• Chapter 1
    Enslavement for Protection

    Jay hoisted the heavy pack filled with grain over his back and wiped the sweat from his face with his sleeve. He held his hand up to his eyes and squinted so he could see his father two miles ahead of him slicing the grain with his scythe so that once Jay got there he could just put it in his basket.

    Jay sighed. He would rather it jsut be himself doing all the work. It wasnt that he didnt know how to cut the grain and basket it at the same time, he had spent the last two years doing that. His father was just back from the fighting in the war and he had sustained an injury to his leg and he had trouble walking.

    Jay had told his father all this but he didn't believe it was fair for Jay to have to do it all alone now that he was back. It had been bad enough that his son had been doing since he was eight years old.

    Jay was bending to pick up more grain when he saw the men. There were six of them. All huge and obviously well muscled. Their clothing was made of deep black animal hide and each of them had at least one sword as well as a bow and a quiver full of arrows slung over their back. Jay gasped as he saw the tattoo all of them had burned into their right forearm. Aspiraling flame with a deep black rose vine entwined with it. The sign of the Demonicriss. The terror of the kingdom. The ruthless cold-blooded murderers who were feared all over the land. They roamed the land plundering wherever they pleased.

    Jay analyzed the situation. They didnt appear to have noticed him, they were still heading for his father. Jay knew his father wouldnt be able to defend himself. Jay considered fighting them. His two years spent doing all the hard labor around the house had bulked him up quite a bit for his age. He took a deep breath and picked up a fairly good sized stone. He knew he had perfect aim. But he only had one chance. He raised his arm behind his head judging the distance. He let his breath out and brought his arm forward with all his strength relasing the stone with a satisfying 'whoosh'.

    Jay watched in horror as the stone struck the lead man's head, and he turned to face Jay. Jay stepped back, his eyes wide. That shot would have normally knocked a man unconcious. The men began advancing towards him. Jay picked up another stone and threw it. This time the man caught it right before it struck him.

    Jay tried to move, to throw another stone, to scream, but he was paralyzed with fear. The men walked up to him. The leader stood directly in fron of him while the others formed a circle around him. He was surrounded. Jay thrust his chest and jutted his chin. Trying to look fierce nad brave like his father did the day he left for his training camp.

    "What do you want? Why are you here?!" He demanded crossing his arms.

    The men laughed.The leader shook his head and spoke "Well arent you a fisty one! Tell me lad were you planning on taking us all down before we got your old man? His mocking grin was getting on Jay's nerves.

    Jay let his arms fall to his sides and clenched his fists. "I could take you anywhere any time! Your not getting anywhere near my father or my mother or my sister or my house! Ill kill you all before I let that happen."

    They laughed again. The leader spoke "How old are you boy?"

    "Im ten." Jay replied angrily.

    They laughed again and Jay felt his face flush "If all your going to do is just sit there and laugh then go away!"

    The men stopped laughing immedietly and glared at him. The leader dropped down on one knee so he was eye level with Jay.

    "You know what kid? You got spunk. Youve impressed me very much. Most little brats your age would have run away crying to their mommy by now. Because of that Ill make you a deal. You come with us, and we'll leave not only your family alone, but your entire village."

    Jay felt his shoulders sag. He didnt want to go with these cruel evil men, but he knew it was the best way to keep everyone alive and safe. He nodded sadly.

    The men chuckled their approval. The leader cleared his throat "Now theres one last thing you gotta do before this deal is sealed. I want you to take these two sacks," he removed two sacks from the pack on his back, "and fill one with food and the other with all the money you can find and any jewelry."

    Jay's mouth opened in shock but before he could protest the leader held up his hand "I dont want to hear it. Get it done. And if you try and sneak away or alert the villagers were here we'll kill you all."

    Jay grabbed the two sacks and stalked back to his house hot tears rolling down his face. The tears kept faling as he stuffed one of the sacks fool of food from the kitchen and the other with his mothers jewelry. As he walked back to where the men were standing he gritted his teeth and wiped away the tears. he wasnt going to let them see him cry.

    One of the other men tied Jay to his pack so he couldnt get away. They started the journey away from Jay's home. After they had walked about a kilometer Jay turned back for one last final look at his home. One last look at all he had ever known. The man he was tied tugged at the rope and Jay turned, his jaw set in a determined line. It didnt matter how long it took, or how much pain it cost him, he would get back to his family one day. Even if it ment he had to become a cold-blooded murder.