"Sir Thane." Tillcor said, causing Thane to turn around, he been waiting for this, so he had the Magical necklace on. Out of everyone he had met so far, only Tillcor seemed to understand he did not like the royal title. He knew the boy needed to call him something other than his name, so they agreed upon Tillcor calling him sir. Thane could deal with that. "I have done as you asked, and everyone is waiting for you outside."
"Thank you Tillcor." Thane said, as he started to walk towards the door. He was dressed in the 'armor' that Malachi had got him, including all of his weapons. His 'armor' wasn't much, since he did not like to wear armor, so Malachi had simply got him a simple, yet well made leathers. He had his 'Claws' in the pouches on the front of his belt, his throwing spikes held inside each bracer her wore, a boot dagger, as well as another dagger held against his back by his belt. Finally the small Morning Star that replaced his magical Spiked Mace, that was now locked away in his trunk. Over top of it all was his simple looking brown and green cloak. All in all he looked like an adventurer rather than some member of Royalty, which suited him greatly.
Tillcor opened the door, then followed Thane out, where everyone was waiting. He walked up to them, and stopped about 2 meters in front. He looked them all over for a moment before he spoke. "I find myself responsible for seven people now. Two were of my own choosing, and when we are done here, they will accompany me to the Animal shop to look at some animals. El'izar, Ev'izar, please move over next to Tillcor." The Half-Elven twins, as well as El'izar's dog Fluffy, moved to stand next to Tillcor.
The remaining five suddenly looked nervous since Thane was staring this off rather formally. "Rumeck. You have earned my respect. Your father paid for your freedom, yet you decided to stay with us anyways. You have passed a Mind Master scan, and have proven to have no ulterior motives." Rumeck was shocked, since he never knew he had been scanned. "That makes you neither slave nor servant. You are with us as an equal. When I take the two young ones to the animal shop. You will accompany us, so that we can get you equipped with proper gear. Please stand over with the others." Rumeck quickly moved over, surprised as everyone else was that he was accepted so easily.
Thane moved over and stopped in front of the youngest of the remaining four. "Skolter. Thirteen years old. You have just reached Training Step 3 as a Swordsman, with a subfield of Healthman."
He moved to the next one. "Gastenek. You have just reached fifteen years of age, and have only now passed into the Primary Echelon. Your chosen subfield is that of an Outdoorsman."
Moving to the next one he spoke again. "Kamerel. You are months away from the age of Ascension. You have yet to Test for Primary Echelon, however, while your pins say Training Step 5, I have it on good authority that you are more than ready to move into Primary. You need a little more work on your subfield of Metal worker, and you will have it."
He then moved to the last person. "Finally we have Woxenel. Eighteen years of age, and a Primary Step 3 Swordsman, Ruinseeker, and most surprisingly, an Eagle Sect Warrior." Everyone was shocked, but none more than Woxenel himself. No one knew he was training as an Eagle. Thane grinned. "Let this be a lesson to all of you. We have at least one Mindmaster in the group. While they do not like to read people without their permission, until you are accepted as one of us, they can and will scan you at any time."
He started to pace in front of the four, while he continued to speak. "All of you had three choices. Two I spoke, one I made very clear. You could have Indentured yourself to me, which you all choose. You could have been sold as a slave, or you could have fought for your freedom. I am an Animal Adept, and after the fight I just had with Rumeck, I do believe that even Skolter could have bested me. However, you all choose the easy route. What you did not know was that I would have had a lot more respect for you had you fought and lost, than I do for someone who gives in so easily." He paused, sighed, and looked at the teens who at least had the decency to be looking at the ground, most of them a little red faced from embarrassment.
"However, that time has passed, and we now will deal with what we have, rather than what may have been. Just remember, always fight when you can. You may end up hurt, or worse, but unless you try, you will never know." He paused to let that sink in before he continued. "Now, what is going to happen is that I have purchased an extra wagon for when we leave here in a few days. It will be for our needs, plus the needs of whatever our group decides. Until you earn the right, none of you four will have weapons or armor. You will act simply as servants. I hear the area between here and the city known as Junsac if fairly safe, so I doubt you will have to worry about anything. If you prove yourselves worthy, in Junsac we will equip you with what you wish."
He paused again, making sure what he was saying was clear for all to understand. "Now for the rules I expect you four to follow. First you will take your orders from anyone, including the slaves. To be honest, in my eyes you worse than slaves, they at least did not have a choice in the fact that they are slaves, or they sold themselves into slavery to get trained, both are more respectable than willingly making yourself someone's servant. Until such time as you earn the right, you will refer to everyone, other than the slaves as either Sir, or Master. Personally I hate the word Master, but if you feel more comfortable using that word, you may. The slaves you will refer to by their name. Remember, in my mind they are above you, and you will treat them as such."
Again Thane paused as he wanted to make sure they understood clearly what he expected of them. When he was sure they understood he spoke again. "Now onto the upside of what is going to happen. If you do prove yourselves, you will find yourselves with some of the best equipment, as well as teaching in just about anything you wish to learn. One thing that is different about our group, than what you are used to, is that we are always learning something new. To stop learning is to invite death. There will be some things that you will not have a choice but to learn. One of them is the Dragon Tongue. The other is how to read and write. I will not tolerate illiterate people, nor people that do not wish to better themselves. Only one of you so far has a second subfield. That will change as you will all pick a second one, and will learn it."
Once again he paused before he continued. "This will be your only chance to ask questions about what I expect. After this discussion I will expect you to follow my rules without question."
He waited until one by one, they each said, "no sir."
"Very well." He turned to Tillcor while pulling a smaller purse out of his pouch, and handed it to him. "Please take these four lads to the market, and get them acceptable traveling gear. I want it all to be of good quality. Malachi has purchased another wagon, that is inside the barn. Please make sure everything is stored in there. Also, please make sure that you have everything you need. I have spoken with Garnet already, and he would be rather displeased if he finds out that you do not have something that he feels is needed. I know you are not used to buying items for yourself, but we want everyone to have what they need as we travel. Do not worry about weapons and armor for these four yet, however, if you see anything that you need, make sure you have Malachi check it out for you first, but you may get what you need. If there is not enough coin in there, come back and get more. Do you understand?"
"Yes Sir Thane." Tillcor responded with a bow.
"Good, now, you three. We have much to do. Let us be off."
It was close to high noon when Mablin decided to take a break and let Drathmore take over for a bit. No matter what the man may say, not only was he an experienced Swordsman, he was also pretty good at being a merchant. Mablin had no difficulty with allowing his chief guard to take over while he did something else. In this case, since he had not seen the boys all morning, he decided to grab some food, and see how they were doing.
Quietly he made his way into the barn. The first thing he noticed was the Captain of the Guard standing off to a side, not really hiding, but also not making his presence known. Mablin walked over to him and spoke quietly. "Scouting out the competition?"
"You could say that." The Captain said just as quietly. "I do believe I am going to be losing a guard and a recruit tomorrow..."
Mablin looked over, and watched as two boys were sparring. It was obvious that Syth was wearing the necklace, because Mablin could understand him without the aid of a spell. "No!" Syth cried out, even though he never slowed down the hand to hand combat drill. "Do not wait for an opening. Create one! You are in a fight, you are going to get hit, that is the nature of the beast, but control how and when you get hit, allow it only when it gives you the advantage!"
"He has an... interesting... yet effective combat style. One that I don't think my guard will be able to best. He is also NOT simply a Primary Step One." The Captain said, still keeping his voice soft. "I don't know who these children are, but they ain't a normal group of kids."
Both of their jaws dropped when they saw Syth spin to deliver a massive round house kick to the side of Killian's head. Syth's foot never connected though as Killian dropped into a split and lashed out with his fist. At the last moment, Killian changed the target, and instead of hitting Syth hard in the crotch, he managed to miss, and hit him in the inner thigh. The Drow crumpled as the leg that was holding his weight suddenly cramped terribly from the blow, but Syth didn't drop right there for as soon as he hit the ground, he rolled and came up quickly, while favoring his leg. The grimace on his face faded as he grinned. "That was perfect, I knew you were leaving me open to try the kick, so I did, next time though, don't make it so obvious. Remember, even in the worst of fights, you need to be thinking at least three steps ahead, and constantly change your battle plan when the enemy does something unexpected."
"You know, I think I may want to try and hire him to train some of my guards. Hell I learned more since I have been here watching, than I learned in the last few years." The captain said while again keeping his voice low.
"Now, one last thing before we break for our noon meal." Syth said as he walked over to his gear, and pulled out two of the strangest blades that either man had ever seen. "I want to play a game with you for a moment." Killian nodded, his eyes locked on the strange blades. Syth took the blades, walked close to Killian, then struck a fighting stance. Until that point, neither of the men, nor Killian could understand how the blades could be used. Even with the stance, and how Syth held the blades, how they were used was still a mystery. The blades themselves were curved, but where the handle was placed, the blades were pointed towards the lads elbows, nearly reaching them. The ends were pointed, so it quickly became clear why Syth always wore a thick strip of leather just below his elbow. The point actually rested on it.
Syth was holding the hilt so that the blade came out by his thumb, and then curved over his knuckles. The outer part, above the knuckles were designed like saw teeth, and Mablin could only imagine what would happen if Syth were to punch someone with that.
"Now, tell me what you can figure out from my weapons and my stance?" Killian slowly walked towards Syth, who was standing with one arm held before him with the curved blade pointed towards Killian. The other arm was held high and behind him, with the curved blade pointed upwards.
"The blades be used for slashing, that much I can tell, I imagine the saw teeth would be used to punch. Being two of them, you can block or deflect, as well as strike." Killian was speaking softly, still amazed at the weapons he was seeing.
"Have you ever seen anything like them before?" The Captain asked Mablin softly.
"No. Never." Mablin said absently.
"Okay, now stand back." Syth said, and Killian quickly backed up. Syth then launched into a slow motion dance, using his feet, and the daggers to attack an invisible opponent. "These are called Renders. They are the weapon of the Wolverine Sect."
"I've never heard of Wolverine's before." Killian said, while at the same time the Captain glanced at Mablin who shook his head. Neither of the men had heard of The Wolverine Sect Warriors either.
"That is not surprising, there are not many of us left." Syth said as he stood up from his fighting stance. "After lunch, we shall do some work on how to fight together." Syth moved over and put his blades away then sat down. He motioned for Killian to as well. "There is one last thing I want to tell you." Once Killian was seated, Syth began to speak again.
"As you know, I was born a slave, then many years ago, I was given my freedom. When we met with your group, we had recently found out how Drow are treated here. I decided to allow myself to be seen as a slave, because to do otherwise would have brought more attention to our group. It is hard for me to act the slave, even though I used to be one, since in this land, slaves are treated so much differently." Neither boy saw the shocked look on the Captains face, nor Mablin nodding to say that it was true. "However, one thing still remains true no matter where you are from. My father, before he died pushed me to make a creed that I would live by. He would not tell me what it would be, only that I had to make it. It had to be from my heart, and something that I could commit to live by no matter how long I lived. I was a slave when I created it, yet I found that slave or free, it applies. I would like to share it with you."
Killian nodded, gone was the fun of sparring, he could tell that this was something very serious to Syth. The Drow then looked away for moment, staring off into space, and going many years into the past as he remember the first time he spoke his Creed to his father. "Life means nothing. Possessions mean nothing. The only two things that matter are Honor and Pride, for everything else can be taken from you, but Honor and Pride must be given away."
Thane, Rumeck, El'izar, and Ev'izar walked in silence for a while before Thane finally spoke up. "Rumeck. I understand that you are a Channeler of Rovnar. Is that correct?"
"Yes sir." Rumeck answered quickly. However his answer caused Thane to stop walking and look at the older boy.
"Please, as I have said, call me Thane. As of now you do not know our history, and you will not, at least till we leave this place. Once you do, you will understand more clearly. However, until then, I ask that you, all of you, remember to call me, and my friends by our first name."
"Okay Thane." Rumeck said with a smile.
Thane started walking again, causing the three of them to catch up and fall in beside him. "Good, now, is there anything else that you need in your capacity as a Rovnar Channeler?"
Rumeck pulled out a chain that was hanging around his neck, and under his collar, showing the holy symbol of Rovnar. "With this, I have all that I require."
"Very well then." Thane said as he turned, and walked up to a shop. The guard outside looked down at Thane until Thane spoke softly. "I was told by my friend, Malachi, that I should only purchase weapons and armor from this shop. Only here has the quality that I require."
The guard's eyes went wide, nodded, and backed up. He even went so far as to open the door for them. Once they were inside, Rumeck's eyes were wide as he looked around. He knew of this shop, and even visited it once with his father. However, the prices were beyond what his father would pay.
The Gnome shop owner came from the back wiping his hands clear. He glanced at Dagger, who shrugged. "He say Malachi send 'em."
The Gnome's face lit up immediately. "Yes yes. Please, what may I do fer ya"
Thane nodded, smiled and spoke. "My friend here needs new weapons and armor. Price is of no concern, so please make sure he has the best quality that you have."
Rumeck's jaw dropped to the floor, as the Gnome nodded, coins dancing in his eyes. "Of course. Right this way young master. Please tell me, what's yer weapons of choice?"
An hour later, Rumeck emerged from the shop in a set of full Gnome Steel Scale mail. Thane would have paid to have it made from Stone Steel, but the shop owner did not have a set ready, and it would take too long for him to make it. As it was Rumeck was beyond shocked at what he did get. Besides the armor, which was better armor than he had ever hoped to have, he had a Stone Steel long sword, a Stone Steel mace, and two Daggers, one Stone Steel, and the other Silver Steel. Rumeck was starting to wonder if he was in some sort of walking dream, as no one had ever spent seven gold pieces on him before. However, he pinched himself and he was indeed awake.
"Thank you..." He stuttered out as they walked.
"Rumeck." Thane began as he stopped and placed a hand on the young mans shoulder. "You will come to find that coin is not a big issue to us. I know that is beyond difficult for you to understand, but all will make sense in time."
Rumeck just stared into Thane's eyes, after a moment he nodded and spoke. "You are right, this is difficult. I have never experienced anything like this, and I have a feeling that while my life may become a bit more challenging, it will be well worth it."
Thane nodded and smiled. "That it will be, I can promise you that." Thane smiled, reached into his pouch and pulled out a somewhat large purse. "Also, this is for you."
He handed it to Rumeck who looked confused, took it, then looked inside. His eyes went wide as he looked up at Thane. "I can not take this!"
"You can and you will." Thane said with his own smile. "That is the amount your father paid for your freedom. I do not need it, and you do. So please, take it."
Rumeck was overwhelmed, but finally he nodded and placed the purse inside his own pouch. From there they went and bought more clothing and equipment for all of them, then made their way to the animal shop. Thane was pretty used to being surprised, but what he found there still floored him, yet made him extremely happy.