From? The boy didn’t know. He’d always assumed that he was from some small farming village.
He’d only been a few months old when he was taken though. And he knew that the giants nearly always refused to speak of where they got him from. Maybe there was a secret behind it - or maybe he was just very lucky. But he didn’t have the answers that he wanted there.
“I honestly don’t know, sir. When I was taken I was only a few months old,” he explained quite honestly. Then admitted when it came to where he was taken. “I was taken to his home, at least at the start. I spent almost all my time there unless the giants decided to raid. Like I said, I was a lap dog. A house pet.”
It wasn’t a short journey either. It was a long one, that much he knew for a fact. But he did know the way. “I think I’d know how to get there. But I’m not the *best* at giving directions. I can’t read maps or anything,” he then added. “But the giants that weren’t terrible to me taught me how to track. I could definitely show you the way...”
He then added. “Supposing you wanted to go there. I’m not sure why though. It’s dangerous - he’s dangerous.”
Baerm narrowed his eyes and nodded in understanding. As frustrating as it was, he doubted he would get reliable directions from a giants slave if it was as far as he said. He wouldn't even know what to do if he did know. For years Baerm had been hoping for word on Oarlungs location, but everything had been silent. There wasn't even a whisper of his name until now.
Baerm turned back towards the direction of his horse and continued walking. "We'll discuss it later, for now lets get the hell outta here and back to civilization. I have a payment to claim for my bounty on this giant." It took them another twenty minutes of trudging through the wilds before they found his young mare, quietly grazing next to the tree he bound her to.
The sun was getting lower in the sky, it had to be late afternoon at this point. "Might be best if we head towards Chamir first. Find a tavern, its getting late."
But before they started off he did offer... “I can send you on the right path, or at least to people who’d help... Once you drop me wherever you would at least,” he then added. “It’s the least I can do to lend some sort of hand.
He fell quiet after that. Obviously exhausted but keeping up rather easily with the orc and hardly showing it. When they reached the horse he relaxed slightly by now convinced he wouldn’t have to keep looking over his shoulder. But preparing his legs for a longer walk ahead.
“That shouldn’t be a problem. Just don’t go too far ahead or I’ll loose sight of you,” he explained. Then added. “Maybe there I’ll find somewhere to clean myself off and get this off,” he explained. Tugging the collar a bit. “Until I am I’m a sitting duck for every slaver - believe me.” He snorted.
Baerm chuckled and grinned and grabbed the boy from under the arms, lifting up onto the horse. "You didn't think i'd leave you walking did ya." With that he untied the reigns and leaped onto the mare behind the boy. "Hold on tight boy." Baerm hated traveling at night, all manner of beasts wander beneath the moon light. He slayed giantfolk... not creatures of the dark.
With a kick of his legs, they were off, speeding out of the trees and out into the plains and open brush lands. It didn't take long for Baerm to make his way back to the main road. Within barely thirty minutes, the small village of Chamir was just barely in sight.
But then again he needed to stop looking at life through the eyes of a slave. He had to remember he was free and this was not his master of any kind. His first ride on a horse though? Exhilarating. He’d always wondered how it might feel but it really did not compare to the sure ferocity and strength.
Realizing he had called him boy a lot he decided he was probably better off telling him his name. “My name’s Kor by the way. Though I’ll probably take another,” he noted. “Don’t want word of my name getting back to them. Since they were the ones who gave it to me.” He admitted.
When the town came into view he relaxed far more considerably. For once he was seeing a real town not as part of an invasion party. That would certainly be interesting. “Anything I should know before we go in?” He asked.
As they approached the outskirts of Chamir Village, he slowed the mare to a steady trot. "Just be alert and don't draw attention to yourself. Bound to be a few unsavory types around here." The sun was just above the horizon. The hour was late the light was quickly fading. To either side of the dirt path were fenced fields of crops, mainly grains for making bread, but Baerm noticed a few smaller plots for corn, carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables.
In the corner of his eye, he barely caught a glimpse of a small redish brown cat scurry off the road into a field of wheat. As they continued, the field of crops gave way to a cluster of cobblestone buildings with thatched roofs. The village itself had no walls or defenses of any kind, just a ditch a dozen or so feet deep and perhaps three yards wide. Filled with murky water that surrounded the settlement. The dirt road lead through the midst of the buildings all the way up to a small hill.
Watching over them, a large manor house could be seen perched atop it. Clearly the home of the Baron of Chamir, with only a couple hundred people in this settlement, the baron was one of the lesser nobles of Anduron. Nothing more then a mayor and administrator of the village. There were still a handful of people out and about, finishing their business for the day, but over all it seemed quiet. As they approached a larger building to their right, Baerm stepped off his horse. Helping the boy Kor off after him. "Ill check the stables to see where I can keep her for the night. Stay close, don't wander far."
That was not easy between his appearance and the collar he had after all. But when Baer let him down and told him that he had to find the stable. That gave him time to at least attempt to rectify some of that. He didn’t move far but did search long enough to find a cloak which he carefully pulled around him.
It’d cover his collar for now. Though he was quick to follow Baerm after that.
“I’ll still need to find somewhere to get clean. But least now this covers my neck,” he murmured to him quietly. “I don’t suppose there’s anywhere open where I can get a fresh set of clothes and a bath. I took some of that gold those idiots took before I left. Might be worth a shot.”
Baerm found the stableman who gave the orc a snort of disgust as the young human man grabbed the reigns and took the mare. Baerm was used to this kind of treatment out west. It true, brutans have been slowly integrating into the kingdom of Anduron for over a century now. But due to the new war, stories of orc raiding parties down south seems to have awoken old hatreds.
Handing the stableman a silver, he returned outside to Kor. He was exausted, he wouldn't show it, but Baerm could sleep for a day. He turned to Kor and examined the kid. He looked aweful, probably hadn't been feed and seemed utterly filthy. He slowly knelt down and looked him in the eye. "Allow me to remove this for ya kid." Without another word he put his hand on the hilt of his sheathed broad sword. Feeling the strength of the spirit within the blade flow through him. Baerm grabbed the back of the collar and with a sharp twist, it snapped in two and fell to the ground.
Standing to his feet he looked down at the kid and smiled. "Free men don't wear chains."
Kor noticed the look that Bayern got and didn’t understand that.
Sure he looked different but the Brutan has treated him with great kindness thus far. Which was more than he could say for some of the human slaves of the giants, who had mostly been out for themselves. “Why did he give you a look like that? You didn’t even do anything wrong,” he pointed out in that manner of childish naivety. “Probably nicer than half of his human customers.”
He paused when the Brutan mentioned taking something off. For a moment he straightened as he put his hands on his neck. But it took him only a minute to realize what he was doing. When it had broken, he took a deep intake of air and coughed a little.
It was the first breath of air without a collar he’d taken since he was a baby. Almost feeling unnatural - but all the same relieving. When he called him a free man, it was probably the first time he actually realized how strong a feeling that was. “Thank you,” he said as he felt the scars he knew may never go away but breathed a sigh in relief. “A free man, that’s a nice thought.”
A brief look of sorrow could be seen in Baerms eyes, but he turned his head away and as quickly as it came, it faded away. Replaced by his normal stoic face. "People fear what they do not understand, the new war seems to have reawoken old hatreds." He cleared his throat and looked back at Kor. "Nothing you need to worry about kid. Come now and follow me, I could use a drink."
They ended up walking several blocks down the road toward a small tavern. The lights were on and as baerm opened the door, he made sure Kor followed close behind him. A couple older men glared at him from a table near the wall, but most of the dozen or so villagers simply minded their own business. A young woman came over to them as Baerm found them a table near the door and against the wall.
"Can I getcha anythin sweetheart?" Baerm breathed in deep and audibly sighed. "An ale for me and a water for the kid, leg o lamb for the both of us."