Disclaimer: Don't own Eldest.

Well, this is for all you loyal reviewers out there! I was seriously going to wait until I got my other stories updated to start this up, but I couldn't resist. And I needed help with the other things::


Anywho, starting off with a little filler. Did anyone miss Garrick? I did!

This story will probably be updated slower than it's prequel, just a warning.

I'd like to thank 30 Seconds to Mars for inspiration for the title along with inspiration for a character!


"Rise and shine you scum!" came a gruff yell. "This is the day your suffering begins, lads! I'd sorely 'ate for ye ter miss it!"

Garrick sat up in his small, dirty tent. His eyes blearily took in the cold fog that hung low above the ground outside as he crawled out into the mud and stood, wiping his hands off on his dirty pants. For weeks he had been training in Urû'baen and for weeks had he suffered the beatings of officers and the snide remarks of the stronger trainees. Garrick was lucky enough to avoid being one of their main targets for abuse.

"Line up, you scum of Alagaësia! Worms an' maggots! Tha's what you are! Tha's what you are in this Empire! All the same! No' one of you is special an' no' one of you is goin' ter get special treatment! If you wan' ter make yer way in this world, yer goin' ter have ter figh' for it!" shouted the Commander. Garrick sighed, lining up next to the other men and straightening.

The Commander walked up and down the line of men, pausing every now and then to shout in one's face. Some flinched and received extra shouts. Garrick knew better. He knew that this was only in training that the commanders were so loud and degrading. It was all a test. And if you failed you had to suffer it longer. The Empire tolerated no failures.

"Wha' do ye say ter tha', leech!?" shouted the Commander, stopping in front of Garrick and facing him. "I know wha' yer thinkin'!" He put on a mocking, high-pitched voice. "'Oh, wha's my purpose in this army? Wha's the Empire ever done fer me?' Well wha's yer answer, leech!?" Garrick felt the spit flying from the man's mouth onto his face. He met his infuriated eyes calmly, opening his mouth.

"To follow orders, sir," he said calmly. The Commander's eyes narrowed and his face grew nearer to Garrick's.

"Wha' did you say, leech?" he asked in a deadly voice. Garrick looked him straight in the eye and raised his voice.

"Our purpose in the army is to follow orders, sir," he said in a strong voice that carried throughout the line. The Commander glared at him for a minute straight. Garrick stared back, not blinking once. Finally the Commander laughed, smacking Garrick on the shoulder.

"Now tha's more like it!" he shouted. "Leech, 'ere, 'as the idea! Now all o' you scumbags remember tha'! Yer purpose in this army is to follow orders! If ye question or don' fulfill, then say goo'bye to yer scummy li'l lives! Now line up to be groomed, men!"

The line of trainees turned sharply, marching to the end of the encampment. Garrick let out a silent sigh of relief. Not all of his fears had been quelled by his calm façade. The Commander barked the order and every trainee bowed, staring at the ground. Soldiers stepped forward with daggers and cut away their hair. Garrick watched his long tresses fall upon the muddy ground and his eyes hardened. If this would be his life now, then he would live it proudly as a soldier of the Empire.

'And if I'm to find Alycie, it will be as a soldier,' he thought bitterly. 'A soldier hunting her to bring her to the king.'

The soldiers straightened as one and Garrick ran a hand over his newly shaven head, rolling his neck to adjust to the lightness of his skull. The sound of metal scraping against metal sounded behind them and they turned to see the graduated soldiers carrying red-hot branding irons.

Garrick heard several soldiers gasp and saw many gulp in apprehension. He did neither. Instead, he turned, exposing the back of his neck to the poker willingly. His greenish-blue eyes fixed on a stone in the middle of the muddy ground in front of him. He would grow hard like that stone, cold to the surrounding world. Like a soldier.

The red-hot pain blossomed over his neck and his teeth clenched. Screams and shouts of men echoed around him as his fellows met the same fate, but he remained silent. Silent like a stone.


Cheers. Review!