Gerhald walked through the tents in his temporary war camp. The feel of the Tormus desert surrounding them was bliss. It was not like the the temper-mental Isles of Murdos with it's varying lands and changing weather. It was said in the desert where the Capitol City of Murdos lie there was rain and hail nearly every month! Gerhald snorted. He preferred the eternal heat of the his homeland's desert.

"Zarn Garets," Gerhald called, addressing the petty soldier appropriately with the Zarn prefix. The soldier let the rock he had been floating around his head fall and saluted to Gerhald.

"Domin Gerhald, may I help you?"

Gerhald nodded to the silver haired Fraeman. "We have new recruits and I would like to test them. You are a Specialist, so I thought you would be a preferred sample for what they will be facing." Gerhald managed to not let his voice shake. These men thought him a hard and brave man, but the truth was he was in fear from the moment he walked into the war camp. He was to be training men to lead an offensive to the Great Lizards, and probably to their death...

The tent they used for the recruitment was packed. Apparently, the new set of recruits were the 'special' ones the King spoke of. Maybe they could change the fate of this force. Most the warriors here were young Fraemen and barely new how to use their mystics, let alone a great-ax or blade. How was he supposed to lead an offensive with these younglings!?

After quieting the viewers, who were really just standing around and talking amongst themselves, Gerhald took his place at the lone desk at the side opposite the door, Getets at his side, but standing. Might as well get this over with. "First recruit, enter."

The large tent grew quiet and the crowd of soldiers sat on the ground, leaving a large space in the middle of the area. It would do, though Gerhald wished they had the arena to do this. The King did not want other kingdoms to the East finding out, though. By the Scarred Father, what would they care?

The first Fraeman to enter nearly surprised Gerhald. It was a woman, not a man. The first thing he noticed was her hair. It was wound around the woman's waist several times, creating a thick cord of hair. An Immortal of the higher classes, huh? As an afterthought, Gerhald studied her face and body. It was mainly to assess the structure of muscle and emotion the face held, but this woman was beautiful beyond any other he had seen. Despite her age, the only thing old about her was her green eyes. The rest of her looked to be as young as a youngling! 

But, the question was could she fight?

"Your name and Mystics?"

The woman bowed. "Mierah. Mineral, Flame, Plasma, and Alteration." It was impressive, mainly due to having both Plasma and Alteration. Most Mounseiken only have one of the three non-elemental Mystics. 

"You will be fighting Gerets, Zarn Mierah." 

The woman nodded and took a stance. She held no weapon and seemed confident. A pure Mystic user? Well, she would learn to use the sword before too long if she passed. From the reports, Mystics didn't work too well on Great Lizards. The thought made Gerhald shudder a little.

Gerets walked forward and immediately pulled an immense amount of sand from the ground and slammed it at the Mierah. The tent was immediately filled with a sandstorm. At first, Gerhald thought his man had overdone it, but when the sand settled, the woman had Gerets around the throat with a glass blade in hand. 

Impressive. She turned the sand to glass with her Flame Mystic, changed the new glass to a sword, and then used her own Mineral Mystic to cover her movements. The only way Gerhald knew that was that is was a popular move of the late King Haeron. This woman had mastered the timing between swapping mystics and was able to switch at incredible speeds. Useful... 

"Consider yourself a Mato, one rank above any here. You are to find and teach skill sets such as yours to any you can." 

Mierah, now a captain, bowed and left politely. "Zarn Gerets, are you sure you wash in the desert? Or are you from the East?"

The others laughed at the defeated soldier as he took his place beside Gerhald. "Next recruit enter."

The next three recruits were what he expected. Specialists of a certain Mystic. There was a Flame specialist named Jana, who beat Gerets as well. He was a small man, but proved to be useful with a short sword-knife combo and his own Flame Mystic. The next was a Aqua Specialist, who lost to Gerets. This man was at least a foot taller than any of the ones here and had a bald head. He was skilled enough, though, so Gerhald was forced to accept him. The last of the Specialists was a man known as Fredan. He wore a scarf that covered his face and never spoke, only bowed and wrote his name in the ground with his finger. Despite being mute, he proved himself by showing off his Plasma Mystic. Instead of dodging any attacks, he simply walked through every one of them.

"You I name Mato as well, Fredan," Gerhald said after observing the man's skill with a sword. "Teach the way of the blade." The man nodded and left. No words were said, but, then again, he couldn't speak anyway. Father's Sin, why did Gerhald have to lead when these people were fine on their own. Gerets could have done this on his own.

"There is one more recruit, Domin Gerhald," Gerets said, pointing to the door. Gerhald's breath held. Brown hair. Outlander. 

Gerhald jumped from his desk, knocking the flimsy wood table to the side and pulling up sand as he ran to the man. Knockout the infiltrator, interrogate him, offer him a chance. That was the orders given to Gerhald. 

The man, as well as the rest of the tent, seemed surprised at Gerhald rushing the newcomer. He cared not. Using Flame, Gerhald carved a path of glass from himself to the opponent he now faced. KO. Interrogate. Offer. Gerhald stopped in front of the man. He hadn't moved or backed down, only widened his eyes. This was a man used to danger. 

"Who are you?" Gerhald asked.

The man regained his composure. Pushing his long brown hair out of his face, he spoke in a low voice. On meant only for Gerhald. "A warrior. You've not my trust for a name."

Was this man truly stupid!? Scarred Father, he must have a death wish. Gerhald narrowed his eyes at this newcomer. Who was he? ""You are in a war camp surrounded by soldiers loyal to me, some of which have mastered even the Void mystic. I suggest you think on your words, Outlander."

"I'd play your own words with better skill,"  the man replied murderously,"I've not the mood to trifle with those who are so immature to threaten me with such idle talk.  I'm here for lizards, not little boys playing soldier."

Such arrogance! Gerhald contained himself, if barely. "If you seek to kill Lizards, go kill the ones attacking in the East. I have not the time to deal with puny outlanders. These deserts are for the strong, not the weak." With a twist of his foot, Gerhald created three glass spikes that stopped just before hitting his opponent. Alchemy was his offensive ability, this man would learn to fear it. "Now, are you going to speak?"

"You dare to play these cheap tricks?" the man asked angrily. "I will not be denied by petty children, and I request that you withdraw.  Such a battle would be hinder my goals, and I will only die by the Mountain Demons.  So leave soldier, and let me pass."

Gerhald growled. Fine. He had warned this man. "You leave me without choice." He started with Fire, burning the sand to glass. The man simply watched, as if amused. He would learn. A trickle of Mineral now. Two grains would do. "Are you sure you wish this upon yourself? Being the General of this camp, I am the strongest here. I warn you because I will not hold back."

"Play your hand if it will calm you.  Know that by attacking me though, you damage your own goals, and waste both our times.  If it shall quench your rude desires, my name is Augustus.  And it shall be on the tombstone of many things this day." 

Gerhald should have shown restraint. He should have let this man have his moment and just bound him. No, he couldn't. It was a fault, he knew, but his pride wouldn't allow him. Pressing a hand on the man, Gerhald smiled as the newcomer screamed. The others dared not stop this. "I was going to blind you and bind you in glass, but I think having your ribs bend and press against your heart is a better way to teach you." Gerhald moved the ribs a little more closer, applying pressure to this 'Augustus' heart. He cringed, but managed to quiet himself. "The touch of an Alterer is death. In my camp, you follow orders or I will personally press your own ribs through your heart, understood Zarn Augustus?"

"By his sin, I'll split you and void you across the sands.  Don't ever touch me again."  Augustus hissed, backing away and coughing,"You'd better be a better commander than my last." Gerhald noticed the man made sure there was plenty of distance between them.

Gerhald grunted. "So, you can use Void, eh? Well, don't ever disrespect me in my own camp again, and we will get along nicely. Understood? Or should I turn you over to the Dominor Unaer? I guarrentee he could show you the true terror of Void."

With that, Gerhald walked past the tent and left Augustus in the hands of Hena, the only Captain in the tent. She would take him to his living quarters and find out his Mystics. Other than Void of course. Gerhald cursed himself for getting angry, but felt little relief in it. He had to get stronger.

The End

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