Ellyra's Song: 4

Fiction By Ezra // 4/19/2008

“Knowledge, skill, loyalty, and power are the threads which bind us together”
-A Saying of the Society

The next morning was not an unusual one. The sun began its path over the vast Eastern Ocean, shining warmly across the deep woods of the Middle Lands, and cascading over the ancient stones which formed the great fortress of Eneoa. The trees, which were as old as the fortress itself, stood like so many sentinels, guarding some ancient secret beneath their quiet shadows.
The sun also spilled through several long, narrow windows into the dinning hall, where the students were taking their breakfast in silence for the most part, brooding over the day’s coming examinations. Timothy and John were sitting at their usual table, munching quietly away at some toast and tea. For a moment, Timothy thought of mentioning his dream, but then decided against it.
“You seen Yule this morning?” He asked instead.
“No,” John replied, taking a sip from his tea mug.
“I’m here,” Yule said suddenly, setting his plate and mug on the table.
“Um – good morning,” John said as Yule sat down.
Timothy glanced at Yule, but Yule was looking somewhere else.
“Look, Yule,” Timothy began, swallowing. “I just…”
He was suddenly interrupted by a crash on the other side of the dining hall. Kyle and two of his friends were standing around a large table where a single student was seated, with her breakfast spilled across the floor.
“Oh, looks like Seyanna spilled her breakfast, again!” one of them exclaimed, shoving the hapless student onto the ground. “Poor Seyanna!”
“No professors around, again,” Yule commented to his friends, taking a bite of his toast. “He would pick on her.”
“Idiots,” Timothy said, pushing his plate forward and standing up.
“Why do you have to be such a hero?” John sighed, setting down his tea mug.
“They think that the school belongs to them,” Timothy said, shaking his head. Stepping away from his chair, he walked across the dining hall to where Seyanna was attempting to clean her breakfast off of the stone floor. By the time he reached her table, Kyle and his friends had gone elsewhere.
Timothy cleared his throat. “Do you need any help?” he asked.
Seyanna looked up from where she was wiping spilled tea and bread crumbs off her chair. Her deep, green eyes seemed to show no resentment toward her ill treatment, though perhaps a distant weariness.
“Thank you,” she said, quietly.
Timothy knelt and began to pick up shards of her tea mug, placing them on top of the table. Seyanna had arrived at Eneoa four years ago – one year after Timothy and his classmates. The fact that she was not a princess or a duchess had made both Yule and Timothy sympathetic toward her, although they generally kept their distance, seeing as how she was both a girl and from a younger class.
“I’m sorry about this,” he finally said.
“I guess I’m used to it,” she returned, smiling a little as she stood up.
Timothy stood as well, and placed the remaining shards on the table before turning to leave. He heard her thank him again as he walked away, and nodded his head without looking back.
When he finally reached his own table, he found John and Yule in conversation.
“It’s that cat,” John was saying. “It follows her everywhere. Just the other day, I saw her sitting in a window sill, talking to it as if it could understand her.” Laughing a little, he continued. “And it almost looked as if it knew what she was saying. Anyway, she talks more to it than to any of us.”
“I don’t know why they pick on her,” Yule said, in a much more serious tone than John. “She isn’t a commoner.”
“Well she’s not royalty either,” John replied, “Which makes her an outsider as far as they’re concerned.”
“Will you be studying with John and me this afternoon, Yule?” Timothy said, changing the subject.
“Sorry, no,” Yule replied. “I told my roommate that I would study with him. I’ll join you tonight, though.”
“That’ll work,” John interjected.
There was a moment of silence before Timothy spoke again.
“Yule,” he said, “I’m sorry about what I said last night.”
Yule looked away. “We’ll just forget about it,” he replied in a quiet voice.

The rest of the morning was fairly normal. The four hours following breakfast were spent in the dusty lower classrooms, taking the advanced medicine examination under the watchful eye of the Earl of Kentworth. The Earl was Eneoa’s professor of medicine, as well as an assistant professor of the Secret Arts. He was a shorter man, with a stiff grey beard and hard, green eyes, and he was rather feared among the students for his habit of using them as examples in his classes.
Timothy, who was considered his class’ foremost student of medicine, disliked the Earl and thought him rough and ineffective in his practices. Most of Timothy’s classmates had not forgotten the day that he outdid the Earl by proving that an experimental mouse which had been pronounced dead could be brought back to life.
The end of the exam was followed by a quick lunch of fruit, cheese, and rolls, and then the afternoon study period. It was during this time that John and Timothy found themselves again seated in the shade of the old apple tree with a collection of notes and books on the following day’s test. The wind was back, rustling the limbs of the trees and playing with the edges of the papers scattered between them. John was reading aloud from a worn-looking, leather-bound textbook titled, ‘A Brief History of the Society’.
“A study of the history of the Society is key to every student’s understanding of the Society’s purpose and operation,” he began.
“Just skip to the third paragraph,” Timothy interjected. “That’s where some of the important dates are.”
Following Timothy’s advice, John skipped a few line and began to read again, pausing to scribble down dates as he came across them. The first event described by the book was the Society’s founding; how in the chaos following the Great War, a powerful and secretive group of men known only as ‘The Society’ had begun to offer peace and security to whomever would fall under their rule. Of course there were a few who resisted this group of men, a few who insisted on perpetrating chaos and violence.
But, as the textbook went on to show, these were all brought into submission by one method or another. As time went on, the Society became very successful in bringing peace to the world. Criminals and dissidents, such as the bards, were given swift and severe penalties, and the coasts were well-protected from pirates and raiders.
John was just getting to a part about an uprising lead by the bards, when he glanced over and noticed that Timothy was no longer paying attention. He seemed to be gazing off into the distance.
Picking a hard, green apple out of the soft grass, John threw it into the air and caught it deftly, smiling. He slowly drew back his arm and tossed the apple easily at Timothy’s head. There was an audible thud as it bounced.
“Wake up, dreamer,” he said.
“Bother you, John,” Timothy replied, rubbing his head.
John glanced over to where Timothy had been looking. “It’s the Agurri girl again, eh?”
“The new class has that big test tomorrow,” Timothy explained. “They should let her study for it.”
“You worry too much, Tim,” John replied.
Timothy sighed, leaning back against the apple tree’s rough trunk. He let his gaze go back to where the little Agurri girl was sitting, just past the rickety old gardener’s shed as she had been on the previous afternoon. “It’s the same thing they did to us,” he said, a troubled look crossing his face. “You remember? It was just the three of us with nothing but each other and a will to survive; they did everything they could to make us fail. They didn’t want either Yule or I to make it through the first year because we were commoners and this is a school for kings and nobles.”
John was silent for a moment, remembering how he had fallen in with Yule and Timothy. He, like them, had received a harsher than normal treatment from those in charge of him his first year, although for different reasons. “What are you thinking?” he finally asked Timothy.
“Does someone come out to check on her?” Timothy questioned.
“Usually not,” John replied, cocking his head to one side.
“Then I could probably just get her books for her, and let her study out here,” Timothy mused, crossing his arms.
John sighed. “If you must,” he muttered, setting his book aside and leaning back against the smooth fortress wall. “I’ll be waiting here when you return.”
“Thanks John,” Timothy replied, smiling dryly.
So saying, he got up and began walking toward the Agurri girl, arms still crossed. She was not crying as she had been last time, but instead was sitting peacefully with her knees hugged to her chest and her back against the stones of the dorm building. She was looking off into the distance at the shadowy trees beyond the outer wall, and her lips seemed to be moving as if in a silent song. She saw Timothy coming up towards her, and stood dutifully as he approached.
“Good afternoon, sir,” she said. She was looking respectfully at the ground, and yet she seemed to be hiding a slight smile as she spoke, which Timothy thought was odd. The summer wind was whistling quietly along the dorm wall, rustling through several bushes, whipping her dress, and scattering a few loose black hairs about her dark green eyes.
“Do you need to study?” Timothy asked, abruptly.
“I’m not supposed to right now, sir,” she replied, and the hidden smile left her face.
“What books do you need?” Timothy continued, still speaking in an abrupt manner.
“Sir?” she questioned, a little confused.
“What books do you need for your test tomorrow?” Timothy asked again.
The little girl hesitated. “You mean, you’d get them for me?” she asked, looking up at him with wide eyes.
Timothy opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it and glanced around. “You need to understand,” he began, “that I am not your friend in any way. I am just helping you because you need help. Do not forget that.”
The little girl looked back down at the ground. “Yes, sir,” she said. But the hidden smile seemed to have returned.

Through a tall, narrow window in the great hall, a good distance above Timothy and the girl, the Superintendent and his friend Lord Elegand stood watching the scene below.
“That is the thing about Timothy which worries me, General,” Elegand sighed.
The Superintendent’s friend was a tall, wiry man with a light complexion; his face was dominated by a long, hooked nose and a carefully trimmed, jet-black goatee. His clothes were much like his face: neat and austere, a spotless white lace undershirt beneath a neat, black vest and a long, black cape.
The room that he and the Superintendent were standing in was the Superintendent’s study; a comfortable space lit by the single, large window out of which they were looking. There was also a large, polished wood table and a matching desk, both of which held a curious collection of artifacts from his days as a field commander.
“Please, speak freely, Elegand,” The Superintendent said, turning toward the room’s interior.
“I do not think,” Lord Elegand began, “that Timothy was ever fully indoctrinated. I am not sure that he would be ready to put his loyalty to the society above other things.”
“Do you really see it as such a problem?” the General questioned, moving away from the window.
“I do, my friend,” Elegand rejoined, also stepping back into the study. “Doubtless, he will learn the truth about who the little girl is when he graduates next year – the problem of the prophecy should be resolved by then. And what will he do?”
“I’m still not sure that I see where you’re going,” the General mused.
“Donnel, we both know what service in the Society requires. If he is a great general some day, we will want to make sure of his loyalty to the Society’s interests. And we will also want to make sure that he understands how the Society views the Agurri people.”
The Superintendent said nothing.
“It seems to me,” Elegand continued, “that this next generation is destined to lead a great struggle against our enemies. I do not think that they will be effective in this if they do not understand how power works, and if they do not bear an unfailing allegiance to the Great Secret. In any case, I believe Timothy has much to learn about how costly kindness can be.”

Comments

Nice job! Keep writing

Nice job! Keep writing Ezra!
~gNat~

Nathanael | Sat, 04/19/2008

We are waiting for the long-promised invasion.
So are the fishes. ~ Winston Churchill

Great!

I've been hooked from the beginning! This story has me intrigued.Can't wait to see where it takes us.
Vera H.

Anonymous | Sat, 04/19/2008

Can't wait for the next

Can't wait for the next installment! This is incredible, Ezra, and I'm so definitely hooked!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God wove a loveliness
Of clouds and stars and birds
But made not anything at all
So beautiful as words
~Anna Hempstead Branch

Heather | Sat, 04/19/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Woohoo! Can't wati to hear

Woohoo! Can't wati to hear what happens next!
Great job, Ezra!

Anna | Sun, 04/20/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Nice

nice.
rosie

Anonymous | Fri, 01/23/2009

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