Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with another instalment of this wonderful story from Ariella, entitled Jagged Rocks
Background music by Smartsound.
Chapter Two – The Pits
Training began at the age of four and most drows are lethal by the age of eight. It didn’t matter, whether it was with magic, weapons or just plan skill. Killing was a way of life for a drow, and if they couldn’t or refused, it usually meant death. In some cases, rarely, but in some cases, depending on their potential, punishment could be issued instead of death. Most times death would have been the better choice.
Down in the training quarters, the air was cold and damp. Today’s training was intense so Ariella did not feel the cold. She dropped and spun, slicing her opponent’s thigh with her dagger in her right hand, quickly raising to bring up her left dagger, and cutting all the way through his bicep. Spinning again, her right dagger nearly slicing his neck, but this time he was quick, sidestepping her and spinning away he slices her shoulder. Anger boiling in her, “mistake, another mistake” she scolded herself. She should have finished him by now. Just then, out of the corner of her eye, Ariella caught a movement, it was Temarin, watching her. Watching her make mistakes, this infuriates her, but not wanting to give him the slightest satisfaction, she slows her breathing, she wills herself to concentrate, the calm that comes over her would chill anyone to the bone.
This time, her opponent does not stand a chance, she will show Temarin just how ruthless she can be. As her victim lunges, she flips over him landing behind him and with no emotion, slices his neck, nearly decapitating him. He falls with a thump. She turns to face Temarin, but he is gone.
Looking down at her victim, she runs her hands through her unbound hair, at that moment she only understands one thing, she understood it with perfect clarity. There was no way in any realm of Hell she could stay here in the underdark much longer. She had to find a way out, and soon.
After cleaning off her daggers, she puts them back in their sheaths until next time.
It was a grueling, mindless day of training in the pits. The master trainer fidgeted but kept his focus on Ariella, “turn your aggression into a weapon” he barked. A growl erupted from Ariella, she lunging for him but without warning he hurled dagger after dagger at her. How many times he nicked her hands or arms or face. A dagger flew from her hand towards the invisible barrier between her and the trainer, then another as if racing for his head, it hit the barrier with a flash and bounced back, ricocheting off the wall behind her. Areilla shielded herself, she cursed loudly. “you’re pathetic!” he yelled, she snarled at the direct insult. Ducking and dodging, sending a dagger, with deadly efficiency towards him. He shielded it. She hissed. She moved from throwing weapons to hand to hand combat. Discipline, brutality is all she thought. Swift, strong and sure she moved like the wind. Her trainer watched her and thought to himself “her grandmother might be a monster, but she trained Ariella thoroughly.” She rolled into a crouched position, then ducked and flipped with such skill and stealth, like a jaguar, stalking her prey then moving in for the kill.
Sweating and panting it was all she could do from not sinking to her knees, but she made her legs work, made herself take another breath after breath as the stars continued bursting before her eyes. She had barely sunk to her knees when she vomited, heaving until she had nothing left inside her. She slowly got to her feet, not bothering to brush off the dirt and vomit and kept practicing.
Through the spots in her vision, she saw her grandmother. She knew Temarin reported any mistakes she had made.