Ch. 11: Know Who Your Friend’s Are

The relationship with chanters and drass beast is a complex one. How a chanter reacts to one has nothing to do with their personality. I’m compelled to destroy them regardless of how inhibited I am. Other combat chanters understand what I’m talking about. They know the wrongness that surrounds those abominations. It creates this impulse that’s compels you to rid the world of them. However, that doesn’t mean I like to kill other things. I’m also compelled to protect life.


“He’s a tyrant,” grumbled Lyndon. He bit into his biting into his slice of melon and chewed with a bitter frown. Soletus munched on his slice and grudgingly had to agree with his opinion of his father. Mien was the only one who enjoyed his melon. Widow Saffron had given him the melon for saving a friend.

Soleus spat out a seed, watched it sail through the air before it veered downward, and crashed into the grass. “I’m sorry,” he apologized knowing it wouldn’t make his cousin feel better.

“What am I supposed to do,” Lyndon cried. “I want to train with the scouts, not do remedial training because of what he said. Remedial training is boring. I like to see the masters shoot straight when their cousin is in peril.”

They could, thought Soletus and said to him, “It’ll make you a better archer.” He knew his cousin didn’t see it that way.

“Seriously, I don’t know how you put with your pa putting his nose in everything,” he said moping for a bit before he perked up. “Speaking of being nosey, why did you get into a fight with Aunt Cordea yesterday?”

Soletus’s rolled his head back towards the sky. “It wasn’t a fight.”

“Fern made it sound like one.”

Soletus shoved his cousin. “Why you go and ask her?”

“No, mom and Aunt Cordea were talking about what happened. The only other person I could ask was Mien and he was all tightlipped about it.”

The boy paused from his slurping and swallowed his mouth full of his melon. “I didn’t think you wanted me to tell him,” he said.

Soletus regarded him graciously. “Thank you,” and gave Lyndon a dirty looked. “At least I’ve one friend who respects my privacy.”

“I’m family. I’m supposed to be in your business.”

“And just for the record, it wasn’t a fight. She was annoying me because I kept thinking about what papa said and how he doesn’t want me to do anything.”

“What does he want you to do, bah what about me? My pa was peeved at me because your pa told him a bunch of bunk how I nearly got you killed,” he said looking hurt.

Soletus nudged his cousin with his shoulder. “Hey, I don’t blame you for anything. You did what you could.”

“Yeah well, next time you need saving, I’ll do it. I can promise you that.”

The cousins sat side-by-side spitting out seeds in silence. Mien put the rind he was nibbling on and reached for another slice.

“What about Doran,” Soletus asked at length.

“He’s not related to you.”

Soletus tossed his rind in the trees. “I don’t want to be related to me right now. Why aren’t you out doing what little training you can?”

Lyndon gave his shoulders a heave. “Why bother. They are getting ready for the trials. All I’m doing is carrying equipment.”

“There you two are,” announced a voice.

Soletus twisted around to the road to see Doran leaning on the fence. “Hey,” he said.

“Hi,” Doran waved and pointed to Lyndon. “I’ve been sent to find for dummy over there. He’s skipping training.”

Lyndon stood and brushed off his trousers, “It’s not skipping if I’m not learning anything new.”

Soletus waved his arm at Doran. “Why don’t you hope over the fence and join us for a second.”

He hadn’t seen Doran much. He only visited him once in the infirmary. He went to his bunk late and left it early. When they were together, he said little. He didn’t even eat with them anymore.  It was almost as if he were avoiding them. There was clear something wrong when Mien greeted him with a slight smile and Doran looked away. The boy‘s cheerful expression sagged. However, he didn’t let it stop him from finishing up his current slice and selected another.

“No thanks. Can I talk to you two,” asked Doran.

“About?”

The tod eyes fidgeted to Mien then back to Soletus’s face. “Walk with me and I’ll tell you.”

Soletus stood to his feet. “Okay.  I’ll be right back,” he said to Mien. “And don’t eat all the melon while I’m gone.”

“Pfff, fox-head has already eaten most of it,” said Lyndon giving Mien a friendly shove. The boy gave him a friendly swat.

Soletus wasn’t surprised Mien took a liking to his obnoxious cousin. As Mien said, he was a little like his sister. His liveliness made him miss her less. It gave Soletus a lot of confidence to introduce him to other people without worry.

Once over the fence, the three of them walked up the road to the monetary  gates. When they were far enough, Doran spoke.

“How long are you going to be playing nursemaid for him?”

Soletus came to a dead halt. “Well one, I’m not being nursemaid and two, what’s it matter to you?”

Doran looked over his shoulder at the chapel for a second and spoke in a hushed voice. “Don’t you think it’s strange that he didn’t get the shakes from that drass beast?”

“Some people don’t,” shrugged Soletus did notice, but didn’t remember to ask Brother Hickory about it or Mien for that matter.

“But someone that sheepish would,” pressed Doran. “I talked to my dad about it and he said sometimes those possessed by the Malificer show no fear towards drass beasts.”

Soletus gaped at him dumbfounded.

Lyndon let out a snort. “That’s stupid talk.”

“It’s not stupid!  You were too busy shooting to notice how he was acting. He was watching everything so intensely. Then his eyes doing this glowing thing and next thing I knew it, he literally jumped down and killed that beast.”

Soletus and Lyndon exchanged a slanted questioning look with one another before shifting to Doran once again.

“He’s a chanter the do things like that so he isn’t evil,” reasoned Soletus.

“Yeah so stop being a dod,” added Lyndon.

Doran scowled at him. “Why are you standing up for him? He’s some noble’s whelp. My father said he’s going to be tossed into the Pit, Dias willing.”

Lyndon stepped forward and started knocking Doran in the head with his fist. “Is something loose in your head? He saved Sol’s life and you’re going on how he deserves to die?”

Doran flayed his arms and pushed him away. “Ow! A person doesn’t go around killing their brother and then kill a drass beast like it’s nothing.”

Soletus slapped his hand over eyes. “For the last time, his step-brother is alive.”

“Either way, he likes killing things,” said Doran.

Lyndon slapped him on the side head. “I didn’t see him cracking a smile and giggling while doing a jig when he killed that drass beast. He was scared like the rest of us, but had the gumption to do something instead of being like you shivering behind me.”

Doran clutched the side of his head. “You’re an ass!”

“Is my face a mirror now?”

“Why even bother with him. He’s Soletus’s job not yours.”

Lyndon crossed his arms. “Maybe I want to be social. He ain’t bad company.”

“But he’s not right in the head,” exclaimed the young tod earnestly.

Soletus heard enough and said, “Now we get to the real reason. He’s different, so what? It’s not like he’s hurting you.”

Doran puckered his lips and said, “I don’t like him and I don’t know why Lyndon suddenly does.”

“Because he saved my cousins life,” said Lyndon. “It’s just that simple. Now, are you done being stupid?”

“No, I’m done with the both of you.”

With that, Doran turned on his heels and stalked off.

The cousins stood there side-by-side bewildered by what transpired in front of them.

“What’s digging up his arse,” muttered Lyndon.

Soletus stood there trying to take it all. Where did that all even come from? “Think I should go talk to him after a while.”

Lyndon gave him a dismissive way. “Nah, he’ll get over himself and apologize. He always does.”

A day later, Doran moved from their room to another. He claimed it was because he needed to be with the others going somewhere with their training. It upset the cousins as the three of them, including Valan, were always together. They were told during training that the chances of a group like theirs staying together from training to duty were slim. They managed to get through the initiate stage, to warders, but to the road to becoming junior wardens, they broke apart.

Soletus knew Lyndon would never go anywhere. They grew up with each other. His aunt would always visit and she would always bring her little Lyn with her when they were babes. They got along the first day they met. They were the same age and ended up doing everything together. Lyndon was always the one full of ideas. Soletus was the one making sure those ideas didn’t get them in too much trouble. When they were both 15, they both answered the call and joined up together. They welcomed Valan into the group. He wasn’t the smartest but was always willing to learn. A few weeks later, Doran came.

He gravitated to Lyndon because he was more talkative and took some warming up too as he was always the whinny one.  It was about training at first, and would occasionally complain about one of them to the others when that person wasn’t around. Soletus felt he shouldn’t have been surprised that he chose to leave them. Lyndon didn’t appear like he was, but he was still sore about it.

“He’s always been dumb and stupid,” said Lyndon from his bunk. “I thought we got the dumb and stupid out of him.”

Soletus rolled on his side facing the wall. “He’s allowed to do what he wants.”

“He’s new friends now,” Lyndon went on sourly. “First year junior warden who are trying to help him pass the trials so they can have him in their band.”

“They must be desperate.”

“I know right,” exclaimed his cousin from above him. “So what are you going to do? I’ve some training stuff two days a week but that isn’t a lot time to be busy.”

“I’m still helping Mien. He needs to get him more comfortable around others and speak for himself in front of the Arbiter.”

He heard Lyndon shift above him and his voice appeared right behind him. “I can help with that. Scouts have to relay information clearly and precisely as well as interact with the common populous.  Master Marth said I’m naturally eloquent.”

“That’s a polite way of saying you’ve a big mouth.”

Soletus glanced over his shoulder to catch Lyndon’s face pucker with annoyance before he lifted his head back up with an indignant snort.

“I can still help,” he said after a bit.

“Fine, we can see what you can do to help the next time your free,” he told his cousin. Though, he wasn’t sure if it was the best idea.

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