The four of us had arrived at the lord’s house late in the night. Salia and I were sent to the kitchen to sleep. The kitchen was empty, which made me worry more about sleeping in the stables. This might be my last night inside. I rested my head on a sack of flour and lay on the hard floor. Why did the lord take me to see the Oracle? What was he planning for me? The questions raided my mind at the worst possible time, but eventually I fell asleep.
A little after dawn, Salia and I woke to bread and fruit on the table for us. There weren’t any slaves, or servants for that matter, in sight. Whoever left it for us didn’t think to wake us up, so maybe the master told them not to? Or maybe they were willing to allow us to get in trouble and suffer through figuring things out for ourselves on our first day in the lord’s house.
We ate, taking our time, not worrying about chores for the first time in our lives. If someone wanted us, they would come get us. As soon as we finished eating, an elderly man wearing clean white clothing with orange trimming appeared at the kitchen door.
“This way, girls.” He said. “Lord Tarik will see you now.” Salia and I looked at each other. This was the first time either of us heard the man’s name.
Lord Tarik’s house was grander than Lord Grisar’s. What confused me was that I couldn’t see a person in sight, beside the old man. Grisar usually had girls busy cleaning and running to get more wine every second of the day. Where were Lord Tarik’s slaves?
“Sir, I noticed you don’t have irons. Are you a servant?” I asked.
“Lord Tarik is my oldest friend. But yes, he does pay me for advising him.” He replied.
“Where is everybody?” Salia murmured to me.
“Lord Tarik does not keep slaves. Nor does he need very many servants. You will meet everyone when we got to his lordship’s hall.” The man said.
“But we’re slaves.” Salia whispered, lower than she did before.
“Lord Tarik, I brought you the two girls that you bought last night.” The elderly man said, as we entered a room with high ceilings and windows with a gorgeous view of the palaces.
“Ah, yes. Thank you, Tau.” The man nodded his head in a partial bow and walked over to a table where eight others were eating breakfast off to the side.
“Kamilah! And Salia!” Lord Tarik turned with his hands upward in welcoming. “Welcome to my home.” We stood in silence, as we were used to.
“You may speak.” He said, raising an eyebrow.
“Thank you for welcoming us, milord, but we are unsure of where we stand. You bought us as slaves, yet this man, Tau, says you do not keep slaves.” Salia said, the courageous one.
“Ah. I see. I bought you in order to free you, and pay you to work as my servants.” He explained. Salia looked at me with wide eyes.
“My lord, if we are now free women, are we allowed to go pray at the temples any day we wish? To leave your service anytime?” I asked.
“You are free. However give me notice a day in advance if you go to the temples. I would not want to wonder where you have gone.” He confirmed. I let out a sigh of relief. I was free. I was a free woman.