The Great Slave King

by TalonMach5

Chapter 1: The Divine Moot

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The haggard and ill-kempt man stumbled blindly through the darkness of the tunnel he found himself in. Only the constant demands of his body, for moisture, any moisture kept him moving forward. The years had not been kind to him. Ten years of lean eating and harsh treatment by the hands, or rather by the paws of his captors had hardened him. A foreigner to this world, he’d had the ill fortune of having become the captive and subsequent slave to fierce hounds that called themselves diamond dogs. Up until a few days ago, he was the property of the Gem Biter clan. His successful escape from their clutches was either a stroke of luck, or misfortune depending on how you viewed things.

Absentmindedly, he scratched at the welts where his collar used to rest tightly against his neck, after almost a decade of having worn it, it felt odd to be liberated from its fierce bite. Running his right hand along the cavern wall, he felt the smooth stone texture of the walls of the cave. As he walked down the tunnel, his thick and calloused feet felt the ground carefully for any sudden drops. Suddenly he stopped. He felt an opening in the otherwise smooth stone walls, more importantly he felt a humid breeze against the dry skin of his palms. Smiling, he ignored the pain of his parched lips. Licking his cracked and bleeding lips, he could taste the coppery flavor of his blood. The human began wriggling his way through the crack in the wall. As he successfully inched his way forward through the tight passageway, he wanted to laugh. Ten years ago, navigating this tiny passage would have been an impossibility. Back then he had been a soft weakling. A doughy glutton like many of his countrymen, people who never knew true hardship.

As he pressed forward, all thoughts of his past were brushed aside. He was in trouble now. The opening didn’t seem wide enough to continue through. His right arm was feeling the passage ahead of him, and he was pleased to see that the tunnel widened up past this tight squeeze. He knew that passing through this tunnel would take a leap of faith. Taking a few shallow breathes, he exhaled completely then pushed himself forward in hopes of moving past the tight squeeze before he suffocated. Just before he passed out from a lack of oxygen, he managed to push most of his torso through and into the much wider passage. Now completely free of the crack he had shimmied through, he found that there was enough room for his full six foot frame to stand unimpeded.

Taking an opportunity to breathe in the delightfully moist and surprisingly humid air, the former slave saw light of all things. At first, he thought that it was his eyes playing tricks on him. He had experienced total light deprivation before, while mining for those cursed gemstones. It hadn’t been a pleasant experience. He found that his eyes played tricks on him, making nightmares become reality, or showering him with imaginary bright lights. He always thought that it was his mind, attempting to make sense of the loss of his sight. He wondered if the blind ever experienced that as well. Deciding to test the reality of the source of the scant light, he placed his hand in front of his face. He saw nothing. In excitement, he flashed his hands in front of his face repeatedly. His pace quickened as he realized that he might finally see the sky again. In truth, when he first arrived in this place, he had hated the sun’s unrelenting heat. But after having been underground for so long, with only rare chances to see the sky, he missed the warmth of its rays. More importantly he missed looking at the moon, its light had guided him when he had first arrived.

Walking towards the source of the light, he felt the floor of the cavern with his feet. He was surprised to feel that it was a perfectly smooth texture, almost as if it had been polished. Walking forward, he couldn’t feel any imperfections in the floor anywhere. Concerned for his safety now, only his body’s unrelenting thirst dared him to inch forward. Once he reached the source of the light, he was disappointed to find it was only a bubbling fountain. Curiously, it was the water that was glowing and not the fountain. Unsure whether he should risk drinking the water, his thirst finally won him over. Cupping his hands together, he dipped them into the iridescent water to relieve his parched mouth and throat. When his hands breached the water, he felt a change start to overcome him. Too preoccupied with his thirst, he drank the water greedily. “Oh god, that’s so good,” he thought to himself. He began drinking the water like a man possessed. Unable to stop himself, he jumped into the fountain and bathed in the luminescent water. Not caring if he ended up drowning, he attempted to drink as much of the water as he could.

After what seemed like hours of bathing in the fountain, the man looked up and was surprised that the cavern was now fully illuminated. Even more surprising he was no longer alone. Brushing his wet hair away from his eyes, he began scanning the well lit room. He saw dozens of unique creatures looking back at him with concern, curiosity, resentment, and hatred. Curiously one even wore a look of amusement on its face. Of all the weird stuff the human had seen since he had arrived, this creature took the cake. It looked like someone had blended together about twenty different creatures, and then left it to bake in the sun. “What the devil is that thing?” he wondered to himself.

“A draconequus of course,” the strange creature said in response to his question.

“Thanks, but what the hell is a draconequus… Wait! Did you just read my mind?” he thought.

“You’re welcome. But to answer your questions,” the draconequus replied, “only the most handsome devil this side of Equestria, and yes I did.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a mighty roar. “Discord, shut your yap,” a red dragon bellowed. The beast’s girth was so immense, it seemed it might be able to bare the weight of the whole world on its massive shoulders. The scales covering its body radiated heat, almost as if they were made of magma. The great beast looked at the tiny man thing with annoyance in its piercing eyes, almost as if he were nothing more than an insect to be crushed between its massive claws.

“There will be no violence in this place, Ouroboros!” commanded a radiant winged mare. On her forehead she bore a pearlescent horn. Her alabaster coat was a stark contrast to her rainbow hued mane and tail that seemed to billow in a nonexistent breeze.

“Celestia,” growled a massive hound as black as the night, only its burning eyes revealed the contempt the creature held for the trespasser. “He’s a foreigner,” the hound said while licking its lips in anticipation. “The rules don’t apply to him.”

“The laws of creation are quite clear, Darkpaw,” a beautiful mare said with a booming voice. She was nearly the twin of Celestia. Her coat was the color of the night sky, and her gently flowing mane and tail contained all the stars of the heavens. “Once a Moot has been called, no deity may harm another. Not until all have returned to their respective domains.”

“Quite astute, Luna,” a large seahorse agreed. The creature seemed to be made of nothing but water and kelp. Floating towards Darkpaw, the seahorse continued, “Should any partake of violence during a moot, the consequences would be most dire.”

“Mind your own business, Triton,” Darkpaw snapped.

Ouroboros raucously laughed causing his booming voice echo throughout the enormous cavern. “Darkpaw, you stupid whelp,” he sneered. “Break the moot, and you’ll be the one broken.”

“You haughty wurm!” Darkpaw growled in anger. “Just wait till the moot ends, I’ll cut you to pieces, and grind your bones to dust.”

“Good luck with that pup,” Ouroboros said, showing off his wings.

Celestia reared up on her hind legs, shaking her mane in anger. Her horn began glowing hot, filling the entire chamber with a light brighter than the noon sun. “That’s enough of the fighting,” she said in a voice that commanded respect. “We still have the unresolved matter of the child.”

Dozens of pairs of eyes all locked on the man. Looking back at the many different creatures, the human realized that he was no longer feeling what had been a nearly constant companion for the last decade. Fear. He was no longer afraid.

Ouroboros saw that the man thing refused to look away. Narrowing his eyes, he carefully appraised the creature before him. “What are you called?” the dragon asked the tiny creature.

The man who no longer knew fear replied, “My name is King,” he said, “I was a slave of the Gem Biter clan. Call me Slave King.”

Next Chapter: A Night Like Any Other Estimated time remaining: 13 Hours
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