A Song of Rock and Fire

Shadow Warrior

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Jhakara awoke, or rather was awoken by her bed lurching out from underneath her. Instinct told her to fight her attacker, but all she ended up doing was flailing on the floor as Shadow-Man Sours began to yell at her. “RUN! GET THROUGH THAT DOOR! GO! YOU WANT TO BE A DRAGON? MOVE!”
Jhakara had expected it to be hard. Jhakara had been told it was hard. But she had not expected this. In a haze, she ran, or more appropriately, stumbled through the door. Before she even knew what was happening, she was running. She’d heard Toten and Natan call it “laps” before. Jhakara could run. That was no problem. By the third hour of running, Jhakara realized just what “hard” meant to the Shadow Men. She was still able to run, but it was wearing her down. Jhakara saw the waterfall only as the Shadow-Man Sours commanded her to climb it.

It was slow going, and it only got slower as he began to toss Rocks down from above her once he made it to the top. By the time she reached the top, her body screamed for an end to the training. Jhakara knew it was the only way to be a shadow-man. She told her body to shut up. Sours had her throwing knives at targets after running, proving to be as difficult as she would have expected. Her knives found there targets. Amidst all of the yelling, the Shadow-Man seemed pleased. Jhakara was glad to see she was doing well.

The next few days were more of a blur than anything. Her body adjusted to the training as quick as it could. By the end of it all, she had become more of a soldier than her days in the Dothraki Sea could have ever prepared her for. She was surprised to see the warriors so open to a woman alongside them. It was not done with the Dothraki. She had shown them, though. And she would show the Shadow-Men she was worthy too.

Sours sat down with her while resting during her training. “It’s time to practice hand-to-hand combat. You may not always have a blade or a bow at the ready.” They both settled into a stance, ready to fight. They traded blows, matching each other quite well. Jhakara landed a couple of strong blows. Sours added a few of his own. Jhakara landed a brutal uppercut, bloodying his face. Sours responded with his own blow, knocking the wind out of her and reeling her backward. He didn’t let up, but neither did Jhakara as she took him to the ground and locked his elbow. True to the nature of a shadow, he pulled himself out of it and stood back up. Jhakara followed suit.

“Very good Jhakara.” he said between breaths. “You’ve proven yourself quite well. I think your talents will be quite suited to the Dragons.” He reached into a small pack he’d been carrying, pulling the traditional black leather armor from it. “Here. This will be your armor. You won’t be a Dragon yet. At least not until you go on a mission with us. But as soon as that opportunity arises, you’ll have your chance to be a Dragon. I’m sure you’ll be carving your own dragon in no time.” he said, clapping her on the shoulder.

“Now, get some rest. And keep up on your training. We can’t have you dulled when we’re deployed. Always be ready.” he said as he left her to her thoughts.

“It is good to be Shadow-Man.” Jhakara added. “I will be ready, Shadow-Man Sours. It is known.” she said, bringing her arm to her chest in the typical salutary fashion. Maybe there was room for her in this Westeros after all. Khal Natan’s Khalassar was giving her all the meaning she needed.

But now, she wanted to rest. She barely moved from the couch the whole afternoon, except to eat. She ate ravenously, which was not too different from normal. As she lay half dozing, half aching after dinner, Toten came up to the room. “Hey, uh, Jhakara. I’ve got some stuff from the Maesters, er, Doktars. Drink this, it’ll help with the pain.” he said, handing her a small vial. It smelled strange, but that was usually the case with the medicine of the Doktars. She drank it quickly, trying to forget about the odd aftertastes so she didn’t send it right back out. “I also got this cream. It’ll help, uh, loosen up the muscles and stuff, I guess.”

Jhakara was too weak to do much of anything, and the last thing she wanted to do was have to slather the goop all over herself. “Toten, can you help Jhakara put on cream?” she said, barely able to look at him.

Toten was a bit taken back with modesty. “Um, you want me to just…” he hesitated. Jhakara offered little more than a grunt in response, affirming that yes, he could touch her without getting hit. Which was a bit different than Toten was probably used to seeing with Jhakara. She’d seen her fighting skills first hand and certainly didn’t want to tangle with her. Ready to block, he skittishly began to apply the cream. A fist didn’t come flying and he hadn’t woken up on the floor two hours later, so he must have been doing alright. He massaged the cream in, easily. To Jhakara, who had already been on the edge of exhaustion, it was enough to lull her to sleep. “Hey, Jhakara…” Toten began, before realizing she was asleep. He decided against waking her. She needed her rest, after all. He pulled a blanket over her and tucked it over her as she settled in.

“Goodnight, Jhakara.” Toten muttered as he headed back out, presumably to find the local brothel.



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