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Rated: E · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #1277477
The life altering even for a young woman that wishes to follow in her brother's footsteps

         To outsiders a world of Darkness.
         A world of twilight.
         To me, to us, it's home. It's like any other place on Destor, with a ruler, townships, providence, and enemies. Within and without our borders conflicts always arise. People always want our lands. Sometimes my lord wants theirs. But thankfully, he isn't greedy. So while our borders grow only a little bit at a time, it isn't through war, although to keep them from shrinking it usually is.
         My story isn't about war though. Don't get me wrong, I could go on forever about the battles that I have been privy to, but anyone could do that. I wish to speak about the change that happened one year. One very important year-to me, my brother, milord, his army...and most importantly, my sister.
         Word can spread like wildfire through adjacent camps when something unusual happens. It was unusual, yes, but of no surprise to me when I had heard of my sister's arrival at the gates to the training camps. I had just received the rank of sergeant second level when she passed through the gates. There were no females in milord's military. I have found that while milord does not exclude them from service, he doesn't baby them either. They were usually broken down and made into our cooks or concubines. It was a sad fate for them. However, my sister was different. Her vigor was stronger than that of oxen and fiercer than the winds. That is why the rumors of her arrival reached me even here, in the border camps. I received some time off and eventually switched my command for several months to a camp closer to the training fields. From a distance, I watched her train. I watched her change.

         The first time that I saw her, I thought she was like all the rest. Runaway from home, wanting to prove something, yet not strong enough to carry her own weight. At first, I would let them train, but they wouldn't last a week. Eventually, I just started to turn them away. Those that came back, I would have beat down and thrown back. Some ashamed, or perhaps with no other place to go became consorts for the soldiers. Others with a bit more dignity joined the cooks, all afraid to return home. If they had one. So when she showed up, I treated her no different.
         "I'm here to train," she said. Her voice had a deep melodic resonance to it. Firm, young confident and innocent. She was so sure of herself. Like so many others. I waved my hand at her and with a nod, sent an instructor to lead her away. She brushed him off and remained where she was. Four more joined the first. Their job was to subdue her and send her away. This was a first, and it peaked my interest.
         I watched as the first man came back with a bear hug, while one of the others came up to slap her across the face. That was usually all it took- In this instance however, the first person was thrown into the second before he even got within an arm's distance of her. Intrigued I watched as the scuffle continued. This young girl held her own against five of my men, with what seemed like ease. Her kicks were lightning fast, and seemed like a blur to anyone watching.
         She ax kicked one person in the neck, as another came up from behind. With a swift hind kick, she planted both feet into his chest and landed on the ground, pushing off the ground long enough not to get kicked. Rolling to a stand, she dodged several punches and jumped over one of her earlier attackers. A roundhouse to his knee and the instructor was down. I waved more into the fray, and five more jumped into the fight. Now she was against seven. Eight if the one that was kicked in the chest could manage to get up. But the fight only lasted a few more minutes anyway. They all surrounded her, and she was breathing heavily. On a signal from the leader, they all jumped on her and had her tied on the ground within seconds. my lieutenant carried her off to the female side of the camp to join them.
         What surprised me was that she came back the next day. She looked no worse for wear, not even a black eye. She was different. But I had to make sure. Only the best would I train.
         "I want to train," she said. And so again I had her fight my men, and again sent her away bloodied and bruised. The next day she came again, and again had her beat and taken back. For a week this continued, she would come in the morning, and my men would beat her, and send her away, only to come back again and again to ask the same question until I conceded.
         "I want to train," she said again coming up to me. "I will train." Never had I seen such spirit, such determination, such fire in a person before. I laughed at the thought that this would come from a female. Then I smiled. She didn't even flinch.
         "What is your name?"
         "Ravon" was her reply. She said no surname, meaning that she was either orphaned or disowned, the latter being more prominent, with her well fed and clothed state.
         "You may train." I decided that I would giver her a chance. When she failed, I thought about keeping her to myself. With no home for her to go to, a mere soldier consort or cook would not do for this feral housecat. "When you fail, know this, you will be mine." I actually thought this aloud, and received several stares from the trainees and instructors. She however seemed either to not hear me or ignore my comment as she joined the men for the introductions into training. We then started the run.

         From the time that I arrived, Ravon had already been allowed to start training. I had been told by my fellow sergeants that they had beat her down each day for a week until Captain Darkmoore finally agreed to let her train. I was told that she would fight back and take half of the men out before she was subdued. At the end of the week, the captain laughed and agreed, but will be doing everything he could to make her his. I smiled inwardly at the challenge to my sister.
         Ravon took each day with a renewed vitality. She would rise earlier than the rest and run to the other side of camp to formation. Then they would begin their morning runs. She had an unnatural athletic grace about her, one that would make men stare if not for the captain. For weeks, she pushed herself harder than any man would, carrying twice the weight any of the others had, using her strengths to her advantage and hiding her weaknesses.
         She had always been like that growing up. With her, you wouldn't think of challenging her or daring her to do something. She would never show fear or uncertainty, and always seemed to be the first to accept any challenge. I remember one time by the Abyss River when Ravon ran and jumped straight into the middle of the swift flowing waters on a dare. It was me, her, Talon, Jasper and Clawdon, the last two being our neighbors from in town. Clawdon had dared one of us to swing off the vine out into the river. Before any of us could even stop her, Ravon was up in the tree measuring the task ahead of her. For her, even the wind was silent.
         "Ravon! Don't do it!" Talon finally called out finding his voice. Our parents had forbade and warned us about going even a foot out into the river. The Abyss River ran about thirty skips across with ink for water. The water was clean mind you, just--black. No one really knew how deep the waters were, or if anything actually lived in the river because of the undercurrent. The surface of the water was glass smooth, without ripples to be seen. But underneath, the currents were so strong as to rip the flesh from your bones should you stick a toe in it. It it didn't suck you under first. Many a people had lost their lives in those swift and deadly waters, that appeared deceptively calm.
         Ravon had swung and jumped into the water so fast that we didn't even hear her footsteps on the branch above. Water flew into the air and before the drops hit the surface, it was smooth as glass once more. Not a ripple showed where my sister had dropped into the deep waters. There was no sign of her an I held my breath hoping for her to resurface. For what seemed like an eternity, we four watched the river hoping for any sign of her. When she didn't come up, we started to worry, calling out her name up and down the bank of the river. Five minutes passed by, though it seemed like hours, and we were starting to close in on Clawdon for making such a stupid dare when a small splashing noise had caught our attention downriver. Our backs were turned away from the river so we didn't see her crawl out of the water dripping from head to toe. It seemed like slow motion, her standing up slowly almost a hundred feet away from us. It seemed like a hundred miles with how slowly she made her way to us, and the speed at which it took us to get to her. Talon, Jasper and I were so relived to see her alive that we forgot all about Clawdon as he wiped his brow in relief and waited for us at the path to the road. We had also forgotten about the dare until Ravon reminded him as we reached the road. "You owe me," was all she said to the boy. We all made our way back to town, looking tired but as if we had the time of our lives, Ravon taking in everything and our talks as she usually did. We parted ways with Jasper and Clawdon as we reached our father's smithy and went into the doors. Ravon headed straight to her room to get cleaned up for dinner, saying only the briefest of greetings to mother and father.
         When dinner was prepared and on the table I ran upstairs to get Ravon. I knocked on her door, and when she didn't answer, I peeked in, seeing her slumped against the wall. I ran in and found her asleep, the river draining more out of her than she cared to let on. I closed the door quietly on my way out and went back downstairs to let everyone know that she wasn't hungry.
         "Is everything all right, Hawkes?" my mother asked. I nodded, but after supper that night, when she didn't come down for that either, mother went to check up on her, and feeding her broth, as she was too tired to even chew solid food. Even then, she showed no one her weakness. Even when it nearly killed her. Clawdon was missing a few days later, his mother said that he had gone down to the river to meet us for a picnic. All that we found were his shoes.

         I was free from watch one night, so I visited the daredevil in her tent. The two females she shared with were wrapping some of the day's bruises much to the complaint of my sister. She looked at me and smiled. It would be the last true smile that she would ever give for years to come.
         "Hawkes, so good to see you," she said.
         "You've seen better days. Father has disowned you I assume," I said. I suppose it came out harsher than intended. She turned her head away from me.
         "They try to break my sprit as well as my body," was all she said. "They shot down my bird the first night I sent it out to you." I nodded slowly. "I'll show them though. I'm not so easily dissuaded."
         "So I see and know, Ravon. Why else would you still be here?"
         "You know as well as I that I've wanted to join you and Talon in the military. Us three, together, fighting side by side, winning victories for milord's armies," she smiled again at our childhood fantasies. Life was so much simpler then. "Things change. But dreams don't. I plan to see this through and rise through the ranks. I will be the best," she looked at me. "I AM the best."
         "And how's home? How's father and mother taking it?" Ravon laughed. "How do you think. All those years of 'playing war' hasn't prepared them for me leaving. I suppose that they were or maybe are still in denial, or that when you and Talon left I would 'grow up.' Instead I played with little Hades and prepared myself to come here. So when the time came, father and I fought about it. Mother cried, and in the end, I left. she wished me luck and wanted me to come home soon," my sister laughed again, but it sounded bitter. It almost sounded like a cry. But no, Ravon never cried. Not even at birth mother had said. "Father said, 'You are no longer my daughter,' and I mounted and rode off." Ravon put her hands on the side of the bed, looking at the sand.
         "I'm proud of you my sister. I will be there for your rise into the ranks." She nodded. with a bow I nodded my own head and left. The fire in her eyes never left my mind. There would be change coming. I knew that I would see her among the infantry.

         Ravon was the first female that I have ever seen make it so far through training. She had such passion, such vigor such...drive, that was unparalleled to any that have gone before her. I had just started the training regiment on the second cycle of training. Focus would be on battle prowess on the field. Strength, stamina and endurance were the key points to build up in the soldiers. Day after day, Ravon would come running to formation, only to be ready to run with the group for the formation's morning run around the encampment. Watching her, she looked like a gazelle running among a herd of bumbling oafs, with such strides, that she would glide across the field, while the rest stumbled in a mass around her. When the run ended, everyone but her would be winded it would seem, heaving breaths of air as if just coming up out of the water. She would brush a stray strand of hair away from her face, and await for me to release them for morning chow. When I did release them, she would stretch a bit and walk over to a lone campfire where the cooks would serve her breakfast. She sat alone. Always alone, shunned by the males, unless, it was she who shunned them. The women would talk to her, but she said naught to them, making them think her deaf, if not for the bell to call everyone from the fires to the obstacle course.
         Sergeant Alamar was in charge of the O-course and those that went through it. I sat upon my nightmare observing the trainees make their way through the course time and time again, watching Ravon as she maneuvered each obstacle with a determined precision. Sergeant Alamar made sure to point out each failing that she did, and even when she completed and obstacle, he yelled at her for taking so long, even though there were men that were taking longer than she. I told him to do so, wanting her to give up, wanting her to give in and give up the idea of being a soldier. A leader in milord's army.
         On my honor, when I took this position, I promised that I, Captain Darkmoore, would only allow the strongest into milord's forces. So it has bee for the hundred years that I have been here. I watched the only female to train, to make it so far under my sword, somehow desiring her to pass, wanting her to succeed. But, I wanted to her to equally fail, if only to satisfy my lust. I smiled as she slid down and inch on the rope, or tumbled over one of the obstacles. But not once did she give up, she just continued on, not stopping to rest, or catch her breath. Sweat would gleam from her brow; her arms, bulging with sinewy strength. Water from the slosh pit molded her trousers to her like a second skin, showing the cuts in her calf's as the met the top of her boots, the firmness of her thighs, hips and butt. I could almost imaging my hands encirling her sleek slender waist, the shirt clinging to firm breasts, skin on her face glistening from the waters and sweat. Most of all though, the fire in her eyes shown like a beacon in the mist. No matter how far away she was, it seemed that I could see that fire, that grim determination to finish what ever it was that she set her mind to. Sgt. Alamar released them for lunch, and again, she sat alone eating what was given to her, but not stuffing herself like the dogs that I was training with her. When the cooks talked to her about it, she just waved them away.
"Mind your own business" she would say.

         As the days continued to pass into weeks, they started the intense training bouts. It was the time when most of the recruits would be lost at this point, so that only the strongest of the group could go on. The times that I could see my sister, she was running in the formation on their morning workouts, or on the obstacle course with the instructor yelling in their faces-or rather hers. It must have seemed to the sergeant that she would cry or give up. But knowing Ravon, she would be only more determined to do the task ahead of her. Anger would be her motivation.
         "You'll never have the strength Ravon," my father used to say to her in the forge. "Being a blacksmith is what your brothers do. Go help your mother with Hades" Ravon looked at father and picked up one of the hammers that wasn't much smaller than she was. She was about six at the time, and Talon himself had just started doing chores in the shop with father and me. She picked it up with all the strength her little arms could muster, lifting it perhaps about a foot off the ground. Then her arms would give, and the hammer would drop, clanging on the stone floor. Talon and I laughed, practically rolling on the floor until father glared at us. Ravon didn't cry, or go off to find mother, she only shook her arms and tried again.
         Talon eventually went over to her to try and guide her out of the shop, but she wouldn't budge. "I told you to leave!" father at first told her and then yelled at her when she would come back time and time again. She wouldn't even flinch at his words. "FINE! Stay then! But stay out of our way! Don't come crying to me when you get hurt!" He conceded only because there was work to be done. Talon and I would take turns heating the furnace with the billows and getting whatever tool father wanted. He would tell us all the while the process of making each individual item from horseshoes to swords. Every now and then, his eye would stray to Ravon who had by then found a hammer that she could pick up with a bit of difficulty. She would pick up the hammer and it would rise above her head and fall back down to the floor with a sharp crack. "Take that noise some where else!!" he shouted at her, and she ignored him at first, until I led her out into the yard where she could pound the dirt all she wanted. She headed over to the corner where we kept the coal and started to hit the boulders with the hammer.
         For weeks, she did nothing but play with the hammer while my brother and I did our chores. One day, I heard father yelling himself hoarse at her, and all the while, her pounding away at the coal. "...ruined a good hammer you did," he would scream. "I should take this out on your hide..." We knew that he didn't believe in hitting, but hearing him say it was a shock. "I'm going to need a new hammer after this! Why can't you be a good girl and go help your mother or play with your dolls?!" she stopped and looked at him, throwing the hammer onto her shoulder.
         "Becuze fafer," she said holding the hammer as if it was natural for her to do, "Tis is mor productov." Then using both hands, she tossed him the hammer that she could barely lift before, and went into the house. Father looked at the hammer, which he held in one hand, and then the coal, noticing for the first time, that the coal was pounded into smaller stones that could be shoveled easily into the furnace. There was a neat pile of the rocks that she had pounded next to the pile ready to be shoveled into the furnace. It was the first time that we had seen our father speechless. But Ravon had her way, and soon enough was doing chores with us in the smithy.
         Ravon would have her way in the end, no matter if it was with the instructors of the cooks, whom apparently always wanted to have her eat more. The females seemed to all want to be her friends, but she shunned them away, and eventually, they all left her alone to her thoughts, the cooks just giving her food and silent words of encouragement, even if they did fall on deaf ears. My sister was never one to take advice from someone she deemed smaller than her.
         Change was coming over my sister now though, It was so small at first. But it was visibly noticeable from where I saw her. She started to eat meals with the other trainees, as if they had finally accepted her as one of them, before going off to a tent that she now had to herself. But her body language would speak of caution. Calculating. By the end of the cycle, she was given a wide berth. Out of a new found respect or fear for her, I did not know. Even the captain seemed to look at her with a new light.          From a distance, she looked transformed. Her pristine grace was gone, replaced by a feral catlike gait. It was as if she would pounce on anyone from any direction at any time. It was as if she radiated power.

         I rode up to the campfires, to get the recruits mustered in formation for the run to the pit. It was my favorite part of training with this group. I really enjoyed watching the fights when the students would go against Her. No one had actually beaten her, not within the first few rounds of the pit. I had hoped that somehow with everyone pitted against her that she would break, or give in. That I would finally have her. But still she would fight on until she would be knocked down. I enjoyed to watch her succeed if it meant that I would get her to fight another round, and when it was all over and done with I was sad to see her leave the pit. One thing I noticed however, was that no matter how batter or bruised she was, she would walk out of the ring as if she didn't have a care in the world. Tonight was no different.
         It was.
         "Tonight. I will break her."
         The thought floated across my mind like a pleasant fragrance on the evening breeze. I gazed across the heads of trainees as they entered the pit and readied themselves for the fights ahead.
         Dismounting, I stood on the platform over looking the pit, mentally noting that the female was the fourth fighter of the night. The first few fights were simple and quick and posed no real interest to me, besides for the sake of noting their improvements. When Ravon entered, there seemed to be a spotlight centered on just her, as she fought her current opponent, who happened to be Latipac. Her flowing grace always reminded me of some of the recruits that I had not long before, the way she flowed from one stance to the next. She studied her opponent in depth, from before she got into the ring, to the time that they fell at her feet.
         Latipac was down. Sniper was in. Ravon stood her ground as he stood his, the two measuring each other before the fight actually began. She grinned in a way of certainty somehow already knowing the outcome. She would give it her all in each fight, yet still find energy for the next one. and the next one.and the next one. and the next one. She looked like she was having fun. A few punches here and there, a kick to the ribs, that were blocked with her shin, and he was down with a blow to the chest by her elbow. He falls, and she starts to apply a move as if to kill him, stopping before the technique is actually applied. Another enters the ring, and the two go at it only to have him at her heals being picked up and carried away, nursing a twisted knee. Her fighting is so smooth, and she always seemed so sure of herself, moving from one opponent to the next. She knew everyone's moves by heart in a matter of days, just watching their mannerisms and movents, using their weaknesses against them. That was her strategy. Tonight I would use it against her. She was only a woman after all.
         I nodded my head over to one of the instructors to let in her final combatant. He wasn't one of the students, or really even one of my soldiers. Just one of the convicts that we had found in the local town's lockup. As soon as he saw her, his eyes started watering along with his mouth, and I could tell what was on his mind. She would be damaged goods after him, but she would be mine. I should have known better. She was a trained fighter after all.
         Sweat glistens on her forehead, bringing a soft glow to the rest of her skin. He charges at her, intent on taking her to the ground. He would get a bit of a challenge, but not much I supposed. She dodges his first moves and eventually knocks him to the ground. He gets back up and goes after her again, and again, Ravon knocks him to the ground. The fight continues on like this for about a minute before she actually knocks him down to the point where he doesn't get up. I'm a little disappointed, but when she turns to face me, I can see her eyes. The raging fire that burned within them, and her hatred for me. It was like a sweet nectar to me. She knows that I set this up, my smile only confirming it for her. The men begin to cheer as the brawler gets up, and pounces on her. She turns around just in time to see him come down, then uses his momentum to throw him off. He has grabbed a piece of her shirt, tearing it in the process of the throw. Her eyes grow wide, then narrow down into slits as she begins her attack, going into the offensive. I can see her focus her energy as he starts to throw punches at her, to knock her into submission. He doesn't hold back like it seems that her fellow recruits do, But neither does she...or at least that is what I thought at the time.
Bit by bit, her opponent takes her shirt piece by piece, smelling each victory he thinks he has over her. Her arm gets caught in her shirt as she throws a hook to his jaw. She quickly tears the rest of the shirt off herself, leaving her stomach bare. She is left wearing a tight band of cloth that covered just her breasts enough to keep them from getting in her way. He maliciously goes in, knocking her to the deck with an over hand as she throws the shirt away. She is on one knee as he hovers over her ready to put her into my service. I can see the sweat mingle with blood on her face as it slowly drips to the ground. Slowly, Ravon looks up as he walks to her, arms out. Her eyes flare up for a moment then dies out. He places a hand on her shoulder. She stands, and in one motion she grabs his hand and twists it at the wrist, dragging him to the ground. With a swift stroke, she hits his elbow, and an audible crack could be heard throughout the pit. A heel to his head, and he was out. I could see that his eyes were still open in a shocked expression. The last expression to ever be on his face. One of the instructors was already on his way in to stop the fight and grabbed her from behind to stop the fight. She broke from his grasp without a second thought and sweeped him to the deck. His chest was caved in and his eyes blackened as he fall to the floor.
Ravon then stood facing me in a ready stance, waving for me to come into the ring. For her, even the wind was quiet. I jumped down off of my platform and walked to her, my boots crunching on the gravel the only sound. Stopping just out of her reach, I stared into those eyes, and no longer found the fire that was held in them. Ice colder than the arctic had covered it, and there was no warmth in her grin. I realized that this entire time, she was the one who held back in all of those fights, not the men. She had a power that was parallel to my own, and there was no way to tame such a beast. I was a fool to try and tame her, but I was right in letting her train. Her confidence had soared, and she still held back just enough to keep her self control. Slowly I nodded, and let her go. I would trouble her no more.
         She stood and bowed her head, her eyes never leaving mine, until she walked past me. No one hindered her from leaving, and I knew that she would be there tomorrow for the morning run.
         The next morning Ravon was there, waiting on the others for morning formation. Her eyes glistened like ice, and the air seemed to chill around her. Everyone formed up to her, not daring to go in front of her like most of them usually did. I started them on the run, and I noticed the gap that they left her, but I left them to it, not knowing what she might do. After the run, Ravon sat at her fire, but instead of eating alone, tree other soldiers came and sat with her. She ate in silence.
         Rumors must have spread through out the camp overnight, for even Sergeant Alamar yelled at her less. Ravon seemed more wary of her surroundings, and calculating of the people around her. She move faster, yet it seemed in slow motion, like a hunter close to it's quarry. Catlike. She subdued two more in the pit that evening and at least one in every pit she was in afterwards. For her, I could tell that play time was over.

         Training was near its end, and Ravon would be learning tactic. From here on, I would only get to know hearsay. They would be spending several weeks in the deep training areas away from what few comforts we had at camp. She would learn squad movements, fire teams and patroling procedures. Patroling, scouting ans learning to sence and prepare for ambushes would also be taught. I could only imagine the hardships she would go through, comparing it to the time that I went through. As a natrual born leader, there would be those who would follow her and thouse that will want to just see her fail. Those are the ones that she will need to look out for.
         As a child, she was good at judging a person by their merits and strengths. When we chose teams for conqure the hill, a game where we would try and capture the hill and flag before the other team, she would end up on the winning team most of the time, picking or helping to pick who to have on the team. She never picked out of popularity, but on what each person could bring to the team. When she lost, she would take it personally as if it was her fault and noone else's. That's just the way my sister was. She was never one to accept defeat, and she always made sure that everyone would be there to capture it. Losses were unacceptable. If she lost anyone, she would end up losing everyone. Life was ever so presious to my sister.
         I was surprised when I heard that Ravon was faring extremly well in tactics, and how she was handling it. I wondered if the instructors weren't taking it easier on her, letting her win. When I heard that she had teamed up with the best in the class and beaten some of the instructors, I was in disbelief. My sister was good at tactics, but never at such a grand scale of more than five or six people. Entire units on the tactic boards she would command with a precision. She surely would have lost most of her men and pulled a retreat, not wanting to lose any more than she had. But Ravon was also stubborn. She would have a unit or two stay put until she had her way or they were dead. But rumors were that she was doing well. I would have to wait for graduation to ask her myself. I sent a letter to Talon earlier that day with the aproximate day that her graduation would be. We both were going to be there for her, as she was there for us.

         In tactics, Ravon was malicious. I realized that she was a sword freshly cooled from the furnace. No longer dangerous, but no less deadly. The ice that had replaced the fire in her eyes said as much. This last part of training only honed that weapon. Her vigor and determination was as strong as the first day she came to me even though the warmth was gone. Now, her eyes spoke of controlled thought. All I could see in them was a weapon straight from the forge. Tactics sharpened her. I watched and guided her carefully, teaching her the finer points of war. She paid close attention to every detail of combat, giving and taking everything thrown at her. She prepared for every contingincy thinkable. When she was placed under another trainee, her ideas were still carried out.
         She took orders without fail. If it got her group killed on the feild, she would remember it. When it happened again by the same person, she physically hurt him afterwards. "Lockhead, you fool," Ravon said after she was ambushed a second time. "Could you not see that this was an obvious set up?" She hit him forcefully on the back of the head, causing him to rub his neck. "Look here," she pointed to where they were, at both ambushes. "Here, here and here," she pointed ahead on the map. "All obvious take out points. No advantages walking into a ravine, valley or small path." She would then becomesilent once more. But never again would she follow Lockheed. When she led, it was no diffrent.          At first the subcommanders would go thier own way instead of listening to her. After the first time, she saw this she planed for it and wrote tem off as losses when they diddn't follow.
         "Team one here. Go." Team one would go. "Two here. Go." Each team followed her simple instructions. "Three, flank left. go. Four, flank right here. go." Her orders, simple and precise, she knew who would follow and who wouldn't. She would take that into account. "Five, follow team two. They will detour here. Finish thier objective and collect them afterwards. Careful, ambush awaits here." Two would be walking into the ambush by her calculations.          "Go. Six, follow team three and kill the leader. Finish the objective." The instructors stopped her first attempt at that, but at the end of the exersize, the dead commander was brought to me.
         "What were your plans?"
         "Sir, we came to the enemy, Team Four was nowhere to be found, I didn't want to wait to be noticed," the soldier said.
"You put your entire team at risk of being killed by your comrades in arms by doing that. Go away." He went back to the platoon guided by the instructors. On the terrain tables, which were set up the next morining, they would learn higher scale battles.
         Ravon took no prisoners. Units large or small, she would take over the board. She would skillfully set up decoy units, sacrifices that would win her the board. Few could match her cunning or wits. When she was teamed up with those few, they were unrivaled. She was among the top in her class of all males.
Unrivaled in the fighting, tactics and knowledge, Ravon was ready to join the ranks. The first female that I will have ever let graduate into Lord Sephinroth's army. Times were changing.

         Graduation came around, and as promised, I went. Talon was there as well, a Calvary corporal rank on his shoulder. We greeted each other heartily, and were met by The Captain.
         "Captain Darkmoore, sir!" my brother and I said simultaneously, snapping a salute.
         "Sergeant and Corporal Rapier. I take it there is a reason for you two being here?" His eyes were a muted red of curiosity.
         "We are here to pin the rank onto Ravon." I said simply. He seemed to look a bit surprised and thoughtful.
         "And how is it...that you know the name of one of my trainees?"
         "Sir, everyone within at least a day's ride of here and perhaps more knows of the female who has made it through your training. We just happen to know who she is." Talon spoke out.
         "And why would she be a Ravon?"
         "Because she is our sister. And the only female-the only person- I have ever known that can knock me flat gasping for breath." I said with truth, confidence and pride. The captain smiled.
         "She is like a sponge for knowledge and as fierce as the beast. Come. Follow me." We followed Captain Darkmoore to a large field where there was a small formation of soldiers. They were being given their orders and new ranks, to be ready to go into the military. Ravon was at the head of one of the squads. Stiff as a sentry, she stood in line waiting for her command to be presented to her. The captain handed me her rank, that of a foot sergeant of the guard. He handed Talon her orders. She didn't even quiver as I placed the rank on her shoulder and Talon read the order.
         "Foot sergeant of the guard Ravon, you are to report in one month's time to Lord Sethenroth's castle to ensure the security of the battlements. You will report to Lt. Green once there for further orders. Signed, Lord S. Pendragon." Talon put the scroll slowly down and handed it to Ravon. She took it with military professionalism and nodded her head once.
         "Greet your brothers." The captain told Ravon. Focus seemed to enter her eyes and she looked at us.
         "Sergeant, corporal, it is good to see you. Thank you for coming." She turned to the captain. "The castle is nearly a month's ride from here. May I go now." I grabbed her arm, and the captain moved as if to stop me-but it was too late. I was staring at the graying sky with a boot pressing against my throat.
         "I'm...proud...of...yo...ou..." I choked out. She let up pressure then, and let me go. Talon helped me to stand. With a bow and a salute to me she apologized.
         "I am sorry, sergeant. It is a reflex."
         Captain Darkmoore gave a nervous cough, and then explained, "After about the third week in the second cycle, she killed one of the students and then the martial instructor that was there for some unknown reason. She won't say. The others say that all they did was touch her. It wasn't pretty. No one has touched her since. Those who have had ended up in the infirmary." He handed Ravon a slip of folded parchment. "You are to give this to your commanding officer. You are dismissed." With a bow and a salute she was gone. He turned to us. "She is the first, but not the last. Be proud."
         "We are." Talon said watching her back. "But I fear that we have lost our only sister.
         "We have gained a general I said. Leaving my brother and the captain I went back to report to my command. "May the gods help us all."

         The military broke my little sister.
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