Practical Exercise

It was very definitely time to go on the attack, before he found something I couldn’t counter.   My hands were on fire.  My gnothdiar glowed, incandescently bright. I hit him with the most powerful attacks I could find.  His wards wavered. He screamed impolite words at the top of his lungs.  Hopefully that interfered with his thinking.  It would be nice, I thought, if the Marshal-at-Arms noticed what was happening and showed up here.

I saw a weakness.  I timed my attacks to hit exactly when his did, targetting not him but his sword.  It shattered.   He dropped back, defensive wards crumbling, and pulled something from his backpack.  He held a teal cone the size of a trumpet.  A treldiar!  An enchanted spellcaster vastly more powerful than a conventional gnothdiar.   My gnothdiar is unconventional, thank you, but not that unconventional.  Where had he found it?  What was my response? The one weakness of a treldiar is that it takes time to activate.

Defense was no longer the answer.  “It’s no good if I break it first!” I shouted.  I ran at him, gnothdiar held before me, sending rapid-fire, blindingly bright, deafeningly loud, but surely ineffective bursts of ball lightning at his cone.  He held his treldiar high, concentrating his wards to protect his spellcaster while it powered up.  I only needed a few steps to reach him.  At the very end, he must have recognized that my fireballs were a feint.  He began to move his shields to protect his body.  My gnothdiar, backed by all the shieldbreaking spells I could remember, sliced through his wards and whacked the top of his head.  A stun spell dropped him, unconscious, on the ground.

Cautiously, I stepped back. What was I supposed to do? A gentle neutralization spell released the gag and bonds on the docent.  He braced himself on a bench and staggered to his feet.

“He tried to kill you,” the docent observed.  I still didn’t know his name. “And he attacked me.  Why? It makes no sense.”

“Tried,” I said.  I was pushing into the zone of total exhaustion.  I realized that the light in my eyes was my gnothdiar, burning bright as incandescent steel.  I damped it, and stepped back from Fourbridge.  Yes, I did set an armsmashing spell in my sword.  If, impossibly, he became conscious and grabbed my gnothdiar, he would lose his forearms.  Better safe than sorry.

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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