Flervin found Carl in town and told him about the appointment he set with Colrath.
The quiet healer looked around and finally spoke “Colrath is a slaver, right? What are we going there for, Flerv? Slaves? Besides, I missed my appointment and he’s probably pissed at me now.”
“yes, he’s the slaver. I’m sure we can talk our way around the missed appointment – or so I hope. I want to see what they have for…options” replied the wizard, leaning on his staff.
Carl’s curiosity still got the best of him “I guess it would be kind of nice to have someone carry me around piggy back all the time.”
The two walked to Colrath’s compound. It resembled a jail or keep, it was the most defended looking structure in all of Latha-Ir. One of the guards outside recognized the duo and opened the door for them.
The room beyond was a lobby of sorts, with a nice looking fountain with lush greenery in the center. There were some Koi swimming about in the fountain. The walls were painted with some depictions of farmers, laborers and entertainers doing their tasks with smiles with painted gold coins piled on the bottoms of each mural – giving the effect that their work produces wealth.
The wall opposite the entrance has a painted scroll mural which read:
The slaves for sale here have been trained to serve you passionately. They have come to this state due to debts owed,many come here willingly. If they serve you well, it is up to you to decide when they have earned their freedom. Many cultures hold a debt to 7 years. Your slave may end up being a servant, an employee, even a friend. Please leave your weapons, staves and wands with the attendant. All will be returned to you upon exit.
There are two more guards in here as well as an attractive woman dressed in harem type clothes. She held her hands in greeting and invited the men inside. Flervin and Carl entered. Not soon after a door to their right opened and another female, younger, came in, carrying a tray of wine and goblets for the guests.
Flervin bowed in greeting and extended his staff to the attending guard. Carl followed suit. The guard handed the weapons to the servant girl who bowed and exited the way she came.
“Colrath will be with you shortly. In the meantime, sit, have a drink, and tell me briefly of what type of servant you are seeking…” the woman said as she sat on the desktop, slightly suggestively.
Flervin poured himself a goblet of the wine, sipped and spoke “I was curious as to what types of slaves you have available and the prices for their offered servitude.”
The receptionist smiled and responded “We have all manner of servants for your purchase. We have everything from general laborers, warriors (like the men you see before you), cooks, house servants, bedroom servants, even beings of other races. All are in top condition, well fed and trained.”
Carl, feeling extremely uncomfortable by all of this, blurted out “Do you have any that mouth off and give you a hard time? That’s probably more in my price range.” The woman turned to Carl “Our slaves are trained to an excellent level of obedience before they are permitted to be sold. You should never have an issue such as this”
Still sipping his wine, Flervin asked “Is the price of your slaves a flat rate, or do the prices for them vary?”
“Excellent question, Our servants range in price depending on the type of service they are trained for, their age, condition, and other factors. I’m sure we have something for you in a price range you will find agreeable”
“I sure it will certainly be worth the discussion. Has business been well for you as of late?” Flervin inquired.
The woman smiled and replied “Master Colrath can explore topic in greater detail, but from my experience, there are always those who have need to enter into bonded service.”
Just then, the door opened again and a man in leather armor and fine clothing stepped out. He appeared to be in his 40’s, with strong build and a casual demeanor. He greeted the men “Good day, I am Colrath.. Welcome. Alexis, I hope, has been a pleasant host while I was detained?”
“Need a strong back. Good at swinging an axe a plus. Firewood and stuff. Got anything like that?” Carl asked. He detested slavery, but remembered that Getto said he may have to leave on pressing family business…without a warrior the group would be in trouble.
“Of course, follow me!” Colrath smiled as he invited the group on a tour. As they moved along, Carl and Flervin made mental notes of the layout. Offices, conference rooms, a larder. The doors were all metal, locked and sturdy looking. There is a man with a broom sweeping up one of the rooms. Colrath smiled at him “Nice work, as usual Harley”
Colrath took the duo through a set of thick double doors and into a courtyard. It looked like where training might take place. In here were two slaves. One wass a man (perhaps the man Flervin saw a day ago) and the other was a goblin.
“Jesse and Mudraks, my newest acquisitions.” smiled the slaver. “Found this goblin on the run from his own kind. Took pity on the poor thing. He’s very eager to serve.”
The goblin, who was mopping the floor, cow towed up to the group. “Yes master, we serve the master. Are these masters my new masters?” he asked, looking at Flervin and Carl. Colrath extended his hand and patted Mudraks on the head. The goblin flinched a bit at first, as if fearful of a strike.
“No, no , Muddy. These men are looking for someone strong.”
“What sorts of things is the goblin capable of doing? Also, why was he on the run from his own kind?” asked Flervin as he studied the beast.
“He is a simple, loyal creature. He can do manual labor, menial tasks with glee”. Colrath laughed.
“YES OH YES. We cleans the latrines, masters, makes em shine. We do!” hooted Mudraks.
Meanwhile Carl was fuming inside. He didn’t like what he was seeing. He wondered if any of these slaves wanted to be freed if only to take revenge on their former master. He looked over to the man, Jesse, who was quietly crimping metal wire for chain mail. The man made sure not to look up from his work.
“I think we are looking for someone a bit more capable.” said FLervin as he watched the pitiful goblin.
“Oh, of course” Colrath smiled, he looked towards one of the guards “Bring out Shamsher and Kilter.”. Without hesitation, the guard left through the opposite door to an area of cells beyond. Meanwhile, the goblin stared up at Flervin, he jumped up and down and began to dance around, apparently thinking he was already purchased by the wizard. Colrath shot the goblin a glance and he quickly stopped his odd celebration.
Soon the guard returned, along with two muscular looking men. One was a swarthy, bearded man with a turban. The other wass bald and clean shaven and tribal tattoos covered his arms and chest. Both men were armed with clubs and shields.
Taking on a grand stature, Colrath announced: “Gentlemen, this Shamsher Singh, the Lion of Kait, and Kilter, Beast of the Frostmarr.” He lowered his arms “Would you like to see them duel?”. At the sight of the two men, Mudraks cowered behind Flervin, who was mildly annoyed by the act.
Carl pointed at the darker fellow “How much for Turban, here?”
“A mere 100 pieces of gold.” Colrath replied with a glint in his eyes. Carl did some mental math and thumbed through his pockets trying to look casual as he determined if he had the coin.
“I’ll take him” he replied, handing over the fee with his best poker face.
“Wonderful!” exclaimed Colrath. The woman from the lobby returned to handle the transaction while Shamsher bowed and was lead back through the cell block. “He will be washed and dressed and provided to you in one hour’s time. You may remain in our lobby or I can have him delivered to you somewhere in Latha-Ir.” Colrath then turned to Flervin. “Would you be purchasing anyone today, oh, wizard?”
Flervin wasn’t sure why, but he studied the goblin. Did he possess any special qualities. The beast appeared a bit scrawny, but moved quickly and perhaps gracefully in an odd way. Then it dawned on Flervin. This was the goblin that escaped from the spider den. The one the goblin chief was looking for – the one who didn’t ‘take the bite’ (whatever that meant).
“You’ve taken to that beast!” 10 gold and he is yours!" Laughed Colrath. in anticipation of a sale.
Flervin knelt and spoke to the goblin. " Mudraks, why did you run from your people?"
Looking first at Colrath, as if getting permission to speak, the goblin replied ""They chose to serve monsters, master. SPIDERS! We all had to get bitten by the queen spider. Changes them, it did. Mudrak’s friends change! Mudrak’s family change! They not goblins anymore, master." the goblin looked inwardly and then his eyes widened and he screamed “AFRAID MUDRAKS WAS! NO MASTER! NOT GOING BACK!!!” he clutched at Flervin’s robes, getting a calm urgency to his voice “Will serve you, take care of the master!”
Flervin looked at Colrath.
“A pittance, 10 pieces of gold for the beast. He’s loyal, if nothing else.” replied Colrath, trying to seal the deal.
Carl leaned over the goblin, intimidatingly “You know anything about a guy in a black cloak?” he asked with a finger pointed between Mudrak’s eyes. At the mention of the man, Mudraks shrieked and jumped away spastically.
“NO!!!!!! NOT HIM MASTER! MUDRAKS HATES HIM!!! RATS MAN THE RATS MAN!!! NOOOoooooo!” the goblin scrambled around, knocking over chairs and spilling Jesse’s metal links to the ground. Colrath’s demeanor changed and he became furious. He nodded to a guard who stepped foward, drawing his club.
“Enough, I will buy the beast. He will serve me well” Flervin uttered. Colrath stayed the guard and Mudraks’ tantrum ceased. The goblin raced over to Flervin and hugged him aggressively.
“OH MASTER. Mudraks will serve the master. Mudraks loves the master.” He cowered below Flervin, then jumped up and tugged on Flervin’s backpack. “Here, Mudraks carries master’s pack for master!!!” He then quickly knelt to the ground and spit on Flervin’s boots. “Shines master’s shoes!.” he cried as he frantically began rubbing them with his ragged shirt.
“Mudraks, calm yourself.” Flervin uttered as he wondered just what he had done.