Chapter 21:


Balancing the Scales: The Sage Hero's Story

As Kaz was striking and slashing at straw dummies, a few of the dragons stopped to watch. Kaz didn't mind, his training would often attract the attention of other resident dragons of Rath passing by who would often sit down and watch the mock fights between Roarke and Kaz, or their training. It had become an increasingly popular spectacle, normally fighting between humans was usually slaves squabbling over extra food, the citizens enjoyed watching actual duels. Kaz sheaths his sword and decides to try a spear this time, as he returns to the same dilapidated shed to grab one Saphana walks out wearing Roarke's armor with a sword in hand. Caught off guard, Kaz asks what she's doing, she glances over at him as she tightens the straps on the breastplate, "I figured I'd train with you, since I'm able to now." She states confidently as she rotates her shoulders to warm up. Bookmark here

Saphana's sword slips out of her hand and drops with a loud resounding clang on the hard ground. She subtly grins as Kaz watches her turn around and bend over to pick it up. Kaz looks and he quickly averts his gaze as she stands back up and turns to face him. "Let's begin, shall we?" She asks Kaz as they arrive back at the training yard. More dragons had come to spectate, Kaz looked out beyond the small fence at the group of dragons in every color imaginable, then back at Saphana. Kaz could hear whispers from the crowd, "Who is that?", "Is that Miss Saphana?", "No, it can't be." Kaz draws his sword at Saphana and nods that he's ready to begin. Bookmark here

Saphana takes the first swing, a low slash towards Kaz's knees. He blocks it easily and parries the swing off to the left and returns with a quick jab forward towards her thigh. Saphana quickly sidesteps and hacks directly across Kaz's chest, but Kaz meets her blade with his own. As they are pushing off against each other's attack, they are both knocked flat on their backs by a torrential gust of wind from above and the sound of wingbeats. The two look up and see a huge red drake land on the outside of the fence followed by a much smaller emerald green drake. The crowd of dragons around them all lowered their heads and backed up a few feet, Salamat and Zen had come to watch. Bookmark here

Salamat gestures with his front leg, and the crowd all raise their heads once again and turn their attention back to Kaz and Saphana. Salamat steps carefully over the fence and leans down to greet Kaz, "My boy, it has been a while. What a nice dwelling you have built! My friends had told me of your daily duels, so I came by to see for myself. I hope you don't mind." Salamat said in his deep voice. Salamat leaned in closer to Kaz, “It’s quite boring, my daily routine of working all day to keep things in line.” he whispers to Kaz. Kaz and Saphana stood up and bowed, "Not at all Father!" Kaz still felt awkward calling Salamat that word, Kaz's actual Father had passed away some time ago. However, Kaz felt more at ease after saying it, "Are you ready to begin again?" Kaz shouts across the yard. Saphana nods, as they clash blades once again Saphana hops back and points her sword at Kaz, "Let's make this more interesting shall we?" She suggests. Bookmark here

Kaz lowers his guard for a moment and points his weapon towards the ground, "Alright, what'd you have in mind?" Kaz replies cockily. Saphana lowers her weapon as well, "First to knock out or make the other surrender gets to give the other a single task which they must complete." She shouts back at Kaz across the yard. "Ohhs'', "Ahhs'' and several gasps can be heard from the crowd. "Ha ha! Now this is entertaining!" Salamat bellows in laughter from the sideline as he slams his front foot down in excitement causing the smaller surrounding dragons cower in place. Kaz smiles and accepts, he then draws his sword once again and readies his stance. Saphana leaps up high and comes down with a heavy downwards slash from above and continues with an onslaught of strikes from all angles. Kaz is having an extremely difficult time keeping up with her at her full potential, Saphana swiftly clotheslines Kaz with her tail and knocks him on his back. As she moves her breastplate loosens, falls off and lands on the dirt. Saphana puts a foot on Kaz's chest as he lays on his back in the dirt.Bookmark here

Salamat interrupts the fight for a moment, "Everyone head home. Nothing to see here!" He shouts as he waves the crowd away. Salamat nods at Kaz signaling to continue, Kaz wiggles out from under her foot and gets back on his feet, "Can you put your armor back on? I can't fight like this." He pauses and stutters, "It's distracting." Kaz finishes. Saphana didn't care, she flew at him full force and kicked him to the ground, "So give up then." She snarled at him with her foot on his chest yet again. Kaz looked to his side, he couldn't do anything, so he forfeited. Kaz gets up and is wrapped in a hug by Saphana. Bookmark here

Lucia had come out to join Salamat at some point, but all Kaz could see was her stomping back inside ranting about public nudity and the lack of common sense. Saphana chuckled a bit and gave Kaz a kiss on the cheek. Kaz is released from the hug and is greeted by Salamat, "That was playing awfully dirty, Miss." He paused, "Miss… Kaz, What's her name? I haven't seen her with you before." He questions. Kaz looks up at him and laughs nervously, "You don't recognize your own daughter?" He says quietly. Salamat sniffs around and gasps, "WHAT?" He yells as he freaks out. Saphana raises her hand and puts it on Salamat's nose and whispers in his ear, "I've got this under control, Father. Trust me." Kaz couldn’t quite hear what they were going on about.Bookmark here

Lucia had begun cooking a huge feast of meat, stew, potatoes and sweets of all sorts in the kitchen. Salamat follows Saphana and Kaz inside. Tasi comes down to greet Kaz, but she sees the massive red drake first and immediately bows in fear, Salamat sees her and leans down to Kaz, "You have a good eye for women, boy." He snickers softly in his ear. Kaz's face turns red, just as Lucia rings her bell and announces dinner is ready. Kaz helps Lucia drag out some wooden slabs for Salamat to eat off of so he doesn't make a huge mess on the floor. Bookmark here

Everyone chows down together, Tasi is like a ravenous beast ripping through all the meat she can, as she was eating for more than just herself after all. Salamat isn't much better in that regard, before dinner is done, Kaz brings something special out of his room. He opens his last bag of beef jerky and puts a bit in front of Salamat. Kaz tells him to try it, Salamat licks up the dried snack and slides forward onto his stomach in content, "Simply divine!" He shouts causing the walls to vibrate. Kaz passes the remainder of the bag out, he hands some to Lucia, he gives Tasi's belly a quick rub and hands her a bit, and lastly Kaz hands the last and largest portion to Saphana. "Don't think we're even, you still owe me a favor." She reassured Kaz. With that, Kaz walked Salamat out and welcomed him back anytime, before long he had flown out of sight. Kaz heads back inside and helps Lucia clean up dinner, but she waves him away. So Kaz heads upstairs and gets ready for bed, wondering what Saphana could possibly want from him. He lays down and pulls a blanket over himself and drifts off to sleep.Bookmark here

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