Inkwarriors, part 1 (Fiction)

The first thing an inkwarrior child learns is the Code. It’s the first thing they learn when they begin to speak. The Code binds all inkwarriors, regardless of what political differences they may have.

The Code is simple to remember, hard to master. It goes thusly:

An inkwarrior writes the real, keeping it safe from chaos. An inkwarrior wastes no words, writes no lies, holds nothing above their calling. An inkwarrior goes where they are needed, shows no favour, takes no bribes. An inkwarrior owes allegiance only to themselves and to the real…

Meril paused, sighing. “Must I keep repeating this? I know it by heart!”

“If you truly knew it, you’d not be mooning over some wizard! You’re an inkwarrior, Merril. You cannot love a wizard.”

“But I do!”

“You’ve never even spoken to them!”

“I… That’s true, but it doesn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t matter? You’ve no idea who they truly are. And they’re a wizard, so, y’know, evil.”

“How can you say that?”

“Wizards dabble in chaos for their own aggrandisement, Meril. Everyone knows that.”

“Well… I’m sure this wizard is different.”

“Doesn’t matter. They won’t give you the time of day. They hate us as much as we hate them. After all, we do spend a lot of our time undoing what they’ve done.” Paro sighed, seeing the determined look on Meril’s face. “You should forget them. It can’t go anywhere.”

Meril shook her head stubbornly.

“You need to study, Meril. The first exam is in two days!”

“Maybe I don’t want to be an inkwarrior.”

“So? An inkwarrior child becomes an inkwarrior. Just as a wizard’s child becomes a wizard, and a carpenter’s child becomes a carpenter.”

“And that is why our bookshelves are so wobbly,” Meril retorted, “because our carpenter has no actual aptitude for carpentry. Why can’t I become something else?”

Because it’s ordained. Do you want to fight not just the inkwarrior guild, but the priests and the king too?”

Meril stared stubbornly back at Paro, but said nothing. He sighed, and pulled down a thin book from the overflowing bookshelf.

“Read this. Maybe it will change your mind.”

“What is it?”

“It’s the story of the last person who tried a change of career.”

“It’s not very long.”

“There’s a reason for that.”

© bardofupton 2018

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