Chalice Bearer: Sneak Peek 2

Progress continues on the next volume in the Twelve Systems Chronicles. For those waiting impatiently, a small peek into the story. Note that this snippet has not been reviewed by my editor. All typos and errors are my own.

Seven-day 7, Day 4

Lilian raises the short metal dart in the manner Chrys demonstrated. Releasing her breath, she lets it fly at the rotating wheel of fish-shaped targets. With a disappointing thump, it misses the targets and hits the wall.  “Chrys, this dart fishing is a great deal more difficult than you make it appear.”

Chuckling, he moves to stand behind her and assist in adjusting her throw.

This day. “I am glad I amuse.”

“Peace,” he says, wrapping his hand over her fingers. “I cannot help it. It is so rare to see you less than competent at something.’  Setting his other hand on her shoulder gives it a mild shake. “Hold it more loosely, relax your shoulder.  Good.  Ease back a little and remember to aim slightly ahead of the target.” 

Another dart thumps against the wall before dropping to the floor.  Lilian’s sound of frustration has Chrys laughing, again. “Perhaps you should take them out with your thorn.  I do not believe the dart is your weapon.”

Adelaide’s thorn!  Of course. “Chrys, you are brilliant, and I am a lack wit.”  She has two darts left.  Shrugging away from Chrys, she shifts her hold on the small projectile.  Balancing it, she tosses it and catches it, testing its weight.  In the next breath, it flies from her hand striking true.  The next takes the next target on the wheel.

Chrys collects the darts and hands them back to Lilian. “You have the most unconventional mind.  Who would have thought to throw a dart as if a dagger and not a spear?” 

“Not a dagger, a thorn.”  Lilian takes the five metal darts and launches them in rapid succession taking out four of five of the targets.  Examining the failed dart, she says, “It has a nick in the haft.” 

Master Raphael comes forward. “I did not know that the thorn is a throwing weapon.”  

“It is not, for the most part,” Lilian says.  “It is the weapon of last resort for when fireburst weapons arms and long blades are exhausted or lost.  If one must throw away one’s last weapon, it needs must strike true.”

“And of course, your does,” Chrys says.

Lilian hands the darts to Chrys. “You may credit Prelate Apollo with that particular skill.  He was Discipline Master Apollo at the time I entered Mulan’s Temple.  He was slow to grant competency to a defiant fifteen-year old.  He made me work for it.” 

Raphael was well past sixteen when he achieved competency.  Females, who traditionally commence training at thirteen rather the male ten, do not usually achieve competency before eighteen. “Did you truly achieve competency at fifteen?” 

Competency at fifteen is not the accomplishment it appears when one begins training at ten.”

Chrys strikes two and a row and Lilian calls encouragement, “Well done.”

“You began training at ten?”  Raphael asks.  “That is unusual.  Did your Alcove object?”

This is a curious conversation to be holding with monsignor’s son.  “Not that I recall.  Why do you ask?” 

“Rimon’s Discipline Master objected strenuously to commencing Elysia at age twelve,” Raphael explains.  “It came to naught.  Keeper Virgil was on the wrong side father’s will.  Rimon’s Keeper did not wish a similar position, so Elysia began her training.”

To the cheers of the crowd that has begun to fill the Tavern, Chrys finishes his trial with a perfect score.  As he hands the darts to Raphael, Chrys says “One cannot fault the Keeper for agreeing.  The wrong side of monsignor’s will is an uncomfortable location.”

Turning to the target wheel, Raphael agrees, “Yes it is.” 

As the first dart strikes true, Lilian mentally concurs with both men. She knows she should inform monsignor of her debt to Tiger before he learns of through other means. She has delayed too long. She must tell him as soon as she returns.


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