The Arcane Warrior’s Apprentice
Novel by Roberta Downing
Cover artwork designed by Jerry Langdon
Bell unlocked her room and stepped in. There were four beds, desks, chests, weapon racks and clothing racks in the large room. She closed the door. There was only one bed that wasn’t made so she headed over to that area. There was a set of linens folded at the end of the bed.
As she was making her bed, another female apprentice entered the room. She didn’t have her daily ware uniform on. The girl had dark skin and white hair. She was Niteri, dark elf. Bell didn’t have issue with the girl’s race. There were a few Niteri in her family.
“Greetings apprentice” Bell said, “I’m apprentice Bell. I just arrived. Have you got everything squared away” she asked.
The Niteri girl glared at her. She could not believe that a half elf would even dare speak to her. She was far from her homeland and like her roommate having to acclimatize to the new surroundings and life.
“Tessa” the dark elf said with her mouth kept tight.
“Nice to meet you Tessa!” Bell said.
“I can’t say the same. Now leave me alone half breed” Tessa barked.
Bell wasn’t used to being talk to like that by anyone. This was her first time experiencing racial tension by someone. Bell spent her five years surrounded by dwarves, elves, half elves, humans, a couple of vampires and a few niteri. Her family was comprised by just about every race known and there was no animosity. She was quite disturbed by the way in which her new roommate was speaking to her and the way she was treating her.
“I’m sorry if I offended you, Tessa. It wasn’t my intent” Bell explained.
Tessa raised her voice as she reached for her belt “I told you, you filthy half breed, to leave me alone. How dare you even speak to me! Go back to your soiled family. If you speak to me again, I will whip you like the dog you are” she said with such hatred.
“Well,” said Bell, “Nice to meet you.”
Without notice, Bell felt the bite that ripped the skin on her back. She whirled around in time to see the whip coming again and somehow she grabbed it before it struck. She tugged at the leather that was knotted and periodically speckled with tiny razors. Her hands were bleeding as she kept pulling the whip which caused Tessa to move closer to her. Finally Bell pulled hard enough for the whip to drop to the floor.
Bell grabbed Tessa by her long hair and pulled her closer. She punched her square in the nose. Blood gushed on the floor. She pulled the Niteri to the ground and sat on top of her holding her down.
“Let me give you your first lesson Tessa. Hatred has no place here. You are just like me; an apprentice. If you can’t accept we are the same then you better go back home to dominate the men because I am not a man and you have no sway over me” Bell said in the Niteri tongue.
The door burst open and RavenDance and another Arcane Warrior came into the room. RavenDance pulled his student off of the other girl while Tessa was being pulled into a corner.
“What in the nine planes of hell are you doing Bell” he asked. “You haven’t been here more than ten minutes and you are already fighting. This will not be tolerated. Come with me.” He took her arm and pulled her out of the room.
She was taken to the temple to be assessed for her injuries. As she took off her shirt to show the wound she had gotten from the whip, the priest gasped. Bell was not feeling very well and for good reason. She had been poisoned by the razors that tore her flesh. The priest handed her a vial and told her to drink it immediately. RavenDance stood in the back of the room. He saw the long lash and the blood and he knew that Bell did not instigate the fight. With that, he smiled knowing that she defended herself.
Tessa was now sitting next to Bell on another exam table. Her nose was broken and her eyes were swollen. She was still bleeding from the broken nose.
“I’m going to kill her” Tessa said matter of factly in Niteri.
Her master laughed “I rather doubt that.”
“Arcane Warrior, forgive me if I am out of line but you really need to teach your racist girl there how not to hate. She’s not in her own lands” Bell said.
“She’s a bold one RavenDance. To speak to a warrior without fear or reservation” Horace said.
RavenDance replied “And you have your hands full. In as much as I hate to admit it, my apprentice is right. You really are going to have to get that hate and racism out of her because you know as well as I that will not be tolerated here. You don’t want this getting to the Great Summoner.”
Bell chimed in speaking directly to Tessa in her native language; “If there is a next time I will hand your heart and your whip to your lowest male servant and have him whip your daughters” She knew that was one of the most horrific insults that could be said to a female Niteri.
“Enough!” exclaimed RavenDance. “I told you that Arcane is the only language spoken here apprentice. See that you follow that rule.”
Bell headed back to her dorm room with the antidote running through her system. She cleaned up the blood from the floor and got a set of new linens. She remade her bed and put her belongings away. She grabbed supply bag that had all of her books and headed out the door.
The chime rang just as she made it to her orientation class. She sat down at the desk and waited for others to come in. The desks filled up and in walked the instructor. He began telling the classmates about the history of the academy, dress code and other rules and regulations. He also told them that within the week the apprentice warriors would be taken out to find their staves that they would be using for the rest of their lives.
Cwell had given Bell a staff for her birthday. It was his staff. It was made from yew wood and had an inverted crescent made of silver that held an amethyst stone and the bottom was surrounded by silver. He told her that it was stripped of its enchantments so that she would be able to imbue it with the spells she wanted when the time came.