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Old 11-05-2006, 04:19 PM   #12
Inwe Ringil
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Red face Chapter 4-nealan

Domitan spent the next twelve days wandering around the Dragonkeep. Soon he didn’t lose his way on the way to the Great Hall.

Most of the time he and Meneldur were in the library. Domitan learned that there were two written languages. The common runes then the Geranthras or Dragonscript; Geranthras was much like the common runes except that there was a rune for each letter. Belith taught Domitan how to read it, since his class books would be written in it.

Domitan also spent time wandering around the city. It was beautiful, there were gardens everywhere and there where fountains at each junction.

He enjoyed the city but today he withdrew to his room and his fire. Meneldur was curled up on his lap; Domitan was staring into the fire.

The familiar blankness came before the dream . . .

. . . Five men were sitting around a table. One with maroon eyes, one with golden hair, and one with a slack expression, the other two were ordinary Plains men.

“You wanted to see us, Mawgrin.” said the golden-haired man.

“Yes, Cardac, I need some people taken care of.” Mawgrin said in a silky voice, leaning forward.

The two brown-haired men grinned maliciously.

“How much are we talkin’ ‘bout?” asked one of the brown haired men.

“Five gold nobles . . . each, Colby.” said Mawgrin hesitantly.

Colby grinned.

“Well, I don’t see why, just because one man don’t like ‘em that they have to die.” Cardac stated.

Colby cuffed Cardac hard on the side of the head. “As a son of a damned Dragonrider, this is the only job you’ll get.” Colby snarled.

Cardac gave Colby a withering look, but the brown-haired man didn’t notice . . .

. . . Domitan was torn back into his body by a sharp pain in his chest. Domitan looked down. His shirt and his chest were torn open. Meneldur was sitting on his lap, eyeing him loftily, Domitan’s crimson blood on his claws.

Meneldur mheeped in a scolding tone: He then walked over to the bed Domitan had fashioned from spare blankets.

“Why’d you do that?” Domitan scolded.

Meneldur just gave him a haughty look and closed his eyes.

Domitan sighed. He pulled a clean shirt and tunic out of the chest, crumpled them in his hand, and headed for the infirmary.

The doctor’s name was Sama, he was a brown Rider; Sama and his Dragon had been maimed for normal Dragonrider work.

Domitan sat down on that uncomfortable metal table.

“What is it this time?” asked Sama in his deep voice, with a weary tone. Sama’s injury was a mental one from someone slicing through his connection with his Dragon. They could still communicate, but it was painful if they weren’t touching.

Domitan had visited the infirmary several times. Mostly from Meneldur’s claws.

“This.” Domitan said as he pulled off his bloodstained tunic and shirt.

Sama gave him a wane smile, “Lie down.”

“”Must I?” Domitan asked, folding his arms across his bare chest. The infirmary had one fire lit and that was in Sama’s office. There was a large circular fireplace in the infirmary but it wasn’t lit unless necessary.

“Yes.” answered Sama as he took some ointment jars of a shelf.

Domitan gave a half-hearted groan. Nevertheless, did as he was told. Wincing as the cold metal bit his bare skin.

Sama dipped his long fingers into the jar with a clear ointment. He deftly smeared it across the three deep gashes.

Domitan gasped. This ointment always burned, the next, however, was colder than the table.

After a few minutes, the pain receded completely. Domitan sat up and looked down, the cuts had healed without a mark.

Domitan pulled the clean clothes on in a hurry. He had a bit of trouble with the belt, because his fingers were trembling.

Sama had already replaced the ointments and was in his office. Domitan gathered his cloths, now he had to go to the first floor.

Alynia, the head seamstress, looked at him with disdain as he walked in. “With you here, we shall have to work day and night.” She fairly shouted in an exasperated tone.

“I’m sorry, I truly am.” Domitan said as he handed them to her.

Alynia just shook her head and sighed.

‘I’m already near the baths.’ thought Domitan as he left. He enjoyed the baths. It was warm and steamy in there, and was convenient for washing blood off.

Domitan descended the stairs to the basement. Meeting the blast of humid air with a sigh of relief.

Domitan checked the bathing room; he wasn’t going to bath if there were other people there.

Domitan looked around the doorway from the men’s changing room. The women had a smaller baths elsewhere.

Yes, there were other people there: A group of boys, including the white haired one.

Domitan turned regretfully to return to his room.

When he got there, at first he thought it was the wrong room. There was a fiery headed, emerald eyed boy of thirteen there.

“Hi, my name’s Nealan.” said the boy, his voice still with the boyish highness.

Domitan’s voice was still that of a boy but it was deep.

“Hello.” said Domitan skeptically, taking the hand the boy offered.

Nealan gave him a broad grin, showing all his square white teeth. “Grife told me that your name is Domitan, and your Dragon’s name is Meneldur.” Nealan’s lilting Harlecian accent put the accents of the words on the wrong syllables.

“That’s right.” said Domitan, sticking his thumbs in his belt. “Where’s Grife?”

“He went to see Pilowwi.”
Domitan sat down on his bed, listening to the patter of the rain at the window.

Nealan remained standing, bouncing on the balls of his feet. Domitan smiled grimly to himself. He was obviously stuck with an optimist.

“What the name of your Dragon?” Domitan asked, attempting to make friends with his opposite.

“Luchius, Lucky.” said Nealan in his sunny voice.

Domitan winced. ‘How can this boy be so happy?’ Domitan thought gloomily. He was feeling glum today. Maybe it was from the rain, maybe from his dream.

Domitan stretched out on his bed, his hands under his head, and his eyes closed. He thought of the farm.

It would be early spring there. They would be planting crops; boats would be being checked for leaks. The festival of E’gren would be coming and the town being decorated. On the Feast of E’gren, Anaga would be filled with the best smells.

Then Domitan slipped to thoughts of Antha.

All the girls, at E’gren would put crowns of flowers on their heads. Antha always used the beautiful but sorrowful thistle for hers. The thistle was his favorite flower, its pale purple always reminding him of the sky after a storm.

This year Antha would be old enough to take part in E’lande, Dance of the Lovers. Each boy would choose the girl he fancied and they would dance to the lively beat. If the boy was lucky enough to have the girl he liked like him back: The girl would give the boy her crown of flowers and a kiss.

The point of the festival was to ask E’gren, god of the crops, for a year of fertility. E’lande was the most important, the more girls that fancied their boys the better they year would be.

Domitan smiled. He had hidden last year, there was no other girl he fancied.

Nealan hadn’t moved the entire time. “I’m going to the baths.” he informed Domitan.

Domitan gave a grunt of acknowledgement. Anger was rising because Nealan had disturbed his thoughts.

Domitan lay motionless for a few minutes, then sat up. He looked down at Meneldur’s sleeping form. He would have to make the bed bigger.

Meneldur was already three times the size he was when he hatched. If he kept growing at this pace, he would be bigger than Domitan in a month.

He took the book of Dragonrider legends that he had borrowed from the library and flipped it to the one about Eirias. He felt strangely fascinated with the stories of the first Dragonrider.

Domitan had already read this story, but he loved it. Domitan had copied it into one of the ten leather notebooks he had been given. There were other legends of Eirias in the notebook.

The bell rang for the evening meal.

~ * ~

Domitan got his bowl of vegetable stew and found Grife and Nealan.

Nealan’s hair was damp, and his skin glistened with water droplets. Nealan saw him, grinned at moved over to make room for Domitan.

Domitan sat down. Nealan supplied an endless stream of banter. By the time supper was over Domitan had a headache from trying to keep up.

Domitan trudged up to their room, put his nightclothes on, and slept. Dreaming no dreams.
Remember, only dead fish swim with the stream
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