An Arduous Quest – Chapter Three

A Ranger To-Be


Voeren told Arden that the training would start the next day, and that for now he could explore the surroundings, although he was not to go any further than fifty paces or so away. After all, he was there to be protected. On the other hand, none of these rules mattered, as Arden simply stayed in his room thinking almost all day. Great! Voeren thought. I can’t go anywhere, because I go where -ever he goes, and he’s obviously not going to be cooperative with his training! Voeren stood up to get some tea and calm himself down.

The next day Voeren woke up ready for the strenuous training day ahead. He walked into the kitchen/eating place (as he did everyday) he saw the mundane chairs and tables in the middle of the room, the glossy sheen of the marble fireplace and the birch-wood surface of the kitchen area. Training started straight after breakfast. The first activity was skill with the bow. He presented Arden with the treasured Ranger’s bow, made out of the rare, but extremely flexible and strong Tenian wood, with the stiff string made out of the poisonous silver-strike spider. Arden took no interest in its beauty, however. He had to shoot at several different targets set around him. Now, Arden had no experience with any bow and no real interest in his training anymore, which certainly wasn’t helping. Two hours passed and Arden still hadn’t made any progress. Infuriated, Voeren decided to move on to the next branch of the training.

“Now, remember, people don’t see what they don’t expect to see.” said Voeren to the zombie-like   creature that was Arden. The task was to stalk his master without being spotted. Still in shock from his parents’ death, it seemed to Voeren that Arden was deliberately making as much noise as he could. So, they moved on to the next course.

Then Voeren gave Arden a new weapon. It was a knife, but completely different to his hunting one.
“It’s called a Scylian knife, the metal is Synil, the strongest metal in Pekktla Tierra, forged under the great fire in the Dwarven volcano, Vo Eldite, and infused with magical properties to make it the sharpest, strongest and almost the lightest weapon known to man.” he explained. Arden shrugged. Voeren then told him he would have to wait till his second year to be able to learn how to use the knife and took it away again.

The next test was to climb up a tree as fast as he could. Usually Arden would have excelled at this activity; however, as said before, since his parents’ death, he no longer cared. So, when the green-cloaked ranger said go, Arden sluggishly began the accent up the large birch-tree. As soon as Arden climbed back down (which took a while) Voeren abruptly decided that it was time for dinner.  It was a simple meal of ham, bread, cheese and some milk. For obvious reasons, Arden went to his room straight away and Voeren stayed at the table studying manuscripts and documents.



*              *             *


The same routine went on for weeks. Then one day Voeren came back from a visit to the local castle, Mount Garly and told Arden:
“Two guards were found dead last night, I’ve been asked to investigate it. You’re coming with me.” Arden shrugged uncaringly, turned, and went back to his room. The next day, just after dark, the silent ranger and the distraught little boy trudged along towards the cover of some foliage. The pair waited for any sign of activity. A few hours after they had settled, Voeren saw a small figure scaling the walls.
“Stay here, I’m going to catch him and hand him over.” Suddenly Voeren disappeared into the darkness.

Voeren dropped to the ground as the attacker glanced over his shoulder. The assailant resumed his former position and Voeren jumped up and hastily made his way towards the castle walls. As the foe neared the top of the battlement, Voeren knew he had to act fast to alert the guards or stop the intruder. Swiftly placing the long shaft of the arrow into position, he released the tension on the bowstring and watched the projectile fly. His aim was perfect, the bolt hit the man’s leg just as he clambered over the wall and the man let out a cry of pain. The sharp arrow had left him disabled and unprepared for the group of guards sprinting over to investigate the clamour.




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