Request: Lance/Nick (or vice versa), slave AU? Historical, fantastical, pirate, whatever suits your fancy.
Lance's da had always told him that he took after the men of the north, in colouring. Before the war, Lance had always put the comment in the same category as his da telling him he was like his sister in strength or the dog in manners -- a ploy to make him work harder. Be a better man.
But when they marched on T'aana Noth in the spring of his twenty-second year, he learned that it was true. Learned that the men of the north country were not wicked, horned beasts, but people who looked very much like him. He learned a lot of things that year, and most of them contradicted everything he'd been taught about the world since he was knee high.
They city fell, of course. It was an inescapable end -- they had the northmen outnumbered ten-to-one at least, or more, and had war machines on their side.
The palace tower had been the last to fall, the last stronghold of the northmen fighting to keep their land, keep their old ways, keep up their resistance against the true ruler of the land. The warriors -- the ones who survived -- were marched past Lance and his fellow soldiers in chains.
Lance realized, as he watched the gruesome parade, how easily that could have been him. How easily he could have been the one doomed for a life of slavery after fighting with all his heart for something he believed in, and losing. Maybe it was because he could look into the faces of these men and see himself in them. Maybe it was because he'd seen so many of the men he'd come to know and care for fall as well, and realized that the gods were on no one's side when they met on a field of battle.
The last man in the chain of twenty-two -- twenty-two exactly, just like his years -- was tall and broad and still had a look of defiance on his face. A look that said he could not be broken, that he still knew that he was in the right. A trickle of blood dripped down his cheek and a trickle of sweat slid down his chest and Lance couldn't keep his eyes off either.
He didn't know where these men were going to be taken, but he would find out. And he would do something about it.