Archive for the The Apprentice Category

Disagreement

Posted in The Apprentice on October 9, 2008 by jeereg

The boy and the old man had an argument.

It was about the boy leaving, and it went on for a long time.  In the end, as young men do, the boy ran with the argument unfinished.  The old man’s voice rang in his ears, words he wouldn’t be able to forget.

The old man watched him, and for a little while he followed the boy as he followed the caravan.  He watched his apprentice move in the night’s shadows and in the rays of the sun.

When he finally left him, he did so with a wide, crooked smile.

The Light Changed

Posted in The Apprentice on September 3, 2008 by jeereg

The boy’s hands had become weapons, stony things that moved faster than sight.  He was muscle and bone and steel; he moved and bled through the patterns in the world.  The old man had shaped him into something other.

He hadn’t tried for the staff in months, and didn’t need to.  When it was time, he would take it.

When he first saw people again, he hardly recognized them, soft, fleshy things.  The soldiers moved with the arrogance of armour, and the boy knew all the ways to break the caravan.

Then he saw the girl, and the light changed.

The Fabric of the World

Posted in The Apprentice on July 27, 2008 by jeereg

“A true hunt is not a competition,” said the old man, only a shadow among the clouds. “It is an understanding of patterns. Of the shifting in the fabric of the world.”

Below them, a panther stalked through the twilight, silent as the moon. In its fur the boy saw rivulets of old scars; in its heartbeat he heard the breadth of its life.

“You cannot defeat your prey,” said the old man. “You know that you already have.”

The panther stopped, sniffed the wind. The boy breathed deep, the air cold on his bare skin, and dropped like lightning.

The Quiet Inside

Posted in The Apprentice on June 19, 2008 by jeereg

The first thing to learn was how to listen, and so the boy sat, in the middle of the forest, knifeless, cold and blind, trying to hear something he hadn’t before. Sometimes the old man’s voice would rasp close by, but never the sound of footsteps in the leaves.

The boy listened to the wind, and the animals, the water. He settled into the quiet inside himself. He learned to really hear.

He heard the music of the sun’s rays, the movement of earth, the grass grow. He listened to the stories of the trees.

Then he found his voice.

Ironwood

Posted in The Apprentice, Two Minutes Less a Third on May 20, 2008 by jeereg

The old man was curled like a fist. His ironwood staff looked more yielding than the hand that held it.

“You’ll have truly learned,” he said in a winter voice, knodding towards the staff, “when you can take this twig from me.”

The boy nodded and, with a lazy speed, he threw the knife.

There was a gust, and the old man burst like leaves. A susurrus, a bug’s leg patter, chased the boy in a circle, and he spun.

“Good,” said the old man, from behind. “Keep making mistakes. I won’t have to put up with you for long.”