Legacy of Honor Chapter 10
Ramia sighed as she stared out the window where it afforded her a view of the knights patrolling the ramparts, the red and green pennants of Limberry Castle wavering in the midmorning wind, her mind wandering as the monotonous voice of the chaplain droned in her ears.
She pictured herself walking along those ramparts, conversing with the other guards as they dutifully guarded the castle, armor blazing brightly, hand rested on the hilt of her sword.
Ramia sighed again, wishing that time would move faster. Being a page for the past five years was a tiresome matter that she could not help but go through this first phase of knightly training. In the mornings, she would help set up the meal, bringing in food and drinks, washing the dishes afterwards.
Later, she would go to the stables and lead her fathers chocobo to the castle yard where she exercised it on a tether. She, herself, did not have a chocobo for that privilege is reserved for squires. She did, however, became familiar with taking care of the great birds. After exercising her fathers chocobo for about an hour, she would bring it back to the stables where she groomed the sleek black feathers and fed it Sylkis Greens.
The washing and the exercising were but a part of a pages duty, the rest being the wearisome matter of formal education, which she loathed. Though it was interesting to learn of Ivalices pastwith the Fifty Year War being the most recent lessonshe also learned language, politics, religion, andmost unpleasant of allcourtly behavior.
She was taught not to sit until asked to do so, not to claw at body or to lean against a post in her masters presence, to be obedient to her lord, and to do instantly whatever was asked of her by her lord. Such behavior taught her common courtesy, to show proper respect in the presence of higher officials.
There was also the bothersome chore of learning the arts. The chaplaina man in his mid-thirties named Raywas quite pleased to have found Ramia quite adept at music. At times she would sing for her father at the great hall, her melodic voice echoing through the room as her fingers strummed the strings of the instrument she most favoredthe lyre. Dancing, however, was a different matter.
The judgment of beat that served Ramia so well on the lyre deserted her completely on the dance floor. She would either stumble or step on her partners toes. The chaplain called her a dancing hazard, one that would impede other dancers on the ballroom floor with her clumsiness. Such lack of dancing skill was improper of a lady and so, Ray was determined to turn his pupil from a floundering fledgling to a graceful crane.
Despite having two left feet, she excelled quite well in her other subjects. Ray praised her for having a keen mind that would match the edge of any finely honed sword, her quick wit serving her well in the future in both the battlefield and in the castle.
But sharp minds also fall prey to inattentiveness as the chaplain found out upon hearing another sigh escaping his students lips. He promptly turned from his task of writing notes on the board to see Ramia staring out at the window, where a finch sat on the sill returning his students stare with one of its own, tilting its head to one side. Noticing anothers approach, the finch gave a trill as if in warning to the young girl staring at it before quickly taking flight in a flurry of bright feathers.
Ramia gasped, quickly averting her gaze from the window to the man that had called her, realizing that she had wandered off during the lesson. Forgive me, Brother Ray, she apologized sheepishly. I must have drifted off.
Ray smiled in acceptance then said in a gentle voice: Perhaps we should end the lessons for the day. I dont want my best student to work too hard.
No, please! Ramia exclaimed in shock. I dont want the lessons to end because of my daydreaming! What would father think?!
He shall hear nothing of it, Ray replied reassuringly. If he questions on why youre out of class early, tell him that I wasnt feeling well.
But thats lying! she protested. And according to Gods commandments, its wrong to lie! You even told me that yourself!
The chaplains smile grew wider, proud to have instilled such strong moral values in the young girl. Very good. Im glad to see that you still practice the moral code. Ive taught you well.
Then teach me some more! Ramia urged eagerly. Ill pay attention this time! I promise!
Ray chuckled heartily. Oh, but I must insist, Mistress Ramia! Theres more to life than history and politics...like that finch you were staring at a moment ago. He paused briefly as he leaned against his desk. Heres a thought, he resumed. Todays assignment shall be to enjoy the rest of the day, to experience the wind on your face as you walk the battlements, to hear the merchants bartering in the market, to smell the fresh loaves of bread from the bakery. This will teach you that theres more to life than these four walls and to appreciate it. Different, yes?
Ramia tapped her chin in thought then nodded. It is...different.
Then do you accept it? Ray inquired, his dark eyes twinkling. Then smirked as he added, If not, then I could go on with todays lessons...
Ill do it! the bright young girl exclaimed as she jumped out of her seat. Its better than sitting around all day.
Good! the chaplain nodded in approval. I want you to tell me everything you experienced first thing tomorrow. Youre dismissed!
The young page quickly exited the study, eager to accomplish todays assignment. Brother Ray gazed pensively at the door that had shut behind his pupil, reflecting on the change he had seen in Ramia for the past few months.
A few months ago, her nephewthough she didnt think of Galvin as her nephewmoved to Lesalia to continue with his knightly training being promoted to the rank of squire at the age of fourteen. Ever since, he had caught Ramia staring at the window constantly as if seeking to join Galvin at the Imperial Capital. Being at twelve years of age, she had two more years before she would leave this out of the way castle for something greater in the large city of Lesalia.
Patience, he murmured as he went to the board to begin erasing the notes he had painstakingly written. That is also part of the moral code...
Ramia ran enthusiastically along the parapets of Limberry Castle, laughing as she enjoyed the feel of the cool wind washing over her face. Guards posted at intervals glanced as she passed puzzled at her behavior. However, there was one who questioned it.
What are you doing out of class so early? a loud, yet gentle voice asked, bringing Ramia to a stop.
She turned to see her brother standing behind her decked in full armor that shone in the soft glow of the sun, his cape wavering wildly in the strong wind.
Ramia smiled as she cheerfully greeted her brother. Brother Ray let me out early to begin todays assignment, she explained afterwards. I am to enjoy the rest of the day and to appreciate life.
Really? Alex asked and when Ramia nodded, continued, Then perhaps youll also enjoy this letter that just arrived from Galvin. He took out a folded parchment and held it up between two fingers.
Ramia quickly ran towards her brother and snatched the note from his hand, eagerly unfolding it, curious to know what Galvin has been doing lately since this was his first letter that he sent ever since he left. It read:
To my family in Limberry:
Greetings! Three months ago, I was but a humble page in the service of Limberry. Its hard to believe that Im now a squire under the tutelage of an honorable knight that had served the royal family for many years, Lord Agnes Oaks. He is a good man though somewhat despondent at times, which puzzles me though I do not question about it. As for the training, hes quite the teacher! Its through his guidance that I can withstand duels and mock battles when I train with other squires at the palace yard. Oh! The palace! Ramia, you should see it! Its absolutely breathtaking especially after you pass the gate. A great dome serves as the cupola of the palace proper, rising from a single gigantic block of white from which windows and balconies look down on the yards, arched doorways affording entrance. I must admit, I wish you were here for Oaks Keep seems a lonely place. Hurry up with your studies! As to mother and father, I miss you both. The same goes to grandfather and grandmother. I hold all of you in my heart and shall do my best to make you all proud of me, to uphold our family honor and pride.
Alex couldnt help but smile at his sisters expression, her eyes wide as she read and reread the letter, her nose nearly touching the parchment as she held it taut in between her hands. I think thats enough, he said after what he believed was the fifth time Ramia read the letter, prying the parchment from her fingers which didnt want to let go.
Ramia let out a small cry of disappointment when Alex managed to seize the letter from her.
I believe you have an assignment to do, Alex said as he folded the parchment and place it beneath his bracer. I hope youre not planning to run around the castle all day.
Ramia laughed then at her brothers failed optimism. Dont worry, she assured him. I was planning to go to town next with father but since youre here...
You want me to go with you, right? Alex guessed and Ramia nodded. He chuckled as he said, Why not? My shift is almost over anyway. Wait for me in the great hall and I would gladly escort you around town.
All right, Ramia agreed. Thanks, brother! She gave a small wave before leaving for the great hall, humming a small tune as she traversed the stones.
Alex couldnt believe that eight years had passed since Ramia had arrived in Limberry from Lesalia. She was a small girl then just barely pass the age of a toddler. Now she stood at the doorway of adolescence. He could not help but wonder where the time had gone...
Fish! Get your fresh fish here, straight from Lake Diara! Fresh fish ready to eat as soon as you take it home!
Similar shouts rang throughout the market as merchants tried to sell their various wares. There was a whole assortment of items on sale. From the armories and medicinal shops that most travelers frequented to antiques like vases and tapestries to shops that sell magical items, a favorite among mages.
Though she had traversed the streets of the town many times in the past, Ramia could not help but stare in awe every time she visited. There was a time, however, when she stared not in wonder but in thought.
She had begun to distinguish the difference between herself and the people. She even recognized a difference between herself and her parents. First, she saw that most Limberrians possessed dark colored hair and slightly slanted eyes. Their skin was tan in color, having spent most of their lives out in the sun as they fished. She stuck out quite well in a crowd with her fair skin and bright blonde hair, characteristics of a person from the west.
Ramia knew her father to be of Limberrian stock while her mother came from a place called Fovoham. Though her mother came from the west, that still did not explain why she was so different. Becoming aware of this fact, she questioned her parents about it.
Knowing that this would eventually happen, Andrew and Celinda were prepared to impart the knowledge she sought. Ramia learned that her true mother was a common knight serving in Zeltennia Castle, who died trying to quell a riotone of many that took place after the death of Queen Ovelia and the disappearance of King Delitain Zarghidas Trade City while her father...
Her foster parents did not know her father. They said that he had disappeared long before she was born. A coward they had called him, one who probably could not face the responsibilities of raising a child. And so she grew to resent her father even though she didnt know him, resent him for abandoning them, perhaps using them.
Visiting Zeltennia at that time, her foster parents heard the news and out of the goodness of their hearts, adopted her into their family. Ramia didnt remember any of this but she grew to love her new family.
And her new home.
She smiled now as she savored the sights and sounds of the town. Limberry was full of wonders made possible by the people. Such a place could not exist without them.
Alex also pointed that out as he said, Look, Ramia. He waved a hand around, encompassing the people and the buildings, the sky above and the ground below. The people live because of us though some nobles dont agree.
What do you mean, Alex? Ramia asked puzzled.
They emerged at the town square where a beautiful white marble fountain spewed forth water that cascaded down to a pool below. Mothers sat at the pools edge as their children laughed, pushing the white lotuses that floated on the water as if they were miniature boats, perhaps thinking about taming the lake as the rest in Limberry. There were a few couples that held hands, mesmerized by the water that flowed down.
Some nobles believe that the people exist to serve us, Alex replied as he led Ramia to the fountain where she sat at the pools edge staring at her reflection in its waters. But in truth, one cannot live without the other. They give us food and clothing while we provide them with protection. Understand?
Ramia nodded slowly then said, We must treasure all life, be it a nobles or a commoners; all are equal in Gods eyes.
I see that youve been studying the Scriptures, Alex said with an approved smile. With a bit more patience and training, I have no doubt that you will become a fine knight.
Ramia smiled at her brothers praise and when he suggested that they return to the castle, she agreed having learned a lot today. Once they returned home, she decided to write what she learned in preparation for making her report to the chaplain on the morrow.
I heard that you went to town today, Andrew stated calmly as he sliced a portion of his venison.
It was dinnertime in Limberry Castle, the family all gathered around the table as usual talking about the days events; all except for one.
After three months, Ramia still expected Galvin to show up. She now looked at the empty seat he usually occupied with mixed feelings of jealousy and eagerness; jealous of him for being able to go on with his training while she was stuck as a page for two more years and eager to finish her own training as a page so that she may join him.
What business did you have there? Andrew continued after swallowing the portion of venison, his voice bringing Ramia to the present.
She was about to reply to her fathers inquiry but was saved the task when her brother spoke: Ramia needed someone to accompany her to town so she could accomplish her assignment.
Is that so? Andrew placed his utensils down, wiping his mouth with a napkin after. And what assignment would that be? He gazed at Ramia awaiting an answer.
I was to enjoy the rest of the day and to appreciate life. Ramia repeated what she had said to her brother when he had asked why she was out of class early.
Thats an unusual assignment. Andrew stroked his beard thoughtfully then shrugged before taking his utensils into his hands once more. But I do not question Brother Rays teaching methods. He sings his praises about you every time I speak with him.
Ramia smiled widely at such compliments, her chest slightly swelling in pride.
However, her father continued, her smile slightly faltering at his solemn tone, he seems to be concerned about your dancing capabilities.
Her smile completely flipped upside-down into a frown at the mention of her one area of failure. I try my best, father, but my feet seem not to be made for dancing, she argued. Is it not better if I sing during a banquet than to dance?
Perhaps, Andrew allowed as he sliced another portion of his meal.
Your voice is quite heavenly, daughter, Celinda agreed, but its best that you learn to dance as well. A well-rounded person is more valuable than one who is not at all.
So, youre saying that its better to sing and dance than to just sing? Ramia said in askance.
Of course! her mother replied.
Ramia just sighed.
So, what did you do yesterday? Brother Ray asked as soon as Ramia took her seat. What did you experience?
I felt the wind on my face as I ran along the ramparts, his student began. I read a letter Galvin sent saying that he misses me and wishes that I was at Lesalia with him. Then I went to town with my brother and he taught me that we should respect everyone regardless of rank.
The chaplain nodded, pleased with the report. That is Gods Will for everyone, he stated. We practice it here in Limberry but in other cities and towns... He shrugged casually. Well, you shall see once you go to Lesalia. Now, he turned towards the board where he had written todays lecture notes, let us begin todays lessons...
Ramia dutifully dipped her quill into an inkpot in preparation of taking notes. If she were to become a squire, she would need to endure two more years of being a page.
And today, she became one day closer to that goal.
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