This week we're back with Kirelon--and Kirelon is with Nast. We'll find out what Nast wants from our hero...
As always, here is the Google Docs version. Enjoy!
Kirelon left the tavern early the next morning, a deep fog engulfing him the moment he stepped out the door. It was almost calming, the way it swirled and danced around him as he walked. Almost. He didn't think anything could make him completely calm right now. His mind strayed back to Nast's words the night before--the desperation in the man's voice contrasted by the wariness he obviously felt for Kirelon. It was unnerving to not know what he was getting himself into. He sincerely hoped, not for the first time, that this wasn't anything illegal. That would cause a host of other problems that Kirelon wasn't sure he knew how to deal with.
The Lake was in the northern section of the Lower City, the largest body of water in or around Argosson for miles in every direction. Fed mostly by springs and the few tributaries that flowed in from the canyons and plateaus north of the twin peaks of the city, The Lake stretched across the gap of the valley the Lower City was built in, cutting off access to the rest of the valley northward. Due to the warmth in the air of the dim-lit Lower City and hot springs near the western edge of the water, The Lake was never very cold, or so Kirelon understood it. Most of his knowledge of the Lower City came from listening to the lowborn speak rather than first-hand observation. He had involved his Listener much more in the politics of the city rather than the day-to-day labor of the masses.
He felt the cool press of the fog against his skin, a welcome respite from the normal mugginess that always seemed to envelope the Lower City like a blanket. It wouldn't be hot out for a few more hours yet, even this far into summer. Kirelon tried to think optimistically as he walked, his thoughts plagued by the night before. He had dreamed of assassins again. He wondered how long before the nightmares would finally cease. He remembered the fear he had felt on that night, and suddenly his senses awakened in a wariness that made every swirl of the fog take on a different meaning than it had a moment ago. Faces danced around him. He began to sweat, but reigned in his mind and tried to think about mundane things━anything but memories of the things he wanted to forget. It didn't work.
He thought of his aunt.
The Lake was before him, and all else faded away as he stared across its surface, as foggy as the land. Abandoned fishing shacks sat at the edge of the water to his left, some reaching into the waters themselves, built on piers of now rotting wood. The fog covered everything. Kirelon remembered reading of Arodrias Gaphan's treatise on fog in the Lower City. It had been a much more prevalent phenomena in the days of the ancients, with almost every day here filled with fog and hiding even the sky in its total blanketing of the air around them. Arodrias Gaphan, now that was a speaker. He actually cared about his people, unlike━
"I see you're here early," Nast's voice came from behind him. Kirelon jumped but managed to keep himself from crying out.
"You scared me," Kirelon said flatly, trying to keep his voice calm.
"It's alright," Nast said, ignoring the comment. "I came early too."
They didn't say anything for a moment as they stood there, staring out over The Lake and watching its tiny ebs and flows as it was pushed by the slight breeze that started to blow in from the south. Nast stood a few paces behind Kirelon, and eventually the Speaker almost seemed to forget that the man was even there, starting to fall back into a reverie of thought.
"I need to know I can trust you," Nast said again, though Kirelon did not know how much time had passed. It seemed an eternity. "Can I trust you, Melos?" Kirelon just stood there, realizing that he had never directly answered that question the night before. He wasn't sure Nast had ever directly asked it to him either, but he had implied the question as much.
"You can trust me, Nast," Kirelon finally said, hoping that he wasn't regretting the words. "I want to help, and I can promise you that even though I haven't told you everything about me, I have your best interests in mind when I do so. And no, I'm not a criminal on the run from anything." He added the last sentence as Nast stepped up beside him. "I'm not perfect, I admit, but I haven't done anything wrong that might endanger you or Matri."
Nast glanced at him and then looked back over The Lake. "I guess I've already gone too far to back out now. I'll have to take your word for it."
And I've gone too far to back out myself, Kirelon thought, growing tense as he waited for Nast to finally reveal what this project of his was. "I suppose you will," the Speaker said after there was an uncomfortable pause. He winced at the way it sounded. Arrogant. He didn't mean it that way. Hopefully Nast wouldn't take it as such.
"Some colleagues and I are part of a group interested in changing the government from the top down," Nast began, sending a shiver through Kirelon's entire body. "We want justice for the oppressed, and that will never come through legislation. The nobility does not change. And so nothing here changes. We want to fight back. We want to be the catalyst that Argosson needs to become a place where justice thrives. Where the lowborn aren't treated as slaves. We're going to stop Domination once and for all."
The fog seemed to still for an instant, and Kirelon took in everything--sight, sound, touch, everything around him in one single moment of feeling. He didn't know what to say, didn't even know what to think. This was what he had asked himself on a cold evening in the mountains, what seemed like years ago. Should I go to the Lower City? Should I start with the lowborn and convince them that they are being mistreated? Someone had already had that idea, and now he was caught in the middle of it. He felt as if he wanted to throw himself into this and fight with all of his might alongside the lowborn in a battle against injustice. He also felt like he should run as fast as he could in the opposite direction. What was he getting himself into?
"Well?" Nast said. "What do you say? I could use a good man like you. The rebellion is in a desperate spot, and we need all the help we can get. I am not a religious man, Melos, but whether it's because of a god, fate, luck, or whatever, you're different. I think you can be a great asset to our fight. And I think you share our sentiments."
"We all share your sentiments," Kirelon said, burying himself deeper into the mindset of the lowborn he was pretending to be. It wasn't far from the truth--he was beginning to feel more and more like he belonged here. Like he was a lowborn."If we really admitted it. Even the Listeners. We all hate this oppression and we wish it would end. But what can we do? The Speakers give no thought to what they are doing to us. We carry the weight of the entire city on our shoulders, and it crushes our spirits. We're beaten so low that we start to feel like we deserve the hardship, the pain, the torture that they force on us." Tears stood in his eyes, and as much as he wanted to overthrow every piece of the wicked establishment that had caused the people he was sworn to protect so much pain, he couldn't see how it could be done.
Nast had no tears, but his eyes were filled with pain nevertheless. Kirelon had never felt closer to the man than this moment, standing on the shore of a vast lake, crushed with sorrow for people they both wanted to help. People who were hopeless and sometimes even lifeless. "I understand everything you are saying, Melos," Nast said, nodding solemnly and then looking out over The Lake again. "But I refuse to give in. This rebellion I am a part of, we all refuse to give in to the slavery they've tried to convince us is for our own good. And I think you will join us in that, once you see what we have the potential to accomplish."
After a moment of silence, Kirelon composed himself. "I already promised you that I would help you in any way that I can. For quite a while now, I've felt like I was helpless. I have seen so much injustice done at the hands of people that should be protectors, and I have been too weak to stop it. If you can give me a way to fight back, I will be in your debt."
Nast smiled at him faintly and then nodded. "Come with me, Melos." And he started walking along the shoreline, away from the abandoned fishing village. When Kirelon didn't immediately follow, the man gestured sharply. The Speaker trotted after him. The fog continued to swirl around the both of them, seeming to flow like a river that pushed them along towards wherever they were going. Kirelon did wonder about that. There wasn't anything important on this stretch of The Lake━or, at least, he had always assumed so. He was beginning to think there were many things that he didn't know about the Lower City. And that thought made him feel all the more anger towards his fellow Speakers for their attitude towards their charges.
At a particularly narrow spot where the cliffside of the eastern peak almost touched the shoreline, Nast stopped and looked around, as if making sure they had not been followed. When he was satisfied that they were alone, he walked to the cliff's edge and ran his fingers along a stretch of smooth stone. He glanced back at Kirelon and smirked, then tapped three times on the grey surface of the cliff. And then three more times. A third and final time he repeated that threefold knock. Suddenly the rock of the cliff gave way; the piece of stone slid backwards in on itself with a slight grating sound. Kirelon gave Nast an incredulous look, trying for some vain reason to show as little surprise as possible on his face. Inside, he was utterly mystified. A secret door in the mountainside, virtually invisible unless you knew what you were looking for. It sounded like something from a fairy story.
Nast waved him on and the two of them ducked in through the tunnel and into the mountain. The luminescence of everglow powder greeted them inside, held by an old man who nodded curtly to Nast. The bartender returned the nod but continued on down the tunnel that opened up before them without another word. Kirelon thought he should give a nod to the old man as well, but Nast was walking quickly and the old man was already moving to close the door behind them, and so Kirelon simply continued on, leaving the door and its keeper behind as if they had never existed. The tunnel was dark at first, but soon there were bits of the luminescent fungi that grew all over the Lower City on the walls and the floor, lighting their way just enough to avoid stumbling. They did not speak as they walked, but Kirelon's mind churned with every passing step.
He was starting to put the pieces together on this rebellion and how they had managed to escape the notice of the Speakers or the Listeners. Obviously, the first step would be to get out of the line of sight━if a Speaker couldn't see you, they couldn't Dominate you. It was one of the only flaws in the system, and though the Listeners were always keeping a watch for those who might be trying to avoid the reach of the Speakers, they had apparently overlooked this place and these people. The rebellion would have had to have been extremely careful━checking to make sure they were not Linked with before risking going to the hideout, and probably dozens of other security precautions that they had to take into account to keep them safe. He was beginning to grow very curious as to how they had managed to do that. He also wondered why Nast and he had been let in without any fuss━surely they should have been checked over more thoroughly. He must be missing something.
The dim luminescence gave way to its magnificent cousin. The tunnel opened out into a large cave, filled with barrels, boxes, tables, chairs, cots, and large swaths of glowing fungi and everglow jars in sconces on the wall. There were also people━lots of them. Lowborn of all different social levels mingled here, some sitting at tables and writing or talking over a mug of beer, others sparring with practice weapons or sleeping on cots or just walking around the large cave complex. From the way Nast had been talking, Kirelon had expected much...less. The rebellion must have been well-funded before now, because their "desperate" looked pretty good, all things considered. Of course, it was still around a hundred or two hundred men against thousands of Upper City soldiers, not to mention the entire cabal of Speakers and anyone who else who felt like killing lowborn. Which was most people, when it really came down to it. Kirelon could see potential here, but it would have to be very well-executed.
Nast was watching him. Kirelon realized he had been standing and staring for a few minutes now, taking in all of the sights and sounds of the cavern. The Speaker glanced over and smiled. It was completely genuine, as Kirelon was very taken in by the moment and couldn't have controlled his expression if he tried. He was both ecstatic and humbled that while he played politics in the Upper City, some brave men and women had decided to take it upon themselves to do the job no one was doing for them, let alone Kirelon. They had decided to fight back, and in that instant, Kirelon knew that he would fight alongside them. He didn't want to go back to the Upper City unless it was with these people at his back, demanding change.
Nast smiled back. "So, what do you think?" he asked, his face piqued with curiosity. "How does our fine rebellion fare in your eyes?" Nast obviously knew the answer to that question, as would anyone who gave a moment's glance to Kirelon's demeanor.
"When can I start?" Kirelon's smile blossomed into a full-fledged grin.
The rest of the day consisted of Nast showing Kirelon around the cavern, noting each area and its function. There was a large area in the western portion of the main cave set aside for hundreds of cots━everyone slept there, even the people in charge of the rebellion. Even Nast, when he wasn't at his tavern. When Kirelon asked who else was in charge, Nast told him that there were two others, though they were gone at the moment, busy with other work in a different part of the Lower City. He would meet them soon enough. Kirelon knew that Nast still wasn't trusting him completely with everything, but Kirelon took it for what it was worth.
The next area they toured was the makeshift "kitchen" and meal hall that was the northern part of the cavern. There were several different cooks and their helpers here, men who wanted to help with the rebellion but didn't have any martial skills. They scurried about, mixing ingredients into stews and putting them to simmer on any of the several fires that lay scattered about the area. This part of the cave dipped down low until it reached the northern wall, and above the spot where the cooks busied, there were several seams and cracks in the stone ceiling. The smoke rose inerrantly towards the blistered ceiling and was swept along into the cracks. When Kirelon commented on it, Nast gave him a smile.
"It was pure luck," he said, waving at one of the cooks as the pair of them walked over to get in line with several soldiers to receive a bowl of stew. "The last cavern we were in didn't have such a luxury, and so we had to make do without hot meals most of the time. It's very hard to get smoke out of a cavern, did you know that? Anyway, this one has several natural chimneys at the north end, and Pohn noticed its uses immediately. That man is good with stonework. I guess that's why we keep him around━I mean, it sure isn't because of his pretty face." Nast was seeming more and more relaxed as they toured the cavern, talking and joking with anyone and everyone as if they were his oldest and dearest friend. It was probably true that some of them were.
"What do you do in the rebellion?" Kirelon asked as they got a bowl of stew from a burly man with only three fingers on his left hand. "What I mean is, everyone seems to have a specific task here. What's yours?"
"It depends on the day," Nast admitted as they took a seat at a table alongside some of the soldiers. "Sometimes I help train soldiers, other times I'm cooking for them. Most of the time, though, I'm the one who does the talking. I meet with people who might want to join our ranks, make deals with merchants or pirates or whoever else has something that we want. That sort of thing."
Kirelon nodded and took a bite of his stew. He had expected some sort of tasteless broth that had a lot of nourishment, but little else. He was surprised to find that it was one of the most delicious meals he had ever eaten. He wasn't sure if part of it was because it was the first thing he had eaten all day, but he couldn't deny that it was a very tasty stew.
"You feed an army with a master chef, Nast," Kirelon said as he finished, pushing away his bowl with a contented sigh. He glanced over at where the burly cook was stirring the contents of a simmering pot and nodded in respect. The cook grinned a toothy smile and nodded back. "Where did you find him?"
"Old Elim? We probably dug him out of the garbage. Along with most of his ingredients." Nast said it loud enough so that the cook could hear, and there was no hesitation in Elim's hearty laughter at the remark. Kirelon couldn't help but smile. This was what he had been missing. This sort of good-natured joking around between friends that seemed to make the world melt away and worries seem like specks of dust.
"It's true," the burly man bellowed from his makeshift kitchen. "You've caught me."
Kirelon had a single moment of apprehension as the thought occurred to him that there might be some truth to that statement. He tried to shrug it off. No, it was just his Upper City prejudice rearing its ugly head. Rumors abounded of the "nasty lowborn" who would rather eat out of the trash than to take the food so graciously afforded them by the social system of the city. Everyone gets their fair share of the food, the highborn would say, but lowborn are never appreciative of that. No, no. Never appreciative.
How Kirelon had hated the people who said such things. The pair moved on, washing their bowls and spoons themselves--as apparently, everyone in the group did━and then heading towards the eastern side of the cavern, which was filled with food, weapons, and other supplies that needed storage. They walked along the rows of boxes, barrels, racks, and piles, chatting idly. Nast was explaining some of the logistics of the operation━the dire straits they were in with each passing day now that someone had begun waylaying their supply drops.
"Mikis could explain it much better than I could," Nast said eventually, after he had finished the basic explanation of the situation. "He's good with numbers. Not much else, though, except for nagging." He winked at Kirelon.
A soldier intercepted the two of them and nodded at Nast. Kirelon found it slightly odd how much deference the people here showed him. To the Speaker, he was the sarcastic bartender who always seemed suspicious of something. Here, Nast was above almost everyone in importance, though the only thing he had really done since they had gotten here was explain to Kirelon how things worked and insulted people.
"Mikis is back," the soldier reported. "He's looking for you. Says he wants to meet the new recruit." He turned to Kirelon and gave another slight nod.
"Well, as they always say," Nast said. "You start talking about Speakers and one is digging in your brain. I've always liked the morbidness of that expression." With a wave, he both dismissed the soldier and motioned Kirelon to follow him.
They found Mikis helping unload some crates in the southeastern part of the cavern, his broad shoulders heaving with the effort. From all Nast had said of the man, Kirelon had been expecting someone a little more out of shape. Mikis wasn't overly muscled, but he was definitely in good health, with a strong build and weathered body that showed signs of combat. He had a shaved scalp and deep brown eyes that seemed almost black as he glanced up at the both of them.
"So," he said, wiping the sweat from his brow and looking Kirelon up and down. "This is him." It wasn't a question.
"Nice to meet you," Kirelon said, nodding calmly. "I'm Melos. I used to work as a laborer for a hunting party. I hear you are the brains of the group."
"Well, it certainly isn't Nast," Mikis said, smirking. "So, yes, I suppose it would have to be me. Nice to meet you as well, Melos." He jerked his head towards a table several dozen feet away, towards south entrance to the cavern. "Let's go sit down and chat."
"Are you sure you don't want to talk while you load boxes?" Nast asked, winking. "The sweat is a lovely perfume for you, my friend. It masks your natural stink well."
"Your nose must be broken," Mikis said bluntly, his voice gone neutral and his face expressionless. He walked off towards the table. Nast and Kirelon followed closely behind, glancing at each other. Nast shrugged apologetically.
The table was strewn with papers, probably hundreds of sheets, all covered in small, easy-to-read script that ranged in topic from calculations of supplies to what might have been journal entries of sorts━reminders of things that needed to be done and thoughts about how to go about it. Kirelon realized that it was probably rude to keep staring at the papers like he had been doing and jerked his head up quickly. Neither of them before him had paid it any attention. Mikis had sat down and was reading one of the sheets, marking notes in the margins to himself and squinting with concentration. Nast had pulled up another chair and had his feet up on the table, lounging with his hands behind his head.
"Do you have any special skills, Melos?" Mikis asked suddenly, looking up from the paper. Kirelon flashed his gaze to Nast, wondering if the man was referring to the way he had survived his fall, but the wiry man shook his head once.
"I..." Kirelon began, struggling with it for a moment. What special skills did he have? Domination was the thing he was the best at. Obviously, he wouldn't be revealing that little tidbit. "Nothing in particular, I guess. I mean, I don't really have a craft. I'm just a common laborer."
"Yes, I knew all that," Mikis said flatly. "Nast has briefed me on you. Come on, though. There has to be something you have particular skill in. An interest, a hobby, anything."
"I'm...not sure that's relevant, sir," Kirelon said respectfully. "What do any hobbies I might indulge bring to a group of people who want to overthrow a government?"
"Well, at least you're blunt," Mikis noted, looking down at his letter. "I like that in a man. Sky and stones, but I can never get Nast here to say anything straight to me the first time. I have to wring it out of him like he's a wet towel."
"He's a fast learner," Nast commented, as if to prove Mikis wrong. "I know that much just by watching him."
"Yes, you already told me that," Mikis said.
"Oh, did I?" Nast said. "I can never remember what I say to you. Your presence makes even my words boring."
"You know, it never ceases to amaze me that you can still find more ways to make yourself look like an arrogant jerk," Mikis said, rolling his eyes ever so slightly and looking back at Kirelon. "For the record, I think everything is relevant. What are you good at, Melos? I'll decide whether or not we can use it to overthrow a government."
Kirelon nodded and tried to think for a moment. What was he good at? He could write rather well, but that might be suspicious for a common lowborn laborer. Oh, well. He better just go with it. He wanted to try to lie as little as possible about who he was━that would make keeping track of this alias much easier. "I have been told I am good with my letters," he said. "I suppose that and reading are my real hobbies. I was taught by my aunt━she was a scribe for the military some time ago. But her passion was history, and she read me everything she could about the subject. I get my enthusiasm for reading, writing, and history from her." Most of that was true.
Mikis thought about that for a moment and then grunted. "Well, I suppose you'll be spending much of your time with me, then. How are you with numbers?"
"Passable," Kirelon admitted. "It's never been an area of great interest to me. Not that I had much choice in what I learned." The last comment was added after a moment of hesitation.
"It will have to do," Mikis said. He reached below the table and took out a small wooden box, opening it up and grabbing out a piece of blank paper from the top of the pile that sat inside. "Show me your letters." Kirelon did so, trying not to overly embellish the curves and swoops of the calligraphy, as he was prone to do. He was still pretending to be a lowborn, whether or not that lowborn was skilled at writing. Education was not a part of a lowborn's life in the same way as it might be with a highborn. The lowborn were much more practical about it, in Kirelon's opinion.
Mikis nodded slowly as he looked over the parchment. "You're really quite good at this. And you say your aunt was a military scribe? Usually their letters are more simple and blocky."
"She wrote like that on official transcripts, of course," Kirelon countered, trying not to sound as if he was making this up off the top of his head. "But she always loved written Argo and often wrote letters to any of her friends who could read. She loved embellishment, and not just in writing." All of that was also true. Except for the part about writing simply on official transcripts. Melle had embellished her writing on every piece of paper to which she had put ink.
"Alright," Mikis said bluntly. He didn't seem to be suspicious about Kirelon's answers, just curious. "What books have you read?"
Kirelon would have to be careful here. Only books that were common knowledge in the Lower City. This would be impossible if I was not a Speaker, he thought. I would have given myself away twenty times over by now if I was just a regular noble. He began to wonder for a moment if any Speaker had ever attempted to blend in with the lowborn before. Probably not━if for no other reason than the vulnerability it gave them to Domination. Once more, the miles above him seemed to weigh down on him with a heaviness that threatened to suffocate him.
Mikis coughed. "Melos?"
Kirelon realized he had been lost in thought. "Sorry, I was just thinking. I've read quite a few." He winced inwardly, but tried not to show it on his face. He was a lowborn laborer, sky above, not a scribe. How could he have read quite a few books? "My aunt had collected several volumes by the time she taught me, and her mother had done the same. She probably had a small fortune, for the Lower City, in historical treatises. I've read A History of the Lower City, of course, but most anyone who learns their letters reads that. I've read every volume of Theano's Governance, as well as most of his other works. Probably a few more here and there, but the rest of it is a jumble in my memory." Theano was the most prominent lowborn scholar to ever arise in Argosson, given Middle City citizenship at the age of sixty and living the rest of his life wealthier than any lowborn had been before him. It was really the only lowborn writer he was familiar with, and he hoped it would make sense in the persona he was creating.
Mikis nodded mutely at his explanation, tapping at the only complete book on his table. "I have the first volume of Governance right here, actually. Fascinating material. It helps me think. We'll have to talk about this more some other time, Melos."
"I would enjoy that," Kirelon said truthfully. It had been a while since he had been able to find someone else interested in the same academic areas as he was. Even if Governance was more of a political treatise than anything, the history it touched on had been fascinating to him as a young Speaker, even though he had always complained about its stuffiness to Galag.
"Anything else?" Mikis pressed. "Academic or otherwise?"
"I have had a lot of experience climbing," Kirelon said. Nast chuckled from where he lounged, eyes closed. "My previous attempt withstanding," Kirelon added with a smirk.
"Do you now?" Mikis said. "What areas are you most familiar with?"
"Some of the upper reaches, actually. Most of my adult life I've been with various hunting parties on the plateaus and in the mountains. I'm not terribly familiar with the cliffs of the Lower City, but I suppose I could manage them if I was given some time."
Mikis made a note to himself. "Remind me to send you to Pohn when he gets back. I'm sure he'll want to talk to you about that."
Kirelon nodded. He tried to think of anything else he could tell Mikis, but the only things he could come up with were Domination, politics, and acting and stage performance. None of those things were plausible interests for a lowborn, and so he resigned himself to lie. "I believe that's all I can think of along the lines of skills or hobbies. But as Nast pointed out, I'm a quick learner, and I think I can be of benefit to you and this group." Did that sound arrogant? He hoped not. He was just trying for confident.
"I see," Mikis said, sliding his chair back and standing up. "Well, I hope that is the case, Melos. I can already tell that you have a way with your words. You're not shy about being bold in conversation but you are not reckless with your words in the way some people are." He gave a knowing glance towards Nast, who was still mock-napping. The thin man smirked but did not open his eyes. "From everything Nast has told me, you have a heart for people. You care about injustice. That's undoubtedly the most important thing in this whole endeavour. I'm sure we can find a way for you to help. One last thing: How are you in a combat situation? And would you be willing to lay down your life if necessary, for this cause?" There was a moment of silence between them. "I do not ask this lightly. It's a question I pose to every recruit when Nast brings them to me. And it's probably the most important question of the bunch."
"I am not terribly skilled in combat," Kirelon admitted. He thought for a moment, judging where he could take the answer to this question. "I haven't told you about why I'm no longer with my hunting party. Or what I was doing climbing that cliff. The truth is that my hunting party was attacked by a...some pack of beasts I have never seen before. They were all killed. I managed to hide under a clump of rocks, but when I thought they had gone, they were actually just waiting for me to try to escape so they could kill me. I ran towards a cliff and was only saved when a friend of mine came to my rescue and fought off the things. I tried to climb down the cliff, but I fell.
"I probably should have died, with all of the things that happened to me that night. But I didn't. I wish I had been a better fighter. I wish I had done something besides cower behind rocks. But I didn't. I do not know, Mikis, if I would lay down my life without fear for this cause. I have been face to face with my own mortality and I have ran because I had no way to fight back. I would ask of you, however, that you give me a chance. I would be willing to learn how to fight, if someone has the time to train me, and I would also try to learn how to face down an enemy and not run, knowing that I have the weapon necessary to defeat them. I would try to have the courage to lay down my life if that was what I had to do. I can promise you that much, at least."
"Done," Mikis said with no hesitation. "Nast, get him a uniform and a sword. He starts tomorrow."