Chapter One: Oh Child Of Mine

Leto always thought himself as lucky.

Considering that his circumstances, it could be worse. That's the sort of attitude Leto had. "It could be worse." He was almost irrationally optimistic. At least that was what Varania told him. Being the stubborn nine year old child that he was, he thought himself smarter than his eight year old sister. And because of this, he kept his attitude.

The first indication of luck was his mother's situation. She was a maid for a Tevinter Magister by the name of Carso Yvenen. "Maid" was the cover for her true purpose as a slave for breeding. Every year, she gave birth to a child that she would nurse for a few years before it was sold. Leto vaguely remembered two older brothers, but he knew that he was her eleventh child. His mother told him that Master Carso allowed her to keep Leto and Varania out of the goodness of his heart. A snide comment from a fellow maid said that Carso did not sell them because they looked weak when born and would not fetch a heavy price. Yet why would he not just have them killed like most breeders would have when faced with weak stock? Whatever the case, Leto was grateful he was able to stay with his mother and that he had a constant companion.

The second indication of luck was that he did not work as much as the other slave children. At age nine, he should have been doing heavy labor like the other older boys. Master Carso had Leto do light housework with his sister. He also gave them plenty of time to play during the afternoon and cool evenings.

The third indication of luck was that he was not mistreated in anyway. He knew the stories of slaves. Malnutrition, beatings, torture. There was also something that happened to slaves called "rape". Leto was not sure on what it was, just that it was more likely to happen to female slaves or pretty male slaves. He had asked his mother what it was. With a white face, she just told him that he shouldn't worry about it and as long as she was breathing, she would never let it happen to him or Varania.

Yes, luck was on his side.

Leto was laying in the green grass courtyard. He adored the cool feeling of the blades on his skin. It was in these moments that he appreciated being able to relax and meditate before doing his morning chores. In the courtyard, he felt safe. He was able to close his eyes and let his guard down.

As he meditated, he felt a sudden pressure on his stomach. Alarmed and surprised at this, his eyes opened to see what was attacking him. He softened as he saw his younger sister sitting on his chest. She smiled down at him before she started to poke his forehead.

Leto allowed her to have her fun as he looked pass her and watched the clouds go by.

"I think it's going to be a girl," Varania said as she quit poking her brother. She refered to the latest child her mother was carrying.

"Her last four were girls. I think she will have a boy," Leto commented, for the sake of arguing.

"I like the girls. I get to braid their hair before they get taken away," Varania said, "I don't want her to have another boy."

"Mama said that the baby will be whatever sex the Maker pleased it to be..." Leto replied as he let out a deep sigh, "And that she hopes for a boy."

"I hope she has whatever it is before Alexa leaves. She wants to see her baby brother or sister," Varania said as she got off Leto and laid down beside him.

"She is only three years old, she will not remember the baby nor will she remember us," Leto said, sighing. He taught himself not to get too close to his siblings. It would only hurt him in the long run. He learned that after two bouts of depression. Leto also never saw his mother coddle her babies like she did them. She must have been scared of getting hurt as well.

It was a lesson that Varania would not or could not learn.

And as Leto's eyes closed once more, he gave his thanks to the elusive Maker for the gifts he was given.