Oppression is a tool. A tool used by creatures that feel backed into a corner and will do anything to survive...Even subjugate those unlike themselves in the slightest manner to cruel and inhumane conditions. A select few of these oppressors come to believe that it is was natural selection that gave their kind the ultimate push to rise above other beings as the supreme ones and behave with no remorse or regret. Their lives were meant for thriving at the expense of others.
The ruling class of Mater Dei referred to themselves as Homo Electus. To the ruled they were known as something else.They were soulless, wand wielding warlocks. Magical beings with no intention of helping anyone but themselves. Beings who conjured joy and eviscerated catastrophe with a flick of their wrist. Beings who obliterated adversity and pummeled threats. The homo electus of Mater Dei developed of a caste system for all magical creatures and placed themselves just below Mater Dei herself. On either side of their beloved Mother was cleanliness. The physical structure was emblazoned on every building in the city as a daily reminder to all of Mater Dei's citizens. It was in the shape of a tree, a golden tree with cursive words forming branches. Mater Dei then Wizards and Witches then Elven folk and Fairies, Succubi and the structure at the bottom included all of the enslaved creatures that were despised by all of the beings above. Among the despised and enslaved were the werewolves, goblins, trolls, Satyrs and Centaurs.The creatures of the lowest caste were united only in pain. Gobilns loved gold and other shiny things and didn't trust the trolls who preferred solitude and spoke so infrequently the other creatures wondered if they possessed a mother tongue. Satyrs and Centaurs were at war with one another in a land upon which man had never set foot and still hadn't before their enslavement.
The werewolves were the most despised and mistrusted. Thought of as mindless beasts who knew nothing but violence and chaos. Many were put on display in public cages all over Mater Dei. The publicly displayed creatures were the most afflicted. They were blinded daily and could never peer into the full moon and resume their human bodies. The change proceeded and reversed itself all through these unfortunate nights. The power of the change requires two catalysts: looking into the moon and simply being a part of the werewolf bloodline. The unchanged made of the majority of Mater Dei's slave population. Branded at birth and housed underground even the darkest of the unchanged had pale, gaunt faces. Children looked upon them in horror and the adults of the higher castes gave them endless looks of disgusts. Here in Mater Dei the unchanged had been enslaved for three generations. Rebellion was rare and always ended in the youngest being sacrificed. Werewolves have the ability to change from birth. The amazing healing factor is also present at this time. Fatal wounds can heal in minutes for a fully grown unchanged. The infants however can't control this ability and occasionally die from the shock of the overwhelming heat of the branding iron. When rebellion creeps into the population the infants are used to quell the resurgence of dignity and self importance. The children are taken from the mothers and with the claws of the succubi embedded in their backs or shoulders are forced to witness their first and last full moon. The infants bones break while the unchanged are forced to watch from their underground homes. The cries of the child become screeches that become roars that signal the transformation's completion. An infant werewolf is usually as strong as a full grown man standing about five feet from front paw to crown.
Running around the barren fields before they can even walk trying to tear the succubi hovering above it to shreds. It howls and bares it large teeth hoping for fresh blood. The succubi are human sized even after their human disguises are ripped away revealing their greenish yellow skin, huge wings that accompany the clawed hands and feet. They laugh as they swoop down just barely avoiding the young wolf's lunges. Within an hour the wolf is tortured by claw after claw until it's wounds stop healing and it's growls become less and less ferocious.
Mothers cry silently and by the morning the carcass of the child is no more than a large set of bones with bits of skins and fur. They are killed and drained by the succubi who keep score on a huge tree that stands just outside of Mater Dei's entrance. Huge claws marks are the tallies all over the trunk. All who entered Mater Dei would know what happened to the rebellious wolves. Forbidden to work among the other citizens in the Hand of Glory most of the unchanged went back to work in Dog's Paw after being forced to witness these horrifying executions.
Goblins and trolls ran the local businesses within Dog's Paw, that served all of Mater Dei. The lower caste residents weren't allowed to use the city's currency.Gold was for wizards and witches, fairies, Elves and some Succubi. Rations were marked on the back of the men who dared father children in a society where marriage was outlawed for any being beneath the succubi. To families without fathers due to tragic deaths,usually at the hands of the succubi, the oldest male child was given work in the shops and small factories of goblins and trolls. This work allowed his family to eat twice a week on a lucky week. Goblins and trolls didn't need food the way humans needed food so the lack of access to bread and meat didn't impact them. The teenage werewolf boys were often too frail to forgo what ever they could get to eat and too dependent on the scraps to protest not being given more. Two young unchanged were fortunate enough to work in the armory polishing battle wands and incinerating old broken ones.
Idris and Sidra. Anomalies among the other unchanged for their size and physical strength, the boys worked every day of the week and never complained. The master was the shop owner, Gregorio the troll. Gregorio stood seven feet tall and weighed more than 500 pounds. He had both ankles shattered in an uprising during his youth. He slid across the shop daily barely able to bend either foot. His size allowed his quite a few privileges within Dog's Paw. Every shop and factory reported their inventory count to two succubi each month.They also asked for assessments of the behavior of all enslaved worker. Most of the owners, both Goblins and trolls had no problem reporting inventories and giving slave assessments. Gregorio saw things differently. It was common knowledge that lower caste members cannot leave Mater Dei, cannot own property in Mater Dei, cannot use currency to purchase nor can they marry. In essence the shop owners were only shop keepers and had slaves they weren't even legally allowed to own. Idris and Sidra were given to Gregorio six years ago and in those six years the boys understood that the troll they worked did not see them as property nor did he ever see himself as their master. Therefore, whenever it was time for the monthly inventory and assessments Gregorio politely defied the laws with passive intimidation. Conversations were always short:
"Troll how many battle wands have been purchase? How many have been burned?
"400 sold. 350 incinerated."
"How have your slave's been?"
" My apprentices are working harder for our great city every day."
Apprentices was the word that fit after all. Idris and Sidra were learning the art of pairing the battle wands with the right users. They'd been taught by Gregorio that the intentions and capabilities of every person resides in their eyes. After a few years it was very simple to tell a destroyer from an striker or an illusionist from a trapper. It was also the only time the unchanged were able to look into the eyes of wizards. There was no law preventing low caste creatures from looking high caste members in the eyes but it rarely happened due to the lack of interaction between the groups. Even the female unchanged, goblins and trolls rarely saw witches and wizards. They worked beneath Mater Dei and used the roots of the Mother's Trunk to make the finest threads worn by member of the higher caste.
The significance of looking one another in the eye was the topic of conversation between Idris and Sidra as they sat beneath the shop during the daily break Gregorio allowed them. They took their time with their bread and lamb shanks; a savory meal the boys had gotten used to eating cold to elude suspicion of eating more than their weekly rations. When they were first offered the daily snack by Gregorio six years prior the boys took at least ten minutes to decide if they were going to trust the lumbering troll who spoke to them the kindest tone they'd heard from any creature in Dog's Paw. Their suspicion subsided after a week. They'd grown stronger yet the succubi hadn't ripped them from their homes in the night to punish them for these unexpected and beneficial culinary delights.
"A person's eyes say so much Sidra."
"I suppose you're right if by say you mean they give off certain emotions. I always feel something before and after I hand off a wand. Always."
"I meant say but not because you can't feel anything coming from the warlocks but because the eyes tell me a silent story that couldn't be clearer if it were written."
"Does it make you tremble all over when you're right about the wand type? It's how I know I'm right."
"You're just like Gregorio. I don't get any feelings about passing off the wand to the warlock but maybe they feel a sort of magnetism to the wand as I bring it up to the counter. Neither of us has been wrong in four years. I see the right choice."
"And I feel it. Idris, I need you to answer this. When the succubi come by for inventory and assessment, do you see anything in their eyes? I see their blood red pupils and I just want to..."
Sidra is now standing, crushing a piece of bread in his left hand, staring at the wall, his eyes teeming with rage. Idris grabs his shoulder; their eyes meet:
"I feel it too, Sidra. Their eyes are soulless. I see nothing when I look at them. They take lives for sport. I want nothing more than to..."
There is a knock on the door above their heads. Break is over. Idris, though stopped in mid sentence is now smiling. He taps Sidra's shoulder and the boys devour the remains of their lamb shanks and bread, guzzle their mugs of water and head back to work.
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