Lucas froze, his eyes crossing as he looked down at the glimmering blade. Hoffman was no longer breathing easily, though he was not panting quite so hard as Lucas his breathing had a slight hitch. Lucas stepped back, distancing himself from he blade, Hoffman allowed him to retreat grinning slightly. "I must say Lucas, I should have given you a blade a bit sooner after that amazing display." Lucas grinned, "Thank you sir, though I fear I'm feeling quite faint." Hoffman looked at him dissapointedly, "Yes, yes, well I supposed you'd best be off to the infirmary."

Nodding once more Lucas turned and sped off trying to get his breathing in control. Red spots floated over his vision as Lucas traveled. Both his fists were clenched tightly, knuckles white. Had Hoffman been any less skilled Lucas was sure he would have killed him. He had lost control during the fight, and only the cold steel brought him back. Lucas shuddered remembering how his mind had given in to the rage, the anger, the hate.

Lucas slowed to a halt trying to pull himself together. He inhaled deeply then exhaled just as fully. Calming Lucas continued walking down the dusty trail leading to the main building. It was a long walk to the great building, made longer by the fears that plagued Lucas. He had avoided sharp blades ever since his arrival at the Academy, even shunning the small knives used at meals. But today a true sword had found its way into his grp, and he had lost control just as he feared he would.

Lucas quickened his pace as he neared the Academy, he no longer felt the need to go to the infirmary but if he didn't Hoffman would know so Lucas continued.

The infirmary was a spacious white room located on the first floor of the Academy, Lucas was an infrequent visitor of the space as he was fairly careful in all the activities and training exercises. He did however know a woman working there quiet well, Trisha. She had trained as both a guardian and a doctor and served in both capacitites, and so many more. The jack-of-all-trades of the Academy Trisha was well respected by all those who attended, taught, or visited. Though he had yet to admit it to anyone, including himself, Lucas had grown to admire the talented woman.

As he paused outside the door he hoped she was working that day. Pushing inside Lucas looked around for her familiar face, but as disappointed at its absence. Instead a short man came to inquire as to what the problem was, more than slightly embarrassed Lucas explained that he had felt faint after a training session with Hoffman. True to his fears the man laughed and waved him over to a bed, grumbling as he did so Lucas sat watching as the man mixed several ingredients in a vial.

Lucas watched the man work, wishing it was Trisha in the room. Though, as he thought about it, perhaps it was good that Trisha was not there to witness his humilation. The man returned with a horrible smelling paste, wide-eyed Lucas looked up "I don't have to eat that do I?" For a second time the man laughed, "No you just have to inhale it." Lucas closed his eyes wishing he had never lost control and waited as the doctor rubbed the foul mixture under his nose. The smell wafted up through his nose instantly, Lucas's eyes watered as the scent burned its way through his respiratory system.

As he inhaled again and again through the horrendous past Lucas felt his mind begin to clear and sharpen. His energy levels rose and even the stiffness in his muscles lessened. After several minutes of the treatment the doctor scraped he remainder of his medicine off of Lucas's upper lip and ushered him out the door, "You're free to return to Hoffman" was the last shout Lucas heard before the door slammed shut.

Invigorated he jogged outside and headed down the path.

Upon arrival he found Hoffman gone, called away on some urgent buisness. He had left instructions to give Lucas a bow and have him practice with the rest of the trainees until dark. Amazed that they would be let off so early Lucas eagerly chose a yew bow, a pang of homesickness struck him for his old weapon, and began to fire at the distant targets.
*~*~*~*
As the light faded Lucas put his weapon away with the rest of the men, around him they were speculating as to how they would spend the evening. Lucas didn't say anything, he knew how he was going to spend the evening and he wasn't excited to share. So when the rest of the men headed to the Academy he trailed behind, and when they reached the main hall he separated himself from the rest of the group.

He didn't pay attention to where everyone else went, but he headed to the library. It was by far the his favorite room in the entire Academy. He drifted through the silent hallways until he arrived at a tall dark wooden door with gold leaf edging. Lucas opened the door and slid inside breathing deeply at the scent of leather, dust, and parchment. Looking around at the tall shelves full of books and scrolls both old and new Lucas paced into the huge area. He loved being surrounded by literature, it was calming. Lucas inhaled deeply again, allowing the feeling to clear his mind and calm himself.

Deep in the library Lucas selected a thick tome and settled in a small soft chair. He opened it allowing dust to rise from the parchment, examining the carefully inked pages. The calligraphy never ceased to capture Lucas's attention and the information contained in each volume held much of the same appeal as killing.

Lucas spent hours reading about wars of the distant past. Stories of heroes and conquerors, generals and soldiers, heroes and villans. He was still reading when Trisha found him, she walked softly arriving behind Lucas without his noticing. "Hey." her quiet voice was enough to pull Lucas from his revere he looked up at her, "How are you Trisha?" Grinning she settled in a chair across from him, "I'm good, but what about you Lucas? I heard you had a problem at your training today." Lucas flushed, "Where did you hear that?"

"You remember that doctor who fixed you up? Well he can never keep his mouth shut. Especially not to a pretty lady like me." She grinned showing that she was joking, Lucas grinned as well. "Well, I. Look it was nothing." Trisha's grin faded slightly, "Lucas you know you can tell me anything right?" He closed his book carefully, returning it to the shelf. "It's really nothing Trisha, anyway I should probably get to bed. You never know how early Hoffman will make us rise tomorrow." Lucas nearly fled after making his excuses. Trisha stared after him sadly from her position in the armchair.

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