In a more comfortable position, Svarik would have trouble to wake up early. The way he was sleeping though, he awoke before dawn, feeling quite stiff and sore. He opened his eyes sleepily, and looked around, at the kitten i his lap, and searching for Conrad and Liron, as it was dark and he wasn't sure what time it is, and if he should try to get back to sleep or stand up.
Just once did the general pay attention to Liron since the beginning of the training, and that was when they were already leaving the training room. He let the other vampires go ahead, and made a few steps to look at the sleeping elf. He shook his head, and then left as well, leaving Liron alone.
He found Conrad in armchair beside him. Man wasn't sleeping, but he was half covered with blanket, and making some counting with his fingers to pass the time. He was obviously waiting for Svarik to wake up. Fire in fireplace was quite warm, indicating he probably was adding few logs here and there during the night, to keep the room warm.
Baldir and Melody as well were in the room, sleeping in their beds, but Liron was nowhere around.
Liron didn't wake up as they left, through.. Despite he was almost on bare floor, he was just too tired, for that to mind him instantly. He shifted a bit somewhere later,probably somehow subconsciously feeling silence and absence of other presences around, specially the one he was here because, but then he continued sleeping, too tired to resists it.
Conrad turned his head toward Svarik then, seeing he's awake. He surveyed him from head to toe then, with his intelligent knowing look:
" Quite around time, yes... But we can leave it for tomorrow, if you will. " he suggested quietly, not to wake others: " One day more or less, it doesn't make much of a difference.. "
" I have no slightest idea. As far as I could see, I didn't see him tonight at all, but I can't really guarantee if he was here while I was asleep. " man replied:" Through, you shouldn't be concerned.. We would be waked if anything happened or so... He's probably just being more peculiar than usual. " man shrugged slightly.
Svarik bit his lip, and tried to find Liron in his thought... but he just sensed that the elf is asleep. That calmed him a bit, as it felt almost peaceful, and so he nodded. Then he gently supported the kitten still sleeping in his lap, so he could stand up without waking her.
Conrad's look grew a bit darker with it, and as if thinking about something he was carefully marking the aching points in his mind, but he didn't speak a word about that awkward standing up, only asked shortly when meadow king was already on his feet:
" So, shall we? "
" Oh, that's the very least problem.. " Conrad smiled very slightly, through, without much of merit, looking at kitten that stirred a bit, but continued sleeping, looking so very peaceful and content in Svarik's embrace... Without further words, holding pace with Svarik, man quietly opened him the door.
Conrad was quiet as he closed the door behind them, and sat down too, not on opposite side, but closer to Svarik... He was looking at city model in quietness for few moments, as if thinking about something, before he whispered, so very quietly, pointing at place where one house was, that seemed like a bit newer one, not like original one... It was somewhere at border of poor and middle quarters, much closer to poor, than middle ones.. " There.. "he pointed, obviously imagining something else than what was on that place now, some other, poorer house:" There was my home... For first five years. "
Conrad shook his head slowly:" It's funny, you know.. " he had whispered a bit bitterly:" I can better remember the roughness of walls.. the smell of fire and taste of harden bread.. the creaking of the floor.. Than I remember the people that lived under it.. My father.. My mother.. My older sister.. " he shook his head again, adding more quietly:" I only have few memories.. Vague, in shade, as if covered in mist.. Only few. "
Conrad was quiet, before he started to speak quietly...
" Both my parents were middle aged people or so... My father was a former soldier, you know. He married my mother in young age, so I was told. Through, as they were poor, he joined the army, wanting to gain more money for his wife and future family... or just pursuing his dreams... Anyway.. It was supposed to be year or two.. But it easily, in blink of an eye turned to ten.. But my mother was a good wife, quiet, caring, patient.. No matter of time, she waited... Until he came, finally. Through, not because he gained something.. But because he got crippled in a battle... Lost a leg, from infection of a wound.. He had no choice but to return. Through, I should not be complaining, after all, I wouldn't be here if he didn't return and finally start to.. um.. work on the family.. " Conrad smirked slightly, his eyes locked on the same place during the conversation, on place where him house was on model of city:" First thing I really remember.. The first continuous memory.. Begun with a the sound. I was sleeping, my mother tucked me in few hours before... I remember.. hunger. I was so very hungry, meadow king... We didn't have enough money at that time to buy enough food... But I remember that, in half sleep, I heard creaking... I sleepily raised to see what's happening.. My father was opening the old chest... And, in silence, taking out his sword from it.. He always kept it special, he never let anyone of us see it.. He was saying weapons are not for kids... I got curious.. I raised a bit more... And he noticed me. I got afraid that he will be angry.. But he only smiled.. I don't remembered his face.. Only that he smiled... He came to me, and caressed my hair... And then.. He says words that were about to change my empty childhood world forever... " man paused for a moment, lowering his look down. His words were a bit hoarse: " Do you remember that man that visited daddy last week? he asked, and I nodded.. Of course I remembered, vaguely, like child can... Even now I don't know who that man was... But back then, I could see in his eyes.. That he came to see my father not from pity, but because he appreciated him... I nodded.. You see, that was my old friend from the army.. Very good man.. He became white eagle... Do you know why? father asked, caressing me equally gently.. " Why? " I asked him.. And he said explained and wistfully: " Because he worked for it.. " my father said:" He wasn't idling, like your daddy,.. He was working hard, every day... He practiced every day..And he outrun so many.. Just because of his commitment. You are going to listen to daddy, won't you? One day.. when your turns comes.. Never spend your time in vain.. Never be idle, never wait for perfect chances. Create them. One day, you are going to be best, and you are going to make daddy proud, aren't you, my little Conrad? " There was something in his voice, meadow king.. Something I didn't knew back then.. Now, I would say.. That it was a pain of a man that knows he wasted his life. " Conrad shook his head:" I said I will... That I will make him proud. He smiled, and handed me the sword.... Hold it once, for me, dear... Remember it well.. Yes.. That's right.. Do you feel the blade in your hand? Do you feel its strength? One day.. One day, my little one.. One day, you will have one.. " I was feeling it.. Barely four.. I could barely hold it... But it was there.. I could feel it... The strength that blade gave, not to my hands.. But to my dreams.. My dreams that only then, for the first time, awoke in my heart. That day.. Was the first day that I realized what I want to be... " he was quiet for a moment longer, before adding very quietly: "Father took away the sword from my hands then... He took it, and went out and sold it.. That day, I had the most delicious meal I ever recall having in my whole life until then.. Not to speak about real fresh bread.. " Conrad chuckled slightly and sadly, while looking back up, at Svarik, with sad eyes: " But, sincerely... I didn't really enjoy it.. Knowing my father sold his most valuable possession to afford it to us, made it all bitter to me... Despite hunger... From then on... My hand craved for a sword... For an army.. For adventures.. And my dreams that were just then starting to take hold... "
Svarik was quiet while Conrad spoke, listening... not just to his words, but to everything that he could hear in his voice, between and behind the words. As a listener, he could imagine everything that Conrad spoke about almost as if he would be there, and feel what he did. He did not speak anything, but in his eyes was understanding.
" It's not like I knew I want to be white eagle right away, you know.. It came more slowly... Through stories... What my father said about that man who visited us barely once... It awoke my curiosity. And I was questioning... Asking questions.. Begging for stories.. For informations.. My mother knew lot of stories too.. From that day on, she could only keep me on spot if she would promise to tell me one.. Before.. From what I recall, I was rather melancholic unsociable kid.. From then.. I became, almost how to say. ..hyper.. I just couldn't stay on one place. Thinking they are sating my curiosity, all people around me, whether my parents, whether strangers at local taverns, they were instead feeding my dreams... And they were spreading and growing stronger in my heart... What once grows in heart of a child, sometimes, always follows the grown up man.. " Conrad continued with slight a bit sad smile, his eyes again wondering to the city model before them... He was quiet, before adding slowly: " It's strange, meadow king, what some desires can change once they awake in heart... From then on... Slowly, my mind that was only relying on my parents, started to grow independent.. It's sad when a child can't lean on mother and father to get them even meal, but I couldn't, and realizing that, took away some of my innocent perception of the world, if I ever really had one... My mind started to develop to make up for absence of security... Before, I was like other children, concentrated on feeling and perceiving the world around me.. But from then on.. I began to think.. Not about playing, or anything similar, but about my future.. I was feeling that craving need inside my heart, to became white eagle one day, to became the best soldier in whole army, to be considered worthy, to be loved, respected,to be example for others to learn from.. Even then, at such age, I knew. But as well.. Something from words of my father, from those words I said you, just wouldn't leave me: that I never stay at one spot. That I never stay idle. That I create my own chances... As I figured out then... "he smirked a bit:" Well, first, I had to reach adulthood to be able to progress... And for that, for once, I had to have food, like, on regular basic... As well.. I figured out that white eagle would never let his family be hungry, as long as he has two pair of hands... My morality scale.. Grow up mostly from that; what white eagle would, and what wouldn't do... And so... I ignored my age, and, instead of playing, like other kids.. I began to work.. I couldn't really do much.. I would go around markets, hope someone will need something to be carried and give me penny for it.. I would cast trash from houses for dimes.. Clean people's shoes.. At the end of day, I would usually be able to afford enough for a thin meal for us... It's not like my father and mother weren't working.. But my father couldn't strain for much in his crippled state, and my mother had children she couldn't always leave alone... And.. " he was quiet, as if not sure if he should admit that, but then he added slowly, looking down as if a bit ashamed:" I think he was drinking too.. I can't really tell.. But.. There's just that line in my head * Let+s drink it all away..* he would always say at the end of the day.. I don't know.. Maybe, if he actually was earning much, maybe he had enough for feeding us, at least.. But drinking it out instead.. I don't know. I don't remember.He.. Expect that one memory, everything connected with him is like in a mist.. I don't know much about him and mother... All know.. Is that if I was to help my family.. I was earning for it.. There weren't always roses on job.. Sometimes, I would just get jelled at by some aristocratic jerk, slapped because * passing too close to a nobleman*, or kicked out from the tavern because *minding respected guests*.. It was very hard for me at the beginning. I used to cry for hours back then.. Not at house, of course.. I would find some corner where nobody would see me... I couldn't understand how people could be so cruel to me without me doing them any harm. Was it my fault that I was poor? It never seemed fair in my mind... At few points, I would get so angry I would want to smash something. But I had a family to care of... I was always returning. Retrieving because of few slaps... Wasn't an option. Even now, I can't help it not to wonder, how those first insights in the cruelty of people managed to deeply built up my determination in not letting anything discourage me, into very core of my personality... "
Svarik nodded slowly, knowing it was so - while there were many ways how that cruelty could affect a child, only one of them could lead to the man that was before him. "It wasn't an option... for you..." he said quietly, but that was the only thing he said. Unlike many people, who in talk listen only with half of their mind, and with the other already prepare their reply, and search for paralelles in their memory, he was a listener, and focused on the tale with all his mind and heart... that was also why he wasn't that talkative in general, but now his silence was even more forthcoming and understanding,
Conrad nodded slowly, looking at Svarik for a moment.. Then he sighed, and continued quietly:" It's not like there were only hard times...There were few trait of lights, as well. I wasn't really fully abandoning playing with other kids.. One of those kids, as you know.. It was Baldir. Before, we weren't really seeing each other much, as we were.. um.. different circles. Our fathers knew each other, once or twice we sow before that time, you know, like, from politeness.. But, then.. You know, there was just that one day... That I remember particularly because.. " he paused, as if not knowing how to explain, but then he started from different angle:" That day, while returning home somewhere in late afternoon... I passed beside group of children playing.. And, as Baldir was son of councilor that wasn't most favorite, well.. Few older children were quite.. Bulling him. I was about to pass through, when I just.. Sow that miserable unhappy expression upon his face as one bigger boy mocked on him.. That I just.. Boiled up." Conrad said, subconsciously gritting his teeth: " As one child tried to push him, because he didn't want to hand him his toy.... I stepped in.. I don't really remember how... Or what I said and they replied.. But we quarreled.. And kids as kids... They started to fight with two of us, our innkeeper and me. Both of us soon had a biggest beating and spanking I *ever* recalled until then. You understand.. I was still young. He was eight, I was five. We didn't stand a chance against older kids... But we remembered that day. As we were counting out bruises together, me saying him to ignore jerks and saying how one day we'll beat them up, him crying and constantly apologizing... we spend a first real day of our friendship. Back then.. And even now.. I just can't believe how one accidental event could shape my life in so many, so many ways... " man nodded,looking down slowly: " And so.. My life then, at one point, seemed quite fine... Hard, but fine, full of hope.. I had family.. I had what to eat... I gained a friend, that was slowly becoming to me as if bigger brother, you know, as if a big awkward kid that knows nothing, but still cares from you.. brings you his toys to play with... Buys you milk, or brings you bread.. pears... and apples... even sweets.. " he shook his head slightly: " I was a bit over five... And I think, that, almost, I was starting to grow happy... Not for long, through... During my life, it just proved so.. That whenever I start to gain some security in fate and my life, circumstances around me just.. Change. "