Milus felt as though he had an iron spike driven through his temple when his eyes began to finally flutter open. His arms felt heavy and upon looking at his wrists he could seem them shackled, along with his legs. There was also a heavy feeling against his neck, but not at heavy. Like he was shackled without a chain.
He let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding and began to take stalk of his surroundings. It was warmer in this stone room then outside on the streets, and there was the dim lighting of candles on the walls. He could see his sister, Lucia, next to him with the same restraints as him. He could see that around her neck was also the same chainless shackle with a padlock holding it in place. Strange markings seem to be etched though out the metal and it radiated an energy that seemed to set the air around her sparking.
Lucia still slept peacefully, and for once looking like the child she actually way. However, knowing his sister was with him now allowed him to begin to feel the fear that was causing his very bones to shake and his eyes to dark from corner to corner; eyeing shadow beasts that were not present.
"Luci," Milus spoke in a harsh whisper. "Luci wake up!" He began to shake her shoulders and she groaned in response. She rolled over and ignored his probing at her slumbering form. When was the last time she had actually slept? Milus couldn't remember the last time that had slept with any sort of comfort. Instead Lucia had tended to stay awake while Milus slept, only allowing herself to doze off for a few hours at a time.
"Luci!" Milus finally yelled, loud enough to cause her to jolt awake—clanging her chains in a deep jingle. Lucia then proceeded to thrash around like a cat playing with a mouse. Jumping as she was startled by the chains on her arms that caused her to bolt to her feet then trip over the chains binding her feet as well. She had fallen to the ground with a harsh thud and began to try and push the confining metal off her limbs.
"Try all you want, but you aren't getting those chains off," the voice that had spoken belonged to a willowy man that entered the room. He was dressed in finer silks of indigo and grey. The color of indigo alone told of his wealth. The dye was crazy expensive, something that the children had quickly learned about after accidently spilling a small vile and having to run from the merchant for almost a day. They had screamed the worth and demanded their hands as payment for the precious dye. Since then Lucia had steered them clear of the fabric market.
Lucia let out a growl in response and the energy in the room picked up again as wind that had not previously been there began to whip Milus hair around his face.
"Esaec," the man said and the markings around Lucia's and Milus' neck shackles began to glow and then suddenly they were choking. The iron around their necks constricted and bit into Milus' skin and crushed his windpipe, making his breathing labored and gasped. His eyes strained to look at his sister and she was on her knees, clawing at her neck to try and remove the metal to no avail.
"Esaeler," the man spoke softly and the shackle stopped choking, returning to the comfortable snug that it had been before the men had spoken again. Milus was panting and laying on the ground, however a glace over at his sister and he could see she was still on her knees. Lucia was breathing just a heavily but her gaze was fixed on the willowy man with a mix of fury and hatred.
"I suggest if you don't want to relive that experience you don't try and use your witchcraft again," the man stated in his calm manor. He crouched down to eye level with Milus and Lucia. He first grabbed Lucia's face, harshly. He forced open her mouth to inspect her teeth and then pulled at the skin around her eyes to see if they were clear of cloudy. Lucia growled at him and tried to jerk away, but his grasp was firm and her five-year-old body was no match to his surprising strength.
The man then turned his attention from her to Milus. Milus could feel a dampness around him as he began to shake and nervously eye the willowy man's hands. The man laughed as he began to do the same inspection on Milus that he had Lucia.
"Poor thing," the man spoke as he prodded at Milus' eyes and mouth. "So easily frightened it wets itself. Likely won't make it past training if the military gets ahold of him."
"What do you want with us?" It was Lucia that had spoken up and Milus looked at her the best he could with the willowy man's hands placed firmly under his jaw.
"I want nothing with beasties like you," the man chuckled—finally letting go of Milus' face and rising to his feet again. He moved over to a previously unnoticed desk and made some notes on unseen parchment. "However, I know several people who would pay a satchel of gold coins for you. And that is what I'm going to get."
"You're an auctioneer." The sudden accusation from Lucia was enough to send a shiver down Milus' spine. Everyone at the orphanage knew what the auctioneers were. They had seen more then their share of orphans dragged off to the markets by them. Their friends, sold to the highest bidder like live stock.
"Clever beastie you are." There was almost a tone of praise and curiosity in the Auctioneer's voice that cause Milus' stomach to roll.
"I'm not a beast, I'm a girl!" Lucia had shot to her feet now and was as close to the man as her chains would let her be, her entire torso leaning to him and her dark hair just as wild as her eyes.
"Not to me you aren't," was all he said before kicking her in the stomach, forcing her to tumble back into the stone wall and fall to her knees again.
"Luci!" Milus called out to her as he scrambled to his sister's aid. However, he dares not look at the Auctioneer. He didn't have the stomach or courage for it. How his sister did he would never understand.
"Sleep tight beasties," the Auctioneer said as he began to head to the door. "Tomorrow you will be out of my sight." He slammed the door after then and it rattled in response.
"What are we going to do?" Milus asked his hands shaking on his sister's shoulders, blonde hair concealing his teary eyes.
"I don't know," was what Lucia answers—sounding just a broken as Milus felt.