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The Tale of the Clover Bandit - Chapter 4

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Joseph groaned; he lay in a brown bed, but had no idea where he was. Further more, he felt that he had broken his leg. He staggered to the door and realized he was dressed in a grey shirt with several patches on it. He peeked outside and saw a boy with black hair playing a lute who wore a uniform like his own except it was decorated more extravagantly.

“Hey,” the boy said.

“Uh…hi?” Joseph said, puzzled.

“I’m Folisus - Master Vanoc has sent me here to fetch you.”

“Vanoc? The thief who could never be caught?”

“Yes. Can we just stop talking now? Master may be impatient.”

“Do I have to call him 'Master'?”

“If you want to be whipped, then no.”

Joseph shrugged, he followed Velnik through the winding corridor for half an hour until they reached a humongous room full of lit candles and white banners. Five people were around: one sat in a chair and the others were standing near the walls.

“Welcome!” An old man with a long braided beard boomed. He was in white robes underneath his gleaming silver armor. But the most outstanding thing was his helmet - it was Roman-like, except with lots of carved models of men.

All the others bowed or curtseyed, and Velnik signalled him to walk down a long yellow carpet that led to the old man before joining the others.

“You may be confused,” the old man said, “Folisus may have revealed to you some of it, so it might not be surprising.” He paused. “I am Vanoc Whilfast, the Keeper of the Abilities. Right now you are at my castle. It is sealed very carefully and up in the High River Mountains.”

Joseph was about to ask a question but was interrupted.

“I know what you are thinking: I have all of these special powers, right? To answer your question, no, the Mountains are not haunted. I just send Trove…” Vanoc implied while Trove raised his hand up (and then down). “..Down there every night to scare away brave - and not so brave at the end - villagers running screaming down the mountain.” Vanoc laughed. “I, Luck, and Hualla,” Hualla curtseyed before letting Vanoc continue on, “have helped you live.

“Now, I grant you…” Vanoc rose from his seat, and lay a torch of fire on Joseph’s shoulder, “the honor of being my student.”

Joseph yelped and dropped to the floor, he rolled around but it was no use, the fire had not gone out.

“Do not resist the Energy Fire, Joseph of Luck,” Vanoc soothed, “The fire will not hurt you, nor go out until the ceremony is over. Let us…begin!”

The students all around clapped and danced, Folisus began to start playing the lute, and Vanoc spread his hands out like a fan and a long table full of plates and cutlery was placed in the middle of the carpet while all the candle lights grew brighter.

Joseph was startled for a second, but soon found himself dancing too. Food appeared on the table and everyone sat down merrily and started to eat. H stared at the hot, sizzling food: there was roast turkey, roast beef, roast duck, mince pies, Christmas ham, Chirstmas pudding, and more. He was confused. Isn’t it October? he wondered.

Folisus, who was sitting next to him, said something that truly shocked him: “Oh, and by the way, you've been in a coma for two months. It’s December the 1st, so if you think this is a big dinner, check out Christmas Eve.” Joseph’s jaw dropped open, though he managed to shake himself awake ten minutes later.

. . .

It had been ten days since he had joined the group, and by now he had learnt all the names of the pupils: Folisus, Hualla, Trove, Caelan and June. It was a tiring day to go out and practice his powers at 4 o’ clock, but if he didn’t Trove would probably sneak into his room and pull a prank on him - “Master’s orders," he said; even though Joseph didn’t believe him, it was true.

Joseph was walking through the practice field when he was hit on the head with a wooden plank. He fell unconscious for a moment and soon found Vanoc staring at him; he was tied to a tree with long, hard ropes that refused to let him free.

“Surprise test! This tree is poisonous, by the way, so if you stay there for fifteen minutes you will surely die,” Vanoc noted, “I’ll check on you in five minutes. I’ve got to see if the others are still struggling.”

After Vanoc disappeared, Joseph concentrated hard on the ropes: his eyes glowed green, but nothing happened. He decided nothing could happen to the ropes, so he looked up at the sky. Suddenly an idea came to him - instead of concentrating on the ropes, he concentrated on something completely random. There was a peach growing on the tree which fell and splattered on the ropes. Then he concentrated on a parakeet of various shades of green as it pecked the ground. It noticed the juice, flew towards the rope, and lay grasped onto his shirt and began to peck at a tremendous speed.

He smiled; a few minutes had gone and the bird finished just as Vanoc appeared. He looked impressed. “Amazing! You’ve got a lot of talent, and even better, you’re the first one to complete the test! That’s great for a surprise-test beginner.”

Joseph looked at the parakeet: “Master, may I please keep this bird? It’s very beautiful, and it looks like it will bring me good luck.”

“Very well, but remember that it’s a she,”he muttered.

“Thank you master.” Joseph bowed and looked at the bird, adding to himself and her, “Hmmm…what shall I call you? What about Dreamcatcher? That’s a sign of good luck!” The parakeet chirped as if it like the name.

Dreamcatcher it is then,”he said with a smile.

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