It was sunny, as usual, in Faerein. The sands were blowing softly over the enormous wall that separated Capitol City from the vast ocean of sand just beyond. The two of those combined made for a good day for Monstroth.
He had barely grown into his adolescent ages, but he was already allowed to move about freely. In Faerein children under the adolescent age couldn't even go outside. It just wasn't fair, really, but Monstroth wasn't annoyed at that stupid rule anymore. He had freedom now!
"Come on, Rhazin!" Monstroth yelled to the smaller boy behind him.
"A-alright, Monstroth..." His friend was shorter than him and pretty skinny. Monstroth just wished he would brush that black mop he called hair sometimes. Monstroth's own was done daily by himself. Of course, the servants tried to help, but he wouldn't let them.
Today was the day that Monstroth and Rhazin would journey to the wall!
"Hey, Rhazin, what did your master teach you?" Monstroth asked his friend, "Uncle and Father will only teach me basic stuff about my Mineral Mystic."
Rhazin scratched his head nervously. "I've been... learning to control my Void Mystic and Master Haerk has been helping me with my Alcheic... It's hard, though..."
Monstroth laughed at his friend. "Yeah, but you're really talented! I heard from Father that you nearly mastered Alcheic already. He said you might take Master Haerk's job as the castle Alcheic trainer, even. I'm jealous!"
His friend smiled nervously. "It's not really... I mean... I mess up a lot..."
The two friends ran on down a street nearly empty of people. Today was one of Uncle's reports to the people. Monstroth didn't know why the common people needed to know everything as long as things were fine, but the Mandate something said the King had to do it. It gave Monstroth and Rhazin some freedom, anyway, so it was good.
"What's it like to have a parent?"
Monstroth smiled to his friend. Rhazin was an orphan picked up by the Void master that lived in the castle, so he didn't have any parents. "Well, Father is pretty strict and Mother tends to stay to herself since she is pregnant. So, I can't imagine there's anything special I can tell you."
Rhazin nodded. "I wish I could have a sibling..."
Monstroth stopped running, forcing his smaller friend to stop as well. Ahead was the wall. They had already met halfway there - Since Rhazin was older he already had memorized the area and chose the meeting place - so it wasn't surprising to see the massive structure so soon.
"There's the stairway!" Monstroth shouted, pointing to the stone structure just a little ways away. "Let's go!"
Rhazin nodded and they took off toward the stairs. "You know, Rhazin," Monstroth said as the stairs ran beneath them, "I could be your brother if you want."
"Yeah, I don't have a brother, so I've always been wanting to have one," he told his friend. They had ran only part of the way up the stairs. This wall was really huge! "Plus," he continued, "My mother is giving birth to a girl. Mistress Helga told me so."
"You get a sister! Con.. Congratulations, Monstroth."
Monstroth laughed. "I get a brother, too."
"No," Monstroth told his friend, stopping and sitting down. Whew, running up stairs was worse than running through the streets. As Rhazin sat beside him, Monstroth looked up and then down. They hadn't even made it half way!
"Who is your brother?"
"Well," Monstroth said, putting an arm around the smaller boy, "I got you, Rhazin. What better brother could I ask for?"
Rhazin seemed nervous, as usual. "But, we have different mothers..."
"Who cares? All that matters is how we act, right?"
"I guess so..."
"Look," Monstroth said sternly, "I've known you for half of my life. You're my brother, now stop trying to be this way."
Rhazin gave in a smiled weakly before looking up. "We got a long way to go, Monstroth..."
"We've got a long way to go, boy," a voice said roughly, waking up Monstroth from his dreaming, "So get up!"
Monstroth groaned and sat up, letting sand that had built up over his cloak fall back into the desert floor. He had never slept on the sand before. Did it always make your back hurt this bad? Sands... What he wouldn't give for his old bed in the castle.
"I'm up, master."
The bald man grunted. "Good. You had a ridiculous smile on your face, so I decided to let you sleep a little longer."
"I was having a rather pleasant dream, master, so I thank you."
The man grunted again. Would he ever act like a master? When Monstroth had trained under his father and uncle, they had not been outright rude like this. Stern, yes, and they even gave out punishment, but never rude.
"We need to be off soon, boy," thew Sovereign said, looking eastward. It took Monstroth a moment, but he remembered he was in the oasis. Surrounding the two of them were tents with Seekers moving between them like policing guards. Who would attack an oasis that welcomed everyone? Especially in a desert where the only thing most people wanted was water.
"You act as if danger is coming, master," Monstroth said, feeling grumpy. He got up regardless and wiped down his cloak before storing it back in his satchel.
It was Monstroth's turn to grunt. "And is this an ability I am to learn? To predict danger?"
The Sovereign scowled at Monstroth. "Your father told me you weren't a morning person, but I never knew you were sarcastic like an islander!"
Monstroth grumbled, but didn't say more. It was true he wasn't a morning person, but this 'master's' attitude was making it hard to even try being nice. It was like when his little sister thought it was OK to jump on him just because he was twice her size and then some. This man was essentially doing the same thing. Maybe he should call the Sovereign Kaela instead.
"There are bandit's coming, boy, so let us be off."
"Bandits!?" He started to ask how the man knew, but held himself from that. "We have to stop them!" In his mind, Monstroth saw the boy he had given food to yesterday, despite his master's orders not to. That boy might be killed!
The Sovereign, in all his glory, simply said "No."