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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Quibby

Kids These Days... (ATTN: Owial)

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There was silence in the forest, of a sort.  No noises associated with people.  Mehrin knew the lay of the land well enough where he was.  Granted, no one could tell exactly where he was, except in the stretch of land between Tarabon and Arad Doman.  A week of walking at a good clip would see Mehrin at Toman Head, where the Seanchan had landed what seemed an eternity ago.  Life had been simple then.

 

Mehrin had sought the refuge of this forsaken place to think.  He was alone again, and he hated it.  He hated Drea for leaving him the way she had.  He hated her all the more for knowing that she was right.  Mehrin hated her, yes, but it was the hate borne of being lovesick.

 

It was that lovesickness that had driven Mehrin into the forests.  No fire showed where he was, and anyone who could track him was either a scout or inhuman.  Either way, Mehrin would not prove to be easy prey.  The heavy claymore set on the ground near to hand would see to that.  Even if he could not use it, he was more than handy with his fists.  Just as well that there was nobody nearby.  It was going to be a quiet few days.

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tudd tudd tudd...his heart was beating in his head, he wasnt sure how long he had been joging, walking or runing. The captivety even with some training now and again had left him at a much poorer condition then he used to be. He had no idea where he was, it had been the 3rd place since the farm place, and the scenery kept changing about. The last place had made a mistace, a situation had arised, he wasnt sure what, but they had to get him out of the way, which in this case had been a room he normaly wasnt in.

 

The box when he kicked it had moved and sunrays had shun through, he had then silently moved it and found a whole in the wall, the wood was rotten, and as he had eaten poorly many a time due to his own refusal of food he was skeptical off, he hadnt really grown much. He had managed to wrigle his way out after kicking some of the wood out. The noise of course had attracted attention, and one of his captors goten hold of his shoe, so the first hour or maybe more (he wasnt sure) his runing had been wobled, till he dared stop and rid himself of the other shoe.

 

He walked when he couldnt do more, but most of the time he kept a fast jogg or ran if he heard a noise, he hadnt heard any shouts in a while, but the forest was dence and he had lost track of time, so how long a while would be he wasnt sure. He thougth it was darker now then earlier though. Owial slowed down to catch his breath, he hadnt walked long though before he heard a sound to his left, and not waiting to check he dodged to the side, runing here and there on his way forward, untill he half stumbled into something.

 

Soft, not tree, he looked, a body, somebody, instinct kicked in and with a scream all of his focus came upon figthing back, defending himself till he could get away and run again...he would not loose this chanse of freedom

 

 

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As a rule, soldiers sleep lightly.  The slightest change in the environment that might prove to be problematic is more rousing and sobering than a bucket of icy water.  It was this instinct that caused Mehrin to sit bolt upright a couple hours after falling asleep.  Something was coming.  It sounded distant, but that was no reason to be prepared.  Rising to his knees, Mehrin gathered his feet beneath him, reaching for his claymore.

 

Something struck him.

 

Mehrin blinked.  It felt as if somebody or something had just bumped into him.  Before the thought had finished crossing his mind, his head swiveled to identify the offending creature.  It was a person, a small, thin boy with quite the lung capacity, based on the panicked scream he let loose with.  Then the lad attacked.  Caught off-balance, Mehrin could only raise his arm over his face as the boy punched and kicked him.  The blows were frenzied, untargeted, which was just as well.  Even if the boy couldn't have hurt a fly, he was persistent, and that was just as potent.

 

Finally regaining his feet, Mehrin did what any soldier would do in the circumstances: he fought back.  The boy's next punch found itself going wide, opening the lad to the counter.  Mehrin's right hand snapped forward, closing with the finality of a coffin on the boy's throat.  A small effort found the boy to be quite light, and the boy suddenly found himself about a foot above the ground.

 

The two shared a brief moment, with Mehrin gazing into the boy's eyes while he held him in the air.  A part of his mind finished categorizing him: small, filthy, puny, probably a runaway.  Not a threat.  Persistent.  Will continue to fight.  The decision made itself without any input from Mehrin, who spun and threw the boy at the nearest tree.  He bounced off the trunk with a sadistically satisfying thud, then fell on his face on the ground.  That should take the fight out of him long enough to talk.

 

"Well, boy, if you care to get ahold of yourself, I'll see about feeding you," he said.  "Then you can tell me why the hell you attacked me."

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He saw white dots infront of his eyes as pain shot through his body, they would learn at least, that shecat wouldnt be happy with them hurting him. The speak snaped him out of his bane of thougth, and he looked up and forth. HIs mind now slowly categorised, not one he had seen before, and he wasnt shouting for others. Owial looked around, nor could he see any of the others, this one spoke differently, and looked differently in the clothes.

 

Could the guy be someone else, how long had he been runing, he wasnt sure, his troath was dry and felt slightly sore, and now that he fully stoped he could feel the wear on his body from the runaway. HIs eyes locked in on the water bottle, but he was still vary, maybe the guy was just buying time. "Where are we?" his eyes didnt leave the bottle, but somehow his brain told him the info could be important, if true anyway, if not he had lost nothing in asking the question as all it ment would be that he was as lost as before.

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Mehrin took a moment to follow the boy's gaze to where it rested: his water skin.  With a shrug, he tossed it to the boy and waited until he'd finished drinking before he said, "You're about a week off Toman Head.  The nearest village, if memory serves, is a two day walk from here, though I'm sure that there are some homesteads nearby."

 

There was something about this boy, as if the next loud noise would send him careening into the forest.  Mehrin entertained the mental picture of the boy, in a blind panic, running face first into a tree.  There was no spite, merely a sense of humor honed on a battlefield.  Maybe talking would calm the boy down.  Heh.  Since when have you been a talker, Mehrin?  What are you going to do?  Tell him stories of the men you've gutted and the women you've loved?

 

Mehrin squelched the voice.  "Name's Mehrin.  Mehrin Mahrvon.  I'm passing through these parts on my way to meet some friends."  Maybe the boy would find something in that to talk about; he'd exhausted his conversation abilities.

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"I know all about your so called friends, they will burn for what they did.." he edged away from the man, ready to run. "Filthy darkfriends" it came out with a hiss. His knuckles was white from his hard grip around the drinking bottle. Could he loose this one, he would have too and make it back to the children, "the creator punish those unfaitfull" something franatical entered his voice as he spoke his childhood learning, his belif so hugely tested in these years past.

 

Owial slowly edged into the forest, making ready to run again, if it all was true then soon he migth be able to find some place where he could get help, unless it was all lies, lies of the dark know, filty lies...that thougth kept swirling in his mind as things went black and he fell over fainting from exhaustion.

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More and more, it seemed to Mehrin that this boy had some sort of mental issue.  He was speaking like a fanatic, almost like a Child of the Light.  Impossible, of course.  He was far too young, and he had no fighting ability to speak of.  And he was edging away towards the dark forests again.  He was going to run.  And if he did, he was going to die.  Either animals, or tripping into a river, or falling and breaking his neck.  Dumb kid, Mehrin thought, irritated, as his hand went to the bullwhip at his waist.  He wouldn't outrun that.  Then the boy made the decision for him: he passed out.

 

Mehrin stood, silent for a moment.  "Well, that was... unexpected," he muttered as he finally forced his legs to move again.  He knelt down next to the still boy and checked his breathing.  Still alive.  Good enough for me.  I didn't want to have to dig a grave tonight anyway.  Shifting the boy's position into one that wouldn't cause too much cramping the next day, Mehrin returned to his spot on the ground and settled in for the night.

 

****

 

It was midmorning before Mehrin got tired of waiting for the boy to wake up.  He'd done a quick fry-up of some of the bacon he kept for special occasions, as well as a couple of pheasant eggs he'd stumbled across while checking snares from the previous evening.  It was cold.  With a sigh, he picked one of the three water bottles he was carrying, filled just an hour ago from a cool stream nearby.  "What a waste," he muttered before uncorking the bottle and dumping the contents onto the sleeping boy.  "Sun's up and breakfast's on.  Wake up, kid!"

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Cold drenched through his dreams of home, he was wet, a hand instinctively went to his face as his eyes opened and looked at it, water. Owial looked around and heard the voice in the distance, next he smelt food, breakfast. Slowly memory dawned on him, was he back, no the sun was on his face, he wasnt back to the house. His hands were free, slowly siting up he checked his feet, free too, he could run if he wanted too, but he needed food.

 

Looking suspicious from the man to the food he moved towards it, it could be druged, but in his weakened state he wouldnt get far without food anyway. "Why aint we back to the house?" too late he realised he had spoken it out loud, the man didnt seem to know what he was talking about. He thougth back to yesterday, could it be the story was true, was he maybe not one of the darkfriends, then why havent he just left, Owial was confused and frowned as he dug into the food.

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One thing was for certain: the boy was hungry.  He seemed to throw himself at the offered food like a starving dog.  Great.  One of those abused cases.  Why do I always find the weird ones?  The boy had mentioned 'the house' as if Mehrin should know what that meant.  He wasn't in any better position than he was the previous night.  However, if the kid decided to bid a hasty retreat now, Mehrin would not stop him.  It was daylight, and he would be far out of the way before nightfall, meaning he would no longer be Mehrin's problem.  However, he was still curious.

 

When the boy had finished the relatively meager meal, Mehrin said, "Okay, kid.  You're running from something.  That's your problem, and not my business.  You seem rather reluctant to return to the aforementioned circumstance."  The boy looked at him askance, so Mehrin added, "You don't want to go back."  Clearing his throat, Mehrin sat back.  "Now, based on the direction from which you came, I'm heading away from whatever you're running away from.  I'm willing to let you tag along for as long as you want, but first I need some answers, which will start with your name.  Agreed?"

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Owial look at the man for a while, could he trust him, he wasnt sure. He seemed legit, but what if they started searching for him, better not use his own name, maybe he could use his fathers, he didnt think they knew that one. The woman did though, and she would come when she learned, bloody witch. No safer still to use a completely other name, tilting his head in acceptance as he licked his fingers, seeing as he didnt see many ways out of it, he would just have to be careful and look out for traps. "Rovan" and with that his decision was reached for now, "And the creator be with you", it was best to be polite he figured less he changed his mind.

 

He looked towards where he was coming, he had no money, but surely once he reached civilization he would find someone to help, he needed a knife, but for now something else would have to do. Looking around he saw a stick, and reached out for it, he could use it to support himself as he walked and maybe to defend himself somewhat should it be needed. He hefted the stick in his hand, then as he was about to stand up also quickly grabbed a stone and slipped it into his pocket. "When are we leaving?"

 

 

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There was something nagging at the back of Mehrin's mind as he watched the kid, who had given his name as Rovan.  He said nothing as the kid plucked a stick off the ground and pocketed a rock.  The boy apparently had no idea how to fend off an attacker, yet intended to do so to Mehrin, if he turned out to be one.  I have to say the kid's got stones.  Not too much for brains, though.  "When are we leaving?" Rovan asked him.

 

Mehrin looked at the boy in mild amusement.  "We'll leave as soon as I demonstrate something to you, kid."  Leaning against a nearby tree, Mehrin gestured towards the kid offhandedly.  "You've got yourself a stick and a rock for self-defense, presumably.  The rock might do you some good if your opponent is already on the ground or too far away to grab you, but not far enough to dodge the rock.  The stick would do you more good if you could actually use it, though."  With a shrug, Mehrin added, "Good move, overall, but useless if you don't know what you're doing."

 

Stepping away from the tree, Mehrin began mentally bracing himself for what was coming.  "For instance, worst possible case for you: say I'm coming after you.  I'm already too close for the rock.  Demonstrate to me how you'd stop me with your stick."  Approaching the boy with a look of malice on his face, he growled, "Come on.  Hit me, kid.  Show me what you can do."

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Owial knew too well the sence in what was said, he reacted on instinct in fear on the man, and tried to use it as a sword, the stick broke, and the backforce made him step back and stumble onto his back. His eyes wide with fear as he looked up, memories flushing through him, untill he saw the man step back. He had trained before, had managed to learn a little, and overcome the sence of darkfriendness, this man wasnt even that, but he sure looked more of a malice when trying too then any of the darkfriends he had met.

 

He got up, and picked up the rests of his stick trying again, but the stick easily enough was grabed from him, and he had to bite his tounge to not scowl at the man.

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The strike wasn't unexpected, but it still hurt.  However, the stick did what Mehrin expected and snapped in half.  The backlash of the break caused the boy to stumble and fall back.  Mehrin stepped away to allow the kid to rise.  The line of pain across his shoulder and chest spoke of a light bruise on the way.  Not important.  The kid was standing up again to attack.  Mehrin let him.  If he was going to learn it, he had to learn it fully.  This time, when the kid swung, Mehrin snatched the stick and yanked it out of the kid's hands.  The kid tried his best not to glare daggers at Mehrin, but it was a close thing.

 

"Okay, kid, here's what you should take away from this.  You can have all the guts in the world, but if you don't know what you're doing, you're going to be beaten just as badly as the one who runs away."  Mehrin paused for a moment, thinking about his last statement, then added, "Probably worse."  Dropping the stick on the ground, Mehrin examined the trees around him, looking for the right one.  As he looked, he continued speaking, "Now, if you want, I can give you a few pointers as we go along, but don't expect me to treat you as nicely as I just did.  The most important lessons are the ones that hurt.  They teach you not to make the same mistake again.  Ahh, there we go."  An ash tree with branches near the ground had caught his eye.  As he walked towards the tree, he absently reached for the claymore on his back, drawing it in one smooth motion.  Knowing full well that he was showing off, Mehrin gave the blade a few quick spins in his hands before quickly shifting into two double arcs that sliced a five-foot section of branch from the middle of the limb.

 

Sheathing his sword, Mehrin hefted the makeshift staff, then tossed it to the kid.  "There you go.  We'll work when we stop for the night.  Now let's go."

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Only his instincts made him reach up and block the stick from hitting him right in the face, it fell to the ground and he looked down at it, before slowly picking it up and raising from the ground. Well he was lost, and it seemed this man may be genuine, and he did realize though not liking it that he was not in the best conditions. If he could expand on the knowledge he had gained in training while captive, he may stand a better chance, he had picked up enough that his so called mom had enemies as well, so she wouldn't let him train and travel this openly in all likelihood, hence the notion of this being a ploy was put off the list for the moment.

 

As the man got ready to depart he followed in his track, if he should be caught up on again chance was better getting away together with this guy, he obviously knew how to handle weapons. Owial but wondered what kind of man it was though, his light senses was not fully comfortable with the giant. And so they made their way through forest in a good pace, Owial was tired, but he was also hard headed so he bit his teeth together and made do even if some of his limbs was objecting, knowing if he stopped he may not be able to get going again.

 

He spent the time mulling out strategies for the evening, that was if he would be capable for any of the lessons. He wondered what the guy had in mind, he had talked some of weapon theory in general now and again, but mostly as they went forth, it was in silence. His staff he used as a walking stick to help support himself, and when they finally seemed to come to an halt for the evening, he was leaning heavily on it, being glad he had it available.

 

Owial droped to the ground after a moments consideration, and grasped his drinkingflask drinking greedingly, till he was told abruptly to stop, geting a lesson in filling his belly with water before doing any activity that made him want to cringe. His anger arose somewhat, but he kept self control and kept it in, slowly fighting his way back onto his feet and holding the staff shakingly in his hands facing his new instructor.

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The day had passed to night, and the duo of man and boy had made some progress.  To be truthful, Mehrin was disappointed with the distance covered.  Walking alone, he could have gone close to half again as far as he had with the boy in tow, but he was saddled with the little bit of baggage now.  Quit your whining! he thought irritably.  It's not like this is the first waif you've taken under your wing.  Mehrin's memory raced back, first to the boy Jehryn in Lugard, then to various young men and women in the Band.  A blonde-haired woman's face flashed through Mehrin's mind, bringing a small pang that was gone as soon as it was there.  Make up for leaving the rest, then.  Let this one go better than you found him.

 

It was that thought that made Mehrin kick the boy off the ground that night.  "Boy, I will be the first to tell you that I am a cruel, heartless bastard.  However, I am not mean.  I have my reasons."  With an all-encompassing gesture, Mehrin waved at Rovan.  "Look at yourself.  You're a puny, filthy boy who has no way to earn his next meal.  Now, I don't know how long you intend to tag along with me, but I won't let you leave unless you can manage to prove your ability to survive on your own."

 

With the last, Mehrin cut a thin branch from a willow tree, then stood before the boy.  "I know that you are tired.  Frankly, I don't care that much.  In fact, it is to your benefit that you are."  Mehrin gave the willow switch an experimental swing through the air.  It made a satisfying hiss as it cut the space between himself and the boy.  "I will attack you with this switch.  Every time you fail to block the switch, it will hit you, and it will leave welts.  Possibly cuts.  I don't know.  We'll see."

 

Taking the boy's wrists in his hands, Mehrin shifted the boy's hands on the ash staff until he was in a wide-handed stance, hands about one-third of the way up from the bottom of the staff.  He then circled the boy, kicking his feet into a wider stance.  "There you go.  Feel how you are set.  Feel the center of balance.  You will always maintain this stance when we practice like this.  It will feel awkward, yes, but you will become used to it.  Same with how you're holding the staff.  It is shorter than a full quarterstaff, so you will have to use it differently.  Not as much reach, but still enough to hurt somebody."

 

Stepping back in front of the boy, Mehrin planted his feet.  "Do not try to attack me, boy.  Keep your feet planted where they are.  We will work on moving once you are comfortable standing.  Use either end of the staff to block, but be careful when using the lower end.  It's shorter, and I might hit your hands."  Giving the willow switch another experimental swing, Mehrin said, "Defend yourself."

 

OOC: I'll leave you to describe the attacks.  Mehrin will be working relatively slowly, so as not to completely overwhelm you, but it will be a strain to keep up.

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Owial let himself be put into an odd position for him, not like what they had tried to teach him when fencing, with his feet one in front of the other. He leaned a little to the different sides to test the truth of what told him, it did sort of give an balance, but already he could feel the strain on his muscles from the unnatural usage. He tried to heft the staff in his hands, he gotten used to leaning on it, this was something completely else, he saw how one end was shorter as instructed, and wondered if it wouldn't be better to even it.

 

Looking up from his hands he looked over at his trainer, this stranger that so far appeared to help him, he would swallow the raw language of it as long as it got him away and home. It felt unusual to move the staff with two hands, he was used to one handed weapons, but there was no way he could hold and control it properly with one hand, he appreciated that. The twig was moving too his one hand, he was easily able to move to block it while testing how the staff felt, a couple more of those testing whips came, just enough to make him get a base feel for how he needed to swing the staff.

 

Then the guy seemed to get serious and he had to start focusing, it wasn't long till he took the first hit too his wrist trying to block with the short end as he didn't see how to do it with the other end without moving. He found himself taking a hit to his foot that felt like the pants tore, he could feel cool air and the distraction lost him the seconds needed to block another whip fully, getting it over his fingers rather then the forearm.

 

He could feel his body ache as time passed, and more and more often he was slipping up one way or another, he saw another come in and wanting to avoid it moved his upper body, loosing his balance he suddenly fell over and saw the whip hit air above him. He struggled to get up but his foot slip in the mood and he went down again with a splash.

 

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If he was to be honest with himself, Mehrin was impressed with how long the boy had held out against him.  However, it didn't take long after the first blow passed his defense for him to come crashing down, and his attempt to stand again resulted in yet another tumble.  Mehrin left the boy where he was for a moment, then offered him a hand and pulled him easily back to his feet.  "Well done," he said simply.  A soldier would have gotten a rougher response, but the boy was no soldier.  Still...  A small smirk crawled onto Mehrin's face.  "However, the pain that you're currently feeling?  That means that you didn't do well enough."

 

Mehrin waved the boy towards the fire, then turned to his pack and found a water skin and a blanket.  He dropped the water skin on the ground by the fire, then threw the blanket at the boy.  "Get rid of the wet clothes and get covered up with this.  We'll dry the clothes so you don't have to sleep in soggy breeches."  As the boy dealt with the clothing, Mehrin began pulling a meal out of his pack.  He also found a needle and thread that he used for stitching injuries.  He didn't notice any cuts on the boy, but he had definitely noticed the tear in his breeches.  The boy's shirt went onto sticks in front of the fire to dry.  His breeches ended up in Mehrin's lap for stitching.

 

His eyes focused on the tear in front of him, Mehrin said, "You seem to have some sort of training, though I can't say I know what kind.  What are you comfortable handling?  I can try to change the training to help you with what you know."

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@Caldazar al'Aemon

 

Owial looked into the fire, he knew it made sence to dry the clothes, better yet he should washed em but they were black not white so didnt show as well. Also he couldnt bring himself to care for clothes he intended to burn as soon as he could get hold of proper clothes. He mulled a bit about the question, not sure if to answer or how, he still wasnt sure he could trust this guy fully. 

 

He had just decided to answer it was fine, just be agreeable when he heard birds take flight in the distance with a shriek. He was on his feet instantly, crouching as he tried to look into the dark forest as if he could look through it. The fact he was merely wearing a blanket forgoten, he was not going back, himself he didnt even hear the snarl in his troath as he tried to listen for any other sounds.

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With a Cheshire grin Caldazar noticed the fire. Who made the thing surely wouldn't mind company, would they? The thought chilled Cal but never the less, he fixed his face in it's best smile and walked towards the camp as lithely as a cat. A small flock of birds took flight as Cal moved by closer.

 

He noticed the boy first, standing there naked half covered with a blanket. The boy wore on his face a look akin to hate and disgust. Frowning slightly through his smile, Cal tilted his head. That is if one can smile and frown at the same time.  The boy was whip thin and sprinkled with long thin welps. 

 

The next thing Cal noticed was the man sewing a pair breeches near the fire. He was a gruff man with the air of a soldier. Next to the fire a pile of clothes lay steaming.

 

  Shoving past the boy, Cal walked to the man. "Mind if I camp here?" Caldazar laughed. Fingering the hilt of his sword with one hand and waving with the other. 

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Posted (edited)

At the sound of birds taking flight out in the forest, Mehrin shifted a little bit around the fire so that he was more squarely facing in the direction of the disturbance, then drew the heavy knife that he kept in a sheath on his leg and set it on the ground next to him.  He then began stitching again as if nothing had happened.  When the cause of the startled birds stepped out of the forest, his eyes flicked up for a brief moment to categorize the boy who had stepped out of the forest.

 

Inwardly, Mehrin groaned.  Not another one...

 

The boy was tall and lithe and had the cocky swagger of someone whose inflated opinion of himself had yet to encounter the real world.  This snap judgment was further supported when he shoved his way past the boy Rovan and stood in front of Mehrin, waving and fiddling with his sword.  "Mind if I camp here?" he asked with a laugh.

 

Mehrin didn't make any effort to hide his sigh of irritation.  He spared the boy another glance and said, "I'll consider it as soon as you apologize to the boy over there for being rude."  Nodding at the sword on the boy's belt, he added, "Walking around with a pointy piece of metal doesn't excuse bad manners."

Edited by Quibby

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Caldazar looked at the man for a moment considering him. "Why, you mistake my actions! Why should I bother with the lad, when the leader sits where you are?!" Chuckled Cal. Caldazar noticed the crude knife laying besides the man. In a easy-going way, he slid his sword from her scabbard. " The Queen's Revenge." He said fondly caressing the edge of the fine sword's blade with his forefinger. " I am trained with it, you know." Cal whispered like a threat or a joke or both.

 

Turning on heel, Cal went to the still have half dressed boy. "I'm terribly sorry for the way I acted towards you." Wrapping one hand around the back of the boys neck and pulling him into a whisper. "I should have known that you WERE the leader. He really doesn't seem too bright." And with a chortle Cal added. " And do put on some clothes. Your birthday suit really needs more suit..."

 

Releasing the boy Caldazar al'Aemon lowered himself near the fire, staring into the flames. And then he started laughing.

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Owial looked at the boy, who was he, another darkfriend. He looked around to see if there was more ariving, he knew he was not in the clear yet. He thought of his father, he learned him well but our here, alone without the other children, no if he was to get to serve the creator he had to live. Which first meant finding his way back. He swallowed his comments, they would be wasted no better to keep to his plan, let the man deal with this. He sat down and picked up his tea, he hoped his clothes would be dry soon.

 

not for that he lamented again, they really should be burned, but he needed them for now so he could sleep, the training had been hard in his state, he needed his health back. It always was a war to eat and risk drugs or not and loose weight, they would all pay in the end, he would make sure to report it all. They saved him once, maybe other children could be saved too, he kept staring into the flames as his mind d wandered. Happy to leave the talking to the others, he had given a false name but even still the less they knew the better. 

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Mehrin was beginning to believe that there was a higher power that somehow managed to lead young people with shiny swords and years of inexperience to him, and he was creating a new collection of blasphemies to hurl at said power if he should ever encounter it.  He wasn't sure if it was the laughter, the loudness that Mehrin was hoping wouldn't bring a stray pack of bandits down on their camp, or the fact that the boy had actually named his bloody sword, but the boy was starting to grate across his nerves.  The boy Rovan's pants were mostly dry by the time Mehrin had finished his stitching, so he simply tossed them across to him.

 

As Rovan dressed, Mehrin looked at the boy who had seated himself next to the fire.  He was still laughing, though Mehrin could not see any reason for him to be doing so.  "Keep the noise down," he growled as he slid his knife back into its sheath.  "That one's running from somebody," he added with a nod towards Rovan, "and I would rather not bring more attention to ourselves than necessary."

 

Dinner was hard bread, hard cheese, and a piece of hard sausage.  Mehrin handed Rovan's share to him when he had finished dressing, then sat back with his own share.  The new face would have to fend for himself; Mehrin hardly had enough for one, and he was stretching it for two.  He ate in silence, drank some of the water, then tossed the skin to Rovan.  He quickly swapped his shirt for a loose vest from his bag, then picked up the oversized claymore that had been laying in some taller grass.  Giving the heavy sword an easy twirl in his left hand, Mehrin stepped away from the fire and into a small clear space and began moving through the complex motions of his evening exercises.

 

He began slowly, his feet and legs moving slowly and precisely.  As he shifted his balance from foot to foot and from step to step, his arms moved the sword in a slow and steady choreography, the blade moving in straight lines with no wavering or pauses in each motion.  Faster.  Mehrin could feel the blood moving through him, feel his muscles warming to the exercise.  His breathing was calm and steady.  The sword was beginning to sing in his hand, a slight hum that was more felt in the hand than heard in the ear.  There was an occasional rustle from under his feet as he disturbed a dead leaf or dried grass.  Faster.  His skin prickled as a sheen of sweat began to form.  Sometimes a bead of sweat would trace the line of one of his scars, a tickling sensation that he ignored.  His heart thundered in his chest, his breathing deep and heavy.  There was a constant humming swish of sound as the claymore sang its way through the air.  Faster.  His muscles burned, and sweat was stinging his eyes.  He felt hot as a forge fire.

 

Faster.

 

After an hour, Mehrin's dance slowed back to the stately pace where had first started, the motions still crisp and smooth, then finally stopped.  Mehrin stood in his final stance for a handful of seconds before kneeling, his breathing heavy and ragged, goosebumps raising on his body as a cool breeze swept across his sweat-drenched skin.  He stood again as his breathing slowed, then went and pulled a towel from his pack and wiped away the sweat.  Another shirt from out of the pack, and Mehrin was back to the fire.  Settling his pack behind his head, he laid back and lifted his broad- brimmed hat from the grass beside him.  He spared the new boy another look as he laid back against the pack and said, "You have first watch.  Wake me in six hours."  Without waiting for a reply, Mehrin dropped his hat down over his eyes.  He was asleep within minutes.

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Riven finished his meal and pay down, he lingered trying to keep awake watching the training a bit. He had seen enough transgressions and so are growing up in the Children to recognize the skill of the man and cursed invardly, no wonder he was so bruised and battered. He had not expected training vise to hold up against someone experienced, he was young he knew he had lots to learn. Shrugging he turned around, if he didn't need the sleep he should be watching he knew his dad would said, but he also knew he lacked the skill to learn much from said observance.

 

he remembered his dad bringing him to see someone training towards future herrons, this man easily would be at their level, beyond that he wouldn't be able to tell, he would have to see if he could get a chance for a better look of the details of the sword. At least he felt more relaxed at the idea of sleeping, this was no mere low-key soldier, sleep should be as safe as could get still being on the run and not kno wing who or how many was chasing him. 

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While Caldazar sat looking at the dancing flames, he thought of dancing with Endara at his birthday party. Everything had been perfect: Rogosh had given him the sword, Endara was there, life was perfect. 

But, then came that coven of hags to ruin everything. 

 

They came for Endara... They took her, took her away. They stole what he had loved from him. And he would steal theirs. He would kill that queen of the damned that they love so much.  He would kill the Amyrlin seat. With each laugh coming from his throat, his soul cracked.

 

Sometime in his trance he heard. "You have first watch.  Wake me in six hours."  He got up feeling like the flames themselves were in him; he danced a jumping, spinning dance towards a cluster of flowers. He ripped them all from the ground, and he tucked them in his pockets wove them in his hair and threw the rest in the air.

 

As the man in black laid down he started in a dance. A silent dance. For six hours he danced and for six hours he felt happy. At the end of it he bowed and went to wake the man...

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