I've been sick again so I haven't had a chance to continue with Ben and Ren. Here is something else from the same world on the Nef side of things. Everything is different in The Land of Light.
This occurs shortly after the excerpt about the change storm.
Tularean followed the heavy stuck feeling through the slave pens underneath the Arena and found the Faren sitting in filthy straw. Dark blond hair, sweat-matted, stuck to her head, decorative feathers long since gone. A few brightly colored beads clung tenaciously to her torn and bloody tunic. Bruises, in varying stages, covered her right eye and cheek; her bottom lip was red and swollen. She hadn’t been captured easily. Faren never were. She was still beautiful, though.
Dark green eyes, tired and glassy, stared at him. “How long has that green been in?” Tularean asked the handler walking him through the pens.
“About a week now.”
“Is she magic sick?”
“A bit - some nausea and dizziness, headache. Least I think the headache is from the magic and not too much struggling,” he said laughing, rubbing long scratches on his arm.
Tularean forced a conspiratorial grin, “And how is that?”
“Spirited, but not for much longer. She’ll be broken and tame enough for your bed soon, ‘Ari, if you want her. Greens never last too long. They’re the easiest of the Faren to brake. Do you want her?”
“Possibly,” Tularean said thoughtfully. He really didn’t care what the handlers did to break the girl, just so long as it was done quickly and he could rebuild her to his purpose. “What others do you have? There feels like more than one here.”
“We’ve a healthy purple that the Arena will pay well for,” he looked sidelong at Tularean. “And one that will doubtless die. He was injured in his capture and then got caught in the change storm. Faren skin is too weak, not strong like ours,” he said, slapping his dark skinned arm, “but still better than a human’s. They’re not good for much except amusement.”
The handler led him away from one stinking area to another, all of it dimly lit by fire-fly globes. Tularean wrinkled his nose. Noisome fluid leaked toward drains in the floor. The slave pens were not a place he usually went. His father and Tekkin were the main buyers for the House, but he needed a way to cross the great plain. Since Faren guarded the plain, then he needed Faren to get across. It seemed the most straight forward plan.
They stopped in front of another dank pen. This one held several wild eyed human males. One looked fresh, but the others . . . they’d been in the Land of Light awhile. Human minds were not strong enough to withstand the environment. Usually, they became violent and ended their short lives in the Arena. Two howled and made a mad dash trying to scratch each others eyes out with dirty, yellowed fingernails; another stared vacantly, twitching occasionally.
Tularean saw the purple-eyed hunter sitting quietly in a corner holding the hand of another lying on the ground. Red wheals covered the injured Faren’s arms and face. Dried blood surrounded an ugly wound across his chest, the skin burned away to show raw meat; hair, fallen from his head, lay on the ground around him like dead silver snakes.
“What happened?” he asked.
The handler sighed, “He managed to miss the fog but a got caught in a full blast of magic when lightening stuck close. They were just coming out of the mountains. He’s dying from it.
“A shame, he might have brought a good price at the auction,” said Tularean. The other Faren looked up. He glared at Tularean through lank white hair. He was in as bad a shape as the green, Tularean thought. Covered in bruises and cuts, the man was slimly built but well muscled, and from previous experience, Tularean knew Faren were as strong as Nef.
Tularean led the handler back to the office; Faren also had very good hearing. “I’ll take all three. Put the healthy male in the Arena daily’s. Let him work some of that fight out by trying to stay alive. Feed the injured one to the guarshon and make the girl watch. Tell her you’re getting rid of the offal. Do what you need to do to break her. Throw her to some mindless humans if need be. Be sure you tell them nothing. I’ll send some gesith to pick them up next end-week.”
“Yes, ‘Ari,” he said, “about the price . . .”
“I don’t care about the price,” he re-settled his gloves on his hands. “Send the bill to House Wallur, attention Safa.” That should irk him.