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Journal of a Paladin
Episode XI: Unusual
By Matthew R. Fleming
A.K.A. the Cheddar Paladin

Entry #12 – The Twentyfirst of November in the Year Sixteen Hundred and Ninety-seven

The “dog days” of summer were quite mild in Winguard City that year. They weren’t as warm as they usually are, I remember that. The whole month of August was light and breezy with a few rainstorms. Regardless of the unusually cool weather, the Black Stop drew many customers in for nighttime drinks and entertainment.

Every night, Jordanello and I grabbed some chilled tea and roasted chicken in a spicy sauce, and we’d enjoy a troupe or a troubadour there to perform for the evening. There were even some plays some nights. It was a perfect summer celebration.

One rainy evening, there was a new troupe playing called Red Night. The crowd that evening had some unfamiliar faces. A lot of them were dressed somewhat differently than the regulars. I assumed they were followers of the troupe as they seemed to congregate near the stage. They were decorated with piercings in unusual places, their hair was colored in unusual hues, and most of them were unusually pale. To say the least, they were very unusual people. They looked like they were having fun, though.

One of them, a boy my age with dark blue hair, sat near Jordan and me and ordered a pint of beer. He wore a vest that was deep red in color and the rest of his attire was black. He had many pockets all of which seemed to have something in them. His chin was peppered with scruff.

At the boys side was a lute. Now, I don’t know the correct phrases for the parts of musical instruments so bear with me. The front of the lute was sort of a turquoise color that faded to black. It was round, shaped like a pot. The neck was black save for the silver bars on it that I believe are called frets. It was about two and a half feet long.

Jordanello, being the closest in proximity to the boy and more outgoing of the two of us, asked him, “Do you play that?” as the boy would certainly have some other reason to carry it around if he didn’t play it.

The boy replied, “Uh, yeah, but not well.”

To which Jordan replied, “That’s unfortunate.”

“Do you play like the gentlemen on stage?” I asked.

“I can play some of their songs,” the boy claimed, “Just I’m not that good yet.”

“Better than me,” said Jordan.

“I’ll bet,” I agreed.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jordan retorted.

“Well, you said it, not me,” I stated.

The boy wondered, “you guys are friends, right?”

Jordanello and I looked at each other pondering what he meant. When we realized that we looked like we were arguing, we broke out laughing.

“Heh! Yeah, we are,” said Jordan, “My name’s Jordanello Hoffburg,” he introduced himself and extended his hand.

The boy shook his hand and introduced himself, “I’m Dewium Velleous.”

I introduced myself to him and shook his hand and the three of us got along smoothly the rest of the evening. He talked about how he’s a fan of the troupe on stage and how he’s been trying to learn how to play Red Night songs on his lute. The troupe actually started his interest in playing as their sound was certainly original.

“Yeah, all of us here are of the counter-culture,” he explained, “we’re sort of the outcasts of society. There are many reasons why we are what we are but it’s not like we’re out to hurt anyone. Not all of us anyway. Really, it’s just a cultural expression that caught on with a bunch of people with similar interests. I’m surprised you don’t see many in this place, it’s like a haven, all dark and stuff.”

“So, do you all know each other?” asked Jordan.

“Gods, no,” answered Dewium, “I can’t tell you who any of these people are.”

“From where do you hail then?” I asked.

“What? What’d he say?” asked Dewium.

“He asked you where you come from,” elaborated Jordanello, “he talks funny, I know.”

“Yeah, uh, I come from Medguard,” he said, “I’m a clocksmith there. Basically, I make watches.”

“Interesting,” I said, “Jordanello and I joined the service, we’re both going to the Winguard Royal Academy this autumn.”

“Cool,” Dewium said, “my sister’s starting classes there this fall, too. Her name’s Emzie, she might be in your class or something.”

“I’ll remember that,” I said, “can’t have too many friends in an unfamiliar place.”

Red Night was an excellent troupe. Though they played very unconventionally, their music was very catchy and their lyrics were very insightful, talking of isolation, coming of age, and lost romance. What was interesting was though their lyrics promoted a dreary existence, the music was fast and powerful, a delightful twist to the standard ballad. I could see why Dewium enjoyed them so.

We left the Black Stop that night well entertained. I invited Jordanello and Dewium, who we found liked to be called “Dew” for short, back to my house so he didn’t have to rent a room at an inn. We had sort of an all night party, the three of us and Cobalt, who Dew quite liked. He told me his sister would be fascinated by a rat who could communicate with humans, that and Cobalt was giant and blue, making him even more special.

Dew told us that he was also in the service of the Medguard militia, so he was on call in case of emergency. It’s a requirement of boys our age to be conscripted into the militia in Medguard for a certain amount of time due to the small population. Dew had a chosen weapon of the bastard sword with the reason that “it’s fun”.

Summer wound down slowly. Too soon came the morning where I had to wake up early to catch the train to the Winguard Royal Academy. I walked to the train yard where I met Jordanello. I noticed some of our fellow trainees from last year’s training, but they didn’t look at us and we didn’t talk to them.

The school is located some ways northeast out of town, on the way to Medguard, which is where the train continues on to after dropping us off to pick up the students coming from there. I was able to get a good look at the campus while waiting for the train to return.

There are four buildings in the courtyard. The very large one was the main building with all of the classrooms and the administration. Off to the right side coming in are the dorm buildings for students who don’t live as close to the campus as Winguard or Medguard. One is the boys’ dorm the other is the girls’ dorm, naturally.

On the left is the second largest building, the Royal Library. One can only dream of the wealth of knowledge within that building. It has a different architecture than the other two buildings, making it unusual. Where the others are built of solid bluestone with metal roofs, standard for most Winguard government buildings, the Royal Library was made entirely of elaborately carved wood. It’s hard for me to describe, it’s so ornate. Legend has it that the building was once a gathering site for a group of sages; that is speculated where all of the older books originate from.

Some time after the train returned from Medguard, a bell tolled and we were instructed to proceed to an auditorium within the main building. We were given the usual new semester orientation and sent off to either the dorms or our first class. We were also given schedules for the semester at that time, mine was as thus, if I remember correctly:

Class 1 – Everyday, I had Language, which I loved because I always wanted to write, as you can probably tell, reader. My instructor was Mistress Scone.

Class 2a - Every other day, I had Alchemy. I wasn’t too interested in it other than some of the more explosive concoctions one gets to create in such a class. My instructor was Professor Flekag.

Class 2b - Every other day, I had Guardian History. I love history. It’s like a storybook that actually happened. My instructor was Le Marquis de Bobbé.

Class 3 – Everyday, I had Mathematics and Algebra. I have grown to hate numbers because of these classes. My instructor was Master Grant.

Class 4a – Every other day, I had Fine Arts. Half of the class was music and half was visual art. I can’t say I was a great musician, but certainly enjoyed sketching and painting. My instructors were Sir Scally the Bard and Master Phissier.

Class 4b – Every other day, I had an empty amount of time to spend in the Library. I took the opportunity to read about things I was interested in, even in the slightest interest. The librarian I talked to the most was Lady Gliddé.

On Fridays, I had two classes that involved physical activity.

Class 5 – Marksmanship. Crossbow was fun. Pistols were more fun. My instructor was Sir Lindwood.

Class 6 – Piloting. The advent of airships was less than a century ago, and Winguard already perfected the flying Man O’ War that was stationed in the harbor. Stored within that gigantic vessel is about two dozen smaller aeroskiffs that take one man to pilot. I learned how the basics of flying one and was certified to commandeer one if I ever have to for what ever reason. My instructor was Sir Friel.

Those were my classes that semester. Most unusual was Alchemy. Not because of the curriculum, but because of the instructor. Professor Flekag was a sort of eccentric man. He was tall, boxy, and he wore mostly black or gray, with the exception of his faded blue scarf. His hair was sliver tipped at the edges and he sported a furry round of scruff along the side of his face and under his chin. He wore a wide brimmed hat, black, atop his head, which featured very reflective glasses. He was never without an umbrella and he always had his bag of alchemy equipment and chemicals.

“Good afternoon, folks,” he introduced himself in a surprisingly low caste accent, “My name is Professor Matell Flekag and I don’t come form around here. As you might have guessed by my accent, I’m not some high brow teacher like Bobby who teaches History in this classroom tomorrow. Just to warn you, while we’re on the subject, if he teaches you some bullcrap about ‘history’ that you know isn’t true, just ask me about it. He’s known to screw up sometimes. That said, you’re here for Alchemy, and I’m here to give you Alchemy,” he set his bag on the counter and opened it up to reveal a folding set of alchemy equipment, “you guys can’t use this stuff but before the year’s over, you’ll get to use the academy’s calcinators and alembics. Until then, you get to at least see what you will be doing later this year. Yeah, so, hmm… lesse… ah! Attendance! I’ll start up at the top here.”

He went through a few names then came to, “Hoffburg, Jordanello.”

“Here,” Jordan raised his hand.

He went through a few more names and said mine.

“Present, sir,” I called.

“Sir?” he remarked, “Don’t hear that often enough,” he proceeded further down the list of names.

“Sonidav, Kagome.”

“I’m here!” a girl maybe a year younger than me called. She had a shy smile about her face which was partially covered by her long, shiny, black hair which was topped with a droopy light blue bow. Unique about her were her pink shoes which had a decal of a winged heart on either side of the toe. I looked over at Jordan for a second, and I saw that he was fixated on her. Then he glanced at me and straightened himself up again. I could tell we were going to have plenty to talk about when we go to lunch.

“Velleous, Emzilly. (Huh… odd name.) Are you here?”

“Here,” said a girl with a noticeable resemblance to Dew. Aside from the obvious differences, she was maybe two or three years younger than me. She was certainly a first year student, maybe even younger than most first-years in an advanced class perhaps. Anyway, she had long, wavy, dark blonde hair, and kept a magnifying glass at her belt. She also had a bag that seemed to be as full as Professor Flekag’s. On her left wrist was a watch that I presumed was made by her brother. How unusual, a watch on a wrist.
New JoaP. Promises are kept.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconemziepoodlez:
Emzilly!!!! I like it!!!

I loved all the references to teachers at the highschool....so funny.....Marquis de Bobbe XD

I wish this chapter was longer! I wait impatiently for the next ;)
Reply
:iconcheddarpaladin:
cheddarpaladin Aug 8, 2007  Student Digital Artist
I hope the next is as satisfying as this one seems to be.
I'm glad you liked that, Emzilly. I had to think of something more formal than Emzie. Whole name n' all.
Reply
:iconslimoracle:
slimoracle Aug 7, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
I love all the references! Red Night (like Green Day), the teachers at the WRA, Dewium and Emzie. It's just...wow.

I like the sound of Scally the Bard and the Marquis de Bobbe. Heh heh heh, hopefully I don't mistakenly call any of them by theie JoaP names in real life. Talk about awkward. :D

Anywho, I've got to fav this. This is my favorite entry so far! :) :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconcheddarpaladin:
cheddarpaladin Aug 7, 2007  Student Digital Artist
Really? Thanks alot, man!
Holycrap. I didn't think it was gonna be this good.
I appreciate the :+fav: as well.
Reply
:iconholic-chan:
awwwwwwwww! I love this Entry for reasons you already know XD but no, this is great! Yay for all the new characters! great setting details too! i enjoyed this entry alot!
Reply
:iconcheddarpaladin:
cheddarpaladin Aug 7, 2007  Student Digital Artist
Thanks alot, Kago!
I'm glad you enjoyed it even all the other stuff!
Thanks for the :+fav:!
Reply
:icongreendazed:
GreenDazed Aug 7, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, just wow! :+fav:
Reply
:iconcheddarpaladin:
cheddarpaladin Aug 7, 2007  Student Digital Artist
Really?!
Thanks, man! I really appreciate that response.
Screw criticism. I'll take one of those over a paragraph any day!

Thanks for the :+fav: as well.
Reply
Add a Comment: