The birds circled overhead, dancing in the rays of the sun as they watched their prey. The scorching heat draining the energy from the two shadowy figures. Their feet burned with every step as the two lone men walked through the endless sands of the desert.
It had been hours since they had first awoken in the unknown lands. With the sun, high in the sky and no road in the area, they began to walk south towards the mountains that lay far off in the distance, hoping to find some kind of help with their strange situation.
"We've been walking for hours now, are you sure this is a good idea, Finn?" The man whined in a high-pitched tone, sweat sliding down his bare chest. His short curly hair plastered to his forehead.
Glancing at him, Finn continued to walk ahead of his overweight friend. "How many times do I need to tell you?" He sighed, "If we stay in this heat for too long we'll die Leo."
Moaning Leo followed far behind Finn, his short legs sinking into the sand with each step he took causing him to slightly stumble. His best friend wasn't what most people would call popular, he was short, fat and a moment didn't go by where he wasn't whining. But he was loyal to him, and that was enough not to leave him stranded alone.
That is, for the moment...
"Slow down Finn, you're going too fast I can't keep up, man." Leo gasped, clutching his wobbly knees.
"We need to find Aurora!" Finn spat in anger, as he continued to stomp through the desert, determination shining in his clear violet eyes. "We wouldn't be wandering through a desert naked If you hadn't taken us there in the first place."
"I'm sure she's fine," Leo muttered, his tone low. "She's a smart girl I know she can take care of herself until we find her."
"She's only 7!" Finn retorted.
Without saying a word Leo followed silently, continuing to stumble in the sand. The question of where they were and what had happened wasn't easily explainable. Thinking back on it now Finn still didn't know exactly what happened and he remembered every event that took place.
Leo had taken him and his sister to the O'Har Institute of Research and Discovery, they were celebrating the completion of some spatial phenomenon they had achieved. Before they could celebrate the alarms sounded and the building started to fall apart, then the hole appeared. It sucked in everything including him, Leo and his sister Aurora. When he woke in the desert without his sister he had thought the worst, but if he and Leo were here then he knew she was alive somewhere.
Looking over at Leo his throat tightened in disgust, sweat seeped in places he wouldn't let his eyes wander. The fear of whatever beast hung between his legs, he left a mystery.
"I can't go on anymore." Leo groaned, collapsing in the sand. "We've been walking for hours and those mountains aren't getting any closer."
Stopping, Finn stared at him for a moment in annoyance. "Get up, or I'm leaving you behind." The words seeped out in a cold tone. It was an empty threat, but he knew how dependent Leo was on him. He had clung to him ever since they were kids, he wouldn't let himself get left behind.
Shifting his eyes towards the sky, he could see birds approaching from the mountains at a high speed, as they screeched in the distance. "Leo get up! Something's coming!" The birds dove down towards the surface as they continued their fast approach gliding over the sand at a great speed. The closer they got the bigger they appeared, the wingspan easily doubling his height. Squinting he could see shadows mounted on top of the large birds.
"What the hell is that?" Leon muttered as he stood beside Finn his eyes widening at the sight.
"I don't know but whatever it is, it doesn't look friendly."
"Do you think they know where we are?" He whispered, "We should ask for help when they arrive."
Slowing in the air the man-sized birds descended onto the ground as two shadowy figures leaped from their backs. Cloaked in black their eyes were the only thing visible. One man held long chains that dropped into the sand, their heads darting around until stopping in our direction. Before he could speak the man darted in their direction moving in sync with his partner.
"Leo, get down!" Finn screamed as the chains whipped in his direction wrapping around Leo's neck. Struggling Leo pulled at the metal to no avail as the man dragged him into the ground.
"What the hell... get off of me." He yelped as he struggled against the chains. Dashing through the sand Finn tackles the man as he begins to unleash a barrage of fist at his face. Raising his hand, the air crackles as the shorter figure reveals his whip before snapping it in the air towards him, yelling furiously. He studied many languages but he didn't recognize the words, confusing Finn even further as he struggled against the whip that clung to his wrist.
"Get the fuck up! We can't let them get away." His boss bellowed as he restrained the human that straddled his partner. Tossing him in the sand he proceeded to chain the chubby one who squirmed against his chains.
"Stop moving you fat fuck!" He barked as he began to beat the little human. It took a few hits until he stopped resisting. Blood leaking from his head he lay still as he snapped the shackles around his hands and feet.
"Don't damage him too much Peewee." His boss muttered as he continued to lash at the wilder human, keeping him from interfering with his capture. "Hurry up over there, this one's going to be trouble."
Getting more chains from my saddle I advance towards the wild human, the bastard had beaten my face in. Licking the blood from my lips in glee I swing the chain overhead before whipping them at his feet. The human fell with a *thud* as he struggled against the restraints. It took no time to shackle him, he stopped resisting as we began to approach him in his defenseless state.
"That wasn't so hard now was it, Salk?" I said, smirking. "I told you the Bloodrow was a good investment, " Tying the chubby human to the Bloodrow I wiped the blood from my hands.
"Ok you stupid bastard you got lucky once," Salk retorted, feeling amused. "Tie them to the birds and let's get out of here. We don't want to attract any Burrwom."
Approaching the other naked man, I stopped to see him glaring at me, his violet eyes pulsing in rage as his face formed a scowl. "Let me get a few hits in on this one it doesn't look like he's going to come willingly." I chimed with excitement, I didn't like the man, the look in his eyes and his attitude pissed me off, and the fact he had punched me in the face.
Looking at Salk he nodded before proceeding with the beat down. The human had shouted something in Linthein as I rammed my foot into his stomach. He didn't cry like most humans, which was unexpected, simply grunting with each hit before his body went limp. I had avoided the face for financial reasons, Salk would nag me if we lost coin over the appearance of a slave. Examining the human, I hadn't noticed but his skin was pale for someone who lived in the Layfront Deserts. A thin metal chain hung around his neck supporting a strange symbol I didn't recognize from any village. Was he a foreign slave? His build was pretty average for a slave but his eyes, he had never seen such a color before.
"Hey Salk come and look at this human for a second, he's different from the others." I bark.
"He's different, right? He spoke Linthein. Where do you think he's from?" I said, attaching him to Salks bloodrow. "He's definitely not from around here," Salk murmured mounting his bird, looking at the strange pendant that hung around his neck. "We can talk later when we get back to camp, where it's safer."
Nodding to each other, I whistle to the birds and we take off through the skies. The feeling he got from this capture was different from the others, the price for foreign slaves was much higher than the usual slave. Staring at the mountains I wondered what Salk knew about these men, and I feared how the witch would react if they returned with another failure. Glancing at the men strapped to our birds I pushed the thoughts aside. "I hope she's pleased with this..."
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