Folly in Play on the Golden Road

More years passed, Clemnilshala and Valthran grew up together spending days on end together out in the “Wilderness” of the tallgrass. Valthran was tall and filled with dreams of becoming golden-eyed like his mother and father and joining them on whichever fields that they would inhabit next. One morning they decided that they would go into Uluur and watch the initiates in training.
The legendary Senaar with their riding crop at hand and ceremonious tassels affixed to their hocks paced forward and back again while their trainees dueled in pairs. Valthran pointed at them muttering all about what each color meant on their tassels, enchanted with blessings that would keep blood from staining their armor so pale that it was translucent. Onlookers could see the outlines of their markings of valor in gold and silver inlaid in their skin.
Valthran pulled Clemnilshala under a wagon and laid on his belly, offering her the space beside him. She barely fit, having to squeeze close to her far trimmer friend, a tiny chip began to form in her hoof the more she scrabbled it around trying to get comfortable. Why they couldn’t stand and watch was beyond Clemnilshala until a small grouping of eynnil huddled close to one another nodding and speaking to one another as the Vaniaal himself went about his day passing through. Selmnilor was among the Vaniaal’s guards, as was a golden eyed guard who had sired Valthran. Valthran’s Father, Throsaan, was a model golden eye, much like Senaar. With cropped ears and a docked tail they stood on their own and had the same partner for well over 400 years.
They approached Senaar and inspected the training initiates with an impossible look. At the same time they praised a youngling for valorious prowess, they disapproved of minor details such as dirt on a shoulder plate or a scuffed knee. It was their own fault, they had to be in that life for at least twenty years, cleaning the armor of more seasoned adults to learn the dicipline it took to become golden. To skimp on one’s own armor, according to Throsaan, will make it fail you when you need it most. So they, as younglings, barely adults, might as well take off their armor and fight in their small clothes.
The youngling as well as their partner were directed to remove their armors and attempt to spar with Throsaan. A seasoned warrior who has seen many exile raids in their life pulled their heirloom hammer from its holster and allowed the younglings to take the first strike with blunt swords. The Vaniaal stood by and watched how his pupil handled the younglings with quick strikes with their hammer that only disarmed them and knocked them onto their tails. One of these younglings, with a freshly docked tail, squawked in pain and rubbed their backside.
The Vaniaal stretched out his hands with a clapping before directing Throsaan and Selmnilor to duel. He stepped forth and pushed on Selmnilor’s back, bidding him to unsheathe his sword and shield. Clemnilshala watched her father approach and, with good manners, shed his one tassel of honor and give it to the freshly docked youngling to hold.
It was beautiful. It was art. Clemnilshala’s smile grew wider as her father lifted his shield and with valor and honor staved off Throsaan’s attacks. The sounds of the hammer against his shield was as deep and rumbling as the bells of the Lanh. It shook the paving stones, made the wood of the cart Clemnilshala and Valthran were under creak. Throsaan pulled holy magic into the fight, the whumming sounds its staff held became dulcet music while Selmnilor defended waiting for the perfect moment to strike at his adversary across the knuckles with not more than a golden short sword for one hand. Throsaan did not make it easy. His hubris only grew while golden white blood spilled over his fingers. Perhaps a frenzy had overtaken him while he went on a lecture about how this was what it meant to have valor. That knicking one’s hand on a petty sword should not stop a fight.
With the back of his gauntlet where his hand still bled, he knocked Selmnilor’s sword out of the way and feigned a thrust of his hammer forth. Clemnilshala bleated out for the Vaniaal to watch himself as she wriggled out from under the cart. Valthran pulled on her tail as she pulled into the freedom of the sunlight. She, with great steps, rushed across the road into the courtyard and impacted the Vaniaal with all the force that comes with her faun’s weight. The vaniaal stumbled a few steps to one side before his radiance fell to the ground all the while she ducked underneath Throsaan’s hammer.
Selmnilor faultered one step too many before Throsaan who took the opportunity to ignore the Vaniaal’s falling down and continue the fight. Selmnilor wanted to turn and help him back up but he himself was thrown to the ground with a hoof against his shield throwing him from balance. His undocked tail could not save him now. Clemilshala, bleating apologies scrabbled along the ground, abandoning the Vaniaal as well to crawl on hand and hoof alike like a beast over her father’s head. Her back was as arced as a cat’s
Valthran scuttled from under the cart to the Vaniaal’s side with the other guards and the trainees and the younglings in view. Clemnilshala furrowed her eyebrows as she looked to Throsaan to stop this fight.
Amid the crowd’s clamoring and chattering there was a melodious laughter that rang out in pure sunlight. The Vaniaal’s song made the metal of Selmnilor’s shield vibrate on the ground as he rolled over to hug his daughter.
“Perhaps, my child you should be dueling in my place” said Selmnilor with a breathy laugh all his own. The corners of his green eyes crinkled upward with a grin.
The vaniaal was lifted from his space on the ground and allowed to move freely with a tear in his silken trousers that exposed the cobalt veins in his pale white leg. The feathering at his hooves cleansed the ground when he moved and stepped. He stood over Clemnilshala, waiting for her to stand and apologize after her father gave her cheek a pinch.
“You must accept whichever penance the Vaniaal demands of you. You did assault his radiance.” Said Selmnilor as he got to one knee and held his daughter across the shoulders.
Clemnilshala faced the Vaniaal with her large eyes of a faun. For the first time she felt shame in her actions. She began to wring at the waistband of her frock and apron.
“My my my child.” Said the Vaniaal “Please don’t fret, no harm done to me. You seeked to protect. How valorious.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tassel much like the ones that decorated the hocks of the warriors around her. Just one.
“But you must still pay penance, so, you will commit yourself to service and earn the other one” He took her hand and placed the tassel into her hand. “Mister Selmnilor, your child, how auspicious you’ve raised her with such valor. Given your own family’s history you have overcome so much. You too will be rewarded.”
The other guards shuffled closer to the Vaniaal and ensured that he was alright. Throsaan looked to their son and called him over. To lay his hands on his shoulders and look to the Vaniaal. The vaniaal looked between the two of them.
“You…I appoint your fine son as this child’s partner. I see great things from the both of them.” The vaniaal smiled and his radiance walked forth from that place setting into motion a strengthened bond.tu

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