Frontier Dreams

Interlude: The Trial

In Which a Boy Becomes a Man

Waeslyn woke up early that morning and roused Therran from his seemingly eternally fitful sleep. They had much ground to cover finding a suitable location. Waeslyn selected some parchment paper and rough charcoal to make a crude map. As he sketched simple representations of landmarks, he recalled the training exercises for the militia in the field, and how the child in him never quite stopped imagining the maps as treasure maps. They soon found a small winding ravine that led to a secluded clearing. Therran set to making rudimentary pitfall traps and covered them with thatch leaves.

Calder was soon shown the site and set about meditating. He began leaving test questions on prominent rocks in the passage leading to the clearing. They were meant to test both recall and sense based on previous combat encounters the party had been in. All while doing so, he walked with a sharp military snap in his step, and had an oddly strict undertone to his voice. He was prepared as a backup to summon a suitable challenge, but explained that summon creatures would be greatly offended at the action of being called simply to get defeated as a test.

Woomera had no trouble hunting a boar from the sky and placing the fresh kill near the edge of the clearing. From her watchful gaze in the sky, she finally spotted a dark furred hunter take interest in the bait. Judging from the size of the cat, it would be sufficient challenge. Woomera was no longer surprised at the tinges of motherly worry she felt watching the spotted hunter lounging on the branch. These strange soft skinned misfits had made this journey much more bearable. She was certain Milvin could beat it, but she was to well traveled to believe that guaranteed he would.

When the sun was high in the sky, the preparations were complete, and Milvin was presented the map and instructed to decypher it and follow the clues. Milvin managed to answer most but not all of Calder’s questions correctly, gaining a few hints as to what may lie in wait for him ahead. When he entered the clearing the partially consumed carcass freshly buzzing with flies was even more warning.

He advanced cautiously, but the jaguar still managed tog et the drop on him from above. Bracing his spear he caught it in the flank, but his thigh was rent by claws in kind. Seeking to gain position of advantage he circled to a pit to keep the jaguar at favorable distance. The jaguar, however, had a hunter’s instinct and avoided the pit. Milvin took advantage of the long path to loose a pair of manticore quills, only one of which was a hit. Having rounded the pit and very angry the jaguar once again charged.

The final clash saw bloody hits from both sides, but Milvin’s combination of braced spear and thrown quills earlier meant that the jaguar eventually succumbed to the injuries. Exhausted and limping, Milvin looked up at the edge of the clearing where his companions were looking down from the rim with apparent approval.



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