Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday's Third Scene Confronting the Wizards #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLoveLTD #fantasy #swordand sorcery

The Law of the Brotherhood

Every male with a talent belongs to the Brotherhood of Wizards. When a boy is taken from his family or chooses to become a Wizard, he must learn his old life is dead. His total obedience is to the Brotherhood and all Wizards become his only kin.

He groaned. Thunder pounded in his head. Had he fallen and hurt himself? He moved his arms and legs. Pain shot through his body. His stomach lurched. He swallowed convulsively to keep from spilling its contents. Who was he? He struggled to remember his name.
Lajin. I am Lajin. What more? ’Twas like a stone wall blocked him from his memories. Where was he? Where had he been? Who was he other than a name?
Someone fed him broth and kaf. He drank but kept his eyes tightly closed. To open them would propel him into a nightmare. He heard men’s voices and recognized none of them.
Someone called his name. The cry resounded in his head. He tried to answer, but his words rebounded from the wall.
Time passed. At least he thought it did. He felt as though he was moving. He smelled leather and scents he didn’t know.
Laughter rose on the wind. Jindera. Who was she? A face tickled his thoughts and vanished. If he would find her, he would know who he was. He opened his eyes, saw twin moons and the stars.
“Finally awake,” a gruff voice said. “Been near a day since you got lost in dreams. All this from a knock on the head.”
“Who are you?”
“Wizard Dumor. Drink this. Will give you strength and ease the ache in your head.”
“Where am I?” Lajin grasped the mug and gulped. As the liquid burned a path down his throat, he choked. “Vile. Bitter.”
Wizard Dumor chuckled. “I know.”
“Where are we?”
“At a crossroads.”
“A troop of Wizards on the way to the stronghold. You’re one of us now, little brother.”
Lajin frowned. The man’s words triggered a stab of pain. How could he be a little brother when he had no older ones? There was just ... just ...  He couldn’t remember and the attempt sent shards of lightning through his temples. “What did you do to me?”  He studied the man’s smooth-shaved head and the black robe he wore. A sense of unease rolled over Lajin. Black robes meant danger.
“Me. I never harmed you. Senior Wizard Selor bade you come with us. You tried to hit him. He blasted you. Your talent is needed by the Brotherhood.”
“Talent?”  Lajin asked. “What do you mean? I don’t remember.”
“When we reach the stronghold, one of the Masters will test you.”
“Why did this Senior Wizard hurt me?”
“You refused the honor you were given. The man who sold you to us hit you.”
“Was I a bondservant?”
Wizard Dumor laughed. “What you were in the past has no meaning. Your talent makes you ours.”  He turned away. “You stabbed the man who sold you.”
“With what?”
Dumor tossed him a knife. “With this.”
Lajin frowned. Had he? Wouldn’t he remember doing a thing like that? But memories of the time before he woke were lost. He left the knife on the ground. If he’d harmed someone with the blade, he didn’t want to touch it.
He drained the remainder of the liquid in the mug. The drink had contained ...  He almost remembered. How did he know?
“Who am I?”  He hadn’t meant to speak aloud. He feared the Wizard wouldn’t tell him.
“Who? You have named yourself Lajin. Perchance you are the expected one.”  Dumor clasped Lajin’s shoulder. “Forget the past. Seek not memories of what once was. To remember brings pain. To forget is bliss. After we eat, Senior Wizard Selor will begin your instructions. When we reach the stronghold, you will be made one in spirit with us.”
The throbbing pulses beat against Lajin’s skull. Something the Wizard had said was wrong, but Lajin couldn’t seek the wrongness. He pushed to his feet, fought a swirl of dizziness and then shambled to the fire. A dozen black-robed men sat on one side of the circle. Two boys were seated in the shadows beneath a tree.
One of the Wizards handed Lajin a bowl of stew topped by a slab of bread and cheese. Lajin dipped kaf into a mug and found a place beside the boys. Their faces seemed familiar. Did he know them? Pain seared. He nearly dropped the food.
“Lajin, good to see you awake. You were out a long time.”
“Why did you fight them?”  The second boy grinned. “We’re now part of the Brotherhood. Won’t have the village elders pushing me no more. Going to rule Earda, we are.”
Lajin swallowed a mouthful of the tasteless stew. He looked from one boy to the other. “Do I know you?”
“You gone witless?”  the second boy asked.
Lajin shrugged. “Remember my name. ’Tis all.”
“I’m Beder.”  The second boy pointed to the other. “He’s Audin.”
The oldest of the black robes strode to them. “No talk about what you were before. You are brothers now. Soon all your past will be gone.”  He held a tragon flask. “Hold out your mugs. You’re due a taste of the peddler’s gift to us.”
Lajin shook his head. “Not me.”  He touched his forehead. “Will make the pain worse.”
“What?”  the Wizard asked. “Where’d that notion come from?”
Lajin frowned. “Popped into my head.”
The man added tragon to the mugs of the other two. He walked away, then stopped and spoke to Dumor. He gestured toward the boys.
Lajin’s shoulders tensed. Had he done something wrong? He ate the bread and cheese, then took another bite of the stew. He spat and put the bowl on the ground.
“Food not to your liking?”  Wizard Dumor asked. “Selor will be hurt, him being the cook this night.”
“’Tis tasteless. Needs salt and seasonings. can’t remember.”  Lajin’s voice rose to a wail.
“As I told you, the past is dead. Not remembering is good. Makes your initiation easier.”  Dumor’s fingers dug into Lajin’s shoulder. “Your life begins today. After we reach the stronghold, the Masters will examine you. The oldest Master has awaited you for many years. Once your testing ends, you won’t be able to think of the past again.”
Lajin shivered. Was there a hint of malice in the man’s voice? Lajin stared at the now cold bowl of stew. “All I know is with a bit of seasoning, the food would taste better.”
“Then ’til we reach the stronghold, you’ll be cook’s helper.”  He pointed to the other two. “You will help with the steeds. Saddle, groom and feed them.”
As Dumor strode away, the names of some seasonings flowed through Lajin’s thoughts. Majoria, mintos, cimon, chokla, six kinds of scallions, peppali. Some grew wild. As they traveled, he could look for them growing along the road.
Where had he learned these things? Once more, pain stabbed his temples. Would he ever remember and, if he did, what would the black robes do?
He frowned. At the edge of his thoughts, he heard a soft voice call his name. Who? A woman, he decided. He tried to answer and met a solid barrier. He rose, cleaned his bowl and dipped another mug of kaf.
One of the Wizards beckoned. Lajin joined the other boys. “I am Senior Wizard Selor. No watch for you three tonight or any other. ’til you’re initiated into the Brotherhood, you are in my charge.”
“When will that be?”  Audin asked.
“As soon as we reach the stronghold.”
“How soon?”  Beder asked.
“Several more days of hard travel. We’ll pass through several villages. If I sniff other candidates ’twill take longer.”
“Why can’t we be sent ahead?”  Beder asked. “’Twould be my pleasure to be a Wizard, to serve the Brotherhood and free Earda from the tyranny of the Jewels.”
Selor laughed. “Would you now?”
“Oh, yes.”
“Your eagerness is noted, but you must never question my decisions.”  Selor sat on a log so they had to look up. “This is your first lesson. The orders of a Senior Wizard are to be obeyed immediately. No questions are permitted. Should you encounter a Master Wizard, you will speak only if he grants permission. In the presence of one, you will kneel with head bowed. Do you hear me?”
“Yes.”  Lajin spoke with the others.
“Let me tell you of the Brotherhood. Through our talents, we will gain power. In the days to come, this land will be ours and all people will serve us.”
Lajin rubbed his hands along his arms. The Wizard’s sonorous voice sent him into a half-sleep.
“In days far past, the Jewels were created and the Holders selected. Each Holder took a Chosen. From these unions, sons and daughters were born. These children had talents. The Holders were women and each chose a daughter to hold after her. Their sons were driven away and not permitted to hold the Jewels as was their right.”
“I thought only a woman could be a Holder and if a man touched any of the seven, he would die,” Audin said.
Wizard Selor glared. “Lies spread by women. For decan after decan, Wizards have been kept from their rightful place as the true rulers of the land, but that will change.”
Beder leaned forward. “You say I have a talent and ’tis true. I must have Holder or Chosen blood. There is no family record of such a forebearer.”
“There was or your talent wouldn’t exist,” Selor said. “You must learn control. ’Twas ill of you to set that farmhouse ablaze.”
Beder scowled. “I was scared. When ...”
“Say no more.”  The Wizard grasped Beder’s arm. “You are to forget about what occurred in your past. Those memories will be expunged. You will learn control and will use your talent for the Brotherhood and as I command.”
Lajin closed his eyes. He’d been at that farmhouse. The Wizard had ... had ... had what? “She died,” he blurted.
“Who?”  Audin asked.
Lajin shook his head. “Don’t know.”  He rubbed his forehead. “I must sleep or I will be ill.”
Selor nodded. “You are dismissed. Blankets are with the supplies.”
Lajin staggered to the pile. He carried a blanket to the grass near the fire circle. Senior Wizard Selor and several of the older men entered the shelter.
With the blanket wrapped around him, Lajin sought sleep. He didn’t belong with these black robes, but he had no idea where to go. He hoped in dreams he would find the illusive memories.



* * *

No comments: