Today the Maria’s expedition returned to the village. Outside of gathering supplies they brought news as well. It appears that several smaller settlements have been destroyed. All of them fairly close to Arcana. Interestingly the man who brought me here returned with the rest. I was finally able to thank him for saving me that day. He owned a settlement named Mountain Shadow and I was welcome there anytime. He followed Maria and they seemed nervous about something. I went straight to Ephraim’s house to discuss the work he had for me.
Ephraim was not a large man, but I had seen him put down a lion with retaliative ease. Lions here remind me a of a panther I saw in the zoo as a child. He was pleased to see me and laid out the details of his proposition. He wanted me to build six coffins and in exchange he would supply me with a set of armor and a better sword than I had now. I was eager to take him up on the offer, but I had to confess that I had no masonry skills what so ever. Besides who needs a coffin here. My puzzled expression must have told all and Ephraim quickly explained he wanted them for storage. Kind of an in village joke as it were. He also wasn’t worried about quality, so I was perfect for the task.
It took a little over two days to build the coffins. The up side being I learned a lot about masonry. So this job was giving me many benefits for my hard work. Once I was finished Ephraim handed over a set of chain mail armor and a decent quality sword. He explained that this would keep me fairly safe as I learned how to fight. He sent me home to build a training dummy. Which seemed like a simple concept at first. Until you take into account the odd set of realities this world is governed by. In my old life if I wanted to grow a pumpkin I could buy seeds, plant them and go from there. Here there are far more steps to producing almost any product. Doing it myself might of taken weeks for just one part of the training dummy. Again living in Arcana saved me as I was able to secure a pumpkin for my dummy.
It took several hours to finish the dummy. It was dark once I got done and I couldn’t wait to practice. So I brought out a lamp and started hacking away with my sword. Within a few minutes I was exhausted and sitting on the ground. This of course was without armor. I wasn’t sure I should even try training with the armor on. For the next hour I would battle the evil pumpkin dummy and then rest. It started to look a little battered and I felt the same way. I collapsed in my straw bed, not really feeling confident. I worried that I would never be able to fight. The idea of being useless in this world frightens me more than anything.
For the next two weeks I focused purely on the fighting craft. I started wearing my armor anywhere I went. I am pretty sure some of the other villagers thought I was crazy. It really helped me to get use to the weight and feel of it. I hacked to pieces not one, but two training dummies. Thing is all of it was just practice. A real live opponent won’t exactly hold still. I am far more confident than I have been, but the true test still remains. I would find out soon enough as Ephraim plans to take me hunting on the steppes tomorrow. It is time to find out how I stack up
against living creatures.