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Ghalia is a world filled with mysteries shrouded in darkness and magic hidden in the forests. Man divided the world up between three great nations: Marin, Lafelion, Rourik. Although they are in peace now, evil stirs within the dark corners of the world again. Now the race to stay alive is upon them; their only hope left lies in the hands of the Arklings.

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6. Chapter 5

 

            His voice is what brought me back to the world. Slowly, I dredged my soul back from the land of slumber and cracked my eyes open. At first, they were assaulted by light, but eventually they adjusted enough for me to see clearly. The sore pain that throbbed within my body reminded me that this wasn’t a dream. Still, my eyes found it hard to believe the sight they were taking in.

            I was lying in a bed. Although I had never seen one before, I had heard about them before. It was rumored the mayor of our village had been able to buy one. He used it as an incentive to entice the local girls in the village to sleep with him. To my surprise quite a few girls agreed, despite his old age and disgusting leer. Now, actually being in one I could finally empathize with them. The comfort was truly amazing, I felt as if I was lying on a cloud that had been plucked down from the sky. The blanket that covered me also had heavenly qualities. The soft texture was an experience that I had never felt before.

            Having been so absorbed in these new luxuries, I hadn’t noticed the man sitting to my left. He had previously been content to watch me for a few minutes but now he cleared his throat, ready to begin.

            “Do you know where you are?” It was the smoothness of his voice that took me by surprise. If I listened closely, I could discern a faint almost lyrical lilt, accent his voice. His tone was almost kind, but carried threads of a hard edge within it. Wordlessly I shook my head as my eyes scanned the room, trying to divine the answer for myself as if it would be somewhere along the bare stone walls. “We are in the capital, Mirail. Do you know where that is?” I offered him only a nod as I allowed the information to sink in. He paused for a moment and I could feel his eyes trying to assess me before he continued. I hoped that my face hid my emotions deep enough to avoid his probing gaze. “What is your name?”

            My eyes fixed on the door, studying the intricate lines that had been carved into its oaken surface. I darned the silence like armor, protecting me against the man. Interest from the government in any form was never good. We villagers are like roaches. Our life depends on us working in the shadows, out of the light of the officials. For the unlucky soul who finds themselves in their beam, death becomes inevitable.

            “What is your name.” I recognized it as a command. The hard edge had sharpened in his tone; he was no longer asking. Like any roach in the spotlight, I do the only thing I can: attempt to survive.

            “Bucket.” My scratchy voice sounded foreign to me. It must have been from the screams; they had turned my voice hoarse. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement. A hand extended to me, offering a cup of water. Without hesitation I seized it and quickly downed the contents of the glass. It was only then did I realize the overwhelming feeling of parchness that coated my mouth. My cup was refilled once more. This time, I took my time, trying to savor the cool sensation as it ran down my throat.

            “What kind of a name is Bucket?” I felt embarrassed by his incredulous tone. So much so that I felt compelled to respond, because although it was a bad name, it was still my own, and the only one I had ever known.

            “The miners gave it to me because it was my job to move the buckets of rocks and empty them. It may not be a wonderful name but it was practical.” I could tell by his stunned silence that he had not been expecting my response. He quickly recovered and replied.

            “It indeed is very practical,” he mused, and I could feel his pointed stare once more as he readied another question. “How do you know what the word practical means? Miners, especially young ones hardly know how to speak in proper sentences, let alone know how to use their vocabulary.” I bit my lip, using the pain as punishment for letting myself slip. He shifted in his seat. By my expression, he knew he had gotten me and was not about to let up. “Do you have a formal education?”

            I shook my head, fixating my eyes on the door again. My mind willed this interrogation to be over but he kept demanding.

            “Don’t lie to me. Answer,” his voice was hard, but not angry. It seemed to hold within a strange sort of patience. I knew then that he would wait until I gave him some sort of response that would satisfy him.

            “I picked it up listening to the owner when he would come around. I really don’t know what it means, I just tried to use it in the same way he had.” It wasn’t an entire lie, I did listen to the owner whenever he spoke. I hoped that the man would pick up the truth in that statement. By the way he sat back against the chair, I assumed it had worked.

            “Alright. Well from here on you will start an education. You will learn academics, etiquette, along with combat, and mental sessions.” Judging by his tone he seemed to be satisfied with himself, although I couldn’t figure out why. Perhaps it was because he had managed to dredge up confusion all over my face. I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. None of that made any sense.

            “What are you talking about? Why are you talking about education?” From the corner of my eye I saw a smirk stretch across his face. He was definitely enjoying this.

            “Because, you shall be needing those skills for your new job.” I felt irritation growing within me as I listened to his obvious tone.

            “What job,” I questioned, feeling my nervousness build with each passing second.

            “Being an Arkling.”

 

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