The King's Speech</p>
<p>I felt the gaze of several nobles trace me as I crossed the field. This time, a barren wasteland had been choosen for the fighting grounds. You wouldn't be missing any action from the stands with this environment. But the noble's gaze continued to haunt me. I knew that seeing field girls compete in the arena wasn't very common. We weren't trained to use magic like those from other cities.</p>
<p>Another reason why they might be watching me, was because my hair color, a bright blonde that almost looked white when the sun beat down on it, wasn't very common either. Wearing clothing that went along with the scheme, plus that the clothes were a full set of armor must of surprised them. Maybe I had even gotten the King's attention and I could win by a tie by the King at the last round. I doubted it though, and just crossed the field to the side where I should generally be.</p>
<p>Only a few girls from my city, like the first girl who had spread the rumor about the games coming early this year, I was able to identify. They looked extremely nervous and kept to themselves. I, on the other hand, felt completely relaxed. Other than the few noble's from the King's court whose eyes tracked me, I was convinced that the whole stadium couldn't possibly be singling me out among this large of a crowd. I stood waiting as more people filed into the staduim and started a losely formed crowd.</p>
<p>When the flawless stone doors closed the doorways, informing me that everyone who had showed up on time had arrived, and melded into the walls, it made me warry. No one would be leaving until the round was finished or someone was desperate in need of medical attention. Everyone was arranged in their rows by guards that would disappear into smaller doorways later that would seal behind them when the games started. I was having the best luck yet, because I was given an place on the outside of the formation. We stood facing the front of the arena where the king sat, but backed on the opposite side.</p>
<p>"Welcome one and all to the sorcery tournament. Here, individuals will fight each other until they are too tired to continue on. The guards will determine when you are unfit and withdraw you from the fray when that time comes." The King boomed, suddenly comanding everyone's attention.</p>
<p>I noticed instantly that he was using a spell to make his voice louder and heard by all.</p>
<p>"The only rules of this tournament are to fight using magic alone and that you cannot kill your fellow opponets. Failure to follow this rule will result in you being withdrawed by force from the arena. You will give up your chance at gaining the title and leave the Capitol imediately. If you had been foolish enough to kill another opponet, you will be held until a punishment is decided for you." he continued, pausing to catch his breath.</p>
<p>"I hope the best of luck be with you." he said sincerely, and just as we thought the games would start he interupted."But before I end my speech, I'd like to introduce my newfound friend, Eragon, to you all." the King announced proudly.</p>
<p>The crowd errupted into cheering. He must have been introduced the first games for his recognition to be so nationally accepting. Something I must have missed while I remained back at my temporary housing the whole of last week. One of the stone doors that had melded into the stone of the arena, the ones right underneath the king's thrown chair, opened up again to reveal a large figure.</p>
<p>I was frightened beyond belief as well as some of the others in the arena who had chosen to stay back at their houses. A large reptile covered in glittering sapphire scales emerged from the doorway. It was the largest creature I had ever seen, and I looked in awe as it slinked its way out into the open arena and turned off to my right. It had wings whose webbing was transucent in the sunlight and shone a pale, silverish blue, the viens underneath its surface visable. Along its back were curved spikes that went from it's head to the tip of it's tail. And sitting in the gap in the spikes was a man in a saddle.</p>
<p>He looked only four years older than me, having brownish blonde hair that was messily arranged on his head and brown eyes. His armor wasn't recognizable to me. No one of my kind could have made it, so he must have been one of the strangers who had passed through our lands. At his belt there was a sword in a shimmering blue sheath that matched the color of the large flying reptile he was upon. Upon the sheath was the runes FIRE---the name of the sword. He waved to the crowd and smiled to them as the creature he was on came to a stop, but remained standing.</p> </div>
<div class="textbody" id="storyText" style="-webkit-user-select: none; opacity: 1;"><p>The man quickly cast the same spell as the king and begun speaking.</p>
<p>"Hello all who have come to this year's games. I wish you all luck and may the stars watch over you!" He said in the ancient language to all of us who were standing before him.</p>
<p>I wondered why he had used the ancient language, then thought that maybe he had to because it was the only language both our races understood. He was clearly not an Angel when you looked at him closely. His eyes were only one color and his skin wasn't pale, but peach. He probably didn't have wings either and that's why he relied on his flying reptile to carry him around.</p>
<p>As soon as he had finished his part, his reptile had lept into the sky and taken him up into the air, where he circled around and then landed on the opposite side of the arena's wall where he had probably started. Later on, I betted, he would probably be up sitting next to the king with all his nobles. For now though, my attention was on the king's hand which had raised into the sky. The exact moment it dropped, I seperated myself from the group. I kept my senses open for anyone about to attack me while I had my back temporarily open to attacks.</p>
<p>I reached the wall in fifteen strides and flipped around, ready to face any who came to me. I watched as many were taken off guard, having been amazed by the man and his large lizard, and they were the firsts to go down. Most sorcerers took advantage over them and cast a simple spell to make your body heavier, thus forcing you to the ground. Their minds were overwelmed from the other magicians and they laid hopeless, sprawled out on the dirt. Those who remained standing began taking out those around them.</p>
<p>For instance, those who were on the outside of the mess that hadn't moved suddenly found themselves flying backwards as the stronger magicians attempted to make more room for themselves and get rid of the pests. My armor had wards that had been forged into the tiny links of chain the day they were made. One of the many wards in it was one that helped me collect small amounts of energy from the people around me. It didn't kill them and it didn't draw their magical power from them, it only weakened them and made my pool of energy larger.</p>
<p>Another ward made any who attacked find that their spells were suddenly weaker than what they had been before. Just like how the armor repelled swords, it also repelled most magical attacks from help from my pool of energy. There were other countless others that were small, but significant in ways that protected me, but I could go on and on about them. I was sure that my wards plus the armor's would protect me from from attacks. The only thing I have to worry about is fighting back.</p>
<p>Spells to protect was the only kind I had been taught in my schooling with the other children. I knew the words for knocking people off their feet and making them not see clearly, but other than that I didn't know much. I hoped that at least those few words would get me passed the first round. After that, I didn't know what I would do.</p>
<p>My first opponet was a girl who had accidently been backing up from the dueling group and hadn't been checking her back. I spoke the word to knock her off her feet, which caused her to fall on the ground on her back. She hadn't put up any defensive wards at all. Next, I described in a few short words what I wanted to happen to the girl while she was still on the ground. She was picked up and tossed like a peble and when she hit the ground she rebounded once, spinning in the air, then came to a halt on the other side of the arena. The girl was taken away by one of the soldiers when she sat up on the ground, but hadn't moved since I threw her.</p>
<p>I remained guarding myself against the wall, shouting the words to throw people away from me above the wall of noise that had built up. The competition turned into whoever could say their words faster or come up with a way to by pass each others wards. Once, a boy a year older than me approached me. He had been fighting in the mess of sorcerers, but had decided to try his luck on the outside. He wanted my spot and he had chosen me because he must have figured out the words to bypass my wards.</p>
<p>I had just barely been able to think of a way to surpass his wards without dirrectly effecting them. The words for polishing armor had come to mind, and I had thrown in the words light and reflective into the mix. The end result was that it temporarily blinded the boy when my armor reflected the rays of the sun at his eyes. I managed to shout the word to toss him at another magician who had noticed me because of the flash of light and caught them both off guard. They fell to the ground in a heap and then imediately began fighting each other after they recovered.</p></div>
<div class="textbody" id="storyText" style="-webkit-user-select: none; opacity: 1;"><p>With one crisis down and many to face, I kept my eyes and ears alert, along with sensing for patterns in the magic around me. If anyone tried to attack me from afar, I would know. Once the weaker sorcerers were sorted out, the stronger magicians began fighting each other. I stayed in my corner and watched as guards approached those who had been knocked out cold or those who were too tired to continue. Some had to be led out by force, but they never paid much attention to them. Out of the crowd that had been four hundred, I estimated that less than half remained now. I only had to survive a little longer.</p>
<p>More people approached me and I swatted them aside before they could reach. All I had to do to adjust the spell for long range was describe what they were wearing or something specific that other people didn't have. Sometimes it back fired and I accidently threw the wrong person backwards. I memorized the words of those around me who fought without knowing that I was near and observed what the results were. In that way, I learned the spell to make dust get in someone's eye or lift a rock off the ground to strike a foe, and many other simple spells that I could preform.</p>
<p>With still at least two hundred people fighting in the arena and the sun at noon exactly, I knew that the fight wasn't going to last much longer.</p></div>
Round One Ends</p>
<p>By late afternoon, there were only one hundred and fifty persons left out on the field. I was still one of them. My strategy to remain on the outside had worked so far. The stronger magicians were eliminating those who were moderate at using magic, leaving each other alone now that they weeded the true spell casters out. They would wait to duel each other in the one on one rounds later in the week. Right now they were focused on taking out fifty people so that they could move on already.</p>
<p>My light reflecting trick worked a couple more times until other enemies realized what I was doing and shielded their eyes with spells. The first one to react to my spell as I cast it just used his arm to cover his face though. I managed to alter my light spell so that it altered light around me so that I became invisible instead of reflecting the light to make me brighter. When he removed his arm and saw nothing, he turned around expecting me behind him. I cast a spell that launched him over to one of the stronger casters and out of my way.</p>
<p>I wasn't the only one using the invisiblity spell to hide myself. Another magician some ways down from me was stuck where he was as two sorcerers dueled it out between each other. He didn't dare change the flow of magic in his spell or alert the two of his presence. They had neglected to see him before and would continue to unless somebody did something. I took the dust spell and combined it with the rock spell, and adding a few more elements, I dirrected the magic towards him. The dust on the ground imediatly rose and stuck to his figure. He was still invisible, but now a dust cloud floated around him that took his shape.</p>
<p>One of the socerers noticed this and dispelled him quickly, stripping him of his wards and sending him flat on his back to the ground. His mind had been over ridden with the two intruders working together. Once he was finished though, they returned to dueling with each other. A magician who only knew how to preform close combat spells was coming towards me, thinking I would be easy prey. We'd been watching each other for some time, because both of us had been sticking to the same plan. Now he felt he could take me on, without any of the risks of the higher ups butting in on us since they were already focused on dueling mages at least partly as good as them.</p>
<p>I shouted words that caused the roots of dying plants on the ground to spout up and intagle him. They climbed up his limbs at an alarming rate and he tried to peel them off, not knowing a counter spell for rapidly growing plants. Losing his calm exterior had helped him to his doom and he was wrapped up tight in them. I allowed his nose to remain uncovered so that he could still breathed. Moments later a guard came in and pulled him out of the arena, still wrapped up in the plants.</p>
<p>It wasn't long until one hundred was called out and the King stood up to announce the end of the fight.</p>
<p>"Congradulations to the one hundred of you who are still standing. This is the end of the first round, where you will gain numbers that state your rank of performance as you leave the stadium. May you regain your strength quickly during the night for tomorrow's fight!" He declared.</p>
<p>Upon the announcement, I let my invisiblity spell fade. A sorcerer who had been relatively close to me was momentarly startled at my sudden reappearance, then fustration crossed his face. Many of the simple spells had been forgoten by the tougher magicians, and their ignorance had allowed me to continue onto the second round. This man obviously hadn't thought there would be people cloaking themselves in the arena.</p>
<p>I went to the doorway closest to me. Once again I felt the eyes of the nobles on me. Now not only was I a field girl with unusual hair color, and a full set of armor. I was also one that knew enough spells to get her through the first round. Earning their favor wasn't really my goal. I didn't care about winning all that much either, or at least not as much as some of the other people competing in the games. As I walked through the doorway, I was given a wooden tab with the number seventy three.</p>
<p>If that was the number of my performance, then I hadn't done as good as I had thought originally. I would have to hope in the second round that I'd be paired up by one of the twenty seven others that did worse than me. Tomorrow though, I'd have to sit through all the other's matches until my name was called. For the meantime, I returned to my temporary home to rest for the night. Much of my energy had been drained sustaining the invisibility spell and picking up and tossing entire persons took a lot of energy too.</p> </div>
<div class="textbody" id="storyText" style="-webkit-user-select: none; opacity: 1;"><p><em>How did the match go for you? </em>Canna asked as I wearily walked inside the house.</p>
<p><em>I got seventy three. </em>I replied tiredly, hanging the wooden token up with the key on the peg.</p>
<p>In a complete walled area of the home that was away from the doorway, there was a bath. I took advantage of it, since I'd been out in the hot sun and dust all day long. The pipes that carried and took the water away were enchanted to fill the bath at the appropriate height with the turn of a nob. When you turned the nob all the way to the right it filled the tub. The left drained it and the middle was neutral. I soaked in it for half an hour, then decided I better change into clothing and head to bed.</p>
<p>I woke the following morning on the second day of the magic tournament. Since all I had was the one set of armor, I redressed into it. Last night I had worn the white shorts and long sleeved top as sleeping wear, so all I had to do was slip the main piece on and the stalkings and boots. I re-strapped the iron arm guards on and clasped the metal chain at my neck.</p>
<p><em>Good luck! </em>Canna called after me again as I left the house early.</p>
<p>I traveled the streets to the arena down the same path I took yesterday. Eating a small breakfast of bread and cheese that I bought on my way provided me with some strength. I continued on to the arena where I showed them my wooden token and the woman checked to make sure that it was the real one. She passed me and told me where to go inside. The arena had been transformed again. There was a raised circle of stone in the middle of just yesterday I had stood and listened to the King's speech. It was large enough to provide those battling room and small enough that they would remain in each other's range the entire time.</p>
<p>Stairs encircling the outside spiraled up on either side of the stone so that the challengers would climb up and find themselves facing each other. The stands for the challengers were exactly across from where the stairs touched the ground. They were attatched to the stands for the viewers, but where on the flat ground while the viewers were up in the air. I had seen the challenger's stands yesterday, but not the center stone. It must have been covered in a layer of dirt yesterday and that's why I hadn't seen it. Maybe I should have watched the first week of games after all.</p>
<p>My seat was in the challenger stands that were divided underneath the king's stands. There were two, one on each side of the invisible door that had revealed the king's friend. My opponet would be one of the people sitting in the solid stand on the opposite side. I noticed with annoyance this time that there were still a few of the noble's eyes on me again. I took my seat and sat down. The King's friend, Eragon I think his name was, was sitting in the booth with the king observing the games. It was probably difficult for him to understand the point for our fights and tournaments, being an outsider and all.</p>
<p>This time, with my attention not depending on whether I noticed my next opponet or not, I noticed that there were twelve other figures in the king's favorites stands that weren't Angels either. They had some-what pale skin and cat-like features. One of them greatly so. His body was covered in midnight blue fur and his eyes were bright yellow like a hawk's. I wondered what sort of creature he was and declared that he most deffinately was one of the strangers that had came with the man named Eragon.</p>
<p>The first match started after a short word from the king, repeating the rules and changing a few.</p>
<p>"Welcome to the second round of the sorcerer tournament. As you all may know, only fifty challengers can move onto the third round tomorrow. All of you have been paired off and will fight today against your opponet until you force them off the edge of the raised stone. The rule that you may not kill you opponet still stands. May luck be with you all!" He cried out.</p>
<p>Eragon did not speak this time and remained sitting in the chair beside the king. I wondered where his sapphire lizard had vanished to when I spotted her head stretching over the back of the stadium to watch as well. She seemed as intelegent as Canna, but I dared not probe her mind in fear of outraging her. I refered to the creature as a her only by a guess. The first match began after the King's words and everyone settled in to watch the fight.</p></div>
<div class="textbody" id="storyText" style="-webkit-user-select: none; opacity: 1;"><p>The first pair's fight was quick. The man must have been distracted from the sight of the blue furred beast up in the stands near the king and hadn't paid attention to the king's hand itself. The other man muttered a single spell that by-passed all his wards and flung him off the side. He landed with a thud on the ground. The crowd cheered over the quickly decided match. Not paying attention to your surroundings was your fault if your opponet knocked you out while you were unawares.</p>
<p>The beaten challenger left the arena completely. The winner walked off the stone platform and went to an third empty stand that had just come to my attention on the far side of the arena. It was in the middle of my opponet's and my stands. The winner's chairs.</p>
<p>This continued on for dozens of matches and soon there were less and less people remaining. I began to try and figure out who my opponet would be. All that were left were men, and most of them had to have high numbers because the low numbers, numbers one through thirty, had already been called ahead of time. There was only a single lady on my side other than me who was still waiting for her opponet.</p>
<p>My number was called at the end of the thirty eigth match. Only eleven matches from the end! They had saved me for the last few that they thought would be boring. I stood up from my seat and crossed the gap to the raised stone. The guard standing at the bottom of the stairs collected my token which he would hold for me until the end of the match. If I won, he would return it to me. If I lost, then he kept it and I walked out of the stadium. I was determined to win though, and reached the top of the steps before my opponet.</p>
<p>He came into view only moments later and I was surprised to see he was the same magician I had frightened at the end of yesterday's match.</p></div>
Round Two Begins</p>
<p>The man's face scowled in recognition as his eyes fell upon mine. Suddenly I felt as if I had a chance at winning the second round. This man hadn't been watching out for the simple spells yesterday, so why should he be today? Although I knew that he would be looking out for a few, it was just a question of what simple spells did he remember. I stood with the corner of my eyes watching the king. As soon as he dropped his hand I would shout the word that would send this man flying off this rock hard.</p>
<p>The hand waved and I yelled the spell the same exact time he yelled the counter spell. It was a single word, the same as the word that sent you flying backwards through the air. I felt my magic hurtle toward him to shove him off, but his feet held still to the ground, he didn't even budge! I knew I was in trouble then. I'd have to think of a counter spell quick before he shouted something else. For now though, I started off with a reflection spell that would repell any small spell he thought would take care of me quickly.</p>
<p>This man wasn't familiar with the words and scowled again. If he kept letting his emotions give him away, then finding out if a spell would work against him would be easy. My mind quickly thought of chipping the stone out from underneath him and throwing his feet attatched to the rock off the stone, but when I tried it the ground remained solid. Was the stone we stood on enchanted so that it wouldn't be damamged? I disgarded breaking the stone and tried thinking of another way to dispell him.</p>
<p>Meanwhile, the man was thinking of spells for me. He repeated my spell that was suppose to send him flying. I quickly countered with a spell that made me heavier so that I couldn't move anything but my mouth. I scooted a few inches, but other than that remained on the platform as I was. The crowd listened intently, waiting for my next words.</p>
<p>If he had used the same spell as me, he would've scooted back a few inches himself, so the spell that made you heavier was out of the question. I rethought my attack strategy. He couldn't be knocked off, but I wondered if he had warded himself against attacks that didn't knock him off the stone. The best way to test that was to start something simple. I said the word that would break one of his fingers. It worked. The man grunted in pain of his snapped bone.</p>
<p>Now that I knew that worked, I tried another set of words. The man shook his head, tryed to clear his vision with his eyes, but nothing worked. He must not know the counter spell to clear your vision up. Seeing double would deffinately confuse him for a while longer. I racked my brain for more spells, but I couldn't think of anything to stall him with. I needed to figure out what was gluing him to the rock, but I could only do that in time. The man had probably figured that out by now, because he shouted the same word I used to break his finger against me.</p>
<p>I wondered if he had only survived the first match by staying in the background like I had. His number had been fifty nine, but I wondered if that had only been by chance. Or maybe the people who ranked me had purposely set me high because they didn't think I had a chance because I was a field girl. The reflective spell that I had set up worked because now two fingers on the man's hands were broken. In preperation for the future, I scooted myself farther into the center of the circular stone with a spell so that I wouldn't be shoved off the edge.</p>
<p>My thoughts returned to the stone. About how I couldn't break it because it was enchanted. Then a idea began to form in my head. Just like I had found out that the man hadn't set spells against not throwing him off the edge of the rock, maybe the stone was only enchanted to keep people from breaking it and nothing else. That meant that there could be spells other than ones than that can break the rock that can effect it yet not effect the enchantment.</p>
<p>He had to be doing something with the rock that didn't break it. The man shouted the spell to throw me over the edge and only managed to scoot me back another three inches. He shouted something else, which only made his situation worse. In attempt to try and ruin my vision, he had tried to raise a cloud of dust. Now dust floated around him instead of me. The reflective spell was protecting me well enough, but it was also draining a lot of my energy. As was the spell that made me heavier and kept me attatched to the ground.</p> </div>
<div class="textbody" id="storyText" style="-webkit-user-select: none; opacity: 1;"><p>Attatched.....to the ground.....he must of attatched himself to the ground! I shouted words that would detatch him from the stone, but suddenly I felt as I was lifting a large weight. I dropped the magic completely. He must have added the weight spell into the mix of well. His two spells must be draining him as well. We could have a battle of who could last longer, which I might win with help from my enchanted armor that would slowly steal his energy, but we didn't have time for that. What else could make him move from the stone without lifting him or detaching him?</p>
<p>I would have to think of a spell that would allow him to remain on the rock, yet detatch him so I could move him. The situation seemed impossible. I couldn't keep him on the rock yet keep him off the rock. I would have to think of a spell that would either cancel out his or turn his own spell against him. The man was also at a stalemate now that he realized that his spells were being reflected back at him, but he had no idea what range of the words he knew would be effected by this. Both of us were busy trying to out think each other.</p>
<p>Now I realized that's probably how we both made it here. Our opponets might know more words and are capable of stronger spells, but they don't think about how their moves effect their enemy dirrectly. They just spout off something they know will solve their problem.</p>
<p>I refocused my thoughts on my situation. I didn't want to be caught off guard by a spell like the guy from the first round. However, the man across from me had become warry of what he said against me. For all he knew a stronger spell would just end up hurting him instead of me. While I was free to use whatever spell I wanted as long as it didn't break the rock or remove him from it. Then my mind thought of something. Maybe I could alter his spell so that I could slide him across the rock and over the edge. The only thing he would be able to do is increase his weight to make it harder for me. Unlike the spell before where I had tried to throw him off and his feet held fast, they wouldn't since I wasn't trying to toss him off this time.</p>
<p>I thought the words carefully before I put them to the test. My goal would be to slide him as fast off the stone circle as I could. I shouted them out and he begun to slide backwards just like I had intended them. Seeing as my plan was working, I put more energy into the spell making him slide faster. He realized this, and just as I had thought, tried to make himself heavier. I shouted a spell that would effect him without removing him from the stone. It would cause whatever spell he used on himself to do the exact opposite. The man found that instead of becoming heavier, he became lighter and slid right off the edge of the stone.</p>
<p>But the struggle wasn't over yet. Since his feet were still attatched to the stone, he remained standing upright on the side of the stone circle. I continued to pour more energy into the spell, making myself closer to blacking out from using over my limit. This was all or nothing and I was putting my all into it. His back hit the ground just as I was beginning to lose my own vision from the effort.</p>
<p>I was declared the winner and I removed all my spells and wards imediately. I felt better, but my head was still woozy. The guard handed me my number and I managed to take my seat in the winner's stands before I passed out. Somehow I was able to force myself to stay awake during the last ten matches of the day.</p>
<p>"Congradulations to those of you who have been lucky enough to win today's challenges. I look forward to watching you in the third round of the tournament tomorrow. Please return to your homes and rest up!" The King delcared and I hardly heard him from my nausia.</p>
<p>I had enough energy to call Canna with my mind to meet me outside the doorways of the arena. She was waiting for me as everyone was dismissed and carried me back to my house. I had to walk the small distance to the bed, but it was nothing compared to walking to the winner's stands. I wanted to refuse her, but Canna poured her energy into me, making me at the level I had been yesterday when I had returned home from the first round. She became drained herself, but she had more than a week to rest up.</p>
<p>Only twenty five people remained in the tournament, and the third round would declare the winners.</p>
<p>(notes: I forgot to mention that between each tournament day, you get one day of rest. So that Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are fighting days, Tuesday and Thursday are resting, and Saturday is for crowning the champions, and Sunday is a rest day between the tournaments. I skip the rest days since they aren't important.)</p></div>
<div class="textbody" id="storyText" style="-webkit-user-select: none; opacity: 1;"><p>When I had regained my strength for the last day fighting of the tournament, I walked on my own out of my temporary housing. I made sure to have the wooden token on me. I felt Canna pouring more of her energy into me to strengthen me more when I got an idea. There was no rule forbidding drawing energy from a partner from within the crowd or outside the stadium.</p>
<p><em>Do you think that you'll be okay if I draw on my strength and your's? </em>I asked her.</p>
<p>Canna seemed almost delighted at the idea that she would be helping me win against unknown opponets. Sometimes she got too competitive. <em>Anyway I can, I'll help you. </em>She said, rising to her feet and causing those of my kind who were walking the streets to back away from her.</p>
<p>That was all for nothing because she had to lay back down so I could get on her back. The more strength I preserved the better, so if she could carry me to the arena instead of me wasting my own energy, that energy might be enough to win. She laid back on her stomach so that I could get off when we arrived at the stone colleseum.</p>
<p>Wait outside the arena. <em>I don't think they'll allow you in. When I start to use my energy, that will cue you that my challenge has started. </em>I told her. Then added. <em>Try to find the closest point to me so that I can absorb your energy quicker and don't forget to warn me when your strength is almost depleted.</em></p>
<p>Canna nodded her massive wolf head in a downward dip and looked me in the eyes. She understood what would happen if she didn't alert me.</p>
<p><em>What about wards? Am I allowed to place some on you if I think you've overlooked something? </em>Canna asked as I went to leave.</p>
<p><em>As long as it doesn't violate the rules, I think you can. </em>I replied.</p>
<p><em>Good luck, Lumina. </em>my direwolf said as I walked away.</p>
<p>I had to show the woman my wooden token again to prove that I was indeed one of the winners from the last round's victors. Once she approved it, I was led to the same stands I had sat in yesterday.</p>
<p>There I waited until further notice.</p></div>
The Results of Round Three</p>
<p>When my number was called after the seventh challenge had finished, I knew that I must have made some impression on the judges yesterday. I strode up to the stone circle to the guard who once again stood at the bottom of the stairs. He took my token and I went up. This time my opponet had been the one to reach the top.</p>
<p>His number was twenty two. I didn't know what my level was now, but I did know that he outmatched me. I had watched him fight in one of the early matches. He only used fire spells and wards to protect himself from his opponets. I had watched as the magician he faced was hopeless in front of him. It had seemed that no matter what spell he used against his opponet, it was thrown off. At least he didn't know the reflective spell, or I'd be helpless.</p>
<p>While I waited for the King's hand to drop, I thought of ways to defeat my opponet. I reached out with my mind to my direwolf while I still could.</p>
<p><em>Canna, my opponet uses fire spells and has a ward on him that prevents any spells from striking him. Help me think of a way to bypass them, I'll need to concintrate on dodging mostly this round. </em>I threw out to her.</p>
<p>She acknowledged the contact and began spinning ideas and checked with me to see if they would work.</p>
<p>The king dropped his hand and a collum of fire blasted towards me. I dodged to the side, rolling on the ground and coming back up in a crouch, ready to spring from the next attack. Last round had been a battle of wits. This one would be of physical skills. When I was little, and Canna had been the size of a pony, we had practiced fighting with each other. She had pranced like a pup, back and forth towards me to try and get a good read on my skills. I learned how to dodge when she pranced forward, and spring towards her when she backed up to re-evaluate me, just to catch her off guard.</p>
<p>I dodged the fire man's next attack, this time flinging to my back to the left, and rolling under the heat of the flames with my arms tucked to my body. After the danger passed, I rolled to my stomach and used my hands to push myself off the ground and into another crouch. I waited for his next attack and used the precious moments to think of a way to defeat him.</p>
<p>By this time the man had made his way to the center of the ring. I could feel him gather up his magic for a collum of fire that would reach even the outer edges of the stone circle we were on and cause me to either run from the fire or jump off the platform. I had no intention of giving up so early, just when I'd found out that I could dodge his attacks efficiently.</p>
<p>He started the wall of fire off to my right, and I began sprinting around the the stone circle. I knew that he could only keep this up for one turn of the circle, so I kept running until I was back at the same spot I was before. So far, I'd been only using my own energy. I wouldn't use Canna's until I had a sure way to defeat him. He gathered up his magic again to do another fire wall attack. I dashed to the right this time as it formed on my left. This one was faster, and I had just been able to avoid the flames.</p>
<p><em>You need to stop moving around, you'll just tire yourself out. </em>Canna advised.</p>
<p><em>What do you think I should do? Wait for him to scorch me alive!? </em>I snapped back.</p>
<p><em>Maybe you should fight fire with fire. He couldn't have put wards on himself to protect against fire or he wouldn't be able to use the magic right now. </em>She pointed out.
You know I don't know any fire spells. I countered.
No, but HE does, and you can use his own flames to attack him. Use one of your re-dirrecting protective spells to do it. She says.
Then prepare yourself, those kind of spells are very draining and I'll be using both of our pools of energy to do it. I warned her.
I stood in the same spot I'd been before just moments ago. The man was preparing a third fire wall and I knew that this time I would fight. Just as he released it, I spun into it's path and got out of its way in time. However, a portion of me was still in the way as it had reached me. I had placed a ward on myself to reflect the fire away from my skin by muttering under my breath as I had spun, so he had no idea that I had placed magic on myself. It looked as if I had narrowly dodged the fire, but I wasn't done there.
Now I was going to use my secret weapon that I'd been saving for a tougher fight. I had hoped that I wouldn't need it in the first and second rounds. The only spells that I knew out loud were the simple ones, the ones I'd been using so far. I had prepared myself in the gap between the second and third fire wall after I had contacted Canna.
I dropped all my present thoughts in my mind, about the arena, the crowd, the nobles, and the king. His friend, the guards that surrounded us, then the other challengers. I pushed everything away from my mind exept for Canna's presence, the stone that I stood on that I knew I must not leave for some reason, the other challenger, and the movement and feel of the flames at my left side.
I brought my hands up, and without words, dirrected the flames with them towards the challenger. I had spun around, using the force of the flames against him by U-turning the collum back at him. The man was unable to stop them and had to dodge his own flames. A roar of some noise was all around me then, but I ignored them and focused on my current task.
The fire man gathered flames into his hands and then released a quick jet towards me. I faced my hands towards it and made the jet go upwards and around me as I spun again and threw the fire back at him. This time instead of dodging, he took the fire and copied my motion while shouting words that would allow the fire to follow the path he wanted. His eyes were creased with anger that I was countering his attacks.
As I had come back around to face him and threw the flames, I waited in a crouch as they came back to me. I threw my hands upwards while standing up and the flames spiked up. Then, I shoved my hands towards him and the fire curved and headed back to the man. He took them back eagerly and attempted to thwart me by making them larger and stronger, so that it would be harder for me to redirrect them.
He made the flames U-turn around himself and then threw the new collum at me. I placed a single hand in front of me and a single behind, and sliced the fire in half. The fire went around me as intended and eventually the man had to give up the spell or risk wearing himself out. He tried a new one, this time only throwing spheres of fire at me. I straightened my hands and formed the magic in them into platters to disolve the fire as they hit them. I got every fireball and once again we were standing in the open stone circle again.
The man began to start a new fire spell and as he finished it, I stole the fire from right out of his hands and spun around, being the first to throw the fire at him. He held his ground though, and shielded himself from the magic. The fire spit off on either side of the magic barrier he had put in front of himself. He almost forgot that the magic was from his own making and didn't turn it off. The fire man ended the spell quickly once he realized that the strength for the spell was his own.
Now that I had the feel and movement of the flames, I could copy his magic. His flames had been a distinct bloodish red color that flicked with red orange. The flames that I conjured towards him, my flames, were white and flickered with the same golden color as my hair. Elemental magic always reflects the user's style, so of coarse my fire would be different than his. We clashed with a single collum of flame.
The man's eyes showed disbelief, astonishment, anger, and a satisfied grin. He had found an opponet that was at his level, but he didn't want to lose any time soon. My face was emotionless, as I was completely focused on the shape of my flames and his. Slowly, he had to take staggering steps back. My fire was overtaking his not in quantity, but in strength and accuracy. He had thrown out a large collum of flames to protect himself, but I had created a pin point collum that disrupted his at the center. It caused his flames to flail around in the air as mine pierced right through the heart of them.
I gathered a bulk of my energy, and just like he had done to create the fire wall, I released it into my flames but kept it a needle fine point. The man hadn't been expecting this and was pitched off the edge that I had forced him to. I was momentarily confused and stopped my flames as he disappeared into the blackness beyond the stone circle.</p>
Lumina....Lumina! You won! Canna's voice shouted in my mind.
I instantly snapped back into focus. All the things that I had shoved out of my mind came rushing back. I was glad that she had waited for me to end my magic before alerting me, or something could have gone completely wrong. My ears suddenly picked up the sound of cheering and the king congradulating me on my match. I blinked my eyes a couple of times, trying to get back to seeing everything. Then I went back down the stairs. Since I was a victor, I didn't need the token back.
I took my seat in the winner's circle in a trance-like state. I couldn't believe that I had been one of the few lucky ones to win this year. I wonder how my grandfather would react. I hadn't told him that I had entered the magic tournament, but I wonder what his reaction would be when I told him I won! It wouldn't be hidden from him for long in my city back home of the results of this year's games were always talked about in the streets for months afterwards.
I cut my energy from Canna only to reach back for it when I almost stumbled.
Careful Champ, you aren't ready to stand on your own feet just yet. Canna said in amusement, already aware of my weakness.
Thanks I replied, thanking for both the energy she provided and the advice during the match.
I sat down in the ninth winner's chair. Only four more would be sitting next to me.
Among the winners in the circle, there was only the one woman that I'd seen yesterday in the group. Only two females had won this year, and the rest male. That was adverage for any games that the women didn't have many victors in the magic tournament. Males were usually trained better, but I had been raised up with a magic using creature, a direwolf, so I was as good as them.
When the last match was decided, the victor took his place in the last chair. The king stood up to address the crowd.
"Congradulations, thirteen victors on your preformance in the arena. You have been lucky and skilled enough to win this year's sorcery tournament! I hope to see you all rested up and well tomorrow for the awards cerimony!" The King announced.
Although the crowds from the arena were filing out, we had been instructed to stay within the winner's stands. We would recieve additional instructions on where to show up for tomorrow because it would be a different entrance in the arena. Once the judges were done with us, we were allowed to leave. I was able to cross the arena to the doorway where Canna was waiting for me on the other side when I was ambushed by some of the judges who were all wearing cloaks. They had been waiting for me to seperate myself from the rest of the group. Their sharp tones forced me to spin around to face them.
"Do you know what you did, girl?" a woman said, holding out the word girl in distaste.
I shook my head back and forth, not trusting my words. Even then, it only looked as if I had shivered. My eyes planted on whoever talked to me.
"One mistake and you could have charred the whole lot of us!" She continued.
"But it's not against the rules..." I began, but was inturrupted by a man.
"Because we thought it was common sense to not use magic with thoughts alone!" He errupted, waving his hands.
"How did you do it?" A third judge asked, a woman who was slightly calmer than her peers.
"Yes, how did you pull it off? Even our trained spellcasters have to take years to preform what you just did!" The man pressed.
"How did you do it?!" The first woman snapped.
"I....I...." my words were lost in my mouth. I wasn't very good with communicating with others.
The judges must of had enough of my silence, because they simutaneously attacked my mind for an answer. I managed out a cry to my mount before I was consumed.
Canna, please! I begged, asking her to remove them from my mind.
I felt her mind connect to mind instantly and shoved out all others with her firey anger. The judges backed up in fright when she also entered through the doorway and stood in front of me, snarling at them. I touched the side of her neck, telling her to calm down. She stopped baring her fangs, but kept a grumble in her throat. The judges fled from her, losing their surperior demeanor and running like the cowards they were.
Canna turned her head to me and stopped her grumbling. Are you okay, Lumina? They didn't hurt you? She asked.
I'm fine, just a little shaken up. I tell her, rubbing the side of my head.
Let's leave here Canna says, lowering herself to her belly.
I climb up on her back and grab some of her neck fur to keep me on. She pads away, her claws clicking down the street as she takes