Saturday, June 29, 2013

JB Lacaden Week 53: A Tale From Urcara - 1

WEEK 53! This is the first week of our 2nd year of DAILY PICSPIRATIONS! Thank you to all the contributing authors that have made this possible, both current and past. Here's to another year of Daily Picspirations!!


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JB Lacaden’s Picture Choice: 2

Title: A Tale From Urcara - 1

“Will you tell me what happened, please?” Aysha placed a hand on her brother’s bony shoulder.

Naru’s face was badly beaten with his right eye swollen shut. He shrugged off his sister’s hand and walked towards the wooden gate. The soldier that sat sleeping on the sand woke at the sound of Naru and Aysha’s footsteps. The soldier winced at the sight of Naru’s bruised face.

“This has got to stop,” the soldier said. “This is the third time this month they did this to you and by the looks of it they decided to go all out this time.”

Naru looked at the soldier with his uninjured eye and said: “I don’t want to talk about it, Kar.”

Asha stepped beside her brother and she looked at Kar. “Naru, maybe we could go to the taskmasters. Report this.”

Naru laughed and ended up wincing in pain. “The taskmasters, Aysha? What made you think they’ll do something? They’ll just probably beat me themselves. Those men don’t care about us. We are just cattle to their eyes. Slaves have no right to complain. The freemen are—“

Kar covered Naru’s mouth with a gloved hand. “Shush, boy! They hear you talking like this and you’ll be lucky to end up with just a beat up face. Look. When my shift ends I’ll go and have a talk with Markus’ gang, alright? Tell them to ease up on you.”

“Just open the gate, Kar,” Naru said.

Aysha sighed and gave a nod at Kar. Kar stepped aside and pulled the gate open. Naru and his sister was immediately welcomed by the many sight and sound and smell of the city of Urkara. Behind them, Kar pushed the gate close.

Urcara was a city that thrived from the raising and selling of slaves. It was divided into two sections. The Western Urcara was for the free men - made up of houses and pyramids that raced against one another on who reached the heavens first. Their walls were of ivory and marble and their owners wore silk and gold. A huge wall, called by all as The Boundary, that stood at least a hundred feet tall and was as wide as five men standing abreast, surrounded the land of the free men. The Boundary was only broken by a single gate made of iron and steel and it remained heavily guarded day and night.

Eastern Urcara, covering eighty percent of the city, was located fifty feet away from The Boundary so that the stench from the place never reach the land of the free men. The Urcaran slaves were raised and trained by several taskmasters for the sole purpose of being sold to those who have the money. Viewed from above, Eastern Urcara was made up of rows of roughly built tents and houses made of hardened mud. There were the unfortunate ones, the ones that lived out in the streets. These were the damaged goods, the ones not good enough to be sold, they could be seen in the open—begging, crawling, dying.

Naru and Aysha passed by the dried up fountain with the marble statue of a girl holding a sword and they walked towards a man that seemed to be having an argument with a camel.

“…cooperate with me this time, Sara, just this one time,” the man said, looking pleadingly at the camel. The camel replied with a snorting sound. “Luca, I found him,” Aysha said.

Luca turned around and smiled wide. He was a heavily bearded fat man who always wore a turban that was as large as his belly. “Just in time!” He said. “We have to make the weekly deliveries to the taskmasters’ camp but this stupid camel won’t move.” Luca made a face when he saw Naru. “You look like shit, Naru. Markus again?” He asked.

Naru answered with a nod.

“Why do they do this to you? What did you do to piss them off?”

“They just like beating people up,” Naru answered. “You don’t need reasons when you’re all muscles and power.”

Luca made a clicking sound with his tongue then he turned back to Aysha. “You, you take care of this lazy beast.” He handed Sara’s reins to Aysha.

“You know, maybe if you talked a little bit nicer to Sara she might cooperate with you,” Aysha laughed as she rubbed Sara’s side.

“I’d rather be whipped than be nice to that beast.”

“Come now, Sara and let’s leave that fat man alone.” Aysha pulled Sara’s reins and started walking away.

“What about me?” Naru asked.

Luca turned to the boy. “You go home and apply some ointment to your face.”

“Wouldn’t you need some help in selling fruits?” Naru asked.

“You’ll do more harm than help looking like that. You’ll scare the customers away and it’ll be trouble if Markus and his men see you. Better lie low for today. Now go,” Luca jerked a fat thumb to the side.

Naru groaned and hesitantly walked away.


Upon reaching home, Naru removed his shirt and grabbed a black jar that was stored beneath Luca’s bed. Naru uncovered the top and he almost gagged at the stench of what was stored inside. Naru scooped some ointment with his fingers and he proceeded on applying some to his face. Afterwards, his body cried for sleep and so he went to his spot on the floor and dozed off.

Hours passed by and he woke from Luca’s shouting. Naru sat up to see the fat man panicking as he entered the house with Aysha in his arms. Naru felt his chest tightened; breathing became hard. He rushed to Luca’s side. The fat man placed the unconscious Aysha on the bed. Naru stared in horror at his sister’s badly beaten up body.


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JB Lacaden dreams of someday being a published writer. He currently resides in Manila, Philippines. He's a lover of comic books, science fiction, and high fantasy. Check out some of his works at and follow him at @jblearnstowrite.