Wednesday 29 April 2015

Rmoahal Bodies

So large, and yet so ignored, so silent. The shackled giants who stand in the corners and alcoves of every Atlantean city, who toil in the fields, mines and factories, who fight in the slave battalions, who huddle in the shanty towns that the Atlanteans insist so hard do not exist.

Five, maybe six cubits tall, broad-shouldered, long-limbed, the Rmoahals tower over their masters. Their skin is glossy, and always some shade of deep blue or bluish black, all too often with the scars of floggings, or owner's brands or tattoos. Rmoahal eyes are sometimes so dark you can't even see the whites, and their placid, expressionless faces reveal little.

When permitted to wear clothes, they dress simply (although it is the fashion among some of the younger Atlanteans of the White Sun to treat their Rmoahals as a child might treat a doll, painting them, braiding their hair, dressing them in fancy, impractical gowns).  Their hair they tie back without decoration.

Ki-Danuih and her Rmoahal, Ghenim
But even the most pampered Rmoahal house-slave wears the collar, the sign that they are property, permitted to eat no more than the leavings of their masters' tables, that they will be expected to return to the slave-barracks when the day is done. Obedience may not be especially rewarded, but disobedience incurs terrible punishment, often at the hands of those Rmoahal slaves who are entrusted with the whip.

While some have internalised the Atlantean narrative that it is in their nature to be slaves,  many have not.  Free Rmoahals, the ones who escaped, the ones who fought in the slave-rebellions the Atlanteans never admit exist, dress as they wish: some wear Lemurian beast-skin, some dress in the manner of Tlavatli pirates. They are flamboyant and careless. Even so, the runaways and the rebels, free as they are, still by tradition wear the collar, a sign that as long as one of their number is a slave, all are.

It is said by the Atlanteans and the Tlavatlis that the Rmoahals do not know ambition. It might have been true once, but not now. As the Catastrophe grows more imminent than ever, the whispers travel faster and faster, rumours of a colossal Rmoahal slave rebellion are treated as jokes by Atlanteans who are so used to the blue giants, so unable to imagine that those gentle faces, those deep, quiet voices, might hide a seething, brutal hatred that could bring the cities of Atlantis down in flames.