Writing Prompt: It was a hard habit to break.

Good morning all. Last night my dreams bounced around from topic to topic but through out all of them there was the same instrumental song playing. Like each of the dreams had the same radio station on and were taking place simultaneously. I know instrumental sounds classy, but I’m pretty sure the instrumental song was more television theme song than something heard at a night out at the symphony. I just can’t figure out the show. which may drive me mad. But at least that will be a shore trip. Before then, lets push on with the morning prompt shall we? Good. Prompt first, madness later.

I kind of like this one. I need more details and I’d probably start with the burnt hand and then go to the rest, because I like to start stories with action. But that is for both after I figure out the full story and an editing issue after it is written. As a prompt, I kind of like it.

Thursday, October 7th: The habit was hard to break.

The habit was hard to break.  He couldn’t remember when it started.  At the moment it felt like the habit had always been ingrained in him.  But it felt like it was slowly killing him.  And he didn’t know what to do about it.

Each time one of the others issued a command, he felt as though he had to obey.  Those around him didn’t have the official authority to order him about, but no one in authority actually corrected them.  He remembered the stings, the insults and the sheer physical pain of his early reluctance. 

Because of those memories, he knew there was a time when the habit wasn’t ingrained in him.  When he looked inside, there was no connection to that former, even slightly rebellious self.  Still following all of their commands was killing him bit by bite. 

He wrapped the salve soaked cloth more tightly around his hand.  He winced as it pressed into his burn flesh but he long ago learned to ignore physical pain to do what had to be done.  Despite the pain, he saw the damage and knew it wasn’t bad enough to leave a scar.  His body had acquired many scars throughout the years.  Some were a matter of course.

Training at the academy always took it’s toll.  Even those who came from privileged families with pampered childhoods who brought their servants with them to see to their needs still ended up marked by their studies.  Given the multitude of his own marks and the fact that many of them should belong on the flesh of others, he had little sympathy.

Still the pain was necessary for study as was his subservience.  However that was coming to an end.  Soon he would be leaving.  His final exams were passed and he was given his final marks.  Although always given grudgingly and with more insults than praise, his marks were the highest in his year. 

He smiled to himself despite the pain in his hand.  The excellent marks were the reason he was not at the ceremony today.  He was given his awards, his certificates, everything the academy was required to give to him.  However having him stand with the others, especially as his marks were the highest could not be allowed.  As they were introduced to the gathered crowd, they were announced in terms of their success.  His higher marks would have made him the first of his class to be acknowledged. 

Acknowledging him ahead of all of the others, regardless of the fact that he earned the recognition, could never be allowed.  And so after being given what he earned, what he had been working towards for ten solid years, he was ordered to settle one of the more fractious dragons. The task was now complete.

And it was the last order they could give him.

Hand bandaged, he reached for his previously packed bag.  Buried deep within were his awards his marks placing him at the top of his class.  He wanted no casual observer to see them, take or even damage or destroy them.  They were safely hidden.  He slung his pack onto his back and stepped out of his quarters for the last time.  There would be no more orders. There was no more need for subservience.  He was done and obedience was a habit he needed to break.

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