This is part of a story I've been writing over the past few weeks.
"Why are they fighting out there mother?" The little girl asked her mother. She tugged lightly at her mother's skirt, trying to get her attention. Her mother paid no attention at all to the little girl, being distracted by the bloody battle right outside. My husband is out there. The mother thought frantically. She let out a small scream and ducked down to her daughter's level as a body slammed against the window before falling limply to the ground. "Stay here Lafell." Her mother told her quickly. Lafell nodded quietly as her mother hurried off to get their things. Lafell jumped as someone slammed something into the door. She ducked under the long wooden table next to her, knowing even as she hid that it wasn't a great hiding place against whoever was coming. The door shattered and her mother ran into the room just as it did. Three men came in through the shattered opening, one smiling evilly at her mother. "Look at what we've found." One of the men said gruffly, taking a step towards her. Her mother grabbed her father's sword from behind her and swung it wildly, beheading the man closest, being the one who had spoken. The other two men looked at each other uneasily, as if deciding whether they should face her or not. They stood their ground, and one looked around. Lafell backed further under the table, bumping into a chair. At the small noise the man turned and looked under the table. "Ah, here she is!" He whispered and reached under the table, grabbing Lafell's wrist. Lafell bit him as hard as she could, but he only grimaced slightly at the pain from her teeth. Pulling her out from under the table, he restrained her the best he could. Her mother attacked in anger, but the second man dodged the blow and disarmed her. Stabbing her through, he threw her aside and turned to Lafell. "So this is the little rat we've been chasing after for so long. Why would the mage want her? Any idea Menion?" Menion shook his head and threw Lafell over his shoulder. "Why do you want me?" She whimpered. Menion patted her ankle gently. "Sorry young one, but we have orders." Menion said quietly after his partner had gone through the opening where the door had been. Looking over his hand where Lafell had bit him, he walked out the door.
The trip to the Tower took around a week. By the time they had gotten there she had somewhat accepted her parent's deaths, even though it was still hard to think about them. Menion continued being as nice to her as much as he was aloud around Rem, his partner. Lafell came to hate Rem, he was nothing but rude to her. He called her Rat and complained frequently about him having to go after her and how he could be at home right now with his beer and friends. “The strong beer and meat. Ah, how I miss it. Of course at this rate who knows if I shall return?” He complained. Menion let Lafell walk when she wanted to, but kept a homemade harness and leash on her in case she tried to run away. Lafell stared up at the giant double doors at the front of the Tower. The doors were of darkened wood, with carved brass designs of flowers and animals, climbing beautifully up the doors. Rem knocked four times on the right door, and the doors swung silently open. Menion tugged lightly on the leash, and Lafell started walking slowly. Ririthdeu the mage stood at the end of the long hall, waiting for them. He forced himself to smile as his men walked up with the little girl. He thought a moment. He decided he would ask her questions as to not scare her by telling her straight up what he knew about her. Menion nudged Lafell gently to get her attention. She looked up at him questioningly, then looked at Ririthdeu in wonder at Menion's motion towards the mage. Ririthdeu smiled and walked slowly up to them. "Hello young one. May I know your name?" The mage asked Lafell gently. She tried to look as brave as she could as she said her name. Ririthdeu nodded slightly. "And how old are you Lafell?" She decided that the mage was friendly enough and took a small step forward, so she could see him more clearly. "I am eight years old. May I ask sir, what your name is?" Menion tugged lightly on the leash, warning her silently to be good, but he stopped at Ririthdeu's frown. "I am Ririthdeu, the mage and leader of the Tower of Malarin. I am the one who ordered for you to be sent here." A small, testing smile crossed his features as he said the last words. This angered Lafell, though she knew already that Ririthdeu was the one who sent for her, she did not know that he would say this to her face. Lafell resisted the sudden urge to attack this man, even though she knew that though he looked old, he was probably a lot stronger. The fact that he was a mage also crossed her mind. "So you are the one that ordered for these men to kill my Mother and Father?" Lafell asked the mage angrily. Ririthdeu looked surprised. "I did not order my men to kill anyone, only to find-" Rem interrupted him with a snort. "You told us to kill anyone who got in our way of finding the rat." Ririthdeu glared at Rem. "Remember why I keep you around Rem. That is the only reason you are still alive at this moment." Rem took a step back, fearing that the mage would do more to him than just the short lecture. When Ririthdeu did nothing, he relaxed his stance. Ririthdeu turned his attention back to Lafell, who was looking at him intently. "What was your mother's name Lafell?" Lafell hadn't said her mother's name since her death, so she was hesitant. Under Ririthdeu's stare however, she could keep no secrets. "Her name was Tari." Lafell said quietly, looking at the ground. Ririthdeu kneeled in front of Lafell, bringing his face to her level. Lafell looked up, startled. "I am truly sorry about your mother's death. I had hoped that none of yours would be harmed, but I guess I was wrong. Which of my men killed her? For he will suffer for doing so." Lafell brightened some at this, and looked back at Rem, pointing. “Rem is the man who killed my mother.” Ririthdeu stood, glaring at Rem. "So you are the one who did this?" He shook his head. "You shouldn't have done that." Ririthdeu muttered a few words that Lafell didn’t understand, and Rem didn't even have time to scream, for he was a pile of dust on the floor. The mage motioned for a servant to come and clean up the dust remains. The servant came and went and the dust was disposed of. Ririthdeu looked satisfied with his work, and looked back at Lafell.
"You must be weary young one, along with you Menion. I trust you have been well with her?" Menion looked at Lafell. "You would have to ask her that master, but if you look at her, there will be no bruise or cut from me on her." Lafell looked up at Menion and smiled. "Menion has been very nice to me sir. What he says is true." Lafell looked back at Ririthdeu, who was smiling. "Good, now, let us go eat." Lafell gratefully followed after Menion removed the harness and leash. The dining hall was large, with a long table down the center and many chairs. The mage, the girl, and the guard sat down to eat. Lafell had never eaten as fully as she did this night. The first course was a soup of strange noodles, beans and other vegetables. Only eating some of this, mainly because of its strange taste, she waited for the next course. She quietly listened to Menion and Ririthdeu’s conversations as she ate the roasted duck and pig. For desert there was a small pastry like bread that was doused in honey and sugar. After the meal she sat quietly, looking around the gigantic room. There were sets of armor every ten feet or so and colorful tapestries covered the walls. Servants bustled in and out of the kitchen, which she gave up trying to look into after only seeing the same counter and wash bin four or five times.
After a yawn that Lafell tried to hide. Ririthdeu said that it was about time for bed. He showed Lafell to her room and unlocked the door for her. “This will be your room for as long as you stay here. Breakfast is two hours after dawn. I would be pleased if you choose to join us.” The mage smiled gently and bid her good night, then shut her door. Lafell looked around the room, then went to the closet. Opening the doors she gasped. There were dresses, all her size, of many colors and designs. In drawers below the dresses, there were enough undergarments to last her at least two months. She picked a plain nightgown and changed into it, putting her now dirt stained dress in a basket next to the bed. After combing out her long, dark brown hair and washing her face, she looked in the mirror. She was a pretty young girl, she had her mother’s dark green eyes and her father’s dark brown hair. There were many boys from the village who had like her, even at her young age. Lafell tried not to cry at the still vivid memory of her destroyed village. There weren’t many that had died, only five or so that she could remember seeing. Including both her mother and father. She went over to the bed and climbed in under the thick covers. It was a cold night, so the extra bedding was welcome. She cried for awhile in the dark. It didn’t take long for sleep to overcome her.
A servant bustled around Lafell’s room as quietly as she could, filling the bath with warm water and taking Lafell’s dress to the Laundry area to be cleaned by the other maids. When it was time to wake Lafell, the servant pulled back the curtains and walked over to Lafell’s bed. “Miss? Miss, it is time to wake up. I have a warm bath ready for you in the other room.” Lafell stirred slightly and opened her eyes sleepily. “Hmmmm?” Lafell asked groggily. The servant smiled and introduced herself. “I am Inwe. Your servant for as long as you stay.” Lafell nodded and sat up, pushing the blankets away and stretching. “You said something about a warm bath?” Lafell asked. Inwe nodded and led Lafell to the other room. She showed Lafell where the soaps were and which were used for what, then turned and walked to the door. “When you’re ready to get out, just call, I will be out here picking your clothes for you.” Smiling, Inwe left, shutting the door quietly behind her. Lafell undressed and stepped into the lightly steaming water, slowly laying back into it. The bathtub was two feet deep and was six feet long and four feet wide. After she had washed, she got out of the bathtub and dried herself with a towel. After wrapping herself in one, she called Inwe, who brought in her clothes. “I hope the outfit suites you.” Inwe said, holding out a dark blue dress with almost black lace, with matching black shoes and dark undergarments. “Thank you, I like it.” Lafell said smiling. Inwe nodded and put the clothes and shoes on a counter, then left again. Lafell dressed and went into the room, going over to the mirror to brush her hair. After she was ready, Inwe led her down to the dining hall, where Ririthdeu was waiting in a black robe for her. He stood by her chair and pulled it out for her, then went back to his own seat. “I hope that you slept well.” He said, smiling at her. Lafell nodded.
“Thank you for the clothes.” Ririthdeu nodded and motioned to the dress. “The outfits will grow with you, so you won’t need too many replacements in the way of clothing. We can, buy or make more if need be or if you want more later, but for now, I hope you can make do with what is in the closet.” Lafell smiled and nodded gratefully. The morning meal came and went quickly with fruit, eggs, a meat she couldn’t pronounce the name to, and juice. Lafell thought a lot on why she had been brought here, and after a while she couldn’t help but ask. “S- Ririthdeu, Would it be alright if I asked why I was brought here?” Ririthdeu wasn’t surprised by the question. “I sent my men to retrieve you for reasons I cannot say unfortunately. But I can tell you that you are special, and that is why I chose you. By the way, now that I remember. There are rules here, you cannot leave the Tower without an escort. Whether it is a friend or myself or even a servant it does not really matter to me. But you are to stay on grounds. There are horses available for you to choose from, the stable handler will tell you which. You are welcome into any room on the first three floors, any floor higher than the third are off limits to you. I apologize, but there are things you shouldn’t tamper with.” Ririthdeu paused for a moment thinking. “That is all I can think of that you need to know for right now. I am going to be training you in magic and one of my men, perhaps Menion even, will teach you how to swordfight.” Lafell tried to take in everything that Ririthdeu had just said, then nodded. Trying to make sure that she understood herself what he had said. “You should go upstairs and change into something more suitable for riding.” He nodded to Inwe who had just entered the room. “Inwe will lead you after you are ready to the stable where you will choose your horse and will be taught how to saddle, bridle, and ride your horse.” Lafell stood and curtseyed slightly to Ririthdeu, then made her way up the stairs to her room where Inwe would be waiting with her new outfit. As she opened the door she looked at the riding outfit sitting on the bed and walked over to grab it. Inwe left the room and Lafell changed and then hung her dress and put away her shoes. She walked out of the room and followed Inwe down the stairs and out a side door leading to the stable. Inwe left Lafell with the stable handler whose name was Herlon.
Herlon had dark blond hair and had very muscular arms. He looked vicious to Lafell until he smiled and introduced himself. He was very fatherly and was very nice to Lafell. He led her down the row of horses until there were four stalls left, each holding its own horse. The first was a dark roan, followed by a pinto, then a white, then a black. Herlon named them off as Owl, Hawkeye, Snow, and LaFera, meaning Night Champion. Lafell looked over each as Herlon gave their description. She finally chose LaFera, she not only liked him best but he seemed to really like her. Herlon seemed pleased that Lafell was happy and went to go get the saddle pad and saddle. After hoisting them on to LaFera’s back, Herlon taught Lafell how to tighten and loosen the cinch, along with fixing the stirrups. Lafell learned quickly which made it easier for both of them. She managed to get the bridal on too. Herlon helped her into the saddle and then mounted his own horse. They rode to the pasture and Lafell learned how to canter before they had to stop and go back to the stable. “Thank you so much Herlon. I had a lot of fun!” Lafell said and hugged Herlon after they had gotten back to the stable and gotten the horses back in their stalls. Herlon turned slightly red and patted Lafell on the head. “Your very welcome miss.” Inwe came and thanked Herlon, then took Lafell back to the Tower for noon meal. “How did you like it?” Inwe asked Lafell on their walk back to the Tower. Lafell told Inwe about her choice of LaFera and what she learned that day. Inwe smiled and patted Lafell’s back. “Good, good.”
Lafell changed again after they got inside only this time it was into a long black robe that went down past her feet. She had trouble not tripping over it on her way down the long staircase. When she entered the dining room and sat down, Ririthdeu was not there. Lafell waited until the food came and after she ate, she went to go find Inwe. There seemed to be no one in the Tower. “Lafell, young one.” A familiar voice called. Lafell turned around to see Ririthdeu waiting in a doorway. He beckoned her over and she followed him through a corridor and into a dome ceilinged room with candles and a mirror. “What’s that for?” Lafell asked, motioning to the mirror. “Scrying.” Was all the mage said. Ririthdeu motioned Lafell over to the mirror and told her what Scrying was. “It allows me to see people or things that I can’t see in front of me or around me. For example, I saw you through Scrying.” Lafell looked up at him, confused. “So you can see people or things that you’ve never seen before?” She asked, touching the edge of the mirror. Ririthdeu nodded once and told her the words that summoned the Scrying. “You can also see what once was. Another example, you could see your mother.” The mention of Lafell’s mother hit like a smack across the face. Lafell withheld the tears she wished to cry, for even though she had accepted the fact, it still hurt grandly. “Ya Tia Tae.” Lafell said slowly, holding her hand up to the mirror and watching as her reflection rippled and changed into the shape of LaFera. Who was eating in his stall. Lafell smiled and took her hand away from the mirror, letting the image fade and return to showing only her reflection. Ririthdeu nodded in approval. “You learn quickly Lafell. Now your next spell will be summoning.” Lafell looked up at her teacher and waited. “What am I going to summon?” Lafell asked quietly. Ririthdeu thought for a moment and grabbed a book of a side table. Looking through it he found a picture he seemed satisfied with, set the book on the table still open to that page, and pointed. “You will summon a dragon.” Lafell felt a little intimidated at the thought of summoning a full dragon, but she nodded quickly and waited for the words to do the spell. “The words are Laire Iat Athem.” Lafell repeated the words in her mind to memorize them, then said them aloud. The air in front of her rippled and sparked as scales started to form and shape into the dragon. After a minute or so, a miniature, bright red scaled, dragon was sitting on top of the open book. It looked at Lafell expectantly, as if it wanted her to do something. Lafell looked at the dragon, then up at the mage. “Aren’t you going to name her?” Ririthdeu asked. Lafell was surprised by the sudden question and took a moment thinking about a name for the little red dragon in front of her. After a moment she nodded to herself and said, “I will name her Iatali.” Ririthdeu nodded and smiled. “She will be your companion and will go where you go, she will talk with you, protect and comfort. There is no place that you can’t take her.” Lafell nodded and held out her hand. Iatali climbed up Lafell’s hand and perched on her shoulder, wrapping her tail around Lafell’s arm. Content “I will call her Iat for short.” Lafell decided. The mage nodded and told Lafell to go back to her room and study until evening meal. After handing Lafell a few books to read, he left. Lafell decided to go to her room to read, not wanted to be in the gloomy dark room all alone. After changing into more comfortable clothes, Lafell sat down on her bed next to Iat. The small dragon curled into a ball next to Lafell’s leg and slept while Lafell grabbed one of the books the mage had given her to read and opened it to the first page. Even though Lafell was a fast reader, it took her about an hour to get through one hundred pages of the book, the book was very thick and two hands long and one and a half across. She finally decided that a spell would be easiest. So she spent a good fifteen minutes thinking about it until she nudged Iat. Iat looked up at Lafell. “Yes?” Was all she asked. Lafell told her what she thought and asked if Iat had any suggestions.
“What about Elee Horta?” Iat asked. Lafell tried the spell, and sure enough. It worked! Lafell could read three times as fast as before. By the time evening meal came, Lafell had finished two out of the five books. Satisfied, she dressed for dinner and put Iat on her shoulder. Inwe was outside the door waiting for them, and led them to the dining room. Ririthdeu was sitting at his normal place this time. “How many books did you end up reading?” Acting oblivious to his knowing of her spell. “I managed to finish two of the five.” Lafell answered, smiling. She sat at her place and let Iat climb down to sit at her elbow. The mage acted surprised. “You must be a very skilled reader.” He said. Lafell blushed at his praise. “I used a spell to quicken my reading.” She said truthfully. Ririthdeu nodded and smiled. “Spell or no, someone of your age would not normally read with that speed and efficiency.” Lafell blushed again and looked at the kitchen door as servants came with the meal. There was again roasted duck and one of the servants gave Iat a small chicken. Lafell thought it would be too much for such a small creature, but Iat finished in minutes with the chicken, leaving no fat or meat on the still steaming bones. Ririthdeu looked satisfied with Iat’s appetite, while Lafell could only look surprised and stare at the chicken bones that were aligned neatly on the platter. Lafell slowly ate her own food, still staring at Iat. Towards the end of the meal, Ririthdeu finally spoke. “I expect you to finish those last three books tonight Lafell. You will have more tomorrow. I will give you five to start with every day of your first year here, then, as you grow older, and able to take on more information each day, I will start giving you seven each day. Understand?” Lafell nodded and got up from her chair, picking up Iat in the process. “Thank you for teaching me master.” She curtseyed slightly and half ran up to her room, wanting to get the reading done as soon as possible so she could sleep. After setting Iat on the bed she went to the closet for her nightgown, then brushed her hair and washed her face. She sat on her bed and picked up a new book. “Elee Horta.” She said, then started reading. This book was more interesting than the others, it was about the history of the Tower and how and when it was built and the reasons behind it. She finished the other two books a few hours later. With tired eyes she stacked the books on the bedside table and pulled the blankets up, pulling a startled Iat up with them. Giggling, Lafell put Iat closer to her head and then quickly fell asleep. She dreamed this night, she dreamt about the forest, and a red dragon. Iat, she recognized, on a cloaked woman’s shoulder. The woman was riding a black horse that looked like LaFera. The woman looked behind her and Lafell saw her face. Gasping, she saw that it was her own, only older and more, frightened. She looked as if something or someone was chasing her, she led her horse to a gallop, riding out suddenly onto a plain. Lafell woke with a start. It was the strangest dream she had ever had. She wondered if it was a vision. Like she had heard people in her village talk about. Not many people ever had these visions. Lafell absently stroked Iat’s scales. “What is it Lafell? You’re rubbing through my scales.” Iat said irritably. “Sorry, I was just thinking.” Lafell said apologetically. “What were you thinking about?” “Just a dream I had.” “Want to talk about it?” “Would you like to hear it?” “Of course.” Lafell told Iat about the dream. Iat listened quietly and flicked her tail. “An interesting dream. You said I was in it, and your horse? Who exactly was it that you saw?” Lafell thought a moment, calling forth the memory of the face she had seen. “It was me. Only, older.” Iat nodded. “I understand what you saw, what I do not understand is how you could see yourself in the future. You don’t even know if you’ll look like that when you’re older.” Iat finished, sounding preoccupied. As if she was talking to herself now. Lafell shrugged and looked through a slit in the curtains. “There are still hours before dawn. We should get some more sleep.” Iat shook her head and flicked her tail again. “You mean you need to get more sleep. I do not need more than an hour or two every few days. And I can get more than enough sleep on your shoulder.” She stated, content. Lafell nodded and lay back again, pulling the blankets up over her shoulders. It was a while before she could fall asleep again.