His thoughts were his alone. He stared out upon the crowd gathered at the square. He had been practicing his methods for way too long. The time would be today to introduce them to the people. He itched through his thick brow robe against the most recent of Moku art that had been manifested on his forearm from the elders. His small village would have a hero this year.
The infusion words were jumbling in his brain, but he had prepared for this. He began reciting words from that letter from his mother he had received so long ago when she had to leave. She had not left because of him, she had not left because his father had been mean. She had simply left because she needed to leave, because she had something important that she had to do. Her letter had reassured him that she loved him and even if she did not return she always would love him. Taber itched again, the red ink had burned like the fire it would produce when they had held him down and inscribed the magic he would be able to manifest.
Under his robe he held his two metal rods. They were not much he had only been able to afford two simple metal rods weighted at the tips from the blacksmith. He had said they would be used as pry bars to open barrels of oats at the granary in his village. He was only 11 years then, but he had set about since then perfecting his art.
His art.....It was something he would use through out his youth creating a system of self-defense and productivity. Long ago when bandits had ransacked his village and stole the entire villages grain they had gone hungry. All winter long there was no food. Game quickly dried up in the forest as it was over hunted. Foraging had proved unfruitful due to the season of the year. He remembered being so helpless as all the men at the granary had been slain. He swore he would never let that happen to his town again.
That was eight years to this day. Eight years his town had been rebuilding, and he had been perfecting his art. He did not need to show his art, as he always hid it with his ability to use non-descriptive items settle the scores in fights. Barrel tops as shields, wires as garottes, pry bars as offensive weapons. Now today he came to show his skills and all he had learned to the seat. The seat was in the town of Cranberil. Cranberil was supposed to have defended his town from the bandits, but instead it looked away when they had begun raiding the outskirt farms of his village all those years ago. Today he would show how prepared his village was now.
The elders in his village had chose him as champion not because he had perfected the martial arts so many Moku fighters had learned. They had chosen him because he had proven effectiveness when dealing with those who would do violence. Whenever the town had issues, he could resolve them if violence or negotiation was needed. He had long strived for his ability to negotiate between two people. A simple granary worker was where the faith of his home town had rested. When the Moku militiamen and other martial forces had signed up for the competition it had been him who had been selected. His name had not been placed in the hat. Yet somehow his name had been submitted, and chosen for this expose about to take place.
Converting his art to work with Moku had only seemed natural. He had not been given enough magic to actually manifest it alone; however, he had been able to utilize it defensively as well as imbue his magic into his weaponry. This was a rare capability that may seem minute as it takes close range to use the imbued weapons, he found that it was at his advantage, imbuing objects had opened opportunity to use objects for defensive purposes more than anything else. The ability to use wind to deflect a sword, the ability to use a quickly heated rod to deter someone from fighting.
No one but the Moku Elders knew about his abilities and they were extremely tight lipped about who they told his skills to. He was an asset, and a well guarded asset to his village. Where a fight would have resulted in a loss of life, his ability to defensively handle a situation had prevented the deaths of dozens of men and women in his village and surrounding areas. His ingenuity during a fight had often lead to the best possible outcome. His willingness to negotiate, and deter hardened criminals had sent would be outlaws running for the hills as a result of his bargaining abilities.
The crowd began to stir, and he looked up. There were more and more men appearing. Gaudy men with jaunty foot steps and heavy amounts of gear. Some had tattoos and some did not. Some had been gifted earth magic and some had been gifted with the physiques of fighters. They were all milling to the front of the crowd with their tokens.
The tokens were gifted to each surrounding village of Cranberilâ€™s champions. Every year a champion was chosen for the chance to fight to become an officer in the regions martial forces. In times of war these martial forces were gathered to fight in the Academyâ€™s Army. In essence the village he came from had nominated him to lead the entire area in times of war.
This was a stirring thought, as he ha d never lead a militia let alone an Army. Obviously though the leader would need to be fierce in combat and also strategy. Most of the men mustering right now were of noble blood that had been trained in their arts by masters since the had been very young. They were the pride of the crop of their villages or cities. The Seat of Cranberil was one of the largest in the nation, and that meant a tremendous amount of responsibility for any that would be chosen.
He had refused the call when first asked to take the token. The council had argued that they wanted to be known in the seat as being both fierce and wise. They wanted to build the reputation of the village and surrounding areas. They acknowledged that they would lose a asset by sending him away, but at the same time they would help strengthen their borders and increase the safety of their citizens. When this point was observed he acquiesced to their request and took the token.
The Moku elders had wasted no time in preparing him for today. They quickly had him learn the rites needed to accept the ink of fire. He had a very hard time learning that school. They said it was a miracle that he could accept two different schools of Moku. He had almost zero talent as a magician or any type of wizardry for that matter. His abilities excelled in the area of imbuement and he had learned how to work that to his advantage. Most of the imbue school of thought were often sought after for their ability to create magical instruments, but it took a long time to learn that and the masters at the Academy would not accept a common granary work into their ranks.
Here he stood, representing his village. His build was short but stalky. He had very little characteristics about him that distinguished him from other men. His brown eyes and semi-shaved head were common amongst villagers throughout the Country. His clothes were simple overalls covered with his traveling robes. He found that robes were the most comfortable of traveling clothes and he preferred them to the other winter clothes available in the region.
He made his way through the crowd modestly excusing himself through the throng, and headed to the gate. He fell in line behind a hulk of a man who looked like he was carrying a slim wooden staff. Interesting he thought that a man of that size only carrying a staff. He wondered if the man was a fighter or a conjurer. He could tell from his profile that he had a great beard, and he smelled strongly of whisky that was ever so popular in the Seat.
Slowly the line slimmed down and he realized that he was the last man in line to enter into the arena area. A heavily armored guard looked down at him through the visor of his helmet. The man was large and most likely a member of the officers that this arena was going to elect.
The time was near, the time was here, the time was now..... I am Tabard Shaw