As soon as Trey and Billy had been recorded, they were ushered quickly through the stone corridors to the Language room. A tall, dark skinned, broad shouldered figure stood at the door. His shiny bald head was almost blinding as it reflected the morning sun. It was their teacher, Mr Xion. He wore fine clothes of subtle hues that fit him perfectly, while his face was handsome and his body well-toned. Everything about him was well kept and luxurious.
“Everyone enter the room in silence and seat yourself at your designated desks,” the man ordered the class in a stern voice. This was his usual before class speech.
Trey took his place at the very centre of the classroom. He preferred a back corner near the window and Mr Xion knew it. He didn’t like Trey and was always trying to make his lessons unbearable. All because of an accident involving a stray arrow nearly hitting him through an open window the previous year. Trey hadn’t intended the arrow to ricochet. It just went to prove that practicing archery while suffering through a bout of hiccups was not a good idea.
The test dragged on and Trey’s attention found itself straying to the different shapes on the floor. It was like cloud watching, but more varied.
“Trey!” barked Mr Xion. “What have I just been saying?”
Trey looked up slowly. “Something in the language of the northern desert tribes,” he replied.
“Yes, but what?” sneered Mr Xion through gritted teeth.
“I don’t know.” Trey shrugged his shoulders dismissively.
Mr Xion had been expecting this and had his next words planned. “You don’t seem very interested in my lessons, any reasons?” There was a long silence, then Mr Xion spoke again. “Well?”
Trey thought for a moment. “Well sir, I can’t say that I don’t like this lesson or you, because it is rude and you’ll give me a caning, and I don’t really want one.”
“Then why don’t you say that you are interested in my lesson, that should work,” said Xion with a smug look of satisfaction.
“I was taught never to lie,” Trey replied simply.
Xion’s face turned from tan to red in a second. “Trey!” he growled, barely holding in his anger. There was a piercing ding sound. The break bell rang and everyone started to file out of the classroom, including Trey.
“Talk about saved by the bell, Trey,” laughed Billy as they walked down the corridor. “I’ve got to do some stuff now for the archery team so I’ll see you later.” He turned a corner and left Trey by himself.
Trey weaved through the ambling crowds of pupils and found his usual breaktime spot, a small table on the edge of the school grounds looking out at the bell tower and his house. He sat down, made himself comfy, and started to lose himself in one of his trance like thoughts.
“Oi! Move, I’m sitting here now!” came a sneering voice.
Trey turned his head to see who was ordering him to move. It was Derrick Rol, or ‘Sharkey’ as his friends called him. He was about Trey’s height, thin, with ape like arms. His short brown, spiky hair looked like a hedgehog that had been swimming in grease and his eyes were a dark brown that sat in sunken sockets.
“Shift now or I’ll shift ya myself,” threatened the boy in a deep voice that was clearly fake.
Sharkey was meant to be the ‘big dog’ around the town, even though he was only a year older than Trey. His father had been convicted of war crimes after the infamous Ghibok war, and had spent several years in the Lord’s dungeons. He had been released and Sharkey had been born but it had been only a few short years until the man was back in the dungeon for domestic violence. Sharkey had grown up sharing his father’s violent temperaments.
“Come on, you better move before you get hurt, kid,” said one of the older students who had placed a hand on Trey’s shoulder. Sharkey’s reputation preceded him.
“No, I’m alright where I am thanks,” Trey said casually.
“What?” Sharkey shouted in disbelief. His voice was petulant, clearly unused to not getting his own way instantly.
“I said that I am okay, thank you,” Trey repeated calmly.
Sharkey grabbed Trey’s neck and shoved him off the bench. Trey stood up, walked back to the bench and sat back down. Sharkey’s face turned red with rage. He swung his fist towards Trey’s face but Trey merely swayed to one side and Sharkey missed him. Sharkey then lunged his full body at Trey. His arms flailed around him in blind anger. Trey’s leg shot out and kicked him in the stomach, sending him staggering backwards. Sharkey recovered then charged again, this time getting ready to hit Trey with all his strength. Trey anticipated this move so he stood up, hit Sharkey in the throat, kneed him in the gut then turned slightly and elbowed him in the cheek. Sharkey collapsed to the floor.
Unknown to Trey’s peers, he’d had a lot of training and was stronger than he looked. His father had been an officer in the city guard and had been a skilled warrior. Even though Trey had never met him, he still felt a longing to live up to the man’s legacy. His practice sessions with Billy were the highlights of his week.
Trey felt a hand on his shoulder that pulled him around, immediately followed by a fist to his nose. He fell backwards, but as he was falling he remembered a move he had seen once used by performers at a travelling circus. He lifted his right leg up, placed it on his attackers thigh, grabbed his jumper, and as Trey hit the floor, he kicked up and flipped the thug straight into Sharkey.
Trey struggled to his feet and looked around. Sharkey’s friends surrounded him. They started to close in. He knew that he didn’t stand a chance against all of them. Suddenly, someone broke the tight ring of thugs.
It was Billy. He must have seen the trouble and ran there. The gang charged at the two friends. They started well, winning every thug that came at them, their basic training serving them well, but they just kept coming. Billy’s strong arms ensured that those he hit stayed down while Trey, who was a swordsman at heart, dodged most of the clumsy attacks. The bullies only used strength, knowing nothing about how to fight with skill, but soon both Trey and Billy became tired.
“Looks like we’re beat,” grunted Billy through gasping breaths. A purple bruise was already forming on his cheek. Trey sighed. They were only going to be beaten up, but it was going to be a defeat that caused them both a lot of pain and humiliation.
“Woo hoo! This is gonna be fun!” came a crazed shout from behind the crowd that had gathered around the brawl. A figure dashed forward through the observers, cackling madly. It was a boy from Trey’s class called Zak Malma.
Trey had never really talked to him. To put it lightly, he was insane. He had once voiced his opinion that sheep had been the rulers of mankind and only awaited the chance to retake that position once again. But here he was coming into the fight for no reason. His messily spiked hair was a mixture of mostly darkest black with odd streaks of vivid blond that flew around his face wildly as he ran. His blue eyes looked ecstatic as he smacked the first thug in the face. His jumper was on backwards.
He had a long ruler in each hand that he used like swords. The thugs couldn’t fight back against his reckless attacks. The cracking sound of the wood mixed with the pained shouts of his victims. During his rampage he also managed to hit some of the crowd as well, causing chaos as the bystanders attempted to stop him. Like a chain of dominoes, more and more of the students began to lash out. Soon there was a riot spreading across the entire school grounds.
Social groups had joined together, creating factions among the chaos. What had started as simple reactive violence rapidly became a full-scale battle with Zak at its centre. Teachers attempted to control the situation, but could do little to stem the fighting. Within the hour it had spread, spilling out into the city itself.
A dark figure smirked, watching it all unfold from his window.
The city guards in their polished armour eventually stormed the school and put an abrupt stop to the fighting, but everyone in the city was appalled by the children’s behaviour, and they had to point the finger at someone.