Slave Breakers (Book 1): Bran’s Story Maculategiraffe1
Bran lay on the floor, naked, bound and gagged, listening with dull despairto the conversation going on over his head."I'm sorry for the poor lad, but I'm a very busy man," his master was saying,in the honeyed tone he had been using ever since the visitors arrived. Branwondered if the strangers could hear the insincerity in it, or if it was onlyobvious to him because he knew what his master's voice ordinarily soundedlike. "I simply don't have the time or resources to deal with this kind of thing. I'm sure you can understand that.""Of course," said the blonde woman with just a touch of polite impatience."That's why we're here.""Yes, I understand you specialize in– among other things– breaking, shallwe say, excessively independent spirits. Of course, given your own, er,history–" Bran could practically hear the leer in his master's voice, andswallowed past the constricting gag. The woman wouldn't be in a goodmood later, which was very bad news for Bran."Right," she said, the contempt in her voice now barely concealed. "Andyour estimate of his market value, leaving aside the behavioral issues?""Well, he's eighteen, in perfect health– I'd put it at forty thousand.""Mm-hmm," said the woman, sounding dubious, and they began a process of haggling. Bran listened with half an ear to the protests and estimates,praying to whatever gods might look down to kill him where he lay ratherthan send him home with the slave breakers."Done," said the woman finally, firmly enough to startle Bran back toattention. There was a rustle of papers above him. They had bought him,then. Bran felt his body, quicker on the uptake than his mind, begin totremble.