Marty frowned… It looked like Markov was likely to remain “untamed” for quite some time… How was that possible? Markov was just an Identity! A role he took while he was in the Dragon Empire!
Was he using his own powers against himself? That would explain it – but only if Markov really did express some suppressed aspects of his own personality.
Oh well… He was getting better at managing Markov, rather than just letting him run amuck.
As far as the youngsters went…the creche had been awkward to settle down; selling Tokif – and the ensuing mess with that fat mage! – had caused a LOT of unrest. If the hatchlings couldn’t trust Markov to make a reasonable effort to protect them there was no point in them staying past their first suspicions of his motives… It would just add an erratic parent to all the other dangers they’d be in ANYWAY.
Felan was doing a lot to regulate things – but Markov had still had to give the hatchlings some pretty strong guarantees that he wasn’t going to sell or enslave any more of them for minor failures to get them to keep up the dominance duels (they didn’t mind at all as long as they were SURE it was just practice!) and – in some cases – to stay at all.
He might not have bothered – but now that Felan was gradually getting them organized and enhanced, the creche was turning out to be surprisingly useful! (Besides, anything to keep that weirdo mage from popping up again, stupid humans messing with his territory…)
In any case… regular practice fights might help them get to the point where they could produce a supply of grandchildren!
One kid wanted to know if those new guarantees would apply to Tokif as well if he somehow made it back; after all, Markov had probably never gotten paid…
Actually Vrysylin had paid, since the escape was not Markov’s fault (and he WAS lawful) – but it would be honorable enough to return it and cancel the transaction…
Markov did. He wouldn’t want to develop a bad business reputation anyway – and why not let it apply to the boy? Even if it had only succeeded with outside help, he’d made a very impressive attempt at escaping on his own.
The rest of the kids in the creche were surprisingly pleased. When Markov probed, It appeared that… Tokif had been turning out to be quite handy; he’d had the ability to make cheap talismans with a spell in them. Not so many a month, but enough to keep a few emergency charms on you…
He hadn’t been too strong a combatant without using them though, and he’d hated to use up valuable talismans on casual fights.
Huh… That explained the losses – and made it obvious that simply selling Tokif would be quite a waste! That was a rare and highly valuable talent!
Wait a moment there… Witchcraft, Talisman-Making, Mystic Sculpture… Just how many of his hatchlings had seriously exotic talents? He hadn’t checked on all that many! Whatever had happened to good old blast-and-smash? There was nothing wrong with that!
Markov started secretly hoping he got a few more like that, just for a contrast, and tradition’s sake.
He’d have to scan and probe them all, just to make sure that he was not surprised.
There really were quite an assortment…
Marty sighed. Oh yes. Godfire. It WOULD have something to do with all this! Just like his daughter from Faerun; the realm permitted high-end magic, and so a bit of power expressed itself in the kids.
Markov was pondering… his Hatchlings seemed to have access to a far wider selection of powers than usual – many of them totally unavailable to most dragons – and were getting some general boosts! That made even the slaves potentially very valuable! He wouldn’t be willing to part with any of them except through duels for a start! And he’d have to try and get any that he’d sent away, or had been captured, back! Maybe even the ones he’d sent off to that “Kadia” place!
He… might even try steering some of the less-dominant kids into non-combative middle-class careers as aides and such… He did need people to handle supplies and such. While that had always been the domain of the lesser races, the “glut of females” – and the chance of satisfying male dragon instincts without major dominance battles – was a unique new development in the Dragon Empire.
Felan was continuing to organize the creche… there were PLENTY of outside targets, and they had a growing coalition to move into as adults… They could ALL collect suitable households if they could just be useful enough to be allowed to collect larger numbers of hatchling-slaves from beyond the household before the other creches started catching on – and working with each other to grab more slots in the next generations parental lottery gave them ALL much better chances than fighting each other indiscriminately.
He didn’t know WHY the other creches hadn’t caught on yet, but he was glad of it – and didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity! Every other test-passing male he and his siblings could eliminate NOW meant two more mates for each of them later on!
Still, his remaining siblings had fallen into line after he’d had one slave-processed as an example… A number of them had been of the opinion that Markov wouldn’t really have given him that authority, but having one done had neatly removed any doubts about that.
He might have picked Tokif – but he’d already dropped out of Markov’s favor and been sold… Weirdly, he’d felt kind of… pleased when Tokif had actually managed to escape from becoming a slave to an outsider. He hadn’t even objected to the notion that he’d be welcomed back if he managed to pull off a return…
Besides, Tokif had been handy to have around. Having a couple of emergency-escape talismans could be really handy, as Tokif himself had so well demonstrated!
He’d considered Korven – he’d been running up a pretty good string of dominance-battle victories (even if he was being silly to not keep more of his abilities in reserve!) – but Markov was favoring him a bit due to those victories, so it might be impolitic to have him screaming in a processing machine.
Then his clutch-brother Aimon had sounded off – yet AGAIN – about how HE had just as much right to be favored as Felan did.
Well… the dimwit was pretty physically oriented, would make a useful servant/bodyguard, and had just more or less volunteered… Being processed and conditioned would make him a LOT easier to get along with… and it WOULD be a distinct pleasure!
Felan beckoned to the waiting servants and pointed to Aimon.
(Aimon) “Hey! Let go slaves! You can’t do this! Markov would never allow it!”
Markov had been watching – and decided to drop by.
(Aimon) “Father! There you are! Make Felan let me out! He had no right to have the servants put me in…”
Aimon’s demands abruptly ended with in frantic squeal of pain and horror as Markov dragon-laughed and reached into the slave-processing machine with draconic strength to pull some of the restraints very painfully tight indeed.
(Markov) “Ah, I see you’ve made your first slave-selection Felan! An excellent choice! Do you want to get him started right away, or would you prefer to torment him for awhile first?”
The boy HAD been a good fighter, but being dumb enough to question Markov’s preferences after his brother had taken down three siblings already and been awarded another sibling-prize was just begging to be enslaved! Felan was the favored one for very good reasons!
Felan and Markov spent a few father-and-son bonding moments making Aimon scream before leaving him to provide the entertainment and getting on with the meeting – with Markov sitting in as an observer.
Except for the occasional outbreak of laughter at Aimon’s screams, whimpers, and pleas as he was processed, the rest of the creche-meeting was fairly straightforward; Felan was now the unquestioned favorite and dominant, and the others were pleased to discover that he actually had plans in mind that would be good for all of them – well, discounting Aimon and the other slaves anyway!
His – well, it’s – shrieks were quieting as exhaustion set in by the time the meeting was over.
Hm… Lets see… After you noted that Korven had defeated Thamor, that reduced the number of free hatchlings in the creche to… fifteen. Five males and ten females.
Black Males (0 Free):
- Osbric: Washed out in testing, enslaved.
Black Females (2 Free):
- Corbel: Test-dodger. Still property of her chosen master, who defeated Tokif.
- Kaschi: Lost a challenge-match in testing, enslaved, currently with Marty in Kadia.
Blue Males (1 Free in creche, 1 Free with Marty):
- Thamor: Won an Academic Scholarship, but was enslaved by Korven.
- Tokif: Fled to avoid enslavement, in Kadia with Marty. Owns a gold slave.
- Varifen: Won an Academic Scholarship, is going to school.
Blue Females (2 Free):
- Delcinaria: Test-dodger. Currently in Kadia with Marty and her future mate.
- Felit: Test-dodger. Currently in Kadia with Marty and her possible future mate.
Green Males (3 Free):
- Aben: Owns a copper slave. Is currently being slowly bound to Felan.
- Baffin: Captured and enslaved while hatchling-hunting. In Kadia with Marty
- Korven: Owns Thamor. Quite physically oriented.
- Seidan: Played against Eduar (SM) by Felan, Property of Felan
- Shantis: Killed while hatchling-hunting. In Kadia with Marty
- Tethen: Enslaved by a neighbor’s hatchling, now in Kadia with Marty. Ensouled and Enthralled.
- Vedic: Is currently being slowly bound to Felan.
Green Females (6 free):
- Bitha: Is currently being slowly bound to Felan. Effectively property.
- Kantha: Owns a copper slave
- Rana: Test-dodger, now with Marty in Kadia with her possible future mate.
- Rani: Is currently being slowly bound to Felan.
- Vrinda: Lost a challenge match in testing, enslaved, rescued by Marty from being eaten,in Kadia.
Red Males (1 Free):
- Aimon: Enslaved by Felan.
- Felan: Current dominant in the creche, owns numerous slaves. Now ensouled.
Red Females (0 Free):
- Ghislane: Washed out in testing, enslaved.
- Silver Males (0 Free)
- Andras: Lost to Felan, enslaved.
- Eduar: Lost to Felan, enslaved.
Silver Females (0 Free):
- Arlin: Test-dodger. Currently with Marty in Kadia with her possible future mate.
- Melita: Washed out in testing, enslaved. Currently belongs to Felan.
Well, girls were always slower and more subtle about eliminating each other than the boys were! Still, they were winnowing down quite nicely! Even if the boys seemed to have pretty well stabilized for the moment!
That was so cute that he just HAD to pass out some rewards! Some nice new toys and minor magical gizmos for each free survivor!
Heck! The slaves could have something! They were still his kids after all… Some fancy collars – enough to let people know that these were VALUABLE slaves – and some cushions to sleep on, and some chew toys, and extra food, and so on… In fact, he put the cushions in adorable beds suitable for valuable slaves or pets! They were superior to most hatchlings, even if they were slaves!
The slaves were VERY happy to find that Markov still thought of them as something other than utterly disposable property (although that may be partially due to their tendency to have special powers).
Some of the hatchlings were rather puzzled – but saw no reason why not. Felan, of course, was showing off his sibling-slaves as living artworks, and was pleased; they SHOULD have good accouterments and display cases!
Markov had to laugh at that. Artists… Well, no reason not to have the beds for his slaves tailored so as to make each one as appealing as possible!
If only because – with him thinking of them as personal works of art – he was likely to take very good care of his sibling-slaves. That was kind of nice!
Marty, meanwhile, was rather horrified… That was nineteen kids down out of the original 34 – and more destined to lose out! It looked like… Markov was expecting maybe 20% to make it out of the creche and into competition with the rest of the world – which would eliminate most of the remainder! That was horrible!
At least the ones in the creche – where Ailill’s processing machines were used – were happy!
Still… At least Markov was giving the slaves some consideration – and wasn’t eating them!
Well, to be fair. Markov had never really been interested in eating them or any other hatchlings! There was no challenge there!
- [Emergence Campaign] Federation-Apocalypse Session 196 — The Slave Rebellion (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 194a – La Belle Draco sans Merci (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 193b – The Lesser Dragonwars (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 197 – Philsantias Versus Sanity (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] Federation-Apocalypse Session 194b — Future Concerns (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 192c – Reporting In (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 192b – Dragon Hunting (ruscumag.wordpress.com)