Ok I know I haven't updated this one in a very long time, but please refrain from trying to shoot me. I'm in my second last year of highschool and all of my teachers have decided that I don't need a life or any time to myself, although if I'm writing on fp that's hardly a life is it? Anyway, I've been drowning in school work and I've still got to do an englis oral on monday about gender representations and youth in advertising and I havn't finished it just yet. I have started the next chpater so it won't be nearly as long a wait. I'll be working on Khantoor every saturday from now on so you'll probably get an update every couple of weeks.

Please understand when reading this that I have no idea how plauges are supposed to progress so if you can let me know how it could be improved please leave it in a review or email me. My email address should be on my profile.

If anybody has ideas on how they think my story can be improved or what they think should happen or would like to happen please leave in a review cuae I'm winging this and don't actually have a plan, only a general idea.

On with the show, or story as it were.


Concerning the plague, somebody please come up with a better name fot it!


Chapter 3Alberic

I came out of my reverie to find Kaede staring at me. I couldn't shake the feeling of captivity form my mind so I stood up to look out the window. I had to remind myself that I was no longer in the scorching desert, no longer a slave. I leant my forehead against the cool glass, hoping that the cold would chase the sweat from my skin.

"Was it really that bad?" Kaede asked in a trembling whisper.

"No, it was worse. I've only told you about being captured and the slave pens. The trip through the desert was much worse. And the training? It's indescribable. The only reason that I'm still alive was because I'm a good fighter. The best that my owner had. Otherwise I would have died during the endless rounds of fighting against other gladiators and animals. I do my best to block out memories of that time; Lady Embra's going to help change the things so that other people don't have to go through what we did." I shuddered, "I couldn't stand it if I had to live my whole life in a land where slavery is approved of."

"It's not right, but even if Lady Embra manages to destroy the slave trade there will always be people who are repressed. Females would still be their male relatives or husbands possessions. Poor people would still starve. If one thing is changed, it all needs to be changed. Compared to some of the other Lords, my father isn't that bad. And yet, I've still been unhappy for nearly all my life" She fell silent towards the end, her eyes grew distant and sad. It was heartbreaking.

I couldn't stand seeing the sadness in her eyes and not knowing what caused it, I asked as gently as I could,

"What happened, will you tell me about your life?"

Her head snapped up and as she looked me in the eyes I could see the tears swimming in here aqua eyes. I wasn't sure if she'd tell me anything or not.

I wasn't even sure if I wanted to know what could have caused her that much sorrow, that much pain.

Kaede

I was stunned by how open he was about his past. To imagine that my father, my blood, had cause a young man that much pain made me feel soiled. Like my blood was tainted.

The slave pens sounded terrible. I can't fathom how he survived long enough to make it to the slave pens, let alone survived the desert journey. I would have to ask him about the Harakamian another day. I can't take any more of others pain today.

While he talked about his past he curled in on himself. I could see that the memories hurt.

It made me feel so guilty for being the one to relive them.

It made me remember some of my past, some of the things that have happened down the years. None of what happened to me was as bad as what happened to him but it still hurt to remember the cruelty.

I had drifted off into my own little world of twisted memories and wishful thinking so I didn't even realize he was looking at me until he talked.

"What happened, will you tell me about your life?" He asked.

He looked so concerned even though he was probably still hurting from his own trip down memory lane. How could I refuse to tell him about my life when he had been so open and honest?

I took a deep breath, a steadying breath. And I started to talk.

I guess that I was about 8 when you're village was raided, at the time all I knew was that father was going away for awhile. The first few years of my life were fairly happy. I was too young to be made to do heavy labor but I was still the female child so I didn't get any fancy toys or treatment.

I lived in a tiny room in the same wing as the servants. I considered them my family because they would always keep an eye out for me. The servants looked after me and made sure I was clean.

One maid in particular was extremely kind to me. Her name was Heather and she was the sweetest person I've ever known. She made sure that I had enough to eat and clean clothes to wear. She taught me to read and count and she even arranged for me to learn harp and languages.

She was my best friend, the person I would run to if one of my brothers pushed me over or hurt me. She kept me safe and protected me from my family for my first 6 years of life.

But then the plague came. No one was sure whether it was magical or not. Maybe it was a bit of both. Whatever it was it was always lethal. The first signs that it had chosen its next victim was a sniffle. At first we just thought that a summer cold was going around, unfortunately it wasn't.

After the sniffles would come small bruise all over the body which turned into open sores after a few days. We realized just how bad this new sickness was when the first people who contracted it started to hallucinate.

The hallucinations were horrible, they would range from the infected thinking that they were covered in spiders to some which were so horrible that the poor sick people would claw their own eyes out. After the hallucinations the infected people would fall into a coma.

When the first person woke up after about a week in a coma we thought that the illness had run its course. They looked tired but all the other signs of illness had disappeared, except for the damage they did to themselves during the hallucinations. They walked around, ate, talked, did all their work without any ill effects. Three days after they woke up, they died.

It was always three days after the coma stage, and they all died. We didn't know how it was spread, so anyone who was infected was isolated in small wooden huts. When the occupants had all died, the huts were burned to the ground.

We called it the Spiders Plague because the most common hallucination was that of the spiders. It had a complete fatality rate but it didn't spread very quickly. I think only about 30 people died in total.

Heather was one of the last to get the plague. We thought it was all over because no one had gotten ill in about a week. But Heather, being the lovely woman she was, decided to take the sick the first of the strawberries. She thought she'd be all right but she wasn't. A few days after she took them the berries she got the sniffle.

She may not have even had the plague but everybody wanted to be certain that if it was the plague, they wouldn't get sick. I didn't really understand why nobody would let me go see her. I thought that they all just wanted me to be sad.

I don't know how her illness went, what hallucinations she had, how she felt about it all. She was completely cut off from the rest of the household.

I was shocked when my mother came and got me from the servant's wing. She was sympathetic and understanding. But she always did whatever my father told her to. No matter what.

When Lord Daiichi told her that she needed more slaves, and gave them to her from his harem, she didn't say a word. She let him choose all her clothes and decide who she saw. Whenever Lord Daiichi had guests or was entertaining, she would be there. Dressed perfectly, looking like an angel come to earth, she was meek and obedient, and everything my father wanted in women.

I didn't fit in well with the general male population's idea of how a female should act. I talked with out being talked to first. I did not like wearing dresses or skirts. I was more likely to be found playing with the animals then sitting at a loom or an embroidery frame.

Of course my less than perfect behaviour convinced my father that I had to be taught to act like a female. He decided to break my spirit.

It started at about the time when father got back from the raid on your village, when I was 8 years old. The first change that was made was to my room. Lord Daiichi had an external lock fitted, so that I could be locked into my room and not be able to do anything about it.

Whenever he was told that I had left the house without permission or that I hadn't done the embroidery that I had been told to do he would send out some arms men to find me and drag me back. Then I would be locked into my room until he thought I had learned my lesson. This continued until I was 10 years old. By then he had expected me to be the perfect little lady and he was severely annoyed that I wasn't the ideal. So he basically made me into the household's lowest slave. He gave orders that I was to be treated like the lowest of slaves.

Some of the servants were really nice and barely asked me to do enough work to keep up appearances but others weren't as nice or understanding. Those who had been treated badly by my family decided that making my life a living hell would make them feel better.

My brothers were my worst tormentors. They would do anything they could think of to make me unhappy. I have been thrown into the lake too many times to count, but I've also been put in the dungeons for days on end without food and hardly any water. They see me as their source of amusement and as their personal slave. It was never anything sexual, father would have skinned them if it had been. Not because he cared for me, he didn't. I had to be a virgin when I was married off to someone my father deemed worthy, or he wouldn't see any of the profits from the arrangement. My marriage would never have anything to do with love or caring, it was always going to be arranged so father could get as much profit as possible from it. I was just another bargaining chip.

I'm sure that other women have much worse lives than I did, do, will have. I guess that's the way things are in the world. I'm not even sure what I would do if I was offered a different, better life. I guess I would hide. I would hate to be offered hope of something wonderful, miraculous, only to have it taken away. I hope I would embrace life without my family, but that's not realistic. They're all I've ever had or known; this lifestyle is the only one I have ever known. How could I go against 18 years of unshakable reality?

(end of chapter)


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