The Last Sorcerer – Part 2
The Last Sorcerer Part 1
The day of the Tri-Arms Tournament arrived. They had set the arena up a few days prior. Tents circled around the arena for the contestants to use. Bleachers stood on two sides for the audience to watch. The northern bleacher’s center box, The King’s Box, seated only nobles. King’s and queen’s chairs dominated a raised platform. Fanfare played and ribbons flew high. Everywhere you looked were smiles and laughter. Children played chase and tag.
Several of the larger tents flew noble banners. They housed the contestants you had to watch. Most nobles had more experience than others and did not play games. They intended to win. They did not want anyone joining their ranks or gaining notoriety.
The contests granted those that won any of the three events a mantle and boon of their choice. Most picked gold. Some took no taxes for a year. The third choice, work with artisans to create a weapon, armor, or a specialized wand or staff. Only the strongest contestants, nobles had them all.
They started with archery. They lined targets up across the arena. The first volley was three shots. Each must hit the bullseye. This contest had the most entries, twenty-eight total. The first round eliminated nineteen.
In the second round, they moved the targets to the opposite end. They allowed each contestant a practice shot to account for distance and wind variations. The wind was erratic and six did not even hit their target. Only two passed. All three of their arrows hit the center. It was between Lorindar and a noble, a baroness. He had heard of her before, Victoria; known for her temper when she did not get her way.
They replaced the targets with smaller versions and moved farther. The contestants stood at the far west of the arena. The targets were on the opposite side of the arena. These shots were difficult, even under the best of conditions.
They gave a practice shot again to the contestants.
Lorindar, being a gentleman, said, “Ladies first.”
Victoria rolled her eyes at him. Her practice shot almost missed the target.
Lorindar was next for his practice shot. He took his time, but the wind shifted right before he released. It missed its mark.
Victoria looked at Lorindar with disdain. Her upper lip curled, and she said in an unladylike snarl, “I’ll go first.” She turned and drew her string back. She waited for the wind to be calm and let loose. It hit the outer circle, giving her one point. Her cheeks flared red. She was not happy. She called for a new bow. She could do this once. They brought her one of the most elegant bows Lorindar had ever seen. Carved from a treated hardwood, it had intricate grooves, different yet like the runes on Balanor’s sword.
Her next two shots hit the center. This gave her seven points.
Lorindar was in trouble. This was the first of three and the easiest. He had not planned on a noble entering the Archery event. They focused on the dueling of the Arms and Magic events.
That was no ordinary bow. She cheated with it. It must be magical. Why do I feel guilty even thinking of using magic? Either way, I need to win. I doubt it will change her life if she won or not.
Lorindar stepped up to shoot. The wind gusted. It became strong, switching directions at random. He watched as Victoria made the slightest movement with her thumb. She signaled thumbs up to someone not here. Lorindar looked in the direction she faced when she did it. There was a wizard. He could not tell who. They ducked behind a tent when they saw him looking.
She is cheating, and she has help. She had to go first so that her accomplice could change the winds after she finished.
The official motioned to Lorindar. “Please take your shot.”
“Sorry, a moment, please. I am waiting for the wind to calm as she did.”
The official, whom Lorindar thought was working for her too, added, “You have two minutes. After that I disqualify you.”
Lorindar had no choice. He drew back his string, closed his eyes, pulled one of the five mana he held, and cast Accuracy. His eyes opened. His hands grew still and moved on their own to a unique position and let loose. The arrow sailed true, but the wind was stronger. It knocked it off its course. It hit in the middle circle. Two points.
The remaining two need to hit the center to win or score five points to tie.
Accuracy was not enough. He sighed. I will risk it. How can anyone detect an Accuracy spell anyhow?
Lorindar readied his second shot, closed his eyes, and pulled again. This time he pulled two, leaving him with only two in reserve. Accuracy level two, Marksman, was cast. These enhancements did not need him to move or speak, making it hard to detect. His body moved, shifted, and experienced the wind, the gusts, and calculated the changes. He let loose. Bullseye!
Victoria was getting upset. Her face flustered, she motioned to the official to approach.
Did she figure it out? How?
She said, “We need a few moments. Please stop for a break.”
The official nodded and announced, “There will be a ten-minute recess.”
It was Lorindar’s turn to get upset. “Excuse me. Why do we need a break? It is my turn and I only have one shot to do. Let us please continue.”
Victoria shot Lorindar a look of pure hatred.
In his mind, he envisioned two arrows penetrating his chest, lifting him into the air and pinning him to the bleachers.
“It is my right as a noble to call for this, regardless of whose turn it is.”
The official sighed like he knew she was cheating, but could do nothing. “That is her right. It is a rule. I am sorry.” The official walked back to his post.
There were disapproving murmurs from the crowd.
Victoria could not leave fast enough. She went straight to the tent where the wizard had been. She walked behind it. A heated discussion took place, sounds not words echoed through the arena.
She is having that wizard prepare something for me. She refuses to lose and does not care what she must do to win. No one is going to stop her.
Victoria returned with an ample smile on her face. “We may continue.”
What do I do now? What has she planned? How can I counter something that I don’t know?
Lorindar devised a plan that might work. “Official, since there was a break, my arms relaxed too much. May I shoot a practice arrow before proceeding?”
The official smiled. “I do not see why not? Continue with a practice shot.”
Victoria had not planned on this. She objected. “He should not get another practice shot. I contest it.”
The official said, “Also unusual is to take a break in the middle of another’s turn. I will allow it. Do not forget you are the one that insisted on the break.”
“Grrrr.” Victoria was not happy. She started kicking the dirt and stomping like a child throwing a tantrum.
The official said, “Please stop or I will have to disqualify you for interference.”
Lorindar surmised this was the official’s last year to preside.
The Accuracy spell would wear off, so he had better get it done. He aimed, the magic adjusted and he shot. The arrow once again sailed true. A massive gust of wind shoved the arrow out of the way. The gust almost knocked over the target. The arrow missed.
Victoria smiled. “Please shoot. Let’s get this done.”
Lorindar realized a standard strength spell did not have a chance. To cast it, he needed three mana. One for the first and two for the second. He only had two left.
The bow. She still had it in her hand.
He pictured the bow in his mind and pulled four mana from it.
No one reacted. They were waiting for him to shoot. He did not want to disappoint. He readied his bow. Accuracy was still running. He cast Strength and then Stronger, aimed his body, adjusted, and drew back. The bow strained against the string. He let loose. Moments after he released, the string broke, but the arrow flew true and fast. The arrow was at the target and another powerful gust hit it. The target blew over and hit the ground. The crowd became quiet.
A runner retrieved the target and held it up for everyone to see. It was a perfect hit, dead center, and halfway through the target. There were cheers from the audience.
Some of them figured out that was she was cheating.
Victoria fumed. She stormed off towards the tent. A tremendous commotion took place in it.
Lorindar did not wait. He left to meet up with Balanor in his designated tent, on the outskirts of the arena, with the other non-nobles.