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Old 11-05-2006, 04:24 PM   #14
Inwe Ringil
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Wink CHAPTER 5-SHAR'TUGAR-part two

“I don’t know.” Nealan answered, “Lyndyn will decide what you’ll be best at. For me the lyre was a natural choice, since I was taught how to play from the time I was very small.”

Nealan stopped in front of a door that had a strange symbol upon it, and opened it.

In this room, there were tall, four-legged stools instead of desks. In front of each stool was a table with a slanted surface, at the bottom there was a shelf to keep things from sliding off.

Domitan and Nealan were a few minutes early. Lyndyn was sitting behind his desk, humming to himself, and jotting sticks and dots on a sheet of lined paper.

“Sir?” Domitan said nervously

Lyndyn’s head jerked up as if he was being yanked out of his own world, at seeing them he smiled. “Neal. Dom. What can I do for you?”

{i} ‘Okay.’{i} Domitan thought as he shivered. {i} ‘This is getting annoying.’ {i} He wondered how all the teachers knew him but he didn’t know them. It never did enter his head that all of them had been at his acceptance ceremony.

“Yeah,” said Nealan, “Do ya know what Domitan’s instrument is?”

“Oh! Yes! It slipped my mind.” Lyndyn reached behind his chair and brought up what looked like a dark blue bag, which was stuck with three sticks. “These are called bagpipes. I, myself, have never played them, but this is how you will practice them.” Lyndyn carefully removed the bag from the pipes.

Domitan took the bag and the pipes. A few other first year squires were know coming in. Domitan replaced the bag, placed one of the pipes in his mouth, filled the bag with air and slowly squeezed some air out. It emitted a mournful sound, which swept Domitan into a forgotten memory . . .

. . . It was dark but he did not mind. He heard the same mournful wail that he had heard only moments ago. It was joined by the deep, resonate chords of a recorder and a women singing. The women voice was high and clear; bringing him images of spring flowers breaking through the soil. He could not understand what the woman----mother----was singing, but he knew it was beautiful . . .

. . . Then he was in his own body again, the remembrance had only taken a second. All of the students were in the room and taking their seats when the bell rang. The woman’s voice haunted him as he took his seat, and throughout the entire class.

Lyndyn walked around correcting finger positions and demonstrating what the combination should sound like. Domitan concentrated on learning two notes.

~ * ~

Their next class was archery. Nealan had to get his short, compact, recurve bow, and the bracer for his arm.

Domitan dropped his bag and looked around the room. Meneldur was not there. “Hey have you seen Meneldur?” Domitan asked Nealan.

Nealan turned to look at him and started to chuckle.

“What’s so funny?” Domitan’s question was answered a moment later when Meneldur stopped beating his wings and dropped onto his head.

“’e’s been there since we left for History, I thought you were aware.” Nealan said through his laughter.

“Right.” Domitan said slowly, his voice positively dripping with sarcasm.
“Sệna tir.” Nealan said in the language of the Old Code, “It’s true.” He clapped Domitan on the arm.

Domitan winced as his Dragon dug his claws deeper into his scalp to keep from falling off.

As he followed Nealan up the set of stairs to the roof, he seized Meneldur and attempted to dislocate him from his head. Meneldur, however, seemed to have taken root.

Domitan sighed. He knew he must look ridiculous with a sapphire Dragon perched upon his head.

The roof was large, with a dirt covering. At one end of the roof, the side that overlooked a small, fallow field, there were several wooden and sawdust, quintains. The quintains had a red ‘X’ on vital spots; the stomach, the throat, the head, and the chest.

“Antonio,” Nealan told Domitan, “was Prince Mawgrin’s weapons teacher, before he was Chosen when he was nineteen.”

“Mawgrin!?” All of a sudden, all of his dreams came back to him, {i} “Prince?” {i}

“Si, that’s his squire, the white haired one.”

{i} ‘Wonderful.’ {i} Domitan thought sarcastically.

Antonio was a short, compact man, his dark, graying, hair was slicked back. There was a white knotted scar from beneath his right ear and it continued down his neck until it disappeared into his tunic. It was a testimony to the battles he had taken part in.

“Domitan.” he said sharply, not even looking in his direction. Even then, there was no doubt that Antonio was speaking to him.

“Yes, sir.” he said as he walked over to stand in front of him.

“These are yours.” Antonio said, handing him a black, yew bow, a black leather quiver, and bracer.

Domitan was no stranger to the bow; he frequently went hunting up on the mountains, sometime being gone for days. He slid the bracer on his left arm and drew an arrow with a black shaft, which was fletched with swans’ feathers, from the quiver. He set it to the bowstring and drew it back to his ear. Aiming for the read ‘X’ on the quintains torso.

“Wait.” Antonio said, snatching the bow from Domitan’s hands, “You shoot like a peasant. Watch.”

Antonio demonstrated. “See, you must have one finger above the notched end and one below. You have to have your elbow higher than you had it, and you have to sight along the arrow.” Then he returned the bow to Domitan.

He drew the string back, making sure that he was holding it right, aimed it at the red ‘X’ on the quintain’s chest and loosed the arrow. It struck its intended vicinity.

“Good job.” Antonio said, slapping Domitan on the back. Then he moved on to help some of the other boys.

Domitan drew another arrow and loosed it. He was aiming for the stomach but the arrow was on the chest. Still a killing shot but he knew what he had done wrong. He nocked another arrow, inhaled a steadying breath, held it, and then released Dead centre.

Many of the boys, including Nealan and Shar’tugar had to descend to the field to retrieve their arrows when they flew wide. Domitan had to go down twice from when he had been greatly distracted.

Antonio told him he was a natural. This gave him a warm, fuzzy feeling inside since he was far from being a natural with the sword.

The next class was Harlecian Arts. Nealan probably knew it all already since he had said that he was trained from the time he could walk.

As they desended the stairs the bell rang. Domitan picked up his pace without running. He had been caught running once and had been told that a Dragonrider must be dignified, which meant not running unless it was absolutely necessary. Nealan was hanging back; he turned to look at his friend, had he not heard the bell?

“Tormeth doesn’t mind if we’re a bit late.” Nealan told Domitan, answering his unspoken question.

Domitan gave him a puzzled look; this freckled boy was continuously surprising him.

Meneldur took a flying leap off his head, coasted a few meters in front of them, landed, and rustled his clear blue wings.

Domitan was done wondering about the strange behavior of his Dragon, but then Meneldur let out a menacing growl combined with a hiss. He looked at his iridescent Dragon with an astonished expression. Meneldur had never acted belligerent before, mostly gleefully annoying, but never malicious.

{i} ‘Stay back!’ {i} Meneldur’s clear, dark, voice entered his brain. Domitan instantaneously thrust his arm out to stop Nealan.
Remember, only dead fish swim with the stream
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