A small black cat strolled lazily down a lonely looking meadow, taking cover under the shadowy night. A cool breezed teased against the cat's silky, soft hair making it glimmer like inky water under the dull moon light. It looked around the meadow with intelligent and observant icy blue eyes until it found exactly what it was looking for; it's master.
Stark naked and surrounded by various medicinal and poisonous herbs was a young boy, no older than eight . The boy was crouched picking the herbs with a look of care and concentration on his face as he chanted a series of ritualistic chants so to make the properties of the plants stronger.
Under the shine of the moon the boy looked unnaturally pale, like some ethereal creature and waves of inky black hair fell down his lithe from in elegantly in wispy curls.
Well practiced hands expertly picked the right plants and weaved them together. His hands, though they were covered with cuts and bruises were steady. The long spindly fingers worked so fast and accurately they were hypnotising to see. It was an art he had had to learn at an incredibly young age, he was the kind if child had to work in order to survive.
Bowing his head to the floor he prayed to the mother goddess* for the herbs and said one last thank you, he had deep respect for old tradition and superstitions, the old ways. They used to have more respect for people and nature in those days, when people still used to follow the old ways.
Harry got up collecting his herbs into a make shift bag and then throwing them over his back. Suddenly noticing his cat he gave a warm smile and then picked the cat up.
"Azumi, you're late" The boy said pulling the cat up close to his chest, like a mother might cradle a baby. Harry was a bit like a mother to the cat though, he had looked after it since it was a kitten, that's why he was so protective of it.
The cat gave a small meow at being manhandled and crawled up onto the boys shoulder purring contently; tail swishing back forth in a relaxed rhythm.
Harry looked out into the distance and gave a worn down sigh, tonight was going to be a long night, he had to get to the nearest village by sunrise to get some stock from an old merchant he knew, and if he was any later than that the man would be asleep and not answer his call. Kio was night person you, parting through the dark and asleep by day, that why he was nicknamed 'the Owl'.He also got the nickname because years too sleep and too much ecstasy gave his eyes a wide, dark and startled look, like the bird.
Kio usually gave Harry food, books and secrets, and in return Harry traded in his best potions, which according to Kio were the best in the country.
Though he and Harry had traded for years, Harry still couldn't bring himself to trust the man, and was always guarded. All interactions were strictly professional, even cold at times. It was nothing personal, but the only people he had known in the past were cruel so he didn't trust anyone. Kio was no exception to this rule either, he's a ruthless tradesman who takes advantage of every person who walks though his door. Harry included, Harry never got paid what he should have been because Kio knew Harry wouldn't go to anyone else incase they realised he was an orphan and put him in an orphanage.
Harry had rejected civilisation at a dangerously young age. As an abandoned orphan he had never been shown much kindness or respect, and opted to live in the wild rather than spend a life out -casted and oppressed.
His life lacked the comforts of normal person's life because of it, he had no support system or family, he had had to learn to grow up quick and fast. The day were hard and the hours long, most children would have died living under the sever conditions he did, but Harry was far too strong for such a pathetic fate.
Not that Harry knew any other children anymore, other than Kio he avoided people, and only came into town when the streets were bare . His visits were always short and rushed, he was always scared someone would realise he was homeless and force him into and orphanage or servitude.
Just before sunrise Harry reached his destination with a sigh of relief. Kio lived a rich looking cottage just on the edge of the nicest part of town, with the largest and most beautiful garden in the area.
Harry scoffed out loud, the plants who owned may be pretty and rare, but were utterly useless. It was simply a show of power, connections and wealth. Like most people Harry knew, Kio was another man who was superficial and egotistical to point it could be described of as vile.
"Harry what a pleasure to see you, ungodly hour no?" Kio said noticing Harry walk up his drive, it looked as if he had been waiting for him "the suns almost up!"
Harry nodded dully, pulling out a few potions that the man had requested. Kio instantly snatched them out his hand with a greedy look on his face before throwing a bundle of goodies at the child.
"Everything's there, food, drink, a couple of books too." Kio said, "Harry please, you have to come in, you look cold as ice and sick as hell. Your lifestyle is going to kill you one day, winters going to turns its ugly head around some day and you're going to end up catching hypothermia, Or maybe you'll get lucky and die a faster death when one of them beastly animal hunts and kills you. I don't want to lose my best client!"
Harry gave and unenthusiastic nod and very quietly said in and uncommitted and dead-pan voice, "Maybe
An awkward atmosphere took over as the two just looked at each other, neither talking nor making eye contact. ". Kio knew Harry was never going to come and sit in for tea, Harry didn't even know why he bothered asking, but he said "maybe" just to polite.
Harry looked up to see Kio fidgeting uncomfortable, he was shaking a giant beads of sweat where falling down his face . Harry decided that he needed to get out, Kio was either high or up to something. Whichever one it was that was making him act so edgy and weird Harry didn't want to be their when everything went tits up.
He made to turn, but before he could even take his first step he was surrounded by wizard. The sound was like fireworks going off in all directions as they apparated in, surrounding him in a large human circle
Harry turned and stared at Kio confused and scared, looking at the man as if he expected an explanation, the man looked away guilty faced and flushed with embarrassment and it was explanation enough for Harry. He knew what had happened.
Kio, his trader, had sold him off. Wizards rarely came into Muggle society, the two kept at distance, except when they needed more slaves. Clearly the paycheack must have been quiet extravagant for the man to give up his prodigy potion maker, but a man like Kio wasn't one to give up a good deal when he saw it.
Harry hissed angrily, feeling defenceless and betrayed. Sure the two had never had a good relationship but he had thought there professional association would have meant the man would have had some degree of loyalty or moral obligation to his subject.
No, no one had ever treated him with kindness, why would they now. Kio had just used him, and Harry should have known better.
Knowing he had no chance of escape, he wanted his last action of freedom to be revenge. He couldn't bear the thought that Kio would live a life of luxury from his pain and humiliation.
As Kio always used to say, 'one must always pay the piper'.
A sadistic smile graced the young boy's features, chilling and without mercy, the kind of smile only a person who felt nothing but contempt and hatred for people could muster. His eyes shining with spite.
It signalled the attack that was to come .
Drawing a dagger the boy used to hunt with from his belt, he used his skills in hunting to quickly and precisely throw the dagger so it would slice though the man's stomach, leaving a nasty fatal gash in its path.
The man looked up surprised at the child, he had underestimated him greatly. The child grinned back like a demon, eyes gleaming in the dark hungrily, pleasured by his pain. This was his last chance of freedom, he planned to savour it.
The man started coughing up blood , hands wrapped round his thought tightly in vain, he wanted the pain to stop and all he could se. The blood was now drowning him and he was finding it difficult to breath. He looked up ,desperation in his eyes as he realised the wound was going to kill him painfully and take a long time to do so, that that was exactly how he boy had planned it.
Harry's cat started hissing as the vulgar sight, and Harry brought it down and started cradling it protectively, covering it from the view.
"A life for a life" Harry whispered softly so only Kio could hear and he was faced with an expression of pure fear.
Harry suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder and resigned to his fate, let himself get apparated away, there was no escape now so he might as well save his energy.
Harry was transported into a large room that looked like an entry room for the servants; it certainly wasn't the main entrance room as it was sparse of any sort of decoration. It simply confirmed what Harry already knew, he was property of some rich wizarding family.
The walls , floors and ceilings had all been paved in dark marble, magically enhanced to look like the nights sky. Harry felt like was standing in the air, and would fall through the floor any moment, he wasn't used to this grand world of magic; he had lived a secluded lifestyle.
It made him feel venerable, the vast change overwhelming and confusing, though too look at him you wouldn't be able to see how much he struggling. He stood, straight and confident looking, even though he felt as if his legs would give way at any moment, his expression cool, controlled and stoic.
Never let then enemy see your weaknesses, a lesson Harry had learnt from a young age. In the wild , animals that appeared weak or scared where always the first to go and it was exactly the same in the human world, so he did his best to hide his fear.
"New boy, do you have a name I can call you by?" came a silky voice from behind him; Harry swivelled round to see who was talking to him.
The man he faced was a looming figure. Sharp angled featured, dark slicked back hair and beautiful, slanted dark eyes that stared down mysteriously at the boy. The man held himself in a proud manner that suggested he was an authority figure, strong, confident and strict looking. Harry instantly knew this was not a man to mess with, though this didn't mean he would give the man his real name.
"Evans" Harry lied easily, giving the man his mother's surname. The man nodded in acceptance, his face stony and emotionless. He didn't want to give the man his real name because that way the man could trace his history, and knowledge was power.
"Well Evans, as you have probably worked out you are now a servant. Due to your reputation as a good potion maker you are too become an apprentice in the medical department. There are strict rules as a servant of this household and the punishments are severe for breaking them, you will receive a copy of these rules first thing tomorrow at sunrise." He paused for a second looking down at the boy with a stern expression on his face "It is a well-respected position to be and apprentice , if you should work hard at your studies and you will have be highly compensated for your talents. I can see you are an intelligent boy, so be sensible, doing well in this apprenticeship is too your advantage."
Harry nodded in acceptance, but otherwise unsure how to respond, though he obviously did the right thing as the man's mouth twisted into a small smile.
The man had seen many a child come through the servants door, snivelling and crying. They didn't listen, were spoilt and childish and without an ounce of common sense or logic, but this boy was something new. He stood confidently like an adult, unusual behaviour for a child at the best of times , but certainly for a child who must be distraught and terrified at being tossed out from his normal life and away from his family to such a peculiar place. The boy also looked up with an expression of reasoning, as if he understood the responsibilities of his new life and the repercussions of not full filling them, a child who was an obvious survivor, self-reliant and adaptable.
"Well Evans, I have high hopes for you, you look like a very intelligent boy who seems to understand what is best for yourself. Follow me, I will show you to your chamber. "He said his smile still there as he talked. The man suddenly looked at the cat that was still being cuddled by the boy and Harry stared back cautiously, pulling the creature closer to him in a defensive manner "you can keep the cat you know, it just can't leave your room."
With that the man then led Harry down a series of corridors until they arrived to a small room. The room had no windows and was covered in the same dark marble as the rest of the place making the place look gloomy and dark.
No windows, Harry felt his chest tighten as a feeling of claustrophobia overtook him, he missed the moonlight already and the fresh air.
Everything here was so clinical and stale, utterly lacking in beauty, an abyss to the soul. A strong smell of disinfectant and damp overpowered his senses and he felt disgusted, but he had to get used to it.
And the place was infested with humans, he could hear them from his room walking around and talking, there was no getting away from them. All he wanted was for them all to disappear, the noise was giving him a headache already, and he wanted return to wild were it was quiet and calm.
He looked around his room. In the centre of the room was a decently sized wooden bed with a generously thick mattress and duvet, a small wardrobe and a desk and chair in the corner.
It was really good furniture and Harry knew that if he had grown up to be more materialistic he would be grateful for such high quality equipment in his room, but all it did was make him more depressed. He felt like they were trying too domesticate him by making him get used to such conditions, like some stay dog or cat. He knew he wouldn't sleep on the bed that night but on the floor, it was his one of the few things he still had a choice over after all and he had always slept on the floor in the past.
"You'll get used to it fast enough" said the man startling him out of his train of thought, and with that the man walked out of the room locking it behind him. Harry just stared at the locked door; letting the fact he was now property of some rich family sink in fully.
Just like that, in no time at all, these people had taken away his freedom and identity. His freedom was something he had had to fight for too, being an orphaned runaway, and he found being placed in the position he was humiliating and unfair.
He was to angry and shocked to do much other than stand shaking on the spot, breathing in and out in hard and heavy . Hours passed like this with him just staring out heatedly , slowly getting more and more tiread . His grasp of time having evaporated in his hatred and fury.
His cat, who hadn't been taken away as of yet, was still curled up in the boys protective hold, silent and observant. Azumi somehow always understood when the child needed support and comfort and so instead of meowing for food of climbing onto its favourite spot, the child shoulders, it just nuzzled up to its master affectingly and let itself be hugged painfuly in the boys shaking arms. The boy was so obviously suffering.
The boy was grateful, the cat was the only thing he had left, and without its love he knew he would have broken down and given up on life and love a long time ago. They were a pack, he had to be strong, Aumi relied on him, and he had to be resourceful.
He also knew that this was a valuable life lesson; it had made him stronger and more knowledgeable about what people were like. It was clear that he couldn't just avoid them and hide in the country like he had thought as a child, Even if he was to escape people would always chase him down because he was an outsider, no family would come and claim him, and no one would even notice his disappearance.
It was clear he had to fight for his freedom; he had to become powerful or feared enough that no one would ever come looking to make a slave out of him again
An ugly smile marred along the boy normally sweet face. Yes, he was going to take everything he could from these people, an education, their secrets, learn their ways and then he would use all this to make them pay, pay for every day of pain and humiliation he was going to have to endure.
He knew he would have to take time planning this, to come up with the best way to exact his revenge and the best timing, until then he would be the most polite and studios.
He had to get them to like him for everything to run smoothly, so no one suspected him of anything and so he could learn everything he needed to know. It also meant he had to learn how to act like them.
Even the idea disgusted him, these people had no respect, and they thought they could take whatever and act however they liked. And he had to pretend this was acceptable, imitate them.
Well, let the games begin.
*Mother goddess is a pagan goddess who is believed to control nature.
Hi! Hope you enjoyed the first chapter!