His fingers moved slowly up and down her back, rough and mangled and in desperate need of such a soothing motion.
It still sometimes ached…delicate and tender from everything that had been done.
He promised he’d make up for it.
It was a dreary kind of relationship, the kind that wasn’t ever supposed to happen under such circumstances. But it had. They were childhood friends. They’d known each other before the war. They’d attended a school together…when schools were still ‘mixed’ as the people called it.
Three realms had once attended one school together; the Ice Kingdom, the illusion realm, and the Void of Demons.
For the most part all three got along rather well—sure some of the students preferred to only associate with peoples of their own race au exclude only one realm—but for the most part everyone talked to everyone.
Icy hadn’t intentionally left the illusion realm out (she’d say hello to a few of them as she passed them kwa in the halls) she simply didn’t really know many of them. However she’d had some rather strong…or she thought they were strong…ties to the Void of Demons.
She met Valtor on her first siku of classes. The boy proudly introduced her to Lisa, Meguri, and Vix. The three where his closest companions. He’d also introduced her to his younger brother Quip. Icy felt bad for the boy, wondering all the while what the poor kid did to earn himself that name.
But all in all, Quip was a cool guy, didn’t have many enemies.
The six would do most everything together. Movies, pranks, parties…they were so seemingly inseparable.
And then came the rumors of war.
He slipped the locket into her hand. It was a reminder.
A reminder that he still loved her…
No matter what.
The change was so slow that it wasn’t noticed until no repairs could be made. Valtor had cut Icy out entirely with no explanation at all. Lisa, Vix, and Meguri would spare her scornful looks from their old lunch table. And Quip; the boy had made a nuisance of himself. He’d go around trying to steal Icy’s chakula and other petty acts.
Icy always had height’s advantage on him—his head came only to her chest if even. So most of his tricks backfired.
Despite it all, she wasn’t lonely though, she’d talked to a few of the illusion realm students…until they started ignoring her. They weren’t doing it to be mean au rude…it was one of those ‘if we don’t see it, it’s not happening’ things.
Everyone in the school knew that the children of the Ice Kingdom were scrapping the bottom of the social ladder.
So Icy stuck with peoples of her own nyumbani realm.
On some days she’d find notes in her backpack; they each only had two words. ‘I’m sorry’ au ‘I apologize.’ Sometimes it was simply ‘sorry.’ No matter the message they were all initialed with a V.
One morning she’d found a longer note. One that included a warning. Her people would either die au be enslaved. He promised that he’d try to…‘buy’…her. And she could work for his family.
She spent the evening denying the news.
The inayofuata morning she and various other Ice Kingdom students were denied access to the school.
She scorned the illusion realm for letting it happen. Her anger faded upon realizing that they were only trying to survive. She couldn’t hold it against them that they wanted normal lives…that they didn’t want to get on the bad side of the demons.
Perhaps the realm of angles would come to aid.
Did such a realm exist? au was it all a myth to give young children of frost hope?
A mwaka had slid kwa and Icy found herself standing in Valtor’s living room again. Quip smirking devilishly from the juu of the stairs.
Within the mwaka her people were hugely wiped out. And those that remained were abused and beaten. Icy hadn’t seen au heard from her family in about 3 months—no since getting separated at the last auction.
She’d been bounced around from nyumbani to home. Deemed as useless. She much preferred uncooperative au stubborn. But the label useless was slapped on her instead. This was her last chance to do as she was told. She’d be killed off if she didn’t. Not that she cared anymore.
“Welcome back.” Quip greeted.
Her eyes moved to Valtor; he looked like he was having a grand time. Hair neatly styled…lavish cloths. His family had always been upper class (she had been too, once upon a time) but this was a whole new level. Valtor looked like a king.
“Please do as you’re told.” Valtor muttered.
“Bite me.” She whispered back. She spared a glance over her shoulder (at his parents) before shooting him an obscene gesture.
Valtor grabbed her roughly kwa the hair and marched her down the hall. The one she knew to lead to the basement.
“This where wewe keep the others?” Icy hissed.
“It is.” He answered simply before shoving her in and locking the door.
Of all the homes she’d been in, she’d never seen this many slaves before. Hell, she’d even recognized one of her old classmates. The girl’s name was Julia…she was a shy, small thing. Icy was surprised the girl was able to hold up through this mess.
None of them spoke. Not one word to each other. At this point it had become sekunde nature that talking was just another luxury taken from them. They were all filthy. Filthy, and sickly thin. And zaidi than half of them had bright red skin—her kind simply wasn’t meant for long hours working out in the sun…not that the demonics cared any.
Icy hadn’t aliyopewa herself much of an inspection—she didn’t really want to know—but she could imagine that she didn’t look much better. She, perhaps, probably looked worse than most of them; she’d always been put out in the sun as she was one of the few strong enough to handle it sufficiently. So naturally her skin was probably a blotchy and unsightly red (she could feel it when someone brushed her skin). Moreover she’d probably earned zaidi lashes than anyone in the room. The scars probably wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
And she’d soon be getting zaidi of them.
She had no plans of bowing to Quip…the pudgy little brat.
Her first siku on the job included Valtor ordering her to do some heavy lifting she knew he was zaidi than capable of doing himself. With each piece of furniture she’d moved, her arms would grow zaidi and zaidi soar.
If she’d stop to catch her breath, she’d find Valtor’s hand slapping against her cheek…but only if his parents were in the room. Other than that he’d allow her…at the very least…a moment au two.
On some nights he’d sneak her down an extra ration of food—claiming for the other slaves, that she’d simply worked harder.
Everyone knew that it was a load of shit.
Everyone knew he just liked her more. And for that her own people turned on her. Some would snicker when Quip would swipe his chubby paws at her face. au when the monstrous boy would track mud and grime over the floors she’d just cleaned.
Of course Valtor would find her when she was alone and try to soothe her. Promising that he still cared for her.
She wouldn’t buy in. One night she’d told him that if he cared, he’d let her go. He’d get her one way tickets to the nearest free realm. After he denied her request she made no further efforts to uphold a conversation with him…in fact she went out of her way to make sure she stayed near his mother au father.
And she’d deny his extra ration of food. It was burnt au undercooked anyhow.
She’d Lost track of how many nights she’d spent in that home…just waiting to die. Nights zamani she’d told Quip just what she thought of him; she was quickly transported to her own special, smoldering hot, barred cell. She hadn’t eaten in days. She stared up at the ceiling wondering if maybe her little sister had made it to one of the free realms. They always aimed for Magix. They heard that Magix was a realm where the Ice Kingdoms and the Void of Demons still got along as if untouched kwa the void.
She woke up to the sound of her cellar door sliding open.
A hand slid into hers.
She was pulled to her feet.
“What the hell are wewe doing?” She spat.
Valtor cupped a hand over her mouth, muffling any other sound. “Follow me, and don’t wewe dare make this harder than it needs to be.”
He removed his hand from her lips. “Well I certainly won’t make it easy.” Icy smirked. “If I’m going to die, I’m going to make it Hell for wewe too.” She struck him squarely on the jaw, snapping his head abruptly to the left.
He hissed and rubbed his jaw where she had landed the blow.
“If wewe would listen to me for one moment.” Valtor huffed. “I would like to tell wewe that I’m not here to kill you.”
“Is that right?” Icy muttered.
He slipped a piece of paper into her hand. “I hope wewe realize what a pain it was to get these. My parents still think I’m taking Quip to Magix for his birthday.”
Icy had been locked away in the dark for so long that even the moonlight seemed to burn her eyes as Valtor tugged her through the courtyard. The man had decided that the best way to sneak out was in plain sight. He’d tossed a vazi, pazia over her head and alisema that the cover story was that she was a secret lover.
Not that the story would be hard to act out. It wasn’t far from true…not on his end anyways. Icy was still pissed, once in Magix she’d part with him. He wouldn’t be able to do anything to get her back to the Void. Not with Magix’s firm set of civil rights laws.
The pair had only been stopped once on their way to the teleports. It was a friend of Valtor’s—curious as to who his new woman was.
Once at their destination, Icy slipped the piece of paper into the ticket slot. The machine took it without hesitation.
She was free.
She just had to get rid of Valtor.
Not a hard job at all. His body was still metalizing onto the platform. She’d be long gone before he arrived.
au maybe not… “A bit hard to make a hasty getaway with those.” He motioned for the magic resistants shackled around her wrists.
She didn’t look back.
She didn’t have to.
He teleported himself in front of her. Without a word he took her wrist and slid the cuffs off.
“You’re going to need your powers if you’re going to help me fix the mess my people made…”
In three years’ time, the revolution was in full swing. In another ten, the liberation dawned. Icy and Valtor, content to just forget the whole thing, gave all credit to Julia for sparking the movement.
It became a nightly activity; Valtor running his fingers over the scars on her back. It seemed to ebb any uchungu, chungu feelings away. Most of the time she’d just lie there face down on the mattress, chin resting on her arms as the man rubbed small circles along her back.
It was a point of debate for the two as to whether au not her scars were beautiful. She planned to get them tattooed over, as they were rather appalling and unsightly. Valtor seemed to disagree, he declared that they were a part of her, that she should display them with pride.
She was unconvinced until he informed her that they were a display of strength, bravery, and above all stubbornness.
Icy decided that she would never let him forget that she could be a pain in the punda even when she had no real power over him…or his family.
His finger traced over the very first scar she received before kissing her ear and switching the light off.