Another short story I’m writing. Should be between four and six parts.
Ever since we were children, Levi and I had wanted to join the Order of Self. They represented the highest standards for all aspiring knights. Masters of their martial skills, but also masters of their own bodies. Initiates had to pass rigorous tests to gain entrance, and adhere to a strict code of honor and ethics. Only a single legion of knights were members of the order at any one time, though they allowed twice that many initiates to join, to serve as squires to the knights. Being a knight was a distant dream, but the yearly Tournament of Self, only two days away, was much closer.
Already, the tents were set up outside of the capitol city, and the area resounded with the sounds of construction as the Order’s initiates finished the arena, which differed each year. It was big this year, towering over the tents and booths. Merchants hawked their wares, and hopefuls sparred in the lots that were still vacant, testing themselves against their opposition.
I dragged Levi through the crowd, weaving between warm bodies and cold armor. To keep myself in practice, I tapped each combatant I passed, finding weak spots in their armor. A prod under the arm here. A poke to the side there. An easy touch on the back of a warrior who clearly didn’t care for his armor like he should.
The most amusing part was the utter confusion of those I touched. By the time they seriously looked around for the source of the touch, I had already moved several persons away through the crowd.
“Myrah, must you bother people like that?”
My cheeks warmed briefly. I had almost forgotten that I was still dragging Levi, and that he didn’t exactly enjoy my way of training. With my most innocent grin, I gave his hand a squeeze. “Come on, I’ve gotta keep in practice. The tournament is in two days!”
“I know when it is. I also know that if you get into a fight with one of these men, you’re likely to end up unable to compete. A sprained ankle is all it would take to fail you.”
I huffed and pulled my hand away from him, going over to an empty area where several competitors were training. Annoying as he was, Levi was right. One injury before the tournament, and I’d have to wait another year to compete. I felt his hand on my shoulder.
“Come now, Myrah. We have a festival to enjoy.”
We turned to go back towards the tents, but a call stopped us, and I turned back towards the field. One of the boys (for I’d hardly call him a man, yet) was waving at us. “Oi! You two look like contenders! Wanna go a round, mates?”
There were several boys near him who either nursed bruises or merely sat slumped and out of breath. Before I could even open my mouth, I felt Levi’s hand on my arm.
“What did we just talk about?”
I slipped out of his grip easily and stuck out my tongue. “He’s not going to even touch me, don’t worry.”
His long-suffering sigh followed me as I crossed the field to the boy. The look of surprise on his face when I got close was amusing. “A girl? Wot you doin’ in a getup like that? Girls don’t join the Order.”
I rolled my eyes, grabbed his wrist, and rolled backwards, flinging him over my head. He let out a surprised yelp as he sailed through the air, and then a heavy grunt as he hit the ground behind me. I turned to face him, straightening and smirking. “The Chapter-master of Cunning is a woman, for your information. As is the Banner-master of Insight.”
He staggered to his feet, glaring at me. “A nice trick. But it’ll only work once.” He picked up a pair of wooden practice swords, tossing one to me and twirling one himself. “I’m gonna join the Chapter a’ Strength! A girl like you don’t stand a chance!”
His charge was painfully obvious. I took one step to the side, kicked at his shins, and brought the wooden sword down across his shoulders. He went down hard, sprawling across the grass, his sword bouncing away.
“I have more than one trick. A brute like you doesn’t stand a chance of getting into the Order at all, even if you’re strong enough to join the Chapter of Strength.” I dropped the sword on him and walked away with an entirely necessary hair flip.
Levi shook his head as I returned to him. “Was that entirely necessary?”
“Yes.” I nodded once, grinning, and took his hand again. “Come on, there was a really nice-looking candied apple stand I wanted to try.”