When he fell ill, everything changed. It happened suddenly. One moment he was out running and playing with their hounds and the next Soran had collapsed and had to be carried to bed. His memories during this time were hazy; all he could remember was feeling incredibly weak and disoriented while everyone around him talked in hushed whispers. The next thing he could remember properly after collapsing was waking up one day and feeling strong again and trying to get out of bed, but being unable to move. In the next moment a scream pierced the air and the sound of crashing from the doorway followed by “M’lady! It happened!”
What had happened? Well, the distraught Soran didn’t know until his mother arrived and sat by his side to explain it to him. He was a weapon; the very thing his family didn’t want for him. While it was true that his mother was a weapon herself, she hadn’t wanted it for him. And yet here he was, a lance just like her. While she explained that things were going to change radically for him from here on and that they’d have to send him away to bond with a partner he panicked silently. Silently because he couldn’t figure out how to turn back; a fact that his mother didn’t realize until after she’d been talking to him for thirty minutes.
It took another hour for her to gently talk him through the process and once he turned back that strength he’d felt upon waking up vanished. While he didn’t feel as weak as when he was sick, he felt so much weaker than he had before the illness. When he mentioned that his mother had a pitying expression as she explained that, that was just how it was going to be for the rest of his life. Soran tuned out the rest of what she was saying as the information sunk in. This weakness was what he was going to feel for the rest of his life in his “human” form? If that was the case he’d rather just be a weapon.
In the month leading up to the “bonding” ceremony he rarely left his weapon form despite his mother and servants pleading with him to reconsider his stance. Now that he was a weapon he didn’t have to eat or sleep or… Do much at all to take care of himself. That was the only upside out of all of this. When he did leave his lance form it was to eat a small meal, nap, or read; the only activity he could participate in anymore without becoming incredibly winded or tired. It wasn’t his first choice of activity, but he could spend time cuddling with his dogs which, during his illness, he had spent a lot of time doing and it had become a comfort to him. Unfortunately for Soran he wouldn’t be able to see them where he was going.
Since he was a “noble” weapon he was “strong” enough to participate in the war. It wasn’t a choice; it was compulsory for him until he was thirty. That meant once he was bonded he and his partner would be training for and fighting in a war they barely knew anything about for eighteen years until they had “served their time” long enough to be allowed to retire if they wished. This training would take place in the capital which was a week’s journey from his family’s estate. When it came time to leave the reality of what was happening finally hit him; it was unlikely that he'd come home in a very long time- if ever again.
"I am not going." He announced firmly. From across the table both of his parents stopped eating breakfast to look at him. "Oh? And did you obtain royal permission?" Soran's mother asked, amusement clear in her voice. "No, but I refuse to leave." He replied stubbornly. "It's a bit late to cancel our trip now dear, we're leaving after we finish eating." "We don't have to go." He gripped the fork he was holding tightly and stabbed at a bit of food contemptuously. "Soran, we do have to go." The amusement was gone from his mother's voice. "You're fine for now, but if you don't get bonded to a partner you're going to die. You’re only twelve Soran, you have so much more ahead of you. I know what it's like to be ripped from your life and into the war- both of us do." His father nodded in confirmation. "We'll write often and visit you whenever we are allowed. You'll be told this is all about duty and to an extent it is for us, but it is also about your survival." With that there was nothing else said. It was clear that the subject wasn't up for discussion. While his mother had done all of the talking, the look in his father's eyes suggested that the conversation would be a lot harsher if he got involved. That wasn't something any of them wanted. So he ate what he could stomach quietly and allowed himself to be herded into the carriage. The ride there was very tense. Soran sullenly sat on one side of the carriage and his parents sat on the other, quietly talking between themselves while their son stared out the window listlessly.
[center It was a very long week.]
Their arrival in the capital was without much fanfare, but at least they finally had comfortable beds to sleep in. Their home in the capital was smaller than their estate, but it was more modern and “fashionable.” Whatever that meant. All Soran knew was this was the place they stayed when they attended court. The “bonding ceremony” wasn’t until the next day which gave them time to rest and fill Soran in on what he could expect, but given that he was still sulking the advice fell on deaf ears. And then it was the next day. Despite the ceremony that would change his life forever looming over him just an hour away, Soran acted as if it wasn’t happening.
The day of the ceremony he’d been dressed up nicely and escorted to the royal military academy where he’d be living during the duration of his and his partner’s training and taken in through a “secret” route into the ceremony chamber with twenty other children his age- all weapons presumably- all the while the overseers in charge of them lectured them about their sacred duty as weapons and how they were about to be soul bound to defenders of the nation. Once in the chamber Soran looked around and the weight of what was happening truly sunk in. Long stone pedestals lined the room, each draped in a rich, red velvet. The place they’d be displayed.
The head overseer explained to them that they would each lay on the pedestal before turning into their weapon form since, according to the woman, no one but their intended partner could even touch them. Soran doubted it, but he couldn’t exactly argue when he was being scrutinized by the numerous overseers. After they were all in place, they would let the potential partners in one by one and allow them to “make the soul connection” naturally. No turning human to allow their looks to sway them (whatever that meant) and certainly no talking to them. According to the overseer the process could take minutes or even hours- “One pair took nearly a day to meet once! Be patient!” Soran hated this. Lecture over, he and the others all took their places on the, surprisingly comfortable, pedestals. Whoever his partner was, they better find him soon. He wanted to get this over with.
The first child was allowed in and took only five minutes to find her partner. She hadn’t even gotten to the row that Soran was in. Hopefully that set the precedent for the rest. The next one also found his weapon quickly, but only because he ignored all of the weapons he didn’t like. He, unlike the girl, made it all the way to Soran. A taller boy, blond with green eyes; he looked like someone he’d seen at court before, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember his name. When he looked down at him his eyes lit up and an unsettling smile split his lips. Despite wanting to be picked quickly Soran felt very uncomfortable when the boy reached out to touch him. [i "Don’t touch me."] Even though he couldn’t speak it seemed that the boy got the message. As soon as he touched him, his hand recoiled as if he had been shocked. An angry, offended expression replaced the creepy one, but he moved on and eventually found his weapon on the next row- much to Soran’s relief. With him gone, the next one was allowed in.
This one was taking his sweet time. It took a good twenty minutes before he even appeared on Soran’s row and when he did it was obvious that he wasn’t even trying any of the weapons- he was just looking at them. This boy was shorter than the previous one and he was grey; obviously part weapon somewhere along the line. He had deepset, yellow eyes under thick brows that were thoughtful as he looked around. The boy’s hair was a choppy mess that was black with streaks of white through it that almost made it look as if he was prematurely aging. When the boy got to Soran, he paused and stared down at him for a few minutes. It almost looked like he was about to try and pick him up for a moment, but he soon turned and continued walking along to look at the others. Soran felt a flash of irritation that he didn’t just pick him up. Was he not good enough?
By the time the boy had finished walking the rows it had been nearly an hour and he still hadn’t picked anyone. Sure the overseers said that it could take hours, but Soran had thought they were exaggerating. Initial inspection completed it appeared that the boy was now, finally, picking up weapons that caught his eye and “trying” them out. So much for not being able to be touched by anyone but your intended partner. From what he could hear it didn’t sound like it was going well. A couple of times he heard the boy cry out suddenly and heard the sound of something dropping. Maybe he’d gotten shocked like the blond boy? Aside from that he heard him talking to himself saying that one of them wasn’t quite right, one had a nice design, but didn’t feel right. This continued for nearly another hour before the boy was finally at him again.
He had to be the one. Why else would he feel so irritated about him not picking him up immediately? Well, impatience, but beside that he had felt genuinely irritated that the boy was picking up weapons other than himself. Silently he willed the seemingly hesitant boy to pick him up. "I hope it's you. You’re powerful looking." The boy said after a moment's hesitation and finally picked him up. Now this felt right. Soran felt steady in his grip and he felt as powerful as the boy thought he looked. This had to be what his mother was talking about. If the look on the boy's face was any indication, he felt the same way. [i "Finally. It took you long enough."]
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