(I'm not sure whether I should bin the first paragraph or not, I don't really like it too much. What do you think? Please, any comments on how to improve, suggest them to me through a review or e-mail or whatever. This story is the same as my previous Superior Species story but I have made minor changes, improvements in the grammar and slight character history changes.)
When the magic of nature and the planets people clashed writers everywhere perceived the world as treacherous, dangerous,… and interesting. Feuds between the people and immortal creatures such as the dragon were furiously worn out in the scrolls, books, and imaginations of the creators. Theseus and the Minotaur, David and Goliath, Perceus and the gorgon. All that the people wanted was a victory and so the writers obliged. Brutal were those times; the deliberate murder of immortal beasts merely to make the stories true developed into a worldwide epidemic; gorgon heads, magical labyrinths, and sling shots seemed to sprout from the very earth itself. It was dying. Nature's energy had been poured into the creation of these immortal creatures; they were ultimately unique beings, of higher rank than ordinary men. With their declination, the life in the earth slowly followed. These times were important; they were the highlight for composers, artists and more importantly writers everywhere, hence it came to be known as the 'dark era'. But nobody bothered to take into account the earths up rise once more, the friendship or at the very least the truce that the races built. And as the population of nature's unique beings increased once more, the strength of the earth did follow: its increasing life was reflected in the rapidly growing lush rainforests, the new species of tree and flower that were suddenly discovered, and how it felt to its inhabitants. So mankind and the immortal races united to stand against all that did not belong. But no one wrote of Shanie and Ice, the draconights or of the Great War that followed....
"Draconight, quite simply to mean dragon-knight, are one of the most valuable defenders of any realm. A highly trained knight capable of killing with his bare hands partnered with the most ferocious of all immortal beasts: the dragon.
Restricted from women, draconight is a position highly honored by others but near impossible to reach. Only a handful of men achieve their swords let alone manage to control their mount. As you all should know there are currently five draconights representing out realm, it is one of the highest number of draconight's that we have ever had at one time. It takes men to reach this position so you had all better grow up, and I'm telling you; do it fast. We have no room here for simple boys. Now, before you get anywhere near so much as a dragons scale you will excel to an outstanding level in the basic training of a knight. Most pages have four years in which to do this, you will have two fortnights. You will stand out from ordinary pupils before working your ass off for another five years of your life in your real training. Only then will you be ready for the world you are asking to be accepted into. Look at the person next to you; it is very likely that in the next four years, that person will be gone. Make no mistakes; your life from this point will be so indescribably unbearable that two thirds of you will quit yourselves. Even if you do manage to keep yourselves from hoisting up your skirts and running away like the little girlies that you are, remember this; at any time during the course of you training you can be dismissed wholly from the program, and I will be watching every singleton present. The question is not whether you can do it, but whether or not you want it badly enough. Any who wish to drop out? I highly recommend that you do it now."
Silence. His audience as one turned to a single figure. He stood and stumbled over the grass to disappear at a near sprint into the line of trees concealing the main town.
"Pathetic; afraid of mere words." Fearfully he held his audience enraptured. Scanning the sea of faces he found little potential future achievers, sharply turning he advanced on a pupil unawares, snoozing in the grass.
"INSOLENT CHILD!" Of the seated young men few did not jump a foot into the air at his bellow; the 'snoozer' was not one of them. As if it were an automatic function that had been programmed into his body; the boy's spine snapped straight, his chest thrust out with his back perfectly vertical, his arms became glued to his sides and as he stood there stock still, eyes facing forwards, the pupil's glared at him in a mock image of their teacher. Minutes passed before the boy became aware of what was now his own audience. Relaxing slightly he turned to face the teacher, who instead of rage, had an interested almost eager expression on his face. His tone of voice made up for the apparent lack of anger though; "Name." It was only one word he had to use and there was no need for him to raise his voice in a question; the boy knew what was required:
"Shane Portiner." His voice was light and throaty in an almost girly way.
The teacher grimaced at hearing such an unmanly voice but continued; "Relay to me what I have just said."
"I'm sorry Sir, -"
"I don't care whether your sorry or not and I certainly don't care to hear the excuse that you have cooked up for me in the last thirty seconds. Repeat to me what I have just told everyone"
"I can't but-"
"That's right you can't, therefore you will not know that you have only a month to complete all basic training, that you had a chance to leave, or that at any time during the course of your training you can be booted. You should be proud; you beat the record by three hours."
"Sir…" the boy's voice trailed off as he found himself at a loss of words.
"I'm not going to dismiss you." The teacher smothered a cry of surprise at his own words; he hadn't meant to say that, but his mouth continued to ramble on as it tossed all messaged from his mind aside; "If this insubordination repeats itself though, then I will be forced to dismiss you. You will report to detention hall and they will give you your due punishment, now sit down." As Shanie obeyed the man turned to address the whole of the class, "If any of you have sense you will begin with a voluntary session in the training wing and join the after-prepatory classes. Of course this is not compulsory, just advised. We will meet back here at five-thirty tomorrow morning sharp. Go."
Gonnar watched as the crowd of boys disperse as they headed to their rooms, but his eyes followed one figure In particular; Shane, as he jogged off on his solitary way. Why hadn't he got rid of the lad? If the boy couldn't even make an attempt to make a good first impression then why should he be given the chance when so many others willing to put in the effort awaited their own? But he had put the effort in, the teacher argued with him self, it was clearly seen in the flexing muscles and lithe movements that the boy had been working out, molding his body months before hand. Shane yearned to be a draconight, it could be seen in the ferocity of his eyes, which were so much like a dragons on their own. That was what it took to make it in this business; the character of a dragon, and despite his unusual feminine vocal quality, Gonnar knew more than thought that Shane could go all the way. Shane had quick responses, flexibility and alert senses, all of which he had projected in one movement. And any who possessed the character of a dragon? In Gonnars eyes, they were a true fighter.
Shanie ran; she ran to meet her first punishment. She had been through a lot just to get into the position she was in now and she had nearly thrown it all away on a selfish need for sleep. Real draconight's did not rest, they did not rest until the task at hand was complete, and hers was far from thus. She had spent months toning herself, building her muscles, teaching her body how to be flexible and quick. She had deceived those that trusted and loved her, feeding the blacksmith oriented family a lie believable enough for them to supply her with a large sum of money and send her on her way with their blessings. At fifteen year's of age she had bound her chest and cut her hair to a short style common among young boys at the time. She had spent hours poring over books in the expanse of library, committing to memory every scrap of information on knights and draconights that she could get her hands on. She had practiced the fencing blocks and counter strikes, twisting maneuvers, kicks and punches, pushing herself to the limit of exhaustion. It had taken incredible willpower but she had been determined, she promised herself that she would reach her dream of becoming a draconight of her realm. She had at the very least overcome her fist obstacle of being admitted into the training program. She had earned the right to learn, whether she was a boy or not. Of course they would never see it that way. No matter what she did, no matter how strong she was or how many times she proved herself they would still always see her as weak and unworthy. And so she hid. She kept her femininity a secret… until the day that she would reveal to them just how weak women were.