The Vanguard Institute – Part 1

Q: Adventure Status – Unstable 4 (12)
Developer: PC Enabler
(1d20: [15] = 15)
Birth, Message, Target

Season: Spring

Day 1
Weather: Warm
Terrain: Village
Developer: But…
(1d20: [8] = 8)
Ability, Silence, Information

Q: Do the boys start out together?
(1d20+0: [2]+0 = 2)
No, and Skill, Girl, Noise

Q: Is the girl with Sasha?
(1d20+0: [4]+0 = 4)

Q: Is the girl with Nyx training with him?
(1d20+0: [18]+0 = 18)

Q: Is she a student?
(1d20+0: [4]+0 = 4)

Q: Is she a villager?
(1d20+0: [15]+0 = 15)

Q: Should he be hanging out with her?
(1d20+0: [7]+0 = 7)

Q: Is Sasha with anyone?
(1d20+0: [12]+0 = 12)
Yes, but Dungeon, Performance, Eye

Q: Are they fighting?
(1d20+0: [11]+0 = 11)
Yes, but Code, Sleep, Opening

Q: Are they waiting for Nyx?
(1d20+0: [17]+0 = 17)

PoV: Sasha

The second bell rang and the sun was halfway to noon warming the grounds below. I stood in the shadows of the Training Center waiting for Nyx. It was a big day. We were about to embark on our final test to join the Vanguard. Something Nyx and I have wanted since we saw our first sword match in the arena. Neither of us were very good at sword play. But we had our own skills. And Saleh helped us get there. But if Nyx didn’t hurry up Austin was going to leave without him.

Two others stood just beyond me. Austin Watts, a refined old man who took adventurers out on their final tests. He had seen a lot, but he was only here to make sure we passed our tests. Nyx was about to fail.

Rhesus on the other hand paced back and forth. He glanced at me and growled. And then look away like he was eager to be away from me. I wasn’t sure exactly why Saleh sent Rhesus with us. The boy was a bratty royal who could barely keep his anger in check long enough to swing that axe on his hip. But he was some king’s third son, and this was his choice. I hadn’t had a choice. It was either join the Vanguard or leave the only home I’d ever known.

Rhesus glared out into every direction and when his gaze fell upon me he growled and stalked over. He stopped in front of me as close as he could, which with me leaning against the wall wasn’t as close as he’d like, so he leaned in. “Where is your stupid flaming friend?”

I shrugged. “I’m not his keeper.”

“He rarely leaves your hip! What’s he doing? Sleeping?” Rhesus shouted. His bad breath making me press into the wall further. Though I imagine it tasted as bad as it smelled, and I wondered how he could stand it.

“He was up before I was.” I stated matter-of-factly.

Q: Does Nyx show up?
(1d20+0: [20]+0 = 20)
Yes, and Blustering, Country, Misty

No sooner had I said the last sentence did Nyx skid to a stop in front of Austin with an apologetic smile on his lips. “I’m so sorry. I got…”

“You got distracted. As usual…” Saleh Araleth said as he slipped through the wall beside me.

Rhesus jumped but the rest of us were used to the specter’s ways.

“Yes, sir.” Nyx bobbed his head low. “I’m sorry.”

Saleh chuckled and his ghostly form rippled with mirth. “Remember, your employers may not take well to your tardiness.”

Nyx grinned at me, then at Saleh. “That’s what Sasha is for.”

I rolled my eyes. “I won’t always be around either.” I said. But I watched the smile fade on Nyx’s lips. He didn’t like when I spoke about leaving him behind. Not that I would leave him forever. But I needed space too. Nyx wasn’t good with boundaries.

Saleh clapped his hands together and the Bryta cawed above us from the roof of the Training Center. The large raven carried the essence of our guardian and caretaker and the headmaster of the school. Wherever Saleh was, Bryta was sure to be nearby. He spoke, and the entire campus reverberated with his voice. “It is time for another group to join the ranks of the Vanguard. It is only by success of this final mission that your membership shall be granted. You are initiates of the Vanguard to be dismissed or joined upon your return.”

Austin shouted. “Sasha Uàrd de’Saleh, Nyx Uàrd de’Saleh and Rhesus Hyrcanus do you accept?”

With each nod of our heads, Austin handed us a scroll. “In these scrolls you shall find your mission. Success comes from working together. All other avenues lead to failure. Are you ready to embark?”

“Yes sir.” The three of us said in unison. We’d been going over procedure for weeks. We knew exactly what to say, what to do, and where to go once this event started.

The bell rang and those standing around cheered and then went back to their lessons. We were off to the stables to saddle our assigned mounts and gather our gear and head out to the Institute gates. From there we would need to decide who was navigator.

Austin headed towards the stables with Rhesus following behind, he wanted best pick of the horses. I grabbed Nyx’s elbow and leaned in to whisper as we walked slowly behind them. “Where were you?”

“I was saying bye to Glak. I lost track of time.”

“Nyx. Saleh doesn’t want us talking to the help anymore. Why don’t you listen? We are Vanguard Initiates, we are almost inducted. If Rhesus doesn’t fuck this up for us, we’ll be golden. And we can get the hell out of here.”

“What’s wrong with here?” Nyx asked.

“Nothing. Don’t you want to see the world?”

He shrugged. “Sure. But if you leave me, what does it matter?”

I sighed. “I’m not going anywhere.” I said putting my arm around Nyx’s shoulder. He was warm to the touch, his skin was flushed and there was a slight darkening of the flames underneath his skin around his neck, cheeks and ears. It was cute watching him react when I showed a casual display of affection in public. When we were alone it was different, we wouldn’t get many chances to talk alone like before with Rhesus and Austin at our camp site for however long this adventure took. I didn’t even really know what it was yet. None of us except maybe old Austin knew what we were about to embark on. “Promise me one thing, Nyx.”

“Anything.” He beamed at me even as I dropped my arm from his shoulders as we entered the stables.

“Don’t get into any trouble we can’t get out of together.”

His light faded a little but it rose again as he spoke. “I’ll do my best.”

I knew he would. He always tired. But sometimes that wasn’t enough. Nyx was much like the flames beneath his skin, he blew where the wind took him — as long as it wasn’t too far from my side.

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