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Third part of a work in progress.
“Hey, Bertie, what’s up?” I said, as I picked up the notebook off the floor.
“Hi, Abs, Myrrine. I can’t believe you got called out in history again, Abs. When will you learn to at least face the front of the room while you space out,” Bert chuckled.
“Tell me about it,” Minnie added. “I was trying to tell her about the mystic that’s coming tomorrow, and she was totally not paying attention.”
Bert had been staring at Minnie with his mouth open, so I kicked him in the leg when she looked away. “You could try to be subtle about it,” I hissed at him. “I don’t want to see you drooling over her this early in the morning.”
I wondered sometimes whether Bert talked to me because I talked to Minnie, or he felt bad for me, and was trying to be friendly. Not that it mattered, really; I just did not need, or want, to see his sad little one-sided love story; Minnie was still unaware of Bert’s feelings, as far as I could tell. Which was fine with me; I didn’t want to be in the middle of things when they got awkward, or if they got together, which could be worse.
Bert was rubbing his leg and having a glaring contest with me, when Minnie turned back around from talking to a girl from another group. She was bouncing up and down in her seat as she tried to get my attention.
“Abby, Abby…Abby! Guess what, you’ll never figure it out! C’mon guess, already!”
“What? Minnie, just tell me,” I said, not looking away from Bert. I was going to win this.
“Well, apparently, the mystic that’s coming tomorrow is the adopted son of the tribe chief. That means he’s the 2nd in command! What could he possibly be doing here, when he’s got all that at home?!”
Bert was distracted by the excitement in the voice, and for a second he looked towards her.
“Yes!” I yelled, and jumped out of my seat. “I win!”
Bert was grumbling under his breath, and Minnie was trying to hide a giggle behind her hand. I looked up, and almost everyone was staring at me, some were laughing, others were looking like I was crazy. I could feel my face turning a bright red. Just then the teacher, a short round man whose name I never learned, walked into the room. I sat down again, and everyone looked towards the front of the room, returning to ignoring the weird, clumsy new girl.
Minnie was still smirking as I turned towards her willing my face to return to its normal slightly pale color, and whispered, “What were you saying about Muir being the second in his tribe?”
“Well, his tribe in from around here, I guess, and one of the other group heard the lecturers talking about it. Apparently, Muir was adopted by the chief when he was really young, so as the son of the head of a tribe, he’s obviously the next in line.” Minnie was getting into it, getting more excited as she continued the story. “So, my question is, if he’s the next in line, why is he coming here? I mean, learning tactics is all well and good, if you’re like Bert, but c’mon, would you go and train for an extra year or more, when there is really no need to?”
The teacher cleared his throat loudly, to stop all the side conversations, like ours, that were going on in the room. “Well, ladies and gentlemen, today we are going to learn a little about mystics, and their beliefs in preparation for our guest tomorrow.”
Everyone shut up immediately after that announcement. They were all waiting for the teacher to continue, and despite myself I was really interested. I told myself it didn’t matter, I was just going to be ignored anyway, but some small part of me was whispering, maybe if you learn this, and manage not to make a complete fool out of yourself, then he might not ignore you. He might even want to be friends with you.
“The mystics are grouped as a side-species, because as they turn 18, they tattoo themselves with the sacred script, enhancing their abilities almost permanently. Though the effects fade over time, just as ours do, mystics can use the same rune for years, instead of hours.
“They are a shadow people, meaning, they will not let their standing be known, unless they are sure of victory. They have an uncanny ability to assess a situation, and ally themselves with the eventual victor. This is the main reason that so many tribes exist today, in harmony and not in inter-tribe feuds.
“Also, the individual tribe members cannot disregard their chief. There have only been a few cases ever recorded of a mystic having enough control over themselves and their runes, to break the ancient bonds that the tribal leaders supposedly possess, giving them this absolute control. It is said that this control is linked to the tribes runes, and that a person trying to break from their tribe, will either go mad from their runes taking over, or will become weak, and lose all power. None of this has ever been proven, but you will not find a mystic willing to test said ancient magic.
“As a whole, the population of mystics functions for their respective tribes first, before they think of the individual…”
The lecture was boring today, as t usually was for me.
I just didn’t see the excitement that the others obviously felt. It was just another person, coming to live on the base, like a new neighbor. Those had never excited me much; I suppose it was because we moved around a lot. It was usually my father and I that were the new neighbors. And because this guy was also probably better at everything, better than I was at least, it exited me even less.
As the lecture continued, I turned to Bert. Minnie was absorbed in the lecture, like the Mystic was going to fawn over her more because she knew a thing or two about his tribe; which maybe he would, what did I know?
“Why is this such a big deal,” I mouthed, after catching his eye.
“It’s always like this when someone new comes. It was like this before you got here, too,” he whispered back.
“I never noticed anything, except for like the first day. And this seems more…intense, somehow.”
The teacher looked toward our side of the room, so I had to wait a while for Bert’s response. I ran through my first few days again, but couldn’t remember anyone saying they’d had a lecture on me, and my history, the day before I’d come.
No, I most certainly didn’t get this.
“Abs!” Bert waved his fingers slightly to get my attention. “You were…well, you were kind of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong; I like you, but we thought you’d be showing us all up within minutes of getting here. You WERE the general’s mystery daughter.”
“Sorry for the let down,” I forced as much sarcasm as I could into the sentence.
“No…it’s cool,” Bert said grinning at my reaction. “Really, I don’t care. Minnie doesn’t really mind either. She’s just putting off like she’s bothered, because…well, that’s how she IS.”
Yes, I thought, that’s exactly how she is. Maybe I’ll accidentally trip in training today, and take her down with me…
“But, you were still a Hawker,” he continued, ignoring my nod at his last comment. “This is the first time we’ll see a mystic. And for some of the younger Hawkers, it’s the first time they’ll see anyone other than a Hawker. THAT’s why everyone is acting like this.”
He added another grin at the end, probably just to reassure me that I could be more disappointing, if I tried. But I thought he’d picked up on my decision to accidentally get revenge for this morning, and all the comments Minnie’d given me this weekend. I’d have to wait until he was looking away.
I sat pouting until the clock tower chimed, signaling the end of class.
|Into the Light|