Excerpt from "Destiny Feared" Trilogy
K. D. Snyder
Prince Anion was reluctant to know Kru's plan for his brother. Kru was a regimental soldier who had seen mankind in its worse light. They said he had been in every war that had ever been and had retired only recently to instruct others in his superior techniques. Forgiveness might not even be in his vocabulary, though Anion wasn't sure that word was still in his own.
He was, therefore, surprised that Kru simply put them through their exercises as usual. Perhaps, the Weapons Master had forgotten about Anion's bruises and about teaching him Argarre'l. He even reprimanded Anion for lagging behind in one drill.
By mid-morning, however, Kru had dragged out a number of curious, archaic weapons. "This Breni device, called the drath, is still used in various sectors. The drath will grab at clothing and hair." He glanced around the group. "If you ever see one of these, you'll wish you had a bald head like mine." There was quiet laughter. "We will disrobe to tussers, don the caps provided, and gather in pairs for practice."
Anion slowly glanced at Agarttan. He had never seen such a ferocious look in his brother's eyes. Agarttan and the others disrobed, donned the caps, and moved into their positions, leaving Anion still standing in uncomfortable dismay. Ever a friend, Stich waited for him. Puzzled, Stich urged him to hurry before he caught the fighter's attention.
Kru noticed. "Were the instructions too complicated for you, Anion, or do you not speak the language today?"
Anion shrugged unhappily. He grew pale, but made no attempt to disrobe. Kru approached him as the hall fell quiet. The two thugs, Bret and Ithan, who had been so bold the day before, shuffled nervously.
"Anion? What is this? Disrobe, now. Don the cap. I haven't days to waste on this." He aided Anion and helped him slip from his tunic. The whole hall was witness to the dark and mottled bruises that plastered his torso.
"By the Fates!" Kru's shock made it clear to all that he had not as yet seen the evidence of the beating. The bald Weapons Master chewed his lip as he turned with a thunderous brow towards the rest.
The class stared in aghast at the Prince. Anion felt nauseous.
While the two larger boys, Bret and Ithan, appeared sickly as well, Agarttan seemed cool and collected. Only the glint in his eyes revealed his fury at a plan gone awry.
Kru eyed the gawking audience; it trembled as a whole under his demanding gaze. His bristling surveillance swept the gym and the long silence indicated that he had evaluated each boy present and now knew who had done the deed. "By the Honor of Chihan, those who did this will step forward."
Then, he waited without another word. That fierce quiet and Kru's summons was more than Bret could take. Honor. It was something that had been drilled into them as babes. Bret had known he had betrayed his honor when he had listened to Agarttan. A distant conscience had called to him after the act, and regret had tormented him.