A New Start and a New Friendship
Kitara had woken early that morning. She didn’t know why, but there was an uneasiness inside of her that had dragged her out of her dream world before her usual time. It was just past dawn, and the spring sun shone brightly in the window. Aware that she probably wouldn’t go back to sleep, Kitara got up. She went to her closet and pulled out some black breeches and a sandy coloured tunic. She admired her new clothes a moment, before putting them on. Next, she reached down the bottom of the closet, where her neatly folded new robe lay. She picked it up and held it out toward the sun-lit window. It didn’t shimmer as the High Magicians robes did, but they were of different material. Still, the grey colour of the robes drew Kitara to them. She was going to like wearing them.
Slowly and carefully, she slid her arms in to the sleeves. She let the material settle on her shoulders before she fastened the robe with the little metal hooks which were sewn in place all along her left side, from her ankle to level with her chest. The long piece of material which hung around her back and down the sides covered up the seam so it looked like it wasn’t there. Finally she adjusted her hood till it sat in place. She turned to look at herself in the mirror.
Kitara gasped to see herself standing there in robes. Never in a million years would she have believed it could have happened. Until now it all seemed a bit surreal, as if she knew it was happening, but had been not quite believing it, but seeing herself like this, dressed as a magician, it made her realise her journey was really beginning.
Tears welled up in her eyes. If only her family could have seen her like this, her mother, father, and brother. She wept for them, for missing them, for feeling lonely, for all the emotions she’d kept suppressed these recent days. It hurt so much. Dinnen and Tallissa were kind beyond belief, but they weren’t her family, and Dorn and Coren could never be her brothers. What made it worse was she hadn’t even been able to say goodbye to Theyn, she hadn’t even found his body.
She cried until there were no more tears to be shed. She wiped her face with the sleeve of her tunic, and sighed. Her stomach grumbled. She laughed bitterly. Hungry at a time like this? She shook her head and went downstairs. She was surprised to find Coren asleep in one of the chairs in the living room. He must have come in late last night, when everyone else had gone to bed.
Kitara crept quietly past into the kitchen. She rifled through the cupboards until she found some bread and cheese. She opened the little door into the cool room, (a giant fridge type room kept cool by a heat adjustment spell) and grabbed the milk. She poured herself some to drink, and then put it back. She carefully cut herself slices of cheese and lay them onto the bread. For something so simple, it tasted great. She was just finishing her last mouthful, when a knock came at the front door.
Curious, she rose and went to open it. Lorkan was stood outside, hood high over his head as usual. He looked surprised to see Kitara as she opened the door.
“Kitara,” he stammered, “Just the person I was looking for.” Kitara smiled,
“Lorkan…hey. What are you doing here, it's only just past breakfast time, everyone else is asleep.” Lorkan gasped,
“I didn’t wake anyone did I?” he asked anxiously. Kitara shook her head,
“No, at least, I don’t think so. What is it you wanted to talk to me about?” Lorkan smiled sheepishly,
“Well……I couldn’t sleep. I have to admit having an apprentice is really scary to think about. I'm not sure if I’ll do a good job, you know, all those kind of doubts. I hoped that if you were as nervous as I was that you’d be awake too.” He looked hopefully at Kitara. For a moment she didn’t speak. Was that why she woke so early, nerves? Was she worried about Lorkan, or was it something else she hadn’t yet figured out? She had to admit she hadn’t thought of apprehension as a possible reason for her disturbed rest. After a while, she nodded.
“What do you propose we do then?” she asked. Lorkan sighed, relieved.
“If you want we can start your training, I know I'm nervous but I'm all sorted and ready to go if you get me.” Kitara nodded again.
“That sounds like a decent idea,” she said, “Just let me leave a note so they know where I went.” She went to turn inside but Lorkan caught her arm. He retrieved a bit of parchment from a pocket.
“Just tell me what you want to say,” he told her. She wasn’t sure how it would work but she decided to trust him. As she was reciting what she thought was probably the best thing to say, Lorkan had his hand held over the parchment. With each letter, Lorkan moved his hand in the right shape, and a small, pin sized jet of flame burst out of his palm and burnt the word into the paper. When it was done, he handed it to Kitara. She gazed at it astonished for a moment, before placing it on a small table in the hall. She carefully closed the door behind her, so as not to wake the others, and then she followed Lorkan down the path that lead away from the house.
“Neat trick with the fire,” Kitara said, “Is that some spell of something?” For once Lorkan smiled broadly. However, he said nothing. Kitara rolled her eyes.
“You’ll tell me some day,” she told him. He was still silent. ‘Maybe one day,”’ Lorkan thought to himself, ‘But not anytime soon.’
He led Kitara down a maze of winding streets and passages, behind houses and high walls. Kitara noted this. It seemed that he wasn’t taking the scenic route for fun, whenever a person came past Lorkan turned his head away slightly. The other person would bow to him, and he would incline his head in return, and then carry on walking. Kitara realised that he was trying to avoid people. A short while later, the winding backstreets stopped. They opened out into a large square, in which the daily morning market was taking place.
Lorkan stopped. He pulled his hood down further, so that his face down to the tip of his nose was cast in shadow. He breathed deeply, and strode out into the square. His steps whilst measured and not rushed, were faster than they had been before. He kept his head bowed, and barely looked up at all. Every single person they walked past bowed to him as he went, and then to Kitara. They seemed astonished to find Lorkan in anyone’s company other than his own. Lorkan nodded or grunted at them in return, but paid little attention. Kitara copied his movements, but with a smile. She was unsure why this almost ritualistic bowing was happening, but hoping that this too was protocol, she took it in her stride.
When she and Lorkan were stopped and talked to for more than a minute, she noticed Lorkan’s nervous shifting and constant adjustment of his hood. He almost raced away from the scene when he and Kitara were free to go. As soon as he was clear of the square, his pace slowed, and he relaxed. Kitara studied him as they walked. She mused on what she had already taken from his body language. He was uncomfortable in crowds, being surrounded by people made him uneasy, he was adamant that his face was hidden from view as best as his robes could do. She sighed, he was a strange man.
It was not long until they reached Lorkan’s house. It was almost as big as Dinnen and Tallissa’s, and seemed rather grand. The grey stone walls were tall and they towered over you. The door was at least a foot taller than it needed to be, and was made of, dark, heavy wood. Lorkan murmured something under his breath, and the door swung open of its own accord. They stepped into the high ceilinged, hallway. It's rose up both floors, and in the centre was a spiral staircase, leading upstairs. The floors were made from the same dark wood as the front door, as were all the other doors, Kitara noticed. The walls were painted a browney-red. Despite the darkness in the colour scheme, Kitara liked it. She let Lorkan lead her into large room off to the left of the hall. Two comfortable looking padded chairs sat in the corner. Around them, covering a large proportion of the walls, were shelves and shelves lined with books.
“Wow!” Kitara exclaimed, “For someone as young as you I didn’t expect this many books!” Lorkan nodded in agreement.
“My first few years in Cavral,” he told her, “Were not the best in my life. I spent a lot of time in this house, only leaving if absolutely necessary. A lot of the books were acquired then, some donated by the High Magicians themselves, to keep me entertained.” Kitara turned full circle, looking at all the books.
“Quite a collection,” she smiled. Lorkan nodded again and went to sit in one of the chairs. He gestured for Kitara to sit in the other. She did so.
“Shall we start?” he asked her.
“Why not,” she answered, eager to learn. Lorkan sighed,
“Lets start with any questions you might have, after all you’re the one who knows how much you do or don’t know.” Kitara murmured an agreement. She sat for a while thinking.
“I know!” she exclaimed, “What is the bowing to each other about?” Lorkan cleared his throat to speak.
“That,” he answered, still from under his hood, “Is etiquette. Magicians are very proud of their civility and respect for one another. A magician will bow to anyone who is senior to himself, for example, any normal apprentice magician will bow to all other magicians, but say, one of the High Magician’s will bow to no one. You understand?”
“Yes,” Kitara replied, “But I'm only an apprentice, why were they bowing to me?” Lorkan smiled quietly.
“Gossip travels fast in Cavral,” he said, “I suspect Dinnen and Tallissa will have told their closest friends about you being apprenticed to me, they will have then told their close friends, and so on. I imagine that most people in Cavral now know that there is another extremely powerful magician around, even if you aren’t fully trained. Seeing you with me, and in your robes, well, that just screams out who you are really. There are only two people in Cavral that wear those colour robes, you and me.” Kitara raised her eyebrows. So everyone knew who she was? ‘Oh dear,’ she thought, ‘I'm not really ready for any kind of reputation just yet.’
“Don’t worry though,” Lorkan told her, as if he had read her mind, “No one is going to expect anything more from you than you can give, all they know is your potential.”
“That’s alright then,” she replied. Suddenly, another thought came to her, robes. Hers were a different colour to everybody else’s; did other people have unique robes? She asked Lorkan this.
“Not exactly,” he answered, “The High Magician’s have their own colour, that shimmering light greyish material. Everyone else, well, certain people wear certain colours. Teachers at the university, or instructors in anything wear dark blue. People who have high authority, or do an important job, like Dinnen, wear deep purple. People who specialize their skills, healers, warriors, alchemists, or something akin, they wear dark red robes. Apprentice magicians wear beige, god knows why because it's the easiest colour to get dirty, but they do. Anyone else can either choose brown, dark green, or black, to wear. There are also white robes which all men wear on special occasions, weddings, funerals, and any sort of party as well really, but on those occasions, women wear what ever fancy clothes they want as long as they’re white, but not robes. And us two, we wear dark grey.”
“Why do we wear different colours to everyone else?” Kitara asked.
“Because we are different,” Lorkan stated, “Most of the magicians were brought up in Cavral or some other of the 9 major cities of Myrraea. They are all of similar strength and power. We aren’t. Not only are we singled out because our power is far greater, but neither of us have lived a normal life really. We both have had our families destroyed and been left alone. It's a harsh reality, but that’s how it is. Despite my wish to have as little attention drawn to myself as possible, I have never felt like I belonged completely, that’s why I wear a colour that doesn’t belong either.” Kitara nodded. For a moment she sat silent. Here she was only a couple of days into her life at Cavral, and this man before her had just voiced all her own fears within himself. She knew in her heart there was one part of her that didn’t belong, and never would, she knew there would always be that tiny bit of doubt, holding her back. Lorkan had basically said what she felt most deeply, and then admitted he felt it too. She realised her being his apprentice was not only a match of strength which the High Magicians had devised, but a match that hopefully, would help them both find comfort and support in one another. A tear rolled down her cheek. She hastily wiped it away; she wasn’t going to cry again today, especially not in front of Lorkan.
The days went much the same for the next few months. Kitara woke early, had breakfast, and waited for Lorkan to knock on the door. He led her the same back-street way to his house, and soon Kitara knew the route off by heart. They spent most of the morning pouring over Lorkan’s books, Kitara soaking in all the information she could, as Lorkan elaborated on what was written. Kitara was amazed to see how much he knew. She realised that when he’d said that in his first few years in Cavral, he barely left the house, he wasn’t exaggerating. He must have spent hours and hours studying in his library to know that much. During the afternoons, Lorkan took a more practical approach to teaching Kitara magic. He would spend the hours explaining to her how different spells worked, how much concentration was needed for each one, and what the purpose of each one was. Then he would demonstrate each one to Kitara and try to get her to replicate it. At first it was slow work, Kitara was unused to the idea of using magic, but she was a fast learner, and soon she could master spells within a day. Her skills were far beyond what they should have been for someone of her age, and she was attempting spells with Lorkan that a large proportion of the adult magicians couldn’t master. He was highly impressed with her work, and soon came to realise that she was a determined young woman.
Over time, Lorkan and Kitara became close friends. They seemed to realise, although Kitara didn’t exactly know what happened to Lorkan in his past, that they’d had similar, scarring experiences, and somehow they felt that this meant they could trust each other more than anyone else, because each vaguely knew what the other had been through. Lorkan found himself being more relaxed around Kitara than he had anyone else ever, and this more than a little worried him. Whilst he was happy to have someone he could trust, Kitara was the person he’d known for the shortest amount of time.
Kitara saw that Lorkan was slightly unsettled, and made sure he knew that she would never betray that trust he had in her. She wondered why Lorkan was so afraid to be close to others, and she too began to realise that Lorkan behaved differently around her than anyone else. He seemed almost happier, but maybe that was just because she’d never done anything to hurt him yet. At first she’d found his mannerisms strange, but now he was just confusing.
The only times Kitara wasn’t training with Lorkan was when she had a once weekly class at the university. It was her training combat class, and in it she learned to create shields, cast mage bolts, and any general things she would need if she ever went into battle. The class lasted all day, and had about 30 students in it. However, Kitara was not making friends. Amongst the others, she felt like and outsider, and kept to herself. Her fellow apprentices were awed by her magical skill and strength, but none dared to talk to the girl wearing the grey robes. They knew what the robes meant, that she was apprenticed to Lord Ranel, and they saw she was just as sullen and silent as he was. At first, Kitara talked openly to their, teacher, Lord Atrist, but soon she even withdrew from him. He had other students to attend to, and Kitara couldn’t take all his time. Once, she heard him talking to another teacher after class, he said,
‘I see more of him in Kitara every day now. It's a shame that such a bright girl would end up with an attitude like Lord Ranel’s.”
‘I agree, but Lord Ranel himself is extremely intelligent,’ the other teacher had replied, ‘You know as well as I what Lord Ranel went through, and we can't judge him because of how he behaves. Kitara may have had a similar experience, we don’t know for sure. Let her be, maybe she’ll become more talkative in the future, after all it was because we didn’t leave Lord Ranel alone, that he became they way he is.’ An agreement was murmured and Kitara heard no more. However it left her wondering, because after all, she’d heard many times that Lorkan had ‘been through something terrible’ but nobody ever said what, and from Lorkan himself’s attitude, she knew he wasn’t going to tell her.
Also over time, all except her closest companions in Cavral began to call her Lady Lirria. At first she found the title a little overbearing, but she soon grew into it. Kitara began to understand that the magicians really were very polite and proud of it. Their formalities endeared Kitara and she grew attached to Cavral, and the ways of the magicians. Although her mind was still overcast by the memory of her family and friends, who’d all perished at the hands of Varran, the Black Lord’s rouge magician, she began to see a brighter future, here in the magician’s city.
Varran grinned at the scene before him. The city burned with red hot flames. They licked the walls of the stone buildings and sunk the fiery teeth into the soft wood. The whole place was smouldering; it was a scene only a madman could enjoy. Varran almost laughed. At last he was getting what he wanted. The plans had been finalised only a month after Erret was destroyed, but he’d been forced to wait another 3 months, until the Black Lord finally gave the attack order which Varran had been hoping for. Now, the citizens dying screams filled Varran’s ears like music, and the rancid smell wafted into his nose like roses on a summer day. Ha basked in the fire’s unnatural orange glow, turning his head to the sky as if basking in sunlight. Finally, Varran was getting the warfare he’d so desperately wanted, and the city of Terrivere was burning.
(A/N) Please review! Id relli appreciate it as I need all the help I can get!