I’m falling a little lax with the posting of my ‘What’s Your Name?’ posts. From now on the posts will be over the weekends (this can be anytime from Friday to Monday).
Today’s name randomly selected from the first ‘I’ page in my naming book is:
Ida: a feminine first name meaning ‘God-like’. (Germanic)
The girl climbs the three thousand steps without breaking a sweat. Is she even human? Kerse thinks to himself. The other applicants practically crawled the remaining thousand, groaning and panting from the effort. Of course, after their year long training, they’d soon be like the rest of The Squad.
It takes every ounce of reserve for Kerse to maintain the girl’s pace and that is saying something. He is the best of the best as far as The Squad is concerned. “You are quite something, girl,” he says, wiping sweat from his brow. “Who trained you to such an extent?”
She surveys him with narrowed eyes. The eyes of a suspicious, untrusting street rat. The same look she has given every member of The Squad she has met since Kerse approached her in the street den. She shrugs. “No one. Living on the streets is training enough. Why do you not tell the recruits your names? You ask us to trust you- which I can tell you now is something you earn not ask for- and yet you offer no name, nothing of worth.”
“You expect reward? We are not wealthy, girl.”
“I said you offer nothing of worth, not once did I mention wealth. Because I’m a street rat you think I’m concerned with money? I chose the poor life in favour of the alternative.”
She really is extraordinary. Kerse keeps his awe in check.”And what would that be?”
“Now, that story is something of worth, but seeing as you can’t even bestow a name, then my tale will become something of a secret that I shall keep from you.”
Is that a hint of a smile he sees? She is good- really good. She could fast become an obsession of his if he isn’t careful. “This goes no further. My name is Kerse. I asked you to trust us because we are trustworthy, but I shall let you judge that on our actions if you so wish.”
She extends a hand and shakes his with surprising confidence. “I’m Ida.”
Ida- such a little name. Perhaps, he looks into her eyes for a little longer than appropriate; a teacher must never broach that line with his ward. He could lose his position on The Squad. The Squad is his life- there is nothing else. He shakes himself out of his reverie. Nothing has happened. I’ve have just met the girl, he tells himself. Girl… she couldn’t be more than five years his junior- twenty at a guess. She is no more a girl than he is a boy.
She slips her hand delicately from his grip, blushing from his attention. “Okay, Kerse. You asked for my story, yet I fear you are not ready for it.” She sits on the wall beside him, so close that he can feel the heat of her skin.
“I’m intrigued,” he says. “I am a member of The Squad. I am ready for anything, Ida. I can assure you of that.” She smiles and he doesn’t miss the eye roll.
Ida takes a breath. “I am the illegitimate daughter of Jalennis. When I was seven he discovered the truth, but the House of Sisters successfully kept me hidden for five years. However, he found me at twelve, slaughtered the sisters, and sold me to a Court brothel. Who would believe the lies of a whore, right? I escaped at fourteen and became the street rat you see today.”
Kerse springs to his feet, distancing himself from her. “You are the daughter of Jalennis?” Jalennis is the last known Sorcerer, and self-appointed ruler of the Kingdom. Jalennis is the enemy that The Squad was formed to protect against. Nothing good comes from Jalennis… except… the girl with the little name.
“Why did he not kill you when he found you?” Kerse almost trips on his words.
Ida grins again, this time showing all her teeth. She is pretty when she smiles, he thinks.
“He can’t. The House of Sister’s knew the truth and lost their lives because of it. Why would I tell you just to have your blood on my hands? Make me tell you, Kerse. Give me reason to suffer your blood on my conscience.”
Kerse shakes his head in disbelief. She is telling the sole truth. He has been trained to detect the ticks of a liar. Ida is the child of Jalennis. What did the House of Sisters know that would lead to such a brutal slaughter? He can see why she is reluctant to tell him.
“You will tell me because I will happily die to put an end to Jalennis. He killed both my parents and all four of my siblings because my father stood against him. If you have information that weakens him, Ida, you have to tell me. I am the man who vows to stop him for good.”
She takes Kerse’s hand with more tenderness than she seemed capable. “I am the next in line. I get the powers when Jalennis dies.”
Kerse’s head is about to explode with information overload. “That still doesn’t explain why he didn’t kill you.”
“Like I said, he can’t. A sorceror cannot kill his own blood. The House of Sisters researched the old lores for many years. That is the information that got them murdered. If Jalennis kills me, he will lose his power and die.”
“Why are you telling me this, Ida?”
“Because I knew of you, Kerse. I know you want the same things as me. I need you to get me into the palace and ensure that Jalennis kills me. No bloody battle- no lives lost except for mine and his- an end to his tyranny.”
All written works are the property of K.J.Chapman