Book one sample: Etian’s trial

A sample from an unspecified point later in the book. A call for some fresh blood to join Kraasian’s and Ereanel’s plans was answered…

Last update: November 2019.

Disclaimer: What you are reading is beta-stage content and subject to change. Typos and other small issues might be present – and will be fixed in future drafts.

It was almost a month later when Ereanel went to answer the doorbell, looking at a young elf he never met before. The visitor wore a leather garb, the chest piece’s front side reinforced with scales of various sizes, probably coming from some large amphibian, maybe a dragon turtle or a crocodile. The shoulder armor and pieces covering the knees were made from the same materials and, even though it was thin to not hinder movement, Ereanel was sure it was tougher than it looked.

On the stranger’s left hand was a strange kind of glove with four long spikes made from the claws of various beasts. Each of them was covered by a rune symbolizing one of the elements. The shaman had vibrant, light green eyes, short but dense facial hair of a light green color and shoulder-long hair on which a circlet made from branches rested. It was enchanted by some shamanistic magic, with another set of elemental runes on it. The horse standing behind him had a simple saddle with a backpack resting on it.

“Hello, Ereanel. I am Etian Windwalker. My mentor said you are looking for someone interested in using his shamanistic powers in battle, and I decided to answer your call,” the apprentice shaman introduced himself. Ereanel’s best guess was he might be somewhere around four or five centuries old. His young age promised great talent and the decision to volunteer for what they were preparing for meant the young shaman also had to have some courage to answer his call.

“Hello, Etian. I must say I am surprised to see you so early. Now that you are here, I’d like to see what you can do, if that’s possible,” Ereanel half-stated, half-asked.

“I was expecting that, so it’s definitely possible,” the shaman reacted.

“Good. I hope you don’t mind being teleported?”

“Is it so far we can’t ride?” Etian asked.

Ereanel was not surprised. While magi enjoyed teleporting, most of the uninitiated were not fond of this way of travel. One of the reasons was that while teleporting, one would see threads of magical energies, which would look like chaos to an untrained eye and even these few seconds were enough to cause nausea or disorientation.

“What if I am so used to teleporting that I forgot the way there?” Ereanel joked. “To be serious: it’ll give us a bit more time to see what you can do.”

The shaman nodded, convinced even if not fond of the fact. Several moments later, they were standing in a large courtyard, practice targets lined around the walls. Unlike the training grounds for archers or warriors, it lacked the barrels with arrows and weapon racks. The ground was covered by runic circles used by novice magi to help them with concentration.

“As I sometimes still come to help a young mage, I am allowed to use this place. You did well to visit me during the weekend, most students are home so we won’t be disturbing anyone here,” Ereanel explained why the training grounds were empty. “Now, if you are prepared, please show me a bit of what you can do.”

“As you wish,” Etian said and started casting various spells. Lightning hit one of the dummies, branches of the spell setting the grass growing between the cobblestones ablaze. Etian quickly doused the fire with a gust of wind then lobbed a boulder wrapped in burning lava at another target, only to extinguish the flames with a small wave of water right away.

“Looks good,” Ereanel said, “but I think I need a better demonstration. Forget the practice targets; use your skills on me.”

“Are you sure?” Etian asked.

“Yes. While I am hardly a master of shielding magic, I know a lot and can absorb enough for a short training. I trained several apprentices this way,” he answered.

Even though Etian was unconvinced initially, he soon saw Ereanel was telling the truth. He was blocking Etian’s spells almost effortlessly. Lighting, chunks of molten rocks, gouts of lava, and other spells were absorbed by the barriers Ereanel kept conjuring. The claws on Etian’s glove shimmered when a spell of the corresponding element was unleashed.

“Try something different, if you can,” Ereanel suggested. Etian nodded. With an upward movement of his hand, an earthen spike grew directly in front of Ereanel, causing him to fly backward as it impacted into his shielding spell. Ereanel tried to control and balance his fall but was disrupted by a strong gust of wind. His landing was far from elegant, but Ereanel managed to partially control the fall and end on all fours. Just as he did, he was knocked off balance by a wave of water washing over him.

“That was good,” Ereanel said, rising to his feet. He shook like a wet dog, getting some of the water from his soaked clothes. “Very good, I think you’ll be a good addition to our team,” he added. He conjured a flaming shield around himself to dry his clothes, small clouds of steam rising as the water vaporized. Being mostly dry, he got rid of the fiery shield – he would rather be a bit wet than a bit burned.

Ereanel teleported them both back to Gloomspire. “When you are needed, I’ll send a message. It’ll probably take a while because we still don’t have their location uncovered. I’d suggest you use some of the time to study various demons and their vulnerabilities. I’d suggest focusing on ash’terai and gor’ashi demons above anything else,” Ereanel said.

“I will do my best,” Etian assured him, then mounted up and rode away.