Lyndon was fun to be around after I got to know him a little. At first, he was obnoxious. Like my sister, but he wasn't my sister, so there wasn't a good reason to tolerate him. Soletus was much more subdued at that time. Though, even as he changed, he was no Lyndon. They were cousins, but they acted like two brothers. When they did, it was hard to insert myself because they knew each other for so long. And from that I knew of Lyndon, he really wanted to have been the one to save Soletus. It hurt him I did something that he should've been able to do. He had the training. However, all the training in the world won't do what experience teaches you. He never got to gain it, though.
"He's a tyrant," grumbled Lyndon. He bit into his biting into his slice of melon and chewed with a bitter frown. Soletus munched on his slice and grudgingly had to agree with his opinion of his father. Mien was the only one who enjoyed his melon. Saffron had given it for saving him as a reward.
Soleus spat out a seed, watched it sail through the air before it veered downward and crashed into the grass. "I'm sorry," he apologized, knowing it wouldn't make his cousin feel better.
"What am I supposed to do," Lyndon cried. "I want to train with the scouts. Remedial training is boring. I like to see the masters shoot straight when their cousin is in peril."
They could, thought Soletus and said to him, "It'll make you a better archer." He knew his cousin didn't see it that way.
"Seriously, I don't know how you put with your pa putting his nose in everything," he said, moping for a bit before he perked up. "Speaking of being nosey, why did you get into a fight with Aunt Cordea yesterday?"
Soletus rolled his head back towards the sky. "It wasn't a fight,” he exclaimed.
"Fern made it sound like one."
Soletus shoved his cousin. "Did you go and ask her?"
"No, Ma and Aunt Cordea were talking about what happened. The only other person I could ask was Mien, and he was all tightlipped about it."
The boy paused from his slurping and swallowed his mouth full before saying softly, "I didn't think you wanted me to tell him.”
Soletus regarded him graciously. "Thank you," and gave Lyndon a dirty looked. "At least I've one friend who respects my privacy."
"I'm family. I'm supposed to be in your business,” returned Lyndon with a roughish grin.
"And just for the record, it wasn't a fight. I just yelled at her once and she shoved me out. She does that to anyone who yells at the dinner table. She kicked Papa out one day when he was grumpy. And I only did it because I didn’t want to be there. I’m still upset at Papa. He doesn't want me to do anything."
"He doesn't want me to do anything, either. He told everyone a bunch of bunk how I nearly got you killed," he said, looking hurt.
Soletus nudged his cousin with his shoulder. "Hey, I don't blame you for anything. You did what you could."
He then held his head up tall. "Yeah well, next time you need saving, I'll do it. I can promise you that."
The cousins sat side-by-side spitting out seeds in silence. Mien put the rind he was nibbling on down and reached for another slice.
"What about Doran," Soletus asked at length.
"He's not related to you,” muttered Lyndon.
Soletus tossed his rind in the trees. "I don't want to be related to me right now. Why aren't you out doing what little training you can?"
Lyndon gave his shoulders a heave. "Why bother. They’re getting ready for the trials. All I'm doing is carrying equipment."
"There you two are," announced a voice.
Soletus twisted around to the road to see Doran leaning on the fence. "Hey," he said.
"Hi," Doran waved and pointed to Lyndon. "Master Marth sent me to find for dummy over there. He's skipping training."
Lyndon stood and brushed off his trousers. "It's not skipping if I'm not learning anything new."
Soletus waved his arm at Doran. "Why don't you hop over the fence and join us for a second."
He hadn't seen Doran much. He only visited him once in the infirmary. During the day, he left early and arrived at his bunk late. When they were together, he said little. He didn't even eat with them anymore. It was almost as if he were avoiding them. There was clearly something wrong when Mien greeted him with a slight smile and Doran looked away. The boy's cheerful expression sagged. However, he didn't let it stop him from finishing up his current slice and selected another.
"No thanks. Can I talk to you two," asked Doran.
"About,” wondered Soletus.
The tod's gaze fidgeted to Mien, then back to Soletus's face. "Walk with me and I'll tell you."
Soletus stood to his feet. "Okay. I'll be right back," he said to Mien. "And don't eat all the melon while I'm gone."
"Pfff, fox-head has already eaten most of it," said Lyndon, giving Mien a friendly shove. The boy gave him a friendly swat.
It did not surprise Soletus Mien took a liking to his obnoxious cousin. Mien stated he was a little like his sister. It gave Soletus a lot of confidence to introduce him to other people without worrying.
Once over the fence, the three of them walked up the road to the monetary gates. When they were far enough, Doran spoke.
"How long are you going to be playing nursemaid for him?"
Soletus came to a dead halt. "Well one, I'm not being nursemaid. And two, what does it matter to you?"
Doran looked over his shoulder at the chapel for a second and spoke in a hushed voice. "Don't you think it's strange that he didn't get the shakes from that drass beast?"
"Some people don't," he shrugged. Soletus noticed but didn't think anything of it especially after he talked to Mien about why he had helped him.
"But someone that sheepish would," pressed Doran. "I talked to my father about it, and he said sometimes those possessed by the Maw show no fear towards drass beasts."
Soletus gaped at him, dumbfounded.
Lyndon let out a snort. "That's stupid talk."
"It's not stupid! You were too busy shooting to notice how he was acting. He was watching everything so intensely. Then his eyes doing this glowing thing and next thing I knew it, he literally jumped down and killed that beast."
Soletus and Lyndon exchanged a slanted questioning look with one another before shifting to Doran once again.
"He's a chanter,” they both said at the same time.
“But nothing they do things like that. So, he isn't evil," reasoned Soletus.
"Yeah, so stop being a dod," added Lyndon.
Doran scowled at him. "Why are you standing up for him? He's some noble's whelp. My father said he's going to be tossed into the Pit, Dias willing."
Lyndon stepped forward and started knocking Doran in the head with his fist. "Is something loose in your head? He saved Sol's life and you're going on how he deserves to die?"
Doran flayed his arms and pushed him away. "Ow! A person doesn't go around killing their brother and then kill a drass beast like it's nothing."
Soletus slapped his hand over eyes. "For the last time, his step-brother is alive."
"Either way, he enjoys killing things," said Doran.
Lyndon slapped him on the side head. "I didn't see him cracking a smile and giggling while doing a jig when he killed that drass beast. He was scared like the rest of us but had the gumption to do something instead of being like you shivering behind me."
Doran clutched the side of his head. "You're an ass!"
"Is my face a mirror now,” he retorted.
"Why even bother with him. He's Soletus's job, not yours."
Lyndon crossed his arms. "Maybe I want to be social. He ain't bad company."
"But he's not right in the head," he exclaimed earnestly.
Soletus heard enough and said, "Now we get to the real reason. He's different, so what? It's not like he's hurting you."
Doran puckered his lips and said, "I don't like him. I don't know why Lyndon suddenly does."
"Because he saved my cousin's life," said Lyndon. "It's just that simple. Now, are you done being stupid?"
"No, I'm done with the both of you," he spat. With that, Doran turned on his heels and stalked off.
The cousins stood side-by-side, bewildered by what transpired in front of them.
"What's digging up his arse," muttered Lyndon.
Soletus was still trying to make sense of it what transpired. Where did that all even come from? "Think I should go talk to him after a while."
Lyndon gave him a dismissive way. "Nah, he'll get over himself and apologize. He always does."
A day later, Doran moved from their room to another. He claimed it was because he needed to be with warders going somewhere with their training. It upset the cousins, as the three of them, including Valan, were always together. They were told during training that the chances of a group like theirs staying together from training to duty was slim. It was usually the road to becoming junior wardens was where most would break apart. Someone would leave or someone would die.
Valan was the start of it. Soletus knew Lyndon would go nowhere. They grew up with each other. His aunt would always visit, and she would always bring her little Lyn with her when they were babes. They got along the first day they met and, from that point onward, ended up doing everything together. Lyndon was always the one full of ideas. Soletus was the one making sure those ideas didn't get them into too much trouble. When they were both 15, Soletus decided to answer the call and Lyndon joined with him.
Valan came a year after, and they welcomed him into the group. He wasn't the smartest but was always willing to learn. A few weeks later, Doran joined in. He gravitated to Lyndon because he was more talkative and knew everyone. Soletus didn't care for him at first and had to warm up to him even though he was known for his complaining. He usually whined about training at first, and then would occasionally complain about one of them when the other wasn't around. Soletus wasn’t entirely surprised he choose to leave because of that. Lyndon didn't feel that way. He was sore about it.
"He's always been dumb and stupid," said Lyndon from his bunk the afternoon when he moved out. "I thought we got the dumb and stupid out of him."
Soletus rolled on his side, facing the wall. He wanted to nap, not talk. He clearly wasn’t done being sick because he felt fatigued. "He's allowed to do what he wants."
"He's new friends now," Lyndon went on sourly. "First year junior wardens. They are trying to help him pass the trials so they can have him in their band."
"They must be desperate."
"I know right," exclaimed his cousin from above him. He was silent and Soletus settled down and was at the edge of sleep. Then, his cousin spoke again. "So, what are you going to do? I've some training stuff two days a week, but that isn't a lot of time to be busy."
The young monk lifted his foot to kick the bottom of the bunk and tell his cousin to shut-up, but he lowered it and rolled over again. "I'm still helping Mien. He needs to get him more comfortable around others and speak for himself in front of the Arbiter."
He heard Lyndon shift above him, and his voice appeared right behind him. "I can help with that. Scouts have to relay information clearly and precisely as well as interact with the common populous. Master Marth said I'm naturally eloquent."
"I remember him saying you have a big mouth."
Soletus glanced over his shoulder to catch Lyndon's face pucker with annoyance before he lifted his head back up with an indignant snort.
"I can still help," he stated after a bit.
"Fine, we can see what you can do to help the next time you're free," he told his cousin. Though he wasn't sure if it was the best idea.