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RespiteAtAmbertUniversity-Ch3

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By chanthar
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The Kingdom of Lonan is where my sister was sent. Ravth thought as he wandered down the road. The land pitched beneath his feet in rolling hills. Far to the south a river cut off his travel to the place he wished to be. He turned his eyes to look around it for a place to cross. There was a bridge half a mile west from him then beyond was a town.

I hope I can find her. It’s been so long and so much has happened. I wonder if she’ll even remember me. The thought came with a sigh. He shook his head and continued up then over the hills. As he approached the bridge a sign caught his eye.

Warning ye who enter here. Come in peace of not at all. Ye leave in the same manner ye appear.

Ravth read it with a frown. He didn’t understand what it meant, but it made him pause. The dark gaze made its way over the wooden planks as he stepped hesitantly on them. His shoulders scrunched as he felt nervousness rise up.

The border between the edge of what was the Sorcerer King’s realm and the Kingdom of Lonan came quickly. For those who wished harm on the inhabitants would come something potentially deadly. Thankfully for Ravth nothing hindered him.

A heavy sigh of relief passed his lips as he passed over the middle of the bridge. His shoulders dropped to where they would be normally. Lifting his black eyes to the white stone, he continued on to the town ahead.

Once he arrived Ravth glanced around at fallen decorations. It appeared that a celebration had taken place not very long ago. He glanced around then wandered to the center of town.

I need information. The best way to get it is to have someone here trust me. If I get a job here then maybe I can work for it. He thought as he glanced around at the buildings. A tavern caught his attention and he strode inside.

The name of the tavern was over the door, The Dancing Snowflake. It was scripted in silver and blue, the same as the inside decorations. A stage was set in the far wall then the bar to the left and to the right and center were table and chair sets. Waitresses dressed in silvery gowns served the food. Every once in a while one would step onstage and sing or dance to entertain.

One of the acts was just ending as Ravth walked in. A pale skinned girl with ginger hair was onstage singing a ditty about a cow and the moon. She finished and stepped down amidst hollers and cheers. She waved to the customers then scampered off to resume her duties.

Ravth tried to move out of the way but accidentally bumped into her. With a faint laugh he stepped back to plop down in an empty seat. He looked up with a smile, “Well hello there.”

The young lady gasped and stumbled to the hall between the tables. “Oh! Excuse me, I didn’t see you there.”

“It’s okay. I just came in.”

“Can I get you anything?” She said and leaned in to hear him over the music playing in the background.

“Lemonade would be good, thanks.”

She bobbed her head then moved on. In a few minutes she skipped back to him. “Here you are sir.”

“Thanks. Oh hey, I’m looking for a job. This place looks interesting.” He spoke and put a few coins onto the table.

“Only women can work here unless you are a bouncer,” she replied.

“I was at another place, The Aspen Heart Inn.”

“Okay, if you stay until closing then find me I can introduce you to the manager.”

“Wonderful.”

The young lady bowed her head then went back to her work. By now another waitress had taken the stage and began singing. The rest of the staff went about their different jobs. After some hours an elderly woman dressed in a blue gown with silver accents moved over to Ravth’s table.

The young man straightened in his seat as he noticed her approach. “Ma’am,” he said while bowing his head.

“You’re looking for a job I hear.”

“Yes I am.”

“Sorry, but I believe you are too small to be a bouncer.”

Ravth blinked at the gentlewoman’s words. He gave a sigh to show his disappointment. “I am sorry that I do not seem to meet your needs at first glance.”

“Are you certain it is a job you seek?” She spoke as she leaned on a silver handled cane. One eyebrow rose as she looked at him sharply.

He shook his head slowly. “I am trying to find my sister. I heard that she passed through here. I’m looking for jobs also to gather enough money for both of us to live. We were separated when the Sorcerer King destroyed our home. Her name is Taia.”

The elderly woman nodded as she listened. Her face turned into a sympathetic frown. “I am sorry to hear that. Taia was it? I do believe someone of that name stayed here for a few months with a friend of mine. She left to go on to another town, Ortensia.”

“Thank you ma’am,” the young man replied. “Please thank the other miss for to too. I’d better move on along to continue my search.”

“Of course, how long has it been?”

“At least ten years,” he replied with a sigh.

“I hope you find her,” the owner said then bowed her head as she moved on to speak with other customers.

Ravth bowed his head in respect as she made her farewell. He glanced around the bar then rose to move back outside. Before he exited he asked a bouncer for directions to Ortensia.

The sun was past its zenith, but the young man supposed that he could make a fair distance before he stopped to rest. At this time the weather was still balmy so he could sleep outdoors. He traveled out of the town as he followed the dirt road to the next.

The Kingdom of Lonan was itself an island. The only way to enter on foot was over the bridge that Ravth had crossed previously. The other way to enter was by ship. Lonan was covered mostly by mountains with only a thin strip of land on the southern half where one could land a ship. Even then one would have to cross over the mountains to reach the towns nestled there. The most populated areas were the ones in a valley in the center of the island. This was mostly because of the people trying to escape detection from the newly disposed tyrant king Mitra Shakti.

The village of Ortensia was in a fertile part of the Kingdom of Lonan. The houses were set up in circles of six with a pond or park in the center. The streets were set up to wind in between them. At the center of the town were two specific circles. The essential stores were situated in the innermost circle. At the center of this ring was a church. A secondary circle held shops or stalls where ordinary people could sell items as well.

Ravth turned his eyes around the circles of neighborhoods. Each was named after a plant, but the streets were named generically. He wrinkled his nose as he wondered if he could find his friend’s namesake, rose. Shaking his head to dispel the thoughts he moved to the center of town.

Around this time the inhabitants were flooding the streets to go about their business. On the notice board there were posted different wanted posters. He noticed the sign then paused as one caught his eye. With a scowl he marched over and ripped it down. “Wanted for treason against Mitra Shakti,” he read then snorted. “If anything it would be Maska that was the traitor.” He started to tear up the poster the paused to save the portrait.

The head and shoulders of a teenage girl were pictured there. Her skin was a fair tone with hair a light blonde and falling well past her shoulders. Her eyes were an odd mix of colors ranging from red to violet.

“My sister,” he whispered. “She is as light as I am dark it seems.” A faint smile turned his lips and he brushed his fingers over the figure’s cheek. “I wonder if she remembers me at all.”

He tucked the picture into his cloak then turned to walk around the shops. As he listened to the hawkers Ravth turned to pick one to ask for information. One in particular caught his attention and he slipped over.

The hawker turned to Ravth. “Can I help you?”

“Yes, I’m looking for my sister Taia.”

“Don’t know anyone like that here.”

“Are you sure?” Ravth reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of coins.

The hawker eyed the money then spoke again, “There was a chap named Tai living with the alchemist, but I’ve never seen a gal.”

“A male?” Ravth repeated.

“Yes.”

“Maybe I could talk to the alchemist. Where is he?”

“Sorry chap,” he said with a shake of his head. “Some blokes came and burned down his house. The old man moved to parts unknown.”

“Hope he’s okay,” said Ravth with a frown. “What happened to the boy?”

“The apprentice left for school,” the hawker replied. “Not sure where, but the school here is called Ambert University.”

“May I ask where that is?”

“The town it is located in is about fifty miles southeast of here. You don’t even have to ask for it, just ask about the school.” The hawker pointed down the street.

Ravth followed his hand with his eyes then turned back. “Thanks mister,” he said and dropped the money into his palm. He turned and wandered down the road.

The hawker turned to another and whispered. The other salesperson spoke quietly back to him. A young man darted out from beside the salesperson and ran down the street towards the alchemist’s place.

Ravth glanced back as he turned around on the circular street. He noted the runner and suspicion bubbled in his stomach. He walked to another booth and asked about the location of the alchemist. A similar story was presented, but his whereabouts where undisclosed.

Ravth nodded politely then turned to walk away. This is annoying, but I suppose they are trying to keep themselves and the alchemist safe. No one will talk to me now. My best bet is to find Ambert University. He wandered around the town to find stores to stock up on supplies. There was not enough money left to buy much so he just got the necessities. Once those were collected he began his trek further into the mountains.

The terrain was such so that he was always going uphill. The path wound side to side in a manner which would aid the traveler. Trees lined the path on both side in increasingly thinner groups.

At a rocky outcropping Ravth paused to rest. He stepped off the path to prop himself between two boulders. As he settled in he pulled out a cloth bag with his food in it. An apple was the first piece he consumed then half a roll followed. Once dinner was done he propped the bag between his feet. His arms folded across his waist and his head dropped to his chest. It was there he dozed for several hours. Sometime near daybreak his eyes fluttered open. With a yawn his arms unfolded to stretch above his head. He climbed out of the boulders then rejoined the trail.

Four days later, after following the path up the mountainside, the spire of a building appeared on the horizon. The town itself was nestled in a valley beyond the mountain range he stood on. As the buildings came into full view it became apparent that the tallest one was Ambert University. The building itself was made of silver stone supporting a glasslike substance which made the panels for walls. A gold structure supported by blue pillars made an overhang above the double doors at the entrance. The entire building appeared to be ten stories tall.

Ravth smiled as he saw the school. He started down the side of the mountain into the valley. The bag bounced on his shoulder as he skittered down the slope.

Around the school the town spiraled outwards like spokes on a wheel. Each row was named after a different animal and numbered according to the placement of the ring. Many people traveled the streets, but most centered around the school and shops in the middle.

Ravth strode through the streets to the center of town. He glanced around at the inhabitants as he made his way to the school doors. He slipped in then glanced around for signs leading to admission. After he found one he made his way to the office.

A young man looked up as he entered. “May I help you?”

“Yes, I hope so. I am trying to find someone and I was told he was a student here.”

“I’m not sure I can give out personal information. Name please?”

“His name is Tai.”

“I meant yours.”

“Oh, Ravth.”

“I see. Wait here please,” he said with a nod then stood and moved out a back door.

Ravth nodded in return and waited. As he did his eyes roamed around the office, noting how it was made with the same silvery material as the outside. Furniture made out of wood painted blue was set against the walls. He found a pamphlet with the school’s information and began to read. As he did snatches of conversation reached his ears.

“No he may not known. The only ones who can find out about the residents here are the students and professors.”

“That is what I thought, but wanted to be sure.”

“We do have a few of those positions open, yes?”

“Actually we do, the athletic instructor and chemistry professor as well as others need to be filled. That student Vampine continues to run them off.”

“There is not much time until school starts. We need those professors rather desperately.”

“Oh ma’am, I’ll tell the visitor the news.”

“Very well, go on.”

Ravth looked up as the youth returned. He leaned against the counter while pushing the pamphlet in front of him. “Well?”

“Sorry I can’t tell you.”

Ravth bowed his head. “I see, well thanks anyway. This is an interesting place. If I wanted to study here, how would I go about applying?”

“Well sir, it is for many levels of education. First you would fill out forms then take tests depending on your area of study. Next would be an interview then we’d notify you whether you got in or not.”

“Aha, what about teaching?”

“It’s pretty much the same.”

“I’ll take some of these forms then.”

“Here you are sir,” the youth replied. He passed over a stack of forms and pencil. “You can fill them out here or at home.”

“Thanks, I’ll try to do them here.” Ravth replied then sat down in one of the chairs. He glanced over the forms and began to fill them in. Some questions were easier than others, but he had to stop halfway through. He stood and walked back to the counter. “I’m going to have to take these with me. I just got into town so I don’t know where I’ll be staying.”

“That’s fine and good luck.”

Ravth nodded then exited the office. He walked back out to the town and began his search for an inn and a job. The town’s in was located left of Ambert University’s front doors. The name Raven’s Roost was similar to the school’s mascot. As with many of the places Ravth had visited, there was a tavern on the ground floor with rooms above. Several of the servers were his age or younger.

Ravth walked into the tavern and explained his situation to the ma who seemed to be in charge. Temporary lodgings and work was arranged. The young man went up to his room to finish the rest of the forms from the school. He cleaned and went to bed. As the new day came Ravth returned to the admission’s office. He turned in the forms then returned to the tavern to work.

It was several days before a reply came in the form of a messenger. He went to find Ravth in the tavern. When they met he explained how he was accepted as both student and teacher. There was a program where he could do both, but had to meet with the dean of the university. The messenger took the time for an appointment then left.

The next day Ravth returned to Ambert University. He made sure to dress formally in black slacks and a white button down shirt. He moved through the building past the admissions to the Dean of Students’ office.

The Dean was man with brown hair streaked blonde. His sharp green eyes stared at Ravth as he entered. Before he could sit the man said, “I am Dean Ashwin Lukasha. If you aren’t here to better the lives of others then don’t even bother sitting down.”

Ravth was taken aback by the forthrightness. He stood by the chair and stared back at the Dean. “Well my first thought is to find my sister, but if I can help anyone else I meet then I will.”

“Is family that important to you? For us our students are like our children, the professors like our siblings, and the Dean is like the father. The relationships are familial, but still we have professional respect also.”

Ravth nodded slowly then sat. “Yes sir I understand.”

“Now, you applied to be both a student and professor correct? You can do both, but as you have not noted any formal education we will require you to be tested. You also mentioned time spent in military affairs...”

“Yes, it was in the recently ended war.”

“Which side?”

That question caused Ravth to pause. How could he explain his sordid past without divulging too much? He sighed and replied, “My land was one of those taken over by the tyrant. As I was a child then I was taken to serve him. I was a soldier under his command until an undeniable truth was brought to my attention. With the help of the rebelling faction I went back to bring him down. Someone else killed him, but I was there to watch Mitra Shakti die.”

The Dean watched Ravth closely as he spoke, “Interesting story young man. We are in need of professional services, but you will be tested for your eligibility.”

“Of course,” he replied. “I am ready to begin this moment.”

“Good,” said a voice from the door.

Dean Lukasha looked up then smiled as he addressed the newcomer, “Hello Taur, meet the newest applicant for studies and teaching. Ravth this is our professor of Social Studies and Geography.”

A balding man stepped into the room with one large hand held out to shake. He grinned widely. “Pleased t’meetcha.”

“My pleasure, sir Taur,” replied Ravth.

Periwinkle eyes glittered merrily as he grasped the younger man’s hand and shook it vigorously. “Ah, no need for such politeness son. I’ll be testing you for the professorship. The students will continue to through the term, but won’t be as merciful as me.”

“I wouldn’t expect them to be,” said Ravth.

“I’ll leave you to it.” The Dean waved them out.

Taur nodded and ushered Ravth out. He led him to the stairs then up. “The first test is to see if you’re spry enough to make it up the stairs. We have ten stories above ground and five below. It takes a lot of running to make it to classes on time.” After he jogged up three flights he turned and stepped down five.

Ravth followed after him and watched the numbers change. The levels for above ground were marked in blue while the below ground ones were marked with yellow. He turned his eyes to observe the door Taur pushed open then the room he entered. A flash of blue caught his attention and he turned to catch the clothes tossed at him.

“Put those on.”

Ravth unfolded the clothes then glanced around for a place to change. Two separate locker rooms were on opposite walls. The floor was covered in a thin mat to cushion gentle falls. Ravth walked to the locker marked male and entered to change. He returned a few moments later to meet Taur in the gym.

Taur had removed his black robes and was wearing gray slacks and a white shirt, similar to the clothes Ravth now wore. He grinned at Ravth and tossed a wooden practice sword at him. “So what did you plan on teaching the kiddies?”

He caught the sword then moved to stretch as he spoke, “Well first I’d do some general defensive and offensive moves then move to find their strengths and weaknesses with weapons. Whatever happens next depends on the students. Of course learning teamwork is important too.”

“That sounds great for military, but how can you make it fun for them?”

“A lot of people think that games are only for goofing off, but many of them have applications for military strategy as well.”

Taur nodded. “Tha’s true. Now let’s see how you fight.” With that last sentence he lunged at Ravth.

Quickly Ravth brought up the sword in a defensive position. He watched Taur and made his move. He twisted to the side while he brought up the tip to snap at Taur’s elbow.

Taur stepped back while he dropped his arm. One hand still held tightly to the hilt of his sword. “You have to talk while you play to instruct the students.”

“What would you like you talk about?” Ravth replied as he returned to his defensive stance.

“Well instruct me.”

“Okay, you’re favoring your right leg as you stand and strike. Either that is a weakness or you are leading me. As you were hit when I lunged it tells me that is a weakness.”

“So what can I do to correct it?”

“If you have an injury then use it to your advantage. The best way would be to appear worse off. Another way would be to use it as a pivot and always protect that side by constant movement.”

Taur nodded slowly then darted at him. “Like this?” He swung the wooden sword in furious blows over Ravth’s head and torso.

Automatically he moved to block the blows. He ducked to the same side then swept the bar at Taur’s wrists. After that he turned to face him again.

The older man turned to Ravth with a wide grin as he stood without the tool. “You got me.”

“Your attack was good, but I could still use your weakness against you. I think you gave me that one though,” he replied with a smile.

Taur laughed and clapped him on the back. “Maybe sonny, anyway let’s go continue the tests.”

They went out of the room and up the stairs to another gym facility. This one had a short range archery set. A panel or dagger throwing was nailed to the left wall adjoining the previous. Ravth was tested in each and more besides as Taur took him around the school. The last was a written exam.

Once all was completed Taur led Ravth back to the first room they had entered. He tossed him a towel as he went to the showers at the back of the lockers. “Clean yourself up here. I’ll make my report and they will tell you later if you got the job.”

“Thanks Taur,” he replied. In the locker room he stripped then went to shower. “Oh, I have a question. Since I’m a student and maybe a teacher too what residence should I apply to?”

“There is a floor for the intermediates.” Taur replied. “I myself just graduated to be a professor only this last term. I’ve been moved up a floor to the professor’s housing.”

“Congratulations,” Ravth said with a grin. He left the showers and dressed in the clothes he entered in. Confidant that he had passed the tests he returned to Raven’s Roost to sleep.

The next week Thursday a messenger came with a package for Ravth. He handed it over with a smile. “Welcome to Ambert University, Student Teacher Ravth.”

Ravth took the package and ripped open the outer envelope. Inside was a letter welcoming him. His vital information was included as well. He looked up with a smile. “Well this is something to write home about.”

“It certainly is sir. I’ll see you again when school starts on Wednesday.” The courier replied then turned and ran back.

Ravth went to speak to the manager and explained his situation. He would work until after the weekend rush then continue to school. Once Monday rolled around he collected his pay and meager belongings. He said his goodbyes then left for Ambert University.

Returning students had already begun to move into residence. It was fairly easy to follow the signs to the tables. A special table was set up for the student teachers. Ravth walked up to it and stood behind another student. When he stepped to the counter he gave the papers to the person behind it. Together they managed to pick classes and get Ravth his keys to his dorm.

As he knew where the stairs were he could find those easily. Navigating the hallways would prove to be more difficult. On the student floors the dorms bordered around the walls. There were no windows in the corner bathrooms. There were seven dorms on each wall, with four residents per dorm. The center of the building was filled with stairs with a hallway in between them and the individual dorms. The student teachers’ dorms were set up in similarly on the floor above, but with only two per room. The professors’ dorms were similar to that, but with only one resident per room and the bathrooms attached individually. If a professor was married then the two shared a dorm.

Ravth climbed the stairs to level four. He glanced around then wandered down the hallway. Finally he reached his room and paused at the door. Labels on the door noted his position as Athletic Instructor and his roommate’s position as Army Recruiter. Inside of the room there was two of everything: bed, desk, chair, closet, and nightstand. The window was on the far wall with a westerly exposure.

He walked in and placed his bag on the bed. While he glanced around the interior he unpacked his clothing. He had the formal black slacks and white shirt, then the blue uniform he was given when resurrected. He draped them over his arm and carried them to hang up in the closet. While his roommate was not there he left the furniture as it was. He locked the door behind him then descended to mingle with the others.
Preview for the short book [link] which has just been published.

It continues from Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold which is book 2 in the series

Ideas & Art by me
Published:
© 2006 - 2020 chanthar
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