Erdan of the Oak Tower Tribe
- Name: Erdan (Lightsong)
- Race: Firbolg
- Appearance: Looks like a Firbolg
- Flotilla: Fourth Flotilla
Every creature, plant, and rock has a spirit Erdan, he could hear his grandmother’s voice say, And each owes it’s life to the Island Spirit.
Erdan stepped onto the wood platform, not for the first time in his life and probably not for the last. The crowd around the platform perked up with interest. It wasn’t every day that a firbolg was sold on the auction block.
“Firbolg, male,” the auctioneer called, “extremely strong, still in his prime years. No history of violence or insubordination. Strong and very good with livestock.” Erdan had heard it all before. He generally demanded a high price due to his natural strength and the fact that he could naturally speak with animals. This was at least his third time being sold since childhood. His previous owner had died of old age, may his soul rest in the river. He had been kind to Erdan and treated him well. He had given Erdan his own space in the barn and let him tend to his own garden. There weren’t many other servants on the farm and Erdan had been given considerable responsibility.
A man in the crowd wearing rather rich looking, dark green robes raised his hands. How much money had that been? 2,500 gold? Erdan was worth considerably more than that.
“I think it is going to rain,” a tiny bluebird said as it landed on Erdan’s shoulder. It’s colors shifted from bright blue to hues of amethyst. No one in the audience responded or seemed to notice the tiny avian creature, “I can always tell when it is going to rain.”
“I appreciate your wisdom, Nightsky,” Erdan subtly made a gesture of respect with his left hand. It was his people’s custom to pay tribute to the spirits of the island. This particular spirit had been with Erdan since his childhood and although he did not believe it was a spirit of one of his ancestors, he paid it tribute for its help and loyalty.
The auction was now at 4,500 gold and the man in green robes had given up. Only three people seemed to be competing at this point.
“Who will tend to your flowers?” the spirit asked. It was referring to the morning glories Erdan so fondly tended to in his garden. Try as he might contain his disappointment, he knew that it was disrespectful to not answer a spirit’s direct question, even if that question seemed obvious to him.
“I do not know Nightsky,” Erdan said. A few of the onlookers seemed to notice that he was speaking and he hoped that the spirit did not ask another question.
“10,000 gold!” a woman said. Her voice carried above the crowd and people gasped at declaration. This woman who stood at least a head taller than everyone in the crowd, men included, had simply walked up and made a demand - one well above the current asking price.
“Sold!” the auctioneer called.
For some reason, Erdan felt a weight growing in his stomach.
The woman was only a few inches shorter than Erdan. She reminded him of a mountain lion, graceful and powerful. Since purchasing his contract, she had not spoken. She had filled out the paperwork as expected but had exchanged no other words with the auctioneers. It was still odd to Erdan how the auctioneers justified his slavery, or as they called it, ‘his services.’ Slavery was technically illegal, but he had been informed as a child that he was considered a ‘monstrous race’ and as such, didn’t have the same rights as another person. It didn’t make any sense to him, but apparently, there were specific words in the contract that proved he was in fact not a slave but a servant.
“She is strong,” the bear said. It lumbered from one of the shops where it had been enjoying the smells of the freshly baked bread and out into the street as Erdan and his new master walked past. His fur was white like the snow and his large shoulders rolled calmly as he walked beside Erdan. Again, his hands reflexively made the appropriate gestures and he took on a stance of reverence. The bear had been his father’s spirit companion and had been passed to Erdan when his father traveled to the spirit realm.
“May I ask my Master’s name?” Erdan asked calmly as she took them down an alley. She turned to face him and he was surprised to see her cold stare. She was utterly emotionless and it left him feeling cold. Even more surprising was the feeling of her backhanded blow to the side of his face. He hadn’t been expecting it which only lent to its effectiveness. He staggered back.
“You will know your Master’s name if he deems it appropriate,” she said, “This is your first lesson.”
The bear spirit remained unresponsive. The spirits, although somehow linked to him, lacked empathy to his situation. They always had. It had been a difficult lesson to learn when he was younger - he had assumed that they would help him out of his situation or serve him in some manner. But as his grandmother had taught him, ‘It is not they who answer to us - rather it is us who must learn to answer to their will. Only when we do so will we find them in alignment.’ This was an odd arrangement. In the past, Erdan had served as a farmhand or a guard for a wealthy merchant, yes, but he had always known who his master was. Could it be that … yes… the telltale slave mark was on the woman’s left hand as well.
“You are to travel to the Dwarven town four days south of here,” the woman said. She handed him a scroll. He unrolled it and found that it was some sort of certificate of identity. It stated that he, Erdan of the Oak Tower tribe, was a low ranking member of a militia. “You will join the militia there. They are investigating a rather unfortunate chain of events. You will learn as much as you can.” “And then?” Erdan asked. The question was reflexive.
“You will wait. You will be contacted when necessary,” she answered. Her tone was so matter-of-fact. She handed him a small bag of coin, something he had never personally possessed, “You are to purchase appropriate gear and supplies befitting of a person in a militia. This is all the money you will be given at this time so spend it as you see fit. I would avoid spending it or losing it as you will not be given anymore.” Erdan’s mind was racing. Was this a test? Was this woman trying to trick him? This money was nowhere near enough for him to make an escape but it was also more than any other slave that he knew of had ever possessed.
“And one more thing Erdan of Oak Tower,” she said. She made a note on a small sheet of paper she pulled from her pocket like she was checking something from her to-do list, “And I am telling you this because I am sure you are very confused. I wish someone had told me this though I am not sure I would have truly understood it. Your Master will know if you run. He will know if you disobey. The first time he will use it as an opportunity to teach you a lesson. But if you fuck it up a second time, he will kill you. No questions asked.”
With that, she walked away, leaving Erdan with more money and freedom than he had ever possessed. Somehow though, he knew he was now more trapped than ever before.