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It's the first part of a story that I'm still working on. Don't like it as much as I once did though...
Ugh. What does she want?
I flip over, pulling the thick bed sheet around my head, blocking the sunlight streaming through the windows.
“Abby, really! You need to get up or you’ll miss breakfast again. I’m not gonna wait forever.”
“Uh... I’m getting up, I’m getting up. Hold on a minute.”
“Finally! I’ll wait outside…and hurry up; class starts in, like, 45 minutes.”
As Myrrine walks away, I slowly start to kick the covers away, rolling my feet onto the floor. The cold cement sends a shock through me, more effective than the yelling in bringing me out of my stupor.
I grab my towel and bathroom kit off the side table next to the bed, and head to the bathroom. I can hear Myrrine pacing outside the door, mumbling about babysitting and my father’s orders. I feel bad for her, I mean, she has to wait for me every morning and after class too. She even partners with me during training, although she’s supposed to be a captain, and I’m mere reinforcement.
“You can go ahead,” I yell. “I know the way there.”
“And when you’re late for history, I’ll get yelled at. No thanks; I can wait.”
I know she gets angry when she’s hungry, so I rush through a shower, and pull on the first things my hands touch, jeans and a T-shirt. Myrrine’s outside the dorm now, and I can see her pacing back and forth through the window. I rush out the door, and down the steps, glad that the girls’ dorm has only one level. When she sees me jogging to her, Myrrine turns toward the mess hall, and I can tell she’s upset.
“We only have twenty minutes to eat now. I can’t believe you took so long.”
“Sorry, Minnie. I tried to hurry, but you know I hate mornings.” She’s still walking ahead of me, and from the set of her shoulders, still upset. “You can tell them it’s my fault we’re late. Forgive me?”
She grumbles something like ‘I was planning on it’ under her breath, but turns and pauses while I catch up. “So, ready for training today? Think you can stay off the ground for more than five minutes?”
“Hope so,” I laugh. “It’s not my fault though; I’ve only been here a couple weeks. Give me a little time to adjust.”
“Yeah, well, try and adjust faster. You’re the generals’ daughter and the only one who can’t make it through the course on her own yet.”
“I told you, Minnie, I’ve never been trained. At all. My dad never taught me anything, about the Hawkers, about fighting, about any of this,” I wave my hands around me in a circle. “And, I’m shorter than the rest of you, that’s gotta factor in somehow.”
We’ve finally made it to the mess hall, and from the looks of it, most of the other kids have left for class already. There are a couple girls sitting at a table, copying homework it looks like. As, I stand behind Minnie in the line, I try and remember if I had forgotten to do anything. Most of the teachers hadn’t bothered to give me work to do yet, but there were a few that thought I could miraculously learn everything from the past couple of months, in the three weeks I’d been here.
“Oh, god,” I mumbled, “We have that chart to fill out in etiquette today. Did you study that stuff at all?”
Myrrine turns to look at me and I can see a smile in her eyes, although she’s trying not to show it on her face. “Yeah, we’ve known about it for weeks now. Don’t worry; I’ll pass you the answers if you need them.”
“Thanks a lot,” I say, and push past her to grab an apple. She takes some oatmeal from the counter and follows me to a table.
“That’s all you’re eating? You need energy for later.”
“I’ll get it at lunch. I’m still getting after effects from the runes. I don’t want to risk it; on Saturday I almost threw up on the teacher...he wasn’t very happy about it.”
“I bet.” She’s not trying to hold back the laughter now, and it’s a minute or two before she can continue. “You’ll get used to it soon. It’s just taking you longer, because you’re this old, and have never done any scripting with the runes before. It’s all about age and power with the Hawkers.”
As I bit into the apple, I thought about what my father had said the first day we arrived here.
“Abby, you have to understand, these people are different, not from me, and not from you, but from the rest of the world. They’re stronger, and they have a more meaningful purpose than most. You’re a little behind on the training, and that’s my fault. I didn’t think you’d ever need to be here; but now that this has happened, know: you are stronger than this, than any of them. You will succeed in this life.”
At the time, I thought he was crazy. Most people would have, but after the initial shock had worn off, it made sense, somehow. Like my mind always knew I was a part of this. It just clicked.
Unfortunately, my body was a little slower. Despite the extra training with runes and time on the obstacle course, I was miles behind everyone else still. They were all taller, faster, and more graceful, than I could probably every hope to be. Eventually the training instructor gave up trying to force me into the shape Myrrine was in.
“A general’s daughter should be a captain,” he said. “But you…well, we’ll just make you reinforcement.”
At first I was pleased, thinking I’d get out of an hour or two being chased after by people with daggers and swords, but instead all I got was even more training with runes. Apparently reinforcement meant I’d have to have complete knowledge of runes, and how to use them to their full potential. The joy of escaping training, wore off very quickly after that.
“Stop spacing out. I’m trying to ask you a question.” Myrrine’s voice cut through my sulking. “Did you hear about the mystics’ kid that’s coming here?”
“The what?” I asked her, still lost in my worrying.
“The mystic, the one that is being sent here as an ambassador, to train with us. I heard he’s our age….We’ll get to see him in class tomorrow!” Myrrine could get excited over anything, I’d found, so I wasn’t too concerned with what she was saying.
“Oh, no, I didn’t hear about that. Why’s it so important?”
“Because, HE’s a guy, and HE’ll be in our group! Tomorrow!”
Ah. It was just a new boy that Minnie was after; nothing new for her, according to the others in our group. She’d always been a huge flirt. “I’m sure he’ll be drooling over you before the first hour is up,” I reassured her. Because that’s what friends did right? They reassured each other about these things, and I supposed Minnie was my friend. We spent all our time together, so that counted for something, right?
“Oh, do you think so? I’m not too sure…mystics aren’t like us after all. They have to follow their tribe’s chief and everything always seems to be about power with them.” But her complaints couldn’t hide the small smile from flitting across her face. And I could blame her, when you look that good, there’s no reason not to expect boys to kneel at your feet.
The only similarity to Minnie that I could claim was our black hair; however, while mine hung limply around me, her shiny hair was pulled into a braid that rested along her spine, ending at her waist. Her thin frame hid her strength, and her deep tan made my pale skin look as white as paper when I stood next to her. No matter what she wore, the cargo pants and long sleeve shirt she had on today or the jeans and military jacket she’d wore yesterday, she looked fabulous. I sighed.
“I’m done eating if you are,” I told her, forcing myself to accept my fate to be ordinary, even as the daughter of the general. “Let’s go to class; what are we studying in history again?”
“The treaty of 1854 between the Hawkers and the fairy king. I don’t think it’s that important though…” Minnie drifted away from me, heading toward the door.
I stretched out all the kinks left from sleep, and followed after her. As we walked to our class, she was going on and on about the mystic that was coming tomorrow. I didn’t need to comment much; just a few ‘ohs!’ and ‘reallys?’ kept her happy.
It’s funny, I thought, that she’s two years older than I am. I feel like the old one right now. So, not only am I ordinary, but old. Great.
I walked to the back of the classroom, and sat in the corner seat facing out toward the windows. It was becoming my normal seat, and the other kids in the room seemed to have stopped staring at me. Thank god. I was never comfortable being the center of attention. The others seemed to have finally figured out that I’m not like Minnie, bubbly and outgoing, and I think they decided I was boring. Of course my clumsiness helped a lot. Everyone started to avoid me after that first afternoon’s training session.
I’d fallen off the rope climb, and landed on two other girls. But that was just the start. Then I’d tripped while we were running warm-up laps for the paired training and slowed everyone down, as they tried to avoid stepping on me. Minnie, if I remember correctly, had been laughing off to the side. No one stopped to help me up, but that was okay. I preferred they leave me alone.
|Into the Light||Hawker 1-2|
|A Snowy Night||Night|