Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Nidge Darkfold sits quietly in the new infirmary beneath the palace in Klima. All is quiet and it is very early. The last of the kajiri has just headed off to the kennel and the Free are sleeping soundly. The night air of the desert is cold but the stone room in which he sits is still giving up the heat of the day so the temperature is comfortable.

The head physician sits at his desk; he is writing his journal as he does when he is unable to sleep. The surface of the ink shimmers in the lamp light as he dips his pen in to it, stirring the deep blackness as his thoughts and memories stir in his mind.

"The excavation and rebuilding of Klima continues. The terrible sandstorm that almost destroyed us is a memory. A few people were lost. Others have returned from the past. Still more have found their way to our home."

Nidge sits in quiet contemplation for a moment. He end of the pen plays along his lower lip as he is lost on his thoughts. Grateful that his boy was unharmed. Grateful that the Home Stone was recovered. Grateful he still has a home with the people he cares for more than he ever shows. Nidge adjusts his posture in the chair; it is basic and not the most comfortable but it is his. His eyes wander almost sightlessly around his possessions.

"My life seems to be an endless round of slave exams and completing scrolls. At least I have not had to perform skin grafts or jaw surgery since he recovered from the sandstorm as was the case when we were visited daily by one attacker. There have been threats from a number of outlaw groups but nothing has transpired from any of them...save for a few flags and some bosk dung. Quite why anyone would haul a bag of dung hundreds of pasangs just to leave it littered around Klima is beyond me. Perhaps some people should consider their motives and actions before carrying them out. At least when I made the journey to their home to return the favour, there were bosk in the lands so the dung was fresh."

Nidge closes the journal, puts down the pen and settles back in the hard, uncomfortable chair. He smiles softly to himself.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Sands of Time (IC)

Nidge Darkfold wakes with a start. The noise around him is becoming increasingly loud. The air is thick with sand. He swiftly wraps a scarf around his face and dresses in the darkness as best he can. The physician searches the room in vain for his boy. Heading downstairs to the infirmary, the air is clearer and he takes a moment to compose himself. He keeps calling out, but no one responds.

As he stands alone in the dark, Nidge suddenly becomes aware of the silence. The air stirs gently. In the distance, there is a low rumbling sound. The sound begins to grow in volume. He races upstairs and searches the room for his boy; there is no sign of him. Nidge rushes back downstairs, across the infirmary and opens the doors. Sand flows in to the room as he opens the doors. Nidge is frozen to the spot for a few Ehn as he stares out at the devastation that has befallen the city. He calls out a few times, realising he is now shouting to be heard over the roar of the approaching wave of the sandstorm. There is no answer; just the sound of the driving wind.

Scrambling frantically in the sand to clear enough to allow the doors to close, Nidge then takes shelter under his sturdy desk. He curls in to a tight ball with his arms wrapped around his head. "This is it", he thinks. A few Ihn later the storm hits the city walls with a sound similar to an explosion. Outside the infirmary, the storm rages. Wind and sand batter the opulent buildings. The doors of the infirmary give way under the onslaught of the elements; the noise is deafening.

The physician of Klima crawls out from under his half buried desk once he is confident the storm is over. He walks to the doorway and looks out. If anyone was there to see him, they would see a man pale with shock. What is not buried in sand is devastated. Nidge stumbles through the city for some time, looking for any signs of life. Perhaps they fled. Perhaps they are buried. He has no way to tell. He is for all intents and purposes alone in a dead city.

Nidge returns to the remains of the infirmary and gathers some supplies; books and medical supplies. He bundles them in to a cloth before heading out to the tavern. Nidge takes whatever he can find from the tavern cupboards and adds the supplies to those in his bundle. He makes sure he has plenty of water. The journey ahead of him will be hard, but he has no choice. Nidge sets out on foot across the Tahari.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Friendship Rekindled (IC)

Nidge Darkfold stands in his home above the infirmary in Klima and looks out across the city. His eyes wander over the warrior's hall, the office of the Scribes and on to the tavern. The physician has just risen from his furs and shivers in the cool air of the desert morning. He turns and looks down at his boy sleeping soundly still. A smile creeps across his face slowly, like the sun spreading out across the face of the city.

A cloud passes over Nidge's mind; he thinks of those that have fled the storms and how the sand seems to have erased almost every trace of them. Almost every trace - they will live in his mind and in his heart for as long as he continues to be. So many people have passed through his life, like grains of sand falling from his hand in the Tahari. Nidge closes his eyes for a moment, not wishing to weep for those lost as it would dishonour all of the times he spent with those great people.

The sun finally reaches Nidge and the warmth of it on his skin brings him back to the present momentarily before thoughts of the past claim him once more. He moves quietly across the room, glancing down at the sleeping boy who has come to mean so much to him. Nidge's eyes scan the shelves of the bookcase, searching for an old companion. He picks up a leather bound book and lightly brushes away the sand from it. It is the journal in which he used to record his thoughts, feelings and the events of his life. Clutching the book to his chest like one would embrace a long lost friend, he smiles again.

Nidge slips quietly down to the infirmary to sit at his desk. Opening the book to a fresh page, he dips his pen in the ink and begins to write...ignoring the previous entries...the past.

"I have not visited these pages for a long time. Much has happened. I was alone. I found someone that I came to love dearly. I was alone again. The city grew and changed beyond all recognition. People came. People left. I collared a boy and had to send him away for his own protection. My brother returned to me...was collared...and died as a slave. I found another boy; a boy who sleeps close by me at this moment in time. A boy I will protect with my life."

The physician closes his eyes and rests his head back in his chair. His mind is awash with all the things he wants to write but is afraid to face. So much pain. So much death. He still has strange dreams about being lost in the darkness. The people he has lost. The cities he has seen engulfed by disaster. Tears flow silently down his face.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Slavery (IC)

Nidge sits at his desk in the infirmary at Klima. The desert city is quiet and his mind is wandering over recent events. He rises from his seat and looks out over the city to the dunes beyond.

Presently, the physician returns to his seat. He picks up his pen, dips it in the ink and begins to write on the blank page of the journal lying in front of him on the infirmary desk; his thoughts are of the time he was a slave.

"Although I am naturally submissive and tend towards self-deprecation and deference to others, being a slave was much more difficult for me than I ever expected it to be. I was heavily restricted - no serving, no bathing, no furring, no travelling, no fighting. The first three seemed to be driven by jealousy and the last two driven by a desire to keep me safe. Yet all of them served as ways to ensure unimaginable boredom and desperation. There were hours spent alone wandering around the city or sitting in the kennel or tower in the fort. I also used to spend time sitting on the city wall, staring out in the hope that I might see some visitors."

"As a slave, there was a lot of time where I was just there in the background. While I understand that a slave is merely a possession, it is hard to find any enjoyment being no more a part of things than a plant or painting or any other inanimate object. I still had feelings and craved the comfort and tender love that anyone else does. Being stared at or told off for speaking while the Free were talking ensured that I continued to grow ever more quiet and reserved."

Nidge stops writing for a moment and ponders how much longer he could have continued as a slave. Fear of the Free, boredom, the terror of being abandoned or sold...could someone with a mental state as fragile as he has have continued to live that way for any length of time? The physician shakes his head as if trying to clear his mind of the memory of the dark thoughts that plagued him so much, especially when he was alone at night in the kennel.

"It was hard when my master would send me away so he could spend time with his Free Companion and I would have to sit alone in the kennel. When I accepted my master's collar, I did not know he had a Free Companion, so I had no idea that I would have to share. Of course, sharing would not have been a problem if it wasn't for the fact that we got to spend so little time together anyway. He always seemed to be sleeping or travelling. He also had to perform his duties as slaver."

"I found it upsetting when my master's Free Companion suggested that I should be made to watch them as they spent time together in the furs. Knowing how much I loved my master, it seemed like a particularly cruel act to have me there and not allow me to participate. It felt like his way of saying, "He is mine". That wounded me deeply and made me think of running away."

The physician lifts his eyes from the page in front of him. He stares hard across the room as the tears sting his eyes; willing himself not to cry over events that are now past. Confusion still rages inside his head. Why was he collared? He thought it was love, but if that was the case, why did he feel so rejected and more alone than he had ever felt in his life? Nidge closes his eyes against the welling tears and swallows hard as he struggles to regain his composure. Despite the heat of the desert and the sun streaming in to the room, he feels cold and a shiver runs through his body causing goosebumps to spread in a wave across his skin. There is something lurking in the back of his mind; like a whisper he can't quite hear, but yet it still unsettles him.

"Part of me wishes I had never accepted a collar...so much damage came as a result of it. I cannot help but think that if I had never come to Klima, they would all have been much better off. I am sure my master and his Free Companion would have still been here, even if not together. My master's sister would probably have been here too. I feel there is tension bubbling under the surface and am afraid that it will break through again and cause further pain to the people I care about so deeply."

"Of course, if I had never come to Klima, I would not have found these wonderful people. I would not have found a home. I would not have felt like I finally belonged somewhere."

Nidge sits at his desk in the infirmary at Klima. The desert city is quiet and his mind is wandering over recent events. He rises from his seat and looks out over the city to the dunes beyond...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Missing Entry

This entry was the original ending to the Happy Daze post - and was meant to come as the eighth paragraph. Thankfully things changed.

Of course, Nidge has lived a considerable number of years. In the back of his mind he understands the way of things. In the back of his mind he understands that he is cursed and happiness can never really be his. The once again proud physician closes his journal and settles back in his chair grinning broadly. The joy he feels is almost tangible. He rises from his seat and heads up to the palace. As he climbs the steps he hears the sound of an argument within. He listens closely to the angry words being exchanged. Horrified by what he hears, Nidge runs from the palace and out through the city gates. Wandering across the dunes in a daze for a little while, he comes to the waters of the oasis. The physician bends down to take a handful of water and splash his face to wash away the tears that are now streaming down it. The sun glints on the surface of the water and blinds him for a moment. A moment is all it takes. He stumbles. For the briefest of time there is a sharp pain on the side of his forehead as it strikes the rock - and then there is no more pain. Unconscious, he slumps in to the waters of the oasis. No one is around. No one sees him fall. The physician had finally found love, peace and a place to belong. Fate is cruel. Nidge Darkfold dies alone.

Happy Daze

Nidge sits in the infirmary at Klima and smiles softly. He looks around the room admiring the desk, the paintings, the books. It seems odd to sit in the chair wearing his fine clothing. He suddenly laughs out loud, the sound echoing in the vast space. Life has been difficult lately and many changes have taken place. Things seem to be going well, for now anyway. He opens the leather journal in front of him.

"It has been some time since I have written. I have not known what to write. Usually these pages have given me the opportunity to process my thoughts and feelings, but lately I have had trouble comprehending the situations I have found myself in."

"I awoke early one day a couple of weeks ago to find my master was not in the room. I had feared that he was planning to sell me; I felt I was not pleasing enough for him or the other men of the city. I ventured out to find him. He was in the courtyard talking to the man who intended to become Free Companion of the mistress. I was called over to him and, of course, ran to kneel by him. He seemed very serious and I felt a wave of panic hit me. He reached down to me. I wasn't sure what was happening. My collar fell away from my throat. I clutched at it desperately, but he grabbed it and cast it away. Tears stung my eyes as the feeling of rejection filled me. I now felt sure that I was about to meet my death."

"I almost did not hear the words my master spoke. I could scarce believe my ears when I did hear them. He told me he wished to free me from my slavery and asked if I would accept him as my Free Companion. The shock was great and my whole body convulsed. I fell in to his arms, clinging desperately to him. Of course, I accepted."

Nidge looks up from his journal. He remembers the happiness that he felt at that moment...and how very different things are now.

"I spoke with the Ubar and he welcomed me to the oasis as a Free Man. He had spoken with the sheiks and members of the High Castes and they allowed me to take up my place as physician. I spent some time sorting out the infirmary and arranging it to best serve those who may have need of it."

"By the time I had finished, I was hot and tired so I went to the baths and spent time with the other men of the oasis. Several of us then retired to the scribery and we spent a long time chatting and joking. I commented openly that it was the first time I had found peace for a long time. My love joined us and we spent a pleasant time enjoying each other's company."

"Of course, that happiness was short lived. My love fought with the Council later that day. His sister had decided not to go ahead with the Free Companionship and her lover had been driven out of the city. The Council had not been pleased with my former master's actions and he left our Home Stone following the argument. His sister and I followed him for a time but both of us ended up back in Klima."

The physician stops writing and feels a wave of sadness pass over him as he thinks how he lost his lover. They had tried to reconcile their differences, but the dark moods his love was capable of left Nidge afraid and uncertain of where he stood. That situation is now ended. The lady who Nidge loved so much is gone too.

"There is a place I like to sit on the city wall. I can see across the dunes. One evening as I sat staring out over the desert, I thought I saw movement, as if something was falling from the cliff, and went to investigate. I was horrified to find one of the citizens sprawled in the sands. His body was battered but I was most concerned by the heavy bleeding from a head wound. I managed to get help taking him back to the city. We treated his wounds, but he slipped in to a coma."

Nidge shudders at the thought that the great man who he feels such affection for could have died. Despite the man's abrasive nature, the physician respects and admires him - he has found a friend and an ally.

"My friend survived and he slowly healed. He seems different sometimes now. I feel I may be different too...I never expected to be involved in preventing an attempt on his life while he lay in a coma. The source of the failed assassination attempt was also something of a shock. I found strength through someone else. He is new in my life. He gives me stability. He makes me feel loved and cared for. I do not know where this will lead or even if he will choose to stay in my life, but for now I am content just to be around him."

Nidge closes the journal and puts down his pen. He settles back in his seat and closes his eyes. A smile plays softly on his lips.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Fear (IC)

Nidge Darkfold wakes at the foot of his master's bed. He shivers in the cold morning air; his skin marked by goosebumps. The slave boy raises his head and peers on to the bed expectantly. It seems his master has not yet returned from his travels. Nidge whimpers softly. The separation from the master he loves is a punishment more terrible than any that his master has prescribed for him. He is tired and his head throbs. Though he is sleeping, he is not feeling rested - as his mind is tormented by thoughts of his past and fearful of the future.

In the early morning light, he reaches under the cushion and produces his few possessions. He is feeling cold and emotional. After a while of reading over his previous entries he is ready to make a new one.

"Today I felt more lost in this place than I have ever felt before in any place I have been.considering the things I have been through that is something that comes as a shock to me. My master is away on travels. The other masters do not appear to have any interest in me since it was made known, at the request of my master, that I am not to be used for pleasure or for serving. One of the masters said he would not even dare shoot arrows in my direction as it would please him too much and he knows I am not to be used for pleasure. My slave papers were updated yesterday to reflect recent changes in my status. Everyone is very busy and I have spent many hours alone. I am even unable to access the fort and the window alcove that has made me feel safe."

"One thing that was noted on my slave papers was that I am to assist in the infirmary. This had previously been mentioned by the Pasha. I had hoped that maybe one day if my master decided to free me, that I would be able to take up the post of healer in this place. Of course, he may never decide to free me. It seems of no consequence now anyway."

"New citizens have sought to make their home in Klima. Two of them are apprentices of the Green Caste... Another is a warrior; who seems very taken with the mistress. I like the warrior as he seems to have an easy disposition. There is also another Free Man, but I am not sure what his role is and even if he just a passing visitor. I am merely a lowly a slave and am made aware of this, as I felt my presence was too insignificant to even be acknowledged by some of them."

Nidge looks up from his journal. He is pleased there is no one around. His temper flares and he beats his fists viciously in to the cushion, raging at the position he has allowed himself to be put in. It seems to him that everything is to be denied to him in this place...perhaps in this life. He gave up everything to come to here and now he sees every road being cut off one at a time. Soon there will be no hope. A worthless, hopeless, useless animal. His attention shifts back to the journal. He picks it up. Feeling the soft leather of the cover, his thoughts move to the information he has recorded in it's pages and the happier times in his recent life. His modest home by the river in Tabor, the acceptance he found in Tharnock, the life that looked so promising in Scimitar Isle and the welcome he received in the Oasis of the Golden Pleasure Tents.

"The mistress said she had spoken to my master before he left and he told her that he has something to tell me on his return. She said she did not know what it was. I am worried that my master intends to sell me. I am untrained and have disobeyed him. Perhaps he does not see the point in sending me to school or keeping me in this place at all."

The pen of the once High Caste man and now worthless slave dithers over the page. Sometimes thoughts of running away fill his mind. If he did not love his master so much, he would surely flee while everyone was asleep. He likes the other masters here too...some more than others. The mistress is very dear to him as well and he does not know how he would feel about leaving her. He is sure she would be protected, but he likes being around her very much. Perhaps he would die crossing the desert. Perhaps he would be caught and beaten or put to death. Would it be worth the risk?

Nidge does not realise what is happening to him...or does not wish to accept it. His past is deeply buried in his subconscious mind; it is the only way he could continue to function given the guilt he was weighed down by. The events that have occurred to him lately are weakening his mental stability. Lost. Alone. Frightened. His mood fluctuates, though always in public he tries to maintain a bright, pleasing face to his masters. If he acknowledged such things, he might wonder how much longer he could go on or how much more he can take. But he doesn't. Instead he sits alone in the cold room, curled up and clutching his journal.