourning for Aurelia, when suddenly a feeling of immense pleasure overtook him. He couldn't quite explain it, but it felt like he was having an orgasm, a big and long awaited one. He couldn't control himself, he cried out and fell to his knees. The party all turned back to see what the commotion was, Aurelia staring at him in curiosity, Kerridin with no emotion but an unknown fire in his eyes, rubbing his hands together like he was washing them with no water. The Prince was mortified even though no one knew what had happened, and he jumped to his feet and darted down the hall, almost loosing track of the Tai. When the man caught up with him, he was smacked multiple times in the face and slammed up against the wall; he didn't even have a chance to explain. I wasn't trying to escape! he wanted to call out, but his voice would not work. He had never received a beating for anything before, it brought tears to his eyes and he felt like a baby again.

"Listen to me boy; I will not tolerate behavior like that again! How dare you look a leader in the face like that? You are a slave boy, don't you get it? The Star should have punished you himself! And then to run from me, are you crazy?! I could kill you, don't you get that?! One prick from this," Fargo raised his hand to Kaelin's face and tensed the muscles, and that weapon popped out of his palm like a real stinger would, right next to the boy's cheek. Fear flooded him like a broken dam, but he didn't dare move even a tiny bit. "One prick, and you are dead. Now you will obey me, and you will not do anything else as moronic as you did back there. You hear me boy?!"

"Y…Yes." The Prince choked and received another blow, this time to the stomach. He doubled over in pain, only to have his chin grasped and dragged up to see the Muadhii'tai's face. "That's 'yes Sir' to you. Even if you weren't a worthless slave, you would address me as Sir, I am your teacher and your Tai! Do you understand?!"

"Yes Sir." He recited, and his face was released, only to have his arm gripped again and the trek to his cell continued.

When they arrived, he was thrown roughly in the room and the door was locked behind him. A meal was waiting on the table next to the bed, it looked cold and bland. Fargo turned back only once, and for just a second he seemed slightly distressed, but it was so brief the curly-haired boy though he had imagined it as the anger returned so quickly.

Then he was alone. The fire was still lit, but it was the only source of light and it was a little ways away from his area, so it was pretty dark. The small window let in some moonlight, but it didn't help. Quietly, he tried to pick through some of the food, but his face was pretty bruised up from the beating and it hurt to chew. What in the world had happened to him in the hall? He could have sworn that just thinking about his Love would not have caused that wave of pleasure, and he hadn't even been thinking of her when it happened. He had been thinking of Kerridin. Killing the man, hurting the man, and then it felt like he had came right there and he made a complete ass of himself in front of near thirty people, one the very man he hated! First he thinks of that bastard and has an orgasm during sex with the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, then this! What the hell was wrong with him?! Why did someone he hate so much get such reactions out of him? It just wasn't fair, he loved Aurelia and Schala, why couldn't he only think of them!

In a fit of anger he grabbed his plate and threw it against the cell doors, making a great clang of noise and splattering food all over the dungeon both in and out of his cell. He never wanted to eat again! He wished he had drowned himself in Cettrik's bathtub! With nothing else to do and nothing left to eat unless he wanted to scrape it off the floor, he lay down on his bed and began to quietly sob. You have got to stop this crying, you are not a girl! Despite what anyone might want! You must stop! He told himself this, but it didn't go away, it only got worst. He found himself wanting his mother, and, upon remembering her death, cried harder and imagined being held by the caring Pacifist who had comforted him earlier. Every thought made it worst and worst until he finally just cried himself to sleep.