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Second part of a work in progress.
As I waited for the teacher to start the lecture, Minnie turned around in her chair to stare at me. She’d switched seats with a blonde haired boy whose name I’d forgotten to sit right in front of me.
“So, I just heard it from Gerrod, who’d heard it from Susie, but the mystic’s name is Muir. Isn’t that just so…mysterious?” She giggled at her own joke; I sighed and shook my head slightly. “I wonder if he was always called that, or if it was given to him when he became a full-fledged member of the tribe?”
“Wait. He’s a full tribe member? Why is he coming here then?” It was a mistake to ask a question. I could see that now. Her eyes sparkled at my interest in her story.
“He’ll be an ambassador, so I think that means he’ll be in meetings with your father all morning, but he’ll join our group for the afternoon classes. Plus, I heard he’s only nineteen. They come into adulthood very young in their tribe. I know some tribes give you a name when you become a full fledged member, so they only have like 50 names, and they just use them over and over. I don’t think he came from one of those tribes; they’re mostly located in the south I think.”
Just then the teacher walked in, and started class. Mr. Jackson was nice enough, and I probably would have like him, if he didn’t teach history. It had always been a terrible subject for me, and recently, what with all the changes to my personal view of the world, it had just gotten worse. From the look he gave me every time I got a question wrong, Mr. Jackson didn’t much care for me either.
As the lecture went on, I let my attention wander. I thought of what Minnie had been saying, before class. Not of the new mystic that was coming, (honestly I couldn’t care less, it was just one more person that would laugh behind my back during training), but of my father.
It had been a week and a half since I had last seen him. We had never been really close, and now that he was the general again, he was always busy.
“I’ll be away for a couple of days next week,” he’d said. “I know we don’t see a lot of each other these days, but the attacks on the Colonies have been getting worse. And you need to concentrate on training.”
“And whose fault is it that I’m so behind,” I growled. I didn’t want to argue with him, but the classes that day had been really strenuous; I was tired, and upset, and needed to take it out on someone.
“I know, it’s my fault. I’m sorry about this, really I am. I never meant for you to have to train here. The new king must be crazy, attacking the Colonies like this…” he began to mumble as he paced the floor of his office. “However, I heard they made you reinforcement. That should be easier to catch up in…but I don’t expect you to stay that way. You’re meant to be a captain, where you can excel.”
Right, dad, I thought. The only way I’d excel is if everyone else got hit in the head with a stupid stick. And since I don’t see that coming…
He’d insisted though, that I finish my regular training as quickly as possible, and even ask Minnie to continue helping me until I was a captain. It seems she took him a little too literally though. Still, I was grateful for her help most of the time. It was only when she chattered on about guys and weapons that she got annoying.
“Psst. Abby!” Myrrine was looking at me, as was Mr. Jackson, and the rest of the class.
“I’m sorry, sir,” I said, my face coloring, “What did you say?”
“I was wondering, Ms. Bronwyn, if you knew the reason behind the treaty we are studying today.” He looked mad. And was about to get angrier.
“I’m sorry. I haven’t…something about the fairy people and the Hawkers, right?”
Yes, he was angrier and turning red. “Perhaps, you should focus a bit more during class, Ms. Bronwyn. Mr. Stevens?” His color was starting to return to normal, I figured I was out of trouble for the time being.
As Gerrod Stevens flipped through his note, looking for the answer, I sighed. Well, it wasn’t the best start to the day, but it could have been worse. Last Thursday, I was sent outside, into the rain, to stand until the class ended. I tried to point out to him that I would have less of a chance to learn the material outside, but Minnie had kicked me in the shin hard, before I could say much. I wasn’t happy at the time, but in hindsight, that would have been a bad idea. I probably would have ended up with a ten page essay to write, or something.
Thankfully, the rest of the hour pasted without occasion. Mr. Jackson had turned his back to us after a minute, and lectured towards the whiteboard, as he wrote down important points, and a timeline of events. I spent the time writing the notes down in a notebook Minnie handed me.
As the clock chimed eight o’clock, we filed out of the history room and off towards the only other room in the building. It was a lecture hall; all the Hawkers that were in training had this class together. There were barely enough of us to fill the room; maybe 350 people, divided into 18 different training groups. Except for this class, we stayed in our own ‘unit’ for the rest of the day.
Minnie and I were in one of the smaller groupings of Hawkers. There were 12 people in our group, 7 boys and 5 girls, including Minnie and I. The other three girls were nice enough, but tended to avoid me because of my lack of grace on the training field. I didn’t blame them, and after a week I had stopped bothering to pretend to be interested in their gossiping. It was mostly about people from the other groups I didn’t know anyway. The boy on the other hand, had never really stopped staring at me, according to Minnie, who noticed those kinds of things. I thought it was as much to do with them waiting for me to trip and fall, as it was them looking at her, although I never mentioned this out loud. There was only one of the guys that even talked to me, Bert Weber.
Bert was as tall as Minnie and built, but still thin. His brown hair stuck out at random angles, obvious bed head. He wasn’t a captain, which made me feel a little better, because when we did three on three training he join us, and was better than Minnie in some respects; not faster, but quieter and stronger. I’d heard that he had asked not to be a captain, and chose tactic advising as his specialty. That meant he had extra classes like I did, but with the tactics advisor to my father. I had no idea what they did everyday for the last hour of training, I didn’t think that there was much besides what we did in class; apparently though, there was.
Bert has gotten to the room faster than we did, and he waved from the far side of a row of chairs, motioning for us to join him. I tugged on Minnie’s arm, pointing in his direction, and started threading my way through the people towards him. When we got to the chairs he’d grabbed for us, I tossed the notebook on the floor, and fell into the chair.