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The Training of Tykir

Date:  03-31-02
Poster: Karl von Rundstedt
Post # 1

Roleplay between Tykir Riktafir and Karl Gerd von Rundstedt

Tykir fidgeted on that limb where he perched, plucking at the bark of the aged oak.  Where was this "Champion"?  His mother told Tykir to meet him here - and not be late.  Well...he was here.  But, where was the man?

The man stood some distance away, studying the lad.  He had watched as the young man arrived, enjoyed the display of youthful energy while several aerial stunts were accomplished.  Awkward for the most part, but successful.  Maintaining his visual vantage point, Karl saw the youngster look to the sun to gauge the time.  Very good.  Then kick around a stone or two before taking to the low hanging limb to wait.  It was time then to make himself known. Karl stepped out into the field, crossing with that slow, determined stride toward the prince.

The movement immediately caught Tykir's eye and he tensed where he sat.  A quick lean forward as he looked toward where the castle was located out of view, then back to the approaching man.  What was he doing over there?   Not only did that upset Tykir, that the man had no doubt been spying on him, but he recognized this one immediately.  The eyes of a hawk zeroed in on the large man's features even though he would have known him by stature alone.  He was the one that had found the door to the secret passage in his mother's room when she had slipped away that night.  The one...Tykir didn't like.  Just great!  Well, nothing he could do about it now except show this man that he didn't need any instruction from the likes of "him"!  A  flutter of wings and he dropped with a rather impressive landing upon the ground.  Shew!  Could have been different.  Tykir wasn't the best at landings yet.

"Good morning, Prince Tykir."  Karl bowed to the lad with a tilt of head and the faintest dip of shoulders.  "I am Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt." 

Tykir would not be outdone. His fisted hand crossed his midsection, bending to a bow that should impress even Rina.  "Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir."  His name was just as impressive as that man's in black!  Okay.  So Tykir was a bit in awe himself by the demeanor and bearing of this man.  But that didn't mean he had to like him. 

Karl had become well versed in body language and was well aware the boy was resentfully apprehensive. It was there in his stance, in his voice.  Karl nodded once and took a step back.  "We shall waste no more time then, Prince Tykir.  Your mother wishes you to train and train you shall.  Peter O'Neill will be overseeing your special talents..." Meaning the boy's ability to fly. "I...shall be assessing your metal as a man."  In truth, the Champions were to do more than just train. They were to be confidants, examples ... but all in due time. Some things could not be rushed.

That comment had shoulders squaring, at least this Karl knew Tykir was a "man" now.  He mimicked that silent nod the man had displayed earlier.  Tykir had seen him do this in his mother's room as well when the men were speaking with him about her disappearance.  He liked the way that looked.  Gave the appearance of ... strength.  Aye, Tykir would use it.  Especially on Rina. 

"Where is your sword?" 

Tykir slapped his hands to his sides, turned to look behind him, then back to the large man. "I...don't have it."  Actually, he wasn't allowed to have one.  But Tykir couldn't admit to that...he'd lose credibility.

"We'll have to remedy that."  Karl lifted a finger for patience then started back across the field to where he had earlier waited for the lad to arrive.  From behind the cover of that thick trunk of tree, he retrieved the smaller sword.  Looking it over from hilt to tip before starting back.

Tykir's keen sight locked on what the man held even while he was across the field.  He started to shift - foot to foot.  No way!  No...way!  He slid his palms along the sides of his legs, preparing them for the feel of metal.  The closer Karl came, the faster he shifted, until his wings joined in and twitched in anxious anticipation behind him.

Karl stood an arm's length from the boy, fighting back the need to smile as he recognized the reaction.  He knew it well. Remembered it well. Tight in his grip, he twirled the weapon in an arch to offer the intricately designed hilt to the prince.  Though still out of the lad's reach. 

Tykir started to reach for that weapon, needing to feel it, wanting so badly to wrap his fingers around it.  But the dark one kept it from him...his gaze shot up from the sword to the man.  What was this about?

"There is only one time a man unsheathes his sword.  With two reasons." 

"Two?"  That gaze was flicking from weapon to man, weapon to man. Give it over. Just give it over!

"One time...only when necessary.  Two reasons..."  Karl knew what was racing through the lad's mind. Had he not had the same thoughts when he had been presented with his first sword?  He took a step closer...he would have the boy's attention.  The hilt of the sword was within easy reach, but his other hand lifted to indicate two fingers...these were poked with some force for emphasis to the prince's chest. "Two."  The first finger wiggled near Tykir's nose.  "In honorable defense of a Lady."  Then the other repeated the motion.  "In honorable defense of one's life."  He gave a nod toward the weapon for Tykir to take it.  "The key word, my young Prince, is honorable." 

Tykir had to step back a pace with that nudge to his chest, wings fanning briefly to keep his balance, but it did gain  his attention on the man. "Honorable...aye."

"It is with the Queen's permission you are granted this weapon, Prince.  Use it only as it was meant to be used." Otherwise, he would be dealing with Karl...not just Honeee. "I know I shall not hear you have done otherwise."

" shall not."  He shook his head with quick denial to further make the man believe he would do just as he was told.  The metal was cool to the touch, and warm fingers wrapped with affection around the hilt.  His sword.  His sword.  Tykir held the weapon blade upward to look it over. Even the blade was etched with Celtic design.  Whowsy-wow-wow-wow!

A perfect fit; the length of weapon, the height of lad, the arm's reach.  The sheath for the sword was as ornately designed. This had been given to a steward to be placed in the lad's room prior to Karl's departure from the castle this morning. Lochlan Kearney knew his business well.  Karl could only nod as he watched the lad admire the piece. "Now..."

Tykir snapped from his reverie to look up to the large man.  "Oh, aye!  I am ready."  

This statement of confidence from the young prince brought a smile. That's...what Tykir thought.  "Then...let us begin."

Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt
Queen's Champion

"So it will come to pass...Let it begin."

Date: 04-10-02
Poster: Peter James O'Neill
Post # 2

Live roleplay between PeterJamesONeill and Tykir A Riktafir

Platforms on wheels stood about twenty feet high. A criss crossing of wood slats between the four posts that held the platforms up made them secure and a way to climb up, like a ladder. They were spaced about hundred yards apart, for Peter first needed to see how much skill the young prince Tykir had. He was there, in the open field, making sure everything was secure. There would be no chance taken on the young prince accidentally getting hurt. There was a crew of four guards, big strong men he had chosen to use as his 'grunts'. Tykir had been notified to meet him here and that time was drawing near.

"This should be interesting."  Tykir shuffled forward, his gaze still locked on that 'contraption'.  He had his sword strapped to his side, rarely went anywhere anymore without it.  Better to be prepared. Though he had no clue what prepared was, or if he even was!  At least he looked as if he was.  "You're Peter O'Neill?"

He turned seeing the young prince as that burnt sienna gaze rested on him. His expression wasn't the usual stoic but even if still reserved there was warmth to be found in his eyes. He tapped a fisted hand to his chest twice only.

What was this? Hey! Tykir liked the look of that.  Noted, stored away.  His brows raised in question, his hand coming to rest on the hilt of his sword.

"Sir Peter, that I am Prince Tykir." The correction made nicely. "It has been requested of me by  your mother to aid you in your flying abilities." It was a great task being he didn't fly himself, no wings upon Peter.

"You know how to fly then?"  Tykir leeeeeaned to the side to take a look around the man, not successful in that attempt though.

"Being this is for your flying lessons and not sword, we will start without your sword attached first. I wish to see what your skill is so far. You can set it over on the bench there for now. Later you will then fly with it on and even armor eventually."

Yikies...Sir Peter. That was right! Tykir could only hope the man wouldn't take offense.  He'd be under the man's tutelage for some time, better not to make enemies. Using that motion of head, that nod of silence, he acknowledged the man's words and looked down to unstrap the sword from his side.  He cut a look up toward the Champion, then back down to catch the weight of sheath and sword. Right away to the bench then to lay it with reverence there, a spin...and he returned to Sir Peter.  "Alright...I'm ready."  Famous last words for this young man.

The man would not take offense with the slip but would if his correction was disregarded. There was empathy in his look as he nodded his head. "You show a good quality Prince Tykir. It is a warrior who is hard pressed to part with his sword even when you know you must and the fact you do such.. when you must." He would compliment him on what he did right when he did and he would correct him when he did not but always done respectfully even if the prince was still a child. "You are good at climbing first?" There was actually a spark in those brown eyes. Every lad he knew loved to climb at least.

His wings spread for a moment, feathers ruffling to separate and prepare.  Tykir laced his fingers and stretched out his arms, turning his hands inside out to pop those digits. Climbing? Was this training? Or for fun?  A smile was fast on his features as he dropped his hands to his sides and his wings folded back into place.  "I can climb well enough." If that was Rina asking, he might have had another comeback for that question.  As it was, this was his mother's champion.  Oh-no-sireee was he going to cop an attitude.

He would find some of this fun but a lot will be hard work and discipline to practice certain things. He glanced up over the twenty foot scaffle type platform then back to him as a smile slowly showed itself. "Then show me."

Show him?  You bet!  Tykir slapped his hands together and took off.  For now, his wings remained tucked tight against his back.  He shot a glance toward the other men then started to scramble up the scaffling.

He was kept under that keen scrutiny as he noted every action of the young prince. "Once you reach the top and prepare yourself, I want you to fly to that other platform down one hundred yards." Peter in the meantime took that distance that would put him half way between the two raised platforms so he would have the best view of the young prince flying the distance.

Eh? What was that?  He had a scene of himself scaling the walls of a castle while he climbed.  Oh, aye, sure...the order sank in just as he pulled himself up over that last board.  He sucked in a deep breath, gauged the distance from location to destination then fisted his hands while his steps forward created the speed to propel him out.  Just before the edge was gained, his wings snapped out prepared to catch the wind.  Tykir didn't take his gaze from his destination, perhaps that was his problem, he rarely saw anything except...his destination when he was concentrating like this.  No problem.  The mantra in his head.  Tykir had seen to his own training prior to the Champions, though for the most part it consisted of limb to limb, cliff to water beneath, bedroom antics.  No problem, no problem...uh was the landings where he had the problem. It was here that he teetered, faltered...and would have fallen those twenty feet to the ground when his knees hit the edge of the platform if he didn't grab tight to the wood, pulling himself up.  He stood, brushing himself off, not daring to look down.  He knew the Champion was there...watching.  Up came his chin and he squared his shoulders, turning to look back to the other platform.  Nothing said.  Just waiting without looking.

Peter didn't say a word to the young prince, instead.. he motioned to the guards. They in turned moved the first platform he had just flown from back another fifty yards. Once it was secured in place, stones placed to wedge against the wheels, Peter then addressed Tykir. He didn't comment on what was noted so far. "Now Prince Tykir, I want you to fly back to the platform you started from." Words spoken loud enough the young prince could hear and he would note there was a natural command to his voice as if he was use to commanding.


Date: 04-10-02
Poster: Peter James O'Neill
Post # 3

Fly back?  But...but he just moved it further away?  The tone of voice coming up to him from below was not one to question though.  Tykir nodded, stretched his wings out a bit...rolled first the right, then the left shoulder and stepped back a foot.  His weight resting to the ball of his foot as he looked to that other platform.  The other man below was not even noticed...such was the concentration on the part of the young prince.

His expression held not even an inkling of his thoughts but he stood there waiting with that stoic expression as to not hinder the lad one way or another.

He pushed off from that foot, squinting hard as if by looking alone he could make the distance and he hit the edge of the wood, taking to the air with more determination than the actual ability to make the journey. The air against his face was cool, his checks flushed with effort.  What happened to the climbing part?  But Tykir was up to the task, this time needing to actually apply his wings rather than soaring for the most part.  No problem. No problem.  No problem. The problem came though, when he had to stretch out his arms and grapple to the edge, his entire body hanging from the platform, feet dangling, wings still spread out behind him to shield his body.  Now...what?  He turned his head to the side to look down.  Way down.  He wasn't skilled enough to be able to float was fly...or fall.

He didn't move to help him, instead he watched to see how he handled this situation. More often than not, no one was around when such could or would happen. The guards were ready if needed, one could even notice they had tensed ready to spring to the young prince's aid but held in check to give the lad the opportunity to figure his own way out of this.

His knee pressed to the wood and he shimmied to pull himself up, his entire arm now up and over the edge with his armpit pressed to the rough surface.  Here he hung a moment while he breathed hard.  He looked around his shoulder again down.  "Uhm..."  That's all he said as he attempted once more to scoot his way up the side, his toes pressed now to wood in an attempt to grip in some way through his boots.  Another inch gained as the thin layer of platform pressed to his chest.  But his foot slipped, jerking his arm away from under him, and with a gasp of surprise and fear, he fell backwards... gravity winning over determination. He was quick to flip, face down as the ground came fast, a flutter of wings just enough to soften the blow, but not enough.  A thud of body, the subsequent grunt as the wind was knocked out of him, and he lay there, spread eagle... (almost literally)...attempting to force the air through his now flattened lungs.

One guard had moved to where the lad laid as he offered him a hand to help him up. They could tell he only got the wind knocked out of him and was not hurt, the distance wasn't that far, why twenty feet high was chosen. High enough to fly, yet close enough to fall.

Tykir saw the boots of the guard first.  A groan of disappointment and he pushed up his upper body with his hands, tucking his legs beneath to stand on his own.  He swiped at his shirt front then looked up to the guard who had offered the assistance.  "Thanks...but it was my will be my stand as well."  He nodded, humiliated with his defeat, but still...he was Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir.  He would pull himself together shortly.

There was actually a twitch of the guard's lips in respect with the lad's words as he stepped back. "You are to join Sir Peter at the bench now." Tykir would notice that Peter had moved there to wait, near where the lad's sword was, for that would be the first place Tykir would go. Peter had learned a lot on the lad before this lesson was prepared so he would be prepared. Sometimes it was the little things that all added up to the bigger picture so that his own task would be accomplished well. Peter was one who strove to give everything that 'extra' to more than just succeed.

Talk about having to do something you didn't want to.  Facing Sir Peter after that plunge was the least of Tykir's choices for "let's do"s.  He only gave the guard another nod, wiped his hand on his pantleg, then crossed to where the Champion ... and his sword ... waited.

The warmth of that sienna gaze rested on Tykir as he approached. He motioned with one hand to the lad's sword as he spoke. "You did well today and certain things will have you food for thought. Do think well on not only what you did right but what you did wrong. Then, how you can amend such. I have two assignments for you in practice to help you in what I saw. You are to follow them and if you do not it will only be you who will lose out." Yes, he was giving him a choice, he could not force the lad to practice that which would help but it would show if he didn't and if he did that too would show. "Strap on your sword first and then we shall talk more."

The knuckles of his right hand were scraped from where he attempted to keep from falling, but his fingers curled possessively around his sword.  Standing there before Peter as he spoke, he hadn't once looked to it, listening intently to what he had to say. But with the permission granted, he had it up and with a grimace of torn flesh, he had it strapped to his side in no time. "I rather enjoyed the climbing."  He had the flying too...just didn't like the fact that he had not made the mark...either time!  That stated, he fell silent again.

"There is a lot that goes with becoming a good warrior, not only skill but even more important.. discipline. As you may know, neither I nor Karl drink while on duty in protecting your mother. This is just a small example of discipline." He did pause letting the lad soak that up before he resumed again. "Your first assignment is to practice flapping and stretching your wings until they are so sore you feel they will fall off. This is to be done twice a day, once in the early morning, at dawn, and once in the evening about an hour before your bedtime. This will strengthen your wings." He once more paused to let that soak in and if there were any questions before he would resume with the other task.

His wings twitched with the order given but that was the only movement from the lad.  He just listened. "Dawn?" He rubbed a finger beneath his nose to scratch away the tickle there from the dust he had inhaled.  Did the man say ... dawn?

He only nodded without explanation for the lad will find it was actually the best part of the day. Something about dawn gave a warrior that extra inner strength to face the whole day. "What would you say is your biggest obstacle in flying?"

Up came that chin smudged with dirt from his landing . "I have no obstacles in ... flying." His gaze dropped quick to his feet and he kicked the toe of his boot to the dirt there.  "It's the landings." Having said that, he turned to look back to where the imprint of his body should be implanted into the earth.

"Yes, you need to strengthen your wings more." And landing was a part of flying successfully. He did pause watching the lad first before continuing again. "I will tell you the other reason why and keep in mind about discipline on this task I challenge you with for your own benefit. It will come down to you making the choice which is more important to you."

Brows lifted...hoboyoh...this sounded difficult even without knowing what it was.  "Oh..kay."

"I have well noted your height, weight and span of your wings. You don't have enough strength in your wings to carry your weight properly. Hence we have two factors here, your weight and strength of your wings." Tykir was still on the chunky side which was normal for a lad of his age. Peter had found out about his love for cookies and now the lad would be really challenged. "In addition to strengthening your wings, you need to lose some weight so that you can land properly." He avoiding phrasing it as that he was lugging around more than he should for his height. "It means cutting down the amount of food such as cookies. We will start by half of what you normally eat of such, eat more nourishing foods such as vegetables and some fruits. We will see how well this works between the exercise and control of sweets. In three weeks time you will meet me back here and see how much better you do. I expect you to be able to fly two hundred yards without difficulty of landing." He only started with having him cut down to half on his cookie intake for he didn't want it to be a shock to his system or his outlook.

All of sudden...Tykir didn't like this man. Because of that, you could bet he would fly those two hundred yards!  He would fly them and buzz Sir Peter's head on his return trip!  Landing like a bumblebee upon a delicate drop of dew which rested on a flower petal!  You just watch! He didn't move, didn't acknowledge in any way the working of his mind.  Just continued to look to Peter with one hand behind his back, the other resting on his sword.

"Now, as important as it is to work out hard.. it is equally important to get the proper rest. You worked out hard today and a rest is now in order as the guards will see you back. Three weeks time will prove to me how well you learned some of this discipline we talked about in making a good strong warrior." With a motion of his hand the four guards finally approached to see the lad home. "You did well today Prince Tykir."

"Thank you.  Three weeks."  The dipping of his head forward started the full fledged bow he offered this man, his mother's champion.  Then he took a step back, turning to take up his place with those guards so he could be 'escorted' back home.  True, his body was already protesting today's activities.  His knee ached and burned from where he slammed it against the platform with that first landing, his fingers stung, his chest hurt, his head throbbed from that second landing (if that's what it could be called).  Aye, he could use some time alone.  Most likely, to clear his tear ducts of the dirt.  That's it...clear the dirt away.  His chin was held in that stubborn tilt as he started away with those guards, but his pride, was stripped raw...and that, above all the other injuries...hurt the most.

He was given that two fisted salute to his chest with a dip of his own head in return. Nothing more said for Peter knew well the lad now needed that time alone to himself, as all warriors did, and would be his own worse critic.

X Sir Peter James O'Neill  X
A warrior, born of the Princes of Tyrone
"It is not the end of the world to be wrong...... but the opportunity to learn"
Knighted Champion and guard of Queen Honeee Barrett

Date: 04-15-02
Poster: Tykir Rikafir
Post # 4

Interaction Between Mother and Son

Honeee had the platter set out with cookies on it.. piled high it was too, and she aware of the training so she was about to find out what kind of restraint her son had.

Like a hound on the scent, Tykir's nose was in the air and sniffing his way down the corridor to the prize. His entire body ached from training, if not enough between the two champions, then from what he did when not with the demanding men.  So bad was the strain of muscles, he found it difficult to even keep his wings folded back behind him, wishing they could just droop and sag...with no muscle control required at all. Who would have thought that simple restraint - usually just a given where wings were concerned - would cause such discomfort. Still...there was a reward for training hard, and his nose was leading the way to that very thing.  His feet scuffed the floor from being just too ... everything (exhausted, sore, lazy) to lift them for proper steps, he entered he room, his mouth already watering in anticipation.  And lo!  Look at the stack of them...and NO! Look  at his mother there!  "Good afternoon, Mother."  He could have wailed a river seeing her there!

"Good afternoon to you Tykir, how is your training going?"  That imps smile quirking as she watched her son.

"I am training hard."  Would that suit? Would that gain him at least the privilege of one cookie? Just one?

A hand slipped to confiscate a cookie as she held it up.. then placed it before him.  "Are you keeping count now?"

"I have only just finished with Sir Karl...and have come for..."  His gaze zoomed in and locked on that mountain of treats.  "...nourishment"  Joy!  As sore as he was, he was immediately to his mother, but his reach for that one cookie was slow, controlled ... he was, after all, a man in training.  "Aye, Sir Peter has me restric...restric...cutting back."  Infact, so controlled was he that he didn't even stuff it in his mouth...yet.  "Has Rina started her training?"

That ocean blue gaze went down over him.. overdoing it with a hem and a haw kind of look. Even a hand lifted to tap a finger against her cheek as she kept this up.

Oh, Tykir did hope that his meddlesome, troublesome sister was in as much pain as he. "Wha'?"  He caught that look, and the cookie paused just from being bitten into.

"Rina should be starting her training soon... I do believe you might have lost a pound Tykir..."

Even more so than the treat of the cookie, his mother's words had both brows lifted.  "Aye?"  To him, 'a pound' was as good as 'twenty'...and for his mother to have noticed, all the more exciting for the young lad. Even if he hadn't cut back on his in-between meal snacks...just the workout that Sir Karl had him undergoing, and that which Sir Peter had sent him out to accomplish on his own, would have slimmed him out some.  He lowered his hand, and his gaze dropped to the cookie there. "Actually, was an apple I came in search of."  No, not really. But now that he thought on it...and since a pound was twenty in his mind, an apple was just what he wanted.  He leaned forward and the cookie was placed back on the counter. "These smell wonderful though. I'm sure they are delicious."  Okay, so one last longing look was dipped to the cookie before Tykir sucked in a deep breath and went toward the basket of those red and yellow apples upon the opposite counter.

"There are apples too Tykir"  And her smile was pleased.. he could tell the difference.  "I see you are becoming more the man in your choices."

What? Men couldn't eat cookies?  Oh, the injustice of it all!  But, with everything there were sacrifices.  Or so he had heard.  He supposed that becoming the man he wanted so desperately to be, was worth the eternal denial of cookies. Fingers curled around one apple and he lifted it to scrutinize.  He'd eat the apple, but he'd not have a single bruise upon it!  He had enough bruises as it was! That one didn't suit, a dark spot the size of his thumb nail marred the surface.  It was returned to the bunch and another plucked out and studied.  This was the trouble with eating 'right' took too much time and energy.

She quietly watched him having to hold back a bigger grin as she did.  "So Tykir love, tell me about your practicing. What you do like and what you don't."

He turned to his mother, a suitable alternative to cookies at last chosen, and he rubbed it to his shirt across his belly to shine it.  "Well...being able to use my sword..."  The apple bearing hand lifted and he attempted one of  the moves he had learned just that morning, elbow lifting out to the side and hand across his chest as if to block a blow.  A grimace, a soft grunt, and he lowered his hand too sore for examples.  So, to hide the  fact he had just worked muscles not accustomed to the training, he quick took a crunching bite of that apple.  "I like the flying..." Of course he did, he had always loved flying once he could get his body off the ground.  "But I do tire of waking, Mother, in the middle of the night just because I roll over..."   That said, he lifted his hand to rub the back of his neck...enough of that...another bite of apple taken. A shrug of shoulder ended his comments so far...there was much he enjoyed, much more so than what he didn't. 

"Well, your learning there are dues to be paid in becoming a good strong warrior, one day such will not wake you and you will find you desire to practice even longer."  Unless some woman came along for him to chase but that was another matter to address in time.

Hoboyoh! No way!  Women were off his list! You bet!  X'd right off!  He preferred to have his skin on his bones, feathers on his wings.  That lava they could change a man's blood into, was not to his liking.  Noooo...he cared for that not at all.
"Practice longer?" 

Especially when he started to like the girls.. and found they liked big strong men. "Yes, but it would be your choosing."

"Would I be as Sir Karl and Sir Peter?" 

"In a way, yes if you follow what they teach you.. but.. you will be your own unique self too. You do have something they do not already."

A flutter of wings behind him proof of what he possessed they did not.  "Then I shall practice longer."  

"You like Sir Karl and Sir Peter then?" And she was watching him carefully to see how he responded, knowing the simple question should gain a longer response.

"Well enough."  How was that for a longer response?  To claim he liked them would mean he enjoyed the pain of the training and the restraint demanded of him.  To say he didn't, would be a lie.  The curve of apple was stuffed into his mouth and a popping crunch broke through the skin into the juicy meat beneath.  It also stuffed a thin layer of skin between his two front teeth which were so much larger with their permanency.  Was Tykir learning diplomacy? Offering over only the information necessary to carry on the conversation without committing to an actual answer?

She studied him while he ate that apple, elusive already? Delicate brows curled down slightly to the bridge of her nose as she would just have to ask pointed questions. "What do you like about Sir Karl?"

"Sir Karl?"  Tykir gave that dip of head, the strength of that action lost on the young lad though rather impressive when the Dark One administered it.  "He is a man well respected."  To Tykir, to have seen those at the tournament, even the Sire, respond to the man...had impressed Tykir beyond words.  And because his mother was about to ask, he just continued on.  Not quite the man of courtly intrigue and mystery he might have liked to have thought himself.  "Sir Peter...came up with this contraption, you should see it,  Mother."  Though, it was Sir Peter who had placed a restriction on Tykir's cookie intake. 

"Really? I will have to come out and watch you practice with each but I will let each know beforehand to make sure my presence would not disrupt your training." She didn't have to ask permission, she could do what she wanted but his training came first over any whims of her own. 

"You think highly of me, that is enough."

"Yes I do, if you saw them fight in the tournament and how they conducted themselves you would also before actually being trained by them. There will be tournaments coming up, so maybe then you can.. if they are ones they are to participate in. Some will be to find others to fill our ranks as knights now."

Coolness! Tykir perked right away with this information.  "Then I can" 

"Of course, I would expect you to any that you can. You can learn by watching others too and even others in how they handle a sword. Pick out what you see and like best that works best."

Now, as much as Tykir liked to think himself a man of the world (especially after spending that near week with such worldly men of power!), he practically sailed to his mother and took her up in an appreciative hug.  "Oh aye, and I will...I will watch closely, Mother.  I will."  A sticky, apple juice kiss popped to her cheek.  "I must go train some more!" 

She gave him a good hug before a hand slipped to ruffle his hair some. "But, you will always be my son too." Only one who would be able to get away with that except for Rina. "Now off with you so you can impress Sir Karl and Sir Peter, I know you can!"

"Aye!  I shall!"  That was a given!  Or he'd drop exhausted to the ground trying.  "Good day, Mother...good day!"  With that called over his shoulder, hair mussed and sticking up all over his head (but little he cared, he had no one to impress), he darted for the door, apple still in hand.  Practice longer ... and become the man who would make his mother proud.

And she was proud of him already for the effort he was putting into this. She knew some of it was hard for him but a better man it would make him too.

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

The Travels of Tykir

Date: 04-07-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 5

Final Day of My Journey - Heathfield but a Hawk's Soaring Distance Away

Upon our departure from Heathfield, the Dark One slapped into my hand a roll of blank sheets of parchment, and gave to the man, Garath, the ink and quill for future use.  He informed me I was to keep a record of my journey - called it a ‘journal'.  His statement being something like  "A man can wield a sword with deadly precision, but it is the quill which can make or break a kingdom."  I asked Garath as to the meaning of this. He explained when I
figured it out on my own, then I would be the man I was meant to be.  Fat lot of good this man, Garath, is. 

Since we rest just a half-day's ride from home, I now sit with Garath and, "upon his instruction", make use of these last sheets of parchment as "a cover page" for this journal I have been keeping.  This I shall present to my mother upon arriving home. The sun is still high in the sky, so I will hurry to finish (though keeping my penmanship clean or Garath will have me begin again).  The men gather in a group even now and I wish to join them. 

Here then, is the journal of the past days upon which I have seen and participated in many interesting and wondrous things that I will not soon, if ever,  forget.

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

Date: 04-08-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 6

My Journey Begins

It was with perhaps six Heathfield guards and Karl Gerd von Rundstedt that I set set out from the castle this morning (after telling my mother goodbye) to the ship which swayed in it's dock at the Heathfield port.  To say I wasn't excited would not be truth, for my mother had informed me that I am to travel afar to witness a carnival which will include a tournament.  This, I was looking most forward to - even if accompanied by the most somber of figures - my mother's Champion.  Though I know we had a tournament recently here, to travel away, to a foreign place, makes it all seem so much more...well...important.  I am told to write each evening that which I experienced during the day.  My day was spent though, for the most part, with my head stuffed in a chamber pot and I'll say it is not someplace I enjoyed to have my face.  This is normal, my mother's champion assured me, when sailing.  He, though, did not seem to be the same color of complexion as I was. Since I still feel a bit green, I'll allow this small bit to be what is needed to mark the day's passing...and crawl into my bunk.  If not to die...then to awake to set my feet upon land.  And then!  The adventure shall begin!

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 7

The Journey on Land Begins

When we docked, I stepped to shore to find that quite a few more would be joining us.  Our party traveled for some time at a frustratingly slow pace due to the wagons which lumber behind those of us on horseback.  With the approaching night, tents were set up and following, I have been banished to my tent to write of the day (which there is not much to write since we only trudged along) while I hear the voices of the other men still raised in camaraderie outside these thin, cloth walls.  There is a rather large group of us all: Myself (of course), the man assigned as my steward during this trip (he joined us at the port) who answers to the name of Garath (I'm not fooled. This man is more than a steward! He seems to be highly educated in the working of words. I heard my guardian and this man speaking and there were times I was unable to follow the conversation for the use of some of the words.  I will admit, that was most maddening), those guards of Heathfield who number six, a slew of attendants for the preparation of tents, cooking, tending the wagons and animals...and, without doubt, many other chores of which I was told I would learn prior to the conclusion of this journey, and that man - Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt - whom I shall from this moment on refer to as the Dark One.  A looming, dark figure who rarely moves far from my side unless I claim the need to a private moment to relieve myself. 

We travel under no banners or flags, nothing to mark our origin - though the stature of the men and the size of the group alone should indicate there is more to our convoy than simple travelers.  We passed many others who journeyed onward toward the same destination.  The Dark One even assisted a small party whose men struggled to reset a carriage which had overturned when the wheels broke away from the spokes. I am most eager to reach the tourney but I am told it is yet a day's travel before even making the border. Patience may be a virtue...but as it stands, I am finding it hard to be a virtuous man.

I was made to assist in the preparation of our camp, pitching my own tent (with the help of Garath) and then seeing to the gathering of wood and water for the cooking fire.  I know that, even though Garath shares my tent with me, the Dark One looms just without these thin walls.  I have heard several approach and the rumble of lowered voices in discussion.  There is also the telltale shadow cast by the distant firelight of a hulking frame against the cloth.  My sword is now beside where I lay and I have worn it the entire journey.  I've not had the chance yet though, to spar with it or use it in "honorable" defense. 

Garath tells me it is time to set this aside and go to sleep.  I'm relieved.  My hand cramps from having to write.  I don't even write this much during my lessons.

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

Date: 04-08-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 8

A Most Interesting Day's Passing

When I awoke this morning, there were four new faces within our group.  It was not so much the faces which I noticed but the shields and surcoats upon their person.  These I recognized immediately upon sight even though the Dark One was not in their small group when I stepped from the cover of tent. He was off to the side with Garath, discussing that which seemed to have created quite the scowl on the Dark One's features.  The dark metal of these shields with the etched griffon upon the face (barely noticeable were it not that I had seen the like of it before) was a sure sign that these were acquainted in some way with the Dark One. I wished to write all which I witnessed down right then, but Garath controls the parchment and ink and so, I had to store it away in memory until this time that I could jot it down.

At first, the Dark One's reaction caused me to worry, then it became apparent when Garath came to me and the other returned to these men that they were well respected by the Dark One who carried the same insignia.  As we traveled that day, I heard that a messenger had been sent back to Heathfield to entreaty my mother to allow these four to join the Dark One upon our return.  Are these deserters?  The lot of them?  Including the Dark One?  For they all bear the same symbol of loyalty (or disloyalty) upon their shields.  This is something I will keep an ear out for.  I learned nothing more upon listening carefully this day.  Warriors, every one of them.  Of that there is no denying and it was clear to even me that the Dark One was and continues to be the leader of these men.  But who are they? Where do they hail from? the Dark one?  My mother obviously trusts him. Does she know who he is?

All questions that must be answered another day, for the ending of this day weighs heavy upon my eyelids and sleep, even now, defies Garath's insistence that I write more.  He does not read my scribbling, only sees that it appears legible as he says my mother will be given these accounts.  This information makes me wish to rewrite all that I have already put to parchment.  However, I know he will not allow that so from here on in, Mother, I will be sure you know more details of the day and all that transpires.

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield.

Date: 04-08-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 9

We Arrive at Le Mans, Normandy

Le Mans was a carnival.  Tents already dotted the countryside but we did not tarry.  Rather, we continued on to the castle where we were allowed to pass through the gates without even a moment's hesitation. The streets were crowded with acrobats, fortune-tellers, merchants and those such as we - visitors to the first tournament of this season.  The forges as we passed rang as armorers made last-minute repairs and the knights and their squires polished armor and inspected weapons and harnesses.  As our palfreys weaved the path along the narrow streets - packhorses, desteriers and wagons following behind - all heads seemed to turn to watch our progress.  There was an ear-tickling hiss which sounded as if many voices whispered "The Black Griffon".  But I recall looking back to the Dark One and the other four men and none seemed to notice this, nor did any of the others I looked to.  Perhaps it was just my excitement upon arriving.  For I was barely able to contain the thrill of arrival...and still now I nearly vibrate with anticipation for the day to come on the morrow.

We were taken directly to the castle while the Heathfield guards were sent on to the barracks.  I was left in the company of Garath as the Dark One and his men were lead away.  One look back from that Dark One to Garath, then to me, and I knew that I'd not be wandering far from this "steward". Not that I'd have the chance for soon enough we were brought to a room where many men had gathered and a large table was spread with food enough to feed this horde of knights and noblemen.  I did note that I was the only man my age within this group.  They must know my lineage for none sent me away and all greeted me with respect when introduced by Garath. 

The change in the room occurred when the Dark One and his men entered and crossed to us.  I will admit, Mother, that I took a step closer to the large man when he arrived simply for shelter.  Such was the attention which shifted to them.  It would seem all knew him, or of him, for after he had prepared a plate for himself, the mass of men shifted toward us to acknowledge and welcome.  He was called many things, but all I was told (in lowered tones by Garath) meant Griffon.  Several different languages which I could not understand made up the conversations but all of which he seemed to comprehend for he returned the solicitations in kind using the words of their own lands.  Once again I ask myself...who is this man? 

So much seemed to happen this day that my mind races yet my hand tires with the need to write it all down; the dinner which followed, the tour of the city, the description of my room!  Garath states that tomorrow shall hold much more and I should seek my bed now.  He will not be with me tonight. I share my room with the Dark One (upon his insistence for they attempted to see him off to a private room of his own but adamant was his decline) and two of the men who bear the Griffon's emblem, their names Vincent de Beauvais and Trevor Cairns.  De Beauvais, I am told, shall participate in the activates tomorrow.

Mother, I thank you in advance for allowing me to come!

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

Date: 04-08-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 10

Tournament at Le Mans - Day One

"Discipline sees a man to his task even when exhaustion claims his facilities." 

Such were the words of the Dark One when I begged to just crawl into my bed and not have to record today's events.  The festivities of the day made it so that I can barely lift and maneuver this quill over parchment to jot down even a small portion of it.  The Dark One sees to his own accounting, seated at a large oaken desk across the expanse of room from me, but he cannot begin to imagine my weariness.  At least, he does not seem to.

His men, de Beauvais and Cairns, have not returned to the room, the revelries continue below and outside though I was told these were not fitting for me to attend...yet.   So, it is in the quiet company of the Dark One that I prepare for bed, finishing up my journal entry for this night.

I spent the majority of the morning with the Dark One, Garath and the four men there in the tent flapping the banner of black and emblazoned with the gold Griffon.  So many details were given to me that I shall never remember them all, but this, I was also told, was alright. All this information would be time.  At last, we made our way from the field to find the place reserved just for us under that same crest.  The ladies, at last, were installed in the pavilions so that the jousts could begin without further delay.

The first was between the Duke of Limbourg and a bachelor named Gautier de Soul, who broke three lances apiece without losing the stirrups.  The seventh was one of the most powerful shows of arms and the most exciting to see: the first champion wore a sleeve (a token of his lady I was told by the Dark One) on his right arm, and when he went to his station, the heralds cried, "de Beauvais, de Beauvais, the brave man!"  Against him appeared first Gaucher of Chatillon and then Count Louis of Blois.  Two more jousts took place; then night fell and the assembly separated to make their way to the many celebrations to be attended.

And here I am, head dipping dangerously close to wearing the ink of my words upon my brow but  having at least seen to being disciplined enough to relate this much.  Now - I will find my sleep.

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

Date: 04-08-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 11

Tournament of Le Mans - Day Two

This day began with mass being sung, a large banquet of breakfast foods which filled me so full that I could barely shuffle my way to the tent to watch as squire and knight prepared for the matches to come. 

When we found our seats once again, the jousts continued until only three knights were left, the others all being wounded.  At the first pass, de Beauvais knocked down his adversary's helmet into the dust, and blood ran from his mouth and nose!  On the third try both men were disarmed and fell unconscious to the ground.  This even had the Dark One to his feet and frowning out onto the field in silence.  Valets, sergeants and squires laid them on their shields and carried them both from the field.  To the relief of all, it was only a passing unconsciousness; neither man was dead. 

Then the Sire invited the knights and ladies to dine. More than twenty tents were set up between the Oise and the forest, in fields full of budding wildflowers.  I arrived early with Garath, taking up a seat of honor there at the upper end of the table set out by the Sire.  The Sire and all the Vermandois were dressed in green samite studded with golden eagles; they came to the tents leading by the finger the ladies of their country.  The men of Hainaut and their ladies were dressed in gold embroidered with black lions; they arrived singing, two by two.  The Champenois, the Burgundians, the men of Berri, were also in uniform, scarlet samite decorated in golden leopards.

It was the men with whom I traveled that all turned to watch arrive.  Even I will admit they made a grand entrance. The five of them entered the field, shoulder to shoulder, strides confident and sure.  The Dark One was in the middle, the injured though recovered de Beauvais on his right.  Surcoats of black over tunics of gold, that etched Griffon in stitched gold thread across their broad chests.  (It made me wish I could represent Heathfield in such a way.  Someday, I shall!)  The crowd hushed as they greeted the Sire, each in turn, then moved away.  Those entering after them were barely noticed while the lot of them joined us.  It was even more astonishing for me when they each, one after the other with the Dark One leading, bowed deeply before ME, then stepped aside to claim a chair.  Later, while the fourth course was being served, Garath leaned toward me and spoke in lowered tones that I had held myself most distinguished while the Dark One and his men paid tribute to me and that now, all knew that I was your son.  Word had spread that the Dark One would not be participating in this tournament, (much to the Sire's and it would seem, everyone's disappointment), because he now pledged fealty to one - that was Heathfield and her Queen.

It will be awhile before the excitement of the evening wears off and I find it difficult to sit still long enough to tell even this short version of the day's and night's activities.  The Dark One says he will take me for a tour around the castle before the night turns to "more serious" merrymaking.  What this means, I dare not ask.  I fear it has something to do with turning a man's veins to lava (I overheard a couple of the stable men speaking of such) ... of this I wish NO part of.

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

Date: 04-08-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 12

The Carnival of Le Mans - Our Last Day

Oh mother! Such sights you would not believe!  Almost made me wish that Rina was here with me for this.  (Almost!)  The smells! The sounds!  The food!  With the six men accompanying me (which made me feel rather insignificant in size), we toured the avenues of the Carnival.

I have purchased a pair of scented kid gloves for Rina.  I wished the black, but the Dark One insisted on the rather girlish color of pink.  He says they are not pink, but an "engaging shade of blush".  They are pale pink in my opinion and I think in his as well since he did chuckle after stating that.  She will most likely rather have the girly shade but I rather liked the black.  You see, we passed a woman with gloves up to the middle of her upper arm!  Black! And the other five men looked her way until we were well past.  So I thought black would better suit.  The Dark One disagreed, but then, he hadn't seen the woman - at least, he didn't gawk like the rest of the men.  I also bought her a mask of white feathers, just Rina's size, with a handle of silver which sparkles in the sunlight due to the dusting of pearls within.  The Dark One also had me find a gift for you (I was going to do so anyway, but he suggested it before I could find something!) ... this will be a surprise upon my return.

Once the purchases were complete, we watched a puppet show, ate our way from one end of the thoroughfare to the other, saw a play of live actors upon a stage set up in the middle of the roadway, learned to juggle (the jester will be most impressed, will she not?!) and watched as the man, Cairn, entered into a wrestling match with a bear! 

As the afternoon dwindled away to night, the Dark One took me out to the deserted  tournament field and together we sparred!  I was actually allowed to spar!  With HIM!  Metal sang against metal in the silent evening, Mother! A melody finer than any bard alive! I could feel my entire body shake each time our swords met and I feared I'd lose the hold on my weapon or that my legs would not support me.  But I kept on, meeting him blow for blow and following his directions exactly as he called them out for me.  A small crowd gathered, calling encouragements to me until finally the Dark One called "enough" and then the modest gathering cheered me!  Me!  Which seemed to please the Dark One.

I am well aware that they all knew who it was I spared against. He is, with no doubt, well known and respected with a name which reaches far beyond these borders.  But it was I, Mother, who sparred him this night.  None others had the chance upon this trip. 

To say I am weary now as I scratch quill to parchment would not be right-I am beyond weary.  For my hands shake to such a point, if Garath was watching over me at this moment while I write rather than the Dark One across the way entering his accounts of the day into his own ledger, I would be forced to start over to make this legible. I hope you can read this well enough.  For I know I cannot, this night, rewrite all that has transpired.  My body would just protest too greatly any further delay from my bed.

I miss you, Mother...and tomorrow we are away home.

Tykir Aaeron Barrett Riktafir
Prince of Heathfield

Date: 04-09-02
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 13

A Brother and Sister Reunite

There was a squeal as she raced down the hall...wings fluttering barely had her feet touching. Down the hall...then the stairs as she all but barreled into the kitchen.

Cookie midway to his mouth, he jumped down from the counter where he was perched, fearful he had been "busted" with his hand, literally, in the cookie jar.  "'s just you."  He turned back to his task of pilfering the cookie jar though his hand rubbed his leg where he had scraped the counter's edge jumping down so quickly.

"Tykes!"  And she was over giving the biggest and tightest squeeze before letting him go...if not drop.  "You're home! How was your trip. How is Sir Karl?"  Her hero and knight in her mind.  "What did the ladies wear? Did you get to fight? Do you have a sword now?"  She stood back then...hands on those small hips of hers which only started to hint at filling out. "What....did they cut out your tongue already?"

Ohboyoh, just watch him put on a show now...all grown up and worldly in that attitude.  And yet, a hand already deep within the confines of cookie jar. "Rina, you are such a .... girl."  But he couldn't hold back that grin for long.  He actually placed the cookie he had grabbed to the counter to face her, the light of excitement flashing in his eyes.  "You would have loved it."

She gave one of those over done roll of her eyes.  "What.. have you become daft too.. of course I'm a girl."  But she soon became enthralled as she scurried up to sit on the counter and grabbed one of those cookies.  "Tell me everything.. and I mean EVERYTHING... especially about Sir Karl."

So it began, a brother's tale to his sister on all the frippery and finery - the knights and ladies - the festivities...a rampage of words. "Oh! And ..."
Hands slipped behind his back and he rotated side to side with that smug grin.  "I brought you something."

The cookie with only one bite was set down as her eyes of leaf green now sparkled.  "You did?? What is it.. show me."  Impatient wasn't she!?  "And if its one of your frogs... I'm going to make you eat it this time!" There was that warning look now too.

Up went a finger and he winked the best he could to Rina.  "Hold on...I'll be right back."  Because it was a gift for her, he knew she wouldn't he put to good use his wings to see him to his room and back swiftly.  A foot above the floor, he zoomed back into the kitchen, lowering to rest just an arm's length away from his sister who was on the counter.  "Right? Or left?"  As each was asked, he lifted that shoulder to indicate the hands behind his back which held something hidden from her.

"Mmm"  She looked from the right to the left to the right to the left to the right to the left.  "Right!"

He almost brought around his left but caught it just in time, swinging his right instead with those pale pink, scented, kid-leather gloves.  So pale in
color they almost appeared white, but..they were pink! No matter what the Dark one said.  "All the ladies wore these. You would have rather had black, wouldn't you?" Tykir wanted to get her black.

"Blue... but light rose is good too!" She hopped down with a shift and quick flutter of her wings as she came taking them from the offered hand to inspect them....then tried them on... wiggling her fingers on each hand once she did.  "How do they look? Ma had a ball last night.. next one I can wear these to it"  Or out making mud pies and Tykir would kill her.

Blue? Blue wasn't an option!  "They smell..."  Wrinkling his nose as he nodded toward the gloves on her hand.  "So when those stinky people can just stick a finger up your nose..and you won't smell a thing."  A grin spread, imagining Rina with a finger crammed up her nose.  "And...they're pink."  Not rose, not blush...PINK.
Now she was sniffing her hands.  "They smell like roses..."

"Yeah...the Dark One said you'd like that..."  Tykir shrugged then.  "You want the left now?"

Then they were pastel pink!  "Who is this Dark One?"  Leaf greens lift in query of her brother....did he meet an evil overlord?

"That Sir Karl...I'm allowed to call him the Dark One."  Just listen to him boast. Of course, none but his mother via the journal entries knew he called Sir Karl that. 

The light in her eyes beamed then.  "You have another gift for me??"

Her question gave him the opportunity to put into use that dip of head he had learned from the Dark One. "Oh aye, sure do."  Alright, so he wasn't
supposed to talk following it...but he was still learning.

"Did you make up that name for Sir Karl?"  And boy o' boy did she have a story to tell him about his evil Dark One!

"Well aye, think he would have told me to call him that? Close your eyes."

She pulled off one glove and swatted him with it in warning.. about calling her those 'censored' names.  But her eyes now were squeezed shut...ONLY for present would she do this around him.

"Oww!"  Even though it didn't hurt, he rubbed at his arm with his free hand.  " your breath."  How far would she go?

"NO!"  Those eyes shot open again.  "Now... gimmie that present..."  He could see her fist ball up, if he was going to play games she would clobber him soon.

"Okay, shut your eyes though!"  He grunted with frustration, Rina just was no fun when it came to playing around...she caught on too quickly. "Shut 'em...hurry up."

She squeezed them tightly close again.. but she was still ready to clobber him.. one false move and he was 'dead'.

Just as soon as she complied, he brought around the mask of pure white feathers, matching her own.  Holding it up before her face by the silver handle which sparkled with that dusting of crushed pearls.  "Open!"  Tykir was mighty proud of this gift.  He had found it himself.  The Dark One had suggested the gloves..the mask...was Tykir's idea alone.

They shot open and then went wide.. she liked this better than the PINK gloves. He could see the awe in her eyes now as she snatched it from his hands. "This is beautiful."  Soon she had him in a hug and planting kisses all over his face like she use to  do... before letting him go again.

"Ugh, agh, ew!"  Though he didn't attempt to fight off the gratitude-by-way-of-slobbering.  "Glad you like it." He was swiping at his face with the back of his hand, the other flat out to ward off his sister's further attentions.

She was 'petting' the feathers on the mask.  "I love it! Now tell me more about the Dark One."  Using that 'new name' for the one came with an ominous tone. "Did they use these at the ball?"

"There were many that knew him."  Stepping around the 'girl', Tykir reached for that cookie he had left on the counter.  "What all do you know about him? Have you heard Mother mention anything?"  He knew that Rina often 'overheard' conversations.  To her question, he gave a shrug.  "We attended many balls."

She  picked up her own discarded cookie then as she set the mask aside where it would hopefully not get dirty.. her words matter-of-fact now.  "He got shackled in the dungeon!"

"In a dungeon?  Really?  Why?"   Not realizing she had said "the" and immediately thinking he was a deserter, just as Tykir had suspected.

A big bite now taken out of it as she watched for his reaction.

Rina's break to eat nearly had him fidgeting where he stood.  "Where?  Did you hear Mother mention this?"  Then he frowned.  "Are you telling me tales again?"

"Remember that slime passageway I told you about?"  More like scared him about just before he was to go to bed...wicked sister she was. 

Eyes went wide and he barely nodded...oh...he remembered.  Rina always told the truth, one just needed to siphon the facts from the fantasy within that truth.

"Well.. I told him Sir Winsel was lost."  She quickly added to make it sound legit.  "And he was! Down in the dungeon where an orc could eat him. We would have to go through there"  How she had wanted to find out what laid beyond and this way she could with a big strong knight like Sir Karl.

Slowly that cookie lifted to take a bite, enthralled now in her story...for she was able to suck him right in...every time.  Especially where dungeons and glowing slime walls and knights and orcs were concerned. "The Dark One went with you?"  His words were barely a whisper of surprise laced with awe.

Now she would embellish what happened too!  "The slime wall glowed and was starting to form into hands."  Just like in her own dreams on that scary place. "He put me on his back to take me through and we could see the shadow of the orc in the next room"  She added that part of course before taking another bite of her cookie.. still watching him under that scrutiny of leaf green eyes.

"Noooo..."  His own cookie was still lifted, just a fractional inch from his mouth, but no bite was taken.  Oh, he'd be having nightmares again tonight. You could bet on that! But he waited for more.  Like watching through your fingers, fearful to see, but needing to all the same.  That one word was drawn out and hushed with disbelief...or the need to know for sure...this wasn't true.  Or better..that it was true...but could be forgotten before night fell.

"It was real slippery but we made it through...he avoided all the hands!"  Like one walking through the gauntlet.  "And then WE saw Sir Winsel chained up to a wall."  Of course Sir Winsel was a figment of her own imagination but Tykir didn't know that yet.  "And he went into free him....but these snakes came out of the wall and gripped around his wrists and ankles and pull him fast against the wall in Sir Winsel's place."

Tykir jumped with the mention of snakes, nearly crumbling his cookie with the tightening of his fingers.  He couldn't say a word, his mouth just gaped open...eyes wide.  Solarina did know how to gain her brother's undivided attention and he hung on her every word.

"Mother had to rescue him.. Sir Winsel and I went to get her."  Then she frowned slightly. "Sir Winsel got so scare.. he left now."

"He left?"  Further disbelief flashed over his features.  A knight never left...scared!  Then realization seemed to dawn, his eyes narrowed on his sister. "Wait a minute...."

She beamed a smile and he could tell now that Sir Karl was her hero.  "Sir Karl is taking his place to protect me."  Of course that wasn't asked of him.. but assumed.

His gaze still narrowed he bit into his cookie, chewing and swallowing first before speaking.  "Sir Karl is training me."  Ha! How would she like that?! "And Sir Peter..."  With the Champions training Tykir...and protecting Rina...when did these children think they would be seeing to their Mother?  Or did it even register with them?  Of course not!

Eyes went wide in disbelief and even jealous!  "He is?  Mother said someone will be assigned to me too now."

His expression much for getting "one up" on her. "She did? "

She nodded. "...but I think it is a lady knight...not a man."  She wasn't sure if she liked that idea or not.

"oh..."  His shoulders squared with that information and he popped the last bit of cookie into his mouth, wiping his hands on the sides of his legs.  "So it won't be one of the Champions then."
"I'm not sure....she only said there would be someone.. that being a girl it would be best for me to learn from a woman who was as good as the champions."

"Bah..."   A grunt of near laughter good as the champions? Double Bah. "Hey!"  Changing the subject, his mind rarely remained on one thing for long.   "Do ya' think you could find that room again?  With the green slime walls?"

"Yes... but Mother forbids us to go there."   Of course she included him.. as if he was mentioned in the forbidding too.

Didnt' that make it all the more reason to go? But Tykir nodded in much for that adventure.  Then, just as quickly, he perked, looking up toward Rina.  "You wanna see my sword? "  Someday he would know what a question like that would gain him...a slap across the face, or a night well spent...for now, he meant it as it was spoken to his sister.

"YES...!" She DID want to see his sword as leaf green eyes brightened again.  "I will be getting one too...once the lady knight is assigned to me... Mother says!"

"Fantastic!"  And he meant that!  For if they both had one, they could practice together.  "Come on then..."  Up came his hand and he motioned her to follow.  Wings folded back proper - for indoor use - and he started toward the door. 

She was quick to grab up his hand with the flutter of her wings before they settled again.  "Let's go!"


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