Chapter 76: A Fitting Discipline

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An Erinyan is capable of detecting guilt inside someone. They can find out if a person has committed an act, any act, by smelling. That fits their nature, as they are made from a part of Divine Justice. In the Primal Age, the First Man was jealous of his brothers Calixa, Vesperati, and Kai'Draen, who shared a special bond, so the Maker gave unto him a brother, a companion and an instructor, brother Erinyan.

Avaritia al-Avrika, Commentary on Origins

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Three Years Ago

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They had tried to surprise him in the showers, but that went disastrously wrong.

Denan stared at the freak through a slit in the tent. The shower station used to be its own permanent, freestanding building before a rogue thaumaturgist (who probably was drunk at the time) accidentally burned it down. So, with two walls still standing, the Ranger Corps decided to erect a tent-structure around it. Two walls and a cheap tile floor survived the conflagration (rather, a blast), and the remaining walls and roof were cloth.

A dry wind rushed by, throwing up sand and clumped-together ash, and letting the green and grey cloth flap open up. Denan saw the freak in one of the stalls, back turned, scrubbing down his shoulder. He was a freak. All the Changed were. But this one had put on airs, had acted as if he was better than he did.

Next to him, Rangers Llianwil and Roeger watched him, studying his face for a reaction. Of course, Denan didn't give them one. He'd received too many demerits, been scolded too many times, to let that show. Most of the time, he had curbed his tongue, restrained himself. But some actions were simply insufferable.

He had tried to discipline the freak discretely. Paying off one of the clerks to give him more dishwashing jobs backfired when he started assisting the cooks, and turned out to be proficient at it. And now Denan had to keep paying that nosy little clerk to keep him quiet.

Then there was the archery lessons. He made sure the degenerate had the one bow that was warped nigh-imperceptably. Of course, he had been ordered to destroy the bow, but Denan kept it for... instructional purposes. Like this. 

But the effort to smuggle in the bow was wasted. He missed all the shots with that bow, and when he traded off for a better one, he missed those. The freak was terrible with a bow and arrow, and while that should have given Denan some satisfaction, it didn't. Denan wanted to make the abomination fail. He didn't want to let him fail on his own.

The time, however, that prompted Denan to take matters into his own hands was unarmed combat training. They were exploring a myriad of styles (some classes even taught by recruits of more exotic combat backgrounds). When the recruits were undergoing basic grappling techniques, Denan paired up the freak with a Kai'Draen. But not just any Kai'Draen. Eikagor.

Like the abomination, Eikagor had been a liberated slave, though not from an Ajandi salt pit. He had come from farther east, from inside the Circle. How he had been enslaved, Denan had no clue. He towered over the other recruits, nine feet tall. A Tuskborn, one of their "warrior" castes, he weighed around six hundred pounds of sheer muscle and fury. His skin was a dark blue that was almost purple, and his hair, which he kept tied back in dreadlocks that reached down to the small of his back, was stark white. That size, coupled with the two-inch tusks protruding from his jaw, made him terrifying to behold. Eikagor was not a Ranger destined to spy or sneak, but one destined to kill and crush. 

And somehow, the freak beat him. 

They had locked shoulders, Eikagor's indigo skin clashing with the degenerate's ruddy golden scales. The freak was tall, but Eikagor was taller by a head and a half. It shouldn't have been any competition. There should not have been struggle.

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