“Rise and shine! Everyone line up outside, double time.”
A deep voice coming from outside woke up all of us Elves. Although I was tired, I knew it would be a bad idea to disappoint our new owners on the first day. Likewise Pirin woke up from her deep sleep.
“Let’s hurry up and get ready.”
Pirin and I exchanged a knowing look and quickly got dressed before lining up outside. There were hundreds of us, all in an orderly formation. We were flanked by dozens of the golden insects that had led us to our rooms just last night. Going solely by our numbers, we should have been able to overwhelm them, but we knew that it would be impossible.
“From this day forth you are now slaves of Necropolis. This is a great city where even the lowliest slaves are well fed and housed, but never forget your statuses as slaves. You are all a foolish race which chose to stand against us, so you will work and work until you pay off your crimes!”
We were then led to the large farms and pastures on the outskirts of the city, under the careful watch of the flying insects. From sunrise to sunset, our labor consisted of caring for the plants and animals.
It was enjoyable for most of us because Elves had an affinity for nature and animals, we enjoyed taking care of them. Also, the insect overseers simply watched us work, not edging us on or inflicting pain in order for us to work faster.
“Can we really be called slaves?”
Pirin who had been playing with the young lambs suddenly asked me.
“It is indeed fun to play with the animals and although agriculture can be hard work, are the rulers of this city unaware that it is a joy for us?”
The truth was that Gnoss and Noradriana were aware, and had gone to great lengths to create an enjoyable environment for the captive Elves.
If either Johra or Valenor had known about this, they might have been a bit angry as their resentment for the Elves ran deeper. However, many elves also felt that it was too good to be true and didn’t believe that slaves could be treated so well.
“It’s time to eat.”
The bread and soup that the insects distributed among us was of a heavenly flavor. What more can be said about a grain which had been soaked in that sacred nectar, or the meat of the animals that were raised on such a superior grain.
For the Elves who had not lived in Elfenheim for tens of thousands of years, this was the ideal food for them because their bodies were more sensitive to it’s heavenly properties. Despite thousands of years having past since they had fallen to this world, their race’s constitution hadn’t changed much and was craving the nutrients found in this revolutionary food.
Outbursts of pure nutritional ecstasy were heard here and there, as if their bodies recognized the taste of home. Although the insects had prepared generous rations, it wasn’t nearly enough and it had all disappeared in a flash.
“Wow, this was really tasty right?”
“It’s a bit suspicious that they are feeding us so well, are they trying to fatten us up for later?”
“Ah ha ha!”
Pirin and I joked together, it had been some time now since we could live peacefully, with a comfortable bed and abundant food.
It was indeed the life of a slave in Necropolis; warm bed, great food and an enjoyable job. It wasn’t only Pirin and I who were content, but all the Elves walked around with a vibrant smile.
When we returned to our rooms after work that night, although on the surface we appeared tired, it was an enjoyable day.
We were not the only one judging by the laughter which rang out in our slave accommodations.
“Could this be a paradise for Elves after all?”
“I worry that I’ll wake up tomorrow and this will only have been a dream.”
Pirin and I talked late into the night, before falling asleep, exhausted from our day’s work.
Knock Knock Knock!
“Time to get up and gather outside!”
Pirin and I jumped out of bed and lined up outside with a smile on our faces. The voice which we had originally been apprehensive about, was now a welcome alarm clock, signalling the start of a wonderful new day.
Normally Elves would eat very little, having just a single meal per day. Once they became adults, they would usually only eat twice a week, but even that amount would only equal to a single human meal.
In Necropolis however, the Elves had gained the title of gluttonous eaters. Even the overseer insects were blamed by the city bureaucrats for not preparing sufficient food. It was important for Necropolis’ image and prestige that even the lowliest slave be well fed and cared for.
However, even if they had prepared two times yesterday’s amount for the meal time, it was once again entirely consumed. Us Elves simply couldn’t get enough of this heavenly food which reminded our bodies of our long lost Elfheim.
The same situation occurred on the third day and they kept trying to increase our portions until we were satisfied. This went on until the tenth day when they finally gave up and began controlling our rations more carefully. Finally by the fifteenth day they had managed to find a proper equilibrium, but of course Elves still ate more than four times more than other races.
“There’s a rumor going around that Elves are like pigs that only eat all day long! Our image as a graceful and noble race has been eroded!”
On the morning of the twentieth day the instructors told us that we would be working two hours of overtime. Naturally it wasn’t a problem for us because it occurred after dinner which was the time that we were the most content.
“Is it just me or are many of us getting healthier by the day?”
“Ah you too! I also feel a bit different.”
Ever since our race had been banished from Elfheim, our constitution had declined and weakened. However, now that we were receiving such nutritious food and had gained the blessing from the nectar, we were slowly regaining our lost strength.
After only a month as slaves in Necropolis, our strength had taken a qualitative leap. It was an aura that had previously only been found in the few High-Elves of our race.
“How terrible it is to be an overseer, I don’t even eat as well as the slaves I’m in charge of!”
It was a bit irritating to hear the insects’ complaints of self-pity every morning, but all in all the life of a slave in Necropolis was quite enjoyable. There were no dangers, great food and beds with enjoyable jobs. The best part of it was that I could share in all of this with my people and friends.
The was nothing to be upset about, except for the occasional nagging from our overseers which reminded us of our position as slaves. Still, us Elves knew that we would be able to enjoy a calm and peaceful life in Necropolis.
However we are a prideful race and there is a saying, give an inch, and they’ll take a mile.
Although our overseer insects didn’t intervene often, we were still required to do hard labor and follow instructions. To us evolved and noble Elves, the occasional nagging from the overseers was starting to frustrate many of us and we would mock them in secret.
It all began with such a simple action.
“You can’t leave your workplace.”
It was not easy for a single insect to supervise dozens of elves, but they had no choice but to do so because of the difference in numbers. It wasn’t possible to always catch the Elves who would wander from their posts, but when the overseers did call them out, they would obediently go back to work.
That was until the one day where one of the Elves felt that he didn’t want to work anymore. How could a high and noble Elf like himself obey the commands of a lowly insect.
“I’m an Elf, I don’t need to follow the words of a mere insect!”
“You Elves are slaves and I’m your overseer, know your place!”
If that Elf had simply heeded his command and returned to work, our peaceful days would have continued, but he did not.
“What, I was being kind and now you’re overbearing? Do you want me to show you the power of a slave then?”
It was an Elf that had originally been talented in magic, and now that he had received the blessing of the World’s Root, he had become even stronger. In his arrogance he had believed himself to be much more powerful than a simple insect.
“You’d best stop right there Elf, your magic is weak….”
The largest fireball I had ever seen was fired out from the Elf’s hand. In truth many of us were worried about the insect’s wellbeing as he had been treating us quite well.
‘Please don’t die!’
Against all expectations the fireball didn’t harm him in the slightest.
“You’re a slave and I your overseer, you will have to pay for your crime.”
The overseer simply struck once with his leg.
The rebellious Elf had just lost an arm, and was now rolling on the ground in pain bleeding out on the earth.
“You there, help treat his injury.”
The overseer pointed at one of us who knew healing magic. We were all standing around in shock, as the Elf ran forward to heal him.
Pirin and I had witnessed it first hand, standing less than 10 meters from the man who was rolling on the ground. Later rumours of the incident spread and the truth was twisted as they claimed that the Elf died of his injuries, or that the overseer cut off his head in one merciless strike.
“I think this might blow up into a big deal.”
“I thinks so too.”
Pirin and I were worried about the current situation. We had been living very comfortable lives, but that was all about to change. The more radical Elven factions were grouping and entertaining the idea of rebellion.
“Pirin if our people rebel wouldn’t we be ostracized once again?”
“Maybe the insects will simply kill us all in cold blood, or the dragon will come and burn us alive.”
“What should we do?”
“I have no idea!”
“Pirin do you think there is any way to put a stop to all this?”
She thought carefully for some time and finally offered a suggestion.
“What do you think about becoming a gladiator?”
“A gladiator, why?”
I couldn’t help but ask for a confirmation, thinking she had misspoken.
“If you win the gladiator melee, then the King of Necropolis will grant you one wish!”
“Yes! If you win then you can ask him to peacefully resolve the current situation!”
“But would it even be possible…?”
Trust me, I’m a high priestess and I know that you’re decent with a sword.
Pirin and I agreed and began formulating a plan.
Although it wouldn’t be easy to succeed as a gladiator, it was the only way forward. By now the rebellious factions among us had been stirred up, and the consequences could be terrible.