Chapter Four

Chapter 4

Gear was necessarily heavy for Aether Theory.  Not exactly a common class, it taught the harnessing of aether, the energy around and within everything, to power such as their computers, their machines, and of course, their weaponry.  It was an “experimental” science, unlike astrology, which was standard curriculum, so only those interested or crazy enough took it.  Each student was focusing on a certain aspect-his was its application in reviving the computing machines of the Old Ones, and in the back of his mind, he thought, improving them.

He hurried down the hall, goggles around his neck, when a thrown practice sword tripped him.  As his mind was on aether flow timing, he was caught completely off guard and fell right on his face, cracking a lens.  It rolled out onto the floor, where a waiting boot crushed it to powder.

“Well, well, well.  If it isn’t the teacher’s pet.  I think you broke your glasses, so you might as well forget class today.  You and I need to talk anyway.”  The interloper knelt down to the form on the floor.  Hariel Alastor Leowyn tossed his black hair out of his eyes and looked at the person he had just assaulted.  “Since you insist that you can best me, I think you ought to prove it.  Right here.  Nobody is better with a blade than I am.  Just because you bend a few edges and break some sticks doesn’t make you better than me.  Now, on your feet, pissant.  Get your practice sword out and let’s go.”

Irian Locryn Pendreic rose to his feet slowly.  He dropped his book pack, and went to the tube on the side.  As he did, he touched a button on his computer interface, alerting the Professors that there was trouble beyond just a simple prank-that there was a chance of real harm.  All students had the ability to summon the Professors for such, as martial training tended to engender some rowdy characters.

As he pulled himself up straight, he noticed a crowd was forming.  The school’s top swordsmen were finally going to go at it, they figured, and everyone wanted to see.  Two people were capturing images, and a third was trying to get bets from the students that were milling around, waiting for some action.

Just as he resumed his normal standin position, two Professors appeared.  They both slid noiselessly through the crowd, and came to stand between the young men.

“Hariel Leowyn.  Put down your weapon.  You are in breach of the Education Code of Sanctuary.  Failure to comply will result in administrative action.”

He raised his practice sword.  “I will not back down until he has proven that he can best me.”

“Then you will be doubly beaten. This is your last warning.  Stop now and you will not be punished.”

Hariel laughed.  The sound was dark and noisome, and it made people vaguely uncomfortable.  It was clear he was not going to yield.

“If you refuse to yield, then accept this punishment.  Be struck down in front of your peers, perchance, or besting him face us.  Are you still so bold?”

In answer, he swung at the nearest Professor.  As they were armed and armored, he stood little chance of harming him, but it was all the answer they needed.  Hariel stood there, incensed that the Professors thought so little of him.

“Irian, I will show you what real skill is.  When you’re on the floor, begging for mercy with blood in your mouth and my boot on your chest.”

Irian said nothing.  As the Professors had sanctioned it, he was free to fight, and he was rather relieved.  Not only were those goggles expensive, they were a gift from the Theory Professor, so that he could finish his computing machine.  Besides, Hariel was a braggart and a bully, and few liked him, but he was an excellent swordsman, and few could ever speak of having landed a blow on him.

Both of them raised their practice swords.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 3:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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