After a punishing afternoon all Jemman wanted to do was to clean up, soak in a hot tub and get rid of the bruises. Jardin really did beat her. It wasn't with a belt but a short birch stick.
Thinking over the day she realised that she
had been given a stick too. Jardin said she was free to use it on him any time she wanted. Believe me, she tried.
Only, her stick didn't move as fast as his did. It never hit his arms, or his legs, or his butt. He could stay in a horse stance without quivering. When she moved out of the horse stance position he gave her a little slash with the stick.
He could run laps around her. "That happens when you're two metres tall and you're racing a little girl." She made this comment to him and he hit her with a stick.
Jardin never seemed to care. He'd slashed at her whenever she slowed down. After two hours he finally stopped. "The road to becoming a Kenstar is a road of suffering. If this was your limit, would I punish you?"
"Yes." This time she'd learned her lesson and only said it in her head. Sass really wasn't worth it.
Not to sass was a lesson quickly learned.
Over the next hour, even though she was exhausted she'd actually gone a little better.
"It's only so you won't beat me."
She remembered thinking that she sounded childish even to herself. "Then again, I'm only a little girl." It was an excuse that had comforted her throughout the day.
After training, Jardin had taken her to her new home. "Six months until you try for a sect. Six months we have to get you ready."
He showed her a small hut that was to be her home. He then walked her to the well and helped her fill a large bucket. Then he made her a huge bowl of chicken and vegetable soup and told her to go to sleep within the hour.
"It's a new start tomorrow so don't go out of the compound tonight," Jardin said.
She noted the irony. It was a bigger new start than he'd ever guess.
After a bird bath she finally got under a rough blanket. Just before she went to sleep she thought, "Let Jemman begin."
She found it so encouraging so she said it out loud, "Let Jemman begin!"
If that had been her last thought, life would have been great.
"Oh crap, I have to go through puberty again?!"
The night was filled with dreams. She ended up married to John but then died in a car crash on the way to the reception."Ha, hope that's true!"
Then Jemman stopped and thought "I don't think people think in dreams, at least, I never have before."
She dreamed of being a quite well off, little girl in the house of a retired tailor. There was an older brother who disliked her. The servants in the home seemed to blame her for the death of her mother. Then, one day, she'd started to glow while losing her temper.
Everyone was excited. The dream moved through a barrage of visions. Different masters and doctors trying to help her replicate the result. Finally a cranky old wolf-man took her under his wing. Jardin.
In her dream she heard a term 'worlof' to describe Jardin. She wondered if that was his species.
If the dream or memories flitting through her mind were correct then she was a really late bloomer. Eight years old, no training, very little talent and only six months to become a Kenstar. Her Da, as her father was called, would risk a lot for her to become one. She had a chance to become a Kenstar but the most common phrase ringing throughout her dream was "Not quite enough."
Her dream ended with hundreds of people, servants and her parents all screaming, "Not Quite Enough!" Finally, as John Fen's condescending gaze looked down on her in her wedding gown, he said "Not quite enough." This time the voice was quiet, disdainful. Hearing it this last time, she woke up, sweat pouring down her face.
She got up, stared out a gap in the hut that was not quite a window and simply said to herself, "We'll see."
Her large green eyes were determined.