When morning came, Dag woke up hearing the sound of hooves stepping on the terrain, getting closer to the farm.
He quickly stood up and got ready for his Master.
The Sun was covered by clouds and a biting chill filled the air.
Dag opened the door. It was Magni.
"Hey you, how are you?" said him.
"I'm fine, Master, thank you" answered Dag. He didn't know if tell him about the undead met along the way to the farm or not.
"Okay, as promised, here I am. I brought you some goods. Food and clean clothes. When you find it necessary, you can wash with the mill's water".
"Yeah, I saw the watermill yesterday. I'm fine".
"Good. Get ready for your training. Today I'll show you your new training ground, the black pine trees forest. Pick your sword and follow me" continued Magni, hitching up his horse to a fence on the watermill's side.
Dag entered the farm again and grabbed his sword. Then he got out and followed Magni, that was already on his way.
Together, they walked uphill, following a trail that passed through the forest.
"Did you bring some scroll with you? You'll have a lot of free time, not having to submit to the temple's rules. You will establish when to train and when to rest" said Magni
"Yes, I brought 'em. Master, what happened to whom lived here with you? I couldn't help noticing that everything was accurate and in perfect order in the farm" replied Dag.
"I spent my last days alone here. I used to live with my parents, until the day they died. They were humble farmers, somebody killed them" he said.
"Oh…sorry, Master. I didn't mean to…"
"Don't worry, Dag, it's fine. I killed the murderers. The bastards used to live not so far from here. Perhaps they wanted to steal goods from my father's carriage, and he resisted. From that day on, I decided to become stronger. You can't need someone else's protection if you want to stay alive" interrupted Magni.
His face seemed thoughtful: he must have gone through a lot because of his parent's death.
"Anyway, here we are" he continued.
In front of them, a large clearing opened into the forest.
Old training dummies and wooden pillars were still there, with the signs of aging.
"Those were my first enemies, Dag. In this place, I've learned how to fight. Day by day. It was hard, but finally, when I felt ready, I moved to the Temple Of Orn to prove my strength. I expect the same out of you" said Magni, admiring that place as if he was looking in a box full of memories.
"I will not fail you, Master, I swear" answered Dag.
"Master…" he continued.
"When can I see my family again?" asked Dag.
Magni sighed: "you will, brother. All in good time. If you don't get stronger, you probably will die coming back to Jernhest. And if you leave Mount Torden before until you master level 3 skills, you cannot come back. You will be recognized as Renegade and will not be able to join a Clan again. Understood?"
Magni had been clear. Dag nodded his head, confirming what his Master just said.
"Good. Now, show me how you fight".
Magni grabbed his hammer, then dropped it to the ground, clenching his fists in front of him, ready to fight his opponent.
Dag pointed his sword to him and wait.
He learned an important lesson during his training: to charge first didn't mean to strike first. This time, he wanted to prove he was a skilled warrior, not just a youngster with energy to burn.
Magni charged him, trying to hit him with a right hook.
Dag dodged by lowering himself.
So Magni tried again, this time with a shoulder bump and hit him, letting him stagger for the hit. Then kicked him frontally at the level of his head.
Dag dodged him again and tried to strike back with a straight frontal punch, but Magni blocked it with his hand.
With a quick movement, Dag freed himself.
The two watched themselves. Magni was smiling at Dag, as a grandfather playing with his little nephew. He seemed completely relaxed as if he didn't make any effort.
On the contrary, Dag was breathing fatigued. Magni's hits, even if did not strike, were hard to dodge. While he was hitting, Dag felt the surrounding air becoming heavier.
This time, Dag charged first.
He ran to Magni's direction, throwing his sword in the air, over their heads.
Then he slid under his legs: Magni was focused on the flying sword. After sliding, Dag kept on running towards his Master's hammer, still placed on the ground.
He grabbed the hammer, when the sword fell from above right next to him, sticking in the soil.
After his move, in some seconds Dag was in front of Magni holding two weapons in his hands. The hammer and the sword.
Magni was surprised.
"Hahaha, look at you! You got me!" chuckled.
Without a word, Dag charged him again. While he was running, Magni pointed his open hand against him.
Dag suddenly stopped, as if he crashed into something really heavy, falling on the ground.
Looking up, he figured that the hammer stayed locked in midair!
Before he stood up back on his feet, the hammer flew fast towards Magni, releasing an electrical wake behind it.
Magni clenched the hammer, that returned faithfully in his owner's hands.
When he caught it, the impact caused a shockwave at his back, making the pine trees creaking and the grass down by his feet razing.
"I like you, Dag. You sure did surprise me. Enough for today. Tomorrow, at dawn you will follow the trail all the way to the top of the mountain. There, you will find several stone blocks provided with ropes on them. Tie them to your feet and wrists and with them, walk down the road, from the top to the exit of the cave. Then go back, and when you reach the top, leave the blocks exactly where you found them. I'll join you right after" stated Magni.
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