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Crossbow Practical

It had been a good field trip to a makeshift shooting range for the first crossbow practical outside the city wall. Good in that there had been no injuries other than a bruised thigh where one of the student’s crossbow slipped the cord while he was trying to cock with the belt claw. Good, too, in that it was nice to get out of the city. The armory had yielded an interesting assortment of historic and modern crossbows, so they had taken as many representative pieces as they could carry. Lapis and Rudyard had been impressed that young Riddler could pull the levered bows back with his own strength; Riddler’s father must have worked him hard during the summer at his family’s farm. The other students soon learned the deep-knee-bend load with models with foot loops on the head of the weapon, as was expected from boys that age.

Rudyard and Lapis had fallen back to let their young charges talk excitedly among themselves as they walked back to the Church. The boys swaggered under the now familiar weight of their weapons and quivers, secretly hoping someone would see them. Lapis smiled knowingly, but kept a watchful eye for horseplay. If there were any such things as training crossbows, the Church certainly didn’t own any. These were real weapons, and he demanded that his students carried them as such.

“Remember when that was us?” asked Rudyard, smiling.

“Yeah. First time any of you gave me any respect,” jested Lapis.

“You were the dumb kid from the army, and a charity case at that. I was mad with envy when you got picked for patrols before I did.”

“I always thought it was because I was considered to be more expendable.”

Rudyard was quiet at that, mulling a possibility that hadn’t occured to him before, and listened to the banter of the boys ahead of them, which had turned to high spirited giggling as they tried to imagine what a vampire looked like.

“I’ll say we had a lot more motivation to get good at it as fast as we could. They don’t know how lucky they are. I wonder if they even think vampires are real.”

Lapis nodded at Rudyard’s observation.

“That’s what this really is about, isn’t it? This isn’t about hunting yarble.  I know how you think Dom. You don’t do anything without an agenda.”

Lapis gave Rudy a glance but said nothing.

“Who do you think it is?”

Lapis shrugged. “They’re young, it is the right time for them to learn precision skills. Some outdoor activity is a good break from the books.”

“You’re right, but I still call bullshit,” scolded Rudyard. “If we had a Miguel, I wouldn’t have to ask. I’d just take him on my rounds. He used to freak out if one was in the room, but I never could figure out how he knew.”

“Call it whatever you want to. I’m the swordmaster, and I say they learn crossbow.”

The adults caught up with the boys at the door of the cathedral. Lapis opened the door that lead to the armory in the lower levels of the ancient edifice, and supervised putting everything back in its proper place. When it was done, Rudyard called for them to go get cleaned up before supper. Rudyard put his hand on Lapis’ shoulder to stop him from leaving with the rest.

“Dom, we need to talk. You don’t look good.”

“It’s nothing, Eli. I’ve just hit a wall with Moonwall’s project, that’s all.”

“No, you really don’t look good. Why don’t you go have a night.’

“I would, but I’m broke. We don’t get our stipends for another week.”

“You never could hold onto money.” Rudyard brought a small roll of bills out from his waistcoat. “Here, take mine. Go have a night.”

“I can’t take this,” protested Lapis.

“Yes, you can. You’re my meal-ticket, and it’s my job to keep you in good working order.”

Lapis sighed, knowing Rudyard was right, and took the proffered money, then, together, they went up to Perdido Street to see what Sister Loxley had prepared for the evening meal.

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  1. Brother Lapis Brother Lapis November 5, 2012


    The bells had not yet struck ten when Brother Lapis came back into the great room of the Mnemonics Institute. Brother Rudyard was sitting by the fire while the oldest students were doing preliminary drafts of their assigned “morning after” problems that were designed to be unsolvable at first glance, but easily solved after after sleeping on them. He looked up, surprised to see Lapis back before morning. It wasn’t his style not to stay the entire night in someone else’s bed, and the expression of his face said he had not been kicked out of one either. Lapis strode through the room and exited out the back door without saying anything, Rudyard took that as a signal to follow. When they were out of hearing range of the refectory, he turned on Lapis.
    “Dominic, What did you do? What happened?”
    “They blacklisted me.”

    “What the hell did you do this time?”

    “Nothing! Nothing at all! I don’t know, Eli. They wouldn’t let me in the door.”


    “I’ve been blacklisted from the Blue Sparrow.”


  2. Emerson Lighthouse Emerson Lighthouse November 6, 2012

    Lock-up your daughters!


    • Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg November 6, 2012

      I think there might be something in the cellar we need Momoe to fetch.  You know, that thing.

      • Brother Malus Brother Malus November 6, 2012

        No, I’ll go get it Junie. You don’t have to send Momoe into the basement. 

        • Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger November 6, 2012

          How unnaturally cavalier of you. What’s down there you don’t want her to see?

          • Brother Malus Brother Malus November 6, 2012

            Quit being so mental! Can’t I be nice for a change?


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