Doral swept the outer chambers of the hall of war wizards with the straw broom, keeping his head lowered. He knew from experience not to make any sort of eye contact with any of the masters passing by in their rune-marked black and silver robes. His deformed dragged foot behind him as he did this same task that he performed everyday, this same task that he had been doing since he had been a small child. Eye contact with the masters usually brought derogatory statements about his master keeping him or scathing remarks about how he should be killed for having his deformity. He knew if it wasn’t for his master's power the other war wizards would do it. The Elvynn believed themselves perfect and considered the other races beneath them and one with a deformity was considered worthless, better off dead. Luckily, none of them would act or speak out against his master’s wishes. That, he thought, balefully eying the back of one who wanted him dead, is probably the only reason I’m still alive. Maybe, finally, this year for his naming day Loriass would do the one thing he had always refused to do for the past eighteen. Maybe, Doral thought hopefully, this year he might heal my leg finally or, even better let me do it myself with the creational magic he has taught me. I can do it, I know I can work the necessary magic. Bone mending spells aren’t that difficult. No one else but Loriass knew that he had this ability. Doral doubted there was another human in all of Talathandria who knew how to work creational magic. It had been discovered early on in his childhood when he had started to do things magically as he had watched his master do things in the privacy of his chambers. Loriass figured that the ability probably had been forced into the newborn by all of the magic that had been wielded around him at his time of conception and had refused to send him away. Instead he kept him close, saying that he was a reminder of what the cost of unrelenting pride and shame could be. He served as that reminder to the Highmage all the time. The Highmage had made him swear under penalty of death that he would not ever reveal that he could work creational magic or that he had even taught some of it to him. For having taught a slave, especially a human slave, the more superior forms of creational magic, they both could be killed. Actually Doral knew a lot more magically than his master realized. He had grown up here in the Wizards Tower of Talathandria and had learned early on where the Elvynn were concerned one never reveals how much power one has unless you were in the ruling family, or it could be used against you. He had also grown up in the chambers of the most powerful war wizard on the planet and had constantly studied his every move and every action both magically and physically every day for as long as he could remember. Despite his cruelness and ice cold nature, Loriass was the closest thing that he had to a family or father. Unlike the other war wizards of the Tua-latin Loriass believed in the use of anything useful and practiced with weapons almost as much as he did with magic and, in spite of his bad leg and twisted foot, Doral was extremely proficient at both. As the Highmage of the Elvynn in Talathandria, Loriass had a difficult time finding adequate training partners. Any he trained with would have to be killed sooner or later so that they could not reveal any of his skills or weaknesses to other war wizards who might seek his post. Instead he had trained Doral to be his fighting partner. Despite his twisted and bent leg and foot Doral managed at times now to hold his own on occasion against his master. As he turned the corner in the cylindrical mages’ tower his broom moving across the marble black floor, he saw a new addition. His eyes fixated on it. She was as elegant a beauty as anything he had ever seen in his entire short life and, at the sight of her face Doral felt his breath catch in his throat. Her dark eyed gaze caught his and seeing that there were no masters about she smiled. Adjusting his sweeping a little, Doral angled in her direction. Slaves of the Elvynn in the tower of war wizards were not permitted to fraternize except during times of respite. Those were either in the early morning or in the late afternoon. Talking during working hours bought a harsh punishment that could vary depending on how severe the master was or, in his case, who the slave’s master was. Using slave hand signs, which was something that the masters in their arrogance of station hadn’t figured out, Doral asked what her name was. Using the same mode of speech that could almost work as well as any spoken language and had been developed over the course of thousands of years in chains the pretty new slave responded that her name was Bethany and that she was owned by Iindra Nye. Iindra was a name barely known to Doral, but he knew she was an up and coming war wizard, one of the Tua-latin from a lesser house. When Doral told Bethany his master’s name, her eyes went wide with fright and awe and she almost dropped the rag she was using to dust the figurine in her other hand. She did drop the figurine. It shattered into small fragments when it made contact with the stone. Bethany’s eyes flew wide with fright at both the mess and at the sound of the breaking statue. Seeing the distress on her face and the look of fear Doral did the one thing he never was allowed to do. With a hastily thrown look about the hall, he saw that there were no masters in sight. Quickly and softly he sought out the lines of force and gathered his magic to him. Using a small trickle of creational power, he hurriedly remade and reformed the small shattered statue back into one solid piece and bonded them back together with a spell. The female slave’s eyes went even wider than they had a moment before, and looked like they might pop out of their sockets. Then she quickly dropped her gaze down to the floor as if she was being spoken to by one of the masters. “You can work magic?” she gasped, in a light voice. Doral gaped, fear coursing through his veins like ice, he couldn’t believe he had done that, not in front of someone. Quickly, before any masters appeared he hissed, “only that much and that is all. Please don’t tell.” “You did it to protect me,” she said softly, trying to ease his fears. “I had heard that some of the humans in the Du’artha slave mines could work magic but I didn’t believe it. Anyway, according to my mistress, they were all killed for doing so in a revolt.” Now Doral’s eyes bulged with surprise, “A revolt? Du’artha? Where’s that? I’ve never heard of such and my master is Highmage.” A small smile curved the edge of her lips. “Your master keeps you safe and protected and sheltered in his chambers. Dwelven dwarves and humans in the slave mines tried to launch a rebellion, the humans tried to learn the dwelven’s magic to overcome the masters, some did but most failed and they were all overcome and according to my mistress they were all put to death, hung on chains throughout the tunnels above the heads of the rest of the slaves to serve as learning lessons as they rotted away.” “How do you know all of this, how is it possible that you have heard this and I have heard nothing of it when my master is who he is?” “My mistress is Iindra Nye. She rules over the slave mines and is here to report to the Queen about this revolt. You are probably learning about it now from me while your master is learning of it from mine in the Highchambers.” Doral shook his head. This news would put his master in a foul mood, that meant he thought staring down at his deformed leg and foot, he would have to live with them a little longer.