Previously, our heroes sailed across still waters towards the fabled isle of the dark dwarves. As the Marksman contemplated the threat of the Predator, a ghostly vessel comprised of doomed sailors lost on those treacherous waters attacked the Mystic Wave. The Marksman armed with his blessed knives and the Wizard with his wand and staff, defended the ship until the Wizard could conjure a powerful spell that dispersed the angry spirits. The Scribe noted that this must mean the
The Witch Doctor and his infernal spirit boat encountered the same spirits shortly after. As the spirits invaded the deck of the ship, they were quickly repelled by the Witch Doctor and the Predator. Then, the Enchantress reveals herself, trapping the lost souls in her unholy vessel.
The deck of Mystic Wave is a-buzz with activity. While land was not in sight yet, the Scribe and After so many days at sea, the thought of being on dry land, even strange dry land, is an exciting prospect. The Scribe, the Marksman, and the Hero are standing on the poop deck with three training dummies, helping the Scribe learn to sword fight.
“The key to swordplay is remaining light on your feet and making smooth motions, it’s like chess but with a sharp metal stick,” instructs the Hero, “I included the Marksman in your sword training today because you have short swords, he has big knives… I don’t know I just kind of figured he could help.”
“I do not mind to share a secret or two where I can,” replies the Marksman.
“The Hero is right, fluid and efficient movement is essential to blade play, especially when you’re defending yourself with short swords and knives,” begins the Marksman.
The Hero demonstrates a combination of strikes at half speed on the practice mannequin. His blades glisten in the sunlight as strike after strike lightly hits the target.
“While that may have looked complicated, it can really be broken down into several simple movements,” explains the Marksman. The Marksman then teaches the Scribe several different strikes he used to create the strike combination, building the intensity of the exercises as the Scribe learns the strikes.
“After a while, you can increase the speed to look like this,” says the Marksman.
The Marksman sheaths his knives, then quickly draws them, launching into the same combination, but with much more veracity than before. His motions, smooth as a flowing river, were nearly imperceptible to the naked eye as the Marksman increased the speed of his motions.
Then like a crashing wave, the scene of his father’s fateful duel explodes into his mind, the intensity of his routine growing. The knives were beginning to make more contact, removing chunks of wood from the target.
“Uhh Marksman, you alright?” questions the concerned Hero.
The Marksman does not hear him, as he is lost in thought. Lost in thoughts of his father’s duel, his duel and close escape, the impending dread that he would be unable to defeat the master assassin.
The Marksman’s strikes rain down upon the target, being more than the mannequin could bear. A downward strike splinters the target’s left arm, followed by a diagonal slashing strike that shears off the right. The head is the next to go as a high slashing motion connects with the target’s neck, and finally, the emotion fueled demonstration ends with an X-slashing motion on the target’s torso. The dummy snaps like a toothpick.
The Marksman stands over the ruined dummy panting. He looks around and the whole crew is frozen in place, staring at the awesome lethal power the Marksman possesses. The Scribe stands mouth agape.
“I’ll be sure to practice those moves if they can lead to sword fighting like that,” promises the Scribe, still full of wonder at the amazing demonstration.
The Wizard strolls towards the group with a soft, piteous look upon his face.
“Dear Marksman, could I have a word with you,” asks the Wizard gently.
The Marksman follows the Wizard into his quarters and the Wizard shuts the door behind them.
“I’ve noticed a gray cloud hanging over you Marksman,” began the Wizard.
“How did he notice,” thinks the Marksman to himself, “No one is ever able to see past my stoney-eyed gaze and brickwall expression.” The Marksman is stunned that the Wizard could detect his emotions, something that no one else seemed to notice. Cutting oneself off from everyone else makes life a lonesome journey.
“I have no doubt that this probably has to do with your latest encounter with that assassin. You almost didn’t make it out,” continues the Wizard.
“Guilty as charged,” thinks the Marksman, although he remains silent.
“From what I know about your Order, you’ve been taught to be one of the most effective killers in the world,” says the Wizard, “and you’ve been taught in countless disciplines of stealth, espionage, weapons, alchemy, hand-to-hand combat, and… in magic.” The Wizard gives the Marksman a knowing grin.
“For good reason,” thinks the Marksman.
“Very few know of the Order’s use of magic. Even some of the Order’s own didn’t train in it. When the Order’s focus became more about politics and being a political weapon for the King instead of a tool of protection for the Realm, magic stopped being taught by most of the Order. Some purists, like my father, kept some of the older traditions alive. That’s how I still know this…”
The Marksman snaps his fingers and a small flame springs up, dancing around the Marksman’s fingers.
The Wizard smiles and nods his approval.
“Very impressive. Most people go their entire lives without a single spark of magic, but if you would be interested I could teach you to create greater magic,” offers the Wizard, “It would give you a greater chance of defeating the assassin when he comes.”
The Marksman knew the Wizard was correct. Learning to increase his magical abilities would give him a fighting chance against the master assassin when they met again. And they would meet again. Of this the Marksman was sure.
“I would be honored,” says the Marksman.
The Wizard picks up his staff and his wand off the table. He makes a circle and then a flicking motion with the wand, opening up a reflective portal like a large mirror hanging in space. The Marksman looks at the Wizard who beckons him forward. The Marksman steps through the portal into the unknown on the other side.