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Old 11-05-2006, 04:22 PM   #13
Inwe Ringil
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Default CHAPTER 5-SHAR'TUGAR-part one

Domitan was torn into wakefulness by cold water on his neck. Domitan opened one a little and saw Nealan standing over him.

Domitan rolled over and pulled the blankets over his head.

Nealan jerked the covers back and squeezed the cold rag again. Domitan rolled over, snatched the rag from Nealan and threw it in his face.

Nealan stared at him, shock etched in every feature. Domitan couldn’t help it, he burst our laughing. Nealan started laughing too.

“It’s time for our first class.” said Nealan, gasping for breath.

Domitan shot Nealan a shrewd glance, “Before breakfast?” Domitan asked, as his stomach protested.

“Yes.” said Nealan hurrying over to his desk, scrawling something in a notebook, and ripping the page out. “Here.”

Domitan took the paper. It was a list of classes and the times.

Bladesong/Swordplay-6th ring after midnight
Breakfast-Half-way between the 7th and 8th ring after midnight
History-8th ring after midnight
Music-9th ring after midnight
Bow Practice-10th ring after midnight
Harlecian Arts-Half-way between the 11th and 12th rings after midnight
Lunch-12th ring after midnight, the noon ring
Magik-1st ring after noon
Learning with Masters-2nd ring after noon
Supper-6th ring after noon

Domitan gave a half-hearted groan, an hour and a half of exercise BEFORE breakfast.

Domitan got up and dressed. He was still half-asleep as he walked down the hall with Meneldur on his shoulder.

The first class was in one of the long, narrow class rooms in the wall around the courtyard.

Nealan and Domitan were early, just like all the other boys. Nealan had been carrying a leather sheath over his shoulder. He now sat down and unrolled it. It contained his sword and dagger, whose hilts were green.

Domitan stood watching Nealan in a daze. Then someone placed his had on his shoulder and said, “Dom.”

Domitan turned around. There was a master he had never seen. He had flaming white hair and bright blue eyes, one of the Water People.

“Here are your weapons and the things to care for them.” the Master knelt down and unrolled the leather case. It contained a broadsword, its silver quillions slanting toward the blade, and the hilt was wrapped in blue leather. There was a knife with a blue and black handle. Then there were two twin swords, their hilts from the cinnabar tree and inlaid with silver vines. The blades were curved with silver inlay upon them. All of the sheaths were black.

“These,” said the master lifting one off the curved blades, “are to be used in bladesong. And this one,” he laid down the curved blade and lifting the broadsword, “is for normal swordplay.

“Okay.” Domitan said, “Why do I have those two?” He gestured to the twin swords. All of the other boys only had the broadsword.

“Do you know how the smith knows how to make your weapons?”

“No.”

“First a servant gives André the measurement for you arm. Then he observes you and your Dragon at meals and such. When he feels he is ready, he goes to the smithy and enters a trance. When the weapons are complete, the trance releases him.

Domitan nodded.

“By the way, my name’s Saoul.” he said ad he went to inspect other peoples weapons.

Domitan lifted the broadsword, it was surprisingly light, and rolled up the case. Domitan buckled the sheath on; made sure he had room, then made a couple practice swings. The hilt fit in his hand perfectly, the leather smooth against his flesh. As the blade flashed in front of his face, he noticed it had a blue sheen.

Then the bell rang to signal the beginning of class.

This was the first year’s class, since nobody else wanted to exercise first thing in the morning. Nealan was technically a second year but he was only fourteen. Nealan had been chosen shortly after he had turned thirteen, he was the youngest Dragonsquire that anyone could remember. Boys were usually found between the ages fifteen and twenty, never below, except Nealan. Girls were only discovered at age fifteen, so there were hardly any girls.

Today there worked on high strikes, low strikes, and mid strikes and the counteracting blocks.

Domitan was paired with Nealan. Nealan was quicker and more sure of himself with a blade. Domitan would often miss blocking but Nealan had enough control of his swing that he could stop it before it touched him.

Domitan’s subconscious noted that Nealan’s blade had a green sheen.

All this time Saoul was calling out he strikes and blocks. “High . . . Low . . . Middle.”

When h finally called stop, after about half of the class, Domitan was panting. Despite Nealan control, he had several nicks on his hands and forearms. “Five minute break.” Saoul shouted.

Domitan dropped his sword on the roll and sat there, chest heaving. Nealan sat down next to him, grinning, as usual. He had to smile back.

“Here,” he said, handing Domitan a water skin. “You look like your going to faint.

He took the water skin and lifted it to his lips, the water was cold, Nealan had had it sitting outside of the door in the snow. When he had drunk is fill, he poured some on his hands and ran them along the sides of his neck.

The five minutes was only long enough for the class to catch their breath. “Bladesong.” said Saoul, clapping his hands.

Domitan groaned. He shoved the broadsword into its heath and drew the twin blades. Their polish, cinnabar hilts were incredibly smooth and cool.

Domitan rose and took his place in a line.

Saoul stood in the front of the room, he was holding his blade, “Deep breath.” he instructed the class.

Domitan breathed in the sweat smelling air, his muscles immediately relaxed.

“Let your mind run down your arms and into the blades.”

For him this was child’s play, it was much like what he did to prepare for a dream.

“Rows one and three turn around.”

He was in row three; he turned and found himself matched with Shar’tugar. He wouldn’t let this fact disrupt his concentration. He took another deep breath, letting a new feeling of power flow through his limbs.
“Saủn gûr!” shouted Saoul.

Shar’tugar erupted into motion. Domitan smoothly blocked each blow. He felt as if he was observing what he was doing, instead of physically doing it himself. The way he felt was as if his spirit and his body were no longer one: His spirit was floating in the air observing what he did, while a greater force, the Life Force, guided his mortal body. The blades were extensions of his arms; they were one with his body.

Domitan crossed the blades In front of his face and quickly drew them apart. Then he flew into an attack of his own. Slicing, thrusting, and parrying Shar’tugar’s counterattacks.

They switched partners every five minutes, and took a break every three switches.

After the first break Domitan began to tire. His arms were moving slower and his footwork was horrible. He began to receive minor cuts.

Finally, the bell rang.

Domitan sheathed the words, rolled up the case and followed Nealan.

First, they went to the Great Hall for a quick meal of toast before returning to their room.

On the table beside was as basin and pitcher. The pitcher was filled with cold, clear, water. Domitan filled the ceramic bowl, using half of the water. He picked up a rag and soaked it. He quickly washed his face and arms. Then he peeled off his sweaty tunic and washed his chest and back as well as he could. He then donned on a clean tunic, leaving the dirty one on his chest.

Nealan, who was sticking a book, a few papers, a quill, and an inkbottle into his satchel, told him, “Throw it out the window.” He did so.

Domitan filled his satchel with a notebook, a bottle of dark blue ink, and a quill into it. He pulled his cloak on then waited for Nealan to finish washing.

Nealan grabbed his cloak, satchel and a curious square shaped leather case.

Meneldur had been perched on a chair back watching them. Meneldur had been behaving, he hadn’t decided to use Domitan as a human scratching post, yet. Domitan hadn’t even noticed him observing the class. “Mheep!” said Meneldur, quickly following the boys out the door. He followed them quietly as Nealan filled Domitan about what he had been taught in Catha before Grife came to fetch him.

~ * ~

In History class, he found himself seated in front of Shar’tugar. {i}’Is it just me? Or is he following me?!’{i} Domitan did not relish the thought that the white-haired boy was dogging his steps. He was just about to move to the empty seat on the other side of Nealan when the teacher came in. He had wiry copper hair and cold black eyes; Nealan had told him that his name was Wiley.

Wiley was wearing a black silk robe, which rustled when he moved; it was tied with a white sash. Wiley was not a Dragonrider like some of the teachers, but was a scholar from Naburnẵ University.

“Over three hundred years ago when Sabine ruled much of Galen, there was a band of outlaws. The group called themselves ‘Sepenties’ or ‘The Serpents Head’. The Sepenties were mostly made up of the Gam’i’hile, the Hill People.” This was how Wiley began his lecture about how Sabine crushed all of the resistance out of the Gam’i’hile. The entire time Domitan carefully took notes, he defiantly did not want to miss anything of importance.

“Even though the Sepenties were annihilated, Sabine still had to raise a small army to add the Peninsula of Nabbẽ to his realm.” That was the end.

Domitan quickly jotted ‘Historia’ at the top of the first page. Then followed Nealan, who had pulled a small harp out of the leather case and was tuning as they walked down the hall.

“Will I use a harp, too? Domitan inquired, he did not notice the blue shape gilding above his head.
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