I stumbled back as I felt the warm blood trickle down my cheek. I screeched in a blood red

"You've got to concentrate, Sysrielle, or you'll never serve as a warrior of the Saka alliance.
You'll be put off as a guard like all the others," Master Keslotte said. I knew she wanted the best
for me, but I was so frustrated that I just couldn't listen.

I sighed and held my 'kyava' high over my head with both hands, for it was part of my
training session. A kyava is a weapon with a sword on each end except the blades are slightly
curved inward. You hold it in the middle where there's a sort of handle. Mine was the standard
training kyava, with a couple strips of leather wrapped around the middle and stainless steel blades.
It was much unlike my master's, which was beautifully crafted. It had an eccentric handle carved
with vines and leaves engraved in the soft, slightly iridescent metal. It even had large sapphires set
into it. The blades were ornate, each sword end having two branches, curving over and back in,
splitting off from it. I had seen similar ones that the guards used. The middle shafts, or the ones
not curving, were sharp on the ends and were usually used in combat. The curved parts of the
swords were used for beheading in executions.

"Good, now hold it there for twenty minutes," Master Keslotte instructed.

Within the next five minutes I began to moan from the pain. I could feel the gravity pulling
on my arms. The burning sensation grew to the point where I simply could not feel them at all
anymore. I gritted my teeth and bit my tongue.

"This thing has got to weigh a hundred pounds!" I gasped.

"I can assure you its not," Keslotte said and then added," It's probably more like thirty

'Oh, that helps' I thought, annoyed at my master for not being the least bit helpful. I was
about to make a snide remark when she began to taunt me.

"Good job, you're almost half way done," she said, putting special emphasis on the
'almost',"You've only got ten more minutes to go. So, are you starting to feel the burn?" she asked

I just couldn't take it anymore.

"Aaarrgghhh!" I threw my kyava down in rage and screamed. To both my master's and my
astonishment the kyava shattered like glass into a million pieces and the leather handle burst into
flames. I blinked in surprise.

"Oops," I squeaked, cringing as I waited for the disciplinary blow for losing my temper.
But it never came. I peeked from between my fingers at my master.

"Well, I'm quite impressed. I never could've expected that, especially from you, no offense
of course. Yes, that was quite amazing," she said with a certain respect in her voice.

"I don't know how I did it. I..I was just so mad that..I don't know..But I swear that I didn't
do it on purpose," I kept shaking, thinking about what I had just done.

'It seems an awfully lot like what the battle mages do. Or at least..Its just..that's how it goes
in the Scription of Magic' I mused to myself. I summoned up the image of the Scription of Magic
in the air in front of me, my eyes scanning it.

"So, you were thinking the same thing as I. It would seem that you have what the mages
would call the 'Gift of Light'. How those idiots who test you could have missed it, I don't know,
but I think we should stop the training for now and let you have a rest. I'll go and have a little chat
with the Tester," she said as walked up to the edge of the room. A door appeared out of the wall
and opened as Keslotte walked through. It then closed and its seams seemed to melt into the wall. I
was alone.

Hmmm..The Gift of Light. I would have never guessed I'd had it for I had been told when
I was first tested that I had no magical potential whatsoever. I bit my lip 'Hey, come on. Master
Keslotte is gone. Why not try to do it again?' I heard the tempting thoughts and could not help but
listen to them.

Hey, what the hell? Why not? So I stretched my hands till my knuckles cracked and
focused my energy.

'Now, for a target' I thought, looking around the room. I had never really realized how big
it was. It had always seemed small and stuffy when I had trained in it. But now, left to my own
thoughts, it seemed quite large and roomy and quiet. It must have been a hundred feet tall. It was
like a dome, a little less than half a sphere. At the very top there was a hole in the ceiling about ten
feet wide with heavenly sunrays coming in at a slanting angle. Directly below it was a circular pool
of water that seemed to have no bottom. It was called the Pool of Reflection. There was a legend
about it too. It said that the first and greatest twelve queens of our planet, Ablovion, were buried in
a tomb beneath the pool and that at the end of time they would awake to fight in the final battle.
Supposedly, the only way to get to it was through the Pool of Reflection and to open it you would
need the Resurrector's sword. But it was unlikely anyone could get the sword now because it was
obviously in the Resurrector's care. In this time of great evil many people's faith were waning in the
Resurrector awaking from her deep sleep, for she had not for the past two millennia. And though
she was supposed to come and save us in this time of death and destruction she had made no sign
of doing so. The time to summon her was almost ripe, though, and that was our only chance.

"Sysrielle!" Keslotte called sharply, snapping me out of my thoughts and back to reality.

"Well, that was quick," I commented.

"Let's just say the Tester wasn't very chatty. Anyhow, she says she wants to talk with you,
and maybe even test you today. I can't be sure though, she didn't seem very convinced that there
was even the possibility you had magical talent."

'Well, I'll just have to show her' I thought. Feeling like I could take on the world, I opened
my feathered wings wide, launched myself into the air, and soared through the sunlit hole to meet
the warm sun and free, cloudless sky.