"Have I ever told you the tale of The Sandman ?" Old Kat Asked Dorian as he sat watching his brothers sword-fight. He shook his head. "Well. Before the war, The Sandman was a story used to get children to sleep" The old woman laughed. "I suppose he still is. Anyway, The Sandman was a creature of shadow and darkness that would look for little children who didn't go to sleep, or children that just misbehaved. And he'd tear out their throats" She cackled. She was an easily amused woman. " And he became real during that war. The Golden-eyed man dropped off the kings head, and when we checked the kings camp they were all dead. The entire Kings-Shield found dead in some manner or another. They never saw him coming whoever he was. We never found out his real name. So we called him The Sandman. The Nightmare Come True. Maybe one day he'll come for you young Dorian" She cackled again. "I'm fifteen" He complained. "I'm not young, I'm almost a man!" The Old Woman wouldn't have it though. "Younger than fifty and you're a youngster to me" She said.
He turned back to watch his fighting brothers with envy. He had once been a better swordsman than either of them. But then there'd been that damn wolf. They'd been out hunting in the Summertree forest when a giant beast of a wolf had leapt out of the foliage and mauled Dorian's leg. He could barely walk properly on it much less dance with a sword in hand. He sighed miserably. Instead of becoming a knight as he'd always wanted to be, he was now being trained to become a scholar. He didn't want to become a scholar at all. It sounded SO BORING. But his father gave him not choice. His father was Lord Viceron "The Lion" Of house SteelHeart and the current head of House. His brother Jayme "Inkslayer" had no interest in helping his brother rule and had set out on the path of the Kings-Shield. He looked back to his brothers who were now dueling with Viceron's ward, Euron "The Viper" of The Ravens. He was the only one out of the training youths (Dorian included) Who had earned his name. In the realms of Elefess you d not take on the surname of your house but rather you take your given name and have only one name until you accomplish a deed worthy of earning your name. The Viper had earned his name a month or so before he was sent as a ward the year before last. He had fought a duel over some whore with Sir Rosyston "The Hammer". Royston was a knight of some repute who had earned his name by being as big and strong as a warhammer and (As The Viper liked to say) Twice as blunt. Everyon had expected The Hammer to crush the challenging boy, but The Viper had different ideas.
Royston to keep to his name, fought with a large iron warhammer, The Viper fought with a double bladed Glaive. The Hammer would have massacred the boy with a single hit such was his strength but Euron kept swinging under his blows and returning with a precise strike like a Viper biting. Eventually The Hammer tired and dropped his blade, yielding to the boy. His many yet light cuts glistened in the sunlight. Yet The Viper stood silent and waited. Not a few seconds later The Hammer collapsed to the ground frothing at the mouth, his veins turning a bright green. He thrashed in agony for hours it is said before death consumed him. The Viper had coated his blade in poison.
That's why Dorian had never liked Euron Dorian always thought that a man should fight with honour, not poison. Even so he had to admit, Euron was a brilliant fighter with his Glaive. He fended off Dorian's two brothers with ease. Krone, his elder brother was the largest of the three, and it wasn't much down to age. He fought with a two-handed great sword which was a complete contrast to his and Dorian's younger brother, Crilas who fought the best with a bow but was also a dab hand with a short sword or a dagger. All three brothers looked similar in face if not in physique. They all had the same blonde locks of hair and bright blue eyes. Even the structures of their faces were similar, all of them got their looks from their father whereas their sister Thea looked more like their mother. "Where is Thea today?" He asked Old Kat. "I don't know my youn Lord" She answered. "Mayhaps she's off fighting dragons today"
Thea had always been equally as determined to become a knight as her brothers, and even hey had to admit she was a fair fighter with a sword though she preferred thin, piercing blades like a falcione of a rapier rather than a longsword or shortsword. Dorian sighed again. Unless their parents had anything to say about it chances are she would become a knight too with the others and he'll be left behind as a scholar. Who in the seven hells would want to be a scholar was beyond Dorian, but it was better than nothing he supposed.
He sat brooding for a while until he was jarred from his thoughts by a tolling of a bell. "Isn't that the kings bell ?" He asked. Old Kat nodded and pulled him up. Come on, if the king's visiting you must look presentable my dear boy now come along now" Had he not been taught to hide his true feelings he would have groaned loudly right then. He was not a social person yet know he was going to be forced into conversing with the kings children. Of whom which none were not complete bastards. On the plus side these were one of the few occasions he liked the company of Euron. No one could say the youth did not have wit. Wit he quickly puts to use against the Cordayan brood whenever they came near, it was a wonderful sight to see them ripped apart by The Snake-Eyed Viper. He chuckled to himself. "Maybe tonight won't be so bad after all". He thought,