Tennisgurl13 A/N: Hey guys! Well I talked to dragon of spirits and I know she was REALLY sad that she had to discontinue this story and I wanted to help a sista out so I asked and she gave me the ok to continue writing this story! I DID NOT STEAL IT! All the ideas, the plot line, everything is ALL dragon of spirits. I will make sure I get her approval for everything before writing it so it'll be as close to the real thing as possible (I hope). So here it is! Hope ya like it :)

A/N: OKAY! Who is ready for the first chapter?!?! I actually got it up! Even with my insanely messed up schedule, I managed to find time for you guys. So, this is a sort of different style then A Slave To You was, since I'm attempting something new here (with credit to Cordia for inspiration of the idea)

This A/N is going to be really short, since I'm sure you all want to get on and read it already and not listen to me rant. So, without further ado, I present to you my dear readers, The Traders.

Disclaimer: I didn't own it when I wrote Storms of Lightning. I didn't own it when I wrote Stolen By Me or A Slave To You. What makes you think I suddenly own it now?

(Apologize for any grammar or spelling mistakes in advance. I have yet to find a beta reader)

[EDIT #2: I re-posted this chapter corrected again. I haven't changed much, just a little grammar and some small facts. It's still basically the same first chapter as before.]

Chapter 1

The girl let out a cry of pain as she was thrown roughly into the dirty cell. The door was slammed shut and the cruel man who has tossed her into the cage walked away, laughing. Seeing no one else was around, the young girl wrapped her arms around her knees, trying to save what little warmth she had. She lifted up head and took in her surroundings. A small cell, only big enough to walk a few steps forward in. Dirty and grimy with... blood on a wall?

The girl buried her face in her hands, sobbing quietly. She was frightened and alone. She didn't want to be in the horrid place. She wanted to go home…

Wait… what was that? The girl crawled over to a corner, spotting a black 'thing' sticking out of a crack in the wall. She tugged at it for a few moments until it came loose. A notebook? No, a journal. But whose could it be? The young girl glanced around nervously. What if the men came back and saw her reading this? Would she be punished? She should just shove it back into the wall and forget about it.

But, what if this journal had something in it that could keep her alive? It would be stupid not to just take a look. The girl bit her lip, and then let determination engulf her. She pushed her wet black hair away from her icy blue eyes and opened the journal to the first page. And then she started to read…

~Page 1~

Dear reader,

My name is Raimundo. Whoever you are, I'm glad you found this. Well, actually I'm not. Because if you did find it, you're probably a prisoner just like I was. And I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone. Actually, I have to give my condolences to you. Hope you make it out alive… I'm still not sure if I'm going to.

You're probably wondering who I am. I mean, you know my name now, but who am I? Well, I'm a boy, age fifteen, who's just like you. In more ways than you could imagine. This was my home before you came. I was the one who was in this cell first. This cold, damp cell that you'll come to hate, just like I did. I've been trapped here for about seven months. Seven months of bad memories. And the hardest part is yet to come…

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain why I'm even writing in this journal when I should probably be worrying more about if I'll live to see another day. It's mostly because I'm afraid that if I don't write my story down, no one will ever know what I've gone through. Or maybe it because I've finally learned I can't keep this all boxed up inside. So I'm going to put everything that has happened to me over the last seven months down on paper. I'm going to hide this journal and pray to god that someone out there will find it. And maybe if someone finds it, they'll come and save me.

Then again, no one's bothered to rescue me yet. And by the time I'm done writing this all down, there won't be much reason left to save me.

But, I'm getting way too far ahead of myself again. I should probably go back to the beginning. Though my story doesn't really have a beginning, and the end won't be recorded, for it has yet to happen. Just let me start from where I think it all began. Seven months ago, when I was still with my family…

I've always lived a comfy life. Sure, my family wasn't rich, but I was never that guy on the street corner begging for money. I never even complained about how I didn't get the things I wanted, or how I always had to help out around the house. I was happy with the little I had.

So why was I targeted? I didn't get in trouble, I tried to keep my grades up, I swear I was good! Why did they come after me?

I may never know.

What I do know is I was asleep in bed one night when the sound of cannons woke me up. Our village was under attack, or at least that's what I assumed. Men in patchwork clothes raided our town, going from house to house. The last thing I remember from that night is seeing a tall black man loom above me, grinning down at me with the cruelest smile in existence. And then nothing. He had knocked me unconscious.

I woke up in a boat, all alone. Scared and frightened, with no one to tell me what was going on. Those first few hours were some of the worst in my life. When someone came to my cell later to deliver some water, he told me I had been unconscious for about three days.

Now this is where my story truly begins.

The boat tipped left and right and I could feel my stomach lurching. Not that there was anything in my stomach to be sick from. I hadn't eaten in the two days I've been conscious, and I had gotten barely enough water to keep me alive. I knew I must look horrible, but I couldn't look half as bad as some of the other prisoners here.

I hadn't been here long enough to truly understand hunger or pain like they did. The others understood. I would come to learn, just like they did.

We, being the other prisoners and I, were on a ship. What kind of ship? That's going to be explained later soon, but I'm not up to that part of the story yet. All you have to know is that pirates were the ones who captured me. Traders actually. And Traders are the worst kind of pirates to be captured by. They'll do things to you…

I shivered just from the thought.

"Breakfast." A man grunted, throwing a piece of dry crusty bread through the bars of my cage. I lifted my head weakly from where if rested between my knees, looking at the food with disgust. I'd decided almost immediately that I'm not going to break like everyone else has. I'm not going to bend to their will. I've seen the other prisoners, they are all so hopeless. I wouldn't be like them. I won't eat that, because eating that is giving up.

I'm not giving up yet. They don't own me! I still have my rights.

The pirate went on to shove a bowl of water through the bars. I gazed at it thirstily, trying to moisten my dry lips. My throat felt parched…

I said I wasn't going to eat, but eating and drinking where 2 totally different things, right?

I shot forward, grabbing the bowl before darting to the back of the cell and gulping it down greedily. So good. The water was probably filled with dirt and germs, but I had never tasted better water before. I knew I shouldn't drink it all so quickly, but once the liquid hit my tongue I couldn't help but guzzle it all down.

"Stupid boy." The pirate said, eying me with a cold, dead glare. "You prisoners are all the same. You try to resist us, and yet we already have what we want. We already have you. Starving yourself ain't gonna help no one boy, you'll die from starvation and we'll lose a prisoner. Now eat the bread." I gazed back at the pirate coolly, but didn't answer. The pirate sighed.

"Come on boy, just take a bite. I gotta report to the capt'n that you're eating" I didn't make a move to the bread, or even look at him this time. The pirate gave up and started to walk away. "Mark my words boy," He said, right before exiting the door, "sooner or later you're going to be at our feet begging to do whatever you can for us. You'd best wise up now and start listening." The door shut and I was plunged into darkness.

For two days after that I received nothing but water.

If you have yet to figure this out, the pirates were cruel people. They mocked us prisoners. They liked to embarrass us and force us to do disgusting things. I hate them for that. I don't think I'll ever stop hating them. Those first months… the memory still haunts me. I remember being forced to clean the disgusting floor with my tongue. I remember having food waved in front of my face, only to have it snatched away. I remember the taunts and the hits I received, both equally horrible.

I remember so much I wish I could forget.

But that's not what I'm writing about. I'd rather forget about that first months, and to write it all down would only awaken bad memories. But… I did say I want to record everything down. Which means even the bad things…

Please, bear with me. This is hard to write, especially since these are hard memories to think about. I… I guess the worst would have to be Jared. He's the captain of the ship. And a horrible man. Think of the two worst people you have ever met. Then combined them. Now multiply their badness by a million and five.

That's Jared. His dirty blond hair and black eyes only add to his pirate image. And he's decided I'm his favorite play toy. He likes to torture me.

He was the first pirate I actually met, aside from the one who had brought me water. I had only been in my cell for four days when I was dragged up to the deck. And there he stood, grinning like a maniac. His eyes glistened dangerously and he looked at me hungrily, like a predator would his prey.

"Hello boy." He said, "And welcome to hell. I'm Jared, the captain of this ship and what I say goes." He reached forward and grabbed a fist full of my hair, tugging my head back. I was forced to look him in the eye. "It's best you learn that now when things are not so bad for ye'. If you start to disobey, I can make your life worse than you can imagine."

"I'm already being forced to listen to you." I spat, "can't get much worse than this." Jared let out a gruff laugh.

"I like ya boy. You got spirit. Let's see how long it takes to rid you of that." I felt shivers run down my spine. Jared scared the heck out of me, but I didn't want to show it.

"What do you want?" I demanded to know, "My parents aren't rich. They can't pay a ransom. I'm young and will be of no help on the ship. I'm nothing to you." Jared laughed again and I could feel his warm breath on my skin.

"Nobody is worth nothing. Even the lowest man can be sold as a slave." I wasn't counting my lucky stars yet. Everyone knew that being on a Traders ship as a prisoner was worse than any slavery. I could only hope he would sell me. If I was sold, at least I would be on land and able to escape. Here on this ship, I was trapped by the sea. "Then again, I like you kid. Maybe I'll keep you around for a while." I spat in his face and his smile disappeared.

"Throw him back in his cage. Let him suffer for a few days with no food or water. Let's see how brave he is after that." Jared commanded, throwing me into the arms of two awaiting pirates.

And that was only the beginning. I became Jared's favorite prisoner. You can understand why I try to forget these memories. The things Jared did to me… they're unspeakable. The things he put me through, a mere fifteen year old boy, should not even be repeated. He enjoyed my agony, my pain. He liked seeing me hurt…

I'm sorry. I- I just can't write about this anymore. All you have to know is that Jared's a horrible person. I hope you'll never have the misfortune to meet him.

There's not much more I can write about my first month in what I now call Hell. It was miserable, horrible. I thought I would die from hunger and thirst. Every night, before I would fall asleep, I kept thinking 'this is the last time I'll ever see the sunset.' And every morning when I woke up I would think, 'this is my last sunrise.'

If you had asked me back then if I thought I'd make it through that month, I would have told you hands down 'no'. But I did survive. Somehow, against all expectations, I survived.

But trust me; hell doesn't get easier the longer you're there. The next few months would be just as wretched as the first. I… I've seen things. Things that no one should have to see. And I've done things that will haunt me forever and eternity. I can't take back those months or those deeds. I can only relieve them by writing down what happened.

Trust me, hell is not the kind of place you want to spend more than one day in. And I've spent seven months here! I should be dead. Actually, I should've been dead long ago. I've only survived because of what happened in the second month of my imprisonment.

That was when I met my first friend in this horrible place.

The first page ended there, at the climax of the chapter. The girl closed the journal, gazing at the cover for a few moments. She flipped it over and examined the back. It looked like any other journal, but the story is held was already amazing, and she hadn't even gotten very far. She reopened the book, letting the pages flip between her fingers. Maybe that boy, Raimundo, had done the same thing when the pages were blank. Maybe he had been sitting right here, thinking he was never going to make it out, just like she was thinking.

She continued flipping through the book, until she reached the last page of writing. twenty pages in all. Seven months spread through them. The girl opened the journal to the second page. She might as well continue reading. After all, there was nothing else to do, and she wondered what happened to the boy since he was obviously no longer in the cell.

Had he been sold as a slave? Was he killed? Could he have escaped off the ship and he gained his freedom?

The girl knew one way she could find out…

And there's the end of my first chapter. Short, but it's only the first chapter after all. I'm kind of... not happy about how this turned out, but I feel I owe you guys to finally post this. I hope you enjoyed it a little and didn't think it was a complete waste of time. I've always wanted to have Rai stuck with a bunch of pirates. It's been bugging me since forever!

And, as has become tradition for my stories now, I need but one review to continue! Oh yes, you heard me correctly. Just one simple small review. If I get none, I won't bother continuing the story since I'll assume this is a flop. If I get one at least I have the motivation to do another chapter.

Well, please review and hope you enjoyed the first chapter of The Traders.