They set out in the morning, excited and wondering what they would learn. Each of them was lost in their own thoughts. Eris wondered if he would be up for the challenge of fighting. But he didn’t have an option, it was this or be killed by the king, and this was a better option. At least he would die fighting, at least he would die trying.
Angels were peaceful by nature, and Eris was about to defy that. There were surely going to be consequences to that, and Eris hoped nothing too happened to him, as he was fighting for the good of this realm.
They soon reached the training arena where the warrior was waiting for them. “Rogue, get to archery, Aerys to the man with two swords. Eris you train with me” the warrior said handing Eris a wooden sword.
“I thought I was going to learn to fight with two?” Eris asked eager to learn to use two swords.
“We start with one. Using two swords is complicated, and to start with two you need to know how to use one first.”
“Right” Eris said embarrassed, how could he forget such an important detail.
At the end of the day, as the three of them walked back exhausted Eris couldn’t help but complaining.
“Oww, my hand hurt so bad. Look at these bruises” he said putting out his hands.
The warrior had shown no mercy on him while fighting, and Eris had paid for his inability to even hold the sword properly. At least at the end of the session Eris could block a few sword strikes. They walked towards their quarters, their eagerness to go back slowly dying out as each of them was tired.
The next day was almost the same except Eris, Rogue and Aerys were getting better. Rogue was getting good at archery, as she could hit the target more than five times out of ten tries. Aerys was also doing well as he did have some skill at swordsmanship. The only problem was Eris, and even Eris was slowly improving.
Eris was a quick learner, and even on the second day he was able to block the warriors strikes and fight back.
“Sword fighting is in your blood. That’s why it comes so easily to you. Angels at one point must have been guardians as well, and I have a feeling it won’t take you much longer to beat even me at my own game. When you achieve that, we can move ahead.”
Eris felt proud at getting good at something so fast. Slowly he was learning new things about himself, as he had never known sword fighting would come to him so easy. It had always seemed difficult to him, and he had never had the inclination to learn it. But now, the urge to master it was strong.
Overall, for the three of them day two of the training was much better than the first one, as their sore bruises hurt but there was satisfaction in their minds as they walked back. They had learnt new things that day, and they were happy with what they had done.
DAY THREE, DAY FOUR, DAY FIVE AND DAY SIX
The three days were more or less like the second except less exhausting as they were getting used to the schedule, and it had become a habit. Eris had even started enjoying the training sessions, and every night he would look forward to the next session.
As for Rogue, she had mastered archery with the bow and was now practicing throwing daggers. Aerys was still trying his hand at sword fighting, and Eris had almost reached the level of the warrior. Six days was all it took before hidden talent had come out of Eris’ body. He had learnt that he was quite an expert at sword fighting.
Only a few days more and then they would set out to find the archer. Preparations for war would have to be made in the valley, and they would set out after the archer was with them. Eris hoped they found him fast, as the longer they waited, the closer the king got to awakening the demon. Little did Eris know that the king needed Eris to awaken the demon.
The days of training were mostly uneventful, that was until the seventh day.
Rogue woke up to find that the others had left her and gone ahead. The sun was already up in the sky, and it seemed to be just after dawn. She quickly washed and ran towards the training arena.
Why hadn’t the other woken her up? The warrior was sure to yell at her or put her through discomfort today. How could Aerys and Eris just leave her like that. While she was running, she looked at her daggers. The ends were quite blunt, and she had to sharpen them. Oh, she wondered where the other two were. Maybe something had happened. Her thoughts jumped to Aerys and then Eris as she wondered if they were safe. They had to be, as the valley was well protected and not many travellers ventured this far away from Ashanti.
She walked into the training arena and found it deserted. Was this some sort of test arranged by the unpredictable warrior? She ran to the weapon room and was about to rush in when she saw Eris tied to a chair and three men surrounding him. They seemed to be soldiers of the king. What were they doing here? She turned around, intending to rush for help only to find another guard behind her.
“Look what we have here” he taunted to the other guards as he grabbed her and dragged her into the centre of the room towards the other three guards. Soon, she too was bound and her daggers were on the ground at a distance from her. She had to do something. She looked at Eris who was beside her. He seemed unconscious. The guards were in a corner, discussing something, as the looks on their faces were serious.
While they were distracted in their conversation, Rogue untied her hands. She hadn’t been tied properly, and it was quite easy to free herself. She was about to stand when she decided it was better to free herself when one of them walked towards her.
And soon, what Rogue anticipated took place. One man walked towards her, a leering look on his face and a dagger in his hand. “The king will pay me well to bring your pretty face too him. He never said alive or dead” and the man laughed at his own joke.
Rogue had had quite enough as she punched him and grabbed his dagger. While he was reeling, she stabbed him. One down three more to go.
Rogue ran towards one with a dagger in her hand and kept it at his next. Rogue was too fast for the man to react.
“Weapons on the floor or this man dies too.” she threatened the remaining two men. Luckily the cooperated, and threw their weapons onto the floor. Rogue quickly tied them, and went over to Eris who seemed to be awake.
She untied him, “Fly, fly as fast as you can and get the warrior and Aerys from wherever they are.” she told him.
She wondered why these men had come here, had the king sent them? She hoped they would answer her questions.
“Why are you here?” she asked them. She was greeted with silence.
“Who sent you here?” she tried again. They weren’t replying. Maybe they wouldn’t talk. Sooner or later they would, and Rogue would be waiting then.
Rogue hoped Eris came quickly, as she couldn’t risk these men untying their bonds.
Meanwhile, Eris was flying towards the warrior’s quarters, wondering where the king and Aerys were. When he reached there, he found Aerys and the king sitting outside, immersed in a deep conversation. Their faces help serious expressions, and Eris guessed they were talking about the upcoming battle. But all that would have to wait.
“Come quickly, trouble at the arena” he shouted to them.
Sensing the urgency in his voice, they got up and followed him as he made his was towards the weapons room. They rushed inside, and thankfully the captives remained and rogue was standing, trying to coax information out of them but to no avail.
“What happened?” the warrior asked Eris and Rogue.
“You mean this isn’t a test of yours?” Rogue said agitated.
“No, it isn’t. I walked in here at dawn only to get captured and tied. A little while later Rogue showed up and freed me. She then fought of the soldiers.” Eris said.
“Of course this isn’t a test.” the warrior said shocked. “What are the soldiers of the king doing here?” he shouted.
“Take them away guards” he ordered at some men who had followed them to the arena. After they were gone, the warrior sat down, worried.
“The king knows we are here, or else the soldiers found Eris by luck. He is searching for you Eris, and he will do anything to get to you. You must be safe, and protect4ed at all times. Do not venture anywhere alone, we can’t let him get to you.”
Eris nodded. He knew the king was after him, but what he didn’t know was why.
Rogue asked the most important question, “What if one of them went away after observing preparations for war?”
“That is highly unlikely, as no one would risk crossing the forest by themselves. We cannot let these men escape or else we are done for. We need to get the archer and make a move for Ashanti as fast as we can.” Aerys said.
All of them looked at the warrior, wondering what he would say. “Aerys is right, we set out for the archer tomorrow dawn. Let us go make preparations, and ready ourselves for the journey tomorrow.”