~ A slave's most precious treasure ~
The morning rays touched the small village of Suki with their gentle embrace. Plants and animals alike rejoiced over the beginning of a new day, but there were some who weren’t so happy about it. Those were the slaves who were kept under lock and key in the homes of those powerful and rich enough to owe one or more. In the eyes of their masters, they were not human beings but expensive tools, which had no value or use once broken.
Among them was a small boy of no more than nine years old. He lived in the house of a rich merchant, and just like all the other slaves in the village, he wore nothing but rags, which could barely be called clothes. He had a pair of brown linen pants ripped in more places than one could count, and he covered his torso with a light-brown shirt, which used to be white at some point. Instead of a leather belt, he had an old coarse rope tied around his waist. Those were his only earthly possessions, and he had them on him ever since he was bought by his master.
The boy was allowed to sleep in a small room in the basement, but it didn’t have a bed, window, or even a wooden floor, making it very dark and cold both during the day and night.
“Kyros! Get up, you have work to do!” shouted a man as he opened the door to his small room.
Startled, the boy jumped on his feet and looked towards the bright light of the lamp. It took him a moment to realize who stood in front of him.
“Good morning, master Balthos. What do you request of this humble slave of yours?” he asked politely just as he had been trained to do.
“Take these” the man said as he tossed a bucket, a rag, and a big broom at his feet, “…and make the house sparkle before my son gets here! You hear? Do that, and maybe I’ll be inclined to buy you some new clothes.” the man told him with a harsh tone of voice.
“That would be most generous of my master.” the boy replied with a low bow.
“Get to it then!” Balthos said and then turned around.
He left the child alone, but as he vanished from the boy’s sight, small tears formed in the corners of his eyes. The idea of getting new clothes made him happy beyond measure. He could only imagine just how good it would feel to wear new, clean clothes. Wiping his tears, he picked up the tools his master gave him and then headed upstairs.
Kyros worked just like any other slave was supposed to, from morning till noon, without breakfast or rest. He swept the dirt, he scrubbed the floors and aired out each room. He began with the hallway, then the guest room, the kitchen and continued like that until he reached the old storage room in the back. By that time, he was already quite tired and hungry, but he ignored his stomach. He could eat once he was done cleaning, however, taking a small rest before finishing his job didn’t sound like such a bad idea.
Just a few moments, that’s all I need… he though as he placed the broom down.
Looking back, he couldn’t see his master anywhere. From what he could guess, the merchant was most likely in his study room. Kyros wasn’t allowed to enter there.
With his body aching from the effort and his back to the wall, the child leaned down on the floor. He let out a sigh of relief as he felt all of his muscles thanking him for finally taking a rest.
In a harsh world where his rights equaled to nothing, and no one dared to take his side or even have pity on him, Kyros didn’t have too many things to make him happy and allow him to show an honest smile. One of them was a memory from a long time ago. It was a precious treasure belonging only and only to him.
Thus, upon closing his eyes, the young slave child let the memories of the past flow through his mind and stir up his soul. Unlike most people, he had a surprisingly good memory, but which worked as a double edge. Although he could perfectly recall that one precious moment in his life, he could also remember all the other painful and terrifying times. For now, what he wanted to see was the first moment when he felt the nurturing love and care of his own mother.
On the day of the first moon, in the year 450 of the New Kingdom, he opened his eyes and gazed upon the world.
Shadows and dancing lights were all I could see. Kyros thought as he let the memory play in his mind.
The next thing he recalled was his mother’s warmth, her joy, and her caring embrace. Those were the first things he ever experienced in his life, and they were very beautiful.
Mother… he thought.
The memory continued to play. He smiled and with his little arms, he tried to reach for her. As a baby, he wanted to be embraced, to feel safe, protected, and loved. Although he could see only blurry shadows around himself, he knew for certain that the one holding him was actually his own mother. It was a sensation he held deep in his heart. A resonance of his soul, which gently caressed him and told him the truth.
All the sounds around him were like a yet unheard melody. He didn’t understand what he felt and what sounds actually were. The sense of hearing felt odd at first, but so was sight and touch. Even so, he felt like he already knew how to react to those strange stimuli.
The sensation could be compared to how a normal human saw the act of walking or picking up a cup from the table, natural and flowing smoothly. Still, as a baby, all he wanted was to be in his mother’s embrace, to feel protected and surrounded by her tender love and care. Therefore, his body reacted at first with a whimper and then a cry.
Hearing his own voice felt foreign at first, and he knew not how to stop it.
I cried because all I wanted was to be held by my mother… thought Kyros.
His tears felt just as foreign as the rest.
Eventually, she picked him up in his embrace, and it was in that moment when his tears and cries stopped. He recognized her warmth, her touch, and the sound of her caring voice. She was right there, holding him in her arms.
I knew I was safe with my mother, so I stopped crying. Kyros thought as he let himself submerge in the sensations he felt in that moment.
There was nothing more precious to the child than to remember how it was to have someone love and protect him, a sensation which lacked from his current life as the slave of a merchant.
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