The city of Tartis was the capital of the Northern Empire and was a sprawling web of twisting streets and alleys. It covered many, many miles. It was said that anything one wanted to find could be found there. There were districts for everything, from textile merchants to slave merchants.
As Josiah strode through the slave district, his face held a perpetual frown. Josiah found the slave district a pitiful place. He did not like to see so many people lined up to be sold. Still, he had no choice. He needed a household slave. He could afford the one time fee of a girl to keep house, but he couldn't afford the constant financial drain which would result from hiring a housekeeper. His friends all said he should remarry, but why. Who could ever take the place of his beloved Rebecca? No, a slave was only the answer.
Josiah was a tall, wide-shouldered man with muscles developed through his work as a blacksmith. He was clean shaven with a broad face and a well defined chin. His long brown hair was pulled up into a ponytail on his back. He wore leather breaches and a leather vest, both meant to help protect him from the sparks of the forge.
The slave markets varied, from simple stages with lines of nude chained slaves, being sold off in lots, to nice auction houses where skilled slaves could demonstrate their skills for prospective buyers and were allowed to wear decent clothing. Josiah could not stomach purchasing a slave from the cattle stall variety of market and could not afford the high skilled slaves of the nicer houses. He needed a quiet, clean, compliant girl to make his meals, clean his house and to do the laundry. He needed her to be cheap as well.
Josiah stopped and stared at one of the auction houses. It was in ill repair and needed painting. Maybe such a house would have the slave he sought. He made a decision and headed into the house. The interior was shabby, with moth eaten furniture and cobwebs in the corner. A fat man, with a balding head smiled a sickly smile at him as he entered.
"What can we do for you today, good sir?"
"I need a girl. A strong girl who will work hard."
The man smiled again. "Indeed sir. We have many fine girls. Allow me to fetch them one at a time and we can see who you fancy."
Josiah frowned. He did not like the sickly sweet sound of the fat man's voice, nor his attitude. He was not here for a slave he "fancied", but simply to find a hard worker.
The fat man clapped his hands, and the first slave entered the room.