Magni arrived. He stopped under the hammer sculpture, facing his warriors. He nodded his hand.
A man from the crowd stepped forward. He stopped in front of his Master and said:
Then he picked up his weapon, a spiked mace and hardly smashed it to the ground. During the impact, some weak sparks came out from his body and his mace.
"Good, continue with practice" said Magni.
Dag thought that was a sort of daily test.
Perhaps, the warriors had to prove to their master the skills they were learning.
Another warrior stepped forward after Magni's signal.
This time, she was a woman. In the same way as before, she said:
She held no weapon.
She clenched her fist and closed her eyes, concentrating.
On her arms and on her back, her skin began to turn metallic.
She failed to transform all her body and interrupted the process when iron reached her legs, releasing her fists.
"You're doing it well, need some practice with master Dargeon… he is a specialist in defense skills" said Magni.
"I'll do that, thank you, Master" affirmed the woman.
"Did someone mention me?" a fat man walked from behind the crowd. He was scratching his belly, moving towards Magni.
He had a mohawk on his head and a thick, intertwined mustache, so long that they touched his chest.
"Master Dargeon, here you are" said Magni, smiling.
"Yes, I'm not going anywhere, Master Magni" he answered.
They shook their hands, by the wrists.
Then Magni told something to Dargeon in a low voice and then, he moved in Dag's direction.
"Well, you will continue with me today" said Dargeon to the warriors.
Magni told Dag to follow: they walked in the temple.
Many halls and corridors made the temple like a labyrinth.
"Here is different from the Arena. You're on your own, you're an independent warrior. You can choose which skills to learn. Skills range from level 1 to level 10. Each skill has its proper training method, some of them just require practice, some others require also ancient scrolls studies"
Magni was talking when Dag looked around.
"Some warriors choose to improve healing skills, some others are specialized in protection, or in offense skills. In this temple, there are three Masters, one for each specialization. I'm Master Of Offense." continued Magni.
"I understand." replied Dag
"I always fought with a sword at the Arena, I'm quite good to attack, less able to defend myself" continued.
"You're not obliged to choose only one specialization, you can switch whenever you want. Here, each one of us has his own combat style" said Magni.
They arrived in front of a thick wooden door with metal handle.
"Behind this door, there is the library. You can freely consult the scrolls, each one is the key to learn a singular skill. Oh, I almost forgot… every time you succeed to learn a skill, a rune will appear on your body: every rune is specific for the skill you've learned. Is that clear?" asked Magni, opening the door.
"Yes, I think so" answered Dag, trying to find out where Magni had his own runes. On his chest, he couldn't see anything, neither on his arms.
"You're probably wondering where are my runes, am I right?"
"Yes, Master, it would probably let me understand better what are we talking about. But nevermind, I will…"
"Here they are" interrupted Magni.
He took up his fur mantle: on his back and behind his shoulders, there was a countless amount of runes.
"I'm learning skills since I was eighteen years old, so… that's the result. The runes' incision may hurt, but don't worry. It's Thor that personally writes on you" concluded Magni.
"Wow, that's a lot of skills! Thank you, Master, I'm ready to start" said Dag.
"Go now. On your own. When you're ready to show your new skills, you can do so, coming into the courtyard, in front of us"
Magni pointed the library, and Dag entered the door.
The hall was the biggest one Dag had ever seen: hundreds of bookshelves started from the floor, reaching the high roof of the hall. Rows of libraries ran along the walls, creating corridors between them, with tens of thousands of books.
Scattered among the corridors, big wooden tables, where young students and historians learned with their heads on books.
Dag walked randomly in the library, until he saw a boy, sitting alone at a table.
"Sorry if I interrupt you…I'm Dag and I'm new here. Can you show me where are the level 1 scrolls?" said Dag, in a low voice.
The boy didn't answer, pretending not to hear him.
Dag didn't try again. He continued along the same corridor, until he met a man, standing still.
He seemed a guard or something like that.
"Level 1 scrolls. Where can I find them?" he asked again.
The guard pointed on a row of books.
On the top shelf, there was an inscription. It was in Elder Futhark, the rune language.
Dag learned about that language when he was on earth, and remembered something.
He translated the runes.
On the first bookshelves of the row, hundreds of scrolls leaning on each other.
Dag looked around, then he grabbed a scroll.
He opened the string that closed it and unrolled it.
Written in Futhark, the scroll told about a skill called: "Earth Stomp".
Dag brought it with him, looking for a table where to sit.
He found one and sat, trying to decipher the runes, since his Futhark was a bit rusty.
The scroll explained how to be positioned, how to move legs and arms, whether to say something or not. The "Earth Stomp" skill, was a level 1 skill useful to destabilize enemies, causing a soil fracture beneath one's feet.
Dag was euphoric, he can't wait to try that new skill. Finally, he would gain some real power, as the first step to reach his purposes.
He thought about Freydis, looking at her armband.
He missed her.
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