I look back on that time, and ruefully smile.
The world was different then. A violent time. The madness that happened then, who remembers it?
I remember everything.
And I will never forgive him.
How could he do this to me?
War is a funny thing. Prisoners are taken, slaves made, slaves rescued.
But not me.
How could I have been forgotten? Do they think I'm dead?
One day I will escape. Show the world my forgotten face.
What kind of world will I awaken to? How long have I been here?
The morning cock screamed at the world to awaken. I rose, my weary bones creaking with age that was not mine. I was 18 when I was taken. How many years have passed are hard to count. Each day blends into the next. Rise, Ring the bell, work the household, eat the measly portions they provide, sleep.
Scars now swath my back and shoulders. The most recent ones burn against the rough fabric of my shirt. I simply thank Goddess that they gifted me with cloth to bind my chest. My hair hangs in several skinny honey colored braids, redone when my hair grows out to loosen the braids. My skin is pale copper, almost ivory, with being inside so long. I'm average in height, standing at 6 foot 3inches, when not bowing in respect for the Mistress. Rule number one, Always show respect for the Mistress. I'm lighter than I should be, hard work and small meals keep extra weight from me. My eyes are blue, sometimes green when I get angry.
They saw a lot of green in my eyes at first. Now they're almost a dull gray. Sometimes they still fire green when I think of Him. He left me here. Left me here to whither and die.
Mistress is calling me. I hasten to her side, head bowed with eyes downcast. I barely get a look at the people around her. I know Master Ruben has come to call. If I look up at them, Mistress will be angry and stomp on my tail.
Did I not mention? I'm not human.
The year is 4027. I would tell you the name of my home, but you would not be able to pronounce it. You may call it Karanthia. This world is advanced, but is stuck in Old World thinking. My slender ears pick up the fuss of the Young Master in his room down the hall. A human nanny is caring for him.
"Bunny! Bring out drinks for Maser Ruben. His travels have made him thirsty."
I mutter "Yes, Mistress." and hurry to bring the Master his drink. He's come here many times, and I know just how to make his vile preference. I hate what they have named me. "Bunny" named after the beast that is pray to many. A small, furry thing, this Bunny creature. Long ears and strong back legs. Lives in the ground, as I understand it.
The only thing this creature and I have in common is the shape of our ears, and the strength of our hind legs. Karanthians are known for being swift runners and steady climbers.
I fix Master Ruben's drink. What they call Whiskey and a splash of bubbly water. Vile poisons. Don't they know how they kill? Why do they drink such harmful things willingly? One would think that they'd know better by now.
I'm the only Karanthian in this city. I hear there's another to the West, but that's just a rumor.
I bring out the drink before Mistress becomes impatient. My beatings still bleed sometimes. They seem to find some fascination in seeing my silver blood. It sickens me.
Mistress dismisses me back to my chores. The halls still need sweeping and the garden tended.
Gardening is possibly the only joy I find here. The plants are so different here, but the principle is the same. They all require the phases of nature. Light, Dark, Water, and Soil. Mistress is pleased because her garden is the best of the city.
Her garden, indeed. I have nothing here. I don't even own the mat on which I sleep. Time to serve dinner, and then it's off to sleep.
Hear me, Brothers, Sisters! Save me! Have you forgotten me so soon? Who has taken my place to make you forget your beloved?
Xriss! Why did you leave me? Did our love mean nothing?
Another day, another torture. This time a stranger has come to call. They want to see their "Bunny"
I am not yours! I will never be yours!
But I have no power here. How I long for Karanthia, where I can bend the waters to my will, move earth with a thought, fuel fire without wood, call the winds by name.
When I had a name, they called me Therese. Therese, Caller of the Elements. And yet they scorn me so. Leaving me here to die! How could they? I was a warrior! Now ground beneath the heel of these plump, squash-faced humans. If I get out of here, I will see what has made them forsake me so.
Mistress has me disrobe before this stranger. His eyes lech onto my slim figure. I was a beauty on Karanthia. Revered for my appearance and power. Power that is useless here. I keep my eyes down. My heart burns. If I had my power.... my shoulders hunch a little more. If I had my power, indeed. But I do not. I am their slave, walking on borrowed ground. Mistress does not allow him to touch me. Thank the Goddess. I do not know if I could have kept myself from flinching. His lechery continues. Taking in what few others have seen. I have only had a few mates, and they are far away in the reaches of time.
Mistress finally allows me to dress. This humiliating experience is over for now. I breathe a sigh of relief as I go to tend to the garden. This is the closest I can get to using my power.
I wave my hand over the plants lovingly. Once this move had caused the greenery to spring up and meet my hand like the head of a feline, looking for a caress. It was almost unperceived, the small shiver of the plants as I waved my hand. I paused, but not too long. Did I actually have my powers? Could it be the unfamiliarity of the plants and elements merely weakened it? I pondered this as I watered and weeded. The sun darkened my skin almost to its original copper tone. Soon, it would start turning bronze as the cruel sun beats down. If it ever turns gold, I should stay in the shade as much as possible.
Brothers! The Golden Stillness is approaching me, I know it. Do you leave your kin to burn in this cruel wasteland?
Mistress is calling me again.
She has me meet her in her parlor, a grand room, usually used for entertaining guests and close family. What new torture am I going to face now?
A weaker soul would have withered away years ago.
Mistress has an odd expression today. It takes me a moment to realize that she is nervous. I've never seen Mistress nervous before. She has always been cool and collected or annoyed and displeased. Logic says that she feels more emotions than these, but I have never seen them. Until today.
"Bunny. Sit down." She gestures to the couch beside her. I am in awe. Slaves do not sit on the furniture. Guests sit. Servants sit. Slaves do not.
"Sit!" she insists. I sit on the very edge of the couch, back straight, ready to move in case she changes her mind.
"Bunny, you know how happy we are to have you. You've done so much for the household."
What was she talking about? I was a slave. I did these things because I was told to.
"You've done a marvelous job with my garden." She went on. I nodded to show I was listening. Did she sound regretful?
"But Master Phillips, wishes to buy you from us."
Was that the man who had asked to "see" me? I do not want to be this man's slave. Anger bubbles in my veins, and I know my eyes are starting to turn green.
"We do not want to let you go, but he has made a very generous offer. My husband will visit him on Monday to discuss the final price. You will be accompanying him. Make sure that you're--" She broke off. Her eyes were actually tearing up! I looked on, hiding my amazement behind the stone expression that I've adopted so well here. She dotted the corners of her eyes with a handkerchief. "Make sure that you're packed and ready to go." She finished, and dismissed me. I rose and left. I don't know what she counted mine that I would pack. My sleeping mat, perhaps?
Later, after I'd served dinner and was just about to crawl onto my mat and fall asleep, I heard the bell that summoned me to my Mistress' side. It came from her bedchamber. I entered quietly, and saw her standing by her wardrobe.
"Bunny, come here." I walked over to stand a few feet from her. Watching carefully. She never punished me inside the house. So I had not displeased her somehow. In her hand was a small bronze backed hair brush. To my amazement, she handed it to me
"Bunny, I want you to have this." She said, when it was in my grasp. This shocked me so much that I almost dropped it. If I hadn't been afraid to speak, I would have questioned her giving me such a precious thing. She raised a hand to my braided hair.
"You have such pretty hair, I hope you get a chance to wear it down someday." Then she dismissed me, and I went to my mat, and laid down. My mind was buzzing. Why would she give me something so pretty and practical? What was going to happen to me in Master Phillips' hands? I didn't have a good feeling about it, from the way he had leered at me. I know he had been attracted to me. I tried not to gag at the thought. I turned over to lie on my side. And my powers? I'd have to practice. Maybe I can improve them to work, even on this mechanical wasteland.
How I missed Karanthia, The lush greenness, and the calming sounds of the wildlife. What would these weaklings do if they ever faced a wild Irisinth? I pictured a human going up against the vivid purple beast, it's form similar to their leopard, with dual tails. Though it's impressive fangs and claws were formidable things to go against, they were nothing compared to the tails. In each tail were a dozen barbs, tipped with a powerful poison. One scratch could kill, what did these humans call them? Elephants. I almost smiled. It would be a sight to see. I sighed, and closed my eyes, trying to connect my mind to my Brothers and Sisters, eons away. I knew it was hopeless, but I had to try anyway.
Brothers! Can you hear me? Why haven't you come?
Why haven't you come?
I opened my eyes. Why hadn't they come? I didn't want to ponder that too far. Were they dead? Did they think I was dead? Do they not care that their most powerful warrior is trapped here?
Do they not care?
That was a question that tore at my heart. Tears pricked behind my eyes, but I held them back.
No. I would not weep. Goddess help me, I would not weep.
I turned over again and closed my eyes to sleep. I would have to wake up early tomorrow. And the next day, and the next. Then Monday would come, and I'd go to see how much this Phillips person was paying for me. Maybe the price will be too low, and Master won't sell me.
The devil you know, or the devil you don't?
An age old question, that's no easier to answer than the day it was thought.
The next two days were rather interesting. The rest of the household seemed to know that I would be sold soon. Maids and Servants who had never spoken to me, were now saying how sorry they were to see me go. The cook, who had been at least tolerable to me, scoffed after a couple of such maids had left the kitchen. I was still eating, and so she said to me, in her normal good naturedly crabby voice.
"They're only sad to see you go, because it'll mean more work for them." she snorted. "Lazy wretches. The one with the red hair? She knocked over the lamp you supposedly broke the other week. Now she'll get punished for her own clumsiness for a change."
I looked skeptically out the door they had exited. I had figured someone had blamed me for breaking the lamp. I am not a clumsy person. Though my tail had caused some mischief at first. I wasn't used to such a crowded space. But since then, it was very rare for me to break anything. Least of all something as visible as a lamp.
That night, Mistress called me to her bedchamber again, when I got there, she asked that I go back and bring my new brush. I figured she had changed her mind about giving it to me, and so when I returned, I held it out in both hands for her to take.
"What are you doing, Bunny? I gave it to you. But you haven't used it."
I shook my head. I didn't have time in the mornings to unbraid and brush, then rebraid my hair.
"Well, come here, and I'll help you."
She fumbled with the braids, until I took over, undoing the twisting braids with the swiftness of a thousand mornings' practice. The hair was so used to being in braids, that it kinked in lovely waves all the way down to my tail. I hadn't needed to rebraid them recently, I had forgotten how long my hair truly is.
Mistress then took a section of hair and demonstrated how to brush it with gentle, short strokes. After that, I took over, brushing it as far as my shoulders, then pulling my hair forward to brush the rest of it. It took less time than I thought it would, and soon, my hair was back up in its braids. The many braids were usually kept back in a head band or piece of string. Mistress actually looked sad when she dismissed me. Strange creatures, these humans.