I'm sorry that this update took so long. I should warn you that future chapters will be infrequent at best. I do all my best writing between and durring classes, and school is not out. Also my health is acting up again, I'm most likely going to have to have surgury this summer. So updates will be few and far between. Sorry this chapter is so short, but I thought I'd give you guys what I had done to hold you over. Enjoy! Comments are Love.
The Title of this chapter comes from the tale of the "Eloquent Peasant" a middle-kingdom Egyptian parable.
Chapter 4 - Only the Sleeper sees the Dream
"Boy!" Drent barked at Zachary as he yet again barely avoided injuring Karigan. "Do remember that this is the girl's second training session today. Let's try not to send her to Destarion this time, shall we?"
Zachary winced at the thought of hurting Karigan, the guilt from the last time rising to gnaw at him again. 'Do remember' Drent had said. He'd never said anything about her having another training session. Though now that he thought about it, it was just like Drent to make a trainee pull a double shift. He did not envy Karigan at this moment. "My apologies Rider." He murmered, wishing he could say more.
"It's alright Sire." Karigan replied. "I'm just a little slower then usual this evening."
"It's quite alright. I-"
"Is my training session interrupting your cozy conversation?" Drent barked, jerking them both back to attention. "Starting positions!"
Karigan stepped back to her starting position in the practice ring, but the king remained motionless, as if lost in thought. "Sire?" She inquired, and he shook his head, as if ridding it of some errant idea.
"Girl!" Drent Growled "Did I not tell you to check all titles at the door? If I hear one more 'Sire' you'll be doing laps for a week! You will call him 'boy', 'Zachary', or," He got a wicked grin on his face. "'Zach.'" It was not until much later that Karigan learned from Captain Mapstone, that the King absolutely despised being called 'Zach'."
Karigan gulped. And nodded her assent, though she disliked the idea. The formal titles allowed her to maintain an emotional distance from him. They made it easier for her to compartmentalize her feelings. As if to concede one level of affection would be to admit all others, she denied herself even the idea of his love. It was too painful. She feared the floodgates that held her emotions in check. If they ever opened, she didn't think she could survive it. And she'd always viewed calling him by his name to be the first step towards opening those flood gates. Maybe she could just avoid referring to him at all, just by-passing that part of the conversation. Though she didn't think that he'd appreciate be called 'hey, you'. She had the feeling that this would not end well.
They circled each other, their blades dancing in deadly patterns, first one gaining the advantage, then the other. Karigan could tell that the king was holding back to match her skill level, and it galled. Not only did he invade her every thought, but he was pulling his punches. She decided it was time to show him that he didn't have to go easy on her.
With a flick and twist of her wrist she reversed her blade and tangled it with his. Karigan then jerked her blade up and back, disarming him before he could react. What she had not intended was that her maneuver had pushed him off balance and he tipped backwards, arms pin-wheeling in an attempt to keep his balance. It didn't work, and he fell onto his backside in cloud of dust.
Karigan barely contained her laughter as he pulled himself to his feet. Oh how the tables had turned. In a small way his blunder had set her at ease. She was always embarrassing herself in front of him, so he doing the same had leveled the playing field somewhat.
After that Drent called a halt to training for the day, for which Karigan would have been eternally grateful, if he hadn't added that he expected them both to be back tomorrow, and every day after, at eight hour sharp. With a groan Karigan realized that her trials had just begun.