Darkin A Journey East - By Joseph A. Turkot Page 0,1

lost ideas of peace and happiness found in those yellowed scrolls had always meant a great deal to him, but harsh reality pushed such fantasies to a dark recess of his mind.

To be aware of his slavery was to suffer, and life was easier when he ignored the literature; but something inside him had broken this night, something that could not be mended. The fire was now lit, and Remtall’s death no longer lingered purposeless in his mind. Life in its current mode seemed unimportant now. His life as a slave appeared without value. The idea of being free forsook his better judgment, and grew more powerful in him than the fear of death. And feeling so completed with his old mode of life, he planned a course of action.

Sentries watched over both exits of the farm; indeed the knowledge of slaves told that all the face of Darkin was covered by the mighty guards of the lords. Some slaves spun lore of rogue settlements, far to the east, where natives lived of their own accord, separate from lordship, but such people were only myth to Adacon. Elders taught those who were young in their labor that the lords kept a close eye on slaves all hours of each day, and that there existed no unseen patch of land before the guards of the lords.

He would take the northeast gate. Armed sentries stood guard there; swordsmen stalked the ground and archers stood atop wooden towers. The guards monitored all travel in or out of the farm, and any suspicious presences were taken captive; slaves whispered that the malodorous stench of burning that permeated the farm came from the bodies of those taken hostage at the gates. The elder slaves taught that it was through constant surveillance that the lords maintained order on their farms, and kept themselves in power above all others. Before his death, Remtall spoke of the arrogance of the lords: “They think themselves an undying legacy of power, that we cannot thwart them, but their sway does not darken the whole of this world yet, nor the hearts of all its creatures” he had pleaded. The very heart of Darkin’s structure, it seemed, was fixed to keep the lords in power.

And a slave would always be a slave—he knew there was no chance to rise in the eyes of the lords. Elders preached that a good slave should value every opportunity he is given to work for the benefit of the powerful: a slave should always follow his superior’s orders without question, and a slave should always be happy with his condition of living. The lords made sure that the slaves were happy, at any rate.

A tall, grisly man came each month, and stood coldly upon the step of his hut. He would ask the same questions—are you happy with how life is on the farm? Adacon was always happy. The dark man carried a spiked club at his side—if a slave voiced a grievance, doubted the satisfaction of slavery, the spiked club might find its way into the hands of the scary man. The visitor restored balance by any means necessary, even if it meant death. The whole structure of the world seemed unbreakable, just as Remtall had preached.

But something had snapped inside of him. Remtall’s silenced yearning for a revolution grew anew in his own heart; it seemed the soil itself sent him courage, so that he might enact some bloody escape. As a young man he had stolen a sword from a wagon, and long kept it hidden under his cot. Nicks in the blade betrayed any look of sharpness, but it was a sword nonetheless. Adacon grimaced into the dying fire and almost smiled. He sat down on his creaky bed, tucked away in the corner of the small hut, and pulled on his boots. The embers in the hearth flickered out a slow death, and the air grew cold. His boots were sturdy, made of leather, and a rarity for slaves to have; his dedicated slavery had earned his right to them. He buckled them tight. It was night, nearly an hour from dawn; no slave was permitted out onto the fertile earth until sunrise, lest they sought a swift execution. He took his sword from its hiding and fastened it to his hip, and then he opened his door and stepped outside, breaking the law of the lords.

* * *

The farm covered many acres, but Adacon knew his way around it

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