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Chapter 6 - Decisions

Chapter 6 - Decisions

A Chapter by VassD

Ania battles her inner demons at the gates of the Inner Compound.

The inner doors of the compound. Portals to where the Knights actually lived and trained.  Beautifully carved, they stood before her, and Ania, so close to what she had dreamed of her whole life, now found it impossible to step forward and open them.  Every bad thing she had ever heard said about the Knights ran through her head.  She tried to tell herself they were all lies, but the vicious little voice at the back of her mind reminded her that even the most outrageous lie had some basis of truth.  A final line from Alliania’s second letter clawed its way up from the bottomless pit of her memories to dance tauntingly in front of her mind’s inner eyes.  Very few who go are actually chosen, and fewer still make it through the actual training.  Again Ania tried to reassure herself, tried to tell herself that she was taking it out of context, that that sentence was a warning to make sure she picked the right Companion, and she had done that. But that malicious voice shouted her down once more.  The letter said she would not get very far without Hakem, but it did not say how far she would make it with him. 

Ania’s treacherous mind dredged up all the stories ever told to her by her sisters as they were trained, Ehmita specifically.  She had told tale after tale of new soldiers that were sent crying home because of an officer that took it upon themselves to turn life into a waking nightmare.  Ania painted that image onto her future, realizing that to be the ring of steel surrounding the Royal Family, the Knights would have to be subject to severe discipline.  Ania had never really had to follow any harsh rules�"most of her family just forgot about her.  She was an unneeded, unwanted shadow in the backs of their minds, and easier left there.  The only time she had ever felt any kind of authority was when Alliania had trained her, but that was only for a few brief years, and it had stopped when she was only five years old.  How could she have ever dreamt of doing this? Now she was here, she could not bring herself to even attempt the impossible.

As Ania stood there, she realized that for all the excuses that her mind made up, it came down to one thing. She was scared, and for the first time in her life, she didn’t know the exact reason.  Was she scared of what the Knights would be like, no matter what her aunt had said? Was she scared that one of the Masters would turn her life into a living nightmare? Or was she scared that, above all, the Knights would not accept her?  As Ania stood there, the other fears slipped away in the presence of that last, all-consuming terror, and she found herself rooted to the ground as if by some tangible force, unable to step forward and claim her destiny.

“Is something wrong, mia?” As they had walked through the streets, Lyem had taken to calling her mia, the nickname he had given his little sister, saying that Ania reminded him of her.  Ania thought it sounded like something in Geschyicht, the language of the Knights, but she was too preoccupied to translate it.

“Nothing.” She murmured, but even as she said it she knew that Lyem was not fooled.  Ania turned, her eyes wide and pleading, to meet his calm gaze. “What if I can’t do it, Lyem? What if one of the Masters doesn’t like me, or don’t even let me try to prove myself? What if�"”

Lyem stopped her. “Ania, listen to me. You’re letting everything you’ve ever heard about the Knights color your mind. Look at me.”�"he waited until she met his eyes�"“This Compound is different from any other in the city.  That is part of why they hate us.  We don’t follow their rules.” Ania recalled her aunt saying the exact thing many years before, but before she could slip back into the stream of memories, Lyem went on. “Whatever your sisters have told you about Guild Masters, it doesn’t apply here.  The Knights get so few people who even dare to come this far. Most people wouldn’t come anywhere near this Compound if they had a choice, but it’s the only way to the Palace, so nearly everyone in the Jeweled City has been through it, but they only travel through the enclosed roads that come from the four main doors. That’s another reason they hate us�"we cut them off from the Palace. Next to no one has ever come through the side doors, and the Masters want to keep as many as possible to add to the ranks.  The first day, they will rat out everyone who shouldn’t be here, but after that…” Lyem had, by then, knelt down and put his hands on her shoulders, so their eyes were at the same level.   When Ania tried to voice yet another doubt, he stopped her with a gentle finger to her lips. “Ania, don’t try and tell me that you don’t belong here. I have seen many groups of people come and go through this complex, and believe me, you are meant to be here. Your aunt would not have tried so hard to get you here if she did not believe you belonged here.  I believe you are meant to be here.”

Ania stared into his eyes, suddenly aware that his eyes shone just like Hakem’s when he talk to her about the Knights.  More specifically, when he talked about her aunt and Ania herself. She had noticed it earlier when he had told her that everyone in the Compound had loved Alliania.  The part of her mind that always seemed to be lost in memory woke up, finding something familiar in those eyes.  But the majority of her consciousness lit up as she realized that for the first time in her life, someone who hadn’t known her from birth actually believed in her. She threw her arms around his neck, giving him a massive hug, so glad that the first person she had met here was to be her best friend.

Lyem returned the hug, lifting her off her feet momentarily before pulling back and smiling broadly. “Even if I didn’t think you were supposed to be here, you wouldn’t have much to worry about from the Masters. Especially the BowMaster. Sir Alecgorn may look scary, but at heart he’s a big softie.”

At the name, the part of her mind swimming in memory suddenly connected Lyem’s eyes to a stranger seen long ago, when her aunt had brought one of the Knights to meet her family.  Anmita had been furious, and shouted at Alliania for hours.  Ania had run outside to escape the raised voices, and the Knight had followed her out.  They had talked for hours, and Alliania had come out to find them laughing and playing.  His name had been Alecgorn.

“I’ve met him before!” Lyem gave her a strange look, and Ania told him of the Knight she had met years before. “You look like him.  I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen your eyes before, but when you said his name, I remembered his face.”

Lyem smiled even broader.  “Well, I should hope I look like him.  He’s my father.” Ania stood for a moment, slightly shocked, but then she shook her head, clearing it.  Giving her new friend one last hug, she sent a message to Hakem, and as he shimmered out of sight, the four of them turned, and walked through the doors.

© 2012 VassD

Author's Note

This one is very short and seems slightly cheesy. The dialogue felt a little forced to me. Opinions?

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Added on April 25, 2012
Last Updated on April 25, 2012
Tags: knights, covenant, fantasy, magic, novel



A tiny random town-city-dimension, ID

I'm a fledgling author with dreams about as big as one of Robert Jordan's books. Maybe more than one on top of each other. I love writing fantasy and science fiction stories (No matter how long a piec.. more..

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A Chapter by VassD