Standing six feet seven, a wall of muscle graced with tanned skin that glowed beneath the morning sun, Kai was a rare breed. Handsome, despite the scars across his chin and brow, his features are stunning. The mesmerizing stare from deep green eyes pierce through to the soul. Dark blonde hair falls past his shoulders; a few small sections are braided and fastened by leather threads and beads. Highlighted with silver and gold strands that, when caught by the gathering breeze, shimmered in the sun’s rays like a sea of gems. On his massive arms, Kai wore large, ornately decorated bands of gold; fashioned especially for him by the smiths of Darkmide.
Described as commanding and majestic, Kai stood out in a crowd. Anyone who’d ever seen him could see that mere words failed to capture the true effect of his presence. His breathtaking existence made women sigh with flushed cheeks, but his frosty manner deterred their advances.
The crowd parted, making room for his friend and right hand man, Sabe. Shorter than Kai by a few inches, his black hair and deep brown eyes were distinguishing. Handsome and full of wit, he made a stark contrast to Kai. Watching Sabe come forward, Kai remembered his first meeting with his most trusted companion and his sister, Kiera.
Four years ago, after escaping the fighting pits of Darkmide and the slavers who ruled there, Kai and a few other rebelling slaves attacked a prison camp. Placed just outside the city, the camp housed the slaves for the gold mines. Kai went there and tried to find a comrade slave who killed a brutal master. Immediate death should have followed. But taking advantage of his strength and stamina his punishment was to do the dangerous, backbreaking work of harvesting gold. Kai’s dreams of freeing him turned to dust when he found his brave friend, Lorne, had perished in a mineshaft collapse just days earlier. Disheartened he'd arrived too late, he moved swiftly to leave, but halted by a cry for help beneath his feet as he trampled over a covered pit. There was something about the desperate plea that made Kai stop and listen. Looking between his feet at the grate and greeted with slender fingers, curiosity overcame him and he crouched and looked into the pit. Piercing brown eyes stared up before the woman moved away to allow her brother to speak. The man begged Kai to free him and his sister. In a silver-tongued manner, that Kai would become familiar with, Sabe promised their loyalty in exchange for his aid. In addition, he promised the loyalty of a group of skilled fighters to aid his cause. Though at the time it had felt like a moment of ill-advised weakness, Kai never regretted rescuing Kiera and Sabe. Proving their dedication to him many times over in later battles, he knew they would follow him to the ends of the earth; gladly laying down their lives to save his.
‘Make way, coming through!’ Sabe called, dragging two men behind him by a lead rope.
Giving a final tug when he reached the center of the yard they stumbled forward. Bound hands broke their fall and they scrambled to their knees with lowered heads. Save untied the lead rope, then cast it aside before facing the crowd.
‘Gather round friends, move in closer.’
Hesitantly the crowd conformed; they preferred to keep their distance in matters of discipline. Mischief lurked in Sabe’s eyes. He knew how this event would end, and having the crowd involved excited him.
With a grin, he turned to face Kai and whispered close, then turned to look at the prisoners before gazing to the crowd. Sabe filled his ears with the details, then slapped his hand on the large shoulder when Kai moved forward.
The crowd hushed when Kai’s hands moved to rest on the fighting knives sheathed on his hips; his favored weapons of choice, forged for him personally. The cool touch of metal caused his fingers to squeeze and tighten around them. Inquisitive eyes stared at his poised form. Pausing before he took a few more paces, his eyes searched the crowd. People averted their eyes; looked at their neighbors or the ground, anything else other than Kai, his scowl proving too intimidating to confront. He studied the men at his feet; they shook and trembled in fear with their heads lowered, and he sneered in disgust. He detested cowardice.
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