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3.91% Bloodlines of the Ancient Pantheons / Chapter 23: XXIII. The Rune

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Chapter 23: XXIII. The Rune

"I'll go to sleep now, I'm so tired" said Dag, lying down on his broken bad.

The room was lighted by soft candlelight, leaned on a shelf between beds. Aslan blew on it.

There were no windows in the room, only two rectangular openings near the ceiling, from which cold air entered from the outside.

Both the roommates fell asleep.

During the night, Dag woke up. He was sleeping lying on his right side when he felt like a pinch on his right arm. He scratched it to let the stinging pass.

He closed his eyes back, was too tired to light the candle.

The morning after, somebody yelled from corridors, waking up everybody, as usual. Dag and Aslan woke up at the same time.

They fastly changed their clothes and moved to the courtyard.

While walking, Dag continued reading his scroll.

"It takes a long time in the beginning. I learned my first level one skill after two weeks of intense training" said Aslan, looking at the scroll.

They both reached the courtyard and with them, a lot of other warriors.

Dag walked in front of Aslan: "Fight with me".

"What?" answered Aslan.

"I don't like to train alone, I prefer to have an opponent. It helps me to focus"

"You're just an idiot, I'll destroy you, in front of everyone! Your level is lower than mine!" replied Aslan.

"Come to the weapons room" he continued.

Walking along one of the courtyard's walls, a small iron door led to a warehouse, full of any kind of weapon. But this time, they were not fake ones, they were real and sharp.

Dag and Aslan got back into the courtyard, slightly isolated from the rest of the cluster.

Aslan held a shield and a one-handed mace, Dag chose a sword, as usual.

"Bring it on, booger!"

He rose the shield facing Dag.

Without hesitation, Dag charged him. Aslan remained still in his position.

Dag tried to hit him with a top-heavy attack, but Aslan deflected the hit upwards, uncovering Dag's side.

After parry, he swung his mace, hitting Dag that drifted away.

"I told you!" said Aslan, challenging him.

Dag charged again but this time, he fainted the hit switching his sword position from the right hand to the left one.

Aslan put the shield on the ground. Suddenly, other shields appeared around him in midair, and Dag hit one of them, losing his balance.

"That's my Shield Wall, booger! You'd better give up!" said Aslan, then he tried to hit him with a top-light attack.

Dag crossed his arms and heavily stomped his foot on the ground: the soil cracked under Aslaug's feet, releasing weak blue sparks and knocking him to the ground.

Dag was astonished, he succeeded to perform an Earth Stomp!

"You're a liar! You said you practiced for one day only!" said Aslan trying to get back up.

"But…It's true!" said Dag. He instantly remembered the pinch he felt the night before. It was on his right arm.

He pulled up his shirt's sleeve to reveal what was below.

"What?!" said Dag loudly.

Under the sleeve, a rune appeared, carved in his skin. It was the Earth Stomp rune.

How was it possible? He didn't feel any pain when the rune appeared, contrary to what somebody told him.

Dag kept looking at his arm, then at his hands. He perceived some new power, probably coming from the scroll. He mastered a level one skill in one day only, and that was amazing. He couldn't believe it actually happened.

From the center of the courtyard, in front of the crowd of warriors, Masters Magni and Dargeon were testing their students. Magni saw the whole scene: Dag performed a perfect Earth Stomp as if mastered it from years! Even he was shocked, he'd never beheld such a thing.

In the meanwhile Aslan was back on his feet: "You didn't tell me on purpose, ah, booger? You wanted to take advantage of me, what a subtle being you are…"

"I swear to you, Aslan. I read the scroll yesterday for the first time" answered Dag. Then he pulled his sleeve down.

He thought about how much power could he gain in a really short time. He thought about Gridd: their plan to destroy the Lies Of Loki could be closer than he imagined. He had to train hard, every day, to fulfill his desire. To revenge Brann.

"I gotta go now" said Dag, dropping his sword on the ground and running away, towards the door leading to the library.

Aslan stood there, frozen, with his arms opened.

Dag reached the library. He quickly moved to the level one skills' section. The previous time he chose a scroll randomly, this time he would be an aimed choice.

He started checking scrolls one by one, filtering offensive ones.

He piled up over a dozen on a table. Then moved back to the bookshelves, searching for the "Niva" skill: knowing exactly the power of enemies, but also of allies, could be a very useful skill.

In a few minutes, he finally found it, in level two section. He picked the scroll and dropped it on the table, next to the others.

In the libraries, the skills' level grew with the bookshelves' elevation.

The higher the shelf, the higher the level.

On the left side of the library, there was a wheeled ladder, that could slide horizontally along the library. Dag grabbed it and pulled it towards the shelves he was interested in, then climbed on it, reaching the highest ones.

On the top shelves, there were no more scrolls, but hundreds of books and tomes.

He tilted his head to read books' titles.

Everything was written in Elder Futhark, like scrolls.

"Me…mor…y of Mj…ollnir"

He translated one of them.

Then he picked the book and opened it while he was on the ladder, despite it was so heavy.

Lots of runic inscriptions surrounded printings of Mjollnir, Thor's Hammer.

Dag was focusing on the inscriptions, too curious to stop himself when a voice from behind said: "It's too early for those".

Dag got scared and lost balance. One of his feet slipped on a rung of the ladder and he fell down, slamming with his back on the ground. The book fell with him, knocking him on his head.

"Ouch!" moaned Dag writhing in pain.

The voice was Master Magni's.

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