Sidling forwards with an elegant steel longsword in hand, Jorhan spat on the ground and glared at Forte. “You’re nothing,” snarled the bearded man contemptuously, “Not even a rat. Did you seriously think you could challenge me? Fyrza!”
Jorhan raised his left palm and blasted Forte backwards with a blinding streak of arcane energy, leaving the boy paralyzed on the damp grass. Gushing river water splashed on his face, but Forte’s blurred vision and ringing ears could barely make out his surroundings. He faintly heard Vaun shouting swears in the background, and the frenzied battle cries of his black dragon. Blinking away the water splashed on his face, Forte saw the cruel outline of a lumbering, battle scarred mercenary in a leather tunic gazing down at him. The mercenary’s lips curled into a snarl as he raised his elegant steel longsword, ready to hack the boy in half. Forte tried grab his sword, but his arms refused to budge an inch, as if they were filled with lead.
The mercenary swung down at his head. His eyes seared with pain as he felt a strange warmth envelop his body. Then, the world faded to black.
After several attempts to lift the hefty corpse, Vaun finally managed to roll out from under the dead soldier’s body. Heaving, he watched as twelve year old Forte dueled Jorhan in a heavy exchange of blows as they traced the edge of the riverbank. Vaun was astonished at how well Forte held his ground against the veteran and the clear strength behind his blows, but in an instant the boy was pushed back by Jorhan’s superior swordplay.
Coughing out some blood, Vaun watched as the older veteran landed consecutive blows across Forte’s torso, before steel met gravitite as his third blow was parried. The jarring sound of colliding metal reverberated through the forest, leaving a large dent in the elegant steel sword while the boy’s greatsword remained unblemished.
Seemingly out of thin air, a blaze of green shot towards Forte and collided with his chest in a resonating explosion. It was Vaun’s first time seeing magic… but he had seen enough. With sweating hands, he fumbled as he pulled two smoke grenades off his belt and lobbed them at Jorhan.
Jorhan Ealdwin looked in horror at his mangled sword Termalin. Once rumored to have belonged to the elven royal family, the decorated elven steel longsword was passed down the Ealdwin family bloodline for generations. Having felled hundreds of men and beasts with its blows, the ornate elf sword was his pride. Never once had Termalin failed him. Not until today.
Rage coursed through his veins as Jorhan broke his vows and invoked forbidden magic, knowledge he pried from a scholar’s dead hands many years ago. He smote the boy twice, and felt the familiar sap from his stamina. For a moment, his knees buckled, unable to support his own weight.
He stepped over the boy’s body and raised Termalin, ready to cleave the little rat in half. He swung down. Suddenly, the boy’s blank eyes turned into an icy blue glare of intense malice, stopping his blade in its tracks. He could not move his right arm one bit, as if an invisible force held an iron grip on him. The grip tightened on his arm, and an excruciating pain spread across his arm. Moments later it loosened, leaving a large bruise and slightly smoking skin.
He recognized the force for what it was.
Two popping sounds came from the ground. Jorhan looked down to see violet smoke seeping out of a pair of black spheres. Before he could react, thick violet smoke filled the air, causing Jorhan to gasp for air as he began to feel incoherent and dizzy.
The smoke cleared after what seemed like an eternity, and the boy was gone. He cursed under his breath, then pulled a canteen of whiskey he’d been saving for later from his pouch.
“Using magic without words... in all my years… I’ve never heard of such a thing,” mumbled the scar-faced man to himself, as he uncapped a canteen and carefully poured alcohol down his bruised arm. Grimacing as he tied a rag bandage around his arm, Jorhan Ealdwin slowly sauntered back towards Sawen with a dented sword strung across his back.