The Flight of The Draykes
Time passed yet again at a pace that seemed a little too hurried.
Days blurred into the other as our daily schedule went on like clockwork.
In the wee hours of the day, we, or rather I - would find ourselves in the midst of the unknown with notes describing the missions of the day, then we would spar with the devil Teacher for a long time after doing the various warm-ups, following which we would have a find and locate mission.
From there, we’d head to Edwin and his tavern where we would ply the patrons with their beverage of choice and note down the choicest bits of information that we could overhear. Then we would report it dutifully to Sir James who would teach us patiently that the information we brought was all horse shite.
Good times all in all.
But today, I have a feeling that my luck is changing.
I can’t tell what it is, but I have a feeling.
Yawning, I rose out of my bed to see the bright sun streaming in from the windows.
Raising a hand to block the sun, I walked to my window and looked out at the practice field that was empty below.
Smiling contentedly, I stretched my body into various shapes before standing up on tiptoes and yelling out,
For I had overslept and nobody had woken me up.
The thought of the devil and the rogue planning their torturous plans played through my head and I trembled like a leaf about to be blown away in the wind.
Steeling myself, I wore my clothes while wondering where Ares was.
I didn’t want to call him because while he might be my personal attendant, to me - he will always be my friend and playmate.
So, I shrugged on the black shirt that had quickly become my favorite, threw on the blue doublet on top of it - I quite fancied those after seeing my devil teacher’s doublets - and then wore a pair of black as night pants with black boots.
Finishing it off with a brown belt and a brooch, I examined myself in the mirror critically.
Yes, The doublet might stop the devil teacher from destroying me so thoroughly that nothing remains and the belt will stop the rogue teacher from stealing my pants.
Confidently, I stepped out of the room, only to see a note pinned to my door that said, “Come see me - Leonidas”
Shuddering, I confirmed that the feeling of my luck turning was indeed true and continued to the prison.
Taking deep breaths before entering, I finally mustered my courage and walked in with my head lowered and my hands in front of my face defensively.
Only to be almost knocked down - not by the devil teacher punching me- but by the noise that burst out.
Blinking my eyes, I opened them wide to see Sia, Ares, Aaron, Leonidas, Sir James, Frizelda, and mother!
Virtually all the people important to me were here!
But why were they here?
Before I could think about it, I was lifted off my feet by my brother who Bal nearly crushed my spine in his bear hug before I was spun around and caught by Leonidas who set me on my feet before clapping his hands on my shoulder.
Solemnly he looked at me and said, “Faustus, a very-”
Before he was elbowed aside and my mother took his place and finished, “Happy Birthday Dear!”
Behind her Ares and Frizelda also chorused in unison, “Happy Birthday Faustus!”
Sir Thomas who was already fiddling around with his wineskin also muttered out, “Happy Birthday you young scamp!”
To which my mother glared at him and he pointedly ignored the heated look.
Speaking of looks, I had eyes only for one person.
The one who was looking at me with her eyes full of happiness and satisfaction.
“Happy Birthday Faust!” She said.
Smiling widely, I nodded my head at Sia before stepping in and lifting her off the ground in a hug, much the same way my brother had just done to me.
Eyebrows raised, my brother seemed about to comment critically on the form of the bearhug when my mother whacked him on the arm and cut him off before he began.
Meanwhile, I let Sia down and gestured to everyone in the room,
“Thank you, everyone. How did you know it was my birthday?”
Instead of looking at my family members who couldn’t remember a day to save their lives, they all looked pointedly at the girl behind my back who blushed crimson.
I knew the answer of course.
It’s just that I needed another reason to hug her again and I did just that.
This time blushing so red that tomato juice could’ve been squeezed out, Sia pushed me away before taking out an engraved box that was the size of a ruler.
Holding it out, she looked away as I happily accepted the box and then examined it.
Only to fall silent in shock.
The box had many of the scenes that we had gone through in the past few years engraved on it.
From the moment she used to stand in front of Harold for me, to the moment that I stood in front of Harold for her, to the time on watchers rest, to the time when I put the hair-clip on for her, to the time we stood at the fountain, and finally - the image where I held the box.
Foolishly, I looked at her wordlessly.
Before hugging the box tight.
She smiled as she saw that.
She smiled wider as I opened the box and my jaw fell as I took in the beautiful dagger - black as night and thin as a leaf. The blade was a leaf blade dagger that had serrated edges at the bottom and a scalpel double edge on the top. At the very center of the tip, it was as pointed as a needle as though this dagger was meant to slice and stab and do both perfectly.
I fell in love with it at first sight.
“For me?” I stammered.
“For you.” She answered.
I looked her in the eyes and the words that had to be said passed through without being said.
The smile that we were sharing was cut short by our Teacher Leonidas who craned his neck over my shoulder, giving the dagger a curious look.
Glaring dirtily at him, my gaze was wiped clear as he pressed an object into my hand.
Looking down, I saw that it was a sheath that he had pulled out from nowhere and thrust into my hand.
If the dagger was a beautiful butterfly, the sheath was like a caterpillar.
It was made of hundreds and thousands of threads that intertwined amongst each other, over and over again, until a sheath of threads had been formed.
Not one thread remained outside of the curvature of the sheath and it had no shine to denote that it was anything other than a plain cloth sheath.
But holding it, I felt like I was holding a mountain.
I didn’t know what it was but I knew it was precious as soon as I saw my mother’s and Sir James's eyes widen.
Nonchalantly, Sir Leonidas walked away from us to the end of the room where a table full of food was laid out, and poured himself a cup of wine.
Breaking out of the trance, I held the box with the dagger in it and the sheath in both of my hands and looked at Sia and our devil teacher with the corner of my eyes wet.
Coming to another table, I gently laid the precious objects down and was about to thank the two when my face came face to chest with my brother, Aaron.
Tilting my head upward to meet his eyes, he grinned at me as I grinned back.
Scratching his head, he said, “I didn’t have anything precious to give you - so I got you these,” He said as he held out a pair of leather gauntlets with metal on top.
My eyes wide, I fiercely hugged the big guy. These were exactly what I needed since I usually went up and personal against the opponent.
The metal could also be used to parry attacks if I used it properly.
“Thank you, Aaron! These are perfect!” I said, as I excitedly waved them around.
Grinning, my brother moved aside, and then it was my mother’s turn.
She held out a scroll in a leather tube with a sling.
Unfurling it, I saw that it was the picture of the dragon that she had been painting that time when I almost blew up thanks to the warforce potion but now it was complete in all its glory.
I was about to unfurl it fully when my mother shook her head, smiled, and said cryptically, “If one day you find yourself truly lost and far from home, then look at it and remember - You are a Drayke.”
Even though I had no idea what she meant, I nodded firmly and put the scroll in its tube carefully before hugging her in turn.
Smiling, she ruffled my hair, and then it was Ares who came up.
He held out a small brooch.
Carved painstakingly out of ashwood, it was as sturdy as the heavens and was black as ink with the blue gleaming brightly as though it would dance out of the brooch.
It had been carved into a dragon coiled around a straight spear and every detail was a delight to behold.
It was the House Drayke brooch.
Touched, I immediately took off the brooch I was wearing and pinned Are’s brooch on.
Beaming, I hugged him tightly.
Frizelda who stood beside Ares stepped forward and handed me a small locket that could hold one person's portrait.
Whispering she said, “For the one most important to you to stay beside you when away.”
Bowing to her, I accepted the gift gratefully.
Smiling, she stepped back - revealing the rogue who was looking discomfited.
Surrendering to the moment, he gave a sigh of defeat before throwing something at me.
I caught it deftly only to see that it was a stone the color of blood, set upon a ring of burnished iron.
Simple, unadorned was my assumption. Apart from the stone on top.
But judging by the sucking in of breaths of all the people around me, it was extremely precious.
Curious, I asked him what it was.
Impatiently, the rogue took my hand and made a quick incision, letting a drop of blood touch the ring which began glittering as arcane runes that I couldn’t see before began floating.
Then with a flash of light, the glow vanished and I was left with the same ring and stone as before.
“This is a finite ring.” He said.
Gesturing towards all the previous gifts, he continued, “Go near them and think that you want them inside the ring.”
Stunned, I gaped at him.
Those runes! Was this a magic artifact? More importantly, was this the legendary spatial artifact?!
I went excitedly toward the table where all the gifts were carefully placed and thought hard on my will to place all of those gifts within the ring.
And I failed.
I tried again.
Only to fail again.
Puzzled, I looked at Sir James who drawled, “The stone, not the ring.”
Enlightened, I immediately focussed my will to move the objects to the stone instead of the ring and with nary a sound, all of them disappeared.
Stunned, I stood there for a full minute before jumping around excitedly.
“Ho-wha-no, how do I get them back?!”
“Calm down,” the rogue smirked.
Coming near me, he said, “Think of the object you want and imagine it in your hand.”
Thinking hard, I envisioned the object manifesting itself in my hands only for the gauntlets to fall from my hands as they materialized out of nowhere.
Lightning fast, Sir James grabbed the gauntlets as they fell before handing them back to me.
“Practice. Practice makes perfect. Plus there are other things you’ll figure out soon enough!” he said, with a laugh.
Clapping his hands, Sir Leonidas who was swirling the wine in the cup while looking interestedly at everything exclaimed, “now shall we begin the party?”