The Nestals (Chapter Three)
- The Nestals (Chapter Two)
Here is Chapter Two! As always, suggestions and criticisms welcome :)
The central tower of Pretonus loomed over Felvin and Winjes as they made their way towards the entrance gate. After a tiring three-day journey, they had finally reached Drohold, and was about to see its famed training institution for the first time. Bilden dropped them about a mile from the entrance gate, as horse-carts were not allowed after the boundary that marked the official entry point of this huge institution.
Felvin saw two guards standing outside the entrance gate, each having a yellow circular band around their right wrist.
“They look tough”, said Winjes.
“And you better not say anything to get on their wrong side”, teased Felvin.
At that moment, a man who looked to be in his mid-forties appeared at the entrance. Unlike the guards, he had a red circular band around his wrist. He wore a navy-blue robe and had a regal look about him. Felvin was certain that he was one of the trainers at Pretonus.
As they reached the gate, the man said, “Welcome to Drohold, and to Pretonus, the official training institution of Nestallion. I assume the two of you come from Rigoria”
“Grovan. I will be your group instructor for the first phase of your training”.
“Nice to meet you, Master Grovan”, said Felvin.
“We’ll have time for niceties later. Come on in, it is dark already. I’ll lead you to your residential tower. That is where all newly-joined Nestals would be staying”, said Grovan.
And so, they followed him inside. Felvin was amazed at what he saw. There were large towers wherever he looked. He was sure many of them would be for specific training purposes, as his mother had told him.
After walking for a while and passing a couple of towers which were quite peculiar in shape, Grovan halted near a building which looked the oldest of the lot.
“This is where you would be staying for the coming year. Treat it as your own house. There are 13 other Nestals from various parts of Nestallion who would be staying with you here, and all of you would be commencing your training tomorrow. You two were the last to arrive, most of them would have already settled in”, said Grovan.
“So do we have separate rooms Master Grovan?” asked Winjes
“Now don’t expect too much luxury there. Go in, and see for yourself. Dinner will already have been served, so you might find food in the dining room. And try not to make too much noise. As many people have had long and tiring journeys, they might have already slept. I will see you tomorrow”, saying this, Grovan turned back and started walking in the direction of one of the larger towers on the opposite side.
“Well that was a fun conversation”, quipped Winjes as they entered the tower.
“I have a feeling that you will become his favourite student”, said Felvin with a chuckle.
“Give me a break man. Let us eat something first, I am about to die of hunger”.
So they made their way into the dining room which was on the ground floor itself. Inside, they found two plates and three courses of dinner on the table, and proceeded to serve it themselves.
“Well hello there”, said a voice from behind.
“What the…”, Winjes jumped and dropped his spoon.
“I see the last of our group have finally made it here”.
Standing before them was a girl with bobbed hair. She looked to be about the same age as them.
“And who are you?” asked Felvin.
“Valerie. You can call me Val”, said the girl.
“Well, VAL, don’t they teach you basic manners where you come from?” Winjes was fuming.
“Don’t be such a cry-baby”, retorted Valerie. “I was just trying to strike a conversation. Almost everyone has gone to their bed after their supposedly “tiring” journeys”.
“I don’t think anyone was faking it. The journey was quite tiring. I am assuming you are from Drohold itself, or else you would’ve known”, said Felvin.
“Well, I am impressed. At least you seem to be a smart guy, unlike this hot-tempered one here”, said Valerie, pointing at Winjes.
“WILL YOU PLEASE LET US EAT??!!!” Winjes shouted at the top of his voice.
They heard noises coming from above. Clearly, all the shouting had awoken the sleeping parties.
“Well, looks like we are in trouble”, said Valerie.
“Because of you”, hissed Winjes.
“Please stop you guys. Winjes, we’ve just arrived here. Let us not start with a fight”, said Felvin.
“What is going on here? Don’t you know that people are sleeping”. Another girl entered the room looking like she was about to kill someone. Felvin felt she would’ve looked pretty if her face was not filled with such anger.
“Oh not this one”, said Valerie, rolling her eyes.
“We are really sorry. We just arrived, and there was some confusion here”, said Felvin apologetically.
“Well thanks to you, I’ve lost my sleep. What were you guys thinking?”
“Ask her”, said Winjes, pointing towards Valerie.
Valerie was about to give a reply but at that moment, they heard some strange noise coming from a room nearby.
“What is that?” asked Felvin.
“Who knows what else you’ve woken up”, said the second girl.
“Wasn’t that the room which Master Grovan said was locked for safety reasons?” asked Valerie.
“Then something is not right”, said Winjes, with a trace of fear in his voice.
And before anyone could do anything, the door to the room was thrown open, and Felvin saw something bright coming from within. He move towards the room and let out a gasp. A portion of the room’s wall was on fire.
“Fire!!” shouted Felvin
“What….”, the second girl was frowning.
“Should we call Master Grovan?” asked Valerie and moved towards Felvin. “Wait, there is no fire here. What are you saying?”
“What?” Felvin looked at Valerie, and then back at the wall. Flames were dancing on the wall.
“Right mate, I don’t see anything”, said Winjes.
“You must’ve gone dreary after the journey. Better get some sleep”, said the second girl, and she left the room.
“But you guys heard that strange noise right, and the door opening on its own!” exclaimed Felvin.
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean anything. For all we know, the door’s lock could be faulty or something”, said Valerie.
Clearly, they couldn't see what he was seeing.
Without talking further, Felvin move towards the wall.
“Felvin, wait. What are you doing?” Winjes sounded worried.
As he approached the wall, Felvin saw the flames parting to make way for a face – the same face he had seen in his dream. Felvin was shocked. What was happening here?
And before he could do anything, the face with blood-red eyes started to speak:
“So, you have finally arrived at Drohold. I have been waiting too long. No one can protect you now. Get ready to be dragged into my world, Felvin. I will be coming for you soon”.
Saying this, the man roared with laughter. And the face was gone, so were the flames.
Felvin didn’t know what to do. He just stood there staring at the wall, unable to comprehend what just happened.
“You alright there mate? You have been staring at that wall for quite some time now”, said Winjes from behind.
“I’m fine”, lied Felvin. “Like that girl said, I guess I am a bit dreary”.
He knew there was no point telling this to Winjes. He could probably talk to Master Grovan or one of the other elders tomorrow. But would anyone believe him? Or was he actually seeing things?
“Well then, finish your dinner, and get some sleep. I will catch up with you tomorrow”, said Valerie.
“I’m not looking forward to it”, said Winjes.
“Wasn’t talking to you anyway. And just so you know, the rooms for the males are on the first floor. I believe you both are in room number 7. Well your names will be written on the door, so won’t be difficult to find”, said Valerie.
“Thanks Val”, said Felvin.
Valerie smiled at Felvin, and left the room after casting a final glance at Winjes.
All through dinner, Felvin was thinking about what he had seen. And as they made their way towards the first floor, Winjes started talking about how arrogant Valerie was, but Felvin hardly heard him. He just kept nodding to whatever Winjes said.
Finally, they reached room number 7. The door had a sign that said:
"Felvin, Winjes – Rigoria”
“Finally!” Winjes quickly opened the door and jumped on to one of the two beds in the room.
Felvin took the other bed, and slowly laid down trying to forget what he just saw. But he couldn’t.
He was finally in Drohold, about to start his training the next day, and yet all he could think of was how badly someone wanted to hurt him…kill him perhaps.
© 2018 Rick Jones