The Cavalier

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: June 10, 2019

Reads: 94

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Submitted: June 10, 2019



Chapter One

Staring down the hall, Ramon could see the teacher rounding the turn.  He quickly ducked around the corner hoping that he had been fast enough, so he hadn’t noticed.  Ramon had become an expert at skipping class and not getting caught for the past two years since he had turned 14.  Sure, he had gotten caught a couple of times early on, but he looked at those times as training tools to teach himself what not to do.  Ramon just turned 16 last week and now was definitely not the time to slip up and get caught.  He turned down the hall perpendicular to the one he had just left the teacher in and bounded off.

As Ramon was making his way towards the exit he rounded his last corner towards the door and there stood Abbott McCalister.

Skidding to a stop, “A-a-a-Abbott McCalister,” stammered Ramon.

“Aye, Abbott McCalister...  Soooo… my rather large student is sneaking off again in the middle of the day, is he?” asked the Abbott coolly.

“Well, I……….” Ramon started.

“Just stop right there, Ramon.  I would hope after 16 years of living and learning here, that you would think more of an academy of learned scholars than to think that we didn’t know you skipped class all the time and that we didn’t know where you went everyday.”

Ramon thought to himself, how stupid he must seem to think he had been fooling them, least of all the Abbott, this whole time for the past two years. Ramon just stood there looking confused and dumbfounded not knowing how to respond.

“That is the folly of youth my boy.  You always think you are smarter and cleverer than those around you.” the Abbott continued.  “This is my final lesson I would like to impart to you this day, ‘never think you are cleverer than your opponent.  A strong arm might help you win the battle, but your brain and your wits will keep you alive and help you win the war.”

“You said, ‘final lesson’…. that means you are letting me leave?!?” Ramon asked hopefully.

The Abbott sighed, “…. I impart one of life’s most important lessons and that is the part that sticks out to you.  Yes…I am letting you leave.  I am not one to keep a man from his destiny and I am smart enough to know that your destiny does not lie within the halls of academia.  You have my blessing to go and make of yourself what you can.”

“Really?  But, why did you not confront me earlier?” Ramon inquired.

“I knew exactly where you were and what you were doing.  Dogen came to visit me on day one and let me know.  I instructed Dogen to not let on that I knew and to keep your secret.  I wanted to see how dedicated you were or if this was just a passing interest.” The Abbott went on, “Dogen, by the way, is my best, oldest, and most trusted friend in this world.  We have known each other for an extremely long time. He kept me regularly updated on your progress and from what I hear you are doing quite well.”

“Dogen said that?  But, he is constantly complaining about what I do and telling me how young and stupid I am.” Ramon stammered.

“Ramon, when you learn to decipher the true meaning behind his words you’ll then understand him better.” replied the Abbott.  “Come walk outside with me my boy…”

Ramon followed the Abbott down the remainder of the hallway toward the door.  As they approached the door Ramon quickly stepped in front of the Abbott, as was proper, to get the door and hold it open.  As the Abbott stepped through the door Ramon closed it behind them and when he turned around, his jaw dropped. 

Coming around the corner was a stable hand, from the stable down the street, leading the most beautiful, jet black gelding Ramon had ever seen.  The gelding was huge, standing close to 17 hands, with not a single white mark on him.  The size was good, especially considering that Ramon was probably the largest 16-year-old in the entire province.  Standing at close to six feet four inches tall already, it was pretty much certain he would grow larger.  Not to mention he already weighed a good 195 lbs.  Ramon was going to be a large man and he was going to need a large horse.

“This is my gift to you, Ramon.” Ramon heard the Abbott say, barely over the sound of his own heart beating at the thought of having his very own horse.  “I have had Dogen instruct the stable in the charge of having him broke according to what he will need to know and do.  And apparently, according the horse trainer, he has learned it quicker than most, much like his new owner.” 

“Wh-wh-wh-what is his name?” Ramon stammered.

“He is called Bynam.” replied the Abbott as he watched his favorite pupil stare so adoringly at his new mount.  He knew the boy had never owned anything in his life except the clothes on his back and his books from his studies.  He loved this boy more than he would ever tell him and more than even he had realized until now, at the time of his departure.  “You will find him to be more than adequate for what you need, and he will serve you well into your manhood.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Ramon muttered.

The Abbott snapped his fingers at the stable boy, and from the saddle the boy pulled out another package.  “This sword is for you also, Ramon.  You have seen this sword before, though you do not remember it.  This sword was the only thing accompanying you with your basket when you were left on the abbey’s doorstep.  I chose not to tell you about it until now because I wanted to you have an education first and think about the sword later.  But, it’s yours and has always been yours.” Ramon just starred, and the Abbott continued, “I have taken it to the smithy and had an edge put on it.  The smithy was quite taken with this sword and swears to me that it is extremely old and made of the highest quality steel you will ever find and that it will take a force of extreme power to ever snap this blade.”

Ramon just stood there starring at the Abbott, his sword, and his new horse Bynam.  He had no idea what to say or even what to do.  This Abbott had just answered every question he had about what he would do for a mount or a weapon in his new endeavor.  Those had been the only things he was lacking.  He knew that everything else was provided.

Again, the Abbott broke in on Ramon’s thoughts as if reading his mind, “Dogen assures me than armor, clothing, bedding, food, and such, will all be provided for you. Assuming you are accepted that is.  So, these were the only things that you were lacking.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Ramon muttered again, this time with tears in his eyes.

The Abbott waved him off with a dismissive hand, “You need not say anything my boy, as I said, the sword was always yours, and I was merely returning your property to you, and the horse….well….when a student graduates we always give them a small endowment to get them started in life from the abbey’s tithing, so I have not done nothing for you that we wouldn’t do for any other.”  However, what Abbott McCalister didn’t mention was that this particular horse cost nearly three times as much as the endowment that is given to graduates and that he had paid the extra sum from his own pocket.

“Now, be off with you lad.  You are going to be late for your big day.  And you know Doden hates it when you are late.” and with that Abbott McCalister waved Ramon towards his new horse and went to turn back towards the academy doors.  Ramon had not hugged the Abbott since he was very young, but he threw his arms around the him before he could start off back inside, engulfing the older man in his large frame.

“Thank you!  Thank you for teaching me and putting up with me.  You are the only father I have ever known.” and with that Ramon turned around and jumped onto the back of Bynam.  “I will not let you down.  I will graduate top of my class and be the most famous graduate ever.”  Ramon yelled as he kicked Bynam in the flanks and took off like an arrow down the academy path and out the gates, tears streaming down his face.

Abbott McCalister walked over to the doorway and sat down on the steps.  The very steps where 16 years ago he had bent over and picked up a small basket and a sword, and now the passenger in that basket and that sword were galloping off out the gates.  Abbott McCalister did not remember the last time he had wept because of a pupil leaving his academy or if he had ever wept over a pupil, but he sat there and put his head in his hands and cried for the only pupil he had ever really thought of as a true son.

Leaving the grounds of Ramonovia Academy, Ramon made his way through the streets and past the market vendors towards the place where he knew he belonged.  He had been in the care of Ramonovia Academy and Orphanage, under the tutelage of Abbott McCalister and the priests, ever since he could remember.  The Abbott had told Ramon that he had been found as a baby on the doorstep of the academy wrapped up in a basket.  He had no note and no name, nothing with him at all, except apparently a sword, which he had just found out about.  Abbott McCalister took it upon himself to name him Ramon, after the academy and the country, Ramonovia. Ramon was then raised in the orphanage and academy and grew up there till this day.

Ramon knew in his heart though that he was meant for much more than just learning how to read and write.  He had absolutely no plans of being someone’s scribe or a merchant.  He wanted adventure, wanted to see the world, travel, and find whatever it was he was missing in his life.  He had no idea what that was, but he knew in his heart that he was missing something.  There was a hole there that needed to be filled and right now it was being filled with the hope of adventure.  But, hope would not last forever.  Eventually, it was going to have to be filled with the real thing.  Ramon was headed to start that real thing right now.

After crossing the bridge, which led out of town, over the Ramonov River, Ramon headed down a winding little cart path off to the right of the road.  The cart path led east of the road for about a quarter of a mile until it ended in front of a large stone building.  This building was on the north side of the river just within sight of the city walls which were on the south side of the river.  It was one of the oldest buildings in the area and had been there long before anyone now living could tell you.  It was made of solid granite blocks placed with perfect precision, and the care of a master builder.  It was made in an era when buildings were made to stand the test of time and last an eternity, not like the new buildings made today.  Today’s buildings were shoddy and made by the lowest bidder and they cut corners anytime they could.  No… this building had been made with the same care as the greatest cathedrals and castles in the land.  

Cavalier Stronghold sat just outside of the Ramonovian capital of Ramonov. Ramonov was a walled city bordered by the aptly named Ramonov River on the north side. Cavalier Stronghold had been built here in the earliest years of the country.  Starting as basically a wooden barn, which was actually still on the grounds, and had been converted into a stable after the current stone building was erected. The Cavalier Stronghold was home to the fiercest fighting force in the land and had been a crucial part in securing this country and defending it for hundreds of years.  The stone stronghold that now stood here housed the six training regiments that after 5 years would bolster the actual Cavalier fighting force. It also housed the main garrison that defended the capital and surrounding country side. 

The stronghold was a large, grey granite, stone building. It stood 3 stories high with a large open training ground in the center.  The land and grass had been worn away to hard, bare packed earth after hundreds of years of training around the building.  Off to the north of the building and along the west road and to the east as well though, there was still a large expanse of woods that stretched on for a few miles.  But, about 500 paces in either direction of the building, except the river side, it was bare training area.  The stables, armory, and the first-year barracks were all housed on the river side of the main building.  First-years weren’t housed in the main building barracks.  It was figured that most who couldn’t hack it would be weeded out in their first year, so it was just easier to house them outside in a separate building.  To be housed in the main building was an honor only given to those who made it through the hell of their first year and beyond. 

Even after two years, seeing this place brought a sense of awe and reverence over Ramon like nothing else.  He knew that it was here, and not at school, that he belonged.  This place was meant to be the starting point for his life of adventure.  After awhile the initial awe wore off as usual and he became himself again.  Ramon tied off Bynam at the post and ran up to the side door he used when “working” here, opened it, and dashed inside.

*  *  *  *

Dogen had just finished putting the finishing touches on his uniform and had started looking over the list of applicants for this year.  He knew every single boy on the list.  Some of them came from great houses of wealth and others were from great military houses.  It was the same with every class that had come through these doors over the last 30 years that Dogen had been Master at Arms.  Every family who was anybody always sent at least one of their sons to join the Ramonovia Cavalier brigade.  To be a Cavalier of Ramonovia was not only one of the highest honors in the country it was also one of the most grueling, physically, mentally, and emotionally toiling undertakings there was.  To be a part of this most prestigious armament, these boys were put to the test day in and day out.The ones that made it would be part of a tradition and some of the toughest stuff any other army would ever face.

Dogen could generally judge within the first couple of weeks which boys would make it and which ones would eventually drop out.  There were also always those families that would try to buy their sons in or use their leverage to gain passage for their son.  In most political arenas in Ramonovia that would work too.  The Cavaliers however were the one arena where it did not.  This elite force was not to be made weak by those who could not cut it.  The King understood that and would always back Dogen and the other instructors and officers there whenever a family tried to pull something like that. 

This year’s class was going to be a very interesting one Dogen could tell by reviewing his list of candidates.  There were some very high-born sons in this class as well as the eldest son from the wealthiest family in the country, next to the royal family. But, the name that stuck out to Dogen was his favorite. It was the orphan who had been his pet project for the past two years. He started showing up a couple years ago and sneaking in to watch the other classes.  Dogen later found the boy practicing with a stick out in the woods a little way down the road.  Dogen would sneak through the trees and crouch behind one of the bushes that would conceal him nicely but still provide him with a good vantage point to observe the youth.  He was picking up the moves he watched pretty well.  So Dogen, being the curious type, started leaving certain doors unlocked and herding the rather large orphan to lessons that he wanted him to “sneak” in on.  The boy continued to excel at what he watched and saw the older boys perform. 

Eventually Dogen knew that to truly get better the boy would need to get some formal instruction.  So, he left certain doors unlocked this time and herded the boy directly to his quarters where he was waiting on him.  The shock on the poor lad’s face when he “snuck” into the room to see Dogen smiling at his desk facing the door and waiting on him was priceless.  Dogen actually laughed out loud as the boy stammered over himself trying to come up with some excuse as to how he ended up there.  Even thinking about it now made him laugh.

Dogen made the boy an offer.  He told him that he would train him to get him ready for his class once he turned 16 and that the boy could “pay” for his training by taking care of the facility.  This of course meant mucking the stables, brushing down the horses, sweeping, mopping, putting an edge on weapons, polishing armor, fixing straps, basically whatever Dogen needed done.  The boy agreed heartily and seemed overjoyed at the notion. Dogen asked where he lived and found out that he was from the Academy.  So naturally he reached out to his old friend Abbott McCalister to let him know of the deal he had just struck with one of his wards.  The Abbott agreed to allow the boy to pursue this endeavor and seemed to know that this was most likely an eventuality with this particular child anyways.

So, Ramon came to learn what he could from Dogen.  He was headstrong, stubborn, and he still had a lot to learn, but Dogen knew that boy was going to show a lot of other boys today that an orphan deserved to be here just as much as they did. The boy was no doubt smart. He didn’t have any money of course and most of these other boys had been preparing to come here long before Ramon had.  But none of them had been learning directly under Dogen either.  Again, this made Dogen laugh to himself.  The boy knew he had to make himself valuable.  So, he learned quick and picked up everything he could so that there wouldn’t need to be much he needed to learn in the way of the basics. 

The way the Cavaliers worked was that boys were chosen.  They were picked by the upper classmen to join their regiment.  The school was divided into six regiments.  Throughout the year the regiments competed and were rewarded points.  Those points then determined the selection order for the start of the next year.  The selection was an important and tricky thing.  There was always a lot of politics involved in the choosing.  The “important” boys always had to be selected first, but there was a thin line between choosing for political gain and choosing the more skilled boy.  Dogen knew that Ramon would not be selected first. It would be unthinkable for an orphan to be selected over all of the other boys, especially considering who was all to be in this class.  But, Dogen was certain that Ramon would be among the top six.  Ramon was the largest boy in this class standing a good four inches higher than the next closest boy and outweighing all of them by at least 30 lbs.  Honestly, in Dogen’s opinion, Ramon was the largest, strongest, and most skilled boy in the entire draft class.  Wealth and political importance could only go so far and eventually Ramon could just not be passed up.  Dogen had made sure to get Ramon’s name out there among some of the regiments that he thought he would fit nicely into.  For one he wanted to make sure that the unknown orphan was chosen fairly high and for two he also wanted to make sure that hopefully he got into a regiment that would use and appreciate his talents appropriately.  But, he could scheme and maneuver more later, right now he had to finish getting everything ready.  Today was a big day, and he had a lot to finish up before the madness got underway.

*  *  *  *

Drabon Thed was hot and tired. He hated staying in Ramonovia.  Plus, he was in the capital city on top of that.  It had too many guards, and the gambling and women were too limited here for his liking.  But, he had been here for the past year unfortunately, and didn’t see himself leaving anytime soon.  He was hanging out in the same vendor’s stall he had been every day since he arrived.  He had become a permanent fixture here since he arrived a year ago and threatened the woman who ran it within an inch of her life. She could have run to the guards a hundred times since then, but he had guaranteed her that she would not live to see the next day if she did.  A couple flourishes of his daggers and extreme pinpoint throws were all he needed to convince her he was telling the truth.  Plus, he wasn’t much of a bother, he didn’t take anything from her, he was just there.  She didn’t know why he was there and he didn’t cause her any trouble.  If anything, he had actually prevented a couple people from robbing her just by his presence.  Not that he cared at all whether the poor merchant got robbed but it prevented the guards from sniffing around and he could do without them hanging around and asking questions. 

He was there to watch and report, though after a year he still had no damn idea why.  He was just a boy.  A rather large boy, but still a boy nonetheless.  The boy was going to join the Cavaliers now though.  He had thought the order might come to finally eliminate him, but it hadn’t.  Just continue to watch and report.  So, he waited.  Drabon took a seat in his normal chair and waited for the boy to come jogging past on his way to the Cavalier headquarters. 

As he seated himself, Drabon remembered how he had got his “normal chair,” back in the first week he arrived here and claimed this stall as his spot.  He had calmly told the merchant woman to find him a chair and have it in this spot every morning.  Her name was Thesia or Sephia, something like that. He hadn’t really cared to learn her name, so he just called her “merchant woman.”  She had told him to find his own damn chair as she only had the one and wasn’t about to give it to him. He just starred at her, his coal black eyes expressionless, every bit of his face cold and hard, except for the slightest twinge of a smirk creeping at the edge of his mouth.  She had turned to go back to work in the back of her stall, thinking she had made her point.  Then in two fluid motions his hands flashed and flung. Had you blinked you would have barely registered the motion, only that you could have swore you saw some motion out of the corner of your eye but were not entirely sure what.  The merchant had stopped cold in her tracks.  One dagger sticking out of the wall no more than a hairs breadth from her nose and the second her throat, having drawn the slightest line of red as it had thudded into the wall.  She was motionless standing there staring at the daggers, and Drabon could see total fear in her eyes.  She didn’t turn to look at him directly, only a sidelong look with her eyes without turning her head. He had held her look there long enough to know that he had just made his point and not her.  He then had coolly turned around and strode out of the stall and down the street without saying a word.  The next morning his chair had been right here and was there waiting for him every day hence.

“I’m such an asshole,” he mused to himself, snickering softly remembering the encounter and shaking his head about that look in her eyes.

As he lounged there reminiscing and waiting for the boy, he almost fell over backwards as a thundering streak of black whipped down the street past the stall, startling him out of his thoughts.  He gathered his wits fast enough to see it was the boy zipping past on a jet-black horse.

“Well that’s new,” Drabon thought to himself.

It would at least make the tedious task of following the boy a tad more exciting today. Drabon leapt off the chair and skidded into the space between the stalls.  It was just wide enough for two men to walk abreast.  He ran to one wall and jumped taking one, two steps up the wall.  On the second step he bent his knee and pushed back as hard as he could and flipped around in mid-air and caught the lip of the opposite stall.  Hoisting himself up in one smooth motion he took off along the rooftops.  He was quick and silent enough to move around and in between the chimneys to avoid being seen by anyone happening to glance up from the street below. 

Drabon made his way quickly from rooftop to rooftop.  Being that this was the capital and a walled city, all the buildings and stalls were crammed together.  The gaps were generally no more than a man or two wide and an easy leap even for someone not as skilled as him. On this street and this part of town in general no building was more than two floors high, which again was easy enough for him.  A quick leap to the second-floor window and then straight up grabbing the lip of the roof. From there it was just a quick step up the wall and kicking his other leg up and over and then running right back along his route.

He definitely wasn’t keeping pace with the boy today like normal, but its not like he was going to lose him either. He knew exactly where he was going.  He went the to the same place by the same route every day.  Drabon could have followed him in his sleep by now.  But at least this was a little fun.  He could act like he might lose him.  It was at least some good exercise.

Drabon could see he was near the city wall now. Crossing the roof of the house he was on, he decided that this was a good place to take to the street again. He was about three houses now from the wall.  He ran to the edge of the roof and leapt over, landing silently in the alley.  Drabon looked around, no one was around so he strode out of the alley and towards the city gates. 

As Drabon walked out the gates down the road he wiped the sweat from his brow. He had actually broken a sweat, not that he didn’t sweat every day in this miserable heat.  This was sweat from exertion though, a good hard run with a bit of acrobatics thrown in for fun.  Well that was good, he had felt lazy as of late. He didn’t train like he used to, at least not as hard.  He still did some routines in the morning to keep up muscle memory, and maybe jogged a bit here or there.  But he could feel this job leeching away his edge…just a bit.  Just a bit could get you killed though. Not on this job, but future jobs for sure.

“Damn this kid and damn this assignment,” he thought to himself. 

This had best sort itself out quick.  Otherwise, he might just have to sort it out sooner than what his employer had intended so that he could get the hell out of here. 

As he made his way towards Cavalier Stronghold he told himself that he was going to watch a little bit more today. Normally, he just hung out in the woods nearby and waited for the boy’s return trip to the Academy.  But, today was different.  It was selection day after all. He wanted to see just what the boy was about and how he did. Plus, he was bored, and this was about as much excitement as he’d had in a while. The selection festivities were open to the public anyway.  There was always a huge turn-out to see who did the best in the trials and who got picked in what order. Might even be some coin to be made betting. That would at least make the day worth it. If anything, he knew how to judge a person. He had been watching this boy for over a year now and knew how he would perform. Plus, being the man that Drabon Thed was, he had also found out who the other boys participating in selection day would be and had watched and studied them as well.  He knew who was going to win which events for the most part.  He at least knew exactly which events to bet on, those events would not go to who most people thought would win and would go to this orphan, this unknown. He was definitely going to make some decent coin today.

*  *  *  *

The small supply room was cramped for a boy his size.  More than once he had knocked off a bucket or a random piece of tack from a shelf, making the floor a tripping hazard as he tried to get all of his gear together and armor on.  All of the other boys participating in selection day would show up all dressed and put together coming from their respective estates and homes.  Ramon didn’t have any of that.  Ramon had his bedroom at the Academy and this little supply room.  Being that he had hidden, or at least thought he had hidden, his activities from the Academy, he had made arrangements with Dogen to use this room as his for today to get ready and prepare.  Dogen had put everything in here for him that he would need. 

Dogen had seen to it that Ramon would have a good set of armor.  There was a larger supply room in the back of the stables where there were random pieces of armor that were all mismatched and in disarray.  Most of it was busted up having been in battle and either needing repaired or beyond repair and tossed in there to be used for parts to repair the pieces that could be. Ramon had spent an entire week digging through the mess to put together a set that matched. First, he had looked for a suitable breastplate that would fit him.  There were hundreds of different ones in there that had been collected over the years, most too small or too snug.  A lot had been in there for so long they had begun to rust in places and the leather was cracked and breaking.  There were plenty that had been cleaved in places by either a sword or axe, and still more that had holes from arrows or crossbow bolts. 

He finally found one in solid condition that fit his large frame well.  It was emblazoned with a lightning bolt in the center and was made of solid steel yet light enough not to be too encumbering.  It did have broken straps and riggings though. So, then he had the task of finding another breastplate with similar riggings but ones that were in good condition.  That actually proved to be a bit easier and he didn’t have to look long to find a comparable set.  Once he got the straps switched over, hammered out a few dents, and a bit of polish and oiling, the thing looked fairly new. The breastplate gleamed in the sunlight and the metal work around the emblazoned lightning bolt was inlayed with gold wiring which reflected the light even more, setting the center of the plate a glow.  He was definitely not going to look the poor orphan when he stepped into his selection day trials today. 

He had been met with the same difficulties in finding the rest of his armor set; greaves, pauldrons, gauntlets, boots, and helmet. So, all in all it had taken him a good week to find everything, match them together so he didn’t look like some hodgepodge of random armor, clean it up, and fix it.  He was quite proud of the set he had assembled however.  Ramon never could have afforded something like this.  Hell, even some of the boys coming to selection day, who weren’t orphans, wouldn’t have armor this good.  But, Dogen had told him it was his.  He did all the work of fixing it and piecing it together.  Had he not done it, that armor would have just sat and collected rust like the rest.  So, Dogen said he was doing this armor a favor and giving it a purpose again. But, Dogen made sure Ramon knew he wasn’t going to do it for him and he instructed the blacksmiths not to help him either. If he really wanted it, he told him he could bloody damn well do it himself.  But, he had still given it him. Ramon hadn’t found a shield though, which actually ended up working out fine.  The sword that Abbott McCalister had given to him, which turned out to be his to begin with, was a heavy two-handed blade.  So, there would be no way he could have used a shield anyways. 

He finished strapping on his armor and strapped the large blade onto his back. No way it was going to be able to hang at his side comfortably or efficiently. He took a few turns at drawing the blade, as best he could anyway in this cramped space of a room.  He drew it, sheathed it, drew it, and sheathed it again a few times, getting a feel for where the hilt sat over his right shoulder. After a handful of times he felt ready, at least as ready as time would allow.  The days activities would be starting soon. After sheathing the blade a final time, and giving a last quick check to all of his straps and riggings he began to pick up the room and make his way back over to the door.  He had knocked over a few more things than he had thought, and it would have been quite a hazard trying to pick his way back to the door much less be able to open it.  As he was finishing clearing the floor of the menagerie of buckets, pots, tack, etc. there came a quick rap on the door.

“You ready in there you big oaf,” came the voice on the other side.

That was what Dogen had come to call him over the last year, “big oaf.” Ramon was quite a large 16-year-old and hadn’t quite come into all of his coordination yet. He occasionally broke stuff or knocked stuff over, as evidenced by the shape this room was in a moment ago.  Dogen liked to constantly remind him of that fact, it was just his way.

“Yes, I’m coming,” Ramon replied swiftly, as he reached to open the door.

He turned the latch and opened the door; there stood the man who had been training him for the last year, or year and a half roughly, once he had made it known he knew what Ramon was up to.  He came up to roughly Ramon’s waist. Dogen was a dwarf by race but you would never know it by the way he always seemed to talk down to you. Ramon could remember a couple times where Dogen had really dressed him down good for screwing up some maneuver he had been trying to teach him.  He could have sworn the man had grown four feet and was towering over him, glaring down at him, and berating him.  But, it was just how he carried himself.  The dwarf was as hard as tempered steel which more than made up for his size.  He was the Master of Arms of the Ramonovia Cavaliers after all, and you didn’t earn that position and title by being weak in the least bit or in any aspect.

Dogen was dressed in his full master of arms dress and covered in the most resplendent armor Ramon had ever seen.  He had never seen his teacher actually dressed in any armor at all come to think of it. But there he was all shiny and plated and casting the most commanding presence. He hadn’t thought that possible being as demanding as he was with training and chores. But he looked even more intimidating now than any other time Ramon had witnessed.  His armor was emblazoned with a crimson heart outlined in orange fire for his clan name. Dogen Smeltheart was of the Smeltheart clan that hailed from the northern hills of Ramonvia. Ramonovia was a little different than most kingdoms, as in a soldier could wear his family crest on his armor.  The kingdom was represented on the cloaks that the soldiers wore.  They wore a blue cloak which was trimmed in gold with the Ramonovian Swooping Dragon etched in gold in the middle.

“Hurry up, and get your shit together boy, we got a long day o’head of us! You better not let me down, or yourself down today.” Dogen bellowed as he turned from the door to make his way down the hall.

Ramon clamored out of the room and with a couple brisk, long strides he caught up and retorted, “Got my shit together, sir. I ain’t about to let anyone down today, you can count on that. They aren’t going to know what to do.”

Dogen stopped and gave a hearty, big belly laugh. Holding his sides, he managed to get out in between guffaws, “You got that right me boy! You’re as big as a damn bull, and just about as strong.  I can’t wait to see the look on one o’ those rich boys’ faces when you knock him for a loop! You’ll cartwheel the rich little shit into the bloody wall!”

Dogen composed himself quickly and ran his hand along his cloak straightening it and checked a couple straps on his armor. “Well don’t get too big headed that you screw up and underestimate one of them and you end up on your back instead,” he barked, and started back down the hall.



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