Friday, November 13, 2009

Chapter 1: Friends

The boy opened his eyes to look out on the water in front of him. He was no longer a boy for there were years between now and then but his meditations always brought back that night in particular. The boy looked out, lost in thought, thinking on the words Master Oggbi spoke to him before they parted ways, “Sulmorko, go and train your mind and body and make a name for yourself. I knew your father. He was a good man and a valiant warrior, I am sure you will be the same. Make him proud, my friend.” He would always remember those words. He lived like his father lived and worked as his father did. He would be strong like his father was and maybe one day, like Master Oggbi. Sulmorko was proud to be his father’s son; he wished to be no other. He indeed trained mind and body but he also learned valuable life lessons such as fun and humor. He learned a great deal from his three best friends: Phen, Drag, and Kolev. The four of them shared a bond that made them no less than brothers.

“Sul, have you seen my fishing pole? –Huff- I was fishing and I –puff- fell asleep and when I woke up –wheeze- it was gone” said familiar voice, which seemed rather out of breath.

“You lost another one? You, my friend, are hopeless.” Sul said with a smile before he continued, “I’m going to stop helping you get them if you keep losing them. Let’s see if we can find it though, heh”

They walked to where Phen had been fishing and in the tree they heard a sound. “Who’s there?” shouted Phen, pulling his dagger out.

“Put that silly thing away, Phen, It’s not match for my Mighty Lance! JUMP!” the voice called out as a shape jumped out of the tree and landed on one knee in front of them. “Oh mighty Dragoon Dragonbite, ‘Tis an honor,” Sul said mockingly with a bow. Phen laughed a little and noticed that the “Mighty Lance” was his fishing pole.

“Hey gimme that back, jerk. You’re gonna break it smacking it on the ground like that.” Phen said with an irritated sigh. The three laughed it off and headed back to town for a drink and a meal. There they would meet up with the fourth member of the group, as they always did at the end of each week. They liked to plan out the coming week, so as to leave time for relaxation and fun, in between their studies and training.

Upon entering the Lion Springs Tavern, the friends looked for the familiar corner booth in the back. They knew he always sat in the same place. The table was always covered in books and scrolls when they arrived and it was never any trouble to help get everything together and cleaned up. They wrapped the scrolls and packed the books into the bags without a second thought.

“Ah, my friends welcome to hell. Okay, it’s not that bad but still. If this is all I’ll be doing then I want your job, Drag. I wanna run around and hit things with a sword all day.”

Drag’s gaze never left the book bags he was trying to get closed. “You know I do more than that, its hard work and dangerous. At least you are learning magic and a real fighting style. I have to get the damned egg before I can even start my dragoon training.”

“Touché my friend, touché,” Kolev said with a smile. He knew that he was studying everything he’d need on the battle field as a paladin but he still hated it. Kolev pulled a book from beside him and tossed it at Drag. Not even seeing the book Drag’s face caught it with no trouble.

“Ouch, damn that hurt. What the hell is it?” Drag took the book and looked it over. He noticed that it was an older book but he slowly came to realize what it was. With an anxious smile he opened the book and started reading right away.

“That’s my old white magic book. I got a new one today and figured I’d let you have this one. Take good care of it; it’s saved my ass a couple of times.” Kolev had ordered the usual for everyone before they had even arrived. Lotte, the server, came to the table and gave them each their respective drinks.

“Hi boys, it’s good to see you again.” She walked over tray balanced between her hip and hand as she set the drinks down. She smiled and winked as she began to speak again, “You boys don’t ever order anything different do you? Not that’s any business of mine or that I’m complaining. It’s always a pleasure to serve drinks to four handsome guys like yourselves. You keep those nasty beastmen out of our town and I’ll gladly keep settin’ the drinks down.” She always flirted her way into good tips; her thin frame with not-so-subtle curves always got the men’s attention. She used her womanly charm to her advantage. She flipped her sable braid from over her shoulder as she turned around to wink at the four in the corner before heading off to attend to the other customers.

“Phen, you seem quiet today, usually you are talking up a storm. Is something up?” Sul looked over at his buddy just swirling his finger in his drink. Phen didn’t seem to hear him at first but then suddenly pulled his head up and out of the world he was in.

“Nah, I’m fine. I was just thinking about the future and what we all gonna do.” Phen said in a low tone almost not sounding like him self. Phen wasn’t one to let the world get him down but he seemed a little weighted at the moment. He pulled his drink back before he continued talking, “–ah- I just know that we are gonna be separated soon by our jobs and that we won’t see each other much. I like being able to hang out with you guys and just do stuff. It makes me wish these days could go on forever.”

Kolev sniffed and wiped a fake tear from his eye before throwing a book at Phen’s head. Phen knew it was coming, though, and caught it right before it hit him.

Phen flipped through the book and smiled but seemed confused. “Why do I need an atlas? Am I going on a trip that I didn’t know I was going on?” Phen asked questioningly. Phen was being facetious and everyone knew it. He wasn’t as dumb as he acted but it always got a laugh out of everyone.

“Check the back; it’s got a map of Kazham. That’s where Sea Serpent’s Grotto is. You know, where the Tenshodo headquarters is.” Kolev pulled the book down on the table and pointed to a map in the very back and continued explaining, “You head through the jungles and into the cave at this point on the map. Head down through the cave and you’ll reach a place called Norg- at least I think that’s what it’s called. Anyway, they can teach you to be a samurai there, Phen my friend.” Kolev knew that Phen’s ambition was to be a samurai. He always played one as a kid, with a broken flower pot on his head and a big stick at his side.

“Sweets, I had no idea where or how to get trained in that. Thank you, my friend, thank you. I’m so happy!” Phen’s entire mood had changed and he seemed himself again. None of the friends liked to see the others down and would do practically anything to cheer them up, even if it meant being completely and utterly humiliated.

“Crisis avoided; at least everyone’s pants stayed on for that one.” Sul laughed reminding them of a situation they all laughed about from time to time.

“Oh great Altana, you had to bring that up again, Sul,” sighed Kolev; he knew it would have to be explained or poor Phen would be so lost. Phen hadn’t been around for the events of that day.

“Here Phen, let me explain: Kolev was told that tradition called for him to cleanse himself before he started his paladin training. He was instructed to remove all clothing other than his under garments and bathe under the waterfall in West Ronfaure…” Sul stopped and looked at Drag to let him know to finish the story.

“We went out with him to keep the Pugils away when we heard a yelp. The water was cold but it had to be done. Sul and I knew it would come down to us to get it done so we wore our swim suits under our clothes. We came behind Kolev and stripped his clothes off and carried him kicking and screaming under the waterfall. What a pansy,” Drag said with a chuckle.

“He would have waited for spring to start his training had it not been for us. We thought winter was a good time.” Sul laughed as he threw a San d’Orian bread roll at Kolev.

“Geez, I always miss the good stuff when I’m out on a job” Phen said with a laugh. The four friends laughed and carried on until the tavern closed and they headed to their homes. They all enjoyed their time together and in the end it is what they all wanted to remember.

No comments: