Safira's naked body was laden with heavy chains. The manacles cut into her neck and wrists, causing the skin to become red and raw. Her olive skin was covered in bruises and slashes where she'd been beaten on her journey to the auction and her amber eyes searched imploringly into the crowd for a kind face. Anyone who could buy her to end this misery. There was no-one.
Of course, the bearded old men that had gathered around her were willing to pay extreme amounts of money for her. Or rather, for her body. That was the problem with being a beautiful teenager who was also a slave. Your owner could make you do whatever he wanted.
Her bidding started. In some ways, she was lucky for going last. Many of the prospective buyers had already spent their money elsewhere, meaning that once the bidding had reached a certain point, the candidate had to step back as he couldn't raise the stakes any further.
In other ways, going last was terrible. It meant that people may have saved up for her, meaning that people would be more eager to buy her. It was a win-lose situation. And Safira had a feeling she would lose.
So the bidding started. When Mr. Portocelli said the lowest offer he would accept for "such an exquisite item" was 7 gold pieces, a gasp went up from the crowd. That amount of money was equivalent to what a farmer would earn in half a decade, and that was only if nature had been kind to his crops during that time.
To Safira's (and Mr. Portocelli's) surprise, the amount of money being offered grew and grew. The highest anybody seemed to go was 8 gold pieces and 3 silver. Nobody dared breathe.
The highest bidder was a sensible looking man wearing a suit and tie. Although, in the middle of the scruffy tunics of the lower people, he looked more suited to be at a funeral than a slave auction. Not only that, but he had a feral look in his eye that Safira thought would be her down-bringing.
Mr. Portocelli was counting down from five to see if anybody dared bid higher when a faceless voice drifted from the back of the mob of people.
"10 gold pieces."