Chapter One: The Test of a Warrior
Section 1: Emily
"Emily Shroud wake up and get down from the roof please."
"Huh, five more minutes please it's so nice today." I try and talk down the voice.
The voice grows silent and I feel myself drifting off again. But before I can drift away again a wet chill rips through my body as I sit up.
"Dang it Janet now I'm soaked." I cry down to my caretaker.
"Good, you're finally awake now do as I say and get down here," Janet says this to me while a small water sphere dances above her fingertips.
I know better than to ignore her words any further.
"Wel,l it's time to get up I guess," I say as I sit up and stretch my arms up really high letting them fall back to my sides.
Pushing myself to my feet I look out across the village from atop Janet's roof. I see the townsfolk going about their daily business of trading, chores and gathering water.
Fallout village ah how I hate you and your sandy roads and how hot and sticky your air is. Why did grandfather ever move here out in the middle of a desert.
"Emily please stop gawking and hurry I want to speak with you before you take the test."
That's right! Today's the day I get to take the test to become a Peacekeeper.
"Okay coming" I look down at my grandfather's Sytche the sunlight glistens off the steel blade's glittering surface, along with the white Mitzi emerald embedded just where the blade meets the Magnos bark wood hilt. I reach down to grab it and the I hop off the tall roof and use a small burst of my wind magic to slow my fall.
The sand from the ground blows around me as I land softly. I swat away the sand with my right while covering my mouth with me left.
"Good now please put your sytche in its sheath so we can talk." I nod and place the scythe in its case.
I look up at Janet and her new Skan catches my eye next. It looks killer pulled over her skintight Favin which helps to reduce heat and protect you from the sun's rays with its long pants and arms.
"Hello, Janet good morning. You look stunning as usual." I say a tinge of jealousy in my voice as per usual when I look at Janet and her gorgeous midnight blue hair.
I curl the snow white strands of my hair. I can hear grandfather's voice now.
"Your hair is beautiful dear everyone of your ancestors have had it."
Well thanks grandfather but I despise it.
"Thank you Emily, now, are you ready for the test today?" Janet asks me her eyes glittering with worry.
"Of course I've been training for this ever since Grandfather aband...left after Grandmother's death. Plus how else will I go about finding him?" I look at Janet and her distant blue eyes.
Janet sighs and moves out of a wagons way as it moves along the sandy road. The Sandma's pull the man's wagon at a slow pace but with a relative ease. Once the wagon rounds the next corner creeping out of view behind a house Janet looks back to me. She dusts some sand off her Skan as she speaks.
"I know your Grandfather's disappearance was sudden but honestly Emily you don't have to join the Keepers to find him. There are multiple other ways to search for him." With a gentle motion, Janet places her hand on my shoulder. I pull away for a brief moment but slowly collapse under her gaze.
"No, this is the best way if I can become the Admiral then I'll have the power, resources, and fame. Then with everyone knowing who I am, it is assured that Grandfather will hear and come to see me." Janet gives me that same distant and sad look as she always does when we talk about me joining the Peacekeepers. She always seems like she's trying to convince me not to but I have to no matter what. I will be come the Admiral.
"Emily, you realize it will take years for you to become the Admiral. It took your Grandfather years to become it and just barely at that." I feel Janet's left hand now on my other shoulder.
"I know that becoming the Admiral means I control the entire army and be the King's second in command. I will have to travel a lot and help the neighboring countries along with the province's." I try to stay strong under Janet's glare.
"Yes, you may know the duties of the Admiral's position but the Admiral is the strongest Wizard in the World. I know you're an Elemental Emily but...being the strongest is a hard goal to reach."
I begin to try and argue against her but I feel both her hands clench up a bit balling up my Skan. Janets presence is just so dominating with how she stands so tall her ocen filled eyes never waivering when looking into yours. I feel myself being crushed under her dominating gaze this is how she's the only wizard who can bend the will of the people around her.
"Emily I won't stop you from becoming one because I know how much it means to you. I just know Dominic would want you to follow your own dreams and not mirror his. Just make sure this is what you want." She unclenches her hands from my shoulders and smooths the shoulders of my Skan out.
"Yes it's what I want. Grandfather trained me for a reason and I believe this is why. Plus why would you put Lucy and I through all that training?" Janet chuckles and shakes her head. Wow, she looks almost overjoyed. I hope she realizes how demonic her training was. Man, I will never look at a bucket of water the same way again.
"Those training sessions were for your's and Lucy's benefit. You're both Elementals so learning how to control your powers is a necessity." Janet nods as she tucks a strand of my hair behind my left ear.
"But why all the body conditioning? Along with the running?" I raise an eyebrow to her.
"Training your body is the key to being able to use more mana and control it. Magic is a part of us. Since we are Elementals are powers can run rampant if not used properly so we must be able to have the strength to use it properly." Janet smiles proudly at her words and I don't question her because it's not wise. I really, really don't want to deal with the bucket of water again.
"Well, you better head off to The Ban's site so you can make your test. Lucy left earlier this morning to go train so I'm sure she's already been there since star rise this morning." Janet's hands finally remove from my shoulders.
It takes a moment for what Janet said to hit me like a smack in the face.
"Wait aren't you coming?" I ask her.
"I wish but the house is a mess and Lucy wouldn't want me to be there anyway." Janet looks over my shoulder, her gaze lingers on Lucy's small wooden wagon.
I feel discouraged that Janet and Lucy are still at odds with each other. No matter how mad Lucy is I know she wants Janet to be there....and so do I.
"So I'll stay and fix up the house, maybe go check on elder Rimrock. He may need a new change of clothes again."
Just say it, Emily. just say "Janet I want you to come watch me and Lucy spar, it'll mean the world to us."
I take in a deep breath to steel my nerves.
"What do you need my dear?" Janet looks at me her eyes seeping into mine cutting off my resolve.
"W...wish us luck!" Failed again Emily how normal.
"Of course Sweetie now hurry and go just know I'm rooting for you and Lucy. No matter what happens you're both winners in my book." Janet embraces me in a hug before I set off. I accept the embrace and wrap my arms around her and bury my face in the nape of her neck. I take in her rosemary like scent for a moment longer because we both know that if I win I won't be back here to see her off. I finally unlock my self from the hug.
"Thanks, Janet I'm going now wish me luck!" I give her a second bow. Then I turn heel and head off down the road.
"Of course sweetie I just hope that things will get easier for you. Gods know you deserve better."
Section 2: Emily
While making my way to the Ban Site,
A man calls out to me from the back of a wagon. He waves me over to the cart hoping I'll accept his invitation but I ignore him and continue walking to the site.
I try not to buy anything from anyone here anymore ever since that shoe salesman in Sky Alley ripped me off.
I spent ten eels for a pair of his shoes, and they fell apart at the seams during a training session in the Klan forest. I thought they looked shoddy but ten eels for a pair of shoes I couldn't turn it down.
I remember that day. Lucy and I stole an Elder's Sounds and tied them up to a piece of sheet metal off a broken down shack. We both rode on the back of the sheet metal and had the Sounds pull us to the Klan forest which is Thirty Ticks north of our village Fallout. The Sounds are great animals; their scaled heels and thick feet help them fight against the heat of the sand. Their legs are tremendously strong and with the lean muscle, it helps them glide across the sand. Their furry bodies protect them from the Sun's harmful rays.
When we reached the Klan forest we climbed through its beautiful majesty. The leaves were in full bloom and the sound of twigs and dead leaves crunching under every footstep Lucy and I took was music to my ears. Grandfather never let me leave the Wastelands so I didn't get to see a tree for most of my life until I began living with Janet and Lucy.
We passed by two flowing waterfalls that were breathtaking. The way the water just kissed the small streams smooth and glittery surface was majestic to see.
The best part was the wind whistling through the trees branches and the dancing leaves as the branches would shake the leaves off and they would dance gracefully to the ground. Finally, we reached Kuzar cliff at the center of the Klan forest to begin our new work out.
When we began our training Lucy harped on me the whole time about my shoes I bought before coming here.
"I'm telling you, Em, if you try to train in those shoes you'll get hurt," Lucy gives me that smug smile of hers. The right corner of her mouth curls up and she puts her hands on her hips and leans forward emphasizing her smugness.
"Pssh it'll be fine stop worrying mom." I give her a glaring look while we balance on a small cliffs edge.
"Fine but you better not ask me to help you when you fall." She crosses her arms and begins to pout, but she quickly turns her face to hide the smile plastered on it. Lucy is always good with being dramatic so I decide to play along with her.
"Hey that won't happen I may not be very good at being a wizard but I won't fall off this stupid cliiiff!" I loose my focus and turn on my left heel too quickly causing the heel of my shoe to rip. I topple off of the cliff side, I land on my side before rolling off the edge. I try to use my wind magic to help save me but I'm exhausted. I watch as the ground races to me quickly. I cover my eyes hoping to shield myself from my oncoming demise before the sound of rushing water comes rushing through my ears.
I see a water bridge underneath me trailing from the cliffs upper edge to beneath my descending route to the hard ground below. I could also see Lucy standing on it. She moves her hand up to me and the water shoots up at me like a million tiny hands. I'm slowly lowered to the glistening bridge and see Lucy's smiling face as she just laughs.
"Oh, Emily what will I do with you." Lucy just continues to laugh as we head back up to the cliff's edge.
Luckily, Lucy was there to save me, or I might have died.
Guess it was my fault for wanting to train on the cliff in shoes that were cheap. Except I didn't know that they were shoddy I can't predict the future.
After walking a few more minutes I have to cover my eyes from the blistering rays of the sun which I can feel scorching my fair skin and blinding my vision. I finally reach the village's small outer wall which wraps around the outer edge of Fallout.