Dark*Sun: The Terrors Of Athas
Born of a beast headed giant named Galkron and a half giantess named Salvara I spent my younger years tending flocks of my people in the islands of Aranknor. My life was filled with daily routine and work and toil, yet it was honest and clean. My family sustained me . . . life was simple then.
One day during my twelfth year I was out tending the flock on what seemed to be just another day. I just sat down on a large rock to eat my mid day meal, greedily enjoying my food I failed to notice the approaching group of humans before it was too late. A raiding band of humans had made land fall behind me along the shore in a strange craft that rode the silt sea. I along with my mother were taken, our flock plundered and my father killed along with many in the village as they were no match for such a large band of humans with psions and vile defilers in their midst.
Upon our capture we journeyed across the silt sea and were sold at a market, that was the last that I have seen of my mother and the others from our village. I was sold to a grizzled old human named Zarva. He purchased dozens of slaves that day and the next morning we began the horrible journey across the burning waste to what would be our new home.
I spent the next several decades toiling away in a large open quarry that we slaves simply called “the pit.” Athas is a hot world, dry, dusty and always warm, but the pit was nearly molten. Each day slaves would filter in to work and by mid day many would be carried out dead and dying. The months stretched to years despite the harshness of the pit I grew stronger. I was assigned to a crew of skilled movers. By now being the strongest slave in the pit my brute strength was an asset. I was given water regularly and fed more heartily, as my bestial strength aided in moving the most precious cut stones and ensured my masters of their profit.
One day a band of wandering traders made camp near the quarry. This was common as merchants would come and go to secure the fine stone that the pit provided. But this group was different, it was a slave caravan much like the one I’d been brought in on, only this time the slaves weren’t being unchained and brought in to join our ranks. As the morning drew on word spread around the camp that it was a supplier caravan for the great gladiatorial masters. I had heard about the great arenas from other slaves and how one could earn their freedom, even riches and fame in the arenas. Sometimes Bokra told us stories about the great fights that took place in the arenas. So I somehow knew that this was my way out, the path to controlling my own fate. If I could be chosen maybe I too could gain my freedom rather than spend the rest of my days moving rocks.
That morning My masters turned out many of the slaves as prospects but I was left behind. I could see them lining up and the slavers poking and prodding a few were selected and sent off to their camp. Mid day another group had been gathered for them to look over, and they were near enough to where I was working that I knew I had to seize the moment. As the looked over the human slaves the overseers were near them and away from me. I was working to move a large slab of cut rock with a group of slaves. I mustered all my strength and hefted the massive slab above my head … the slaves around me gasped and shrunk back in horror. I let out the loudest yell I could muster and charged forward towards the slavers and overseers who had their backs to me looking at the slaves as I bellowed and charged they all turned to see me … momentary terror in their eyes. I tossed the slab over their heads and Shrek of terror from my fellow slaves filled the air. The massive stone sailed over their heads and smashed a cart behind them into pieces as it exploded. I pounded my chest and bellowed and stamped my feet. The slavers faces were flushed with anger at first but I could see them change quickly their eyes flashed to cold calculation. I knew my dangerous gamble had worked. As the overseers whips lashed my back I didn’t move … I somehow knew that might be the last time I’d be lashed in the pit.