Wallick waited, fidgeting and shifting his weight, one foot to the other. His friend Rothwell, sat quietly and patiently behind the Knight of Waves, commandant of Rothwell’s order as well as his mentor. The Poseidon Tribunal discussed Wallick’s report amongst themselves, their stern faces and taciturn demeanor revealing nothing of their true feelings. One of the tribunal members, a woman who Wallick had been introduced to once before, turned her gaze on the young ranger and inquired, “How is it that you discovered this danger and their location?” Wallick was skilled at many things, public speaking, however, was not one of those skills. Fumbling for words to explain he finally blurted out, “I will never know if during my years as an orphan on the Upside I was taught to hate them or if I was born with it, but I do not have a memory of a time when I did not hate and fear dragons. That hate fuels me and for whatever reason, I seem to be at my best when using my skills and talents against them.”
Wallick was unable to tell if his words had had an impact for she quickly turned back to the Tribunal and resumed discussion. Finally, after another ten minutes of discussion, the head of the Tribunal, Lindholm, turned his gaze back towards and beyond Wallick to the Knight of Waves. “Do you feel, Knight Paladin, this challenge is a worthy cause for your young charge Rothwell ? Do you trust his alliance with Wallick?” The Knight stood and Wallick felt himself staring but could not help it. This man exuded confidence and an aura of invincibility Wallick had never before encountered. His uniform, armor, and weapons glowed with power, yet somehow, Wallick was certain that if he were to stand here naked he would look just as powerful.
A rich baritone filled the chamber as Lindholm responded, “I have long spoken of a more active policy in our lifetime battle against all that is evil. Not only do I think this challenge is worthy enough to transition Rothwell from a squire in our order to a full member, I think his choices in allies to undertake this mission are exemplary and will serve not only Rothwell but our order well. Let this mission serve as a bellwether for future endeavors! No longer shall we wait for evil to rear its head and diabolical plans, we shall take the battle to them and seek to destroy them before the fullness of their vision can be achieved.” The Knight of Waves waited to retake his seat until the tribunal turned away from his stare. It didn’t take long but Wallick recognized the effect Lindholm had on everyone. The ranger wondered if someday his friend Rothwell would have the same presence.
The members of the Poseidon Tribunal mumbled to each other, shuffling scrolls and papyrus, providing themselves enough time to regain composure. Finally all members faced forward and the Tidejudge Amacom called for Wallick to step forward. “You have been judged by this tribunal to be of pure intention, noble spirit, and genuine causes, as well as having been spoken for by our Knight, are you ready to dedicate your life, as well as the lives of your allies towards this purpose, eradicating this sin from our city?” Wallick, inspired by Lindholm, responded forcefully, “My life was dedicated before I arrived, this tribunal will provide me with the wisdom and allies to succeed! Let our efforts and lives serve as an example to others who will raise their swords against all of the darkness arrayed against us! Praise be to Poseidon!”
Several servants stepped forward from behind the dais, bearing clothes, armor, and weapons. “This tribunal recognizes and blesses you Wallick, supporting you in your cause against the agents of sin. Will you receive Poseidon’s blessings?” Amacom asked. “With my body, mind, and soul, bathe me in the waves of Poseidon’s blessings and let the earth tremble as we begin our fight” responded the ranger, just as his friend Rothwell had taught him. Tomorrow they would begin their hunt.