Chapter 13 - The First Letter

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It was the morning of the fourth day after introductions. Just like each day before, Cadmar returned from his run exhausted. Both suns had risen, sand had invaded his shoes, and his joints still ached from the hour-long sparring session the night before. He barely got six hours of sleep, but he needed to run—he ran four days a week. His father, Corrigan, ran six, but he was an elite like his father, Caerul, before him and second in command in service to Lady Aprah of Gar. Cadmar looked up to him like a bird would the sky—because it was the only thing that made sense to him.

In fact, his father was the only person Cadmar had left. His mother left when he was nineteen, after he killed his first man and almost made his family lose everything. Now Cadmar wasn't anything. Not yet.

Cadmar noticed the estate bustling now, more so than last night and this morning; he wondered how long Eirek had trained after him. He found it odd that the culchie trained during the grave of night. But who was he to judge.

Cadmar walked past Eirek, who was oblivious to his presence, engrossed in a piece of paper in his hand. On his own door was a crimson envelope with his name in golden lettering. Another letter. It wasn't there when I left. Cadmar plucked it off the door and turned it around to see a dragon, with wings outstretched, breathing fire.

"What be this?" Cadmar broke the seal.

Just as he read the first word, Eirek's voice made him stop. "The first trial."

That made Cadmar read it all the faster.

Dear Contestants,

            This morning Luvan Katore completed the last preparations of the first trial. This trial aims to test your partnership. As guardian, you will need to work with your conseleigh and will need to interact with the lords and ladies of Gladonus. Information for this trial will be given tonight at supper at seven. Luvan Katore will be in attendance to answer questions you may have. 

                                                                                    Sincerely,

Guardian Edwyrd Eska

"Did you just get done with the sparring arena?"

Cadmar's ears perked, and he stopped reading momentarily as Eirek walked over to him. "No, I ran." Cadmar sized the culchie up and down. "How be your session last night?"

 "Okay." Eirek shrugged. "The one I use back home is nowhere near as sophisticated as this one." 

"My aul man has one for him and me back home. Which model you use?"

Cadmar noticed Eirek's frantic search for an answer. He didn't expect the culchie to actually have a habitat arena—country boys could hardly afford it. Eirek was trying to fit in; Cadmar couldn't blame him. Everyone needed someone to identify with. Cadmar had been trying to fit in his whole life.

To help Eirek out, Cadmar expanded on his question. "The HA One Hundred, Two Hundred, Three Hundred, Four Hundred, or Five Hundred?"

"Oh, yes," Eirek said. "The HA One Hundred."

"No wonder. You still be using the first model. Every two years, a new model be on the market. No doubt this one here is the newest. At home, we got a HA Three Hundred. Works fine."

"What are you doing for the rest of the day?"

Cadmar's stomach growled. "Going to lunch."

"I'll walk with you."

"Naw. I'll meet you there. After I shower." Cadmar could sense a glimmer of hope dying within Eirek, who skulked away to his room. He thought the request odd. Did the culchie really need someone to walk with him? Why? Cadmar remembered how he waited for him before introductions. Had he ever been a part of something? Cadmar furrowed his eyebrows and entered his room.

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