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View Full Version : No title yet, just an ongoing story



MadMickyG
April 29th, 2017, 03:48 AM
I started this story in a board game forum Gold Bearer and I are members of. It came about due to a character class I created. With the need to develop the class, showing others that it could have some merit, I started writing this. Plus the fact I love to write! :P No title yet, but I have quite a bit written already. All comments welcome.

It was a bright clear day in the great city of Nuln, the sun high in the sky as people passed by the large doors to the Mage Tower. There were a few people waiting idly at the base of the steps, looking anxiously at the enormous double wooden doors. They were waiting for something, or possibly someone inside. They talked with each other every now and then, before looking back at the large doors. The intricate carvings that covered both the doors and the surrounding archways let anyone who looked know it was magically protected. Glyphs and wards of differing power covered the enormous tower from top to bottom. They were practical, but intricately beautiful to look at also. Some felt like they drew your interest, then sucked you in so you might only feel like you were staring for a few moments. When people stopped staring, or they were snapped out of their 'trance', they would realise they'd been watching the magical symbols for thirty minutes or more.

The doors burst open. Those that did not know and had been pulled in, were snapped out of their zombie-like state as a large group of young men and women, all dressed in elegant robes, poured out the doors like a wave. Most were smiling and laughing. In a mass of bodies, they flowed down the stairs. Some were met by those waiting, others headed home with news. As the last few trickled out, there was one young man shuffling slowly down the stairs in his scruffy, make-shift robes. He was the last to exit the tower, as though he didn't want to leave. He kept looking over his shoulder, a longing in his eyes as he watched the large ornate doors slowly close. There was nobody there to meet him. Nobody talked to him. Some cast him a cursory glance before looking away, smiling as they kept talking to their family or friends. His young face showed deep sadness, a disappointment that affected his entire body. He shuffled forward like an old man, his shoulders drooped, his eyes never leaving the ground, as he made his way toward the main city exit. He passed through the gates to the outer edges, where the majority of Nuln lived. His family was on a farm on the outer edge of the settlement that surrounded the inner city, next to the forest. Despite his slouched frame, he appeared in great physical shape. His shoulders were broad, from constant lifting. His arms, although not huge like a barbarian or soldier, were very well toned from the hard work farmers do day in and day out. The sadness in his composure and his slouch, clearly showed that he hadn't receive good news at the end of the Wizarding Entry test. As he turned left, on to the road that would take him to his family's farm, he glanced back one more time at the outer walls of the great city. He heaved a huge sigh, his shoulders dropping a little lower as he exhaled. He looked at his hands for a moment. He turned them over, seeing the scars from his years of farm-work. He paid no attention to the scars, as they were as normal to him as the hairs on his arm. He looked at his fingers, flexing them slightly. The blank look on his face changed to one of puzzlement.

"Why?" he thought to himself, as he dropped his hands by his side and continued shuffling forward along the road towards the farm. He had known he was meant to be a Wizard since he was old enough to understand what a Wizard was. He had developed power as he got older, constantly causing accidents on the farm. Nothing serious, but he knew his father was annoyed. It cost them money to repair the damage, money they didn't really have. The farm was barely surviving. His parents had paid for him each time to take the test. He knew it was more for getting him away from the farm for a time, because he knew they didn't want him to become a Wizard. The first two tests he had been told to try again next year, as he wasn't ready. This year, he had received the worst news ever. It was his third try. Because he failed again, he could not take the test anymore. The results had not been good, and he knew it. He thought of how he was going to tell his parents that all the money they had saved to have him take the test, was wasted. That he would never become a Wizard. His dream today, what he truly felt was his destiny, had been crushed. He put his hand in his pocket, pulling out the piece of paper he had been given by one of the Magi after the test. It was for a position in the Great Tower. But it was not as an apprentice or acolyte, it was for a scribe. His future, his destiny was to copy down magic spells, transcribe them on to parchment, to be sold to adventurers. It was good work, paid work. Plus he would be in the Great Tower. But it was not his destiny. At least not the destiny he wanted, the one he felt was waiting for him. He put the piece of paper back in to his pocket as he continued his slow shuffle toward home.

MadMickyG
April 29th, 2017, 06:39 AM
"Reezart!" a voice called out as the young man walked the last few steps down the long road to his family's farm. The young man looked up from the road, seeing his mother over by the barn, waving as she called to him. He sighed again, realising he was moments away from having to tell his parents he had failed in his final attempt to become a Wizard. She dropped a bucket she was holding and walked quickly over to him, her smile wide as she got closer. Reezart wasn't sure if she was smiling because she could see how depressed he was, or just that he had returned and she was happy to see him. Her question told him exactly why she was smiling.

"From your happy posture, take it you didn't make it?" she asked, toning down her smile as she waited for the unhappy news she knew was coming. She was glad he did not make it again, as this meant he would stay on the farm and would never become a Wizard, or adventurer, like her brother had done. He would never go off and get himself killed like her brother had done either. This was why she was smiling. Reezart, however, thought she was smiling because they knew he would fail and were happy that he did so they could keep him on the farm, working. He'd thought about lying to them, telling them he got accepted and needed to leave the next day. But both his parents were far too clever to fall for that, especially since Reezart could never hide disappointment very well. He was about to say something when his mother held up her hand.

"Don't say anything yet," she said. "Wait till your father and brothers get back. They should be home in a little while." Great. More ribbing from his older brothers too. They made fun of him for wanting to be a Wizard. But never too much. He couldn't control his apparently 'limited' power when he was angry. Limited. That's what the Wizard test had shown. He had strong magical ability, but it was limited. It could be focused of course, harnessed and developed. But he would never be a Wizard. There were other areas he could work in other than scribing scrolls to parchment. He could work with the blacksmiths, or even the few Dwarven blacksmiths that frequented the town, using his magic to enhance the weapons and armour they crafted. Or aid in the creation of clothing. Making boots and cloaks with extra features for the heroes and soldiers that fought the Chaos hordes for the Empire. But he would never be one of those heroes. Something he had dreamed of doing as a Wizard. Fighting with friends by his side. Slaying Orcs and Goblins. Rescuing damsels. Reezart could see the destiny he craved so desperately, turning to smoke in front of him.

"Sure Mom," he said as he headed to the house, wanting nothing more than to collapse on his bed.

"Hold up Reez," his mother said, putting her hand on his shoulder. He turned and looked at her, a sudden rush of emotion about to explode within him. She stepped closer, wrapping her arms around him.

"Dont worry," she said, hugging him as only a mother can do, silently glad he would always be safe on the farm now. "You will find your path." She meant it in regards to him staying on the farm, but Reezart heard it differently. He smiled a little, realising she was right. She let him go, taking a step back.

"Can you go clean out the stables and throw in some hay for the horses. Your father and brothers have been out most of the day. I think the horses will be pretty hungry when they return."

"I'm sure the horses wont be the only ones," Reezart said, turning toward the stables. His mother chuckled slightly, glad she heard a touch of light in her son's response.

Reezart was just loading hay in to each stall when his father and brothers returned. His father was getting grey around his ears, but his eyes were still sharp and alive, his body also strong and muscled, from living most of his life on the farm. Reezart's two older brothers, Reeshas and Reeman, looked very similar to their father. They had their fathers strong jawline, plus his heavy set brow. They were not overly intelligent, but they were both clever. The two would practice sword fighting with any spare time they had once the farm work was completed. Reezart had tried to join in but, despite his muscled frame, he just didn't like swinging a sword. In a free hand fight, he seemed to hold his own against his brothers, even when they teamed up on him. He never won the fight, but it was never an easy win against him. Despite his brothers not holding back on their punches, it was always the most fun Reezart had with them. And they showed they respected him, even if it was only a little.

"Heya squirt," his father said as the three men walked their horses in to the stalls, "how'd it go today?" Reezart was about to say how he had missed out again, when his mother's comment echoed in his ears.

"I'll update you all at dinner," he said, turning toward the house. Dinner was still some time away, so Reezart headed to the house and grabbed a change of clothes. He went around to the shower to clean himself up from the days events. As he headed back to the house, he could hear and smell the delicious meal his mother was preparing. Reezart headed out to his favourite spot just outside the farm, a place even his brothers did not know about. It wasn't far from the edge of the woods, a few large rock outcroppings scattered through out the area. Here, with nobody to observe him, Reezart would test his skill, manipulating the magical force within him. Without any spells to focus his energy, he could only control the environment around him. He would start a small flame on a tree branch, then douse it with summoned water. He could make the air move quickly through the tops of the trees, then circle it back around. He would repeat this over and over, making a tiny little tornado. It had no real power to it, but looked amazing filled with dirt and leaves within its vortex. As Reezart dissipated the min-tornado, he heard movement towards the edge of the tree line. He looked to where the noise came from, but couldn't see anything. Feeling a little nervous, Reezart turned back toward the farm. He kept looking over his shoulder as he started walking, sure there were eyes on him. As he turned around to stare ahead, another noise made him look back. He could see the figure had dropped low, using the taller grass to hide. But if he was not mistaken, he was sure he saw an ugly green face under a metal helmet. He kept looking at the spot the helmet had dropped down. He was pretty sure the grass was moving, as though whatever was hiding below the grass moved towards him. Reezart stood, transfixed. He was scared. Whatever the green thing was, it was coming to get him. Him! How could he defend himself? He had magic, but it did nothing dangerous. If the thing wore armour, then he really had no chance. The swaying grass got closer, but Reezart heard nothing. Just a few feet from him, Reezart heard a grunt. Suddenly before him, leaping through the air, was a well armoured Goblin. It's filthy dagger raised in its fist as it flew at him. Reezart screamed, throwing his hands up and out. A gust of wind lifted the Goblin higher in the air. Instead of landing on Reezart, it landed behind him. He turned and watched as it landed on it's feet and rolled forward then stood up in one fluid motion. It turned and looked at him, it's red eyes appeared to glow with hatred and confusion. It obviously didn't expected any kind of resistance from Reezart, especially not magical. It approached cautiously now, ready for anything. Reezart knew he was in trouble, but decided he would not go down without a fight. As he had just done, he moved the wind. The Goblin tensed, waiting for a magical attack. When nothing happened, it moved closer. That's when Reezart circled the air around, calling it back. The Goblin was standing on one foot when the gust hit him, spinning him around. It's confusion turned to slight panic, as another gust turned it around again. It looked at Reezart, who was concentrating on calling the wind and turning it back. Slowly, gust by gust, a mini tornado formed under the Goblin. It realised too late that it's booted feet were no longer touching the ground. It spun in the air as Reezart repeated calling and turning back the wind. With a small sense of pride, Reezart knew the Goblin could do nothing, it was suspended helplessly. But the Goblin's face showed no sign of panic, appearing calm. Reezart suddenly understood why. He could feel the sweat forming on his brow, some trickling down the side of his face.

"Oh no," he moaned, realising he was tiring. He could not keep this up for much longer. His arms ached. His legs were like jelly as he continued to call and turn it back. When he could no longer call the wind, he would not be able to run. Then the Goblin would have him. The look on the Goblin's face, as it spun, showed that it too knew that's would happen. Reezart took a deep breath, summoning as much strength as he could, so he could continue calling and pushing the wind. His body didn't respond. He was almost out of energy. A hideous smile formed on the Goblin's grotesque face, broken and crooked sharp teeth exposed, as it slowly sank to the ground. Reezart dropped to his knees, totally exhausted and out of breath. He looked at the Goblin as it took a moment for the Goblin to stop from swaying. It stepped forward cautiously, ready for any last ditch attacks from the magical creature that had held it aloft. It was inches from Reezart, with no other attack coming. Reezart couldn't even lift his arms. He just knelt on the ground as the Goblin raised it's dagger high in the air, knowing there was no defense left in it's victim. As the dagger descended, something strange happened. The Goblin's face turned sharply to the left, a few teeth flying out passed Reezart's face. It took a moment for Reezart to register the object that impacted with the Goblin's head was a staff. Not a walking staff, but a fighting staff. A weapon. It had material wrapped around the middle, to aid in gripping. Reezart, still breathing heavily, looked over at the Goblin, laying on the ground. It was not moving. It's jaw clearly broken. He felt a hand on his shoulder.

"You were very brave," a man's voice said calmly. Reezart looked up at the owner of that voice. He felt a wave of calm wash over him, emanating from the person's hand. Reezart could not see his face, but the shaved head and the coloured robes meant it must be a Monk.

'That explains the staff,' Reezart thought. He heard another voice. It was deeper, more primal.

"What was that magic he was doing?" it asked.

"Beginner elemental magic," a third voice said. That voice was old and wise. "Definitely untrained though." As Reezart was laid down on the ground, his body devoid of energy, physical or otherwise, a soft hand touched his forehead. There was magic in that hand, as he felt energy washing over his body.

"Oh dear," the old voice said. "Pity. He has the mark. This poor lad has failed the test three times."

"What test?" came another voice, this one soft and melodic. Reezart knew the sound of an elf speaking. The few he'd heard reminded of him of someone speaking in song. He couldn't tell if it was a male or female though, their voices all sounded the same to him.

"The Wizard test!" the old voice replied, sounding annoyed he had to explain himself to an elf. "If ever the test you fail times three, never a Wizard can you be. So it has always been."

"Really?" the voice of the Monk asked, sounding a little shocked.

"Indeed. Once you have failed three times, you can never begin the journey. I'm sure they'll have other duties he is capable of, but being a Wizard won't be one of them." Their voices continue, but Reezart lost consciousness and heard nothing else.

NeenaDiHope
April 29th, 2017, 01:59 PM
Great story! Reminds me of an old set up for D&D. I started more than one character out similar to this, not exactly but close. This is a book I would read! <3

MadMickyG
April 29th, 2017, 11:40 PM
Reezart opened his eyes. He looked around the room, unsure of where he was. It was a small room. It contained the bed he was on, with the blanket covering him. There was a short cupboard and dresser, with a large bowl on the dresser, most likely for water to wash in. A single chair in the corner near the head of the bed. Reezart sat up slowly, looking at the plain walls. There was no colour in the room at all. He was about to get up when he realised he had no clothes on. Reezart, holding the blanket around him, shuffled over to the cupboard and pulled the door open. He reached in and pulled out the clothes hanging inside. It was a dull greyish robe, with an insignia in the upper left corner of the chest. It was the symbol for a scribe. 'Heroscribe', as some people referred to them. The name came from the scrolls being mostly sold to Wizard adventurers, or those with magical abilities like the Elves. Reezart shuffled back to the dresser and opened each draw. One contained some soft footwear, the other had undergarments. Reezart dressed himself quickly. It wasn't because it was cold in the room. It was quite a nice temperature actually. Reezart could have quite easily sat around in the room with nothing on. But Reezart had always felt uncomfortable being totally naked, even though he had the blanket half wrapped around him. While Reezart was struggling to dress himself correctly, the robes more complicated than they appeared, there was a knock at the door. A tall gangly man, wearing a darker version of the same robe, opened the door and walked in without waiting for an answer. His hair was tied back in a pony tail, but Reezart could see without that tie, the tall mans' hair would be like a crazy wild shrub.

"Greetings," he said curtly. There was no friendliness or feeling of any kind in his tone, just simple matter-of-factness. The man could see Reezart was struggling with the robe.

"Allow me," he said, again without waiting for a reply. He walked over and helped Reezart tie the robe. He stepped back, nodding in confirmation Reezart was dressed correctly.

"Follow me please," he said, walking out the door. Reezart was clearly in some kind of dormitory, as he stood in a corridor lined with doors exactly like his. He could see through doors in to other rooms, all with identical furniture.

"Quickly now," the man barked, "we don't have all day to stand around." Reezart hurried to keep up with the mans' lengthy stride. The man pointed to stream of other young men and woman, similarly dressed, moving along the corridor.

"Follow those with the grey robes," the man said. He watched Reezart walk past him toward the line of others. "And, welcome to Tower," the man laughed softly, turning and walking away. Reezart fell in line with everyone else, a few scattered people dressed in the same grey robe as him. There were other colours as well, with different symbols. Reezart followed those with the same robe as his, as he was instructed. After what seemed like forever, as the number of people thinned, until their was only those in grey, he entered a large room that resembled a huge library. Reezart could see people sitting at the stations, working. A large book, open on on the left side with the piece of parchment on the right. At least half the stations were empty, but slowly being filled by the people Reezart had been following.

"Can I help you?" someone asked. Reezart stopped scanning the room, turning to look at the owner of the voice. The man was incredibly tall, his body frame definitely not built like a scholar or scribe. His shoulders were wide, his neck quite thick and muscular. Reezart suspected he was in great physical shape, but it was difficult to see under his long, dark-grey robe. He looked down at Reezart, one eyebrow raised.

"Well?"

"I, um," Reezart stammered, a little in awe of the man towering over him.

"I don't have all day," the man said impatiently, "spit it out!"

"Wait, wait," another voice called out. Reezart turned to see a short, chubby man walking swiftly towards them.

"What?" the tall man asked, clearly not impressed with being interrupted. The short man handed the tall man a note. He looked at Reezart and smiled, wiping sweat from his forehead. The tall man read it quickly, his eyebrows raising and lowering as he read, as if they were doing pushups.

"Thank you Tarees," he said when he finished, handing the note back to the short man. "Now I know what to do with him." He grabbed Reezart by the shoulder, steering him toward the back of the room. The short chubby man turned and walked off quickly.

"Hurry up," the tall man said, "walk faster." They maneuvered to the back of the stations. He plonked Reezart down at a workstation, opening the spell book to the front few pages. Reezart read the spell quietly in his head.

"Think my brother can tell me what to do in my house, just because he has killed a few Goblins and Orcs." The man pointed to a large stack of parchment.

"You transcribe all those with that spell. You have till the end of the day." Without another word, he turned and walked off. Reezart looked around, seeing a few people looking at him. Some laughed, some shrugged. But everyone turned back and started transcribing their scrolls. There was no talking, no whispering, not even any laughing. Just scribbling and scratching, as hundreds of scrolls were recorded on to parchment. Reezart shrugged. He pulled a piece of parchment from the stack and laid it gently in front of him. He looked at the spell in the book. It was a low level spell, but had quite a bit of writing to do. Looking at the stack of parchment, Reezart knew he would have no spare time. He also realised as he started transcribing the spell, he would be lucky if he could move his hand by the time he finished. As he touched his quill to the parchment, he felt the magic surrounding his hand as he began writing the words. It was not how he wanted to use his magic, but at least he was going to be using it every day. Perhaps he could get stronger, gain some power. Then he could become a real Wizard. Like the one he'd met after the Goblin incident. Reezart wondered what had happened to the ones that had saved him. Perhaps they had brought him to the tower. How had they known to do that? Did his parents know where he was? Other questions bounced around in his head as he thought more on the Goblin attacking him. After he caught himself about to write a section wrong, starting to write Goblin, Reezart stopped. He looked around, wondering if anyone else had the same problem concentrating as he had. They kept on writing. Reezart felt the magic in the room as spells were captured on the pieces of paper. It wasn't using true magic, but it still felt amazing to be surround by it. He took a deep breath, clearing his head. He shook his hand slightly to loosen his wrist. He touched the quill to the parchment gently, then continued on with transcribing the scroll.

Jay Greenstein
April 30th, 2017, 02:44 AM
What you're doing is transcribing yourself telling the story aloud, and that can't work. On stage you're alone and have no slides, and no actors, so you must set the scene yourself, plus play all the roles. And since you can't very well play the one shooting and the one being shot, instead, when telling a story, we primarily talk about the story, as if we're an outside observer, noticing, presenting, and explaining. On the page you have actors who will notice what matters to the story, and live it for you.

But of far greater importance, storytelling is a performance art. Think of how boring the story would be if the storyteller stood there, never changing their facial expression, never gesturing, and never using body language. Add to it that they recite the story in a tone, very like what a computer, reading the text, would produce.

You wouldn't sit through a performance like that. But that is precisely what you give the reader when you transcribe yourself telling the story aloud. In your live performance 100% of the emotional component comes from how you present the story. The words only provide the facts. But how much of that makes it to the page? Only your words. More than that, your intent, and knowledge of what's going on in the scene drives your performance. With that missing, too, the reader can't recreate your performance. All they have is what the words suggest to them, after they've read them. And then, it's too late to "hear" them as you would speak them.

Bottom line: you're using a set of storytelling skills that are inappropriate to our medium. It's not a matter of talent, or even good/bad writing. It's that with only the nonfiction writing skills we learn in school, and the verbal storytelling skills we use every day, you haven't the necessary tricks of the trade to transfer the story in your head to the mind of the reader, as you envision it. And that's simple to fix, though not easy. Simple because all you need do is add the writing techniques our medium imposes on us. And you can find them in your local library system's fiction writing section.

The not so easy part comes because you're learning an entirely different approach to writing, which, as with any field, takes time and effort, just as did the present skills you own and use. But every field has its specialized knowledge that must be mastered, so it's not a big deal, just something we wish took less time and effort. But on the other hand, if you truly are meant to be a writer, you'll find the learning fun.

So hang in there, and keep on writing.

MadMickyG
May 1st, 2017, 01:32 AM
It was late in the day, the other scribes were finishing up the pile of parchments. Reezart had just finished his last parchment for the day. He leaned back in his chair, stretching his arms over his head. As usual, his writing hand was a little sore. But it only lasted a few minutes now. He rolled his hands around at the wrists, then stretched his fingers out in front of him. He stood, arching his back. He twisted left then right, hearing a few pops as he did so. Others started to repeat the same moves Reezart had just done. It wasn't an official thing, but it had been shown to them by some of the more senior scribes, as it helped to release the tension in the body and the joints. More so for the younger scribes. Despite having worked here for the last few weeks, Reezart still didn't know anyone very well. He waved and nodded to a few of the other scribes, some that had started the same time he did. He did not know their names, only their faces. They acknowledged him as he left. As it was the end of the week, Reezart hurried as slow as he could, not wanting to draw Master Eremus' attention. More than one scribe had been reduced to a blubbering mess under Eremus' tirades. Reezart breathed a heavy sigh as he exited the room safely. He was heading to the courtyards where the Monk, Sifu Ahan would be waiting for him. Ahan had come to visit Reezart at the end of his first week, to see how he was doing.

Reezart learned the adventuring party had been out on patrol and discovered a group of Orcs and Goblins skulking around the edges of the forest. The Goblin that attacked Reezart, escaped during the ensuing melee. They lost it's tracks after searching, so decided to head back to the city. Eremere, the Wizard, also Master Eremus' younger brother, sensed Reezart's magic. The group saw Reezart holding up the Goblin, when Eremere informed them of the waning magic. Ahan had shot ahead, throwing his staff like a spear, taking out the Goblin just as it attacked. Ahan and Eremere took Reezart to one of the healing centres in the city, while Gorun, the deep voiced fighter Reezart heard, took the unconscious Goblin to the City guard for interrogation. Once Reezart had been deemed okay, Ahan and Eremere determined his identity and tracked down his family on their farm. His mother was overjoyed he was okay, while his father and brothers had been impressed he'd stood his ground against a Goblin. They planned to visit him, but Eremere advised it better for Reezart to have some time to recover. Reezart's father handed Eremere the note regarding the job as a Scribe. When the two returned to the city, Eremere organised Reezart to be transported to one of the boarding rooms in the Mage Tower, then sorted the Scribe position for when Reezart fully recovered. He'd slept for three days according to Ahan, which explained why he felt so wonderful when he finally woke up. Eremere explained it was due to him using all the magical energy within him. His body had taken that long to replenish it.

Reezart enjoyed his time with the Monk. He would enquire about Ahan's adventures, his faith, philosophy and his martial training. Ahan liked to downplay his adventures outside of Nuln, but Reezart enjoyed the stories all the same. After hearing Reezart talk about how of some of the older scribes would tease and bully the newest ones, including Reezart, even though Eremere said it could never happen, Ahan taught Reezart basic unarmed fighting skills. Reezart, with years of practice against his brothers, proved quite competent in unarmed combat, improving with every week of training. Ahan advised it was good to exercise both mind and body. Reezart spotted a young man, in a robe from the Magic Items section, run past with his satchel flapping against his leg. Reezart slapped his forehead, realising he'd left his satchel at his station. He sprinted back to the scribing room, not wanting to be late for his training session with Ahan. The burst of activity left his heart pounding in his ears, as he approached the Scribe room. He heard voices from within the room. Like a cat stalking a ball of wool, Reezart slunk up to the doorway, sliding up to the very edge. He stood silent and listened to the voices in the room. He dared not peek around the corner, in case he was caught eavesdropping.

"Are you sure this will be enough?" he heard Master Eremus ask.

"It will be more than enough for the next round," replied an unknown voice to the sound of a coin purse being dropped in to someone's hand. "It is the last two rounds anyway, so we'll be starting all over again. We are thankful that there are enough scrolls incorrectly scribed by your charges. Speaking of, are there potentials in any of the new workers? We're always up for new blood."

"Not in my lot," Eremus snorted. "They're all too invested in writing. All brains and magic. None of them have what it takes to be physical." Reezart was intrigued at this conversation. Curiosity piqued, causing Reezart to peek around the door frame in to the room. The two men within faced away from the main door. Reezart could see Master Eremus held a large bag of gold by a short, stocky man for two big bags of parchment. Reezart sensed the magic flowing from the bag, like the smell of a freshly baked pie wafting on the breeze. Reezart sniffed the air, the flavour of magic almost palatable to his keen sense. He could tell these were the reject scrolls, incorrectly recorded. He was shocked when Master Eremus had a new scriber attempt to cast a spell from one of those scrolls. Athough explosion was minor, Reezart knew the young man's face would take ages for his eyebrows to regrow. Eremus held a parchment in one hand, the bag of gold in the other. The stocky man tilted his head.

"You could always come down," he smiled. "Plenty of people would love to see the old champion. Maybe put on a show?"

"Don't think so," Eremus replied, shaking his head. "My body can't sustain the magic anymore." Eremus slid the the bag of gold inside his robe, before grabbing the parchment in his other hand.

"Do it," the stocky man said, his body tensing, "you know you want to." Reezart could see the tension in the Scoll Master's hand as he gripped the magical parchment.

"I dont know......"

"One more time, just for the sake of it." Eremus conceded, nodding at the man's encouraging words.

"IGNUS!" he roared, tearing the magical parchment in two. Reezart saw, and felt, the magic explode from the words inscribed. It was not that act that made Reezart gasp, but the fact the magic released was caught on Eremus' hands. He held it in front of him, positioning his hands like a fist fighter in battle. Fire flowed around, like water, until it surrounded Eremus' hands completely, glowing brightly enough to banish the shadows in the large room. Reezart felt the warmth of the flames touch his face. Both men turned their heads at Reezart's gasp, causing Reezart to duck back behind the door. He was smart enough to move away from the door, then turn and start toward the courtyard again. He needed to tell Ahan what he'd just seen. He passed the first corner, when he stopped.

"Damnit," he muttered, momentarily forgetting about his satchel. He pondered for a moment, then turned and headed back to the scribe room. This time, he walked slowly, whistling. By the time he reached the entrance to the room, the short stocky man was gone. Master Eremus was at his desk. He looked up as Reezart entered the room.

"What?" he asked in his usual voice. Reezart pointed to his station at the back of the room.

"Apologies Master Eremus," he said, bowing slightly as a sign of respect. Outside, he appeared calm and relaxed. Inside, Reezart fought the urge to run. "I left my satchel at my station. May I please fetch it?" Eremus grunted something under his breath.

"Hurry up then," he said to Reezart. "Some of us have to keep working when everyone else gets to leave." He grumbled this last statement, returning to writing on a tally sheet as Reezart walked quickly to his station and collecting his satchel. As he left, he glanced quickly at Eremus' hands. There was no indication of any flames, no scorch marks or blackened skin. There was no burnt flesh smell either. This intrigued Reezart, as he still sensed the remnants of the magic Eremus had released.

"Good night Master Eremus," Reezart bowed respectfully as he left the room. Eremus grunted as Reezart disappeared. As soon as he was around the corner again, Reezart sprinted toward the courtyard, to find Ahan and tell the Monk what he'd just witnessed.

MadMickyG
May 2nd, 2017, 10:04 PM
As Reezart left the room, heading out to see Ahan, he missed the smile on Eremus' face. Eremus had felt someone magical nearby when he was selling the scrolls to Mayz. He'd cancelled the flames on his arms quickly after they heard the gasp. Mayz had left through a partly concealed door few people knew about. When Reezart came walking in to collect his satchel, Eremus could tell it'd been him outside the room. The Scroll Master was excited. The young man's scribing skills were exceptional, with him only ever making two mistakes since he started. The power locked in the scrolls seemed a little stronger compared to his fellow scribers.

"There's money to be made with his assistance," Eremus concluded. He could get some extra parchment and pay the young man enough gold to make him want to work back a few days, getting extra scrolls for Mayz. Erermus had also heard the young man had been spending quite some time with his brother's friend, the Monk. There were a few that mentioned Ahan was even training him a little. Perhaps there was someone physical enough after all.

"I guess we shall see," Eremus muttered to himself with a grin, returning to his paperwork.

Reezart found Ahan at the edge of the main courtyard, sitting cross-legged on a patch of grass. The Monk's eyes were closed, his chest barely moving. He had one hand in front of his chest, fingers together pointing up. His other hand was touching the ground, supporting his entire body on just two fingers. Reezart was amazed that, in this position, Ahan could keep his whole body off the ground, his two fingers the only points to contact the ground.

"You are late," Ahan said, slowly opening his eyes. He lowered his body to the grass. Reezart looked in awe at Ahan, totally amazed at the physical ability of the man before him.

"Sorry," Reezart apologised, holding his right fist in his left palm in front of his chest, in the traditional style salute Ahan showed him. "I forgot my satchel. Plus, I saw something very interesting just before."

"And what was this interesting thing you saw?" Ahan asked, one eyebrow raised. Reezart told the Monk everything he had seen and heard in the scroll room between Eremus and the short man buying the scrolls.

"That would be Mayz," Ahan commented, before motioning Reezart to continue.

"Who's Mayz?" Reezart asked.

"He runs a fighting competition for the less gifted. Those, such as yourself, that do not make the grade of Wizard, still have potential for something greater. Mayz discovered that entertainment is one of them." Reezart was curious.

"What kind of fighting competition?" Reezart asked, totally intrigued. Ahan stood slowly in one slow fluid motion, stretching his body as he did so.

"They are called ScrollFists," Ahan said, motioning for Reezart to follow him. "It started many years ago. Some believe your ScrollMaster, Eremus, was the first real champion."

"Master Eremus?" Reezart said, not totally shocked. The short man, Mayz, had called him the old champion.

"Indeed," Ahan continued. "They compete in a fighting tournament, using scrolls to power themselves up before each round. Then try to beat the other person unconscious, or into submission if they cannot knock the other person out. Each of the elements seems to give the fighter a particular advantage. It's knowing how to use the skills in the fight that determines the winner." Ahan stopped, his head tipped slightly to the right.

"In fact, I believe there was a rumour Eremus had developed a way to double up on scrolls, using two elements at the same time. But he only fought in one more competition after his discovery. He retired at the end that of that tournament, the only fighter to be undefeated."

"I heard him say he can't sustain the magic anymore."

"I imagine using two elements at the same time would be draining. He was not as talented magically as Eremere, but he clearly knew a lot about scroll magic. The reason he is the most successful Scroll Master." Ahan turned and started walking again. Reezart walked beside him, his mind full of questions.

"What do they fight for?" Reezart asked. Ahan looked sideways at him.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean what is the prize for the winner?"

"Well, I'm not one hundred percent sure," Ahan said, a look of disappointment on his face as he continued, "but I believe each round is bet on as to the winner. As the rounds get closer to the end, the gold amounts get higher." Ahan could see Reezarts' eyes light up at his mention of gold. He stopped walking, turning toward Reezart. Reezart, with so many things running through his head, took three more steps before he realised Ahan was not beside him. He stopped and looked back, the look of disappointment clear on Ahans' face.

"Is something wrong?" Reezart asked, wondering what was upsetting the Monk.

"Are you asking these questions because you want to win gold?" Ahan asked, an accusing tone in his voice.

"Of course," Reezart said matter-of-factly. Ahan shook his head.

"I did not teach you some of my art to make you rich!"

"Rich?" Reezart said, sounding confused.

"You wish to participate in the fighting tournament, to win gold. To make yourself rich."

"What? No! I want to fight to make gold, yes. I don't care about being rich. I want to make gold to help out Mum and Dad!"

"To help your parents?" Ahan questioned, his expression changing from disappointment to approval.

"Of course! They paid for me to take the test three times, even though they could barely afford it. I failed three times. They invested in me and I let them down. They work hard on the farm everyday. Even more so now I am here." Ahan could see tears starting to well up in Reezart's eyes as he spoke about parents. "They've struggled most of their lives. I know they love farming, but sometimes they are so tired. They could use some time for just them, not worrying about me, my brothers or the farm. If I can win enough gold, I can get them some help. A few people to help them on the farm so they don't have to work so hard. Maybe get my brothers some training so they can learn to fight with real weapons. Then they could really protect the farm if they needed to." Ahan felt proud of the young man before him. His concern for his family. Wanting to put himself through some serious punishment to help them out. He took a few steps towards Reezart, putting his strong hand on the young man's shoulder.

"If you would like, we can see about getting you registered for the next tournament. I believe the current one is almost over."

"Really?" Reezart asked, his face lighting up in delight. "You'd help me get in?"

"I can try," Ahan said. "Although, I think you might be better asking your Scroll Master. He clearly still has contact with the establishment that runs it."

"Awesome!" Reezart shouted, barely able to contain his excitement.

"Calm yourself Reezart. There is a lot to do before you get accepted, if your accepted." Ahan emphasized the last part. Reezart understood. There was no guarantee he would get in to the competition. But the thought of being able to help his parents, or at least paying back the money they had spent on his Magic exams, had him quite excited.

"Let's skip training for today then," Ahan said. "I believe I may know someone who can test you for suitability for the competition." He started walking away from Reezart, heading in a different direction to their normal training place. Reezart rushed over, catching up to the Monk. As the two headed to Ahan's friend, they began discussing the training required if Reezart was accepted.

MadMickyG
May 3rd, 2017, 01:18 PM
The building was small compared to the others around it, almost as though it was squeezed in as an afterthought. Something to fill a gap between two more luxurious establishments. The sign on the front confirmed it was an Apothecary, a shop that sold all kinds of ingredients, magical and non-magical alike. Anything that could be used to manufacture potions for adventurers, create ink for writing or painting on parchment, plus many other ingredients. Ahan and Reezart stood out the front of the shop now, looking through the windows at the multitude of herbs growing within.

"You're fighting expert is in here?" Reezart asked, totally puzzled at why any kind of fighting expert would work in a place like this.

"He should be," Ahan said, walking toward the door, Reezart following behind. "He does not keep normal hours like most, due to his age." Reezart followed Ahan inside the shop, his nose assaulted by all the different smells within. He coughed a few times, his head swimming under the aromatic onslaught. Ahan took a deep breath, his eyes closed.

"It always smells so wonderful in here," the Monk said, smiling as he exhaled.

"Master Ahan!" a chirpy voice said from behind the counter, the top of someones head barely discernable above the bottles and jars stacked on the main counter. As the person moved, a face blurred and twisted as it crossed behind the coloured bottles and jars of various liquids, changing size, shape and colour until at last, a young man appeared, his short brown hair sticking straight up. Reezart thought it would be sharp too, the way it did not move as he walked.

"Zeen," Ahan said, stepping forward to greet the spiky haired youth. Zeen stooped low and saluted the monk in the traditional greeting, before stepping forward and shaking his hand enthusiastically. Zeen looked over at Reezart as he stood.

"A new disciple?" he asked Ahan, who nodded his head slightly.

"Of sorts," Ahan replied. "But it depends. Is he here today?" Zeen nodded, understanding what Ahan meant. He motioned to the thick blue curtain that separated the front counter the rear of the shop.

"He is actually. Please head through. He said you would be coming today, but I did not believe him."

"Have you learnt nothing of him in all this time?" Ahan asked, chuckling as he passed behind the counter, motioning Reezart to follow him.

"I have learnt much," Zeen said happily, "but clearly I have so much more to learn, Master Ahan."

"Indeed," Ahan said as he pulled back the curtain, motioning for Reezart to precede him. As Ahan stepped in behind Reezart, he let the curtain drop. This darkened the area somewhat. Reezart stood still, not sure what to expect. He strained his ears, but heard nothing. Even though Ahan was just behind him, the monk made no sound, even his deep, casual breathing was silent. Reezart turned back to make sure he was actually there. Ahan smiled, motioning for Reezart to keep moving, towards the back, where there appeared to be a wooden door in the wall. There were boxes, crates, jars and bottles scattered all around this room. Reezart somehow sensed that even though it looked haphazard and random, there was a kind of order here. There was structure. He could barely make out anything inside any of the containers he passed, but their scents, or the way they felt to touch, seemed to make total sense to him. In a few moments, they were at the door at the back. It was solid oak, with a latch. Ahan lifted the latch, pushing the door open. A bright light shone in to the room as Ahan opened the door, blinding Reezart with it's intensity. Ahan pushed Reezart gently forward in to the the light. Reezart heard the door behind him close, his eyes still hurting from the brightness. As his eyes adjusted, he could finally see where he was. He gasped loudly, unable to contain his shock at what he saw.

MadMickyG
May 6th, 2017, 02:46 AM
Reezart stood next Ahan, looking out a what appeared to be a massive garden, surrounded on all sides by snow crusted mountains. Reezart knew it was magic, but he shivered in the cool breeze coming from the mountains. His nose rejoiced as it was assailed scent flowers, wet earth and a touch of rain. In the centre of the utopic garden, were two age-wrinkled men. One, his body a tapestry of rune-tattoos decorating any exposed flesh, stood with his body prostrated upside down in the air. It appeared only two fingers held his entire frame aloft. His face invisible, covered by a section of dark purple robe, the vibrant colours that denoted someone high up in the magical order. Beside him, another elderly man was positioned just as impossible. Although not completely vertical like his friend, his upper torso was held off the ground by two fingers. His legs, however, were at right angles to his torso, running parallel to the ground.

"Master Ahan," the braided-hair man laughed, curving his body over until he stood normally, "so great to see you again. It has been some time." Wrinkled and covered in liver-spots as he was, the man's visual was in contrast to his actual. He lithely, as though still in his prime. The other man lowered his legs to bring his feet to the ground, bones crunching like gravel underfoot as he stood up straight.

"Monk," he bowed curtly, in respect.

"Greetings to you both," Ahan replied, saluting each in the traditional monk fashion. "I come seeking words with the Grand Mage."

"Oh stop it." The braided-hair man chuckled, holding his belly as he laughed. "Only suck-ups and kiss-asses call me that. And you my friend, are neither of those." The other man turned and nodded his head at the braided-hair man. He swirled his hands, producing a large cape out of thin air, continuing in a single fluid motion, to wrap the cape around his shoulders.

"This is to be continued Eromore," he said, a hint of a smile on his stony features. Then, with a few magic words, and a click of his fingers, the man vanished.

"You wouldn't think he's the greatest advisor to the Emperor," Eromore said, shrugging his shoulders. "Or mentor to the Emperors elite forces."

"Eromore," Ahan said, bowing slightly, "I present Reezart. A young man who wishes to enter the Scrollfist arena."

"Oh, really? Then we must see if he has the right stuff!" Eromore stomped over exaggeratedly, then proceeded complete a few circles around Reezart.

"Hmmm....uh-huh.....interesting."

"Excuse me," Reezart blurted indignantly, feeling like an animal at an auction, "may I ask how he will know if I have the 'stuff' for the arena?"

"Well," Eromore laughed once more, stepping back with his hands on his hips, "I believe you already met both my boys." Reezart was confused. He took a better look at Eromore. Those bright blue eyes, full of wisdom and knowledge. The bulbous nose. The wide, mischievous grin, warning you that before you stood a trickster. But Reezart couldn't figure out why the face was so familiar.

"Reezart," Ahan said, "may I formerly introduce you to Eromore, Grand High Mage of the Empire and first magical advisor to the Emperor. And father to both Eremus and Eremere!"

Theglasshouse
May 6th, 2017, 04:24 AM
I'll be honest I like the what I read so far but it would work better if you link the scene with the latest events in the story, for example, what is the goblin incident? You can depict that in a small dialogue without saying specifically everything and then nail down what that storyline or subplot that hints it. Then links the scenes as you would a cliffhanger. It continues where you left off. I've seen writers write standalone stories that could be short stories as chapters. But somewhere the goblin incident, for example, must reappear like in a novel. A novel needs continuous chapters where you left off. Try to link them and you probably will have a rewarding read. It has potential. Try to maintain a few characters if possible to or introduce or foreshadow them in a way that they meet for example on the road, by chance, luck, fate, etc. I think this is what they call a crucible. When one character is stuck traveling with another character. A school is a crucible, so is a university. The stories can be modified a bit and you can maintain your ideas is what I will claim. (I read a book on how to plan scenes and this seems useful for this.)

MadMickyG
May 6th, 2017, 07:02 AM
I understand what you mean TGH. There is going to be a link regarding previous characters. The goblin incident happens in the second post, but with so much going on, it's understandable people may have forgotten. I already have a way of bringing it back up (doesn't that sound a little gross :P)

I have one more excerpt previously written, although it's quite long. Plenty of dialogue, so it's not one of my infamous blocks of text. I may do a little editing, to try have a bit more Show and a bit less Tell.

I have somewhere it's going, but didn't have a clear cut ending just yet. I believe I'm a bit of a pantser when it comes to writing. (Read that somewhere, which describes my writing quite well.)

MadMickyG
May 12th, 2017, 08:18 AM
"Oh," Reezart said shocked. But looking at the ancient mage, he could see both the adventuring wizard and his Scroll Master in the wizened face.

"What do you know about the ScrollFist fighting?" Eromore asked.

"Only that which Master Ahan as told me," Reezart replied, shrugging his shoulders.

"Good enough to start with. I can see you are not new to hard work either."

"Master Ahan has been training me. But I have worked on our farm since I was little."

"He has a gift for unarmed fighting," Ahan added, "not to mention he feels the need to protect those that cannot protect themselves.'

"A protector!" Eromore said excitedly. "Excellent. Good qualities for any person to have. But they're not needed in the arena."

"Excuse me," Reezart interrupted, "but how are you going to test me for the arena?"

"By fighting my dear boy," Eromore laughed. "How else does one test worthiness. Do you need time to prepare yourself?"

"A moment to stretch," Reezart said, a little shocked this old man was planning to fight him. He took a few steps back, beginning the warm up exercises Ahan did with him before every training session.

"Are you sure this is wise?" Ahan asked.

"Trial by fire, of sorts," Eromore said, nodding his head. "He will be fine. I am only testing the natural ability you said he had." Ahan was about to say something, but Eromore held up his hand to stop the Monk.
"I do not doubt your judgment, I just wish to see it for myself." Eromore smiled as he too started to limber up. When the two were ready, Ahan stepped in to the middle between them.

"Go easy," Ahan said.

"I will," Reezart promised, bowing his head to the Monk.

"I wasn't talking to you," Ahan smiled. Eromore nodded. Reezart looked at the old man across from him. He certainly looked more like a mage than a fighter. But he was covered in magic runes. Reezart could sense the power that pulsed from them.

"BEGIN!" The two combatants circled for a moment, judging each others movements. Eromore charged first, surprisingly quick for his age. He launched punch after punch, attacking from multiple angles. Reezart was able to block them easily enough to start with. Eromore, getting a feel for Reezart's skill, picked up his pace. Reezart kept up his blocking, barely keeping Eromore's hands off him. The attack angles changed, as did their intensity. Hits started getting through, not enough to damage Reezart, but enough for him to know he was hit. As hard as he tried, Reezart couldn't get an attack in. All his energy was taken up defending himself. Eromore kept up his onslaught, circling around the garden, moving Reezart all over. In an instant, Reezart saw his chance. He sidestepped, twisting his hips to draw Eromore forward. Eromore saw what he was going to do. Curious, he let himself be drawn in. In an instant, Eromore was on the defensive. Reezart had shifted his weight, changing his position so he could attack from his centre. Eromore was impressed. He could've easily turned it around again, but wanted to see how good Reezart could attack. They were fast, but not as quick as they would need to be in the arena. But there was potential. Some hits almost got through, even though Eromore was actually trying to stop them. The boy learned quickly. He was indeed a natural. He would be even better once he tapped in to the magic Eromore felt oozing from him during their fight. Eromore jumped back, way out of attack range.

"STOP!" he said, holding his hand up. "I have indeed seen what you can do. I am impressed. I have one more thing to check." Eromore reached in to the robe he wore, pulling out a couple of scrolls from a hidden pocket. He walked over to Reezart, who stood with hands on hips, breathing heavily.

"Take this," Eromore said, handing a scroll to Reezart. He took the scroll, feeling the magic contained within. Eromore opened the scroll he held, winding it around his hands. He motioned for Reezart to do the same. Once Reezart's hands were wrapped in the scroll, he looked over at the High Mage.

"Very good. Can you feel the power within the scroll?"

"Yes."

"Excellent. Now, I want you to touch the magic, if you can. Reach out and grasp it firmly. Can you do that?" Reezarts eyes closed as he reached out with his own magic, until he felt the scroll within his own magical grip. He could feel the earthen tint to the energy he held. He smiled as he realised he didn't even know you could do this with a scroll.

"Impressive lad," Eromore said. "Let's see if you can rip it open and hold it." Eromore took a deep breath, relaxing his body.

"How?"

"You can feel what type of energy is within the scroll, yes?"

"Earth energy. It's an earthen spell."

"Exactly. So, while holding the magic, call it forth. Watch me first." Eromore calmed and centered himself, taking a deep breath.

"TERRA!" he yelled, tearing the scroll open as he forced his hands apart. Reezart felt the magic leap out from the torn parchment. His mouth gaped in awe, watching as the earthen energy absorbed into Eromore's hands, changing his skin to a more stone-like quality. When Eromore smashed fist in to palm, it was the sounded of two boulders crashing together.

"Your turn," Eromore motioned to Reezart. The High Mage watched as Reezart replicated his moves, calming and centering himself. Reezart could not tear the scroll however. His face turned red with the effort, but he could not rip the magical parchment in two.

"Allow me," Ahan stepped in, having stood quietly by as the two fought. He walked over to Reezart, placing his hands on Reezart's scroll-covered hands.

"You are trying to use muscle alone," Ahan said. "Even Eromore could not do this with just muscle. From what I felt, and saw, this is a double attack, from without and within. Focus your magic, like I focus my qi, to squeeze the scroll, making it weak. The magical pressure will build, making the scroll ready to break. Then, focusing your external energy, spread your hands out, as if attacking with your fingers. This should split the scroll as you need."

"Well done Ahan," Eromore said, "you do your masters proud. He is correct. Squeeze from within, separate from without. Don't forget to grab the energy and call out the element you grasp. Now try again." Reezart looked at them both, taking in everything they had just said. He nodded, taking a few deep breaths to relax. He felt for the scroll again, grasping the energy. It took effort, but he could feel the pressure within the scroll increasing as he squeezed. He did not get it first go. But after the fourth try, the scroll split, releasing the magical energy within. Reezart was so focused on splitting the scroll, he forgot to call out the element. But he still held it within his hands firmly.

"Impressive," Eromore said. "Now call it quickly, before you lose it."

"TERRA!" Reezart called out, feeling the energy absorbed in to his hands. The sensation of his hands shifting to stone was the weirdest feeling he'd ever experienced, like millions of ants biting his skin, but lacking the pain. But the smile on his face as he stared at his stoney hands, was something he knew would not go away anytime soon.

"Bravo boy," Eromore said, "bravo. I think with some practice, you might make a decent ScrollFist. In time for the next tournament at least." He walked over to where Reezart still stood, grinning broadly.

"Allow me to show you one more thing before I go. A demonstration of where you can get to with practice, hard work and focus." Eromore produced another scroll. Shaking his hands for a moment, the stone-like covering disappeared.

"With the right amount of focus, plus a good quality scroll, you can improve your chances in combat." Eromore opened the scroll and wrapped it around his hands.

"TERRA BACCILLUM!" he cried out, tearing the scroll. Once again, Reezart felt the earthen energy burst forth. This time, Eromore spread his hands out wide, the energy caught within, stretching between his hands. The energy solidified in to a long staff, made entirely of stone.

"If you would please Master Ahan," Eromore indicated for the Monk to grab a long pole on the ground not far from where they stood.

"Of course," Ahan said, walking over to collect the pole. Flicking his foot, he launched the pole in the air, catching it in his hand. He spun it around his body for a moment, finishing with it held behind him, angling up his back and across his shoulder. His other hand, extended out in front of him, denoting an attack stance.

"Please," Eromore said, motioning him forward. Reezart had never seen Ahan in a fight before. He and the Monk trained often, but it was for practice, for learning. Reezart stood, mouth agape, as Ahan was a blur of movement as he attacked Eromore. Any hit that would connect stopped just short, Ahan a master of control. After a few moments, Ahan's pole broke, the end snapping off as his attack was blocked by the stone staff Eromore held defensively.

"Wow," was all Reezart could say. Ahan spun the staff again, bringing it to rest in a neutral position. He bowed to Eromore.

"You have been practicing," Ahan said, smiling. Eromore turned to Reezart, shaking the staff a little.

"Nothing beats good training," the High Mage said, suddenly shaking the staff so hard, it appeared to evaporate in to nothingness, "as shown by Master Ahan here. But with good focus, you can make any weapon from any element. If you can last in the arena, there are weapon rounds that really test your abilities. There aren't too many that get that good though, so don't be disappointed if you can't do it."

"Could Master Eremus summon weapons?" Reezart curiously asked.

"Before he combined the energies, he could. But once he went double on scrolls, he couldn't maintain weapons after that. He was my best student." Reezart held a newfound respect for his Scroll Master. Having felt what it took to do it with a single scroll, the Scroll Master must have incredible focus.

"Well," Eromore said, taking a deep breath, "I thank you for this lovely distraction. But I feel I am needed by the Emperor." Eromore bowed to Reezart and Ahan. He motioned for Ahan to walk with him far enough away from Reezart so they could not be overheard.

"What do you know of the boys' parents?"

"They run a farm on the outskirts. Good farming folk too. They lost a child in the last war, which is why they didn't want him to become a mage. Why do you ask?" Eromore thought for a moment.

"There is something in the boy. An energy. It feels off, wrong. It's buried quite deep, so I doubt the boy even knows it's there. Find out what you can of the boys lineage. Get me the family name, or the name of the boy that died." Ahan looked over at Reezart curiously.

"Is it something to worry about?" he asked, concerned.

"No," Eromore replied quietly, "not yet anyway. It could be a good thing in the long run. But let me know as soon as you have found what I've asked."

"Of course," Ahan said. Eromore nodded, stepping back and saluting Ahan in the traditional Monk fashion. Ahan returned the salute.

"Farewall Reezart," Eromore called out. "I look forward to hearing of your exploits in the arena. And remember, keep practicing." Eromore took a few extra steps back. He muttered a few magic words, clapping his hands above his head. There was a ripple of sound, a wave spreading out quickly. In the instant the wave passed over Ahan and Reezart, leaving their ears thrumming from the sound, Eromore vanished.

"Come Reezart, we have much to prepare for. It seems you will be competing in the next ScrollFist tournament." Reezart couldn't help but clap his hands excitedly, his infectious enthusiasm making Ahan smile as the pair headed toward the door standing in the middle of the garden. Reezart detected the waning magic, now that Eromore was no longer around to maintain the spell. Reezart tasted the stale air, the scenic garden melting like a coloured ice sculpture, the room returning to it's original state. By the time Ahan and Reezart walked out the door, the room returned to it's plain storage cupboard appearance, with a few scattered broken boxes. Ahan pulled the door closed behind him. Reezart stared back, still remembering the room he'd walked in to. Eromore had to be powerful to create such a strong, yet realistic illusion. Ahan yanked on his arm, pulling him toward the front of the shop. Shaking his head, his mind doing somersaults trying to comprehend the kind of magic it took to create, Reezart followed Ahan through the curtain, back to the real world.

Ahan bid farewell to Zeen, with Reezart in tow, as the pair left the shop. Ahan advised Reezart to go home and rest, as competition training 'starts tomorrow'. He continued to watch Reezart, as the young man headed towards the Tower. Once Reezart was out of sight, Ahan headed toward the city library. He'd find out all he could about Reezart's family history, by scouring through the city's records. Although this would be the best place for Ahan to start looking, he did not relish the task. He could plan Reezart's training while he read. The Monk knew it would be early morning before he went to bed, if he went to bed at all.