189 The Unsteady Deal*
Aegin glared back at the Slave Master, "We're not going to be separated".
He felt Ebony's hand tighten on his arm as the Slave Master stared back at them. His eyes narrowing in discontent, the Slave Master motioned the guards forward to deal with the problem.
Ebony felt Aegin tense beneath her fingers, and she slowly released him, sensing his readiness to move. Aegin, feeling Ebony release him, took it as permission to do what he needed to. The knots of rope around his wrists were loosened thanks to his working at it whilst they were on the move. As the two guards approached with spears points at Aegin, Aegin watched their every move.
The first guard tried to herd Aegin away from Ebony, only Aegin side stepped into Ebony and looped the rope around the spear. He drew it towards himself, throwing the guard off balance. Aegin grabbed the spear and used it to cut part of the rope. Even if there were only criminals on this island, evidently their weapons were still well crafted.
After that, Aegin kicked out behind him where another guard had approached faster to bring Aegin under control.
"Duck," he said to Ebony. Unable to bend one of her legs, Ebony did the next best thing and fell forward, catching herself on her hands. She flinched from the pain of catching her body weight, but didn't cry out as she watched Aegin lose the ropes around his wrists before he flipped the spear in his hands around, the end hitting one of the guards in the head hard enough for him to spit out a tooth.
Aegin paused, the spear up and ready as he looked at the two guards before him and the two guards behind. The rope was at his feet, and the Slave Master looked on, a mix of anger and intrigue.
"Useless idiots! Get him!"
The four guards moved forward together, only to be met with a combination of spear and flesh as Aegin did away with them. The guards in the outer part of the large hall began to move in as Aegin moved. They were too slow though as Aegin dealt with the four guards in his immediate vicinity then used the seconds he had spare to take up the rope and tie a lasso at one end. He then took his discarded spear, planted it upright in the ground and jumped up. His foot kicked out towards one of the guards, both pushing the guard away and pushing Aegin around to another position where he threw the lasso.
The Lasso pulled tight around the surprised Slave Master and Aegin yanked the man across the cold stone floor towards him. He then yanked the spear out of the stone floor as he stood, stabbing it towards the Slave Master.
Aegin's call froze the oncoming guards, who had no idea how to react to their boss being threatened. None of the other prisoners had ever had the gall to make such a move, nor the skill to get past six of them. The look on Aegin's face…they were positive he could have gotten through quite a few more before he'd been overwhelmed.
"You'll never get off the Island," the Slave Master spoke, his tone relatively calm for his current situation, "You have no allies here".
Aegin glared down at the Slave Master, "I'm well aware of that. I only had one request, don't separate Ebony and I, yet you refused to listen".
"You are aware of your situation and yet you still protest against it," the Slave Master spoke, "I sense you're going to offer me a deal?"
Aegin smirked, "I figure that a Slave Master like yourself is all about the profits. How much does the Warrior's Arena earn?"
"Enough to feed a kingdom five times over," said the Slave Master, "Even with all the disposables".
Disposables? Was that how he referred to the warriors? The slaves that were fighting for their lives in there? Aegin wanted to feel disgusted, but he knew that he was running out of time. It would only be so long before the guards worked out that Aegin couldn't defend against all of them.
"I'll fight in your Warrior's arena, and for every game I win, you allow Ebony to stay with me. She can be a server at the Arena if you don't want her in the cells with me, but no one touches or takes advantage of her, and she gets care for her leg," Aegin stated.
The Slave Master raised and eyebrow, "And if you lose?
Aegin knelt down, "If I lose, I won't be around to protest in whatever you want to do, will I?"
The Slave Master grinned, "And you're confident you can win more than what I'd get if I sold her?"
Aegin nodded, "Give me three trials. I'll earn back your losses".
The Slave Master was intrigued. For a moment he said nothing, then, unable to refuse the temptation, nodded, "Very well. In one week you will have three days to earn the prospective amount that I would have received by selling her. If you happen to succeed, every fight you survive afterwards will mean that I will not sell her off".
Zanvar scoffed to the side, "Slave Master, what integrity do you have to make a deal with your merchandise?"
"Perhaps I'm just bored, Zanvar. Maybe I want to see if this new little asset can really live up to all that talk," said the Slave Master as he turned his head to look at the Pirate Lord, "After the display he just made, I'm sure we'll at least have an interesting trial next week. If he happens to survive the first one, I'm sure it'll bring in some decent returns. Do we have a deal?"
The question was directed at Aegin. And after a quick glance at Ebony, Aegin dropped the spear and stepped back with his arms up. The Guards moved in quickly.
The Slave Master stood, "Get the girl some medical help when you take her to Madame. Tell Madame of the deal, get the girl trained as much as possible in the next week.
"Aye, Master," one of the guards spoke before he approached Ebony and separated her from the line before taking her away. Aegin watched tensely, the Slave Master watching him before he spoke again.
"Take him, that one, that one and that one to the Arena and have them washed and given cells," said the Slave Master, inform the Warden that this one, this…"
"This, Aegin, has a trial in one week," said the Slave Master, "Get the rest ready for sale".
Aegin was shoved away, along with Tank, Midas and Loft, one of the men who'd shared night duties with Rassa.
Aegin turned to look to another corridor where Ebony was being led away. Ebony looked back at him, worry in her eyes. Aegin couldn't help but question his decision then. Had he done the right thing? Had he kept Ebony safe or had he only put her in greater danger? It was unlikely he could trust the Slave Master. Still, it was the only thing Aegin could do.
He may have been a good fighter, having been trained as a Ridge Man for most of his life, but that didn't mean he could take all of these men alone. And the Slave Master was right about one thing. There was no getting off this Island. Not without some serious help.
Aegin lost sight of Ebony as they were dragged into separate halls. He clutched at the tracking charm through his pocket and looked at the fading, flickering line that led to his lost friend. As if the charm could also send messages, Aegin willed his thoughts down that line.
Please, Rassa. We need you.