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Lumumba

Author: 
Neil (Elwyn Thingmaker)
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
140

Most of my early childhood is a blur. I vaguely remember creaking wheels, taught ropes, and the stink of sweat in my earliest memories. Never have I known happiness, or love, or kindness.

I can only guess what happened in my life. Perhaps I was sold into this indenture. Perhaps my parents are dead, killed in some horrible raid. Perhaps I was born into this life. Perhaps I was bred for it. My fondest ideas are that I was kidnapped from a family that loves me, and loves me still. Perhaps that family still celebrates the day of my birth, though what that day is I know not�

But here I have lived this life as long as I can remember, shackled to the grinding stone, or strapped to the long boat. Sometimes donning the yoke when the oxen need water. I have watched many people die in this life. I learned not to feel affection for the tortured souls next to me. They would all perish, eventually, as I expected I would. The work, the lack of food and drink, and more likely the lack of love destroys a man, makes him frail, and ends his days prematurely�days that may have been filled with joy and consequence. And these men all grew weak and perished. For some unholy reason for which I curse the gods I have been spared. Instead of dying, I grew stronger, though death I longed for� What good are my muscles in this life I live? So I can turn the master's wheel faster? So I can endure the whip longer? If I do not bleed, or scream, then I am only tortured more�

But here I sit, a free man. My muscles failed me, though my mind had not. The sun heated our rowing cell like a furnace, my shackles burning blisters into my wrists and ankles etching scar upon scar. We were fleeing, or chasing. The distinction is lost on me, but the pace we kept was not. I was a strong rower, and knew the consequences of failure. But my oar broke, smashed against a reef or a bar, or perhaps another vessel, I do not know� The row-warden unshackled me and grabbed my bleeding wrist. Knowing better than to look up, I kept my head lowered, though I could tell I was being dragged to the bow of the rowing cell� The bow is for punishment�the bow is for death. I was chained again to the wall my knees to the floorboards and my arms outstretched above me. I was told to look upon my fellows so that they might witness my torturous death and work harder else suffer the same. "I didn't break the�please�" I protested but was cut short by a fist in my eye and a slice to my ribs. I tugged against the shackles but to no avail, they were too strong. I had grown, indeed. I was strong. My masters often pitted me for fun and wager. But the chains were stronger, as they always were. Against my straining muscles came the stinging whip, the many-headed, barbed abomination kept always at the row-warden's thigh. My blood began to flow hot, mixed with sweat and burning my fresh wounds. Anger combined with despair overcame me and I welled with rage. I could not know what was happening, and I still don't fully understand, but my body swelled to extreme proportions. My bonds snapped and I stood to face my torturer. From my fingertips shot forth spikes of flame, engulfing all around me. The ship caught as well. Wicked hissing from all around me as the burning ship tipped into the water. An explosion erupted on the deck as barrels of smoke powder caught and I was thrown, unconscious, into the sea.

The next thing I remember is awakening on the shore, bits of charred wood and flesh around me, but myself somehow unharmed by the events. I felt hunger�and loneliness. I could hear voices in a nearby city. I have been to many cities, and I understood the language, though the accent was unfamiliar to me. I couldn't read, so I knew not where I was. But a shop-keep who took pity on me and gave me a loaf of bread told me� Waterdeep. And it is here where I finally began a life. I never had a name. I gave this name to myself, Lumumba�it means gifted�

 

Lumumba © Neil (Elwyn Thingmaker)

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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