"Morning, sleepy head. Slept OK?" Sarah asked opening the tent door and shaking me until I woke up.
I opened my eyes slowly and yawned.
"Yeah," I said, lamely.
"It's time for your big day. Today you begin training."
"I can't wait," I said rather dryly.
I changed my clothes and put on my shoes. I stepped out of the tent. I was still a little sleepy but I let the cool forest air revive me. It was a cool beautiful morning at the camp.
The forest is bustling with life. Birds are chirping, lizards are scurrying among the dried leaves, frogs are croaking, and insects are buzzing in the air.
After cleaning up and having breakfast, I followed Sarah to the sparring clearing.
"We will begin your elemental training. Controlling the basic natural elements of fire, water, and earth is the unique ability that only the Guardian has. It can be used as an offensive and a defensive," Sarah said. "Try attacking me and I'll show you want I mean."
"OK, you asked for it," I replied hesitantly.
I rushed towards her from the side and left hooked her. Sarah spun around and created a flicked her arms upward producing a wave of earth that not only stopped my attack but also threw me backward. I landed on my butt with a thud. Sarah came toward, reached over, and pulled me up.
"Controlling the elements takes great patient and practice. Producing an earth wave like that takes years of practice. We will start with something simple. Create a fireball for me. Breathe in and concentrate," she instructed, opening her hand and producing a perfect ball of fire in her palm. "Now you try."
"You have got to be joking," I remarked.
I held out my palm and concentrated, my face grimacing and contorting. Nothing appeared. I could hear faint giggling as Sarah tried to stifle her laughter. I tried again. I breathe in deeply and clearly my mind. I opened my eyes slightly to peak. I saw a small spark that quickly vanished. I groaned in frustration.
"Useless, useless!" I grumbled and stomped my feet.
"Don't worry. Elementary training is hard, and I didn't expect you to get it on the first go. It took me weeks of practice to master the element of fire. The trick to mastering the elements is to have calm and focus mind."
"I am calm!" I replied snorting and panting.
"Ohh kay," she replied nervously. "Let's move on to combat training. We can work on the elements later. First, we will have to get you suited. Follow me."
I followed her to building with a roaring fireplace in the middle. A man was pounding away at a glowing piece of iron.
"This is Gaoul, our blacksmith. He is one of the best there is," Sarah said.
I nodded at Gaul and he nodded back. Gaoul was a tall burly man. His face and hand blacked from the soot from the fire. Lines crisscrossed his face. His arms were full of muscle that rippled as he pounded the piece of metal into a horseshoe-shape. He then dipped the metal into a bucket of water that hissed violently throwing up a cloud of steam.
Sarah walked away from the workspace to a corner of the building were the armors were stored. Sarah perused the armor that hung on the wall eyeing them carefully before selecting one.
"This will do until we get you a custom made armor suited for your size. Put it on," Sarah said taking down the armor from its storage rack and handed it to me.
I look silly in a fully suited armor. The armor rode up my buttocks and the two bumps in the front of chest certainly did not help.
"This are your armor isn't it," I remarked, pointing at the bumps, "I look like a freaking girl!"
"Yes it is. But you have to get use to wearing Guardian armors. They are slightly lighter and offer more flexibility and since I'm the only known Guardian, the armor is tailored for me. Plus, there are also holes in the palm to allow you to project your elements at the enemy," Sarah replied.
"Anyways you look cute," she added winking at me. I growled back.
"Here's your sword," Sarah said handing me a long sword that caused my arm to drop as soon as I held it. It must weight a ton.
"Got a lighter one?" I asked.
"All men swords are the same weight but I guess we could use a women's sword as they are lighter," she said grabbing the sword from me, lifting it up with ease and placing stored it away.
She then handed me another slightly smaller sword. The sword was lighter than the men's sword but it was an insult to my manliness; just what I needed to complete the girly armor.
She then suited up in another of her armor, grabbed a sword, and headed back to the sparing field.
Sarah was giving me a hard time with the sword training. I have to keep all my focus on blocking all her jabs. I was perspiring heavily in the armor. I thrust forward but Sarah deflected my sword.
"Wow, you're good," I said panting.
"The death of my mother strengthened me, compel me to push harder to become the most powerful Guardian the world have ever known. And one day Notak will pay what he have done," she replied jabbing at my right. I raised my sword to deflect her blow.
Our swords clanked together throughout the whole afternoon. The sun was beginning to set when Sarah remarked, "That should be enough for one day."
My arms were sore and I was thoroughly drenched under the armor. I stretched my arms, shaking it in an effort to quell my soreness. Across the horizon shone the brilliant sunrays that cover the darkening sky with stunning shades of purple, pink orange, red, and a hint of yellow.
"That's so beautiful," I commented staring at the beautiful sunset.
"Yeah," she replied longingly. She held my hand and continued, "My mom and I used sit at the balcony looking at the sky. She said, 'The sunset is the masterpiece of the spirits. They paint the sky in those dazzling colors with giant paintbrushes.'"
I pulled my hand away blushing. "It's getting late, we should be heading towards camp," I commented as the first stars began to make an appearance in the darkening sky.
Just as we arrived at the campsite, we saw a man running toward the main tent. We almost bumped into him.
"What's going on," Sarah asked, but the man did not reply.
We ran after him to the main tent where we heard the man and Sarah's father in deep discussion.
"General Grave, Notak's forces are on the move. Intel tells us that he is planning to attack the city of Newdonia next," said the man panting.
"Tell them help is on the way. Gather the men. We shall head out immediately," Sarah's father replied.
"Dad don't go," Sarah pleaded.
All eyes turned on us. Sarah then rushed to her father crying.
General Graves turned to his daughter and hugged her tightly saying, "My daughter, stay strong. "I'm sorry but I must go. It is the only way to keep this world from falling under Notak's grasp. I wish too this destruction would end. I will be back, I promise. Mike be good and take good care of my daughter. Continue your training and fulfill your role as a Guardian. Plus, you will be safe here at camp."
Then he put on his suit of armor and rode off with over 100 of best warriors trailing behind him.
After a while of silence, Sarah said, "Dinner would be served in an hour.
This event brought us to our senses. This isn't a fairy tale where everything would be solved with a wave of a wand. There is dangerous threat is out there and Notak will not rest until the entire world fall into chaos.