Talk about mood whiplash…

In slaveholding societies, Beings occupy a strange niche. The ruling class regards them with a measure of trust, because they’re compelled to obey orders; but they’re treated more like machines than citizens or even sub-citizens, and still subject to abuse on a “whenever the Master feels like it” basis. Enslaved humans may sympathize with their situation, and have the comfort that Beings can’t physically hurt them, but are always aware that no secret heard by a Being is safe from its Master.

In greater numbers, Beings’ strength and endurance would make them a convenient replacement for the entire human workforce. As-is, they tend to be kept aside and used for individual tasks requiring their more specialized skills. (In this case, one of those tasks is arm candy.)

Christmas, 1829: Riverton Plantation, Territory of Arkansas

Woman: An’ Lord, please watch over Naomi and Jeb down in Cuba.

An’ bless all servants in the household, from Miz Lydia Ann on down to the horses. Amen.

Boy: How come we got to bless Lydia Ann? She ain’t no different from any of the other white folks!

Man: You hush, boy! Her kind ain’t like white folk any more than they like us.

We got to obey a man who call himself Master in life, but we got free souls. One day, the good Lord gon’ take us to Heaven.

Her folk got no Lord. Only a Master. Ain’t even got souls, some say.

(THUMP THUMP)

Woman: Miz Lydia Ann . . . ? How come you ain’t up at the house, ma’am?

Lydia Ann (past!Poe): The carriage Master Riverton and I were riding home in in fell through the ice. Neither the Master nor the horse survived.