â€œNo, no, no, gods no, HELLS no, why, Ashura, why, strike me down now, aw crap, please no!â€
This is what Dae said within the first 3.2 seconds of hearing he was now a Doman guardsman. Now as for the next 4.7 seconds, things got a little more potty mouthed. Daeâ€™s greeter laughed. â€œSon, youâ€™re going to fit in here just fine.â€
Dae looked at him in horror. â€œPlease tell me youâ€™re joking.â€
The greeterâ€™s smile disappeared. â€œYup. A scrawny little spellcaster like you isnâ€™t going to last a second. This is going to be interesting.â€ He waved Dae inside, and entered the guard station.
Daenjâ€™r breathed a sigh of relief, and silently prayed a prayer as he followed the armoured man. Thank you Ashura, he fervently thanked, for not letting me fit in here.
Once inside, Dae observed a lot of rough looking enlisted men, talking, laughing, and punching each other in the arm for fun. They all kind of paused what they were doing for a moment to eye Dae, warily, before reluctantly returning to what they were doing.
Yup, Dae thought. This is what the entrance to hell looks like.
As they walked, the greeter piped up. â€œThey call me Sarge here. Youâ€™ll be training under me.â€ He stopped short, and looked the young â€œcadetâ€ in the eye. â€œAnd I donâ€™t expect you to do well.â€
He shrugged. â€œBut, that just means that itâ€™s fun for me. Change rooms are down there, your locker numberâ€™s 47, training areaâ€™s marked with signs. See you out there.â€ With that, Sarge gave Daenjâ€™r a wide grin, patted him on the back, and headed off down some corridor, leaving the young, currently separated ex-mage on his own.
With a frown, Dae headed for the change room and found his locker, complete with a lock, and key, unlocked in the bracket. He removed the lock, and was about to open up the door, when he detected an odour. He sniffed again to be sure. It was unmistakable.
He stepped to the side, out of the way, and opened the door, watching rotted garbage fall to the ground. â€œOK, now who are the uneducated jackanapes who did this?â€
On cue, it seemed, a couple of cadets emerged from nowhere, looking quite cocksure. One piped up. â€œHowâ€™re ya doing, newca?â€
â€œNewca. What kind of skewed Common is that?â€ Dae asked.
â€œNew. Cadet. Newca. Do ya get it now, newca?â€
Dae scoffed. â€œYouâ€™ve got to be kidding me. Is this supposed to be humiliating or intimidating or something? Cuz itâ€™s really, really not.â€
â€œOooh, lookie here, Jeg, we got ourselves a spunky one!â€ said the second cadet, grinning as sweat dripped from his drenched hair. â€œCan I do it now?â€
â€œNo,â€ Jeg said. â€œI just barely got started playing with his head. Lemme fiddle a bit more.â€
â€œNo no, thatâ€™s probably as far as youâ€™ll get,â€ Dae said, interjecting. â€œIâ€™ve faced greater mental manipulators than you and succeeded. So, whatever your little surprise is, bring it out. You guardsmen are starting to bore me.â€
Jeg sighed in disappointment. â€œFine. Finny, do it up.â€
The scrawny little guard smiled gleefully, and started banging his fists on a locker door. Bit by bit, little by little, the footfalls multiplied. And within moments, Daenjâ€™r was surrounded by guards, all grinning and cracking their knuckles.
â€œYâ€™see, newca, we got a little tradition here. Everyone goes to their first day of training with a black eye. So Iâ€™m going to give you a choice. Either you stand there, and take it like a man, or, we force it out of you, and maybe give you a few bruises to go with it. What do you say?â€
â€œI say,â€ Dae said slyly, â€œthat I saw a broom closet on my way in here.â€ With that he whirled and shoved the thugs behind him to the side, and ran for it. With a rallying call from Jeg, the small contingent gave chase. A bit frantically, Dae searched for the closet, and when he found it, he reached in, and took hold of a broom, and used it to hold the pack of wolves at bay.
Jeg looked at him with disbelief. â€œWhat kind of idiot uses a BROOM to fight with?â€
â€œThis kind.â€ With an emphatic gesture, Dae slammed the end of the broom on the ground, breaking off the head. â€œHow do you like that?â€
Jeg was confused. â€œWhyâ€™d you do that?â€
â€œBecause, genius, I just turned a clumsy hunk of wood into my chosen weapon.â€ Dae spun the broom handle across his neck. â€œNow- â€
â€œYâ€™know,â€ said a voice from behind him, â€œyou could have just unscrewed the thing.â€
â€œTrue, but it wouldnâ€™t have looked nearly as dramatic.â€ Dae did not turn to view the man just yet. He still had a mob to hold off.
â€œAll right, all right,â€ said the voice to said mob. â€œYouâ€™ve had your fun, boys. This oneâ€™s not getting sullied today. Move alongâ€¦â€
Jeg looked as if he wanted to be indignant, defiant. But anyone could tell the old voice had more steel in it than Jeg had in his whole being. With another wave of his hand, Jeg dismissed the wrecking crew and the footfalls began to diminish, and fade.
Dae turned around. An old, old man, holding a broom of his own stood before him. â€œWell, young man, whatâ€™s your name?â€
â€œWow. Youâ€™re actually talking to me with respect?â€ Dae responded in surprise. â€œIâ€™m pleased and shocked.â€
â€œI still want your name, son.â€
â€œOh. Daenjâ€™r. Tymisonn. Nice to meet you, sir.â€
â€œOh, a Tymisonn,â€ the janitor said knowingly. â€œIâ€™ve heard of your family. Your lineâ€™s done great things.â€
Dae was floored. â€œYouâ€™ve HEARD of my family? I was beginning to think no one had.â€
â€œOh yes, Iâ€™ve heard all about Akâ€™Zhis, Akâ€™Zuhl, Pheeâ€™Urâ€¦ even you.â€
â€œMe? Oh, I havenâ€™t done anything important. I just helped around here and there.â€
â€œDidnâ€™t you defeat Father Lagnus, the evil Ashuran leader?â€
â€œâ€¦ well, yes. But I couldnâ€™t have without my sister.â€
â€œThat was me and my wife.â€
â€œOh. Well, whoâ€™d have thought? Anyways, you, sir, are late for training. Better get changed and going.â€
â€œReally? Ah, Sarge is going to bend me over a pommelhorse for being late on the first day.â€
â€œWow,â€ mused the janitor as he slid away. â€œYou really sounded like a soldier there.â€
â€œOh joy of joys, Iâ€™m in the- â€ Daenjâ€™r finally noticed the janitor was nearly out of sight. â€œWait! I never got your name!â€
He spun slowly, still walking. â€œHargrove. See you around.â€
Again, Daenjâ€™r was alone. He looked down on his shoes. Then he realized something.
The cadets filled his locker with garbage. He HAD nothing to change into. <p>