Lost Cities Intro
Lost Cities of the Trembling PlainsBrax, Brax[at]athas.org
The Price of Freedom
Father, tell me the story about the night I was born.
Again? Aye. It was the Coldnights season in the Trembling Plains, and your mother was swollen up with you in her belly, but the House had business for me to do in Ket. I wanted to reach Azethâs Rest in time for your birth, but the east wind mired the road in silt. When I finally passed Fort Ral, the road was busy with travelers to the seasonâs festival. They clogged my way and I could not get around them. Then I saw him.
The broken man.
Yes, many of his bones were broken. Bandits had taken everything they had, even his clothes. But he was still breathing. The other travelers were walking past him. A southbound mekillot wagon nearly trampled him, and I heard the driver say, heâs almost dead, anyway. Another traveler stopped for an instant, but then said, weâd better hurry, there might be more bandits out there.
But you helped the broken man.
I am Azeth. I follow the winds, and the winds blew this man into my path.
Why did the others not help him?
They do not hear the winds, or they do not listen to them.
Tell the story.
I wanted to be home to see you and your mother, and the rest of the team wanted to get home as well, but we stayed a day until I was confident that I could move the man without killing him. A few bandages and Kurnan herbs turned him around, but I did know if he would survive the journey northward on our crodlu. He needed to lay in a bed, and the only bed for a hundred miles was south to Fort Ral.
So you went back.
At Fort Ral, I sold the broken man to an innkeeper for one silver piece.
Slaves usually cost more.
A lot more. But this one was broken.
Could you have paid the innkeeper to take care of the broken man?
Yes, but sheâd have pocketed the money, and let him die the moment my shadow disappeared from her horizon. Iâd asked for less than a silver piece, she would not have nursed him back to health as carefully. Once she paid silver for him, she gained an interest in his life.
What did you do with the silver piece?
You know very well what I did with the silver piece. I strung it on a necklace, and it was my first gift to you, the moment I saw you. You are wearing it this moment, silly girl.
Tell me the end of the story again.
You must never spend that silver piece. It is the price of a manâs freedom.