Xavier looked out over the market and sighed. 'Has the world really fallen so far?' He asked himself. He looked all around, and sighed again, this was supposed to be the nice part of town, yet to him this looked mostly like skilled peasant housing, than merchant housing.
He could not even believe how the people lived. Houses and possessions do not make a person, yet in this time, it seemed that it did. Even Mablin, a man he has grown to respect, and with his actions the day before, he has become someone who will learn the truth. But Xavier still could not understand that man's stance on people. The people seem to have lost the desire to be better than they were born, to work hard for what they want, to fight to have a better life. It is like the people of this time are satisfied with nothing, and take no actions to become better.
He started to walk, not really sure where he was going. This would be their last night in this town, and for Xavier it could not come soon enough. Mablin had said earlier that they would be leaving for Junsac shortly after breakfast. It would take about two weeks to get there. Xavier had decided that during that trip, he would spend every night speaking with both Gradon, the Captain of the Guard, and his wife. He would lay everything out, and see what they could suggest. As it stood right now though, he was seriously considering finding an out-of-the-way place for him and his friends, and just living out their lives as best they could. They easily had enough coin to do that, and they could live well.
He's seen his friends actions, seen their minds, and what they feel about where they are at. None of them have found much worth saving here. Garnet was the one to put to word what everyone else was feeling. "If these 'people' are content with what they have, have absolutely no drive to be better, then why should we. It is said that the Gods will help those that help themselves, and these people are most certainly forsaken by the Gods."
Xavier did not want to agree, but was finding it hard not to. Even the twins that Thane had rescued. The Halfelves, El'izar, and Ev'izar, didn't even know how to go about trying to make themselves better. No one had even done anything other than belittle them. All for the 'crime' of having their parents killed.
Braki... a Dragonling that spoke the Dragon tongue as if it were no better than Orcish, sold at birth into slavery. That alone made Xavier angrier than a riled up Giant Hornet. And yet no one seemed to care. No one seemed to want to try and help others out. It was just so foreign to Xavier... He could not even begin to understand.
He walked out of the gates, not even really knowing where he was going, but knew he had to find something, anything to make him want to press on. When they first got here, he had all these grand plans, now though... Now though he had to wonder why he would even bother.
Xavier sighed again, as his thoughts went back to the arena matches. In Seandra they did have arenas. He even went many times. But never, in all the times that he went there, were the people so blood thirsty, so callous, so crazed, as what he saw. Was it a way to make themselves feel better about themselves, because they were not the ones who were dying?
Then there was Syth, one of his closest friends. The boy who had saved his life many years ago. Now, in this world, he had to act as a salve. And that was just so people would treat him somewhat decently. Xavier simply could not understand hating an entire race because of something that happened so many years ago.
Yes he hated the Brown Dragons, they had destroyed his entire race. They had killed his father, and those he loved. Destroyed his home, and killed millions. Yet Xavier still honored the one he killed, the one who was now his armor. And even more so than that, you could not judge an entire race by the actions of a few. Yet here, no one even wanted to try and give Syth a chance to stand on his own merits. Instead he is judged by the way he looks. That was anathema to Xavier's entire out look on life.
Even Garnet who despises Orcs, given the opportunity, would try and find out if an Orc had what it took to better themselves. If an Orc wanted to learn to better themselves, to become educated, Garnet would be the first one in line to help teach them. It is simply the way the world should be. Together, people are greater, as a whole. Yet all around him he saw only people wallowing in their own self pity and worthlessness.
Xavier stopped and looked around, he did not really remember walking here, but he found himself in what must have been the slums. Structures that he could not even begin to consider to be homes. Rough wood, and grass huts were the best thing he could find here. It stank, it was dirty, there was waste in the streets, but the thing he saw the most was the lack of hope.
Never in all his years had he imagined a people who were so content with nothing. Less than nothing, for they didn't even have the spirit to fight. To make themselves better, to drive themselves to their limits, and beyond. In his mind, Xavier started to piece together the decline of magic, with the decline of people. It made sense.
'Don't judge them too hard my son.' Xavier heard from beside him as he walked. Glancing over, he saw his father, in his human form, walking next to him. Xavier knew he was having a vision, as his body did not react the way his mind screamed for him to. He wanted nothing more than to crawl into his father's embrace, to allow his father's love and strength to soak into his very core, as he had done so many times before. 'You were taught from a very young age to better yourself, it has become part of who you are. Those here...' King Rathort said as he motioned to all those living in squalor around them. 'They have not learned that. They learned the opposite. They 'know' deep in their core that they are what they are, and no matter what happens, they can not do better.'
"But Father, if they are not even willing to fight for it, then they can not do any better." Xavier said with a voice tinged in disgust and hopelessness.
'Most do not even know that they can, nor how to start. What they need is someone to show them. I know it is hard for you to imagine, but not even Seandra began like it ended. It took many years, and many people to push things to be as they were.'
Xavier's father pointed and Xavier's eyes followed. 'It may be hard to find, but you need to search out the people that are trying. That man there. Watch as he speaks to every person that passes, everyone that looks like they may have coin. He does not ask them for the coin, even though he is a beggar. What he asks is if there is something that he can do for them? Any small job that he can do. He has a family to feed, but he does not ask for handouts. There are many people out there that are not content with what they have. You must find them.'
The king paused for a moment, then continued. 'You have an impossible task ahead of you, but the one thing I have learned about you and your friends... impossibility does not stand in your way. Do not allow your own spirit to be broken, and you will find those that will see you, see what you do, and what you can do. They will come to you the same way that people flocked to your great, great, Grandfather when he first founded Seandra. It was not easy, but then again, nothing ever worth doing is. You have the chance, slim as it may be, to not only do what you have your heart set to do, but in doing so, make a better life for those who never thought they could. Keep your heart pure, and your spirit strong, for if you do, then not even the Gods can stop you.' King Rathort said with love and admiration in his voice. 'You and your group have the potential to do things that will upset the balance that has been made here. You simply need to find the strength within yourselves to do so. I know you, and I know your friends, you have that strength and more.' Rathort stopped, and turned to Xavier. 'Be well my son, I have waited long to see you again, and I hope to wait longer still before I see you again.' He opened his arms wide, and Xavier was finally able to fall into those strong arms he knew so well. He closed his eyes and cried.
Syth and Killian sat at a table in the Broken Bedpost, eating their noonday meal. Ever since their fight in the arena, things were different for the two. They were hailed as almost heroes by the people. Something that made them both very uncomfortable. Syth was still not treated normally, but at least now instead of looks of disgust, and open hatred, he was viewed with awe, and fear. The hatred was still there with many, but it was pushed down due to the fear.
Their biggest issue was Teasha. Killian had outright refused to own the girl, saying that Syth was the one that earned the right. Not to mention, Syth was the one who spoke up in the arena, declaring that they were taking her as a slave, so Syth was the one who owned her. It didn't help things when the day after the fight, Syth, feeling particularly vicious made a comment to Killian, asking if he's ever 'felt the touch of a woman'. Killian, blushed while saying no. Syth laughed, slapped his friend on the back, then looked at Teasha. 'I have not had the pleasure either, but I think I soon will.' The look he saw in her eyes when he said that immediately made him feel shame, and regret over what he had said. However, he could not, would not, apologize. Not after what she had said and done.
They were both brought out of their own thoughts as someone stepped up to their table. Looking up, Syth noticed a lad, slightly older than himself standing there very nervous. Syth took a sip of his ale, and cleared his throat. He spoke slowly so as to be understandable as he tried to use the Northman tongue. "What may do I for you?" He said, the shook his head, and said it again. "What may I do for you?"
Killian looked at the boy and smiled. "He is just learning to speak Northman..." He said in way of explanation, causing the boy's confused look to change to one of understanding.
He then bowed very low, and spoke. "Wildcat...I was sent to ask if you would be willing to speak to the Lady Beternia, concerning the sale of her daughter."
Syth was confused and looked at Killian for an explanation. "Wildcat is a term used to honor a Gladiator." Killian said with a grin. Syth thought for a moment, and decided that he didn't mind that term, it was one that he had earned after all.
He smiled at the new boy, and motioned to a chair. "Please join us." He again said very slowly, before he took out the necklace and put it on. "This way I can speak in the language I know, and you will understand me." He said as way of explanation, before he turned to Teasha who was standing against the wall a short distance away. "I have a guest, who does not have a drink. Why is that?" She glared at the boy for a moment, but then turned and ran off to fetch him a drink.
The boy couldn't help but chuckle. "Oh boy is she gonna be unbearable if you sell her back to her mother." Nothing else was said as Teasha was back and all but slammed the drink down in front of the boy.
She then turned to Syth and spat out. "Is there anything else... master?" The last word rolled out of her mouth, and Syth almost felt like he needed to bathe after hearing it.
Before he could respond though, one of the other patrons of the inn called over. "You know Darkie, I know someone who would absolutely love to break her into a proper slave. Hell after all the problems she's caused him, I would almost think he would pay for the... privilege!" The well dressed man laughed hard at his own joke caused Teasha to turn and glare, at least until she saw who the man was, then she paled considerably.
The look did not go unnoticed by Syth, who spoke up, while watching her carefully. "If her attitude does not improve, I may just give her as a gift to this friend of yours. I certainly have no use or patience for some wench who is not intelligent enough to figure out it was her own fault that she is in this position."
She glared at Syth which only made him sigh. "Listen, hate me if you wish, since I have no real love for you either. Just keep one thing in mind. This lad here is waiting to talk to me about selling you back to your mother. Something that I am finding I am less inclined to do as the minutes pass. Part of me enjoys the idea of breaking you into a proper slave. Let us just hope that, that part of me does not grow larger." He looked at the boy then back up at Teasha. "As it is, I do not believe you need to be here for this, go see if Mablin needs any help. Just remember, he is more than willing to put you in your place, if you do not do what you should."
The three boys watched as she turned and stomped off. Once she was out of the room, Syth sighed. "I really dislike owning slaves..." He then took a long drink and looked at the new boy. "So, please, what is your name, and what is your message."
The boy smiled gently, and Syth was very surprised that the boy met his eyes, and he did not see hatred behind those eyes. "My name is Felix. I am an apprentice Channeler of Seriff, as well as a Training Step 3 Mystic."
Syth's eyes went wide as he sputtered. "Wait, not only do you follow the Goddess of Mystery, but you are also a Mystic?" Syth's eyes went wide with wonder, while Killian's eyes were wide with disbelief.
"Yes, yes I am." Felix said with a grin, he always loved this reaction. Mystics weren't well liked because they have to tinker the get their potions just right, and sometimes, well sometimes, things can go wrong. But add onto it someone who follows the Goddess of Mystery, well that took things to a whole new level. "Of course that means that very few people care to have me around, but... who am I to question what my Lady has designed for my life." Even though his grin never faded, the eyes can not lie, and Syth was able to see the hurt below the surface.
"So Felix, you said the wench's mother wishes to speak to me about buying her daughter back." Syth asked carefully.
Felix's hesitation spoke volumes as to what would happen from there. "Not, exactly. Not that I would ever say a bad word about Lady Beternia, however, she sent me to do the negotiations, since she would not, and I quote, 'Darken any table that she sat at, with the presence of a...' Well I am sure you get the picture." The boy actually winced as he said those words, but was grateful that the anger he saw in Syth's eyes was not directed at him.
"I see..." Syth said, as he stared off into space for a few moments, before a grin came to his face. "I think I have a way to kill two birds with one arrow. Here is what I have in mind." The next thirty minutes were filled with questions and answers that promised very interesting things for the future.