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Old 11-05-2006, 04:28 PM   #15
Inwe Ringil
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Smile CHAPTER 5-SHAR'TUGAR-part three

“Wha . . .”
“Meneldur says to stay back.”

“You sure that it isn’t a trick of some sort?” Nealan asked with a glimmer of laughter in his eyes.

“I trust Meneldur with my life.” Domitan growled, surprising both himself and Nealan, with that proclamation.

{i} ‘Follow.’ {i} As soon as Domitan received these instructions, Meneldur seemed to swell. Then the blue Dragon walked, stiff-legged, around the corner. Domitan walked forward in a cautious state of mind, expecting trouble. Nealan did not seem to care.

As they rounded the corner, Domitan saw the thin, white-eyed boy. He also noticed, without even looking, that he had a naked blade in his hand.

Meneldur hissed, arching his blue neck back like a snake about to strike.

“Well, well, well, it’s the squire with no name.” the boy taunted. His voice was thin as if he couldn’t get enough air.

Domitan winced. Mawgrin had obviously told Shar’tugar that when he was Accepted, his surname had not been said; he though that here it would not matter, it would never matter to Nealan or Grife, but, obviously, it was still a matter of importance to some people.

“Out of the way, Simidane.” Nealan ordered, swelling his chest, trying to look tough, but his efforts were in vain.

Shar’tugar’s lip curled into a snarl. “This ain’t over.” He said as he stormed past Domitan.

Nealan spat.

“Why did he just leave?” Domitan asked. Seti would never just leave, and Shar’tugar appeared much nastier than Seti, if that was physically possible.

“He don’t have a name either, he was orphaned and fostered where nobody knew his family, as if the devil had one. Simidane is the Slagur’s word for the unnamed.

“But why use a Slagur word?” Domitan asked as they returned to their room.

“Shar’tugar was raised among the Slagurs, his blood is unknown, and we have no idea why his hair and eyes are white. He was found when Mawgrin rescued him. Since he had no other surname he kept Simidane.” Nealan explained as they pull their heavy canvas cloths from the chests.

Domitan fumbled with the strange tunic’s laces as he absorbed all of this information, and tied the dark blue canvas belt on. There was a white stripe down the centre of the belt, showing that he was a novice at the sport.

{i} ‘Shar’tugar was raised as a Slagur . . . So, he shouldn’t be talkin’.’ {i} Domitan thought reproachfully to himself. {i} ‘I hope that nobody else knows about my own lack of a surname, and if they do, they better not care.’ {i}

When they left their room, Domitan asked, “{i} How {i}, do {i} you {i} know all of {i} this {i}?”

“I listen.” Nealan replied as if it were the most natural thing in all of Galen to know so much about somebody else.

“Yer strange.” Domitan stated with conviction.

“Thanks.” said Nealan, flashing his white smile.

Domitan shook his head, grinning; he was never going to figure this boy out.

Nealan led him into the other room in the walls. The floor was covered with blue pads. There were about thirty staves of differing lengths in a holding container along one wall. A couple of the other boys were there, stretching. Domitan was thankful that Shar’tugar wasn’t there yet.

There was a man practicing with one of the staves in a difficult sequence. The man’s vivid red hair was cropped short, as Nealan said was the traditional way for Harlecian men to wear their hair. Nealan’s own hair was about two inches about his shoulders.

Nealan tapped his shoulder, pointed to the staves, and said, “Those are called {i} langs {i} we use them for hunting instead of a bow and arrow. However, when used for hunting or fighting they have a curved blade about fourteen inches long on one end.

He picked up a worn lang, which was made of solid oak, and told Domitan to pick one that reached his shoulder. He chose a polished one made from an Iron wood tree.

“Tormeth is doing what is called a {i} toda {i} they are patterns that help you learn moves and how to put them together, he is performing one of the more difficult ones.

Domitan twirled his lang with his fingers; it slipped from his hands and fell with a loud clatter to the stone floor that surrounded the pads. Domitan winced at the noise, it seemed very loud in what Nealan called a {i} Joda {i}. He hurriedly picked it up, embarrassed. As he straightened, he glanced at Nealan, who was grinning like a loon.

Domitan glared at his happy face, and then broke into an easy grin himself. It was impossible to stay mad as Nealan’s inexplicable joyfulness. Domitan shoved Nealan to the side in playfulness.

Tormeth had finished his toda and bowed to a granite statue of a tall, regal man, with a gentle expression.

“Who’s that?” Domitan asked, gesturing to the statue.

“That’s Yesha. Surely you’ve heard of Gal’da’s prophet who was also his son.” said Nealan in tone that said it was the obvious answer.

“No, Berlan and Elryia never taught me about such things. Nor did anyone in Anaga, they all followed the gods of the earth and harvest and of the seas.” Domitan said, he had heard some of Yesha in the past weeks. Yesha was the only son of Gal’da, the name meant, I AM. Yesha had told the world of men and elves about Gal’da’s unconditional love for all living creatures. That had been about forty-five hundred years ago. About fifteen hundred years before people had begun to loose faith in Gal’da and his Son. Eirias and the Dragonriders had helped resolidify the peoples dying faith. However, in the centuries since the Tim’dalian, people’s faith had fallen greatly; many had turned back to the old gods that had supposedly supported their predecessors to this world. Few men now followed the path laid down by Yesha, the Dragonriders and the king were some of those men.

Every one was now lining up in rows. Domitan noticed that Shar’tugar was not present. When Tormeth looked over the class, his dark, green eyes narrowed, he had noticed but he did not utter a word.

He set everyone into working on his or her todas. Then he walked over to Domitan, who was struggling to keep up with the drumbeat. There was a small drum next to the statue, the gavel moved on its own.

“Your, Dom. Right?” Tormeth said in a heavily accented voice.

“Yes, sir.” he answered, resting the butt of the Lang upon the floor.

“Here, let me help you. I assume that Nealan showed you . . . not a lick.”

“No, sir.” Domitan said shaking his head.

Tormeth’s grin was like Nealan’s, impish, yet, friendly and easy going.

He stepped behind Domitan and placed his hands just outside of his own. He walked him through the toda this way several times.

He returned to the front and said, “Framận.” The entire class stopped and bowed their heads slightly. “Ladmae Magee.” With that, Nealan stepped forward and bowed. “You can teach this class.”

Tormeth then returned to Domitan. “Now I can help you with the basics.” he said, with a slight smile tugging at his lips, “Put the lang away.”

Domitan did so.

“Follow me as best you can.” Tormeth said, as he raised his fists into a guard position. Then his left fist jabbed out in a punch. Domitan followed him a little shakily.

Nealan taught the class while Tormeth taught him the basics of the Harlecian Arts. When the bell rang, they all lined up and bowed to the Ladmaes and to their ancestors, and most of all, to Yesha.

All of them went to the Great Hall to eat a light meal before the afternoon’s lessons.

When Nealan and Domitan emerged from their room after changing, Grife was waiting for them.

“Go on to your next class, Neal.” Grife told him.

Nealan hurried down the hall to his next class, glancing back once as he rounded a corner. Meneldur settled with a rustle on the floor by Domitan’s feet.

“Am I going to my next class?” he asked quietly.

“No. Your next class is on the Will and the Word, which the common folk call sorcery or magik. Allan is pretty far advanced into it already, fro you to start with out being taught the rudiments of it.” Grife explained.

Domitan nodded as the Dragon at his feet mheeped.

“Come,” Grife said, then he led them out of the Dragonkeep, through the bustling town, and up into the mountains. The stopped in a pine clearing, Domitan’s booted feet made not a sound on the needle carpet of the forest. A stream ran along the east side, it carried bits of ice from further up the mountain.

Grife seated himself upon a rock, Domitan at his feet. Meneldur waded into the stream and cooed.

“Okay, now we can begin to the touch the edge of the complex tapestry that is the Will and the Word,” he said, settling into position. “The Will and the Word have existed since the beginning of this land, but at that time nobody had any use for it. They enjoyed working with their hands and had no fights with other men. As time moved on the people grew quarrelsome and wished to hurt one another.”

“A handful of men discovered how to use what they call sorcery. This was a good thing but on the other hand, it was unfortunate, because man was bent on killing. The few who did learn of it, didna know the rules or their own limitations, of the power. Therefore, they would say things like ‘be not’, saying this would unmake them. Because Gal’da works too hard to sustain this land, to have foolish people destroying it at a whim. Therefore, when they gathered their Will, to utterly terminate something, they would be unable to release their Will. To make it short, it kills them violently and remove their corporeal structure form this earth.”

“You gather your Will from inside but you draw in strength from all that is around you, plants and animals. Beginners usually have to a use a Word to release their Will, but gestures work just as well. When you become more advanced you can release without any movement what so ever, due to the fact that they can direct it with their mind.”
Remember, only dead fish swim with the stream
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