The problem with the settlements was the rules. Shit, the problem with other people was the rules. The last three crews Amrit had run with had enforced rules that were stifling, terrifying, and ridiculous, in order. Better, he’d decided, to run on his own. It wasn’t like anything could hurt him, at least not permanently.
The slavers had taken him while he was asleep, enough of them that they could tie him down even when he started fighting, and fae-savvy enough that they knew to gag him before he got out more than one Working. One of them sat on him as they attached the collar – wooden and spiked on inside and out, and the spikes burned where they brushed his skin – and informed Amrit that he now Belonged to them.
Amrit had made “fuck you” understandable through the gag, with effort. It had gotten him a bigger gag for his trouble.
And now he was chained to a platform, between two other guys, one of them in a plain metal collar and the other one wearing more wood and more chains than Amrit himself. Clearly he needed to fight harder.
And people were standing in front of them, bidding, ever so politely, like this was fucking Christie’s or something. And they were bidding on him. Amrit glared at them all. People.
It had been boring as well as irritating, watching them go back and forth about the other two, but now they were down to him. It looked like a fop sort, long hair, long nails, long mustache, was winning out over this big muscular guy wearing rawhide. They were using a form of shorthand Amrit didn’t quite get, but it sounded like he was up to 2 head of cattle or seven barrels of fish.
Suddenly, the men quieted. A woman in the back stood up and waved her number. She rolled off a series of words, all of them new to the debate.
There was a pause, while everyone discussed the relative values of… whatever. Honey, maybe?
Amrit took the moment to study this new bidder.
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