“Sish! Sish! Awaken!”

Sish nearly jumped awake, pulling his quarter staff off the ground with his Will and preparing for a fight. “What? What’s going on? Wolves?”

Around him was no wolves, but there was an older man with a grim face and a fire pit with ashes filling it. The sun was bright, so that was a great thing. After all, what better way to wake than an old man screaming at you and a bright sun to blind you? Yup, perfect day! Sish yawned and stretched, letting the quarter staff rest on the ground with his other one.

“What do you want, Kojack?” Sish asked, slowly standing up and grabbing his quarter staves with his Will.

Kojack simply stared at him for a moment before speaking. “We will spend today training you, covering everything,” Kojack said, his voice steady and formal like the stiff he was, “I want to discover what you know.”

Sish groaned. “Really? I can beat just about any other Nomad and you are trying to train me? I can probably beat you!” This was going to be easy if Kojack just made him fight. The old man had a Greater Will, so he was physically weak.

“I like it no more than you, but I have orders. Start off by telling me every type of Will.” He seemed serious. Then again, Kojack was ALWAYS serious. He never even smiled! Grave said he did, but Sish seriously doubted it.

“Fine,” Sish said, giving in. Might as well make Grave happy. “The weakest of Wills is the Lesser Will, often not even strong enough to cover a pebble sometimes. The best Lesser Will may be able to grab a sheet of paper from a few feet.

“The next in line is the Greater Will, like yours, stiff. It allows for longer distance, up to maybe twenty feet, and greater area coverage, though it makes the body weaker. People with this Will can grab, like, a lot of things. The max, though, would have to be that horse one man lifted in camp. Did you see that, Kojack?”

Kojack rolled his eyes. “Keep going.”

Sish sighed. “Alright, alright. Next up is the Divine Will, which most of the people born with it cluster like cowards in the mid-section of that damned city.” Kojack gave an intense glare, causing Sish to go on, though he started spinning on of his staves with his own Will. “This Will doesn’t affect the body like the Greater Will does, and is more powerful to boot.

And the last is the Heraldic Will, which only the fourteen Heralds have. It is said that they can lift entire houses if they wished, but rarely use their Will.” Sish gave Kojack a ‘you happy now?’ smile and started gathering his things; a bag full of food, a puch with money, and his two staves.

The stiff simply watched as he did. So much for spending the day training. Maybe the old man realized he couldn’t take on someone as smart as Sish. Well, Sish didn’t blame him for that, really.

The bag in Sish’s hand suddenly flew through the air, a line connecting to Kojack fully visible. It crashed against a tree and a few of the fruit he had picked just the day before fell out. “What is the Lost God’s name are you doing, old man?”

Kojack ripped a staff from one of Sish’s hands. “I told you today was for training.”

Sish just sighed. Did he really have to fight a weakling? He put his money pouch down, though, and grabbed his quarter staff with his Will and floated it before him. Then he plucked it from the air and took up a defensive stance.

Before Sish could make a move, however, Kojack rushed forward and swung his own staff at Sish, knocking him off his feet and onto the ground. Pain bloomed in the back of his legs and Sish cursed. By the Lost God! The stiff had speed!

Sish ignored his pains and rolled to a standing position, but he was too late. Kojack was already near him and swinging. Sish tried to guard his legs, but he realized Kojack had not been aiming there. Pain erupted in Sish’s right hand and he nearly dropped his staff. Kojack already retreated, but didn’t try another attack. How was he this good? Grave wasn’t even this good!

“I thought you were better than this, Sish Carna,” the stiff mocked. He seemed to be high on his horse, despite his usual blank face.

Sish didn’t care, though. Now he was mad! “You want power old man?” Sish asked, sending his Will grabbing anything around his feet. Rocks, twigs, and even his money pouch. Sish WOULD win! He had to! Grabbing his quarterstaff with his Will as well, Sish ran toward the stiff. Kojack would learn who Sish was!

Kojack simply waited, his eyes calculating as always. Damned stiff, looking calm and collected. Sish threw a twig and a few rocks his way, all of which were dodged easily, and swung then his staff at the old man. Staff met staff, but only momentarily.

Sish had blinked. Only blinked. Now Kojack was gone. Sish hadn’t even the time to move before the darkness came, though. He felt his body grow heavy as the world grew dark and pain sprouted from the back of his head, dwarfing the pain in his hand and legs.

It seemed like forever before Sish awoke to a splitting headache and a dark sky. It took only a moment to piece together what happened. He sat up quickly, anger and humiliation filling his mind. Kojack sat by a fire, eating something that looked like an apple.

He noticed Sish was awake and pulled another of the fruit out then tossed it over. “You need work.”

Sish caught the fruit. It was an apple after all. “How are you so good?” Sish asked, curiosity overcoming his desire to find a log and bash in Kojack’s head.  Sure, the man was considered a legend, but Sish thought he lost all his fighting prowess. 

Kojack simply shook his head. “You did not cover your weak points.”

“Weak points?”

The stiff nodded, actually looking like a fighter, now. Maybe he HAD won that tourney… “For a quarter staff fighter, the legs, arms, and head are vital. You cannot swing a staff one handed efficiently and you need your legs to help you maneuver the weapon as well. Your head must be covered for obvious reasons.”

Sish found himself nodding. It all made sense. When he had trained under Grave, he simply went on the offensive. Sure, he was seething at the thought of his loss to Kojack, but Sish was not stupid.

He would learn all he could, then beat the stiff back down.

The End

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