A Squire's Dream Come True
The sun shone brightly on Meridell, much to the inhabitants’ joy. A bright sun meant great light for the harvest to grow, a good time to play ball, a perfect opportunity to go shopping in the town market, even perfect weather to swim in the stream. But for one green Zafara, it meant a harder day of practice in the field.
“I hate sunny days; why can’t it always be cloudy?”
JuunPyu left his home with his head a bit low and his sword secured at his waist. He worked up enough sweat without the sun’s help, but today the sun would beat upon his neck and back while he practiced, making him sweat all the more.
As he passed the gate, JuunPyu noticed his adopted sister reading in the shade of a tree. The slight red Lupe gave him a brief smile before returning to the book. Acheflower. JuunPyu thought his sister’s name was rather ridiculous, wilted flower, what a silly name to name someone. Then again it was the name that would belong to a poet and Acheflower loved poetry. Maybe the name did suit her.
‘It’s the name of a damsel, though she’s not much of a damsel with those knives of hers.’
JuunPyu’s father thought it best for both his children to learn how to defend themselves in troubling times. While JuunPyu learned the way of a knight around the clock, his sister learned the ways of a lady by day and the way of a knight by night; the two always found that comical. The two of them had been close ever since her arrival to the home. Now on their own she tended to the house's needs while he trained to become a knight.
At the field JuunPyu watched the other squires practice swordplay or riding with their knights.
‘What I would do to have a knight of my own again.’
JuunPyu drew his sword and began practicing his swings on his own, making sure each swing flowed into the next. He moved on the balls of his feet, making sure not to trip over them. It was his dream to become a knight and defend his home from all evil like his ancestors before him. His father was an average knight, someone forgotten over time, but JuunPyu would not settle for average; he wanted to be remembered for his great deeds and courage. His sword swung high, gleaming in the sun. As he turned his body, his sword clashed with another, the handle of the sword gripped by a deep blue hand.
JuunPyu gasped, “Lord Jeran!” JuunPyu dropped his sword in shock.
“Your foot work is off.”
With a heavy blush running across his face JuunPyo picked up his sword.
“When you have large feet like mine, my lord, it’s hard to maintain your footwork.”
JuunPyu sheathed his sword, now officially embarrassed. The Zafara kept his eyes on his feet and his hands clasped behind his back. What a wonderful way to make a first impression on the great knight of Meridell. He heard Lord Jeran sheathe his own sword, but the great knight did not walk away; instead he remained where he was standing before the ashamed Zafara.
“What is your name, squire?”
JuunPyu stuttered his name out for the great knight. Wonderful, not only did he drop his sword but he stuttered as well. JuunPyu closed his eyes and waited for a giant hole to appear below him and swallow him whole.
“And where is your knight?” Jeran asked.
JuunPyu hunched his body a bit. “I have not seen my master for some time now.” It was the truth; his master had been missing since the storming of the Citadel.
“And who is your master?”
JuunPyu cringed. “Sir Daemon.” He was a squire without a knight; what would happen to his dream now?
JuunPyu lifted his head to see Lord Jeran nod. JuunPyu shifted his feet, ready to run if need be. Who knew how the great knight of Meridell would react in knowing there was a squire without a knight practicing in his field? Sir Jeran drew his sword.
“We will practice on your footwork first and then we will see how you handle riding a Uni.”
JuunPyu could not believe his ears, did the great knight of Meridell just imply that he was going to practice with him, a lowly Zafara squire, for the day? The Zafara just stared at the knight, his body frozen in complete shock. Lord Jeran chuckled before gesturing to JuunPyu to draw his weapon. Fumbling like a fool, JuunPyu drew his sword.
JuunPyu parried Lord Jeran’s swing, only to fall to the ground with the next block. Embarrassed but determined to prove himself, JuunPyu stood up and held his sword at the ready. His footwork was clumsy, nothing compared to Lord Jeran’s. They practiced for hours. Each time JuunPyu fell, he quickly stood right back up. He was determined to prove himself worthy of the knight's attention.
“Your footwork’s not bad, but it’s not the best,” Lord Jeran said.
Sheathing his sword, Lord Jeran moved to JuunPyu's side. JuunPyu sheathed his sword with puzzlement.
“Copy my footsteps,” Lord Jeran ordered.
JuunPyu watched Lord Jeran’s feet move, amazed by their grace. Pouncing on the balls of his feet, he tried his hardest to duplicate the steps. Lord Jeran shook his head and repeated the steps. JuunPyu attempted to copy them once again.
“You need to relax more; it is almost as if you are dancing,” Lord Jeran instructed.
Once again he repeated the steps, but this time JuunPyu managed to copy them almost perfectly. Lord Jeran gave him a brief nod of approval before continuing with the next set of steps. JuunPyu watched breathlessly, wanting to make the Lord proud.
After a few hours of footwork, Lord Jeran had a Uni retrieved to see how JuunPyu handled riding. JuunPyu smiled widely; riding was something he had been good at for years. As he guided the Uni across the field, Lord Jeran watched smiling. The Zafara rode like a pro; maybe JuunPyu had potential after all.
Acheflower stared at her brother as he walked through the gate. The poor Zafara looked bewildered. She watched as he came to sit under the tree beside her. She closed her book as he gave a sigh.
“Okay, what happened?” Acheflower asked.
“I went to the field today and Lord Jeran approached me.”
Acheflower sat up straight, “Really, what was his reason?”
“He said my footwork was off.” JuunPyo gave a contented sigh.
Acheflower hit him on the shoulder with her book. “Is that why you're acting like a fool?”
JuunPyu slowly shook his head. “He asked me who my master was.”
Acheflower sucked a breath in. “What did you say?”
“I told him Sir Daemon?”
“And then?” She clenched her book to her chest.
“He drew his sword and helped me with my footwork and then my riding skills.”
Acheflower leaned back against the tree; they both gave a loud sigh.
“Are you ready for dinner?” Acheflower asked.
JuunPyu nodded his head and Acheflower went inside the house to prepare dinner. JuunPyu stood and went to bathe. After a nice hot bath and a home cooked meal, he would go to sleep. He would need to be well rested if he was going to train with Lord Jeran again tomorrow.