It’s a dry windy morning in one of the vast deserts of Faerun. As the newly acquired captives awaken, they find themselves in a wagon bound at the hands and feet. One by one, they begin to reorient themselves with their surroundings. The prisoners consist of a behemoth of a man, half of his body covered in black tribal tattoos, dressed in tanned leathers and furs, with a slightly more than natural disgruntled look on his bald head. There was a pointy faced elf wearing some sort of leather armor that was shaded green in parts of the chest and arms areas, who still seemed to be slightly confused at the situation. There was another prisoner who seemed to share the elves confusion, however, this was no ordinary prisoner. His skin seemed to be made of a stone or sand of some type, while still maintaining the facial features of a normal human except for a mouth. His eyes were an odd sort of florescent yellow marble. His robes seem to blend in with his rock-like skin and he had a strange bump that ran up the inside of his forearm. Other than that, there was nothing else much too uncharacteristic of his already uncharacteristic looks. There were two human men sitting next to each other who looked like they might be related. Both had brown hair and brown skin and simple black clothes that were a little ragged. Sharing the same scruffy look, they were both eying the rock man like he was some kind of supernatural spectacle. There was one other who still happened to be unconscious. The dwarf had an extremely large black beard that was very unkempt and if the two humans were looking at the dwarf as intently as they were the rock-man, they might’ve found, in his beard, bits of lunch he had three months ago. Along with the greasy, food riddled beard, the dwarf had some strange, ornate, albeit stained robes that had what looked like could be some religious symbols. They all sat in a rickety wood wagon that looked like it was barely being held together. There was no-one steering the wagon but it still seemed to know where it was going. It could have been because there were at least five men fully clad in plate armor on either side and what looked to be an old mage in red and purple robes behind them. Whatever it was, it was clear that they had no intent on letting any of these prisoner go off course.
Ahead of them was another wagon that had a handful of prisoners being escorted by guards and ahead of that yet another wagon. It would have seemed that, at first glance anyways, they were on a slave convoy, one of the many slave convoys that go back and forth between some of the cities that are able to survive in the vast desert. However, the elf had a strange feeling that this wasn’t your “run of the mill” slavery caravan. There were much too many guards for that. He had an odd feeling that this wasn’t a slavery convoy at all. Before he let his thoughts get the best of him, one of the brown-skinned humans made a funny noise.
“What’s so funny?” asked the giant tattooed man. “Better not be laughing at me…”
“No no no,” said one of them, “My brother was just saying it would be funny if we were actually going to the chopping block. I think he’s just being paranoid. What’s your name, anyway?”
“Maovoi.” he said. “You?”
“I’m Roth and this is my little brother Aran. We were caught stealing horses from a local town. We tried to run from the guards but they eventually caught up when Aran tripped and hurt his ankle. After they put us in chains, I guess we both just blacked out. That’s when we woke up here. I think the old buzzard behind us had something to do with that.”
They all looked back at the mage. He seemed to be concentrating very hard on something, but nobody knew what.
“What about you, elf? What’s your name?” asked Aran. He had a very quiet voice, and was obviously not trying to hide the fact that he was scared.
“I am Jordak.” he said calmly. He had a surprisingly deep voice for such a small build.
“What are you here for?” asked Roth.
“I am a horse theif as well,” he replied, “however I was not ignorant enough to get caught in the act.” He chuckled a little as Aran scoffed.
“Well then why are you here, horse thief?” said Roth begrudgingly.
“One of the people I was selling to noticed the brand on the animals and asked how I came about the horses. I told him I found them roaming around in the forest but apparently he didn’t believe me. It turned out he knew the man I took the horses from and went and tattled on me.” His calm voice turned into a rather lazy one, acting as if he didn’t really care about anything. “Next thing I know, I have the guard from the mans town breathing down my neck interrogating me, wanting to know my whole life story; who i was, did I have any family, did I have a wife, what my favorite color was. It was all rather annoying really.”
“Get to the point…” said Roth, who was annoyed as well.
Jordak didn’t seem to notice the interruption and continued on with his rant, “What made me laugh though, was when he really tried to make me scared. That’s when I got this…” He moved in such a way that allowed his bound hands to undo some of the bindings on the side of his armor and pulled up his shirt to show an ugly black and purple bruise on the left side of his rib cage. “I tried to be funny to ease the situation so I could just pay the fine and get out of there, but he didn’t really have a sense of humor. He threw me against a stone table and broke some of my ribs. After that they put the chains on and that when I lost consciousness. Woke up here.”
Roth, hearing the lazy and slightly pompous tone in his voice, thought the elf held himself at a higher status than everybody else, and knew he wasn’t going to like him too much.
“Well, as interesting as the little session of show and tell was, I’m a little more curious about our friend made of stone here.” Roth motioned to the strange humanoid that had been looking like he was studying the rest of the prisoners. “So ‘Sandman’,” he smirked, “what’s your story?”
The “sandman” eyed them all for a second, before starting. When he spoke, a slit appeared where a mouth should have been, and he said, “You may address me as ‘Aden’.”
“Okay then, Aden,” scoffed Jordack with a bit of sarcasm, “bless us, if you will, with the tale of you capture, your highness.”
Aden gave Jordack what looked like an angry glare before saying, “As I’ve said, my title is Aden. I am what you people call a Genasi.”
“Why is your body made out of sand?” asked Aran rather impatiently.
“Why is yours not?” asked Aden in return.
“Well, I dunno… ‘Cus I’m a human I guess…” he answered.
“Exactly!” exclaimed Aden. "And I am a Genasi. That is why my body has manifested itself as sand! " Everyone looked at him in bewilderment. “You see, we are the way we are because, if we weren’t, then we wouldn’t be! For example, there are other like me, but they are not me. I am a Sand Genasi. However there are also Wind and Water Genasi. Just as there are Fire and Sand. Electric, Thunder, Light, and Dark. Just as everyone else is different from everyone else. Because that’s the way it is, and the way it is is the way it will always be. We are the way we are, because, if we weren’t, then we wouldn’t be.”
“You said that part already…” Jordack piped in. He had a look on his face that showed he thought the Sand Genasi was clearly insane.
“Yes, well,” Aden said. “It is what I believe.”
“Okay, whatever you say, ‘Sandman’-”
“DO NOT PATRONIZE ME, ELF! CREATURE OF THE FEY!” Aden’s body turned to complete stone as he shouted at Jordack. “Just because you have no interest in the ways of the world and greater powers than yourself, does not mean you can belittle me… I have killed for less.”
Everybody got quiet at this and was silent for a couple of minutes. Aden kept his eyes locked with Jordack’s, rage written all over his face, until Jordack submitted and broke eye contact. Aden’s body slowly turned back to sand and stone, but kept his angry stare locked on the elf. It was when the dwarf, that everybody seemed to have forgotten about, let out a loud snore, that Aran broke the awkward silence. He asked the genasi very quietly, “So… you’re here for murder?”
“…No.” said Aden, realizing that he was still looking at Jordack. He shook his head a little and said, “I am here because humans are petty, and believe that if you look differently and believe in different things than they do, then you are scum. That you should be punished for being the way you are; what you are.”
“Well,” said Aran shyly, “I don’t think that makes you scum. Just an individual who’s different. I think it’s honorable to believe in something so passionately.” He smiled slightly
“Then you are a better man than most, Aran. Thank you.” The genasi bowed his head toward Aran in respect. His gaze then met the sleeping dwarf. That’s when he noticed that the dwarf was asleep at all. “What I am quite curious about is why the short hairy one over there is pretending to still be asleep. I do believe he’s been listening to us the entire time… What say you, Dwarf?”
The dwarf barely opened one of his eyes and saw that the entire wagon was staring at him. He chuckled a little bit, sat up, stretched his arms and yawned. His breath was absolutely putrid, causing Aran to gag a little. After digging through his beard for a second he pulled out what looked like a withered piece of meat, looked at it for a second, and then popped it in his mouth and swallowed it without even chewing. He looked at each of their faces and then said in a growly voice, “Tihey’s tha name. And its purnounced ‘Tie-Hey’ so don’t getit wrung, ya dippers.”
“Okay, Tihey, why are you here?” asked Aden.
“Well it ain’t none of yer business…” he said.
“Fair enou-” started Aden, but was interrupted buy Tihey.
“But if it were, what I would tell yer is this… I’d tell yer, I killed a man. Then I’d tell yer, I’d say, it was ‘cause he was mean ter me. After that you’d ask,” Tihey tried to mimic Jordack’s slightly pompous voice, “‘Well, Tihey, why were dey so mean to yer?’ and then I’d tell yer ‘Mister Hoighty Toighty Elfman’, I’d tell yer it was ’cause he made fun of me beard.” He gave everybody a really big smile at that and added, “But it ain’t none of yer business, ya dippers!”