The Knight's Task and the Warrioress' Test Chapter 1
The Knighting of the Descendant
By Elizabeth Whittaker
Devur was nervous as he paced around in his room. Today was the day that he would finally be knighted a knight of Alekia. He didn't see why Commander Ibingway had to wait three years. After all, he did risk his life to save the world from the evil Sinistrals. But then again, Ibingway was always strange. Devur knew that he didn't like the young descendant of Maxim for some reason. He just didn't know why.
Besides, Devur thought, it's not like I didn't know what I was doing. And Ibingway thought because I left two years before my training was over, that meant that I had to stay to pay for the time I was away. But nothing good came out of it all. Except maybe for the people, who now live in peace . . . His mind drifted to what happened the day that the confrontation with the Sinistrals had arrived. It wasn't a day he wanted to remember, but it wasn't a day he was going to forget either.
"Devur! Hurry up! It's time!" A young, raven-haired man called. "You know how Ibingway gets! He's already in a bad mood because some girl tried to get in here to see someone."
Devur shrugged. "Probably Tassi again. You know how she is with Alan, Vanion. How long has it been since they've been together? About 4 years now?"
"Five," Vanion replied. "No, it wasn't Tassi. She almost always gets caught. And besides, she's going to be at the Ceremony of Knighthood."
Devur knew as well as Vanion did that girls weren't allowed in the knight's barracks. Commander Ibingway had caught one of the other knights doing something with another girl and ever since that incident, he never wanted girls in the knight's barracks. Anyone that was caught having a girl in his quarters had points taken off of their knighting title and they had an extra year put on if they did it a certain amount of times or if they took a leave a absence. "Didn't she tell you that she was getting something special for him?"
Devur shook his head. "No."
"She did, Devur. I was right there!" Vanion noticed that Devur wasn't paying attention. "Hey, we have to go . . .." Still he didn't answer. "Devur?"
He looked at Vanion. "What?"
"So it's not me. Everyone else knows you've been out of it lately. What is it?"
Devur shrugged again. "Nothing. Let's go Vanion. Don't want to keep Ibingway waiting, now do we?"
Both of them walked out of the room to the Commander's office. Devur was still thinking about the confrontation when Vanion pushed him. "Yeoww! What are you doing!" Devur yelled as he was pushed into the wall. Then he saw a couple of arrows fly from the other side. Both of them ducked.
"Damn, I missed that pest!" They heard a voice speak. It was a woman's voice. It was high pitched and melodic with every word. "Where are you, Aguro! I know you're there! You coward!!" Again, she started shooting arrows toward them.
Vanion crawled up slowly to where the arrows were coming from. It took about 5 minutes to reach her and disarm her since she was so far away. "Got her, Devur!" He called. Then, "I didn't think elves knew how to be sneaky! Or shoot arrows for that matter!!"
"We're fast," the woman growled. "I don't like being insulted either." Then she yelled, "And watch where you're grabbing!" Devur heard a groan come from Vanion as he heard her kick him.
"No wonder Ibingway's pissed," Devur mumbled. He walked up slowly to where Vanion was kneeling in pain. "You alright?"
Vanion gasped sharply. "Think she broke a couple of ribs. She sure can kick, Devur. Watch out for her."
"There's only two elves I know that can shoot arrows that well, and I don't think Demetri sounds like a girl. Don't you agree, Jerin?" Devur made the last line sarcastic. She said nothing. "Oh, do come out, now. This isn't the day to make me mad."
She stepped out of her hiding place, dressed in elven garb and had blond hair that was to the middle of her back now instead of her neck. Devur noticed that Jerin hadn't aged a day since they went their ways. "Oops. I thought you were Aguro. He snuck in to see you before you went for your Ceremony of Honor or whatever it is. He never did show up last night, and didn't bother to tell me. I sort of heard it from the other knights in town."
"So you try to shoot down your husband?!" Devur yelled.
"He is not my husband, Devur!! You know that Demetri will be!"
"Yeah, I know," Devur smirked. "That's why I said it. It irritates you. But still . . . where is the Elven Prince of Rainrar?"
Jerin was putting her bow on her back. "He's with me. But he didn't approve of my plan and stayed at the inn. Oh, Roman was looking for you."
"Thank the Goddess that you didn't shoot us down," Vanion mumbled.
"Did I break any ribs?" Jerin asked Vanion, knowing that he was still in pain.
Vanion shook his head. "No. Just hard to breathe right now. I've had broken ribs before."
Jerin snapped her fingers. "Oh, man!" she whined. "I never have!! I wish just once that someone would actually tell me that I broke their ribs! I'd be so happy..."
"Things still haven't changed," Devur mumbled as he went down to meet Ibingway. Jerin and Vanion followed him. When they arrived, Ibingway looked angry as they came up to him. "Commander, what are your orders?" Devur asked.
"I have no orders for you. I called you because I wanted to tell you that you will the last to go up there. Vanion will be second to last." He paused, not seeing the half-elf and continued. "Since the King is dying and war has just been declared, I will be the one knighting you all."
Oh, great, Devur thought sourly. That's the last thing I need. Ibingway knighting me.
"Um . . ." Vanion began, "who are we fighting against?"
"The Cult of the Lost Souls. They finally managed to get enough people for their army. As a matter of fact," Ibingway put in, "the leader that started this is a woman named Vala. She says that she was with those be damned Sinistrals during the Second War of Doom Island. Personally, I think that's a bunch of hogwash. But then again, there are rumors of her and her two disciples using magic on every town they come to. At least three towns were frozen and no one survived."
Vanion looked concerned. "What towns?"
"Medan, Treck and . . .that magician town, I think," Ibingway reported.
"Magician town!?" Devur flipped. "Arus! No!"
Ibingway looked strangely at him. "What's so important about that place!? There's a whole bunch of old people there. Not like we need them or anything."
"A friend of mine . . ." Devur began, but stopped, the feeling of heartbreak overtaking him. It hurt him to hear the news of Arus being frozen and the fate of the villagers living there. "She was living there . . ."
"How?" Vanion asked. "Only magicians can open the door. And you're not that great of a magician, sorry to say."
Jerin shrugged. "He knows that. But our friend was. That's what he's so upset about, isn't it?"
Ibingway now noticed the half-elf and pointed to Jerin. "What's she doing here?! She was the girl that snuck in here last night!"
Jerin brushed the hair out of her face. "I wanted to talk to Devur, that's all. But you wouldn't let me, so I had to sneak in here."
"Vanion, show her out, please," Ibingway ordered with a barking growl. "And if I ever catch you in here again, I'll . . ."
"Don't bother making threats, Ibingway. I won't be coming back here," Jerin yelled behind her as she and Vanion were walking out. He heard their footsteps as Ibingway was talking.
" . . . elves! Never can trust them!" Ibingway mumbled.
"Sir," Devur told him in clenched teeth, "that elf you just took away is one of my most respected friends. Granted, she can act childish and immature at times, but Jerin is a good friend of mine. I personally don't like you judging a book by its cover. True, she did sneak in here, but it was for a good reason." He took a breath. "Now, if there wasn't anything else, will you excuse me?" Devur didn't wait for an answer. He simply left.
An hour later, Devur was sitting on a platform with Vanion. The Ceremony of Knighthood had finally come. This was the most important thing that happens to a knight. They receive their proper name and they can help the world. Not that Devur hadn't done that. But the other reason he liked this day was because he could finally escape Commander Ibingway forever. Well, not forever, Devur thought hurriedly. I'll have to see him whenever I visit here sometime.
He looked out over the crowd. Everyone came to see their young boys grow up and become knights. He saw Roman out there, standing with Jerin, a green haired man with armor on and a brown haired man with the same elven garb on, wearing a gold necklace. So Jerin found Aguro. I should have known he wouldn't have left without his armor. And Demetri . . . he's grown up since I saw him. He's finally took Jerin's advice and decided to look like a traveler instead of a Prince.
"Vanion Windorn," Ibingway called. All the other knights had gone except them.
"Well . . . wish me luck, will you? I hope I don't do anything stupid."
Devur was still looking out at the crowd. Then he turned to Vanion. "Good luck. Remember, your father's out there as well as Elysia."
"Especially in front of her. I'll never hear the end of it, and I won't get her kiss that she promised me," Vanion complained. "Good luck to you too. And don't kill Ibingway up there."
Devur nodded. "I won't. Now go." He watched Vanion go up to Ibingway, then looked at the crowd again one last time. He was nervous about going up there. Especially since his friends were there. If he did one thing wrong, he would never hear the end of it.
"Devur Tranvent," Ibingway called again. "The last of the knights to be knighted this year. You all may remember him as the one leaving to save the world from the Sinistrals three years before. I'm proud to say that this the last year he will be here. Devur, come up here."
"Jamison Ibingway, I only have one thing to say to you," A girl's voice called from the crowd. It sounded so familiar to Devur that he was ready to scream. "You're a fat, overgrown pig who doesn't realize the extent of Devur's talents. You kept him in the training grounds when he was perfectly ready to leave. He knows the ways of fighting and being chivalrous. And yet, you refused to let him go three years before." Devur couldn't see who it was, for the sun was in his eyes. "Before you knight him, let me do something first."
"Why?" Jamison Ibingway barked at her. "You don't know anything!"
"Maybe not before," she answered, "but I do now." With that, the girl walked up on the platform. Her head was covered with a cloak that held her hair back. He could see her lavender eyes looking at him. "Devur, you should have been knighted three years ago. You should've." She then uncovered her head. He gasped when he saw her.
"It can't be! You were . . ."
"Things change, Devur. I happened to regain my memory a few weeks ago. Then Jerin came by with her elven friend, saying something about your getting knighted. So, I thought I'd surprise you by coming by. Here," she told him as she pulled out something behind her back.
It was a beautiful sword with a scabbard. The scabbard had rubies and amethyst jewels. They gleamed in the sunlight as she handed it to him. "I did promise you that I'd get you a present, Devur."
Devur's sapphire eyes looked at his friend with love, tears coming down his face. "You couldn't wait until later to do this, could you, Lufia?" he asked as he took the present and hooked it to his belt. Then he looked at her again. "Thank you."
Lufia let her hair hide her face. Only now did Devur notice that it was shorter, only to about mid-back instead of her waist. "I . . . I honestly would have lost my nerve. It was hard enough coming here, after what happened between us . . ." She let the sentence hang. "Good luck, Devur. I won't be coming back." Quickly, she ran off the platform.
"Wait!" he called. "Don't leave now! Not when . . ." But she didn't hear him and ran. "I just found you," he mumbled to himself. Oh, great, Devur thought desperately. What is it that I did now?! Can't she just see . . .
Devur looked around, particularly at Jerin and all his other friends. He noticed now that Vanion was with his girlfriend, Elysia. They stood with them as well, wondering what the descendant of Maxim was going to do. He looked at the half-elven girl. As if reading his thoughts, she left and ran after Lufia. Ibingway, still with a shocked look on his face, continued the ceremony.
"Devur Tranvent, you are hereby sworn to protect the innocent, peruse after the guilty, and not do anything that will dishonor yourself or our fellow knights. Do you swear to do this?"
Aguro walked up on the platform. "Now wait a minute. You forgot something."
"What's that?!" Ibingway barked out at him.
"Never make accusations without the evidence and always trust your instincts. When you make a mistake, you will pay for it. Whether it's in guilt, whether it's in losing your friends, you pay for it. I know I almost did, once. But I paid in my guilt for being so stupid."
Demetri rolled his eyes. "Sure he did." It was only a mumble, so only Vanion, Roman and Elysia heard him.
"Fine. Do you swear to this, Devur?" Jamison's face was red now from anger.
People shrieked as an arrow shot out of the crowd from the back. "Wait a second!"
"What . . . is . . . it . . . now . . .?!!" Jamison said it with clenched teeth.
Jerin came out with an arrow cocked on her bow. People moved out of her way in case she was going to shoot. Her face was emotionless, but her voice sounded angry. "You can't forget protecting young ladies and killing arrogant commanders."
"Why should he do that?" Jamison growled.
"Why?" Devur asked, this time with a dangerous tone in his voice.
She rolled her golden eyes in response. "It didn't come from me, Devur. I was just supposed to deliver the message, that's all." Jerin put down the bow. "Devur, will you swear and get down from there?"
"Yes, Devur, will you swear?" Ibingway asked angrily.
Devur looked at each of his friends in turn. First Aguro, then Jerin. Demetri, then Vanion and Elysia. He spotted Tassi and Alan together. Roman, who was standing all alone, looked to the back, walked over and brought Lufia over and then looked at the lone knight-to-be. "I swear, on my word as a knight of Alekia, that I will fulfill all the expectations and the requirements that are expected of me."
He was handed a shield with a gold raven, the symbol of the Alekian knights. "Kneel, Devur," Ibingway told him as he drew out his sword, putting the flat part of the blade on Devur's left shoulder. He did as he was bid. Then Ibingway lifted the sword in an arc over his head, putting the flat part of the blade on his right shoulder. "Rise, Sir Devur. I now name you a Knight of Alekia. You have fulfilled the expectations of knighthood and have earned your title, Wielder of Dual Blade."
"Don't remind me of that," Devur mumbled as he walked off the platform. Everyone cheered as he walked off and into the town, with all eyes staring at him.
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