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been out in the night, saffron.
IP: 2.26.209.117


Cal wasn’t a massive fan of the guy who handed out assignments whenever Flynn had a day off. He didn’t assign anyone; Flynn was the one who wrote out people’s assignments, and this guy – Capper – just picked them up off his desk and gave them to people. From the way Capper behaved, you’d think he was filling in for a god, not a captain of the guard. Cal made a concerted effort not to roll her eyes as he swaggered over to her in the line-up and dropped a clipboard into her waiting hands.

“Training duty for our resident alien.” He announced.

Cal eyed his flabby, desk-loving backside as he strolled down the line. “Worse things than being an alien.” She muttered, to the smirks of the guards either side of her.

Training duty. She hadn’t had to do that before, probably because they usually got the people who had been with the guard longer to do it. Cal studied the top sheet of the clipboard, which told her the name of the recruit and some basic information about her. Saffron. In the Volcano, that would have been an unusual and exotic name for a middle class girl, probably from a merchant family. On Shaman, Cal had learned, it could mean anything. She shrugged, fist-bumped the guy next to her and sloped off to the stables to pick up Buddy.

She expected to have to go in and get him, but as she approached the door burst open to present the most magnificent entrance Cal had ever seen. Buddy must have pre-planned it and been watching through the window to make sure he timed it right. The doors swung open with such a force that they clattered back against the outside of the stable, the noise causing heads to turn in their direction. Buddy (or someone) must have lit some torches inside, because he stood in the doorway framed in a halo of orange-yellow light. He stood poised for a moment, head and tail high, neck arched, before trotting out into the sunlight. His black-and-blue coat gleamed and his tail swished softly from side to side. A woman nearby sighed in admiration.

Cal rolled her eyes. She placed her hands on his back and swung herself up without the use of a mounting block, settling onto his bare back with ease. She directed him with telepathy round to the training grounds and urged him into a canter when he tried to keep up his fancy trot. Buddy didn’t mind cantering. It meant that when they arrived at the training grounds, he could bolt directly in and then skid to a dramatic halt on the cobblestones. Cal swung her leg over and hopped off him while he tossed his head and pawed the ground, electric blue eyes gleaming.

A handful of teenagers were scattered about the grounds. Cal consulted her clipboard again, but it didn’t provide a physical description. She tucked it under her arm and cupped her free hand around her mouth to amplify her voice.

“Hey! Which one of you is Saffron?” She jerked her head back to Buddy. “You’re with us today.”

CALDERA




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