: Magebound (Volume 1) (): Katica Locke: Books. Magebound and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Magebound by Katica Locke. Lark, an abused slave, and Lord Sactaren, a powerful mage, discover magic, adventure and steamy, smoldering romance in this. Magebound by Katica Locke: Chapter One. By: Katica Locke. Teaser — Lark is a slave, now the property of the enigmatic Traxen Mage.
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I’ve never seen such a pathetic slave market, and I’ve been to some real ass-end of the universe places. It’s just a rotting wooden platform in a field of mud and yellow grass, with us slaves corralled off to one side. There are six of us, down from the eight that had left Ventia a week ago. The old man magbound died at sea, and the girl was bought up before we’d even stepped off the ship, by a whorehouse, I think. The woman who bought her looked like a madam; I saw too much ankle and bosom locek either end of her dress for her to have been a Lady.
She spent some time looking at the teenage boy with us, but finally left without him. Erion was probably asking too much. The girl kicked one of the slavers as she left, so I think she’ll be okay. I’d rather be worked to death in the fields than suffer her fate any day.
I stand silently with the others; the boy, two broken looking men in their late thirties, a big, brooding fellow a few years older than me and a sour woman not quite old enough to be my mother, as we wait for the inevitable. All of us have our hair sheared down to the scalp. It marks us as slaves and keeps the crawlies off our heads. It’s better than branding, which I’ve heard still happens on some planets.
We’re under tight security; our hands magebuond loosely in front of us and a single sleeping slaver sitting guard outside the corral. The fact that no one, not even the kid, has tried to make a run for it just shows how dismal Traxen is; even if we did escape, there isn’t anywhere to go. The auctioneer is a fat man with a big nose, one of those fat, red noses that looks like it hurts all the time, not like mine, which is just too large for my face. He must drink a lot. I would, if I had a nose like that.
He’s over in the shade of a canvas tent, talking with Erion, the jagebound trader in charge of our ragged asses. They seem to be waiting for the slave owners and potential slave owners to gather, but I think the dozen or so men sitting impatiently on the overturned wooden crates in front of the platform is all the crowd we’re going to draw.
I scan the faces of the men as we all wait, and then I take a good look at their shoes. Most of the time, you can tell an off-worlder by his shoes. Not always, but both times I was dragged through mageebound world gate, it was by men wearing strange shoes. I lean my bound wrists on the weathered fence rail and bite the inside of my lower lip.
I don’t want to be taken off Ashael again. I was born here; this planet is my home. It might not be much, compared to more advanced worlds, but I’d rather till their land with just a mule and a plow than stitch their strange, weightless shoes together, or wash out the bilges on their space freighters. I don’t think I have to worry about it, this time. Traxen is a long way from Greater Kormunae.
Erion steps out into the sun and heads our direction. They start with the kid, of course, the auctioneer locle through his teeth to try and push the bidding up. Strong as an ox, my foot. He sells for more than I had guessed, to a weary looking farmer in a battered straw hat.
Scratch that — they’re all weary looking farmers in battered straw hats. This one has a drooping mustache and a knife tucked into his belt. I watch the farmer lead his new slave mageboknd the road. I’m lkcke good at judging what kind of kativa a man will be by the way he leads his slave.
Mean ones jerk on the rope. Nice ones leave some slack. Horrible ones make you run along behind their wagons. This guy leaves slack, so maybe the kid’ll be okay. I don’t have time to worry about it, though — I’m up next. I’m six months shy of twenty-one, but hardly look over eighteen. That’s what happens when you never get enough to eat.
I can write my name magebkund read a little. I guess for a slave, that is educated. He can plow, sow, reap, slaughter, woodwork, millwork, stonework I’d probably be dead, considering he was trying to pour lamp oil on me and light me on fire when I took off.
Said I looked at his daughter funny. Well, she was pretty funny looking, magebohnd long-necked goose of a girl with buggy green eyes, but I never looked at her like he meant. I’m worth at least three coins, but none of the farmers seem to realize it. Maybe I look like I eat a lot. One of them, a lean man with a scar across his left cheek, finally raises his hand, making a bid. His clothes are mostly leather, worn slick and shiny, and he’s got spurs and a rope, so I’m guessing a rancher, probably from a fair distance, since this isn’t exactly cattle country.
He reaches up toward my face and I open my magebounnd before has a chance to touch me, showing the crowd my teeth. I know the drill, and I hate being touched. I’d like to see one of them live my life and look better. It’s not like I asked to be beaten, and whipped, and cut, and burned. The kaatica steps away from me and I turn around. The few gathered farmers have moved to one side of the market.
Magebouund guess it wasn’t me they were muttering about. A horse and rider has come right up to the platform. My heart begins to pound in my chest as I take a second look. It’s a unicorn, a black unicorn, with a hooded and cloaked rider, his magenound hidden in shadow.
He raises a hand and points at me, and I can feel the color drain from my face, because it’s not a hand, it’s a claw, like a hawk’s, or a dragon’s, slim, black, curved and gleaming. I try to swallow, but my mouth has gone dry. He tosses a small sack at the auctioneer’s feet. It clinks like iatica and several gold coins spill out. It’s probably three times what they’d get for me, even in a big city. He doesn’t seem to notice.
He’s shaking as he hands the end of my lead to my new master. I want to ask him, What the hell are you afraid of? Kxtica didn’t just buy youbut I bite my tongue. As I step down from the platform, I glance over at the other slaves.
Magebound Series by Katica Locke
They’ve crowded the rail and I kxtica see it in their eyes, that intense relief that it’s me instead of them. I’ve seen that look many times, and worn it occasionally, so I can’t blame them. I turn away and trot alongside the unicorn as my master heads out of town.
I’ve never been this close to such a beautiful beast.
The only unicorns I ever had contact with were the worn pair of brown mares one of my richer masters kept to pull his carriage. It was my job to muck out their stalls, but I was never allowed to get this close. This magebounnd, black stallion gleams from katjca tip to tail tip, and carries himself with such fierce pride I have to wonder how anyone could even manage to get a saddle on him, let alone mount up.
But then I raise my eyes to my new master, to the claws holding the reigns. I guess that explains kwtica. It’s not easy to run with your hands bound in front of you, but my master seems in no hurry, lucky for me. Still, I’m hurting by the time he turns off the main road, mageboynd legs and back and every breath burning as we begin to climb a well-worn mountain path.
Grassy hills rise up on my left, with a handful of fat brown sheep scattered near the top, and slope down to a patchwork of farmland on the right. The unicorn blocks most of the view to that kkatica, though. I glance up at my monster of a new master, seeing nothing but darkness inside his hood.
He hasn’t said a word to me, and I’m not much of a talker anyway, even when I can breathe, so the journey is a silent one. I’m starting to wish the rancher had bought me. We come around a bend in the trail and I can see a single pointed, slate-shingled roof silhouetted against the sky.
Another few steps and more of the tower comes into view — a single arched window looking sightlessly out over the village and the sea. A castle means a Lord, someone you have to bow and scrape for, and wash and dress and clean up after. I’ve belonged katics several Lords, none of them with towers as tall as this, and the ones who just beat and kicked me were the nice ones. It seemed that the richer and more powerful they were, the more cruel and perverse they felt they could be.
If my master’s castle is any indication of his wealth, I’m probably better off running for it.
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Hell, I’m probably better off dead. I should have made a break for it back when the hills were gentle and covered in grass. Now it’s just dirt and gravel rising up beside me, and beyond the unicorn, it looks like the ground just drops away.