Quest of the Seal Bearers - Book 1: The Warriors Return by awgcoleman | World Anvil Manuscripts | World Anvil
Grandmaster awgcoleman
A. W. G. Coleman

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Legacy of War - Part 1 Chapter 2: Suburban Secrets - Part 1 Chapter 3: Legacy of War - Part 2 Chapter 4: Suburban Secrets - Part 2 Chapter 5: Legacy of War - Part 3 Chapter 6: Suburban Secrets - Part 3 Chapter 7: Suburban Secrets - Part 4 Chapter 8: Legacy of War - Part 4 Chapter 9: Destiny of the Descendants - Part 1 Chapter 10: Destiny of the Descendants - Part 2 Chapter 11: The Madman’s Ultimatum - Part 1 Chapter 12: The Madman’s Ultimatum - Part 2 Chapter 13: The Madman’s Ultimatum - Part 3 Chapter 14: The Madman’s Ultimatum - Part 4 Chapter 15: The Displacement - Part 1 Chapter 16: The Displacement - Part 2 Chapter 17: The Displacement - Part 3 Chapter 18: The Displacement - Part 4 Chapter 19: The Displacement - Part 5 Chapter 20: The Displacement - Part 6 Chapter 21: The Displacement - Part 7 Chapter 22: The Displacement - Part 8 Chapter 23: The Quickener Prodigy - Part 1 Chapter 24: A Mother’s Mission - Part 1 Chapter 25: Search for the Summoner - Part 1 Chapter 26: A Mother’s Mission - Part 2 Chapter 27: The Wildcard & The Melder - Part 1 Chapter 28: Into the Desert - Part 1 Chapter 29: Search for the Summoner - Part 2 Chapter 30: Search for the Summoner - Part 3 Chapter 31: The Wildcard & The Melder - Part 2 Chapter 32: Search for the Summoner – Part 4 Chapter 33: A Mother’s Mission – Part 3 Chapter 34: Into the Desert – Part 2 Chapter 35: The Quickener Prodigy – Part 2 Chapter 36: The Weather Master - Part 1 Chapter 37: Search for the Summoner – Part 5 Chapter 38: The Weather Master – Part 2 Chapter 39: Into the Desert - Part 3 Chapter 40: Into the Desert – Part 4 Chapter 41: Late Night Revelations – Part 1 Chapter 42: The Wildcard & The Melder - Part 3 Chapter 43: The Weather Master – Part 3 Chapter 44: Late Night Revelations - Part 2 Chapter 45: Late Night Revelations – Part 3 Chapter 46: Late Night Revelations - Part 4 Chapter 47: Late Night Revelations - Part 5 Chapter 48: Siege of the Valley - Part 1 Chapter 49: Siege of the Valley - Part 2 Chapter 50: Guardman, Guardian, & Gilmore - Part 1 Chapter 51: Siege of the Valley - Part 3 Chapter 52: Sunnin, Sensant, & Stokenshire - Part 1 Chapter 53: Sunnin, Sensant, & Stokenshire - Part 2 Chapter 54: Siege of the Valley - Part 4 Chapter 55: Siege of the Valley – Part 5 Chapter 56: Guardman, Guardian, & Gilmore - Part 2 Chapter 57: Siege of the Valley - Part 6 Chapter 58: Sunnin, Sensant, & Stokenshire - Part 3 Chapter 59: The Quickener Prodigy - Part 3 Chapter 60: Sunnin, Sensant, & Stokenshire – Part 4 Chapter 61: Guardman, Guardian, & Gilmore - Part 3 Chapter 62: Sunnin, Sensant, & Stokenshire - Part 5 Chapter 63: Sunnin, Sensant, & Stokenshire - Part 6 Chapter 64: Siege of the Valley - Part 8

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Chapter 25: Search for the Summoner - Part 1

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Chapter 25


* Riverbed *

“So how far is this place?” Jandor asked as he, Terri, and Daniel walked the dirt path that ran through Pocket Woods toward Riverbed.

“Not far; just a twenty-minute walk,” Terri said.

Jandor used his free hand to tug at the blue vest he was wearing. It was the only thing he’d found that even remotely fit him, but it was tight. Still, it covered the holes he now had in his tank top. He used the large bo staff as a walking stick.

“So why don’t you guys live in the town?” he asked, more to break the awkward silence. He’d felt a strange tension all morning from his two companions.

“To avoid attacks,” Daniel explained. “Riverbed and Murrilogic have been at war for over thirty years over the rights to the Cascadian River.”

Jandor nodded at this. “So, is it safe there?”

Terri shrugged. “Usually, but a fight can break out at any time. Something happens every few months, and Portson was completely destroyed a while back in the crossfire. It can get really bad.”

They reached the edge of the woods and Jandor could now see Riverbed in the distance, though they still had a ways to go. The town itself looked small and unassuming, certainly not the type of place that could be in an extended battle let alone a war.

“Maybe I should get a different weapon then: a gun, or a sword,” he offered.

Daniel rolled his eyes at this. “That’s the last thing you need. This isn’t a game, Jandor. It can be really dangerous here, especially now that those pog things are around. It could mean they’re getting ready to attack nearby.”

“All the more reason for me to have a good weapon,” Jandor argued. “I’m not an idiot. My dad trained me for years with weapons; makes sense now that I think about it.”

“What?” Terri actually stopped walking to face him.

“Well, maybe he knew something like this could happen and wanted me to be prepared.”

Daniel scoffed. “You think your Dad knew one day we’d end up being thrown back in time and stranded on another world?”

“It’s possible,” Jandor shrugged.

Daniel rolled his eyes again before continuing forward. “Anyway, there aren’t guns here, and you’re not getting a sword. They’ve got pretty strict rules about who can own weapons. Let’s just focus on staying out of trouble”

“Daniel, you may know some stuff because you’ve been here for six years, but I’m not a child,” Jandor said in a sharp voice, clearly agitated. “I get how dangerous this all is. I almost got killed by that giant pog yesterday, remember? You’ve got that throwing thing.” He gestured to the circular blade that was on Daniel’s hip, almost hidden by his open blue robe. “I just want to be able to protect myself and you guys if the time comes. I’ve handled weapons since I was a kid; I know what I’m doing.”

Daniel looked ready to retort but, not for the first time, Terri put a hand on his shoulder as if to calm him. “Maybe we can do something to help him get the rank,” she said in a sweet voice. “You could talk to Longhall; he trusts you.”

Daniel sighed. “I doubt it, but we can try. I have to stop by the guild anyway.”

Jandor didn’t know what they were talking about but brightened all the same. “See, problem solved. Of course, if I’m going to get a sword, I’ll need a better way to carry this too.” He tapped the butt of the large staff on the ground.

Suddenly the staff sprouted a long, thick, purple sash.

“Whoa, well that’s awesome!” Jandor examined the sash with interest.

“How did you do that?” Terri asked in awe.

“This staff seems to be magic. It saved me yesterday with some sort of blue energy pulse.”

“I doubt it’s ‘magic.’ It’s probably just embedded mentus.” Daniel started to examine the staff, a troubled look on his face.

“Mentus, magic, it’s all the same to me.” Jandor used the newly created sash to sling the staff over his back.

Terri and Daniel shared a concerned look. “Let’s just keep that to ourselves,” Daniel said finally. “Come on, let’s hurry up and get to town. The sooner we get done, the sooner we can head to Munio Mountain to get Stephanie.”




Once in town, Daniel split off from Terri and Jandor stating he had to stop in at work, and they agreed to meet at noon. Terri took Jandor shopping for supplies. He was able to truly appreciate how small the town was. Most of the buildings were one story, and despite the main streets being very busy with foot traffic, he could tell that the population was even less than their hometown of Greengale.

“Why does everyone where robes,” Jandor asked as he stared at the pedestrians milling about. He’d noticed that both Daniel and Terri had robes but hadn’t thought to ask until he realized this was a very common fashion trend.

“Robes mark status, rank, and vocation,” Terri explained. “It’s a type of shorthand used to immediately tell what someone is. It varies though. My green robe and belt specifically mark me as a healer. Danny’s blue robe and white belt is only to indicate his rank as a mentant. So, mine marks my qualifications, his marks his rank. I’m a mentant too, but because I’m also a healer that takes precedence.”

“Uh, okay,” Jandor said, still clearly confused.

“It’s really important with higher ranks,” Terri continued. “Like if Danny becomes a mind mage, that’s a much higher rank, so he’d wear a silver belt with his robe instead of white.”

“Can’t anyone just go around wearing a blue robe and silver belt though?” Jandor asked.

“Robes are highly regulated, just like weapons, and they’re made of a special material,” Terri explained. “You can’t just go out and buy a silver belt, and faking a rank, especially a higher one, gets you jail time.”

“That’s a weird system,” Jandor laughed.

“You get used to it,” Terri shrugged. “Come on, we need to hurry.”

Though Jandor was keen to explore, especially when he saw over half a dozen weapons shops in the market area, Terri seemed to have her path set as she purchased the supplies they needed.

As they walked, Jandor decided to ask another question, one that had been on his mind all day. “So, what’s up with you and Daniel?”

Terri paused as she examined a small bottle at an apothecary stand. “What do you mean?” she asked, though her tone suggested she knew.

“Come on Terri, you know I can read you like a book; you’re worse than your mom at keeping secrets.” He chuckled. “I get it, you and Daniel have been here for years together. It’s natural if you two are more than friends now. Did you two get married?”

Terri grimaced. “Geez Jandor, no!”

Jandor laughed again. “What? You’re living together; it’s not a stretch.”

Terri’s face went beet-red. “Oh my god, I’m not talking about this with you.”

“It’s funny considering you didn’t used to get along, especially when he was tutoring you in the beginning,” Jandor added, seeming to enjoy seeing her squirm, “but you can’t help who you love—”

“Jandor!” Terri snapped, slamming the bottle down, much to the chagrin of the nearby merchant. She was no longer blushing. “You don’t understand, okay? Stuff with me and Daniel is complicated, but we’re not married or in love or whatever. We were stuck here for six years. I didn’t know what happened to you or the others. I thought you were dead.” She was nearing tears.

Jandor put an arm around her, and she began to sob into his chest. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to worry you like that.” He stroked her hair and held her until she composed herself.

Terri wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her green robe. “I know you two don’t always get along, but Danny was there for me; he looked after me. So for my sake, will you cut him some slack? He’s had to make all the hard decisions; it wasn’t easy on him.”

Jandor nodded solemnly. “Of course; I’m sorry.”

After a few moments of tense silence, Terri spoke again, her voice calmer. “I think you’re right about your dad.”


“About him training you for all this. I think all of the parents were setting it up so that you guys would be friends. Think about it, if it wasn’t for Mr. E. insisting on starting a tutoring portion of A&A, you and Daniel would’ve never hung out together. You barely knew him. They sort of used A&A to make you all a team. It worked too. The only people in the club who aren’t a part of this whole thing are me and Tabatha.” She sighed wistfully.

“I’m sorry you got caught up in all this,” Jandor said quickly.

Terri turned away suddenly and started down the street. “Let’s go to the guild.”




Ten minutes later the duo arrived at a large two-story building at the far end of the city near the river. As they approached the main entrance, Jandor saw a red crest with what looked like a sword and a fist crossing one another.

“What is this place?” Jandor asked in awe as they entered.

“It’s the Warrior Guild,” Terri explained. “Think of it like the A&A Club but just for fighting, and it’s worldwide.”

In the small lobby, a blue-haired woman in a white robe hailed them from behind a circular desk. “Hello Healer Henderson, is this the brother Clerk Mindmon was talking about?”

“Uh, yes.” Terri said, a bit caught off guard that the girl knew who her brother was already. “We’re just going to go see him now actually.” She pulled Jandor along behind her before the woman could ask any more questions, and they headed down one of the multiple long corridors beyond the lobby.

Jandor looked around, intrigued as he heard noises coming from the various rooms they passed. He kept pausing to peer inside where he saw people taking classes in martial arts or training with various weapons.

 “This place is great,” he said in genuine awe as he reluctantly let his sister lead him away from a room where four men were engaged in an elaborate display of something similar to mixed martial arts to a class of attentive young pupils.

“Figures,” Terri muttered under her breath with a grin.

“And Daniel works here?” he asked.

“Yes, he’s a guild clerk.”

“Oh, that makes sense.” Jandor nodded.

“It’s not what you think.” Again, Terri was eager to defend Daniel to her brother. “He’s well respected in the guild. He had to obtain the fighter’s rank just to hold the position and he’s masters level with a Class A weapon.”

“Uh, okay.” Jandor said, slightly confused.

“I work here too,” Terri revealed. “Just started a few months ago after I achieved full healer status through the guild. It helps so Daniel can take off for mentus school more often and complete his training.”

“Well of course,” Jandor nodded as if he understood this.

“The Warrior Guild is one of the few places that even has jobs,” Terri added, sensing Jandor’s sarcasm, “especially in a small town like Riverbed. It’s not great, but the goal was that when Daniel reached mind mage status, he’d be able to get a real high-level job in another town. We don’t want to get dragged into the war any more than we have to.”

“You keep talking about this war, but Riverbed doesn’t look like it’s large enough to have an argument, let alone a war.”

Terri shrugged. “Call it what you want, but it can get really intense especially when mentus and mandamus comes into play. Fortunately, the guild is off limits to attack, so this is one of the safest places to work.”

They reached a door at the end of the narrow hall close to the back of the large guild building. It was marked “Guild Clerk.” Terri knocked timidly on the door.

“Come,” came the disgruntled voice of Daniel from the other side.

Terri pushed open the door. “Hey, we got all the supplies,” she gestured to the bag slung over her shoulder.

Daniel nodded. “I talked to Longhall, and we can both take off; I just need to finish some paperwork.”

Jandor looked around the office with mild curiosity. “So, what do you do here exactly?” he asked.

“Officiate tournaments, assign ranks, manage dues and memberships, maintain equipment, schedule classes, stuff like that.” Daniel stood and stretched.

Jandor nodded, though he didn’t fully understand. Before he could ask any other questions, a man entered the door behind him. He was Jandor’s height, muscular, and his short black hair was peppered with grey. His clothes were grey and slightly ragged except for the padded, brown leather vest over his long-sleeved shirt.

“Daniel, before you go can you—” he started but then realized there were others in the office. “Hello Healer Henderson,” he said cordially before looking at Jandor. “Oh, this must be the brother I heard about.”

Terri nodded. “Master Longhall, this is my brother, Jandor Mason. Jandor, this is Guildmaster Gideon Longhall.”

Jandor extended a hand and shook. The man had a powerful grip. “Hello sir,” he said politely, noticing that Longhall was giving him an odd look as if something weren’t right.

“That’s an impressive weapon you have there,” Longhall said. “Where did you get such a well-made staff?”

Daniel exchanged a panicked look with Terri before standing. “Sir, did you say you wanted me to do something?”

Jandor pulled the staff from his back. “It was my father’s actually. It’s pretty amazing. I’m really just learning about it, but it’s already helped me out of a few scrapes.”

Longhall raised an eyebrow. “Do you have a license to use that weapon, young man?”

“License?” Jandor repeated confused.

“Well, it’s just a staff, sir,’ Terri interrupted tentatively.

Longhall gave her an incredulous look. “Henderson, I’m sure you know better. That staff has embedded mentus.” He turned back to Jandor. “That’s a Class A weapon, son. Where’s your guild card?”

“My what?”

Daniel quickly answered for him. “Sir, Jandor’s not a guild member. He’s from deep in the mountains, not near any guilds. But I can process a membership and dues right now.”

Longhall shook his head. “It’s not just a matter of dues. He can’t keep a weapon of that class without proven proficiency in it.” He reached for Jandor’s staff. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to confiscate this.”

Jandor snatched the staff back, a stern look on his face. “I don’t think so. I don’t know what’s going on, but you’re not taking my father’s staff.”

Longhall’s expression hardened. “Don’t make this more difficult than it has to be. You can either hand over the weapon or I can take it by force.”

Longhall’s hand went to his belt where Jandor noticed a sword scabbard hanging. The hilt and length indicated to him that it was a type of longsword that could easily be wielded with one hand, especially by someone of Longhall’s stature and apparent strength. Jandor had no doubt he was skilled with the blade, but this was of no concern to him; he didn’t back down.

Instead, he smirked, gripping his staff tighter. “You can certainly try if you like,” he said calmly as if relishing the challenge.

Longhall did not seem amused. He went to unsheathe his sword just as Daniel jumped over his desk to stand between the two, facing the guildmaster.

“Sir,” he said quickly. “Wait, there’s a way this can be resolved.”

Longhall’s hand was still gripping the hilt, but he paused, apparently willing to listen to his clerk.

Daniel took advantage of this hesitation. “Jandor is a skilled fighter, despite never joining the guild. Just give him an opportunity to prove his proficiency with the staff.”

Terri nodded emphatically. “Yes, my brother is skilled with all kinds of weapons. I’m sure once you see him in action, you’ll grant him the license.”

Longhall seemed to consider this and then took his hand off his sword. “All right Daniel, since you vouch for him, I’ll give this rube one chance to prove his proficiency with that mentus weapon.”

Daniel sighed in relief. “Thank you, sir.”

“All he must do,” Longhall continued, “is best me in a tournament fight using that staff.”

“Sounds good,” Jandor said, immediately liking the idea.

“But sir!” Daniel protested.

“Come now Daniel; I’ll even let you moderate the fight. I know you’ll be fair.” Longhall said, his voice sounding more and more jovial as if he enjoyed the idea of fighting the upstart boy who dared step into his guild. He turned and beckoned for the others to follow.

“It’s fine Daniel; I don’t mind,” Jandor said with equal excitement as he followed Longhall out of the office and down the hall.

Terri and Daniel once again exchanged concerned looks before following.

“Jandor listen; you shouldn’t underestimate Longhall. He knows his stuff and rarely loses a fight.” Daniel said in a quiet voice as they followed a few steps behind Longhall.

“Maybe you should just let him take the staff. He’ll just hold it and we can come back for it later,” Terri offered.

Jandor scoffed. “I’m not letting him take my father’s staff without a fight. Besides, what’s the big deal? It sounds like these fights are moderated. You’re not going to let him kill me, right?” He clapped Daniel on the back.

Daniel rolled his eyes. “Of course not; death matches aren’t allowed. But that doesn’t mean he can’t send you to the clinic.”

Jandor shrugged. “He can’t be any worse than that pog, and I survived that.”

“Barely,” Daniel muttered.

“I’ve done these kinds of fights dozens of times in competitions,” Jandor assured them, “and with guys twice my age. It’s no big deal.” Besides, if I end up in the clinic, apparently my sister’s a healer.” He rubbed Terri’s head.

“Daniel,” Longhall called from up ahead. “Which tournament room would be free?” He was peering into random rooms as he went along the corridor.

“Um, maybe 16 or 9.” Daniel said distractedly, his mind still racing to find a way to stop the fight.

“Ah, here we go.” Longhall seemed to find what he was looking for. “Looks like they just finished in here. He pushed his way into the room and the others moved quickly to catch up.

The room was about the size of a tennis court with high ceilings and bleachers lining the outer walls on either side of the entrance. Two men were stepping outside of a large ring at the center of the room, shaking hands, and there were several dozen men sitting on the bleachers who looked down with mild curiosity as the guildmaster entered with his small entourage.

“Leon,” Longhall called to the lanky, blonde-haired man at the center of the ring. “If you’re done in here, I’d like to do an impromptu match. I’m going to be squaring off with this newbie rube.” He pointed a thumb behind him to Jandor. “Daniel’s going to moderate to make sure I don’t pound his friend too badly.” He chuckled.

“What?” Leon seemed momentarily confused. “Oh, sure.”

There was a spattering of whispers from the crowd gathered on the bleachers as Leon stepped out of the ring.

“What do I have to do, knock him out of the ring?” Jandor asked.

“No, the ring is only for band fights,” Daniel explained quickly. “Basically, you have to either get him to yield, or knock him unconscious.”

“Oi, GM!” called one of the men seated in the bleachers. “Can we get some action on this?”

“I don’t see why not,” Longhall shrugged as he took a spot on the opposite side of the ring. “Leon, will you handle the bets?”

“Uh, sure.” Leon said, still a bit confused, looking to Jandor as if sizing him up. “Is he fighter class?”

“Not even,” Longhall laughed boisterously, “just a simple rube.”

“Oh,” Leon looked even more confused but tried to remain professional as he looked up at the intrigued crowd. “Well, the action may not be worth it for those betting on our GM. I’m going to call eight to one.”

“Talk about being the underdog,” Jandor chuckled, clearly unperturbed by the unfavorable odds. “I’ll try to at least make the fight entertaining for anyone who bets on me,” he called cheerily to the spectators.

There was a bit of grumbling at the long odds, but several people descended to place their bets.

Terri, who could tell everyone was gearing up to see Longhall beat down a newbie, stepped forward. “Well, I’m going to bet on you, Jandor,” she said with a loud, harsh voice, clearly wanting the crowd to know her intentions.

She pulled a small, white, spherical device from an inner robe pocket. She pushed a few buttons on the side of it and then turned it upside down as a hole opened in the top. Ten thick gold coins landed in her hand. “That’s one thousand centars that my brother will win,” she said, stomping forward boldly and pushing the fat coins into Leon’s hands.

“What are you doing?” Daniel snapped at her.

“I just got paid. It’s my money; I can do what I want.” Terri said mulishly, folding her arms.

Her brash bet seemed to embolden a few others who came forward and made bets on Jandor as well.

“Well, this should be interesting,” Longhorn said. “Shall we get started then? I don’t want to hold up this room for the other scheduled matches.” He drew his sword. The blade had a hint of purple as it glinted in the sunlight that streamed in from the high windows above the bleachers.

Jandor stepped forward as well, the sash on his staff disappearing as if in anticipation of an upcoming battle. Both of them seemed itching to fight, as if this were all one big game. As Daniel stepped between the two combatants, he saw several more people pushing their way into the room. Clearly word was spreading throughout the building that a very unusual fight was happening, and people didn’t want to miss it. The stands were filling.

Terri stepped up to her brother and gave him hurried whispered information. “The vest you’re wearing has embedded mentus and is forty percent ustus. It’ll give you some protection, but not fully.”

Jandor poked at the sleeveless blue vest. He didn’t know how it was supposed to offer any protection, but he trusted she knew what she was talking about.

“Ready?” Daniel called sharply as he raised his hand in the air.

Terri rushed over to the bleachers.

Longhall gave his sword a few experimental swings. “Ready.”

“Ready.” Jandor echoed.

Daniel sliced the air with his hand, “Begin!” He stepped back, keen not to be in the way of the two combatants.

Jandor spun his staff slowly, an idea coming into his head of how to deal with this fight as the two slowly began to circle one another. He ran forward quite suddenly with a loud yell, swinging the staff wildly and inexpertly as he did.

Longhall raised an eyebrow at this. It was such a crude and unskilled move. “Rube,” he muttered.

He gave a subtle but swift swing of his sword as he moved to sidestep the wild attack. His intent was to land an expert blow across his opponent’s torso, not to harm him too badly, just enough to force a quick end to the match.

But as Jandor came into range he saw the swing, giving him a glimpse into the fighting style of his opponent. He’d purposefully started with a wild attack to force this reaction so he could see what he was really up against. Longhall was truly a master swordsman. The blade was like an extension of his arm, and he had no waisted movements. Jandor knew he could not underestimate him at all. In an instant, he offset his own fake frenzied attack and moved the staff to block the blade just before it made contact, then swept it up quickly to throw Longhall off balance.

Though the deceptive attack had worked, in that moment the guildmaster knew that he had misjudged Jandor’s initial skill and now it was his turn to adjust accordingly. Shifting his weight, he quickly found his footing and sidestepped an attack by Jandor, and his blade met the surprisingly strong wood of the bo staff. The two competitors locked eyes for a moment and Longhall gave a mischievous smile, which Jandor returned all too readily.

The fight was on.

Blade met wood again and again as the two combatants danced around the arena. The spectators watched and cheered on their guildmaster though there were some impressed whistles and whoops when Jandor landed a strike. The fight went on for several minutes and even more people were flooding into the small tournament room.

Jandor found that Terri was right: when he didn’t completely avoid a swing and the blade made contact with the vest, it offered decent protection to his torso. Of course, his arms were still bare and once or twice he did feel the blade nick his side even through the vest. Still, he found the fight more evenly matched than the two recent pog battles he’d dealt with. Longhall was skilled but he was human and his fighting style was easy to read. Even with the large staff as his weapon, he felt confident in the fight and was holding his own against the guildmaster.

“You fight quite well for a young rube,” Longhall said with a hearty chuckle after being forced back by Jandor. He stepped back a few more paces and the two started circling once more.

“You’re not so bad yourself for an old man,” Jandor shot back with a smirk.

Far from annoyed, Longhall merely laughed again. He seemed to be enjoying himself more and more. “And if that were merely a staff, I dare say I’d pronounce you proficient and that would be the end of it, but we’re testing your acumen with mentant weaponry. Let’s see if you really know how to use that staff.”

Jandor gripped the staff tightly. He didn’t know exactly what Longhall meant by this, though he could hazard a guess. The staff had special powers. He’d witnessed it the previous day, but he did not know how to activate them or even how they worked.

Longhall saw the hint of hesitation in his opponent’s eyes. “But first, let’s see how you fair against the elemental blade.”

Longhall swung his sword in an upward arc from the ground, the tip of the blade scraping against the stone floor as he did. Suddenly a large chunk of stone catapulted forward from the blade as if he’d somehow cut out a piece of the floor and hurled it at Jandor, though the floor itself was still intact. Without thinking Jandor used the staff to deflect the stone projectile, causing Leon to jump sideways to avoid it.

Before Jandor could even process how Longhall had done this, he was on the defense again as the older man leapt forward with surprising agility. Jandor was forced to raise the staff in defense again, blocking the sword as it came down. It was only then that Jandor noticed that the blade was encased in a blue flame. He managed to push Longhall away and the fight started again.

Knowing that his staff was far sturdier than most, he blocked and parried the flaming sword, guessing correctly that it would not burn. Still, he had himself to worry about. More than once he had to do a very ungraceful dodge or tumble to avoid the flames which seem to lick out at him whenever they were deadlocked in their fight.

“Come now, you can’t scamper away forever; fight me. Show me the power of your weapon,” Longhall taunted as Jandor regrouped several paces away.

Jandor gripped the staff tighter even as Longhall swung the tip of the blade along the stone floor again. More stones started to fly at Jandor. He deflected a few but Longhall was sending a barrage of them now and he couldn’t block them all. A particularly large one struck him hard in the face and he went careening backward from the force of the blow. He landed on his back and his head bounced off the stone floor.

There were cheers from the crowd as Longhall sauntered over to him. Jandor looked up, his eyes watering from the smack to the head.

“Give up; you’ve been bested.” Longhall said with a grin.

“Well, I’ve still got my weapon,” Jandor retorted, the smirk still on his face as he gripped the staff. “I’m not yielding.”

“Very well then.” Longhall raised the sword high and Jandor saw that the blade had turned completely to stone.

He raised his staff in time to block the blow and saw the wood was glowing blue again. Recognizing this behavior, Jandor pushed hard, and the staff reacted as it had done before. A blast of blue energy catapulted Longhall across the room, and he slammed into the wall next to the door with such force that the stone splintered and cracked.

All of the noise from the crowd abruptly stopped. Jandor jumped up, truly afraid that he’d done irreparable harm to the older man. He ran forward to see that despite the hard impact, Longhall wasn’t knocked out. He was sprawled on the ground, dazed, his sword lying a few feet from him. As Jandor approached, he saw Longhall make a move to grab his weapon, but the young fighter reacted quickly, kicking the sword away and putting the butt of his staff in Longhall’s face.

“Yield,” Jandor ordered with a grin.

Longhall had a stubborn look and seemed almost ready to continue the fight even without his weapon, but he finally smiled and said, “All right then young rube, your skill, and a little luck, have served you well. I will yield this fight to you.”

Cheers erupted around the room. Jandor extended his free hand to Longhall which the latter took, allowing himself to be raised. All enmity forgotten, the two combatants clasped arms in friendship, both laughing by the time Daniel and Terri reached them.

“You were amazing!” Terri hugged Jandor tightly.

“I can’t believe it,” Daniel said, eyes still wide with shock.

“Come on, Daniel,” Jandor wrapped an arm around his shoulders and shook him playfully, “you didn’t have even a little faith that I might win?”

“Well, you kind of got lucky,” Daniel said.

“Luck can indeed play a part in many battles,” Longhall agreed, “but that does not diminish Jandor’s skill, his fighting acumen, and his ability to harness the power of his weapon.” He shook Jandor’s hand again. “I can say with all sincerity that you have reached guild level proficiency with this weapon.”

“Also sir, besting you in a fight at his level counts for five normal victories,” Leon said as he walked over, holding a large stack of fat coins with both hands which he transferred to a delighted Terri. “This, combined with his proficiency of a Class A weapon, means he automatically earns the fighter rank.”

Longhall’s eyes widened at this and then he let out another hearty laugh. “Well, so it does!”

“I don’t know what that means,” Jandor admitted with a shrug.

This only made Longhall laugh harder. “Jandor, my boy, welcome to the Warrior Guild. You have quite a bit to learn, but I think you’ll find membership to your liking, and with your sister’s timely winnings, I’m sure you’ll have no problem paying your dues.”

Jandor nodded, agreeing with the notion that he’d like the Warrior Guild. “Great! Any chance I can get a sword?”

Daniel groaned as Longhall wrapped an arm around Jandor’s shoulder, still laughing, and pulled him from the room.



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