The Whore's Bastard
A chill wind came screaming down from the farthest reaches of the north. It was coupled with the weary groans of the line of slaves, shackled at the wrist and ankle and were connected by a heavy iron collar at the neck. Many of them had been together since days long forgotten, since the passage of time blurred together at the point. Many of them were covered in dirt and grime, their necks rubbed raw and oozing bloody puss. All had dull eyes, hollow and lifeless; completely surrendering to their fate and wondering why the gods had abandoned them.
Esmeralda glanced her green eyes heavenward and wondered why Frøya had abandoned her. She was a new addition to the line of slaves. Her neck, wrists and ankles still smooth and not scrapped raw. Her skin was still clean and her eyes still bright, but anyone could see that a darkness was beginning to gather, swallowing the Light of Life in her eyes. A horrible transformation for a young girl. Esmeralda, like many before her, cursed her fate and wondered what she had done to anger the gods in such a way.
Born a daughter of a thane, her home village was nothing but a small fishing community in the farthest reaches of the Norselands, near the Norse Ocean. As her father's only child and heir, she was treated very much like the son he longed for and he taught her to fight and rule. All that had changed three months ago, when orcish raiders came and her childhood friend, Tlvik betrayed her.
Esmeralda stumbled a bit as the memory came back unbidden. "Keep moving!" a Zha'ajin shouted, cracking his whip over Esmeralda's head. She flinched, her hands instinctively going to protect her growing belly even as her mind couldn't fathom why. Esmeralda shot the catling a deadly glare. The Zha'ajin laughed, revealing his fangs. "Keep glaring at me like that and I may just have you for myself. Have to make sure my product is good."
"May Skadi freeze you in her embrace," Esmeralda spat on the ground.
"Impudent slave!" the Zha'ajin flicked his wrist, sending the whip flying and cutting Esmeralda's cheek. "That should teach you some manners. Now, keep moving!"
Esmeralda hung her head. Her eyes glued to her feet. She had loved Tlvik, up to the moment he raped her and then handed her over to the orcs. The Bonarain men with their fangs and squashed nose, pointed ears and green hued skin, grabbed her roughly and shackled her with the rest of the captured victims of her village. Some of the elderly women sobbed and begged the orcs to let their princess go, but the orcs would hear none of it. Esmeralda watched with grim satisfaction as an orc gutted Tlvik and ripped his head from his shoulders. Many of the women gagged as the Bonarain tied Tlvik's head to the horn of his saddle before mounting his bovine mount. He barked an order in a strange guttural tongue and Esmeralda was jerked along with the rest of her people towards an unknown future. The former princess looked back at the iron grey sea, once a sight of home and comfort... now, nothing more than a bitter reminder of what Tlvik stole from her. Esmeralda bit her lip to keep the hot bitter tears at bay.
By the time they had reached Yghuthu, one of Bonara's cities known for it's slave trade, Esmeralda was roughly two months along with her pregnancy, and she hated it. Since the other women of the group were old hags, she was the constant object of pleasure for the orcs and they didn't care she carried a bastard in her belly. "Get use to this girl," one orc grunted out after finishing, his Common Elven a bastardization, "this is your new wyrd."
Esmeralda sobbed softly when the next orc came, his cock already erect and leaking. She remembered screaming her throat raw every night and her skin a myriad of blotchy bruises. And all the while she had prayed to Frøya that one of the orcs would hit her in the stomach hard enough to cause her to miscarry, but Tlvik's seed stayed protected, growing safely in her violated womb.
A few days passed before she was subjected to the infamous slave trade. The leader of the orcs was outraged to learn that she was impure, and thus her value as a potential concubine went down. He bark and snarled at his men, hitting them for their stupidity despite them saying that she was already impure and that they didn't see anything wrong with taking a mere village whore. Esmeralda felt her cheeks flush in anger at being called a whore. When questioned by the auctioneer, she nodded her head and admitted she was pregnant. The orc leader swore some more and slapped across the face, grabbed her by her iron collar and shook her. "Do you know how much you cost me?" he snarled, his foul breath buffered her face and she wrinkled her nose.
"About six hundred draak," she said with a confident smirk. "I'm worthless as a worker until I give birth."
"I should just rip your womb from you," the orc leader snarled.
"Do it," Esmeralda egged him, "I do not want the bastard in my belly any more than you do."
The orc blinked before laughing. He rose to his feet and looked at the auctioneer, "See if you can't get a good price for her. Maybe as some slave to some lordling's brat. She has a sharp head and an even sharper tongue."
The auctioneer nodded and undid Esmeralda's chains. The girl knew it was pointless to run so she allowed the strange hands to grab her and poke her and prod her, until finally she stood naked before a crowd of people. She recognized the fair skin elves, with their slightly sloped eyes and high cheekbones and pointed ears. Their lilac skinned cousins were also among the crowd. Zha'ajin, the feline race that hailed from the Harfair Desert, far to the south. Humans, squat dwarves, and board-shouldered dragons in human shape. Orcs, and even a few Kalithueians. Esmeralda prayed to Frøya that a bloodsucker didn't buy her and placed her in their flock.
The auction went on for what seemed like hours. Potential buyers raising their hands and the auctioneer shouting out how many draakii she was now worth. A large clank of wood and against wood, brought Esmeralda back to reality, and she was soon greeted by the grey-green eyes of her new master, a Zha'ajin. "Nice girl, maybe she'll whelp by the time we reach the Far Lands," he grinned and dropped a pouch full of draakii into the auctioneer's hand. "All accounted for," the Zha'ajin said and led Esmeralda off.
Esmeralda sighed sadly, as the memory faded for she had been on the road for another month; she could tell by the wind that winter was nearing and Skadi would soon make the passes of Wyvengul impassable. Esmeralda looked up at the towering snow capped mountains. Wyvengul was just a branch range of the great mountain range known as the Spine of the World, that split the land of Amator into east and west. Of course, what was beyond the Spine of the World in the east was only rumors and legends. No one was able to find the pass that legendary elf explore Forward Mist found that lead to the shiny lands east of the Spine of the World. "We stop here," the Zha'ajin announced. They bound Esmeralda and the other slaves before setting up their camp. They prepared a crude gruel and handed it out to the slaves, giving them just enough to survive. "Heh," they filled Esmeralda's bowl to the brim. "Eat, we can sell the baby. Don't want you to die. Two slaves for the price of one," they sneered before resuming handing out gruel.
Esmeralda wished she got the same amount of gruel that the others did, but she had learned quickly not to disobey the Zha'ajin and stomached the gruel with a greedy hunger she didn't know she had. Once they were finished feeding the slaves, they returned to her and gave her another heaping bowlful of gruel, which she hungrily consumed, smirking inwardly as the hungry eyes of the other slaves stared at her. The old and young smacking their lips together, envious that she got more food than they did.
It was soon known among the slaves that she was with child, for as the trek drew on her belly swelled, the child in her belly making it's existence known to the world, it was impossible to hide such a condition while nude. The Zha'ajin didn't even bother to clothe her or the other slaves. Her child became a rallying point for hope and freedom among the slaves. The women smiling fondly as they willingly handed over their evening gruel to her, patting her swollen stomach gently. The men plotting quietly among themselves on how best to over throw their captors long enough for her and a few of the women to escape, so her child could be born free.
Esmeralda silently endured all this treatment. For at night when she and the Zha'ajin were the only ones awake, she would starer up at the black sky and count the stares, her delicate hands stroking her round belly with seeming fond tenderness, but her lips muttered hated words to the child in her womb.
It had been nearly nine months since Tlvik had raped her and she was sold into slavery when the reached the port city Grimworm, which sat on the mouth of the might Dragon River. She awkwardly waddled along knowing that any moment her labour pains could start. The hot sun of summer beating down on her. The Zha'ajin had stopping to rest and water their horse, when they began to shout and a fierce cry went up. Centaur warriors galloped towards them, firing arrows and cutting free the slaves only to round them up and force them to be slaves again. Esmeralda blinked when her bonds were cut, unsure what to do. She had plotting out meticulously how she would barter her baby away for freedom or something better. So long as the child was born a slave, a fitting end for Tlvik's bastard. "Come!" a young man tugged at Esmeralda, who got up, but it was slow as she had to counter her awkward girth. It was then she felt the first pains of labour. She cried out and gripped the man's arm tightly. "What... what's wrong?" he asked, a bit frightened.
"The baby," she gripped her belly, "the baby wants to come out!"
"N-Now?" he looked frightened and made a soft whimpering sound when Esmeralda nodded. "R-Right. Follow me," he lead her into a thicket only stopping once they were deep in the foliage. Esmeralda gasped as a contraction ripped the air from her lungs. The young man, frightened sat down and positioned Esmeralda's back against his chest. "Try to keep is down," he whispered softly.
Esmeralda moaned softy, "I'm in labour... I'll do my best." She squeezed the young man's hand in a vain effort to ease the pain. They stayed like that for an hour and a half, the young man suffering in silence when Esmeralda squeezed his hand or bit down on his arm. All in an effort to keep quiet and undetected by either the Zha'ajin or centaurs. Once the young man was sure both of their enemies were gone he turned to Esmeralda. "You must walk," he said.
"You're mad! It's best if I just stay here and birth the brat then we can live it in the woods for the wolves," Esmeralda hissed. She moaned, her head lulling to the side and a pained expression on her face.
"What type of mother wishes death on her babe?" the young man asked.
"The mother that never wanted the babe in her belly!" Esmeralda cried, screaming when a powerful contraction rippled across her belly.
"Well, I won't let you kill you baby here. They may come back, so up!" he gripped her beneath her armpits and hauled her to her feet. The young woman groaned in pain, her hands clutching her belly. "Walk!" the man ordered and pushed her along. Esmeralda had no choice but to allow him to push her along, moaning in pain with each step.
They reached the Dragon's Head Inn by nightfall. Esmeralda could barely walk another step, her contracts had gotten more frequent and closer together as the day wore on. She clutched at the building's damp wood and a scream was ripped from her throat as she felt her water break. "Do something!" she screamed, a frightful expression in her eyes as she looked at her companion. "The baby is coming!"
"Dear gods!" the man paled and began to bang on the door furiously. "Open up! Open up!" he shouted until the stick-thin innkeeper yanked the door open.
"Whaddya want?" he snapped, adjusting his thin spectacles. He looked from the young man to a labouring Esmeralda. It took him only a moment to realize the situation. "Get her inside, put her on the floor, we have no time to get her to a bed." He looked at the young man, before going back inside and shouting to his wife to get clean rags and hot water, then to his patrons to make a space on the floor.
The young man led Esmeralda in and helped her onto the floor. Esmeralda wasn't ashamed of her nakedness and had gotten use to the lewd stares of men. The fact that she was pregnant had never bothered them, so long as they could still stick their cock between her legs. A scream was ripped from her throat and the innkeeper's wife knelt down at Esmeralda's feet. She barked orders and two of the rough looking men grabbed Esmeralda's ankles and spread her legs wide.
The blond woman moaned in pain and pushed when she was told to. Blood gushed out along with birthing fluid. Esmeralda kept pushing, praying to Frøya that the babe would be born dead, then she could focus on her revenge and maybe one day return to her homeland in the north. Yet, with every push she felt that dream slipping farther and farther away from her. "I see the head!" the innkeeper's wife shouted. Esmeralda groaned and gave a mighty push and her child's head came free. It was an odd feeling, as her child was birthed and she couldn't quite put it into words, but Esmeralda remembered her heart sinking when she heard the sharp wail of her newborn. "It's a boy!" the innkeeper shouted. She cut the cord and knotted it near the baby's stomach, before washing him clean in warm water and wrapping him in swaddling clothes. Esmeralda groan as the afterbirth was passed and her son was pressed against her chest. The baby rooted for her nipple before Esmeralda gave up and pressed her tit into his mouth. He began to suckle greedily at his mother's breast, his flaxen hair pressed against his tiny head.
"What are you going to name him?" the innkeeper asked. Esmeralda looked at the baby boy, who would never know his father, who's mother already had a reputation as a whore. The noble blood that followed through her veins and in his veins no longer mattered. Esmeralda knew in that moment she would never see her beloved homeland, the iron grey sea or feel the bitter cold of winter. She remembered stories of a great conqueror, of a man that nearly conquered the Dragonlands.
"Xavier," Esmeralda said, a smile twitching on her lips. "Xavier, the whore's son."