Chapter 9 - ApprenticeA Chapter by Nataliya Maize
Keira begins her training as a Wielder, and her brother Rozlend is shocked by her progress.
“Thud!” came the crashing sound of a wooden staff slamming into the loft floor of the cottage. Keira woke abruptly.
“Lesson one!” Thomas spoke. “Never... let yourself be taken off guard!” You’d better wake up if we’re going start your training.” he smiled.
The day was beautiful, sunny, and bright. The grass fields circling Maedoc’s cottage swayed to a cool breeze; a perfect day for training. Outside Thomas was saying his fond farewells, when Keira realized that the person he was speaking too was Phillip. The carriage driver who had literally landed himself between Keira legs on the day of the Sylph’s attack. Keira chuckled to herself at the thought of it, as she saw him sitting on the back of a dark chocolate-colored horse with beautiful silky black hair.
“Finally taking off huh?” she asked.
“Yep! Rozlend bought a horse over from the stables for me. So, I guess it’s back to Durnshire for now!” he replied smiling. “Besides... you guys have got enough trouble on your hands, you don’t need me getting in the way.” Keira giggled in response.
“Well... you just be sure to take care of yourself then.”
“Will do. Don’t worry, it’s not the first time I’ve ridden. I actually prefer riding one of these beauties, then hauling precious cargo.” he winked. Keira laughed in response. It felt odd to her now how she had only known him for a short period of time, and yet felt as thou she had known him all her life. “Besides, this is much more... exciting.” he smiled crookedly. “Well then... I’d better get going If I’m ever going to reach the city limits before nightfall. Take care of yourself Keira.” he waved a final farewell, and within moments he had vanished down the dirt road.
“So... you decided to join us after all.” Thomas smirked. “Here...,” he tossed a wooden staff in her direction. “I took the liberty of making this one for you. It’s rattan. Light, bendable... perfect for your first day of training.”
“It’s a staff?” she hesitated. “I thought wielders were suppose to use crystal wands?”
“They do. But... as you’ve seen, we also tend to transform them for defensive purposes. And seeing as this is your first time, your going to need to learn all you can about the basics first.”
“W, S, H.” he emphasized clearly.
“W, S, H? What’s that?” she asked, her brows clinched in question. Rozlend and Maedoc stood smirking in the background as they perched upon the low end of the yard’s stone fencing.
“The Wand, the Staff, and the Hand.” Thomas spoke as he counted them out with his fingers. “It’s the one fighting technique wielders have used for ages, and lived by since the beginning. The Wand is easy to maneuver... to direct your powers in whichever direction you please. But sometimes... a wielder can be easily overcome by their enemy, and wielding through the use of a wand can prove pointless. If your enemy is within reach, your life could easily depend on your technique with a staff, and if that’s not possible, then the only weapon left is the use of your hands. But for now, learning to wield with a staff will help you get by until you are ready to move on. Once you’ve mastered it, you will have the chance to find and create your own.”
Keira held the staff out in her hands, examining it for a moment. Her thoughts jumping back to when Thomas had held off the sylph. How his wand had transformed into a tool used to defeat the creature. Then she shuddered at the thought that it hadn’t after all, that it was Maedoc who had come to rescue them in the nick of time. The idea of what could have happened to them that day if he hadn’t shown gave her chills up and down her spine. But her thoughts drifted as she focused her attention on the monk’s instructions.
“The original purpose of a staff... was for use as a walking stick. Light enough to carry. Easy to conceal in the open. But as a weapon... the staff could deliver a heavy blow. And when in the hands of a wielder it is much more than a mere stick. As a wielder, it’s important that you know how to defend yourself, you might not always have a guardian to watch over you.”
“Ancient lore has always spoken of wielders protected by their guardians -angels, and at times even mortal men. Your mother’s guardian was Abbadon. But in this case, for the time being, your brother will be watching over you until otherwise.”
“Comforting, the one person who would prefer I didn't exsist.” she thought to herself. “But otherwise?” she wasn’t sure what to make of Thomas’s last note.
“Keira, weither you realize it or not, you were born with a natural ability to wield. Bending elements to your bidding. Whilst your brother on the other hand.” Thomas smirked. “Well... lets just say that he was born with a natural instinct to fight.”
“That’s putting it lightly.” she whispered softly, as she heard the chuckle of the tiny halfing in the background. Rozlend rolling his eyes in response; his arms crossed tightly against his chest.
“A-humm!” Thomas cleared his throat loudly. “That... is why prophecy speaks of the two of you working together.” he emphasized, shotting a stern look in Rozlend’s direction. “But Keira... your brother might not always be there to protect you, and if that situation were ever to occur... Evo forbid,” he muttered. “You will need to be prepared to defend yourself.”
“Lovely.” she replied, her voice a sarcastic ring.
“Right! Now! Lets begin. First things first. You’ll need to learn how to grasp the staff properly. Become comfortable with where it sits in your hands, so that it may flow gracefully within your grasp. Don’t look as it as a tool, but as a mere extension of yourself. As a wielder, we rely heavily on our instincts, our intuition, and on the emotions that flow through us from within the universe around us. Once you’ve come to understand these senses, the staff will become almost unnoticeable in your hands.”
Thomas slide the staff between his fingers, whirling it around in circles effortlessly as he spoke. His silver hair whipping around, never seemed to hinder him. The staff glid gracefully through the air, like a thin strip of cotton, leaving trails of white whisps, never appearing to solidify. And then suddenly, it stopped abruptly as the hard, solid object that it was, sitting within the firm grasp of the monk’s palms. He positioned the staff within Keira’s hands. Wrapping her fingers firmly around the rattan wood. Carefully he placed her hands. One hand on the top of the staff, while the other grasped from beneath, and then parted them equally on both sides within a shoulders length of each other.
“This is where you hands will sit.” he spoke firmly, staring directly into her eyes as he squeezed her hands tightly. Maedoc, and Rozlend stood silently, still leaning against the stone fencing as they watched with anticipation.”
“Now... I want you to face me. Place your feet together, and bring the staff up. Position the right end of it just over your shoulder.” she followed his directions carefully. “Now... step out with your right foot.”
“Like this?” Keira placed her foot outwards slowly, awaiting his next instruction.
“That’s good. Now, this is where your going to start your first basic attack.” he spoke as he circled around her, eyeing the formation of her stance. “Bend your front knee forward a bit. You need to lean into it more, and stretch the left leg further out.” he critiqued, as he swiped his staff from behind her knee to correct her, and nearly knocked her over in the process. Rozlend, let an abrupt chuckle, and a scowling look of annoyance washed over Keira’s face as she noticed her brother’s reaction.
“Now, while your holding your staff, I want you bring the left hand down to your waist, sliding it towards the end of the staff, and push your right hand out, sliding it towards the mid section. When you do this your staff should be at eye level. Not to high... and not to low. You want to be able to get a good gab at your attacker’s face.” Keira paused for a moment, thinking it through in her head and determined to get it right. As she began to move, the staff glided gracefully through the air, almost naturally. “Good! Very, good!” Thomas laughed with applause, as Maedoc shot a quick smirk of approval towards Rozlend. His face contorting into a slight grimace.
The rest of the day Thomas and Keira went over various techniques, one repeated after the other until she came close to perfecting each movement. Maedoc, and Rozlend remained sitting near by. Watching, and studying each movement with more and more anticipation, interest, and intrigued. This was the first time they had seen anyone, let alone an apprentice learn so quickly. A face of worry, concern, and finally amazement drifted across Rozlend’s face as time went by, transitioning with each thought that crossed his mind. She was not the fragile little girl he had thought her to be. He had never seen a student learn to embrace the ways of wielding a staff so quickly. Curiosity rang in his mind, if she was as quick to learn this, how would she do learning to wield the elements through a wand, let alone with her bare hands.
Prehaps, he would have to let go of his grudge afterall. Prehaps he would allow her to fight along side of him, rather then cast her aside, as he had done to so many others before.
Thomas, and Keira practiced until the sun light faded. It was as if time itself had stood still for that short moment. And all that mattered was the sturdy wood rod that lay between her fingers, and the feel of the wind whisping through her hair as she whirled the staff rapidly through the air with almost no effort. It was then that Rozlend realized she was a natural. A wielder whose powers had been awaken, and whose senses had come alive, as if she had woken from a slumber. She was no longer the fearful little girl pouting in the corner over an unexpected misfortune. She was someone... something, unique, and entrenched. Fascinated with what more instruction her master could offer her. Ready to learn, ready to move, to fight whatever it was that lurked within the darkness. And for once in her life, there was purpose. There was meaning, and finally... there was reason. She had woken from her slumber. And all the pieces of her soul that had faded and slipped away with a sudden farewell of her beloved family, had suddenly... by letting go -come together and turned her into the women she was destined to be. The fighter, the wielder, the Gate Keeper.
© 2009 Nataliya Maize
Dreamscape: The Gatekeeper Chronicles
Moreno Valley, CA
About- When we were young, and life was different - Check out my websites: My Twitter: http://twitter.com/NMaize A.N.A. Twitter: http://twitter.com/anaw.. more..