…the boy. I don’t remember his name either. No more than I remember my own. The word comes back when I think that. I ignore it and concentrate on finding signs of their travel. A large enough group to have killed all of us… who is us? We… we… were… protecting! Yes. Protecting the boy!
It felt so good to have a memory, something to pull out of this fog in my head. Fog. More like mud. Like the grit in my teeth during training to be… what? Wearing this armour is an honour? How do I know that?
The boy. Focus on finding them… they… however many but a great many, I have the sense. They who have the boy are enemies. They tried to kill me. I have good evidence in the flap of scalp that I had to tie back with my own torn inner sleeve. I am glad it is black… onyxine my mind insists.
It covers my head and a bright head when sneaking up on a large group of killers is not a good idea. It is night. I can smell people on the wind. Most people don’t realize that outside the city…. What city? I don’t remember. I quit trying to pin down the memories as they flit like butterflies across the vacancy of my mind and just let them come.
Away from daily bathing and without good discipline… even with good discipline, people give off smells. Their horses smell. Their fires smell of burning on the wind. After the rain the air was clear and scoured of smells so when the breeze came up, full of the odour of an encampment I turned to follow.
Enemies. Who have the boy. Who I was wearing armour to protect. I have no sword, no knife, no kit… what kit? My hand goes to my belt where this thing is supposed to sit. None of the bodies… a spasm of rage and suppressed grief surges through me, I don’t know why. None of the bodies had anything that looked like a weapon.
I have no back up… does anyone know we were ambushed? Ambushed. Yes. I know that word. Ambush. Overwhelming force. Someone who could command enough men to have an overwhelming force.
My head hurts. I try and ignore it. Over that hill is where I would post my first sentry if I were smart. I crawl through a boulder field, trying to be quiet. Quiet as… a Mahid. A Mahid? I don’t shake my head. It hurts when I do that.
Ahead there is a horrific scream. The boy. I restrain myself. Getting killed will not save him. My job. Save him. Protect him. I am enraged but my control is good. I have not twitched. You enemies, whoever have hurt him, I will kill you. If not in the course of rescuing him, then later. You will pay for every hair upon his head that you injured. He is the Divine… and my shattered brain refuses to give me a title.
No matter –
“Serin? Serin Aan?” I blink myself awake and find I’ve fallen asleep reading, the open book upon my chest. “Serin,” Antras repeats. “You have an appointment to begin learning flying relay. The Niah teacher is here.”
Oh, yes. I had thought I would just go up to the Rim school and start that way, but Sawas… the teacher… wanted me to learn the theory first. “I’ll be presentable directly. Please give him my apologies.”
“Of course, Serin.”
I closed my book and gathered up the last apples where I’d knocked over the bowl after I’d fallen asleep, and rolled my head to get the crick out of my neck where I’d lain strangely. I gave the book a pat and left it in the niche and went off to learn how to dangle from the bottom of a double-moyawa and have my cord hooked by another, like a spider floating away and snatched out of the air to be carried a different direction.
I would probably have my first in air lesson tomorrow afternoon when the up-airs were strongest, so I’d only be able to sit in on the morning session of Assembly. The lake was really too small to do such maneuvers over… even if such things could be done in the pit, but the river beyond the city between Arko and Fispur was wide and deep enough to provide us some safety net until I knew what I was doing.