Stories Hub / Novels and Novellas / A Hero's Rebirth Ch. 04

A Hero's Rebirth Ch. 04

by NaughtyPaladin 09/19/23

Hey Readers,

Thank you for your patience as I've been writing. I know it has been a wait, but these chapters are long and take a lot from me to write. I hope you like it, and thank you, thank you, thank you, to Bry1977 for all his work helping me edit these. Enjoy the latest chapter.



Chapter 4

We arrived back in Ealphamir, the entire delegation and... my new slave. My mind was conflicted as I felt her presence through the bond, though she stood behind me. I didn't want a slave. I had fought against slavers multiple times through my military career, as slavery rarely was a solitary crime. But here I was, my slave, clad only in a cloak, stood behind me. Her disgust, anger, pain and sorrow stood out in my mind.

As she looked around Ealphamir, her disgust and anger only grew. I could only guess what propaganda she believed about the wood elves. The poor she-elf had lived for over a hundred years among the Shadow Elves, and I bet there was all sorts of propaganda about their enemies that was fully integrated into Shadow Elf life. My limited exposure to the Shadow Elf queen had given me the distinct feeling she believed wholeheartedly that the Shadow Elves were racially superior to all others. Now she was going to have to integrate with what she believed was an 'inferior race' of elves.

There was a sizable gathering of Wood Elven maidens and a good number of the elders who hadn't accompanied us waiting for our return. There was clearly a significant amount of surprise at how quickly we were returned.

"Sisters, negotiations may not have gone as we planned, but we have six months' Respite." Audriul declared. "This is cause for celebration!"

"Why is a Shadow Elf with you?" One she-elf called.

Audriul hesitated, "She has been placed in Master Thomas's custody as part of the negotiations. As his slave, she will be no threat to anyone here. So worry not. This is a great victory for our people!"

"Shall we call a feast?" One of the elder matrons asked.

"Indeed!" Audriul called. "Let a feast commence this afternoon in the third hour!"

There was a cheer of celebration, and the assembled elves dispersed to prepare the celebrations.

"Perhaps it would be better, if you didn't, bring your slave to the feast." Audriul suggested quietly.

"Stop calling her that." I requested curtly.

"Very well," Audriul accepted, and she turned to the shadow elf. "Sister, what name may we address you by?"

The enslaved elf's jaw clenched and unclenched, then she finally snapped. "I am Clee'Amura."

"Very well, Clee'Amura. I shall address you as such." Audriul acknowledged. "Now, if you will forgive me, I have discussions that must be made to determine how we shall spend our Respite."

The members of the delegation who did not belong to my house headed out to perform their various duties. I took the members of my house and returned to my home. Clee'Amura kept the cloak pulled tightly around her form to try and preserve what dignity she had left.

I could feel embarrassment creep into Clee'Amura as she walked the crowded streets. Messages were flying everywhere as word of the feast spread. She-elves ran the streets, carrying this and that.

I needed to get her clothes, and fast. It wasn't my fault she was given to us naked, and I would never have believed I was going to be given a slave when I woke up this morning. Unlike when Tavorwen had traveled to the Temple of Ages, hoping for a summon and had brought clothes that while they hadn't fit me perfectly, they covered me, I had no reason to expect to be bringing back a naked she-elf. The fact that she was walking through the streets so poorly clothed gnawed at my soul.

I felt great relief as we arrived at the tree I called home. I opened the door, and led Clee'Amura inside.

The relief on my matrons' face turned to confusion as I led Clee'Amura inside. The matrons and maidens were sitting in the living space just inside the entrance to my home, seemingly relaxing.

"Master Thomas, what is the meaning of this?" Diamiutar demanded.

I took a deep breath, ready to try and explain, but Tavorwen stepped in and took over.

"Again, we underestimated the lows to which Kathra would sink," Tavorwen declared. "When she came to negotiate, she presented Master Thomas with an unknown magic. She stated he must accept the tribute, or we'd forfeit the protection of Respite and she'd unleash her armies on us. He accepted the magic, only to find out that it was the transfer magic for a slave sigil. The slave sigil was for Clee'Amura, Kathra's daughter. With that ransom, she has purchased six months' Respite."

"A slave has been brought into our house?" Heilantu recoiled.

"Are you okay, sister?" Lymarith prodded the cloaked she-elf.

For her part, Clee'Amura's eyes swept over the members of the house, her upper lip quivered as she tried not to snarl or sneer at the assembled she-elves. Her disdain and revulsion burned like a coal in my mind.

Diamiutar's face was hard. "Clee... That is a title, not a true part of your name, yes?"

All of our heads turned to the solemn head matron, even Clee'Amura.

The cloaked she-elf's face tightened as she glared at the matron, and her mouth clamped shut.

"Amura, that is your true name, is it not?" Diamiutar reiterated.

The shadow elf's eyes flashed, and the veins in her neck stood out.

Diamiutar nodded and leaned against the wall. She seemed torn between satisfaction about calling out the new she-elf and displeasure about her presence.

I didn't like the way my matrons were banding together against Clee'Amura, or Amura, whatever her name was.

"Hey." I called, a touch of my military leadership slipping through and making it more stern than I intended. "She doesn't have a choice in being here, and we don't have a choice in having her here. She is bound to me, not too dissimilarly to all of you. I will not cast her out, just like I won't be casting any of you out. We need to learn to get along."

"Have you asked her about residual commands from her previous owner?" Diamiutar poked.

Clee'Amura strained again, her hands clenching hard on her hold on the cloak, and Diamiutar smirked.

"What do you mean?" I demanded.

Diamiutar lifted a hand in a half shrug, "She's a slave. Slaves are often given little to no free will among societies willing to employ such magic. In almost all such societies I've read about, the magic will bind a slave to commands from their previous master until their new master modifies them. Otherwise slaves, especially war slaves, may be able to attack their new master. Though, if Amura were to attack you, I would suspect that was the command."

I turned to Clee'Amura. "Is this true?"

She stood still, her throat working as she glared at Diamiutar.

"Answer me." I demanded.

Clee'Amura's eyes clenched and she trembled for a moment, then with a hiss she relented.

"YES!" She snapped.

"Tell me what commands you are still bound by." I requested.

Her eyes slid over to me, and her nostrils flared. "I am never to lie to my Marked. I must never repeat any words I hear from my Marked to another, unless instructed to do so. I must remember everything I hear others speak so if requested, I may repeat them for my Marked. I may never harm the great Kathra... I must never touch a weapon... unless instructed by my Marked."

Sweat began to run down her temple, and I realized she was straining against something. She winced then cried out again.

"I am not to attempt anything until you drop your guard and I am able to obtain a weapon, then I am to slay you and return to El'Muth'Ran." She admitted in defeat.

Diamiutar nodded knowingly.

"How do I change these commands?" I demanded.

Clee'Amura glared at me in defiance.

"If you word it as a command, I believe she must obey." Diamiutar stated with some thought.

I hated to exploit her condition like this, but obviously some of those had to change.

"Answer my question." I commanded.

Clee'Amura tried for a moment to defy the magic, then she finally with a wince spoke. "Any idiot would know you just issue an opposing command."

She growled in frustration, "It's bad enough that I must bear this indignity, but I am shackled to an imbecile."

I noted that Clee'Amura was trembling as she tried to hold the cloak closed.

"Clee'Amura, I order you to never harm me or any of the members of this household." I stated.

Her shoulders slumped. She seemed defeated and disappointed. That such an order would disappoint her concerned me.

"Clee'Amura, you will obey direct orders from the members of the household until I tell you otherwise." I further instructed.

I looked at my matrons. I needed one of my house matrons to clothe the poor she-elf, but I didn't want one that would mistreat her. A moment's thought made it clear who I should send.

"Lymarith, underneath that cloak, our new housemate is naked. Could you take her to get some clothing?" I asked.

"Oh! Of course! Would you please come with me?" Lymarith gently asked the young shadow elf.

Clee'Amura wordlessly lowered her head and followed the tiny wood elf down the hall.

There was silence until several seconds after she was gone.

"You treat her too gently." Diamiutar scolded. "She is of the enemy. She is a Shadow Elf. You can't change her."

I turned to my head matron.

"She is a product of her society and upbringing, yes, but I'm not about to abuse her just because of her birth. She is an elf, just like all of you, as far as I'm concerned. Weren't the High Elves arbiters of justice and equality between the other elves before Kathra orchestrated the massacre? How could you believe that one of your sisters is so lost as to be irredeemable?" I rebuked her.

Diamiutar, Heilantu and Tavorwen averted their eyes in shame.

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