Best Friend, or Worst Enemy?
Sun May 21, 2006 11:50 (XFF:

It was an unidentifiable sound that woke her up. Well, not unidentifiable, really; she soon realized it was Harina’s voice. Nor was it only sound – her voice was followed closely by a quite vigorous shake of Riani’s sore limbs. Harina was the stronger by a fair margin, there was no denying that, and Riani quickly ceased to try and fight her off. Fighting for a lost cause had never been her thing anyway, and Harina was right, no matter if Riani would never ever tell her so – they both had to get up, and get up now.

Swords. The simple word rung in her brain as she reluctantly and with some trouble sat up in the bed. Light, but her muscles ached! And if half of what Harina had said – Light, if a mere fraction of what Jield, her mentor had said! – was true, it was about to get worse. A lot worse.

She had been in the Tower for a few months now, and most of the time had been spent – on her mentor’s orders and in concordance with the advice her father had given her in his letters – on building up what her teachers called ‘strength and general endurance’. “Riani,” one of her teachers, Sarien Gaidar, had told her, “as I don’t doubt you’ve already realized, you’re far weaker than most of the other trainees.” Riani had blushed; not in anger, like she would’ve had that statement come from her father – or worse, her mother! – but in the respectful realization that the woman before her was right. “We will aid you in building up that strength, that endurance,” the Gaidar had continued, lifting Riani’s reddened chin up toward her hard blue eyes, “but it is you who will have to do most of the work. We can and will advice you, train you, and you will become stronger, fitter during your stay here – but it is up to you how much stronger and fitter. It is up to you if you will ever make it to Gaidar.”

In the months that had passed since she came to the Garrison, and especially in the weeks that had succeeded the Gaidar’s stern encouragement – it was encouragement, if of a sort Riani had seldom before encountered – Riani had done just that. At first she had only managed to run a mere lap or so around the grounds before falling into a heap of exhaustion, and the mere thought of lifting her body, tiny as it was, off from the ground by her arms had made her weep. That was the limit which had been ‘suggested’ for her for when she could start practising with the sword; when she successfully managed to lift herself up ten times in a row.

She had done so two days ago.

She had done so two days ago, and her body was still quivering from the exhaustion, was still feeling…well, far from fit, at least. Yesterday she had spent the days running and doing other ‘cardiovascular’activities to improve her uptake of air. She had had to ask what ‘cardiovascular’ meant, of course; the Gaidar had explained it thoroughly, and given her a crash-course in the different sort of activities that could be done to achieve the desired effects.

“Riani?!” Riani looked up at Harina, her roommate, who was tapping her foot impatiently. “Are you coming?”

Riani blushed. She had lost herself in thought! Again! Light, what was she, some sort of elderly woman who forgot even the names of her own children? “Sorry, Harina. I am coming now.”

She rose, adjusting her woollen trousers. The hand-me-downs from her brother didn’t fit her particularly well; they were too large in the waist, and she had to keep them up with a brown, broad belt that she had asked her father’s blacksmith to make some extra holes in. Taking a quick look in the mirror to see if she looked decent – thank the Light she had braided her hair loosely last night; now she just braided it more tightly without bothering to brush it first. Her cheeks and the area under her eyes looked decidedly hollow, which really was to be expected.

Riani yelped. “Stop dragging me like I was some small child, Harina. I am 16 years old, you know.”

Harina looked back at her with cool blue eyes, and dragged her on. “You might be 16 years old, Riani, but you act like a petulant child of about six, and I won’t have it. Now come on, before I turn you over my knee.”

She was capable of it too, Riani knew that. Knew it only too well, actually; she had found out when she was seen sneaking back into bed after her little…adventure…with Sirestes on Wintersnight.

Shuddering, both from the memory of that particular incident and from the early morning cold, Riani Aethan’Tar stood next to Harina as their teacher for the day told them that, of all things, they would be playing a game. A game of tag, actually.

I am not not going to be hit by that ball, Riani resolved as the boy whose arm the leather ball had struck yelped and caressed his wounded arm, not if I have to bloody die to achieve it!

She didn’t die, and she wasn’t hit. That was one thing Riani had going for her, even the strictest of her teachers had said so – she seemed to have a Talent (the Gaidin and Gaidar said that in a joking tone, and Riani understood why when she was told that Talents was something that was part of the One Power and so not something a mere trainee could have) for dodging items others tried to nail her with. Comes from having spent so much time on the streets, Riani thought to herself, feeling somewhat smug as those she could see rubbed the sore spots where the ball had hit. Of course, once the lesson actually started – with swords, even if only the lathes Jield had showed her – that smugness was very very likely to fade from her as morning mist to the midday sun.

(OOC: sorry, I got a bit carried away there.)

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    • Best Friend, or Worst Enemy? — Riani Aethan'Tar, Sun May 21 11:50
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