The doorman frowned, “Traynur is stretched at the moment. You know that as well as anybody. I don’t think he’ll be able to take on anot-“
“Skrybe himself has taken an interest in this boy, and ordered him to be trained. He might have memories from Earth. Memories which Skrybe has been searching for for several thousand years. You know that as well as anybody.” Responded Guyde, with a hint of mockery as used the doorman’s line against him.
With his frown growing deeper, the doorman withdrew his head and after a “Wait here,” he left.
“Skrybe didn’t order me to be trained.” I pointed out.
“Yes he did. You just didn’t catch it.”
“I was there the whole time, and didn’t hear him sa-"
“Yes. He did.”
I rolled my eyes and turned away from Guyde. I didn’t like him too much. I hoped I wouldn’t have to see him on a daily basis.
“He implied it.” Guyde murmured.
“Skrybe said that what you did next was left up to me. He wants me to get you settled, and I think your training is part of that process. It was an implied order. I would think that you would prefer training over sitting around with nothing to do but answer questions for days on end.”
“I guess you have a poin-“
“Of course I do. Now shush, he’s coming back.”
The door opened, all the way this time, and the doorman motioned for me to come in. He fixed a glare on Guyde and said,
“Traynur has agreed to train the boy if it is Skrybe’s will. I will be paying Skrybe a visit this afternoon to see if did indeed order it. If you lied to me-“
“Yes yes, I will have incurred your everlasting wrath. Take the boy and enjoy your day.”
So maybe Guyde wasn’t such a bad person after all.
The doorman shut the door with more force than was necessary, and, still grumbling, led me down a hallway.
“What is your name?” I asked in an attempt to allay his foul mood.
“How long have you been here?”
“Four thousand years. I am the One hundred and twenty third citizen of Cyst.”
“You guys keep track of that?”
Griitur gave me an incredulous look, “Of course we do! Don’t you?”
“No. We don’t live long enough to make it worth it. How do you remember what citizen you are?”
He pointed at the back of his shroud, which was reminiscent of hotel worker’s uniform,
“There is a tag on the back of each Shroud. It contains the number of your citizenship and the current number of inhabitants on Cyst.”
Intriguing. I reached around to check my tag causing Griitur yelped and shielded his eyes.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Have you put your tag away?”
Griitur peaked through his hands, then lowered them from his face.
“It is absolutely forbidden to look at another’s tag.”
I quirked an eyebrow, “Why is that?”
“Because there is… well there’s…” Griitur seemed unable to find the right words. “It is best if Traynur explains.” And that was that.
The hallway opened into a large room that contained nothing but doors and signs. It was overwhelming to the point that I had to look down at the floor. Griitur noticed my reaction and patted my shoulder.
“That is a natural reaction. This room is named the Hub, for obvious reasons. This is the very center of the Compound. From here you can get to any section of dormitories, any classroom, and even the Arena.”
“Guyde didn’t tell you? Not surprising really. He’s a pompous fool. This is where newcomers train to use their Shrouds. Those who choose combative powers train at the arena with and against other newcomers. No better way to learn than on the job I always say.”
“Do they fight to the death?”
“Eventually yes. Other than the war, a combatant’s job is entertainment, and we haven’t had a war for almost seven thousands years.”
A thought hit me, “That was about the same time as Skrybe’s arrival.”
Griitur gave me an odd look but kept silent. He started off down a hallway marked “Ground One.”
As we proceeded down the hallway I began to catch a whiff of something. A little further and I could hear what sounded like liquid boiling. Then we reached the door at the end of the hallway and I came into a kitchen area. There was a man and woman standing over a pot.
“Good Sheff. Good. The rest is up to you.” Said the man. He looked up at me as I entered and his face darkened. “Ah. You. Continue what you are doing Sheff, I have business to attend to.”
Griitur bowed as the man stood up and then he left.
“I am Traynur. Welcome to Cyst.”