Back in the Day: The Slaver’s Camp

Walking the Blade will be a series of novels based on the life and relationships of a dragon who can shift into human form. The stories you see here are snippets and scenes that I wanted to share with you – things we wrote to further develop and fill in the history of our cast of characters. We hope you enjoy and come back for more!

The night was cool this close to the border between forests and coastal plains. The caravan had parked out near the beach instead of heading further into the city. They were run by a pack that migrated here and there, so they had to do business outside the cities. Kieran had already taken off to where he knew the Alpha was staying, leaving this casual encounter to his sons and their guards. Less intimidation meant looser mouths. And there would be others from the city around as well, all to try and sample the wares and just enjoy the night with these travelers.  

Of course, there was music and a huge bonfire made of local wood and driftwood alike. The sand was still warm from the light of the day when everything had begun. 

“Looks like they started the party without us,” Derek chuckled as they made their way to where several of the revelers were sitting on halved trees.  

“Shh remember your position.” Argoth cautioned his son as he walked a pace behind the well-dressed forms of the princes of Pack Weylyn.

Devon was in dark greens and browns while his brother sported his usual blues and blacks. He moved through the crowd and could feel the change in the atmosphere as they were recognized. 

“Well, look who has graced us with their presence,” Madron Regis was one of the pack’s most shrewd traders. He loved putting on events like this and making damn good money doing it. The Weylyns weren’t ones to buy slaves, but they were definitely ones that would buy weapons and information. He’d met the eldest prince before. His alpha had introduced them once upon a full moon celebration.  The other was obviously also a prince and looked similar enough to Devon to make sense.  

“I see you’ve gathered quite the lot this time Regis.” Devon followed the other male through the camp. He showed little interest in the revelers or the slaves as he moved into the ringed off area.

“Come, come! Let us enjoy some time here in the daze,” There was a carpeted area surrounded by pillows instead of the hard benches that the others usually went for. The man even had a hookah set up.  “What can I do for you?” 

Derek remained near Gar and all of them let Devon lead. Besides, he was watching a lot of the ladies who were merry-making with men that were obviously from the local villages and the cities surrounding this area. There were servants seeing to everyone and also dancers. Some were definitely slaves that Regis would part with. One could tell by the blue collars they wore.   

Golden eyes moved over the servants and he took a seat while motioning Gareth to do the same. “Not sure you can do anything for me, but I thought I’d take a chance and see what you have to offer. My father wasn’t keen on this visit as I’m sure you know, but I convinced him that it might prove it’s worth. Tell me, have I wasted my time?” His deep voice rumbled through the words as it usually did and Devon didn’t think anything of the sound until he noticed it caused at least one female to stop in her tracks.

“You’re a Weylyn and so you want information. Isn’t it always thus?” He took a nice draw from the tobacco and left the smoke slowly erupt from his lips. 

She’d been getting ready with the others, and they had adorned her with pale colors, because of her dark toned skin. Her hair was in a large braid, woven with pale colored ribbons to match the skirt and mid-drift shirt she wore. Madron had gone all out and made sure all of the slave girls had semi-precious gems in their navels and glistening moisturizers that smelled very beautiful on their skin. Eva had already been dancing with several of the locals when she came round the master’s area and had to pause. The others moved around her as she did something that was not normally allowed. She made eye contact with a freeborn. 

“You have news?” While he spoke, Devon couldn’t keep his gaze from shifting to take in the small gathering of slaves that walked by. They sought freedom by means of being taken from the slavers. Unfortunately, he couldn’t offer much to them. He detested the trade of freedom, but it was allowed. He caught the one’s gaze and she seemed bold enough to hold it. He actually gave a partial grin in response before he was nudged by his brother back into the conversation.

“Pardon me, you were saying?”

“I said nothing yet…” Madron chuckled. “You like what you see?” he was always ready to make a deal. “That one is special. She come from the other side, trained among vampires.” 

Argoth saw the girl move off quickly, realizing she’d been caught. She was gorgeous, that was for sure. But if you tangled with a slave, you had to pay for it. He hoped Devon remembered that. She wasn’t an elf, so maybe they were good. Devon liked elven lovers for some reason.

“Elves of the Riktor Pass, tell me what you know.” Devon was fighting back the temptation to go and find the slave girl. He had business to tend to above any other interests.

“Information on the elves, eh?” The Regis packmember sat forward and held out his hand. “You buy this as you would anything else. You know the price.”  

As Devon nodded at him, Argoth held out the necessary coin.

Sitting back, the gold moving through his fingers and then disappearing, Madron cleared his throat. “You Weylyn need not worry. These elves, they have another target in mind. They’re not dumb enough to go after the pack so strong, but they DO move magic. I see that with my own sorry eyes. So be aware. Rumor has it you have dragons. You should be fine.” 

“Then we are done here.” Gareth stood up and look around. This was too quick and too easy. Wasn’t it? His eyes didn’t stop moving around the tents and the smaller bonfire between.

“Things, they will not change in a night’s time. If the prince would like to sample, an arrangement can be made, yes?” Madron tempted. 

With a sigh, Devon climbed to his feet and watched as Gareth moved to the edge of the area they were in to watch those around the fire. “I suppose we could stay to enjoy ourselves a little.” 

“Remember your control.” Devon cautioned.

Argoth chuckled and cautioned his best friend right back, “Seems you may need to remember yours dear prince.”

That got the dark-haired lycan a narrowed glare as Devon followed their host to where the dancing and entertainment was going on. Of course, with their status, all four had women vying for their attention. While the others were coaxed into dancing around the fire by the women, Devon chose to keep alone. He moved to lean against a large tree while watching the others enjoy themselves. The one he had caught gazes with hadn’t been amidst those trying for them.

“Prince, are you not going to join the others for the dancing?” Madron came back after checking on the rest of the festivities. 

“They’re all lovely but not for me. The others are enjoying well enough.” Devon waved a persistent Regis off.

“Ummm… you search though. It tells me, you just don’t see her? Eh?” Regis clapped the bigger lycan’s shoulder. Devon cut a bit of a glare over at the unsavory man, but he didn’t answer. “Tell you what, I do you this favor and hope you and your family will one day see favor upon mine?” He smiled and leaned in a bit closer to the elder prince. “Her name is not been spoken and she is stubborn. I would not sell her in 12 cities, despite her beauty. Exotic, yes?” He laughed that low, wheezing laugh. 

Devon stood up straight and sleared his throat. Pretending disinterest was difficult.

“Go to the opening of the second tent. Look inside. She will be there. Maybe you’ll get lucky? Maybe she dance with you? She has to be ordered to dance otherwise.”  He walked back into the festivities, leaving Devon to it. 

Derek was keeping an eye out, even while he was being led to dance. When he saw Devon heading off by himself he whistled to his dad. He was on Gar duty… his dad always took Devon duty. 

There was a slow nod from Argoth. He was soon falling into step not far behind Devon. His friend’s mind was focused elsewhere and so he’d be on guard for him.

In the tent, Eva had closed her eyes and was trying to forget the lovely amber colors she had just seen. Her life wasn’t a pretty one. She didn’t deserve any such as what came this night, and that included him. Besides, princes were not lovely people – not that she had seen. They tended to get what they wanted and destroy it. So, time to stop the fantasy where it had sprung. She was waiting for the Weylyns to leave. Until then, though, she was in here, in the shared tent alone. And the music was nice, so she let herself dance to it, moving bare feet over mats and furs and blankets.  

Devon hadn’t wanted to interrupt such a beautiful moment but he could not stay all night. So, he cleared his throat after watching her graceful dancing.

She jumped and turned quickly, her braid moving with the jostle. Her eyes were wide with surprise and her hand moved over her heart. 

When she turned his way, Devon bowed to her. His deep voice filled the tent, “Lady, will you do me the honor of a dance?” He would not force her, that wasn’t his style, but he hoped she’d say yes.

She looked around and then back to him before nodding. No one had ever asked her before. She remembered how things worked and tried something else. She held her hand out to him, waiting to see if he’d take it and how he would. 

Stepping inside the tent, Devon took the outstretched hand and held it as if it were glass. She was more than exotic. Her dark skin and lovely freckled shoulders had him mesmerized. Now that he was closer, he could see that the brain in her hair, it didn’t suit her like most… she had tight, textured curls that were being forced into a resentful state. The reddish tint to her hair only complimented her coloring and her bright topaz eyes. She was so petite that he was afraid to hurt her. So, he treated her like porcelain. Turning, Dev led her out while smiling for her.

She walked quietly at his side as he lead them back out to the bonfire, where everyone was dancing. She was holding his hand and his grip was not hurtful or controlling, simply proper. When they were at the edge of the dancing bunch, she turned to him and placed a hand at his shoulder, letting him know she would have him lead.  His eyes were beautiful and his face was kind. Her heart was thumping in her chest. 

As his hand moved to her waist, his other rested upon her hip. While moving with her, Devon rumbled at those that dared reach out towards her. He was being protective of her. Before long, no one else dared come close.

“I’m Devon of Pack Weylyn and you are?” They were already flush against one another and so talking wasn’t impossible.

“Evalyn,” she whispered, her breathing beginning to move with the flow of his already. He seemed made for her, despite being so much larger. She kind of just fit into that perfect spot with her head at his chest. But he looked to her in a way that let her keep with him, his mouth and his eyes. “Most call me Eva.”

“A beautiful name for a beautiful woman.” Devon rumbled softly as he drew in her scent. Oh it would be hard to walk away from this. “You’re different than the others..” 

“How so, do ya think?” She was curious to see where this went. She’d been to several cities with Pack Regis’ caravan and there was always a silver tongued devil amongst those in the crowd. For some reason, this time, she hoped he wasn’t just a charmer. 

“In many ways, in all ways that I can see. Your eyes, the inflections to your voice when you speak, the way you sway your hips just a little with each step. The color of your skin and how it hides the scattered freckles over your nose and shoulders. They aren’t really visible unless one’s looking hard enough to find them.” Devon grinned and his canines were visible as he moved through each step without missing a beat. “Tell me what makes you so breathtaking?”

“I began as a human, near a century ago. I lost track. I’m of mixed race from them, which makes me different and unacceptable by most in the world I come from. And as if that wasn’t enough, I was turned by a lycan. So, my question would be, am I still beautiful to your royal eyes?” 

Their steps slowed just a bit as he leaned down to rumble against her ear, “Yes, you are still beautiful no matter what world you come from and if they think differently, obviously they are fools across the portal.”

“Have you never been?” Eva was legitimately surprised to even be asking.  

“No, why would I when all that I need or could ever want is here in this world?” Devon had lifted his brow in curiosity and as it lowered he asked, “Tell of this other world of yours? Why it should appeal to me.”

“Well, I suppose you have no reason, true. But what it’s like? Hmmm…” she looked around them. “They’ve ocean towns there, but with much more greenery. Even the most lush forests here are no comparison. Humans have to cut the trees and brush away just to get through to new places. And they are learning such marvels. Every year something new has happened.” She smiled. “Alas, there’s not near the magical energy in the world I come from – a sister to this one. And there’s but one moon. Though, the one is enough and is very powerful. I used to imagine the goddess looking down upon me from the light of the moon and stars.” 

“The Goddess is felt over there?” This was surprising to hear. “Are you sure there is magic as well? I’ve been told it left with the Elves and Dragons that fled to our world and others.”

“Oh, yes, I believe there are many powers out there that touch our lives. The Goddess, as I speak it – she’s found in things, hidden but still there, even in the patriarchal beliefs of these humans. They yet venerate her, though, sadly, they uplift their women less than lycan do.” 

Devon snorted, “Then I was correct they are indeed fools as our mates and females are why we have a life as we do.” His head tipped to the side and his beads clicked together as the braids on his head shifted with the movement, “And what do you do there?”

“I like to help people. All people. I’ve learned how to help heal others and I just… help.” She shrugged. “How about you, sir?” 

“Me? I’m the heir to Pack Weylyn, one day I’ll lead it when my father is in the fields. For now, I keep my younger brother and sister out of messes, I scout, keep our enemies at bay, and assure all are safe on our lands.” He paused and let their eyes meet again. “My mother is a beautiful woman as well,  she’s the Lady of the palace. You’d like the palace; it’s a sight to behold as it rises from the hills around it.”

“I have seen several palaces here since arriving. I had never laid eyes on one in my world.” Eva continued to match every step Devon made. And she luxuriated against him whenever she got the chance. At one point, she even placed her head on his chest for a slower few songs. His scent was unique and his warmth seemed addictive. “My experiences with palaces here have not been good. Not all princes are as kind or proper as you seem to be.”

Several dances later there was a light tapping on the shoulder and Devon turned, ready with a sharp glare and snarl that quickly eased upon realizing who it was.

“Sorry Argoth, I lost track of time.” He grinned and actually flushed a little out of embarrassment at just how caught up in Eva he had become. “I’ll be right there, just give me a minute.” When his gaze sought out Eva’s he felt it, that emotional pull he never thought possible. he’d heard others describe it, but…

“You must go?” Eva asked. She wasn’t ready.  

“Let me take you from this. I can make you so happy if you just give me a chance. I can keep you safe and make you smile.. Will you let me do that?”

Derek had been escorting Gareth by, not far away and both of them stopped in their tracks when they heard Devon. Had he gotten drunk while they weren’t looking? She was petite, sure. But she was no elf. And a slave? How exactly did the prince think that would work?

Eva squeezed his hands with her much smaller ones. She looked from them up to his eyes again. He was so noble, and it had nothing to do with his heredity. He truly wanted to save her, didn’t he? 

“I want to believe that. Especially from someone like you. But do you know how many times I’ve heard such words over this last 50 years?” She didn’t want to let go of his hands. 

“You’ve never heard them from me and I am a lycan of my word. What kind of leader would I be if I broke it?” Devon was now simply standing with Eva and yet he hadn’t let her go.

“But, you are a royal among a primary pack in this world, Devon of Weylyn. What do you wish to do? Buy me and then make me your courtesan while a mate walks at your side?” She couldn’t imagine how much more difficult her life could get if that happened… if she let herself fall for this handsome, noble creature in front of her, and then he was taken from her? 

He actually scowled at that idea, “No, I’m not the unfaithful type. I want you for my mate, Eva. I would never dishonor you by making you a courtesan.”

She couldn’t hide the tears in her eyes. They shimmered so… his words made her want to have hope. And she was frightened of hope. This one had really gotten to her. She wanted to believe him. And so, she had to ask… 

“May I kiss you, prince? So I can at least dream of what you’re promising me? Or… would you kiss me?” 

Slipping his arm around Eva’s waist, Dev lifted her to her tiptoes and captured her lips with his own. It wasn’t rushed, rough, or inexperienced. It was slow, enticing, and sensual as he teased her with lips, teeth, and tongue. His other hand moved up to push into her hair as he grasped it and deepened the kiss when she opened to let him in. 

Oh, she could imagine being made love to by him. She would not wash her clothes for as long as she could manage – she wanted to smell him as long as possible! He tasted wonderful and the way he took her mouth and her… whole being – without a bit of harm? Well, to be honest, she’d never experienced it. 

Her taste could have driven him wild and made him want more but he knew when to ease back and let Eva catch her breath and her balance.

“I’ll come back for you, Eva, you have my word on it. I have to find my father to make the arrangements.”

Hugging herself as his guard pulled him away, probably to scold him, Eva nodded at his words. She watched them until they were gone. And then, she did her best to slip back behind the tents to stay away from anyone else. She didn’t want to be touched by anyone. Not after Devon.  

“You’re worse than these young ones when they catch the scent of skirt they have an itch for.” Argoth chuckled but that chuckle soon died away when he actually took heed of Devon. “No.” He stopped and watched Devon’s eyes glitter and that evil smirk flit over the younger lycan’s face. “No! Not her, not any slave. Yer ole man is gonna kill us all if you even think it. Not bad enough she’s a slave, she’s also a turned lycan and from the other world.”

“Are you serious?” Derek laughed whole-heartedly. “So we get very little to go on from this Regis Caravan Master, we spend money, and you come back to your father also wanting the impossible? You live in a dreamworld sometimes.” Derek poked a very quiet Gareth with his elbow. “Tell him, Gar. Talk some sense into your big brother.” He did not expect what Gareth said. 

“Good luck brother, you’ll need it. Especially if you get your way and make her yours. That one’s wild.” Gareth grinned as he patted his brother on the shoulder and pointed at his own eye. “I see a spitfire soul in those eyes.”

“I wouldn’t have her any other way.” Devon wouldn’t be deterred by any of the three. He just kept walking. He knew where to find the Alpha and once he did this matter would be handled.

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