Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe
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Wolf Slave 6 – Alex Ankarr
He wonders, now, about his master. Renally, Renally Hotstaat, sometimes going by Ree. Penn’s ownership history is incomplete, his paperwork unsatisfactory, which brought down his price a fair whack at auction. He’s reliant purely on memory to some extent: and the family name of his first owner family is lost in time. But no, he thinks. It isn’t very likely: and it’s not such an uncommon name after all.
No doubt this fellow is a fat fifty-something, with a full beard and an air of blustering authority, who will bully and chivvy him on to more and more onerous duties, will perhaps harrass him for sexual favours like his owner prior to the last one, will- Penn manages to depress and worry himself with speculations, then dismisses all such unprofitable mental ambling. He’ll meet his new lord and master, soon enough. It will probably be bad news, like most things. He’s hardened up to that, by now.
A month, then two, pass. He spends much of them loaned out to a pack in the neighbouring state, for their libraries are in disarray after a fire and a burglary. With the aftermath of these things, and his own duties, and two family weddings being planned for this neighbour pack, the slaves and lower servants have an abundance of gossip to occupy them. Such an abundance, in fact, that no-one is the slightest bit interested in the visiting slave, nor his owner-family, nor the absent head of it. He’s forgotten the subject himself in a way: in the way that he’s owned, and he knows he’s owned, it’s just a fact. And he never has his speculation about the name of his owner come so much as to the forefront of his mind. Though if he was reminded he might begin speculating once more. He’s busy enough with his own duties, and more besides which are loaded on him: frantic with it.
Then, middle of the afternoon with the etiquette section not yet finished – it needs updating and new volumes ordering in – an estate truck is heading over to the Hotstaat estate, by chance, with goods and messages. And the chief of staff – a dignified freeman, an upper servant with the fullest consciousness of his status – decides that Penn has done sufficient, and can be dispensed with a day or two early. So that’s that, and he’s bundled off with barely a farewell and no goodbye supper, after two months making at least a few acquaintances and a friend or two. That’s a slave’s life after all: no autonomy and nothing you can rely on, and any human connections you make can be broken at a moment’s notice. And that’s the best you can hope for: it says nothing of the worst.
© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013 All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.