Darkness fell, but Dag couldn't sleep, continuing to look at the top corner on the wall in front of him, illuminated by a light coming from outside the window.
It seemed real moonlight, or at least, what Lady Ysabel told him to be real moonlight: sometimes, children used to ask her how beautiful the Earth was before the Dark Day, the day the Sun died and the Xis settled on their 'blue' planet.
Ladies told them about flowers, birds, and other animals that frolicked in the meadows, about the sea, rivers, and waterfalls.
Children were fascinated by their books' illustrations, which showed them colorful and different landscapes, that were real until their life on Earth came to an end.
Dag was remembering as much as possible about those pictures, trying not to let them fade from his memory, turning from a side to the other in his bed and thinking about his past on Earth and his true parents, focusing on his mother, of whom he had no memories.
"Where is she? Is she an incubator for real? Is she dead? My father is certainly dead, the Xis killed him. It doesn't mind that much, now I have had the chance to restart" thought him, looking at the wooden roof of the farmhouse.
"94% Norse, 4% Roman. Why Roman? I'm definitely Norse, the percentage was higher, but what about my 4% of roman blood? And the 2% unknown value? What does it mean? Does it not count?"
Finally, after about an hour, he fell asleep.
The morning came and with it, the rooster started singing.
Dag slowly opened his eyes, soon noticing to be the only one still in the room.
"Oh no, I'm late…where are they? Shit!"
He quickly stood up and put on his leather shoes, then he opened the bedroom door, seeing that the main room was empty.
With a feeling of disorientation, he ran toward the exit of the house, being forced to cover his eyes with a hand, because of the bright sunlight, spread across that hill full of greenery.
After a few seconds, he finally saw Asa, feeding the cows.
"Good morning sleepyhead! I made an exception for today because it's your real first day here. From tomorrow, I'll wake you up with a bucket of cold water! You're late!" she told him, smiling, while Dag greeted her shaking his hand and scratched his head, slightly embarrassed.
"So? What are you doing there, still? If you come closer, I can tell you how to reach Jernhest's Library. You will meet a lot of interesting people that will help you through your…"
"I'll go to the Arena" Dag interrupted, sure of his words.
"The arena? Taya said that you are not a good fighter, you'll get hurt. She's got a good eye on these things… listen, life is yours, choose wisely who do you want to become. The choice is free, but if you choose to become a warrior, there'll be no going back" Asa stated, trying to be crystal clear with her new son.
Dag walked to her, saying: "I will be a great warrior and I will discover more about my origins. I feel that there is something I should know since I was a baby, I just don't know what."
Asa looked at his face, noting that there was something in his blue eyes, something burning in his soul.
What he was saying was true.
"Well, if this is your choice… wait for Eirik, he will go to town to sell our wood at the market. Go with him, he'll drive you close to the Arena. Next time you'll go on your own" she replied, thinking that his dream to become a great warrior was true and also if he needed more strength, his determination would let him overcome most of his future problems.
"Okay, thank you!" answered Dag, sitting on the grass and waiting for his brother.
Eirik was finishing to dispose perfectly half-chopped trunks on an old wooden coach, pulled by a brown and white spotted horse, and when he arrived before Dag and Asa, looked at his earthling brother, making him understand that he was not so happy to give him a ride.
"Let's go puppy, I heard what you said."
With a jump, after finishing to settle and tie the wood on the couch, Eirik got on it, grabbing the horses' reins, followed by Dag, who climbed the step to get on, helping himself with his hand.
He turned back, looking at Asa, that was smiling as always, watching her kids going on their own.
During the trip, Dag tried several times to speak to Eirik, but he was not such a good interlocutor.
The only information Dag obtained was that Eirik was 12 years old, 4 years older than him.
On the road, Dag studied carefully his new older brother: he was a cheeky boy, his hands were wide and calloused, despite his young age, probably because he was learning the lumberjack job.
His glance was focused on the road, while he chewed a licorice stick and Dag tried to learn the route from the house to town, simply by memorizing the surrounding area.
When they got to Jernhest's city center, he noticed that the journey was faster than the day before, with Taya, maybe because that morning they traveled downward.
"See you, puppy… we've arrived. This is the Arena" Eirik said, inviting Dag to get off the coach and pointing at the building next to them.
As soon as Dag's feet touched the ground, his brother whizzed away, minding his own business and he walked toward the Arena, trembling like a leaf and not knowing how to behave not to look ridiculous.
He inspired, inflating his chest and kept on walking to the entrance, remembering what happened the day before and reliving the pain on the hand the boy stomped with the shield.
Like every morning, lots of young recruits were fighting and training together, jumping and throwing themselves to the ground, trying to imitate the great adult warriors they dreamt about.
Once entered, without a word, he moved to the weapons rack, grabbing a sword and clumsily hitting the training dummy while the other fellows fought against each other.
Most of them didn't care about him, but somebody did: a group of three boys and a girl looked at Dag, defiantly and among them, there was the boy that Dag blinded and defeated the day before.
Without warning, he got closer to Dag and punched his back from behind before he could realize to be in danger.
The wooden sword Dag was holding fell to the ground and he touched his back, crouching painfully.
Then he stood back up, grabbing his sword, and continued to hit the training dummy as nothing had happened, turning his back on the guy that poked him, thinking that, if he hadn't given him confidence, he would have left him in peace.
The bully boy moved his arm swinging the sword against Dag for the second time when a hand grabbed it, pulling the fake weapon away.
"Kid?! Is that you?! I personally took you to the farmers' house yesterday… uhm… Dag! Is that your name?" Taya asked, ordering the other young warriors to stop doing nonsense.
"Yes, it's me."
"Hahaha! And what are you doing here at the Arena, Dag?" the Shieldmaiden continued, with the hands resting on her hips.
"I'm here to fight, to become a warrior. I'm ready to learn from you, Master Taya" Dag replied humbly, proving her to be well-mannered and willing to be put to the test.
The guys around him started laughing loudly.
"He could not be a warrior even in 100 years! Hahaha!" the bully boy yelled, mocking Dag, supported by his friends.
"Quiet, Finn! Nobody told you to speak! Get the fuck out of here, keep on training!" Taya said in a rude voice, shutting up the boy and trying to teach him some true discipline.
"Alright, you caught my attention. I'll test you again and again until your bones will break and your muscles will be torn apart. You will beg for mercy, little one!" she continued, smiling at him and touching his head, recognizing that, somehow, he impressed her.
When she finished speaking with the new recruit, she walked to the center of the dusty ground of the Arena and yelled: "two new recruits joined us today… Karl and Freydis, step forward!" she continued, shaking her hand and calling somebody.
From the group of people behind her, a boy and a girl walked forward.
Both of them had red hair: he was a young kid surrounded by an innocent air and walked among the other warriors, looking around with his eyes wide opened, appearing more scared than Dag, while she, Freydis, had long, wavy hair and big brown eyes, that shone at the sunlight.
Suddenly they draw Dag's attention, who started to ask himself if they were siblings.
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