When Rado held aloft his golden sphere and the world cracked, a great darkness spread across the sky. As the people of the West came completely under Rado’s power, Galdra withdrew and was never seen again.
Now the land was separated into two domains of good and evil. When Rado had cracked the Earth, the sea had come forth and separated the West from the North, South, and East. Now the countries were apart, but the animosity still lingered between them, even years later . . .
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“C’mon, Cochran, let’s see some sport!” said Gordan, his small size and gnome accent giving him a whimsical appearance.
“Only if Adrienne is up to it,” said Cochran warily.
“You know I’m always up to it,” she said and drew her sword.
Cochran did likewise, and he clashed his sword with hers in customary greeting.
Gordan watched them circle around one another like cats ready to pounce, and he did not like the gleam he saw in Adrienne’s eye. Cochran was much bigger and stronger than Adrienne by far, but they all knew she could beat him with things other than physical strength. Metal rang on metal, and beads of perspiration stood out on the fighters’ faces. To Gordan’s horror, he looked and saw Guad-Shon standing there, observing the match.
Cochran knocked Adrienne’s sword out of her hand with a mighty blow that would have sent anyone untrained reeling to the ground.
“Fall!” yelled Adrienne, and Cochran’s sword dropped to the ground.
Adrienne held up her hands and circled around Cochran in the fighting stance, showing him she wanted to fight hand-to-hand.
“Enough, Adrienne,” said Cochran. “I will not fight you hand-to-hand. I am too much bigger than you.”
“I do not care.”
“Well, I do.”
Guad-Shon approached then and said, “Very formidable. I am impressed.”
Adrienne and Cochran both bowed.
“I need to speak with you, woman-child. Please come with me.”
Cochran held on to her arm, but she looked at him and said, “I will be fine.”
As Cochran watched them walk away, he hoped she was right.
Guad-Shon led Adrienne to where the Nieromen had set up a large tent. He held the flap open for her, and they entered.
“Please sit,” said Guad-Shon.
Adrienne obeyed and then said, “Am I the one?”
Guad-Shon looked deep into her eyes, and he could sense her fear.
“No. You are not. You are undoubtedly the most skilled woman-child the Nieromen have ever seen. Your strength in fighting and sorcery has been told to us–it has been rumored.”
“I know what you ask. We do not choose you because that is not what the Gods have intended for you. You have a much more important purpose than this.”
Adrienne took at deep breath.
Guad-Shon stood up, and Adrienne followed suit. He took her hand.
“You will not speak of our conversation, Adrienne. I am breaking a custom that has gone on for centuries. I am going to choose someone who is not truly fit.”
“Why do you risk so much for me?”
“Because you must fulfill your destiny, child. You must. Go now.”
Adrienne stood there for a moment and looked at the face of Guad-Shon. Then she kneeled before him and kissed his hand.
“You have my eternal respect,” she said, and then left.
Come back next Thursday for chapter 4!