The average man stands at 5’10. Weighs 170 pounds. Can hold his breath for 2 minutes 15 seconds. Kale was NOT the average man. He liked to be called Kestrel for one. He stood at 6’0 and weighed 195 pounds. He had thick medium length brown hair, and hazel eyes. Oh and he could hold his breath for 4 minutes, And that’s how long it had taken him to cross the river. 4 minutes. Leads you to think the river wasn’t very wide. Yet it was actually 2 miles wide. Now 4 minutes seems kind of impressive. It did to the rest of Kestrels village friends. Or at least until the 18th time he’d mentioned it.
“Wow you swam the 2 miles underwater in 4 minutes?” they would question with awe.
“Yeeeeeah I did!” Kestrel would respond. He loved it.
His best friend Laken knew it too. Oh how many times she’d heard it she couldn’t recall.
“Yes you’ve mentioned it. No I don’t want you to go fishing for 4 minutes..”
Although it bugged her slightly because she could only swim half that in the amount of time, she secretly enjoyed seeing her friend happy. Happy that he’d done something some people would class as extraordinary. But mostly just happy that he was happy. She was that type of person.
Laken was skilled as well though. She and Kestrel had gone through school together. There they had both opted for the more ‘outdoor’ activities. Both were highly competitive of each other. Laken was as good as Kestrel on most things. And she outdid him on a few. She was a fantastic swordswoman. She was an exceptional climber. She could front flip in an instant. Of course she wasn’t as big as Kestrel. She stood at 5’7 and weighed 130 pounds. She had flowing blonde hair, and blue eyes that shone a steely determination.
Kestrel and Lakin had grown up with the same dream and desire. They wanted to change the world. They wanted to destroy oppression and violence, and darkness. But of course everything starts with something small. Smaller than there desired goal at least…
Kestrel awoke the next day. He was happy enough however if you didn’t know him you might have thought him slightly grumpy. Fact was, he wasn’t a morning person. He loved his sleep. When it was deep and dreamless at least. Nevertheless he rolled over and plodded out of his covers. Kestrel them stumbled into the bathroom, and started to wash. He was never a guy who valued material possessions more than they should be valued. So walking into the shower wearing his bed t-shirt was not strange for him. He ripped it off already soaked, and threw it in a bucket of cold water. It would wash out there, he thought.
Laken on the other hand loved the morning. She was up at the crack of dawn and hated to waste even a minute. She was showered and on the road to getting ready 20 minutes after waking.
Dripping wet she pulled a towel around her, and headed into her bedroom. Searching through the wardrobe that was big enough to contain Narnia, but in actuality only had around 4 different outfits, she came out with a striking blue shirt, and jeans. She pulled up the sleeves and wrapped them round her arm. Both Kestrel and Laken both did this, and neither could truly remember why on earth they had started. Surely Kestrel thought he was the first to do it, and Laken copied. But he would never mention that to her. The fist he might receive in response wasn’t worth the gloat.
After he dared to head outside, Kestrel came across a sight he neither wanted to see, nor remembered to worry about. Markel, the town big guy had come to collect his lost pride.
During the last week Kestrel had been out in the forest collecting a subtle herb for the village master. The master had requested that the herb be collected, checked, filtered and returned to him within 5 hours. Markel had done exactly what was requested. Kestrel had not. However the reason behind it had to do with a small boy, who was the nephew of the village master. The young child had been out exploring. He had came across a large oak tree, with a deceptively easy few branches low down. Easy to get onto and commence a climb higher. Like most young people, the kid hadn’t realised that getting up the tree didn’t mean he had conquered it. He still had to come back down, and this he soon found out was something he wasn’t capable of.
Now both Markel and Kestrel had noticed the boy in this predicament. But both reacted in different ways. Markel thought almost immediately that it was a plan by the village master to steal their concentration and thus distract them. Kestrel, had thought the poor lad had gotten stuck in a tree, like he had done on many occasions when he was younger. He stopped to help. Markel did not.
Markel left and headed back to the master who was very surprised to see him return so quickly. By the time Kestrel had returned with the master’s nephew and a couple unfiltered herbs the master had explained to Markel that his son up the tree wasn’t part of the test. But Kestrel had shown remarkable adaptability and on the spot thinking that the test required the winner to use. Thus he had given 5 more points in Kestrels favour. As one can probably imagine, this made a rivalry, a more intense and hate fuelled test of manliness. Something that Markel could only solve with physical strength for it was after all his forte. Standing at 6’2 and weighing 190 pounds, he was a force to be reckoned with. A champion wrestler, and known to carry the most heavy and awkward logs in the village, Markel was eager to take on this town favourite in a one on one wrestling match…
Kestrel stood and stretched showing indifference instead of intimidation. He was always taught if you look bothered about something, it had that much more affect on you. When faced with bullies, these few words of wisdom made a lot of sense. Inside however Kestrel’s stomach was doing front flips and back flips faster than even Laken could.
“Well?” Markel’s voice was loud and deep. “Are we gonna do this or what!?” He was practically growling. Kestrel stood still and thought for a while. One thing that bothered him more than most was the word ‘erm.’ Or ‘err‘. Or ‘hmm..’. He didn’t understand why, when people didn’t know what to say they felt a need to fill the silence with half a word, that said basically ’I don’t know what to say here’.
Kestrel said nothing. He just stood there. He didn’t want to say yes, and didn’t want to say no. He wouldn’t be liked to be seen as a coward. But whoever in their right mind said yes to Markels offer deserved to be pounded.
“Yo.. You gonna just stand there or you going to actually be a man and do something?!!” Markel was getting more and more frustrated by the second. Kestrel smiled, that he would respond to.
“No, actually I’m going to stand here and wait for you to make the first move. After all it is YOU who wants to do this, and if I run into a guy as big as you for my opening move that’s as good as over right there and then.” He finished his sentence with a carefree smile on his face. He put his hands on his hips and waited.
Markel didn’t respond with another taught. He just put his body low down, and charged. Like a bull who saw red, he cut through the air with the speed of a lion, and the mass of an enraged rhino. The smile from Kestrels face disappeared.
“Oh crap..” He uttered.
Kestrel stepped back and as he was backtracking, maybe by pure chance, maybe instinct, he fell backwards just before Markel connected, and got his feet caught on Markel’s. Felling the giant in what is known in wrestling as a scissor sweep.
Laken had come jogged over after finishing her morning run just in time to see Markel hit the ground. She looked over at Kestrels face and noticed the look of a mixture of bemusement and concern. He didn’t fully know what had happened, but he was concerned because Markel hadn’t moved since he hit the deck. A groan from the stunned, and sore Markel disarmed Kestrel from his fears of just a moment ago, and he stood up in celebration. Laken smiled slightly and walked over to her friend, and patted him on the back.
“Well your screwed when he remembers what just happened” She stated with another smirk