The slaves taking the group to the plantation walk them to a wagon and bid them get in. When the group refuses, the men simply attach them to the back of the wagon, and lead them on at a brisk pace. The 10 mile walk is exhausting to men who have not walked anywhere in months.
William is dragged along, losing his pants and quite a bit of skin.
They get their first look at the owners house (long and low and white), the sugar mill (a large conical roof shading the works. Under the sharp eyes of the overseer, teams of men are pushing at long low bars, which move the works. Others rapidly feed the cane in so it may be pressed. Still others carry the waste away in buckets. From the other end, the juice flows into a series of vats. There is fire there, and smoke. Looks like hot work.) the cane fields (6 to 12 feet high green plants), and the slave/convict dwellings (a settlement of sorts, a huge number of small mud wattle huts arranged in some order, all with stick fences that shelter small plots of land seeing varying types of use. In the center of the arrangement a massive oak tree, large enough to require seven or so men, to ring it shelters and shades the ground. This also serves as the whipping post.)
Raith suggested that Ian get over his regret and guilt at leaving Marko to die and seemed to endeavor to get over his own resentment at the trouble Connor had caused that landed them in shackles again.
Carney, one of the overseers arrives to escort Nathanial to the smithy where he is charged with building three gibbet cages (the old smith caught a flux an’ died), Seth to the office, where he is charged with helping the elderly Baynes with the accounts, and the doctor.
The others are there when the freshly branded shipment of slaves, including the boy that had seemed so amused by William, arrive with Carney’s obese and addicted brother.
The child is much more grim and reserved than before. Perhaps it is the brand. When he notes William eating dirt however, he does opine, “He should be out of the sun,” in oddly accented but perfectly fluent English.
Carney brings back the other three around dinner time. The slaves exit the pen as they are told, the child following dully. One of the transporters from earlier takes them in tow, walking off an explaining something.
Carney points out some of the shacks to the group that is left. William mouths off but Carney ignores him, explaining what will be expected from them on the morrow. Connor gets smart with the man and Seth pressures Carney to let him break rules. He gets annoyed and intends to chain them all, but the final straw seems to be when Raith is found to have picked the locks on his manacles and the whole lot of them are whipped, including the thoroughly innocent Nathaniel. William comes in for the severest abuse by far though.
Ian and a mysterious stranger appear, seeing to the men’s wounds, dosing them with rather primitive painkillers and then feeding them by hand.
The stranger suggests that they keep their heads down a bit, saying, “If the don’t notice you, you’ve a better chance of getting out alive.” He gives Seth a bit of information on the runnings of the plantation, volunteers to get a letter smuggled out for him and introduces himself as Ash.
Carney releases you before dawn the next morning. The voice and scrawny wrists of Ash belong to a young lad who would be beautiful if he wasn’t painfully thin. He is with the new slaves and volunteers to take the fielders with him while Nathanial, Seth and Ian go with Carney.