Alright, sorry the beginning is a little intense and kinda' sad, but this is also a fun chapter too. It's very important for the story just like the last one was, and it's also more character development. Just wait and see what I have in store for later chapters...just make sure to hold on to your socks, I'd hate for you to lose them.
Enjoy, and don't forget, I always like to leave secrets for you guys to find.
~What Are You Made Of?~
“You know what’s at stake here!” Magnus said, raising his voice.
“I’ve already been on that journey! I don’t need to go again!” Brailen shouted back.
“This isn’t about you! It’s about Zane, it’s about Wolfegate! You’ve seen the evidence, and even the other Elders can’t ignore it!”
“It’s five f**king years! I have a wife and kid! What the hell am I supposed to tell them?! Oh, sorry, I have a duty to some brat because I just happen to be related?!”
“That’s not the point and you know it,” Magnus told him, trying to calm things down a bit.
“It damn well is the point! One time on that trip is mandatory, more is by choice only! I choose not to!”
“Listen to me, boy!” Magnus said, grabbing his arm to let him know he was serious. “This isn’t about you! This is about the future of not only your family, but the entire town!”
Brailen knew what he was talking about, and he also knew he was probably the only person alive that could train his cousin and keep his power in check. He did have a duty to uphold, and the signs couldn’t be ignored.
“Very well, I don’t seem to have a choice in the matter,” he said as the Elder removed his hand, “And you’re right, it’s not about me.”
“The ships leave in a week, take the time and spend it with your family. I’ll have someone fill in for your duties until a suitable replacement can be found.”
“It’s been a few years since I’ve even practiced myself, and I’ve never had a student. I’m not sure if I can train the kid.”
“As I recall,” Magnus said, putting on his robe to step out into the cold, night air, “You have a rather unique gift. It’s not something one forgets how to do. The rest you’ll just have to figure out.”
With that, he left Brailen in the Eastern guard tower and made his way home.
“He wasn’t supposed to go till next year!” Sarah shouted. “He wasn’t supposed to go at all!”
“Right, like getting angry is going to change anything,” Sam muttered under his breath as he sat at the table with a pint of ale. It didn’t matter if he had anything to do with it or not, he was the one she would always get mad at.
“Why wouldn’t those old fools just let him stay here at home?!” She asked, pacing back and forth in a rage.
“At least the boy will have a chance to get away from this,” He said to himself, being careful to not let his wife hear that. “I wonder if they’ll let me go along?”
“A few days ago he was the last person to be sent! Now all the sudden he’s at the top of their stupid list!”
“I’m sure he’d rather go than be buried.”
“And you! You were there! Didn’t you say something?! Couldn’t you have done something?!” She said, huffing over to Sam and sticking a finger in his face.
“Hey, don’t look at me. I was just glad they weren’t going to execute him.” He said, taking a swig.
“Are you listening to me?!” She asked, grabbing the mug away from his mouth.
“Let go of my beer, woman! It’s not like I could do or say anything. Thank the gods you weren’t there, who knows where we’d be now…”
“You have some nerve, mister!”
“Wow, mom is really pissed.” Bria said, walking up to her brother who was sitting on the same log outside that the cat was on when he transformed it. The annual chopping contest had been postponed after that night.
“Tell me about it…” Zane replied, his back to the house while he dug at a spot on the ground with a stick, thinking about how his life suddenly turned upside down.
“So, you’re going off to see the world…” she said, plopping down next to him.
“Yeah, I guess you could say that.”
It was more than obvious that he wasn’t in high spirits tonight. “Well don’t look excited or anything.”
“It’s not what I wanted…I mean, I wanted to have ability, but I didn’t want to be afraid of using it.”
Bria might have been jealous of him at this point, but at the same understood what he was going through; she didn’t want to be in that position either.
“Why me?” Zane continued, “It could have been anyone, but why me? It’s like a friggin’ curse.”
Bria might have been a pain at times, but she was still his sister. “Do you remember that time we snuck out of the house to watch the shooting stars?”
Zane barely nodded his head to acknowledge that he did.
“I climbed up in a tree to get a better view and left you on the ground. Then you threatened to go tell mother because I wouldn’t help you up, but realized that would just get us both in trouble.” She smiled at that last part and bumped him with her shoulder. “You made one last attempt to climb it too but fell down and scraped your knee really bad.”
“I was eight. You can’t blame me for crying.”
“That’s not what was important. You tried your best and even hurt yourself doing it. You wanted to prove that you could.” Bria put her arm around him. “You’ve always been like that, trying no matter what the risk was. This isn’t any different, only now you made it into the tree.” Big sister talk was over, so she patted him on the back and stood up to leave.
He knew what she meant; he had tried so hard for this one goal and now it was here. All the effort had paid off, and while it wasn’t what he expected or wanted, he might as well enjoy the view since there wasn’t a way back from it.
“Sis…” He said, turning around to look at her, “Thanks.”
She gave a quick smile then walked into the house.
“Your son, what about your son?” Brailen’s wife asked, practically in tears after he told her the news.
His little boy played with some toys in front of the fireplace while they talked. He was barely over four, but understood that something was happening.
“Honey, I can’t do anything about it. Believe me, I don’t want to leave either of you…” he said, holding her hands and using the most comforting voice he could muster up. “If I could trade places with anyone I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
“It’s not fair. He’ll be nine by the time you…” she couldn’t finish the sentence without breaking down completely.
“I know…I know. He’s a strong kid, but I need you to be strong for him too.”
“What if…what if I can’t be? I don’t know what I’m going to do without you…”
“I want you to move in with some relatives, Sam and Sarah Wolfe. It’s their son I’m going off for. The least they could do is take care of you and Johnny. Just forget about the house for now, you two shouldn’t be living alone. I’ll rent it out to someone maybe, who knows, but you can’t stay here.”
“I don’t want to live with someone else. I want to be with you. So why can’t you just stay here?!” Those words started the waterworks finally.
He grabbed her and hugged her tight, feeling his own heart being ripped from his chest. The young boy watched as his parents embraced in the next room, then tried ignoring it and went back to tinkering again.
“Alright, lads, it’s time for it once again!” A man stood up on a rather large stump and shouted to the crowd around him. “Let the competition begin! First up, James Wolfe will go against his brother Thaddeus, first man through the log wins!”
“You don’t have a chance.” James said.
“Says the one who lost last year…”
“What are you betting? It’s your turn to put something up.”
Thaddeus looked around for a moment while he felt the weight of the axe in his hands. “A dance.”
James glanced back at Thaddeus’ wife to be who sat anxiously waiting for it to start. “You’re on.”
“When the contestants are ready, you may begin!”
It was immediately a flurry of strikes to the log, and bark flew off as it was chipped away to reveal the wood beneath. The crowd cheered them on, and people forgot about their mead for a moment. Sweat formed on their backs within a few seconds, and it was like they were beating up on the tools instead of the target.
For a while they were neck and neck, but the trick was in the endurance. They had to keep up accuracy and speed all the way through, but the rivalry seemed to make them focus more on strength as if they could simply break it with one good strike.
“You can do it, Thaddeus!” His dainty fiancée yelled out, swept up by the excitement.
“Hehehe, she looks so out of place here.” Bria said to Zane.
“Tell me about it.” He agreed, chuckling at her dress and soft hands.
“Hey, wanna’ see if we can sneak a mug?” Bria whispered to him.
“You know mom would have a fit if she caught us drinking.”
“You’re no fun…” she said, but decided it wasn’t really worth it.
Halfway through and the men were still tied. Usually there was a noticeable difference at this point, but somehow they remained equally matched.
“Woohoo! Go for it!”
“Show him what you’re made of!”
“Teach him a lesson!”
Calls of encouragement for both of them were fired off randomly along with sharp whistles. It wasn’t just the Wolfe family that gathered for this event either; people from the other districts enjoyed the sport as well and some even competed at times. Of course, everyone enjoyed the free ale and mead. The first barrels were usually drained before the first match even finished.
The whole way down it was too close to call prematurely. Finally it came to the last few blows, and James managed to deliver the last blow. Covered in sweat with his heart racing, he raised the axe in triumph while his brother plunged his into the log in defeat.
“You beat me.”
“Well, you certainly had it coming.”
The musicians started up right away. They played their fiddles, drums and other assorted instruments in a traditional, celebratory jig for the winner.
“Now, about that dance…”
Thaddeus held out his hands for him to take, “Whenever you’re ready.”
“The girl, stupid.”
“Oh, I never said who the dance would be with.”
James had to smile at that, but batted his brother’s hands away. Now he was too embarrassed though; he may have won the contest, but he was still outsmarted.
“You sure?” He asked, backing away toward his future bride, “Alright.” Then he turned to sweep her up as she came rushing to congratulate his effort at least.
“Oh, you’re all wet,” she said, taken aback by it.
“Sweat, my dear…it’s called sweat.” He told her, putting her back down. “Wooo! Haha! That was fun!”
After a couple songs, it was time for the next round. It was Sam against his old rival Mathias. The only problem was Sam had been drinking a lot and didn’t look to be up for it.
“Dad, you’re up, let’s go.”
“Oh, Zane my boy, I’m not sure if I should be doing that…” he said, rubbing his stomach.
“Come on, you have to, you know you can’t just let him win like this, he’ll never let you live it down.”
“Why don’t you do it? You’re my son, so that qualifies in the rules if you take my place.”
“I can’t beat him? You can barely do it. We’re all counting on you.” He tried egging him on, but it clearly wasn’t working.
“No, I’m serious, you take my place. He’ll never compete again if you whip ‘em.”
For a moment Zane was worried. He had never seen his dad like this before. Sam wasn’t really too drunk though, he mostly just didn’t want to, but now he wanted to see his boy rise above this challenge that was presented.
“Go on, you can do it.” Sam clapped a hand on his son’s shoulder. “Show me I’m wrong then. You wanna’ be a man, right?”
“Okay, I’ll do it.” He said with confidence.
“Woa, folks, it seems we have an interesting turn of events. Sam Wolfe is stepping down and his son will challenge Mathias in his stead.” The announcer stated.
“You can’t be serious…” the man huffed. “I’m to go against a boy?! Sam, what is this?!”
“Prepare to get your ass whooped, Mat!” Sam replied with a smile.
“Heh, we’ll see whose ass is whooped.” Mathias said, looking at the teen as he took off his shirt.
It started out even more ferociously than the last match. Chips started to fly at a few people who were closer than others, making them stand back a bit. Zane glanced over a couple times and saw that his opponent was starting to gain the lead. That just sent a fire burning in him and he doubled the effort. Not only did his strikes become more accurate, he was hitting faster and harder.
They were only inches in, but the teen felt his muscles burning already. This wasn’t any ordinary challenge; it was a test of endurance which sent a message about who was superior in the family. This wasn’t something to take lightly, even though the competition itself was friendly. Good sportsmanship was maintained at all times, but there was still a subtle hint of pride that came with it which lasted till next year.
This would be his last contest for some time, and the boy wanted to make a mark. He just kept going faster with each hit, and it got to the point where there was an evident difference in speed between the two. The sounds of the crowd’s cheers were drowned out by the blood pulsing through his veins; all he could hear was the whack of the axes as the bit deeper in the wood with each hit.
He didn’t know why, but this suddenly became personal. His dad was counting on him, the crowd was watching, everything drove him to perform. He hardly noticed when his strikes were twice as fast as Mat’s. The furry of his axe tore at the log in front of him as tunnel vision began to set in.
“Wow, we have quite the battle going…” The announcer proclaimed.
The crowd stopped cheering entirely. Some claps still echoed around, but they died off quickly. Mathias looked over and saw how far down the boy was and tried his best to at least save face, but he realized that it was hopeless if this kept up. Zane was over halfway while he was barely over a quarter. If Sam’s expression was transferred into light, it would have blinded everyone.
“That’s my boy.” He said under his breath as a tear of pride formed in one eye which was quickly wiped away.
After a while, Mathias began to slow down. He knew it was over, but Zane kept pounding away. His body felt like it was on fire, and every ounce of his daily exercise was more than paying off. There was no way he’d lose after his father told him to be a man. That was what rang in his ears now, those three words: be a man.
Finally Mat gave up; he plunged his axe into the log one last time and left it there. Zane didn’t even notice though, he just kept going.
“Hey…boy.” Mat said, but there was no response. “Hey, it’s over!”
He just kept up, not seeing his opponents defeat.
“Zane!” Mat shouted a little louder.
That finally stopped him. Drenched in sweat from head to toe, he slammed it down one more time then looked around somewhat confused.
“Did I win?”
Mat held out his hand for him to shake. “I’d say you won, boy.” Even as a rival, Mat still had to show respect for Sam’s son.
Zane shook his hand, still slightly confused, and then looked at the log. His side was twice as deep or more.
“It was a good match indeed. There’s no point in continuing.” Mat told him. He gave the lad a pat on the back then looked at his father, “Sam, you raised a good one right here.”
Last edited by Shinobi Train; 09-25-2012 at 10:03 PM.
UR chaps are getting longer, do you have spare hands in your closet , +rep it was a great chapter
Well, I'm used to writing a lot. When I was 10-12 I wrote over 500 pages of a book that wasn't good enough to publish. :ghehe:
Originally Posted by -Tsuki
I always wished for a big sister
Lol he got too serious there, but it's nice he won
Great chapter :D
Me too... I got a big brother instead!
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! ^_^
Originally Posted by TheGoldAngel
oh, i love the characters of ur ff mr. train
zane's family is really relatable :y
i just love mama sarah and papa sam!
and bria-nii isnt bad :p
quick question... why is it that we are more afraid of our moms than dads? :p
i mean, my mom would just give me the "look" and i would be like... sorry
going back, zane was a possessed animal in there!
and what were those "signs" mean?
what happened to that damned cat!
anywayz, good chapter mr. train!
please dont make us wait toooooo lllllooooonnnnnggg!!!!
this is getting intense and a quick follow up must be made or il loose my mind obsessing over it :crazy:
Well, to children, mom is more scary because she'll tell dad, but if dad caught you on his own he probably wouldn't do anything; but mom makes him do something. Dad is afraid of mom for a lot of reasons...she can take away his manhood for one.
Questions I cannot answer at this time. One might be answered in the next chapter though. ^_^
Don't worry, I'll try to keep you from going crazy. :crazy:
Originally Posted by TheGoldAngel
one more thing, is this chapter longer than chapter 4 coz it feels like it :o
Actually, it looks like it's just as long, but this one has 2,787 words in it, and chapter 4 has 3,893. :p Because of the spaces it looks just as long though. ^_^
Last edited by Shinobi Train; 09-26-2012 at 09:31 PM.