Thursday, 27 November 2014

Scent: Part 18


The next day Reven woke refreshed after the best sleep he'd had since the calamity at Rosholt. The previous nights meal had left all the aspirants with full bellies and had given them a chance to know more about each other. It had seemed that tragedy had befallen all of them in one way or another and everyone of them was alone in the world. This new kinship continued in the morning and the aspirants chatted freely as they dressed and made ready for the day ahead. Fang was now wearing a sash of black material around his neck that had the dogs head badge on it. This is what passed for a hounds clothes Reven surmised.

Hultz came to collect them and led them upstairs to a new classroom in the main house. Reven was overjoyed to see that the room had a window and despite the day being overcast he couldn't contain his happiness and rushed over to the window as the wind slowly swayed the drooping green branches of the trees outside. The morning flew past and come midday the class were led back down into The Deep to a large hall. It was carved out of rock and had several braziers that were suspended from the ceiling. The size the room was overwhelming and Reven wondered how the world above didn't come crashing in through the ceiling despite the two vast columns that sat a third and two thirds of the way in respectively. Master Hultz ushered them over to the side of the room and they sat on benches whilst still gazing around the room. He left them telling them that their trainer would be with them soon.

Only minutes had passed when a powerfully built man walked across the great hall towards them. His dark brown hair was long and pulled back into a ponytail. The olive skin of his face was marred by scars and his nose looked as if it had been broken at least twice. A scar ran the length of the left side of his face, over his eye down his cheek and across his lips ending on his chin. A huge wolf's skull sat on his right shoulder and he wore a wolf's pelt as a cloak. He wore a richly detailed steel breastplate and a sword at his side. In one of his hands he carried a shield that again featured the wolf motif and his muscular arms were bare below the elbow where they met his black undershirt. He stood in front of them casting an appraising eye over them paying special attention to the badges on the aspirants shoulders. He cocked an eyebrow as he came to Reven and his multiple badges. When his eyes settled on Fang they lit up and a broad smile appeared on the mans face. He walked straight toward Fang who stood at his approach. He fell into a crouch in front of the hound and offered hi his hand. Fang sniffed at it and once he had stopped the man moved it to the top of Fangs head stroking it gently. He whispered words in a tongue that Reven didn't recognise before ruffling his fingers behind Fangs ear. The man stood and moved to stand in front of the aspirants again. 'I am Master Powel. I am here to tutor you in the art of defence and to my mind the best defence is to annihilate your foe' his face dropped into a snarl as he spoke. 'Most of you will break under my ministrations like so many twigs. The next few weeks will test you. My aim is to mould you into warriors or destroy you in the process.' Powel smiled at this enjoying watching the young aspirants squirm.

He walked over to a wooden chest that sat against the wall and heaved the lid open. He called for the aspirants to form a queue and proceeded to hand out swords that had wooden blades. Once everybody had one Master Powel explained that these were their practice swords and they should be taken with them everywhere. Crude sword belts were handed out that had a loop of leather in place of a scabbard. Reven secured his sword at his side and noted that hilt and cross guard were made of solid metal; iron he thought from the faint glow of rust on it. It added a real weight to the sword making it only a little lighter than the short sword he had procured whilst escaping Rosholt.

Powel moved the group into the centre of the room and stood them around a circle that was drawn in red paint on the floor. 'Time to see what the youth of today are made of. You' he said pointing at Dodger who was the biggest of the aspirants, 'and you' he pointed at Reven. 'Move into the ring. On my command you will battle until one of you bleeds freely or until one of you falls.' With that Powel stepped away from the ring. Reven drew his wooden blade and readied himself. The aspirants newly found friendships would be sorely tested in the coming moments.

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