Jory Slavefreer By Devin E Smith
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Rated "PG" by the Author.
This is the first Fantasy short story I've written in awhile, I actually wrote it in a couple hours.
Jory stood watching the bustle of the city.Slaves were easily marked by their shambling way, jus their meandering walk showed the defeat in their souls.Whenever he saw them he felt a righteous anger.The last five years of his life had been working for the freedom of slaves.A small group had begun but as the news spread their numbers had swelled.The city buzzed with gossip about the group, not only its members but how and when it would next strike.
They had made only small outings thus far, freeing only a few slaves at a time from either small plantations or from households.The strikes had been few and far between, hoping to keep a sort of anonymity to them.
However, the next strike they had planned was much larger.The plantation that they had decided to hit was the largest in the surrounding area, just out of the city limits where the City Watch would be sparse if not completely gone.
The Cemelon Plantation boasted a population of nearly one thousand slaves, with only three hundred guards to keep them in check.The numbers spoke truly of the defeat the slaves felt.
Jory felt the need to change that feeling.If they could free that many slaves in one fell swoop, a complete slave rebellion couldn’t be too far off.His hope was that if they could free these slaves the others would find some feeling of anger at their oppressors; he hoped this feeling could be stoked into a great fire.
Within a month they hoped to have the slaves in total rebellion, razing the city and the nobility therein.The city was small and it would be a minor victory, but a victory was all that the slaves needed.One victory and rebellion would spread through the land like a plague of freedom.
Borlen was sitting in an alley, covered in grim and reeking of urine.If his situation bothered him he didn’t show it.He was much used to the beggar persona.He had played it often, and sometimes it wasn’t a mask to wear, it was living.Tonight he was supposed to meet with one of the rebellion’s leaders to supply weapons for the slaves.
They would set up pick up points in various points throughout the city, filling storehouses with swords, armor and other supplies.When the rebellion began the slaves wouldn’t last if they weren’t outfitted for battle, Borlen meant to change the odds.The slaves outnumbered the citizens and Watch, with the proper supplies the rebellion would be victorious no matter.
He watched as a man in rags and torn, dirty clothing shambled towards his alley.The man flashed him a clean smile, belying his true nature.The disguise otherwise was good, he wouldn’t be recognized.
The contact stumbled and fell near the mouth of the alley and crawled pitifully into the alley.Seemingly on the last of his strength he pulled himself into a sitting position and his chin fell to his chest.Almost as if he had simply fallen asleep.
Borlen was unsure of how to go about the meeting; he had rarely met with this kind.He had certainly never met a man so serious about a full rebellion.He crawled towards the edge of the alley, nearer to the man but not too close to appear suspicious.The Watch kept an eye on beggars, they may seem shabby but on occasion they would sell narcotics to one another for pennies or favors.
He lay down on the opposite side of the alley, hoping the contact would awaken from his apparent slumber and get on with it.Borlen was becoming more apprehensive after each moment that passed.
Borlen didn’t have to wait long before the contact spoke.“We have all of the supplies; I’ll leave a map where I sit when I leave.All is in position, and all is well.Faith brother and we shall set you free.”The contact rasped.He then made a show of looking about wildly as if paranoid, stood and took off down the alley.Wear he sat – as he had promised – lay a folded piece of worn parchment.
Borlen discreetly picked up the paper, tucked it away, and made his way from the alley.Only when he knew he was safe did he dare look upon it, and inside he found the faith he had previously lacked.
The contact made his way back to the safe house.He shed his beggars disguise and washed up at the Weed Tumble Inn, a supporter of their cause.He snuck into the back door a beggar and strolled out of the front a nobleman.
He made his way down Silver Street with an ostentatious stroll.Walking as if he owned the entire street.The contact turned into The Morning’s Bread, the front of the safe house was a bakery.Jory’s father had owned the bakery before he died, and passed it on to the lad.He now used it to harbor fugitives, escaped slaves, and many wanted for helping slaves.
The contact burst into the front room, purse clinking.His look swept up and down the long counter where business was done and noticed the false charity change box on the far corner.The box was a signal that Jory was in.
The contact tipped his hat at the boy currently behind the counter and walked into the back.After he entered the back room he stopped and waited to see if anyone would follow.No one did.The contact then knelt down and opened a hidden latch on the ground.He opened the trap door and slid down the ladder to the safe house.
At the bottom of the stairs he knocked twice – far apart – and then thrice – quickly.He stood back and waited.The door opened slightly and it was bright beyond.Jory stood with a large grin on his face.“So I assume that the work went well Nared?”
The contact – Nared – returned the smile genuinely and answered.“Borlen now has the map, and more than likely he has found the faith in it that he has hitherto found hard to grasp.”They looked at each other for a moment before Jory burst into laughter.
“This plan is going easier and quicker than I had previously expected!”Jory called for mulled wine and they celebrated one small step toward the ultimate goal.
Two weeks after that small victory, the slaves began to stir.They had heard the news, they had seen the map.They were going to be freed and they would run this city themselves soon.The fire that Jory saw in their eyes when they recognized him was so invigorating that he almost couldn’t wait.He wanted to push forward with the plan, but he knew it wasn’t quite ready yet.
They had made several steps forward, filling the storehouses with more and more supplies for the slave rebellion.Making contacts amongst the population that would help the rebellion.Their numbers grew daily, not only from believing slaves but from the general citizens.Most of them weren’t wealthy enough to own slaves, which not only made the bitter towards the monopolizing nobility, but some of them were simply disgusted by slavery.
The rebellion needed to be careful though, every citizen they recruited could very well be a spy.The nobility’s arms were long, and their money made them seem infinitely long.They reached throughout the lands, commanding loyalty with their riches.
Jory knew someday, however, even that money could not hold the world forever.He knew someday that the world would be free from the tyrannical nobility.He felt he could facilitate this new world, he had a chance and he was taking it.He would create this new world, and he would give it to those who deserved it.
He would hand it to the meek.
Borlen had seen many things in his sixty years, but a rebellion gathering this much wind in its sails had seemed impossible to him.They were so often put down with an easy show of force, but this rebellion was more, it was impossible to take down so simply.It was hope.
The slaver yelled at his charges, making sure they kept to their work.He had heard the tidings of a slave rebellion, but he knew that these slaves would never have the courage to rise up.He had made sure of that.
He would choose a few each day and whip them publicly, breaking their spirit was a simple task for a man like Hroll.He had been raised by a harsh father and still held that resentment in his heart.He put all of his anger into disciplining his charges.
Hroll had been sold into slavery by his father during his teenage years.He had murdered his owner and escaped, after hunting down his father and killing him as well he began his search for work.He had fallen into the slave trade that had once taken him.After many years his reputation had gotten him a job at the Cemelon Plantation.The pay was terrific and had kept his loyalty for many years, few jobs paid better and he didn’t have the same knack for them.
He spotted a slave that had straightened from his field tending.The defiance in his slaves eyes made sure that he would be one of the whipped tonight.His face was in a perpetual scowl but his eyes glittered malevolently at the prospect of showing his power.His life boiled down to pride and lording his power over the slaves, he couldn’t be happier.
The day was nearly at hand, Jory was shaking in anticipation.In only a few hours the team would hit the Cemelon Plantation and he would sweep the streets, making sure the slaves were supplied speedily and smoothly.If all went well at the end of the next day the city would be theirs.
The hit team would burn down the plantation when the job was finished as the signal.Once the fires were visible Jory’s job became top priority.He had visited all of the storehouses after dusk and made sure the inventory was still ready – it was.Dawn was still far off, which gave the hit team plenty of time to finish the job.They had left more than two hours ago; they should be ready to initiate the plan.
They hoped that taking the plantation would be a two hour job; the dark would hide them before and make the signal fires easier to see after.Once that happened the slaves would revolt, still before most nobles would even be awake.
The key to victory was surprise, and Jory had made sure that it would be a surprise.He had pushed the plan on longer than was first projected in hopes that any informants that got wind of it would have false information.
His plan would be fulfilled in mere hours – his life’s work was so near fruition.
Hroll awoke with a start, he heard screaming.It wasn’t pain, it seemed more . . . primal.Almost as if it were a call to arms.It took a heartbeat for Hroll to realize exactly what those screams meant.The rebellion wasn’t a lie, he had been wrong.
His lips twisted into what could be described as a deranged sort of smile.He grabbed his short sword off the hook on the wall.He thought about taking the whip as well but decided against it, he wouldn’t want to be distinguished as a slaver.
He ran out into the hallway, looked left then right and listened.He heard the screams out to the West and moved off quickly.He doubted the slaves would get a good foothold; even one man such as himself would be enough to hold them in one of the long hallways throughout the plantation proper.
He turned a corner and – to his horror – saw the utter devastation before him.The slaves were formed in tight fighting groups, systematically taking out the bedraggled groups of slavers.All in their nightclothes holding weapons and running.The slaves were surprisingly disciplined, almost as if they were being commanded by a real warrior.
Hroll spied a group of well dressed men who were gathered around a table.He realized they must have facilitated this uprising, and he vowed to be the one that put it down.He ran towards the group at the table, killing any slaves who came near.No matter how disciplined they seemed they had never seen battle like he had.
He arrived at the table nearly breathless; perhaps sprinting wasn’t a good idea.It no longer mattered he was twice the swordsman any of them would be.He would put down this rebellion even if it took his life.The group of men had taken notice of him, but they quickly ran off leaving one behind.He wasn’t a large man – nearly a head shorter than Hroll himself – and less built.He was obviously quick and lithe, but Hroll was certain he could defeat the man.
He tore his short sword free of its sheath and met the man’s first thrust with a quick parry.Both men trying to size the either’s skill up, they came together again and then stood back.Hroll didn’t have time to deal with this upstart; he decided to end it quickly.He leaped forward sword leading but pulled it back as the other man moved to parry.He kicked out with his right leg and kicked the other mans leg, putting him off balance.His blade swept forward in a deadly arc that was barley met by a parry.
Hroll bulled forward knocking the already off balance man onto his rump.He then beat down on him with his blade ferociously.The man tried valiantly to survive the onslaught but was no match for Hroll’s intensity.After only a few heartbeats the man’s parries came slower, and then too slow.Hroll’s blade smashed through the pathetic blade and creased the man’s face.He pulled his blade free of the dead man’s skull and stalked the group.
He still had the time to end this uprising.
Jory was becoming worried.The first strike had been initiated – surely – but the signal fire had not been started.Was it possible they had lost?Dawn was quickly nearing and he needed to begin the uprising.No matter what had happened he could not give up on this.
He decided at that moment that it was time to move forward, they could do this – with or without that plantation taken out.They still had superior numbers.He called to his men and they gathered around him, he had meticulously given them all an individual set of instructions.It was time to see if his men were ready.
When they surrounded him he began.“My friends, we all know that this was not supposed to start until the fires burned on the horizon.But I fear that our friends have fallen into trouble.”A gasp ran through the small gathering.Jory patted his hands in the air to settle them.“Despite this they would want us to continue.I would ask of all of you that you not only fight for the slaves tonight, not only for freedom either.But fight for your fallen brethren.The men that died at that plantation were our brothers and now we need to avenge them!”
His speech rallied the men, he told them to get on their way.As simple as that, the greatest slave rebellion this world had ever seen began.
Borlen was at one of the storehouses making sure the preparations went well.The supplies were readied for departure and some slaves had already started trickling in.Every moment more and more arrived, crowding the storehouse.
Borlen was trying to keep the chaos to a minimum.The only way the slaves could win was with order.He made sure that every slave was outfitted properly.When large enough groups were ready he would send them out to be organized into raiding parties.
He was glad when most of the bustle was over; most of the slaves in the area had been fully outfitted.If all was well the entire city was now filled with armed slaves.They could win.
Hroll had managed to kill a few of the original group; the others had fled in the ensuing chaos.Without generals the slaves had fallen apart.Not to mention Hroll’s own call to arms.He had organized a retaliation that had increased in size at a quick pace.The uprising was all but smashed, now they were merely mopping up.
Hroll put another in charge and called out.“Whoever would like to come with me, I am heading to the city.If the slaves meant to attack here they will surely attack the city as well.We must stop them!”Many men came to his call, but he made sure enough stayed to keep the order in the plantation.
They emptied the stables and rode the horses hard.They arrived in the city within the hour.Dawn was nearly upon them and the noises of battle filled their ears.Tonight would be a terrific night indeed.
Jory wasn’t completely surprised that the Watch was already on the scene.But they couldn’t be everywhere.He was still sure of his plan, many casualties were sure to happen but they would win.They had to win.
He took up arms as well and moved off toward the fighting with the Watch.The most danger was with that fight, but he needed to make an appearance.His face would instill hope in his army.
He leapt into the fight blade leading.A man from the Watch turned towards him anger in his eyes.They came together in a clash of steel.The Watchmen’s overhand chop was powerful, blocking it numbed Jory’s sword arm.He didn’t let his weakness show though and came forward with a stab at the man’s midsection.He easily pushed the blade from his body and stepped sideways.
The Watchmen kicked out at Jory’s knee but he leapt over it and came down with a savage blow.The Watchmen’s blade smacked the blade away again.He stabbed towards Jory’s face then retracted his blade, stabbed at his legs, retracted again, and landed a minor slash across Jory’s hip.Jory limped backward gasping for air.The Watchmen was a better swordsman by far.
Jory looked around desperately, hoping against hope that he would find someone familiar to intervene on his behalf.When he looked back he realized his folly.The Watchmen’s blade was buried in his chest before he had time to call out to any of his allies.His life left him quickly.
Hroll’s party had put down several groups of slaves and met up with the Watch soon after arriving.They had systematically taken the city step by step.The city might have actually fallen had they not arrived, the slave numbers were simply that high.However, their timely arrival had been sufficient to arouse the Watch and slow the rebellion.Many men had been lost but the slave casualties had been devastating.The slave market would take some time to recover, but the city still belonged to the powerful.It was worth it.