Bayan’s eyes opened wide with excitement. This was the sunrise. He’d been officially a member of the “uninitiated” for almost a full cycle doing small tasks throughout the keep. He was happy to do them, it kept him close to his adoptive mother and enabled him to attend her beautiful wedding alongside Odin Seriya who presented her to her groom. As happy as he was for Cassandra, however, the excitement of her big moment did not compare to the excitement he felt for the one he was going to have. This sunrise, he officially became a titled Subarii. It wasn’t a glamorous title, he was just going to be a Subarii Squire.
The officials of Roirraw Valiant had offered to advance Bayan directly to Subarii Knight due to his connections with the founding family, but the Silver Seriya politely refused stating that he wanted to earn his title just as all the Subarii before him had done. He was happy to spend the next cycle or more as a squire to a Subarii Knight. He would join three others in doing so. The Knight under whom he was scheduled to serve was named Braun Tigan and had built a small reputation for himself and a rigorous commander who adhered strictly to the rules. It was sure to be an interesting experience.
Bayan first put on his new, black pants. They were a gift from Z’Kara upon his being accepted as a Subarii. Before placing his belt over them, Bayan secured the yellow and black sash of the Avamari clan. He smiled as he secured it. The Smiling Lady would be giving birth soon. Aldous refused to name his son after a Seriya, but was more than happy to use Olyn as the youngling’s middle name. By the time Bayan completed his tenure as a Subarii Squire, Savir Olyn Avamari would be born. It brought the gyvuu great pride to know he played a part in curing his mentor.
Next, Bayan donned his long-sleeved anuraton doublet. He knew he’d grown in size since first putting it on; while Bayan wasn’t much taller, his muscular frame had grown noticeably wider. Still, just as Meks promised, the all black piece of apparel fit snugly around his body and showed the lines of Bayan’s well developed muscles. After his doublet was secured, Bayan fastened his belt around his waist and checked the two treasure chests attached to either side to make sure they were stocked with their usual contents. Meks told Bayan the beakers and vials would always automatically replenish themselves, but Bayan liked to check just to be sure.
Finally, Bayan grabbed his father robe and put his arms through the long, brown sleeves. There was no a visage of a felcryx across the back, something Cassandra had embroidered and said would keep him safe. To him, it was a symbol that solidified his purpose. He was one of the valiant. He pulled the hood over his head and then began walking toward the door. Next to it was the piece of him that defined him the most, Cassan’wra.
He’d have found it strange that no matter how strong he grew, the hammer was always just slightly heavy, but Bayan had come to understand the elemental properties of his weapon better than most Subarii. He knew the stone from which it was crafted would always grow more and more dense and thus would always slowly grow heavier. It didn’t happen in the unforged version of amorphite; there was something about the forging process that activated the element’s hunger to have more. With the mighty Cassan’wra hoisted across his shoulder, Bayan began walking toward the center of Roirraw Valiant.
Bayan always enjoyed being at the center of the city. It was lush with greenery and stone benches. It was peaceful. He’d arrived early and while Braun was nowhere to be found there was one other new squire also waiting.
“Are you here to meet Braun?” Bayan asked politely. “I am Bayan Stormhammer.”
“Turi Kildreth,” the other replied as he stood to shake Bayan’s hand.
As Bayan returned the handshake, he took a moment to take in Turi’s features. He was slightly taller than the average person and while he was toned, his did not possess the same chiseled muscles as Bayan. His pants and sleeveless jerkin were both brown in color, which accented his lightly tanned skin. He wore matching brown gloves that came up to his elbows and rugged, black boots. Turi’s hair was short, brown and messy. It was clearly unkept. The hair on his face, however, was well trimmed, leaving his face smooth and free of any beard. The fellow Squire possessed a roguish grin that caused Bayan to believe Turi likely enjoyed as much mischief as he could get away with.
As Bayan continued to study his new acquaintance, his eyes inevtiably fell upon the long staff held in his hands. Much like Cassan’wra, a staff was not a typical weapon for a Subarii. The warriors of Roirraw Valiant were renowned as the pinnacle of swordsmanship. Sure, there were those outside the Subarii with even greater legends, but if one claimed to be of the Subarii, the expectation of all who met him would be that he was a master swordsman. Bayan wondered if it was coincidence at all that the two were being paired together.
As the disciple of Aldous took a closer look at the staff, he could tell by the grains of the wood that it was made of armorwood. The staff was easily as smooth as the walls of Seriya Manor and had three separate wraps of leather; a wrap in the center and one on each end.
“Her name is Radiri,” Turi said with a smile. “I’ve heard you trained with the Speaker of Rage. Would you like to hold it and tell me about it?”
“There won’t be time for evaluating one another’s weapons right now,” spoke the commanding voice of Braun Tigan as he approached. “The last thing I want is two of my squires deciding to spar in town center and I know enough of each of you to guess that’s where it would lead. I applaud you both for being early.”
“Sorry for being late, sir,” spoke a rushed, male voice.
“You’re only here as a favor to Ilyr, Kayromi, remember that,” Braun chastised. “Show up late again and I will send you home.”
Kayromi Quickblade, that’s who this had to be. He had a slender build, incredibly lean with muscular features. He wore blue cloth pants that stopped at his knees and an open leather jerkin around his chest. At his side were two long daggers that came to a defined point at the end. They reminded Bayan of teardrops.
“Very well,” Braun said with a smile, “It looks like everyone is here.”
“Sir, are there not to be four squires total?” Turi asked.
“Oh, Turi,” Braun laughed. “You thought you were the first one here, didn’t you? Setta Rokh, care to explain to everyone when you arrived?”
A bundle of black cloth fell from the roof of the gazebo in the center of town. As it hit the ground, a shapely woman with hidden facial features stood poised in all black with one fist on the ground. Her hands gripped strange swords, the handles were balls of wood with leather gloves attached to them and blades came back toward the woman, contouring her forearms.
“I’ve been here since dawn, Knight Tigan,” Setta replied. “I practice my skills in this gazebo, I simply never descended and chose to watch as my teammates arrived. Turi was first, Bayan second. I am surprised neither noticed me, I wasn’t even trying to conceal my presence.”
“Skills learned in time, I’m sure,” Braun said confidently. “Now, who knows what the purpose of being a Subarii Squire is?”
“To embrace the first code,” Setta replied instantly. “Subarii remain in Squire status until they are capable of showing proof they’ve embraced the first code. This is done by completing protection missions assigned by the Subarii Lords. I can guess that our group was assembled for a special mission. We have a student of the Avamari clan, judging by his sash, which means he was assigned to us to notice things, which I find ironic. Turi is from a noble Subarii family that has produced nothing but exemplary warriors. If his staff was made by the Na’tu who made his father’s, then it no doubt has some expansive defensive capabilities. Kildreth do not allow their children some of the same privileges as the other families and for Turi to be here it means he proved, in front of a council, that he and his weapon had formed a bond of the Valiant. The journey is likely a far one because we have a QuickBlade with us and Ilyr’s name gets through a large number of obstacles.”
“And your purpose?” Bayan asked.
“Sometimes, you protect through defense,” Setta said with a grin, “I’m for when we need to protect with offense.”
“Setta is correct,” Braun confirmed. “You are each here because you bring a particular skill set to this mission. This is Setta’s second cycle as a Squire as the Knight she served in the past cycle died in combat protecting a city from Loorian invaders. They grow bolder with their advances with each passing moon. Our mission will take us through dragon territory on RomTor and very near the Scorched North. I handpicked each of you for your talents and skills. I trust none of you will disappoint. Now, let us report to the Lords to officially receive our mission briefing and goals.”
Braun began walking away and his students followed. Bayan thought it odd that Braun would know the location of the mission but not the mission itself but chose not to speak up. It was his first sunrise as a Squire, after all.