EX:HOTPBackground

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I have been born into this world twice, both times I was screaming and covered in blood.

My mother was a woman of wealth but not station. She marketed her companionship. Her keen wit and social graces added to the remarkable beauty that was gifted to her. Unlike most merchants who peddle their wears, my mother bartered for her time, attention, and on rare occasion her body. Some would call her a whore but in doing so only show their ignorance.

My mother, certain of my capacity for greatness invested heavily in tutors. Many of the tutors led to disappointing results. I have no knack for the social graces, much less the gifts for subtle manipulation. Though I tried to understand in order to win my mothers approval, some things are not meant to be. It appears I was destined to use my form rather than my mind to make my mark on creation.

My father is a great mystery to me. I am certain of only two things when it comes to him. My mother knows who he is and that that knowledge is dangerous. In the absence of a father, I tried to mold myself to the image of the man that was most consistently present, her guard. The unobtrusive yet always present protector. The man willing to put himself in harms way for the welfare of another. It is that man who I grew to emulate, and that caused my mother much grief.

Children get into trouble, it is what they do. The more children you put together the more trouble they tend to get into. This was most certainly the case when it came to my friends. When together our antics normally went from foolish pranks into theft and vandalism. There was no real reason for it, It was just the folly of the young. My role was never the mastermind or we would have gotten caught much sooner than we did. I assumed the role of protector over my group, always lagging behind when we ran to ensure none got left behind. Occasionally acting as the enforcer when my friends were in jeopardy. It is because of these things that I was the first caught when things didn't go to plan. Our antics escalated to dangerous levels before we were finally caught in a mess that our parents could not extract us from. I chose to accept the punishment on my own rather than implicating my friends. The consequences were severe. I was sold into servitude until the debt for the damages was paid.

Slavery taught me some very important lessons. The most important lesson it taught me was to work from the neck down. Not to question why I was doing something just to simply do it. There were many others but that was likely the most important. The last lesson I learned as a slave is the one that caused my death, and subsequent rebirth. Allowing the suffering of others is as evil an act as inflicting that same suffering.

By my second year as a slave I had learned to keep my head down. To avoid the gaze of the taskmasters, to do my work well as to avoid the lash, and to not borrow the troubles of others. My servitude had broken me of my nature, there was only concern for myself. This all changed when Illian came to the camp. He was a young boy, the same age as myself when I arrived here. Unlike myself he was weak and sickly, unable to complete his work. He often earned the lash from our taskmasters. The boy I was before I cam here would have helped him with his work, would have shared with him the extra food I earned for working well, but I did none of those things. I took care of only myself and watched him suffer under the wrathful lash of a judgmental task master.

One night as we lay in the fields, an almost full moon rising into the night sky I heard a soft prayer come from Illian. He did not pray for vengeance or freedom that most of the new slaves do. He instead prayed for the enlightenment of our captors. He wished for our taskmasters to understand that by hurting others they hurt themselves. Not so that they would know guilt but so that they themselves could be better men. His prayer awakened a part of me that I thought the camp had managed to kill.


The next day I became the man I remembered watching as a boy. The man who watched over those that are in need. I began to quietly help Illian with his work, out of view of the taskmasters. I shared with him the extra rations that I would receive for my dutiful service. I became Illian's warden, his

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