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Chapter 3

The next day started rather poorly for Marthan and Shayla as they both got lost trying to get to the Bastion’s grand dining hall, which was the largest dining hall found in the Bastion. It took the duo a good half hour to find the hall, and by the time they did, they were famished. Shayla made the comment that it would take awhile for them to get used to the sheer size of the Bastion, and he agreed with her wholeheartedly. The sheer size of the Bastion meant that it would take awhile for he and his fellow initiates to know the floor plans of the Bastion.

The Grand Dining Hall was grand as the name suggested. black and gold banners of the Corps hung down on the left and right side of the hall’s high ceiling. Intricately carved crystals which glowed warmly hung downwards in the middle section of the hall. The floors and the columns was made out of the same beautiful polished marble that was used in the construction of other parts of the Bastion.

Besides Marthan and Shayla, there were only a handful of other people in the hall. Some of them were in small groups while some dined alone. Marthan and Shayla took their food and made their way to one of the many beautiful and intricately carved wooden tables that were found throughout the hall.

“I hope we don’t get lost later on,” remarked Shayla as she took a bite out of her scrambled eggs.

“Me too,” said Marthan before taking a sip out of his cup of tea, “we would not want to be appear tardy to our future masters.” If there was one thing that Marthan hated more than anything, it was tardiness. He took another sip out of his tea and was careful not to spill a single drop of it on his new Paladin’s initiate robe. Like him, Shayla also wore the robes of a Paladin initiate. Unlike the robes of a full fledged Paladin, the initiate’s robe only had the colour silver.

After finishing breakfast, the duo immediately made their way to the small circular hall they were gathered at yesterday. Unlike finding the Grand Dining Hall, finding the hall they were supposed to gather at was fairly easy as they remembered how to get to it. Marthan and Shayla were the first to arrive, but soon they were joined by another fellow initiate. The initiate that had just joined Marthan and Shayla had smooth green coloured skin with two large eyes. The initiate also had webbed hands and ears, and three long tendrils that protruded from its head. Marthan recognised that the initiate that had just entered the room to be a Kift from Kifto Prime.

“Hi there, I’m Marthan,” greeted Marthan with a smile to the newest entry to the room. Shayla followed her friend’s lead and greeted the newest entry as well.

“Greetings, I’m Kiaan,” greeted the Kift with a smile on his face which stretched from webbed ear to webbed ear.

“So are you excited about meeting your master?” asked Shayla.

“Of course I am!” exclaimed Kiaan excitedly. “Who isn’t?” Marthan and Shayla nodded eagerly.

“So where did you do your basic training at?” queried Marthan curiously.

“I did my basic training on Pangkor IV,”answered Kiaan in response to Marthan’s question.

“I’m not familiar with that planet,” remarked Marthan, curiosity etched on his face, “tell me more about it.’’

“It’s a world that is mostly covered with water save a few scattered islands. It’s located somewhere in the Mid Rim,” answered Kiaan, “just off the Tre’ganu trade route. It’s a beautiful planet with crystal clear seas.”

“Sounds like a place I would like to visit if given the chance,” Shayla piped in. “Wouldn’t you like to visit that planet too Marthan?”

Marthan nodded his head in agreement. “I would if given the opportunity. I won’t pass up the chance to visit such a pristine and beautiful planet.” He imagined the sea waves crashing softly against his feet.

“Where did you two do your basic training?” asked Kiaan in return.

“ Marthan did his training on his homeplanet, Aldrila, while I did mine on my homeplanet of Izos,” answered Shayla.

“I’ve never heard of those two planets before,” remarked Kiaan, “what are they like?” For the next few minutes, both Marthan and Shayla described their respective homeworlds to Kiaan who listened intently to the duo. During that time, more initiates began entering the hall. Marthan noted that noise in the hall increased as more and more initiates entered the small circular hall.

The noise level in the hall dropped to a whisper when Paladin Koreiger and Paladin Zholl entered the hall. Both Paladins were carrying a stack of datapads. Xarvis and Zholl were not alone though, there were joined by another humanoid. The humanoid with Xarvis and Zholl was tall, reptilian like, had a sweeping head crest and a rather large tail. Marthan recognised who that humanoid was. It was Master Jaiden Timms, the Slervum member of the Paladin High Council.

“Who’s the other guy with Master Xarvis and Zholl?” whispered Shayla to Marthan.

“That’s High Master Jaiden Timms of the Paladin High Council.”

“How do you know that?” whispered Kiaan who was standing on Marthan’s left.

“I’ve seen a picture of him in a news report which detailed the Corps’ success in ending the six decade long civil war on Krorea. He was the leader of the Corps’ delegation to the peace summit.”

“Greeting initiates,” said High Master Timms loudly with an air of command and sophistication in his voice. The noise level in the hall dropped to a whisper as soon as the initiates heard Master Timms’ voice. “Firstly, I would like to apologise on behalf on the High Council and the Corps for the delay in assigning you all to your respective masters. I know that you all are very eager to meet your masters. Therefore we shall not waste any more time, if you hear your name being called out by either Paladin Koreiger or Zholl, step forward and take the datapad given to you. The name of your assigned master will be listed on it as well as where to meet him, her or it.”

Paladin Koreiger and Zholl began calling out the names of the gathered initiates one by one. The initiates that had been called up made their way in an orderly fashion to one of the two Paladins. High Master Timms just observed and smiled at the initiates as they received their respective datapad. Kiaan was next to be called up. Not too long after that, Marthan and Shayla were called.

Marthan thanked Zholl as he took the datapad meant for him from the Zhoidil Paladin’s three fingered hand. Marthan began reading the datapad as soon as he got his hand on it. His eyes widened as he read the name of the master that was assigned to him. He could not believe what he had just read. At the corner of his eye he could see that Shayla was grinning from ear to ear. The young Paladin initiate immediately knew why his friend was grinning the way she was. He had to admit that he liked Shayla’s smile. There was something about her smile that was so calming.

“So, who did you guys get as your masters?” whispered Kiaan to the two as soon as they got back. Marthan was about to answer, but stopped from doing so when he heard Master Timms clearing his throat, meaning that the High Master was about to speak.

“Initiates, you have all received your assigned masters. The first step to you becoming a fully trained Paladin is now complete.” announced High Master Timms to the gathered crowd who listened intently. “Initiates, remember that what makes good Paladin is not how powerful or strong, or how knowledgeable he or she or it is, but on how willing he, she, or it is wiling to learn from others and be humble. Etch those words to your hearts, and you all will become great Paladins.” And with that, Timms dismissed the group of Paladins to seek out their masters that were waiting for them. Marthan took a moment to reflect and take in High Master Timm’s words of wisdom.

“So who did you guys get as your masters?” Kiaan asked again as he, Marthan and Shayla left the hall along with other initiates.

“I know that Shayla got the master she was hoping to get,” said Marthan with a knowing smile, answering for Shayla who was still grinning eagerly.

“Oh, and who might that be?” Kiaan asked curiously.

“Master Lianna Sunrunner,” answered Shayla this time. She was still smiling and was obviously giddy with excitement. She turned to face Marthan, “Who did you get as your master?”

“High Master Zhon-xing.”

“That name sounds familiar,” commented Kiaan as he stroked his chin with his webbed hands, trying to remember where he had heard that name from.

“Isn’t he the Paladin that single-handedly defeated the Blue Moon crime syndicate?” asked Shayla.

“The very same,” Marthan said. He was still in shock at who was assigned to be his master. He could not believe that he was the apprentice to such a renowned Paladin who also happened to be a permanent member of the Paladin High Council.

“So who did you get as your master?” asked Shayla to Kiaan.

“A Master Gatts Nemos,” answered Kiaan. “I’m not familiar with the name, do the both of you know?”

Both Marthan and Shayla shook their heads. “I’m sorry Kiaan, I’m not familiar with it,” Marthan said.

“Neither am I,” added Shayla.

“Well then I guess I’ll just have to meet him then,” said Kiaan with a smile plastered on his face.

“I think we should all be going to meet our masters. We shouldn’t keep them waiting,” Marthan opined to his two friends. Shayla and Kiaan nodded in agreement. The trio promised to meet each other after their meeting with their respective masters before heading off in different directions.

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