Chapter 2: Test of Wits

Chapter 2: Test of Wits

A Chapter by Sairek Ceareste

As the seconds ticked down, Sairek gripped the jewel that held his hood together left by his deceased mother. Praying to her for this 'demonstration' to be easy on him...




Sairek let out an exhausted sigh, grabbing the tail end of his red cape to wipe the sweat off his brow that had accumulated over time. It was blazing hot and the fact the sun shone down on him directly was not helping him feel better with his current paranoia. Laure walked beside him, but she did not seem to notice the child dirtying his own clothing like that. In the Saireks' mind, it made little difference. The clothes he wore would be getting dirty anyways most likely.

Sairek held his staff in his right hand, using it as a walking stick. Normally it was out of habit, but his legs felt so weak that he believed he may actually needed it to help him walk down to the village below. They were leaving the castle which was seated on top of a spiraling trail that led downwards and directly into the village, Marid, below. The castle was built on top of large hill that had a flat top. Back long ago, it was great to stop enemy invasions. The castle was in a very defensive position, with mountains surrounding nearby the castle meant intruders could only come from one way, which was further reinforced by the wall surrounding the village. From the castle, you could see well past the wall and off great distances to the plains. Even if enemies were to try and break in, siege weapons couldn't reach nearly close enough from down below the giant hill the castle towered over, and the castle itself was reinforced by its own layers of walls. Siege weapons would have a difficult time trying to get up the giant hill and were easily vulnerable to attack. Small as a town Marid was, it was the capital of the Kingdom. Its defensive capabilities were why. A larger town was far more difficult to defend. Marid was small, but that came to go greatly to its advantage.

Sairek surveyed the town and let out yet another sigh. People were already organized down below, waiting for them -- for him.

A wave of helplessness washed over him as his mind raced in cold panic. He only now realized how badly he did not want to do this little performance. He knew he didn't want to do it, obviously; but he was nervous nearly senseless now. He nearly toppled over and let out a small yelp of surprise as he tripped over his own feet and barely managed caught himself. Laure shot him a side glance that he saw from the side of his own vision, but he kept on walking as if he hadn't stumbled. It was a signal for him to not make it worse on himself.

Of course, it was too late to back out now despite how much he wished he could just turn around the opposite direction. The people below had expected him to arrive and they had already seen him. As much as Sairek wanted out of the castle and being outside period even with this many guards was rare, this was not how he wanted to go out for a little while. Sairek lifted his staff and gripped it tightly with two hands in nervousness. He looked like a shy little child now, although that was perhaps quite true. He was a shy little child right at the moment. A nervous little child. If it wasn't for the fact he was walking, his shaking would be very visible despite the day being blazing hot. Sairek had to choke back a whine in his throat. How could his father do this to him?!


When the group of soldiers and he got down to village level, all of the villagers knelt down before him. He felt his cheeks blush a little. He didn’t like the fact he was treated above anyone else; he knew he was literally the second most important individual in the entire country where as only his father was above him. But he didn't see himself as being above anybody, whether he was Prince or not. He wanted to view himself as equal to everyone else and everyone else equal to him. This was one of the main reasons he was against this type of event in the first place. Albeit, the other reason was for his own personal health. Sairek gripped the staff with his two hands tighter in response to all the looks in the crowd that expected the most top quality work a Prince could give. His emerald eyes looked left and right sweeping across all of the people on their knees, heads hanging to stare down at the ground.

He had to suppress the shaking of his body and gulped down his breakfast that wanted to rise out as he managed to clear hid throat away of any hint that he was uncertain in his voice. He had been lying like this, masking his emotions for years against the public. He was a seasoned pro at it now, even under this amount of pressure; he was always lying to the public in this kind of pressure. He hated it so much...

“...Please, all rise.” He commanded them, although the tone sounded like has was just asking them, or inviting them to rise rather instead it sound like an order. All at once, all the villagers rose from their knees onto their feet. Having everyone stand made Sairek feel a little bit more comfortable. He closed his eyes, rapidly thinking for a moment on what he should say next. Despite the fact he hated being the center of attention like this, he was a quick thinker, just as Laure had stated in his bedroom chamber. He acted far more intelligent than someone his own age should have been. Being Prince, it was very hard to have time to act like a child. He was forced into adulthood as soon as his mother died. He wasn't allowed out of the castle and so he tried to satisfy his questions by digging into books since he couldn't find out about things himself through exploration and experience, which only further enhanced his intelligence and maturity. Sairek opened his eyes staring at the crowd in front of him. His next paragraph of speech had been thought out in only mere seconds.

“I assume you are all gathered here today to see the fruits of my studies in pursuit of following my fathers' profession as a magician,” Sairek commented. “And today I have come out to reveal the answers to anyone who is curious to know how my studies are going...

While I disagree any magic I own can be useful for combat as of yet, nor do I wish to ever wish to practice in the art to harm another individual..." He added that last bit almost in a sour tone, but he managed to resist the urge. "...I am doing this as a test of my own wit to see how creative I am in using my novice abilities to somehow aid me in combat. This will also be my first combat experience I have ever done at the same time.

The goal of this exercise is to help me further in my studies and dream..." He almost said that line sourly as well; he didn't want to be a combat magician at all and thought this entire exercise as stupid. "...It is also to help aid me in my experience for the future. Nobody in this exercise shall be injured in any way. Think of it much like a simple practice in a wrestling match."

"Or... at least that's how it's supposed to go..." He thought to himself bitterly.

Sairek let out a breath. He spoke more than he imagined he would; he commonly made that mistake in public speaking. He resumed once again though. “I trust you all have organized together and have chosen a volunteer for me?” He asked the village audience.

A villager stepped out of the crowd. He was bigger and more muscular than normal; the local blacksmith of the village, Foar. “Aye, we have master apprentice.”

Sairek blinked as his pupils rose up to look at Foar's face. “…Who have you chosen then...?”

“Yer’ staring at ‘im."

“You?” Sairek asked out loud calmly.

You!?” Sairek thought in panic inside of his head. The man was almost double his size as far as height and perhaps overall mass went.

“Aye, master! The village was curious to see two things: The first was to see which one could win; brute strength or clever wit. And the second was to see if size truly does matter!” He said; which to Sairek, sounded like a bellow. Sairek let out a light grin at Foars' words, letting out a chuckle.

“...I am so dead.” Sairek thought out to himself hopelessly. Fighting the dread that wanted to surface onto his face, he hid his emotions behind his mask of royalty; He nodded in approval. “Alright, a good test this will be truly!"


"...Not..." He added sarcastically at the end of the statement in his head. Retreating from his responsibilities inside of his own head. "How could it be? If I could use 'balinzer', I would be fine... well, maybe... but I can't, either way..."

"....Or.... wait... can I...? Father simply said it would be too dangerous to use on someone, but... yes, I think that could help...!"


Sairek cleared his throat quietly, as it felt dry as he spoke in a raised voice so all could hear his order. "Everyone, please step away to make room for us two. At least thirty paces back if you would all please.”

Sairek gulped as the people stepped back, making room for the two to spar. Sairek looked around quickly with his eyes, not turning his head. If he turned his head, it would make him look confused. Even small things like that he had to worry about from the people -- they always had an odd way of expecting the highest from him, but assuming the worst.


“This shall be the rules," Sairek spoke, his eyes still wandering around. "If you manage to pin me down for longer than ten seconds, then the victory shall go to you. If I manage to knock you off both of your feet in any possible way and you collapse down onto the ground, then the victory goes to me. Understand, that in any event, if either of us get put in a position that would normally require the other to beg for mercy, either of us can gain victory from that method as well. Do you accept this?”

“Aye, master! Luck be wit ya laddie.” Foar encouraged.

I’m going to need it…” Sairek thought to himself bitterly. It was a good thing his pants were somewhat baggy and the wind was blowing the cloth of them here and there. For his legs were trembling badly. The pants and wind hid the shaking legs quite effectively, fortunately. He had at least that going for him. Perhaps Yggdrasil itself was trying to make this not as difficult as it needed to be.

Someone began counting down from 3. Once the count hit 0, Foar ran at Sairek. Sairek nearly hesitated at seeing such a large figure rushing at him. Fear gripped him as he approached, Sairek managed to lift up his staff, pointing it at the man’s eyes. After that, the fear disappeared. He reacted on nothing but instinct from his practice as a look of seriousness swept over his face.

Wuaie…!” he chanted, the wind began to blow harder from a gradual breeze to a strong, but not harsh gust into Foar. The same spell that couldn't even blow out a candle flame in the very early morning hours was capable of suddenly bringing up gust of wind. With the mans' giant mass, it did not do much to slow him down more than a little as he fought against the wind. This was not enough to really help Sairek in his problematic situation with a giant hulking man as a threat in any possible way. Sairek gritted his teeth a little. He was hoping the man would have been a bit lighter. This trick was going to be difficult to pull off.

The childs' cape flapped madly from his spell. Sairek soon pointed his staff upwards. Like he did with his wind spell, he concentrated on the energy around him, the Ethereal energies from Yggdrasil. Drawing the energy from the air into his staff and then harvesting the water element of the energy into his staff.

Waert!” He chanted out when he felt enough had been absorbed. From the head of his staff, a blast of water gushed out upwards, spreading and thinning out into the air as it was taken by the force of the wind. Now it was like it was raining, drenching Foar, along with the grass as the wind was blowing into the blacksmith. Since the water was coming from Sairek’s side, from his staff, the Prince himself was not getting drenched. Foar covered his face from the water and soon began slipping on the grass from it being wet, but he caught himself easily with every little slip he made. At the very least, he was stalled from his head on charge.

“Woah, woah! Nice try there Master! It’s not gonna work though!” he boasted.

Sairek clenched his teeth tighter. He thought of that plan all morning and on the way here from the castle. It probably would have succeeded if it was anyone but Foar...

Sairek soon extinguished the water spraying and lowered his staff back down. Unlike the wind, it required his staff as an aiming catalyst. He could not cast any other spells if that one was in use. He didn't need it anymore anyways. He did what he planned, which was soaking the ground and making it slippery. That would at least serve helpful for the idea tricks he had planned up his sleeve.

Feeling a lack of Ethereal of the water element and the wind element was quickly draining out from where he was standing, he moved to position himself elsewhere by taking a few steps backwards from the blacksmith who was getting closer. If he moved too quickly, he would risk severing the connection with the energy that he was using to keeping 'Wuaie' alive. Yet, if he didn't move, he wouldn't have any energy nearby to continue the life of the spell. Moving as quick as he could with that in mind, he soon began chanting again.


Balinzer!” A warm blast of hot air pointed at the grass, he was pleased when a heavy cloud of steam began rising up, hiding his presence. He quickly moved out of his position, running within the steam that was completely spreading and engulfing the area.

"Balinzer can be a lethal spell... but balinzer really is just hot air that can be ignited when enough heat is poured into the spell... if I limit the spell, all it will be is extremely hot air that can catch things on fire... with the grass wet cold and wet, it should produce plenty of steam to cover me since I blast the energy wide..." He thought to himself. Sairek felt it was ironic that he had to weaken the spell considerably to make sure he didn't light the grass on fire instead; the spell to him was weak enough as it was. It was literally just releasing the fire element of Ethereal energy out in a rather unpredictable manner. Although he could control the fire for it to actually burn or not; if the flame was small enough.

Foar bellowed as he began positioning himself behind the man. “Bahahah! Clever again master! But I’ll catch ya sooner or late--“

Ethirul!” Sairek shouted out as he continued to position himself behind the blacksmith.

Faor nearly lost his balance again as the ground he was on began shifting a bit. The flat ground soon becoming more uphill, the grass was still slippery and it made him have to whirl his arms around to try and keep his balance. The wind changed to the opposite direction of where it was blowing before. From behind him, he heard Sairek yell out in fury, as the child charged towards him from behind. Using the slippery grass along with the powerful wind to give him momentum, Sairek bent down, sliding on the grass towards Foar. He laid on his back, not caring if he got his noble clothing soaked or stained. While he slipped across the ground, he held out his staff with his right hand. His left hand was used to balance himself as he slid. When he slid under the blacksmith, both sides of the staff bunted the back of the man’s legs. Sairek knew he succeeded in his plan as he continued to travel on through with little interruption. Had he failed, the staff hitting the man would have stopped him. To reassure himself he succeeded, he confirmed it with the giant thud and “oof!” that escaped the man. Sairek grinned, the crowd was applauding him! He somehow managed to do it! He won! He turned around to face the man and soon gasped.

The crowd was not applauding at him, they were applauding Faor. Applauding him because he had somehow managed to have caught himself. He fell down, yes, but he was not collapsed on to the ground. He caught himself with both hands behind him on a slippery downhill slant. Sairek growled in his throat, trying to hide back the frustration and annoyance that demanded to show. Faor had to fall on his back or stomach and lose both feet on the ground for him to win; not catch himself with both hands.


“Phew, that was close!” The blacksmith let out. Quickly re-positioning himself so that he was standing on two legs once again.

By now, Sairek had exhausted all of his plans to attempt to knock his opponent down. Although he wasn’t afraid anymore of not putting a decent display of wit; he was sure he accomplished that much despite his doubts. He now had no idea how to knock this man off of his two legs again without doing the same trick twice, which he was positive Foar would not again fall for. He had exhausted everything he had... there was nothing left he could think of. There was only so much he could do with 4 basic spells and he had exhausted almost every unique use he could think of.

He yelped as the blacksmith began rushing towards him, reaching out to grab at him. Sairek panicked and held out his staff, quickly chanting the magical word “Ethirul!” to once again make a bump in the ground to mess up the mans' sprinting. He made the hill as tall as the spell would allow him to raise within the small amount of time he had with his magical willpower in his panicked state. Before Sairek even realized it, the man slipped off the ground as he would have had slid off of a ramp. Sairek panicked as the man was now flying right towards him. He quickly pointed down, planning to blast water to project him out of harms way. “Wae--

There was no Ethereal left in the area. Sairek realized he was standing in the area he had moved from in the first place. All the Ethereal he had collected would only be used as a small squirt; not a blast. More was drawing from further away, but with how weak his drawing in was, it would never make it in time.

Sairek braced himself as he soon felt the large man collide into him, sweeping him off of his feet. The child let out a grunt as he crashed into the ground; the impact of the landing shocking his body as he let loose the grip on his staff from his hands and lost the weapon completely. He slid to a stop in the slippery grass. Sairek quickly as possible once the shock of pain had begun to subsideforced himself to push up off the ground and half stumbled and sprinted towards his staff. He almost reached it before he was tackled down to the ground and felt his body being pinned against the floor. He gasped out, trying to break free of the hold, but he knew his childish body was no match for that of a hard working blacksmith. His weighted clothes did not help to broaden his own muscles to that much of an extent.

He was annoyed, he could probably do something to get out of this situation if he could just grab his staff that was only inches out of reach... but before he could think of anything to wiggle his way out of this situation, ten seconds had already passed. The winner, Foar was announced and Sairek mentally scolded himself harshly for being so foolish as to let go of the staff in the first place. With a defeated sigh his head slunk downwards towards the ground as he gritted his teeth, angry at himself.

".....How useless can I turn out to be...?
I can't even combat an unarmed blacksmith and win by simply knocking him off of his two feet, without being captured like a worthless jack-rat! I'm... I'm so useless...!
The first major rule of combat for a magician is to never lose the staff no matter what...! How could I possibly ever become even a decent magician if I've done nothing more then fail every goal set by myself and the expectations of others...?




© 2013 Sairek Ceareste

Author's Note

Sairek Ceareste
Chapter last changed on: March 11th, 2013


- Text should now properly be remedied and fixed, all Arial, no faded out font.

Change log [November 27th, 2012]

- More typo fixes.

- More minor description/wording changes.

- Had to fix the font... AGAIN (seriously, what keeps changing it? It's fine for a while but every time I go to proof read it, it's back to being all weird again...)

[Change log: April 17th, 2012]

- Typo fixes (there weren't many this time... yay!!)

- Minor description changes

- Cleared up some text so it makes more sense.

- Spacing in paragraph changes (specifically involving dialogue)

Change log: [Dec. 28, 2011]

- Fixed a few typos that were missed before. Hopefully at the very least every word should be spelled correctly now and actually makes sense (instead of using 'bed' for 'beg'...)

- Changed the wording of some sentences. Many were rather badly put down and didn't make much sense. I've added more descriptions to them and added more details in some paragraphs. (Specifically Sairek drawing in energy and casting)

- Spaced out some paragraphs a bit better.

- Sairek should know Foar, as he has been in the castle and the village for nearly 9 years now, so I omitted the spot where Foar introduced himself. (Sairek may be sheltered, but not THAT sheltered)

- Added better, clearer descriptions to the battle. It's still the same generally, but is much easier to follow now.

NOTE: Like in chapter 1, you may get the same error with the picture and the text like before. Once again, something I cannot really fix unless you use firefox (And maybe Google chrome?)

My Review

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- I put moved, because he isn't sprinting or running anywhere. It's more like a few steps backwards. I suppose of course, I should say he is moving only a few steps backwards though.

- Yes, I mean hot, not hit. XD

- Trust me, in some scenario's at school, I had plenty of moments when having to play soccer, where I wouldn't even be running hard, and I would slide -several- feet by accident, crash on the ground, and still be going on a flat field. It depends on the density of how many blades of grass there are. Aside from that, Sairek is smaller then I ever was at that time, so it's very possible.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago

I don't know why, but, for some reason, your writing seems better here than in F&D. The sentences flow pretty nicely for the most part, and there's some good description here and there. Story-wise, I found nothing wrong with this chapter. It was good, although I think I pretty much told you that when I read the original draft. There are, however, a few technical things I want to point out, not so much grammar mistakes as wording and typos.

When the group of soldiers and him got down to village level, all of the villagers knelt down before him. He felt his cheeks blush a little in embarrassment.

Two things here. First, it should be "When the group of soldiers and he," not "and him." Think about this structure without "the group of soldiers and." With how you have it in the passage, it would read "When him got down." Looking at it this way makes it clear that "him" is the wrong pronoun to use.
Now, a writer's job is (generally) to show, not tell. In the second sentence, you showed by describing how Sairek is blushing, but you also told by stating that he was embarrassed. In most cases, blushing is a sign that someone is embarrassed, so there's really no need to tell us that he's embarrassed. The reader should be able to figure it out for themselves, and if not, well, that's probably more their problem than yours, lol.

Sairek commented. “And today I’ve come out of the castle to reveal the answer’s to anyones curiosity to how my studies are going..."
"While I disagree any magic I own can be useful for combat as of yet..." He added that last bit in an almost sour tone.

There's a certain grammar rule to follow when someone continues speaking in a new paragraph like this. For the last line in the first paragraph, omit the quotation mark. There's one other place you did this in, too. I think it was after the second paragraph I quoted above.

"The goal of this exercise is to help me further into my studies and dream..."

Wouldn't it be better as "in" rather than "into"?

“Wuaie…!” he chanted out and the wind began to blow harder. However, it seemed to be nothing more then a strong gust that blew.

Two things here. First, no need for the "out" after "chanted." The preposition doesn't really seem to serve any purpose, except make that part of the sentence read kind of awkwardly. There are other places where you did this with different words, like "yelled out" and "grunted out." I would also bring up your use of "let out" being awkward, but I think I already mentioned this once to you and you didn't listen, so I won't bother. Second, you can omit "that blew" in the second sentence. We know the wind is blowing, so that extra description isn't needed, and the sentence would be crisper without it.

Feeling a lack of mana, or Ethereal as he had researched, he moved to position himself elsewhere a bit further away from the blacksmith who was getting closer.

I think you can omit "elsewhere." "[A] bit further away" already implies that he's moving elsewhere, so there's no reason for that word. Or you could omit "a bit further away," but that's more descriptive than "elsewhere," so it wouldn't be wise to do so.
Also, maybe you could use a more descriptive word than "moved"? "Moved" is vague and could possibly imply a number of things. For all I know, he could have ran, he could have walked, he could have skipped, and maybe he could have danced to his new position.

A warm blast of hit air pointed at the grass, he was pleased when a heavy cloud of steam began rising up, hiding his presence. He quickly moved out of his position.

You meant "hot" instead of "hit," right? And like with the last passage I quoted, can you use a more descriptive verb than "moved"? Actually, you could shorten "quickly moved" by using "ran" or "sprinted," depending on how fast you want him to go, and maybe depending on how desperate he is to get away, too.

Using the slippery grass, Sairek bent down, sliding on it, he laid on his back, not caring if he got his noble clothing soaked or stained for now. He slid, holding out his staff with one hand, sliding under the blacksmith, and both sides of the staff bunted the back of the man’s legs. Sairek knew he succeeded as he continued to slide on through with little interruption.

There are a lot of "slid"s/"sliding"s/"slide"s in this passage. Try to change some of them up or omit them, particularly where you began with "He slid." The reader should know he's sliding because that was already mentioned in the sentence before it. And would wet grass really be slippery enough to slide like that? I mean, I could be wrong, and I might be overestimating the distance Sairek is sliding, but I thought I would just throw it out there anyway.

Sairek grinned, the crowd applauded at him.

Omit "at." The sentence is just fine without that preposition. The same goes for where you wrote "applauding at" in the paragraph following this one. Also, maybe you could show Sairek being more ecstatic about his supposed victory? I get a sense of his joy in the two sentences following this one, but I want to see it more in Sairek, if that makes sense? Yes, he grinned, but better showing this brief moment of celebration could help the reader feel his excitement more, thus encouraging us to join him in this celebration before we find out that's not why the crowd is applauding. That way we can share in his disappointment, too. Of course, this isn't really necessary, but it might be a nice touch for this part of the story.

Even Sairek knew that a fall would be there he wad flat on his back or his stomach in an unwilling event of his opponent.

This sentence confused me. I was lost at "there he."

Okay, that's it. Other than that, good stuff, yo. :D

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on June 7, 2011
Last Updated on March 11, 2013
Tags: The Ethereal Elixer Fantasy Acti
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