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Lilian · Thorns

Flight beneath her feet

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Heels clicked on the tiled floor as the young woman moved through the white washed halls. The earthy smells from the gardens rose through the windows to tickle her nose. The sunlight gleamed off of her blondish hair.
Up ahead a steel braced wooden door was embedded in the wall. At the sight of it her foot steps faltered and her face tightened. She reached up and rapped upon the door. After a moment it opened revealing an older woman with gray hair.
“You asked for me?” The you woman inquired.
“Come in.” Said the Mandare Mar-ReThe young woman walked into the well furnished room and stood in front of the desk. The older woman took a seat behind the stone desk and regarded the woman standing in front of her.
“Ray-Ven, you came to us in your tenth year. Since your arrival here you have been more or less,” at this the older woman gave Ray-Ven a long scolding look, at the thought of her last adventure, “ a credit to us. But now you are grown up, it's time to decide your future.” The look on Ray-Ven's face was an almost comical mask of horror. Briefly, the Mandare felt sorry for Ray-Ven, knowing that she was going to hate what was to come.
“Do you have any idea what you want to do?” The older woman asked, despite already knowing the answer.
Sure enough Ray-Ven's response was, “Oh, I haven't really thought about it.”
The Mandare sat back and said, “Given your skills I thought you might want to enter into the Messenger service.”
At that Ray-Ven Blanched she started to protest only to be over ruled. “ I know you fears regarding it. But we are always in need of reliable messengers.”
Ray-Ven muttered to herself, “ I wonder why.” A fair amount of panic coloring her voice.
The old woman looked at Ray-Ven and said, “Your going whether you want to or not since you couldn't decide.” Ray-Ven Groaned.
* * *
Ray-Ven stood outside the building that housed the messengers. She looked at it apprehensively before steeling her nerve and walked inside. The walls are painted a pleasant golden color the halls were straight out before her. Ray-Ven looked around for someone to help her when she got tapped upon the shoulder from behind.
Ray-Ven whirled around and looked at the person who had startled her. It was a boy a good amount taller than her with gray eyes. Very pretty, she absently thought.
“You must be the new girl,” He said, “My names Ki Vane.”
“I'm Ray-Ven,” She replied with a polite nod.
Ki nodded back, “Follow me, I'll show you to your room.” Her rooms weren't much different From the ones that she had had before. It was small with minimal furnishings and a window. After a moment Ki excused him self form the room. She sat upon her bed and reflected upon her fate.
Ray-Ven went over everything that she knew of the messengers. It wasn't much only that they lead dangerous and short lives. They also rode a special breed of Rolm, a beast-horse, while they were smaller than the ones the warriors rode, they were no less fierce. Know for being violent even towards their riders. Ray-Ven shuddered at the thought of riding one of those into battle. She's seen one in battle before as a child the sheer devastation of her village haunts her even now.
There was a knock at the door that interrupted her thoughts. Ray-Ven opened it and revealed Ki standing outside. He smiled at her and said, “Dinners about to be served.” Ray-ven nodded and followed him down to the dinning hall. Where all of the Messengers that were sitting down and having their dinners or at least the ones that were in the area at least. They were a mixed lot, who seemed to be form all over the empire. Most of them were older than her not by much but enough.
Ki waved her toward a table told her, “your classes will begin tomorrow.” Ray-Ven sat down at the table and started to pick up food. She watched the people walk around their voices flowing though the air. She jumped in surprise when she noticed that some one had sat beside her. She whipped her head around to regard the newcomer.
The stranger looked and her and said, “Hello your new here right?”
Ray-Ven blinked in surprise and replied, “Yes.” Warily.
“I thought so. I'm Tamal.” She introduced herself.
Ray-Ven nodded back. “I'm Ray-Ven. Have you been here long?”
Tamal Smiled and said, “About a year now. Trust me it's not that bad, you get used to it after a while.”
“I'm sure.” Ray-Ven's tone of voice grew a look from Tamal.
“Well get some sleep tomorrow the fun will begin,” Tamal flashed a grin before she moved on.
* * *
When that day began she was woken up by a harsh pounding upon her door. Ray-Ven thought herself out of bed and yanked open the door. Now Ray-Ven was a moderately tall woman but the one that was standing in the doorway was one of the tallest women that she had ever seen. “Get dressed. Your classes are beginning.” was barked at her.
Ray-Ven looked shocked then nodded, closed the door and flew to get dressed. She then opened the door again. The woman looked Ray-Ven over with hard hatchet eyes. After a moment she nodded Ray-Ven's appearance was acceptable, and gestured for Ray-Ven to fallow.
The woman led Ray-Ven out from the Barrack and across the green to the large stern stone building that served as the stable. Ray-Ven felt a frisson of fear run down her spine.
The large door was partially open and they walked in the noises impacted upon Ray-Ven's ears almost like a blow. Ray-Ven felt the fear flow though out her body trying to wield her feet to the floor. Despite herself she followed the woman inside.
After a bit they heard a voice call out. “Hey,” An older man approached his attention on the hard woman. “This the new one?”
The hard woman nodded “Going to see if Coaz and her get along.”
The man cast a look at Ray-Ven. She sensed that she was being evaluated. After a moment he shrugged and said, “Coaz is down at the end.”
The hard woman nodded to the man, and she led Ray-Ven deeper into the stable past the empty stalls. As they walked the noises of the Rolm grew stronger.
The for the first time in 10 years, that she has seen a Rolm. In the Way of size it was smaller than the one that had wreaked her home by 2 feet. Greenish grey skin covered in places by scales stretched across the muscles. Small eyes glittered out over a pronounced snout with sharp fangs peeking out. Ray-Ven felt her eyes dilate and her breath quickened. She desperately wanted to backup and run screaming away form here, but here feet refused to move any direction but forward. Soon there were Rolm on both sides of the alley, Ray-ven had no choice but to fallow the hard woman. They walked for a little while longer before stopping. The older woman nodded at a stall and Ray-Ven turned to look. There was Coaz in all his glory, he wasn't particularity large but he was fearsome looking. His teeth was much longer than the average Rolms and the reddish pigment in his skin and claws was not helping with the panic that had flooded Ray-Ven's systems. Coaz looked at Ray-Ven and snorted, not particularity impressed by her.
Irrationally Ray-Ven felt a flicker of anger that the Rolm didn't seem to be particularity favorable toward her. So she narrowed her eyes at the beast. Coaz stared back deceptively placid.
“This is Coaz. He'll be your partner.” Ray-Ven and Coaz regarded each other anew.
The older woman opened the stall, Ray-Ven backed slowly away. Coaz moved out ponderously, the woman led them out side the stable into the riding field.
“This wull be your first lesson in riding.” She stated. The hard woman showed Ray-Ven to mount up.
Once again the thrill of fear flowed throughout her body trying to freeze her muscles. Ray-Ven swung up into the saddle, feeling the leather and Coaz's muscles trembling beneath her. Ray-Ven followed the woman's directions and squeezed together her legs and they were gone.
Ray-Ven felt the coiling and release of muscles beneath her as the ground moved rapidly by. If it wasn't for the sounds of Coaz's feet hitting the ground she would have thought that they were flying, and for a second her fear was blown away by the feeling of flight beneath her feet.


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