circle of balance

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The dirt road wound in a circle, appearing to go back where it started. Falis rode beside Ryne no longer a child that would have to ride in back. It was a tradition among the soldiers of Azmald showing that a man was ready for war. Falis wasn’t so sure himself. Inside he felt butterflies dancing. If he had to take another man’s life on this journey could he do it? The road began to go uphill. “You’ll do fine,” Ryne said, seeming to read the boy’s mind. “You’re more confident than I am,” Falis said, unsure. “You’re modest. That’s a true sign of what makes a warrior. I’m proud of you, son.” It made Falis feel good inside that the man he respected the most in the world felt that way. He would try not to let him down. “What is your shield for,” the older man quizzed Falis. “To defend myself against archers.” “And when should you never use it?” “To protect myself in a sword fight,” Falis said. “And why,” Ryne asked. “Because you should rely on your mental skills and physical ability. Your mind has to be strong to win a battle,” Falis said. “And any battle can be overcome with your mind,” Ryne quoted from the book of the strong soldier written hundreds of cycles ago by a true general in a time long lost. Ahead of the two Azmald appeared. Three castles stood next to each other. They reached upward into the sky with circular corners where archers stood in case there was an attack on the city and for some reason the fortified walls wouldn’t hold. The walls themselves were thick stone that disappeared at both sides of Falis’s eyes. In front of Falis the wall stood a good fifteen feet tall. Some two dozen archers stood along the walls, the closest Falis saw had a long bow and arrow in hand but that’s all he could make out from ... ... middle of paper ... ...mmon spring day. In fact the weather was almost perfect with only a light breeze that was slightly cool. The two followed the road a ways until the castles grew larger before them. After a quarter mile they reached the hitching posts at the front of the castle and tethered the reins there before walking into the center building. The door was open and two of the king’s guard stood there waiting. Falis had seen them both before but did not know their names. Both men were stout which gave the impression that eating was something from which they got enjoyment. While one of them had a thick chin and was tall the other had a large mole on his right temple slanted eyes and was six inches shorter. “Has the king’s guard questioned the witnesses,” Ryne asked. “Yes, and we’ve found another witness, though she was outside when it happened.” The man with the thick chin said.

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