Art owned by me! As part of my game Saevenia, I'm also writing a series of in-game books to help people understand the world if they want to know more! This one is from the book 'Saevenia and its Many Continents, Book 1' by Elathane Jerronaya. Fun fact: the background art is a scene from the game!
All of a sudden, the lid of the barrel was removed and a shock of light blinded her. A strong arm grabbed a hold of her, and pulled her out of the barrel. She remained silent as she was dragged up some stairs and across the main deck. It was sometime in the evening, and Ciara didn’t know how many days she’d been gone for. The thug threw her down on the hard, wooden deck, in front of a small group of men. She looked up at them. One of them was dressed in official garb and looked to be a man of importance. He stared down at Ciara coldly, the fading sunlight catching in his pale eyes. “The merchant Girian’s child.” the thug who collected her grunted at the men. “Thank you. Your payment will be waiting for you back in Little Oakdale, talk to Jarren.” “Jarren don’t work fer the docks anymore, Hond. He’s been hired by another company, probably sailin’ out as we speakin’.” “Is that so?” The man called Hond inspected a sharp, gleaming dagger that he had pulled from the scabbard around his waist, making Ciara wince. One of the other men leaned forward and spoke to Hond in a hushed voice. Hond’s icy eyes darted to Ciara, then back to the thug. He straightened up. “If Jarren spills his guts to anyone, I’ll have his spilled in the torture chambers down in Marafeeq. Don’t hire anyone else from the Redalacs. I never did trust those furry, traitorous assholes. For now, tell your leader to liaise with Ait. At least he can be trusted. That’s all.” The thug looked down at Ciara, who glared back at him. Hond clicked his fingers loudly to get his attention. “Go.” he mounted silently, and the man turned around and lumbered off, dragging his feet as he went. Ciara turned her head around slowly as the attention fell on her. Hond smiled wickedly. “What a beautiful child, and just look at those wonderful eyes, how exquisite. Do you know where you are, little dove? I don’t know if your papa ever told you about the true dangers that lie in all corners of Saevenia, but let’s just say that this is no place for a little girl. We’re taking you to an underground tunnel, far north of the island. But you don’t need to know the logistics of the situation, truly enough. I’m only going to tell you two things. One of them is that you’ll never be seeing your family again.” Cathal’s face flashed into Ciara’s mind and a pang of sadness gripped her heart. She felt fresh tears form in her eyes. Despite her best efforts to quell them, they fell silently down her face as she bowed her head. “The second thing,” Hond continued. “Is that if you somehow manage to escape us, you’ll die here. If we don’t find you, something much worse undoubtedly will. A few of the most dangerous men I’ve ever dealt with met their bloody end here, so what hope do you have?” He turned away from her and addressed his company. Take her to the shore, give her some food and lock her up in one of the carts. Don’t let her out of your sight. We’ll need to be on the road by sunset if we are to get to the refuge before dark. Travelling at night is not encouraged here, it doesn't matter who or what you are. You may be new recruits, but your final test lies with me. If you fail, your miserable life isn’t the only thing at stake. The people who are permitted to handle the child are Vermuda and Nesaan, no one else.” The men looked around them, shuffling their feet. “If anyone else touches her,” he lifted his blade and ran it threateningly across his neck. “Are we clear?” Some of the men murmured in agreement. “I said, are we clear?!” he said darkly. “Yes boss!” “Good, now get to work.” “Wait!” Ciara cried out breathlessly. “Who are you? Why did you take me away from my family, we ain’t hurt nobody!” Hond turned around and glared at her. “Nesaan.” he growled, and motioned with his head towards Ciara. A man she didn’t see before approached her at an inhuman speed, and ruthlessly back-handed her across the face. Ciara cried out. The force of it sent her sprawling, and nearly knocked her out. She saw stars, and the world around Ciara spun sickeningly. She looked up in shock, a trickle of bright red blood beginning to trail down from the corner of her mouth. She wiped it away with the back of her hand, and glowered at Hond and her hooded assailant. She realised that Nesaan was no human, but something else. Her father referred to his kind as 'reptilians'. He told her to stay away from them as they were unsavoury characters; aliens from Tayaceena. Her mother would then tell her otherwise, saying that her father can be a paranoid, racist fool at times. She didn’t know who was right. “Did that hurt, little dove?” Hond cooed at her. Ciara noticed the blood filling her mouth. Her teeth must’ve cut into her lip quite badly. She spat it out of her mouth in response, and glared at them in defiance. Nesaan’s brow raised slightly - a tiny movement, but she didn’t miss it. “Tough one, hey? What a spirited girl. You might have met your match with this one, Nesaan.” Nesaan crossed his arms and smirked as he looked over at Hond. “You don’t speak unless spoken to, my sweet fawn. Let that be a lesson to you. We need to keep you alive sure, but beaten within an inch of your life is beyond acceptable, believe me. Vermuda, take her ashore, there’s much we need to attend to.” A monstrous, burly woman approached Ciara, and with one hand, roughly lifted her up off the ground. Her thumb and index finger wrapped almost entirely around the girl’s slim neck, and her other three fingers went under her arm. Ciara grunted and struggled against her, and the giant woman lifted her far above her head, from where she could see the ocean waters beyond the boat, then brought her less than an inch away from her face. “Don’t.” she growled through gritted teeth, her noxious breath making Ciara’s stomach turn. Ciara winced and nodded. The woman walked towards the boarding plank, dragging Ciara carelessly along the floor behind her as the girl kicked and tried her best to gain her footing.
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