Ch16: Crisis within the circle
Magdaline woke in the morning to a loud call to attention. “I am never going to get used to that.” She thought as she got up. The others in her troop all seemed the same. The rest did not starve though, even Tylenyphe had managed to shove the food in her mouth with enough time to trip her the night prior. This infuriated her.
The call to formation was quick and they all stepped outside. She again tried to stay close to the people who she knew. She marched with them as best she could, but between her tummy and her mind, she lost time.
They got to the mess hall, and she scrambled to get near the front of the line steering clear of Tylenyphe as best she could. She walked around trying to find anyone who would let her up front. She needed food badly.
As she walked, she suddenly felt a sudden jerk on her hair, which pulled her down to her butt hitting the ground. “Hey, no cutting!”
‘No,’ she thought, ‘please no.’
She looked up and Phayefine stood over her. The girl was sneering. She gurgled a little, then spit on the downed girl. Magdaline closed her eyes and just sat. She waited until the end of the line, when Damon helped her to her feet.
As she got her bowl, oats and water, she constantly watched where the two girls sat, avoiding them at all costs. She was hurt, confused and mad all at the same time. She ate quickly as was the custom. Drank what she could. She arose before the call to formation, and waited outside.
As Tylenyphe and Phayefine walked out, both girls looked in her direction. Magdaline stared at them intently. They both giggled and moved on. She could not let her guard down again.
She again joined the back of the troop with her friends. Elizira watched for her emotions. She did not know what was going to happen, and she did not even know how to help. She glanced over at Sarros, he was thinking the same thing.
Once they got to the combat circle, they again stayed together. Magdaline felt safer with Sarros and Elizira. Neither of them were a match for either Tylenyphe or Phayefine, but with them she at least felt safe. She was reserved about Damon. She never figured she could trust a human.
The shrill voice of instructor Hamelfoot was bright and on target today. He quickly called two names, and two individuals came into the circle. They fought and finished as normal. All the while Magdaline could not focus on the fight. The next fight passed just as quick. It was not until Damon’s name was called that she had even felt any interest in today’s session. He was against a girl half elf. She was quick and strong. She saw herself there, wanting to be strong and lean. She didn’t want to be weak anymore.
Damon was easily defeated by the girl. Magdaline frowned, but on the inside, she saw herself winning. She was desperate for a different body. She wanted to be the one to laugh at Tylenyphe.
“Tylenyphe and Magdaline.” She heard. Suddenly, a deep seeded pang overcame her. She almost wanted to throw down her staff and run away. Tylenyphe came into the circle but Magdaline stood petrified.
“Come on little girl.” She goaded. “Your mine now.”
Magdaline stepped forward. She got into her stance, ready to start. With one swipe she was disarmed and before the instructure could stop the fight, Tylenyphe landed a blow straight across the side of her face. Magdaline fell in an instant. The older girl rushed in and kicked her in her side. Magdaline rolled over in pain, blood poured from her mouth. She was so shocked she could not even cry.
Magdaline crawled back to the circle. She sat one hand on her face, the other on her ribs. The blood was tart and the pain throbbed through her body.
Tylenyphe circled in triumph her staff raised in her hands.
“Pleneth and Tylenyphe.” The instructor yelled. Pleneth was a strong human boy. He walked forward as Tylenyphe slowly turned to face him with her staff lowered in front of her. She knew what was going to happen. With fury, she attacked the human. Crack, the first blow that she landed was blocked and retaliation was quick, but she blocked it, twisted slightly and thrust the staff straight into his gut. The boy doubled in pain at once.
The circle began to cheer.
She was going to go for it and now she had fury on her side. “Hagmar” Another boy came forward. He was a tall half elven. She drew into him without him even being ready. He quickly blocked her and struck back but was blocked. Quickly and with all her power she drew down on him with a blow, he narrowly blocked it as the wood from her staff began to splinter. He attempted to strike again, but she spun to one side and smashed her staff into his thigh. He staggered back. Her next blow came in quickly as she could sense the boy’s weakness. The staff landed in his stomach and he fell down.
Even more uproarious yelling ensued.
“Damon.” the shrill instructor yelled. The boy quickly went into the circle to face her as the grit of her fury raged. He was already in a defensive stance. Her blows were quick and powerful. Damon blocked them one by one. Left, right, top then a quick jab to his stomach. He deflected every blow she could swing. Each blocked shot the splintering of Tylenyphe’s staff became worse. She swung with all her might trying to disarm him, but the blow was solidly blocked. Splinters of wood exploded from the staff. Suddenly, she thought to fake the boy out. He could never beat her. She spun her staff as if she was going to strike from the side, but as he brought his staff up to block her, she thrust it straight into his gut bypassing the block.
What then started as cheering suddenly turned into gasps of horror.
As the boy fell , she could not hold onto her staff easily. As it slipped from her grasp, she saw him double forward, from his back protruded a spike of blood laden wood. She covered her mouth and wenced away from the sight.
None of the troop came to the aid of the boy. It seemed an eternity to Magdaline before anyone reacted. She could see the instructor walk into the circle and put a hand on his head. Damon did not move again.