Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The burning of dung left an acrid scent in the air. The sun had gone down, although the clay walls were quite warm, and a need for light and cooking spread across the village. Korlanna had seen the last of her pupils leave some time ago and had cleaned  the room of wayward chalk and slate. While the number of children had stayed fairly steady over these three years, an increasing number of adults had begun studying, as well. The cool mornings consisted of the children's studies, while after the noon sun made the pits too hot to work an adults class began. Korlanna's afternoon classes were more difficult. Not because the adults weren't mature, attentive pupils, quite contrary, but that she was working a second job, simultaneously.
This second group, males of various races, consisted of a lot of potential clients for her evening work. She had to make sure her clothing was perfectly cinched, with liberal amounts of cleavage. She had to shave, and what hair remained couldn't appear dry or dusty. But, that was all preparation. When in the front of the room, her pedagogue had to be impartial, but her body language had to reward the men. Playing the helpless creature ripe for plunder didn't work well with teaching. This dance required a more active role. A particular school of thought said the best teaching required rewarding pupil's participation. It was from this Korlanna drew inspiration. She rewarded all active learners, but she nearly threw herself into the laps of a man when he spoke. Also, playing the willing servant, happy to be of service, was a fruitful strategy.
All of this went through Korlanna's mind as she prepared her next lesson, teaching her replacement. The next merchant caravan had just come to the village along with one of her Dwarf sisters. She told her literacy students that her stint was up, and a rotation was in order. Their reactions were largely disappointed, which she found flattering. To ease both their hearts and hers, she suggested they write her, putting to practice their new found knowledge. The last thing they wrote was her name and the name of the town she would reside in again, North Ledopolis. 
Though her excuse for leaving was true, it was only part of the truth. The immediate impetus was that she was pregnant, and, hopefully, from a Human. If so, the child would fetch a high value from the gladiatorial houses, enough that she would never have to prostitute again, and only teach because she enjoyed it. However, while most people would have mixed feelings knowing a child they never wanted was being sold in to slavery, these are runaway slaves. The village is based on an encampment of those who got far enough away from the cities that saw them as property, later to be able to trade the salt in the ground beneath them. They knew the value a child from the union of a Dwarf and a Human could yield. So, Korlanna made a point to explain what the Penny Royal dried leaves were for, making a spectacle of the purchase in the market.

(C) Michael Mosher 2010


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