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Old 03-13-2006, 11:12 PM   #8
Inwe Ringil
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<The Choosing>
The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the Dragonkeep. The baths were in the basement warmed by the Crystals of Power. The Crystals also aided the Dragonapprentices in learning magik, and they helped protect the Dragonkeep and the town surrounding it. The Great Hall was located on the first floor and its ceiling reached two stories in height. The ceiling of the Great Hall was painted with scenes
of the history of Galen.

The courtyard had sixteen ancient Ciln trees. The Ciln trees had been planted by Eirias himself.

Doors were on the wall at every other interval. The gate had two portcullises; the one on the inside was of solid iron and engraved with intricate signs. The other had even squares.

In the center of all this was a fountain of the whitest stone. It was a Dragon and his rider. The Dragon was smaller than real life and the rider larger. Water sprang from the Dragon’s open maw and from the Dragonrider’s hands, spread wide in benediction.

Grife noticed Domitan’s fascination with the fountain. “This is Eirias and Smitti. Claegon and Armag were the only Dragonkeeps established before Eirias was murdered.”

“Murdered?” Domitan was shocked.

“Yes by a jealous younger half-brother. He thought Eirias was going to take the throne, since he was the eldest son. Eirias, of course, didn’t want the crown; he was busy with the Dragonriders.”

“That was abysmally idiotic.” Domitan commented with vehemence.

Grife nodded.

The last place was in Domitan’s room. There were two beds, one in each corner. They each had black sheets; one had an emerald leather blanket and the other had one of sapphire.

“The blue one’s yours. The green one’s Nealan’s.”

Domitan nodded.

Then the bell rang, signifying the evening meal. The bell hung in the tower above the gates.

Dinner was of fried chicken and potatoes.

After dinner, Domitan returned to his room. Beside each bed was a desk, whose top was slanted toward the chair. At the end of each bed was a trunk with silver clasps.

Domitan sat on his chair for about an hour, without moving or really thinking.

I really should take a bath. With that thought, he went down to the baths. Nobody else was there in the dimly lit room, though the stones were wet.

Domitan stripped of his dirty cloths and dove into the warm water. He swam around for several minutes, and then took a bar of soap from one of the indents on the side of the baths. He scrubbed himself thoroughly, washing away all the sweat and grim from the journey.

Domitan clambered out of the pool and grudgingly pulled his filthy cloths back on. He ran his fingers through his hair, until they were caught in the braid. Domitan ripped the leather thong off the end of it and unbraided it: letting his damp hair hang loosely about his shoulders.

I’ll never wear an outcast’s braid again. Here, I’ll fit in. Domitan swore to himself.

When he returned to his room he found a pair of snow white, drawstring pants, and a ‘v’ necked shirt.

Domitan pulled on these soft, cotton bedclothes and laid his dirty ones atop the trunk. Then he slid between the cotton sheets and wool and leather blankets.

He fell asleep instantly.

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He awoke to Grife’s shaking. Domitan was instantly wide-awake. He rolled out of bed and began to pull the shirt off.

“No.” said Grife quietly.

Domitan then noticed that Grife was wearing the same things.

Domitan followed Grife. He was so nervous that he could never find his way back to that room.

The room was long and narrow; it had a table at the far end. Along the sides of the room about fifty Dragonriders stood, wearing the same cloths.

Grife pushed Domitan in front of him.

Domitan looked at each Dragonrider as he passed. Many had vague and sleepy looks. The older ones wore slight smiles of understanding. The next day he would remember any but one. This one had maroon eyes; short, sleek, black hair, pallid skin, and he word a look of undeniable anger.

Domitan, however, dismissed him from his mind.

When they reached the table, where Pilowwi stood in white robes, Domitan and Grife both bowed their heads. The Grife stepped off to the side.

“Domitan, son of the wind, lie thy hand on each egg until thee receive a sign.” Pilowwi said in a booming voice.

Domitan laid his hand upon the first snow white egg. All the eggs were swathed in silver cloth. Domitan looked at Grife, who nodded so he moved on to the next egg. Again, nothing happened. As he laid his right hand on the third egg, he fell to his knees with a cry of pain. Domitan felt like molten silver had been poured into his veins. The pain blinded him.

Slowly the pain receded. As he became aware of his surroundings, he realized his hand was still on the egg. Pilowwi held out his hand, Domitan took it. He was hauled to his feet.

“Brothers, I am proud to present you, Domitan, our newest brother.” Pilowwi boomed.

The Dragonriders clapped. Then they left to return to their chambers.

Domitan looked at the white egg; it was foot long and nine inches in diameter. He wrapped it in its cloth and held it to his chest.

Pilowwi laid his hand atop Domitan’s head and uttered a blessing.

Domitan then turned to follow Grife. He was so tired now that he could hardly walk in a straight line.

When back in his room, he slid under the blankets, still clutching the egg. He fell asleep as dawn’s first light fell through his window.

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When Domitan finally awoke it was to the midday bell. As he got out of bed he felt extremely disoriented. On the farm he was always up by dawn.

As he looked out the window something caught his eye. He starred at his wrists, around each of them was a midnight blue band outlined in silver. They stood out with stark clarity against his tan skin.

He didn’t know how long he looked out the window, over the courtyard, when someone knocked on the door and entered.

Domitan turned around. A man with short coarse black hair stood there. He had coal black eyes and skin like ebony.

“If you will sit on the chair, master, I shall cut thy hair.” said the man, his voice was deep.

Domitan sat down, slightly embarrassed that he was still in his night cloths. “What’s your name?” Domitan inquired after awhile. He asked mainly to think of something else than the strange feeling in the back of his mind.

“Gil’fred.” said Gil’fred. “Done.”

Domitan’s shiny, curly, dark brown hair, now just reached his shoulders. He rose and shook his head. He still wasn’t used to it being unbound.

Gil’fred spun Domitan around to face him. “Hold out your arm.”

Domitan did so. Gil’fred stretched a string from Domitan’s inner shoulder to his fingertips. He knotted it at those two points. Then Gil’fred drew a strange metal device from beneath his black robe.

“Sit.” Gil’fred ordered.

Gil’fred placed Domitan’s heel against the back of it and slid the front part so it touched his big toe. Gil’fred flipped the small switch and replaced it in his robe.

“Thy cloths are in the trunk.” Gil’fred said before leaving.

Domitan looked at the floor expecting to see snippets of hair, but there were none. This brought back that he had felt that curious sensation while Gil’fred was cutting his hair.

Domitan opened the trunk. There were two more sets of night cloths. A curious canvas tunic that reached mid-thigh and overlapped across the front, and pants to match; he knew these couldn’t be his cloths.

Then he found them in the bottom of the trunk, three sets of them. Black cotton pants, a pair of black socks, a black undershirt, a white knee-length tunic, a black leather belt, a dark blue leather jerkin, and a black cloak.

Domitan hung the cloak on the hook at the end of the bed. Then he dressed. The tunic had lacing down to about mid-chest he only did them loosely. The belt fit perfectly around his hips. Domitan put the jerkin on like it was a sleeveless coat.

Then he looked for a pair of boots. His own rough farm boots were gone along with his clothing.

Then Domitan remembered that curious metal object. Gil’fred must have been measuring his feet.

Domitan sat down on his chair, picked up the egg and unwrapped it. Domitan sat stroking it and starring absentmindedly.

Gil’fred returned carrying two pairs of boots. One pair was short and soft. “These,” Grife said, dropping the short ones into the open trunk, “are for one of your classes. These, however, are for everyday use.” Gil’fred handed them to Domitan and left.

The boots Domitan held in his hands were black. They were made of tough supple leather. He pulled them on; they fit snuggly over the pants against his calves. They reached three-quarters the way up his calves.

Domitan walked around the room. The boots were immensely comfortable, quite unlike the stiff farm boots that took weeks and several blisters to break in.

Domitan pulled on the cloak. Then he dumped the contents of his satchel onto his bed and tucked the egg and the cloth inside of it. Domitan then made his way to the Great Doors.

Once he was in the courtyard, he scaled on of the Ciln trees. Domitan tucked himself between two ‘v’ shaped branches.

As he sat there he saw a bunch of other apprentices come running out of one of the doors. An older Dragonrider came to the door. “Don’t run!”

All of the boys slowed to a walk but one. The one who kept running had white hair and eyes.

The Dragonrider flicked his finger. The white haired boy was frozen and floated back so he was standing in front of the Dragonrider.
Remember, only dead fish swim with the stream
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