Our Story Begins
Tarik lunged himself at the huge, hanging sack of rice. His foot struck the bag, and it sailed back. Tarik had took that split second when everything was still, before the bag shook. He pushed back, flipping in the air. Landing on his feet, he knelt and touched the ground.
The bag had swung back a good six feet, blowing dust everywhere.
"Good, Tarik." Olvan said from the wall. Tarik smiled. He breathed the dust, giving him a sense of achievement. He was already well into his assesment, to pass his grade.
He had done hand-to-hand combat with Olvan, climbed a rope net, and punched the dust out of the rice bag. Great. Just one more thing left to do, the thing that Tarik found hardest-and most dangerous- the rope course.
The rope course was an obstacle course of ropes on the ceiling. It included climbing, swinging, and even moving along a net upside-down. It was the most important part of one Greencloak's training.
Completing it would pass you from Grade 5 to Grade 6- the highest grade. You couldn't get past Grade 6, unless you were appointed to deputy Greencloak- which was Lenori.
"Okay." Olvan said. Tarik turned to face the Greencloak leader. Meilin, Conor, Abeke, and Rollan stood next to Tarik to watch.
"Tarik, are you sure you want to do this?" Olvan asked.
Tarik nodded. "Yes sir."
"You are aware of what can happen, right?" Olvan asked. "Most Greencloaks don't dare take on this challenge until the age of 30. You're only 22. I don't want to loose you."
"I know, but I'm not like other Greencloaks. My bond with Lumeo may have been more... Difficult... But that doesn't make me less of a Greencloak- or the Four Fall trainer."
"Tarik is right. He is exceptional," Abeke said.
Olvan sucked in a breath, then nodded. "The starting rope is over there."
Tarik turned and ran to the rope, and looked up. The ropes were up high, hanging only a few feet from the ceilingstain glass ceiling-which was 100 feet tall. This was a risk, but Tarik wrapped his arms around the rope, and pulled.
His feet touched the first knot. Tarik pulled as fast as he could, scaling the rope.
The knots got smaller as he reached the top, making it more difficult.
Tarik could smell the wood, and even some blood from the last few runs. Tarik shivered at the thought, but just pulled up more, until he was at the very top knot.
Tarik was out of room to climb. A few feet away from the rope was a net. It has thick cord, and hung only a few feet from the ceiling.
Tarik pushed off, whispering these words to his otter spirit animal- "Lend me your agility, and strength."
The rope flew behind him, and he flew forwards. Tarik felt the sensation of flying, as he reached his target.
With a jingle of chains, Tarik's hands flew onto the first cord. He could hear Abeke, Meilin, Rollan, and Conor shouting words of encouragement. Smiling, he let his hands slip around the rope, as his feet flew in front of him. Thrill rose in Tarik's stomach. Tarik had to admit to himself, he was also really, really, really scared. This moment determined if he lived- our lost his life. Just a few years back, a Greencloak had died from this course.
With a jolt, Tarik's feet locked into a square in the net.
Tarik let go of the rope clenched between his hands. He swung, head first. He aimed for his next target, and opened his hands.
He caught the rope with his right hand, which was already burning. He grabbed a hold of the rope with his left hand, but sweat had soaked his palms. His left hand slipped.
Tarik yelled, as he fell. He thought it was the end, until he stopped.
Tarik looked up. His right hand was still secured to the rope. It ached, but he couldn't let go. Not now. He would die, then.
Tarik looked down, and felt sick. He was 100 feet in the air.
Olvan ran under him, and looked up. Meilin, Conor, Rollan, and Abeke looked up in horror.
"TARIK!!!!" Rollan yelled. "ARE YOU OKAY?!"
"I'm not wounded!" Tarik called. "But my right hand is slipping!" His hand felt hot, and sticky.
Tarik corrected himself when he saw drops of red ooze from his palm. He forgot- there were spikes on some of the ropes.
Tarik hadn't felt it at first. But now that he realized, his hand seared in pain.
The sharp, sudden pain surprised Tarik. Tarik let go of the rope- suddenly realizing it after he started to fall.
"Olvan!" He yelled. Air pushed against his chest. The ground neared, and neared. And soon, everything was black.
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From the ashes a fire shall be woken...
A light from the darkness shall sping...
Renewed shall be blade that is broken...
The crownless again shall be king.
"I will not hide, while other fight our battles for US!" -Kili, The Battle of the Five Armies