Sven was eager to begin his new training and leapt to his feet, following Nesrin down the hallway. The hetat said nothing, and Sven kept reverentially silent as he followed the giant of a man to a side room. The floor was stone, as were the walls. Lit by a skylight, it seemed to be a training room of sorts. "Do you know where we are, Sven Ironson?"
"I cannot say, Nesrin. It is solid granite, that much I can sense."
"True, Sven, but this is where we will grow your connection to the earth. It is here where we shall hone your skills. You will be tested." Nesrin spoke, and as he did, Sven could feel something changing in the man. In the blink of an eye, Nesrin's skin had turned grey. "I want you to hit me as hard as you can, Sven. Do not hold back."
Sven snorted, as it was obviously a test. "Are you sure Nesrin? I do not wish to injure you."
The hetat looked at Sven, telling him to hold nothing back. Shrugging his shoulders, Sven took his fighting stance and delivered a solid right hand to Nesrin's stomach. Though he had the enhanced strength and fortitude of his earth craft, Sven crumpled to the ground in pain, though Nesrin acted as though nothing had happened.
Nesrin paced past Sven, nodding his head. "Now you see the power of stone form. Your strike was true, swift, powerful. It may well have killed a lesser man. Surely many Vicery fell to that same strike. But sometimes the best offense, is defense. If your enemy had broken themselves on you, they can no longer threaten you, yes? You will need to harness the power of stone form to endure enemies more powerful and swift than you! That is all for training today. Return tomorrow, to this chamber."
That night, Sven ate lightly. He had thought to speak with Aalrik, but could not find him at the table. He kept shaking and tensing his hand, hoping that he had not broken it. The next day, Sven awoke early and went to the training chamber. Nesrin was not there yet, so he began drilling on his own. Beginning with a footwork drill, Sven practiced his stone fist technique. Meditating in the room as he awaited Nesrin's arrival, Sven was startled to find the hetat standing behind him.
"Your technique is good, as is your stone fist. You drop your left hand too much when you throw a kick though!"
"How long have you been here? I thought I was alone! Forgive me for beginning without you, I should know better."
Nesrin calmed the dwarf, explaining that he had melded into a nearby wall, as a test of Sven's ability to detect him. The rest of the session consisted of Nesrin instructing Sven in the stone form technique. Drawing on his fury craft, Sven became one with the stone. Though he found it difficult to move at first, Nesrin said not to fight the earth, but to become one with it. That notion slowly sank into Sven's demeanor as the weeks progressed into months. The daily routine, the gaining of knowledge from the hetat and the nightly meals were welcomed.
Sven was several meters off of the floor. Nesrin had drawn from the granite floor several floating boulders, instructing Sven to ascend the floating staircase. Though this would be a simple task otherwise, Sven had to maintain his stone form throughout. Shouting up to Sven, Nesrin spoke. "Good, Sven! See how, despite your elevation, the boulders serve as anchors to the earth below. Focus!" Sven leapt to the final boulder, but over thought the jump. His footing slipped and in his tumble, he lost his stone form, crashing to the ground. Shouting in pain, he grasped his arm. It was broken, quite badly. Nesrin stopped the training session. "Go to the infirmary, we will continue this tomorrow."
Sven did as he was asked, and his arm was put in a splint. Though the healers were skilled, it would take time for such a harsh break to heal. Sven was resolute, eating heartily that night, and sleeping well. The next day, he tested his arm, and thinking to impress Nesrin, he focused on maintaining stone form only within the broken limb. Nesrin seemed impressed, and seeing the concentration it took, training went in a different direction. "We are nearing the end of your training. I had thought the arm would hinder you, though I think it will only attest to your grit. Your final test will be a gauntlet. You will be challenged, but take solace that at the very worst, you will not die. Follow me."
The hetat created an archway into another chamber. It was the main training hall, and following Nesrin inside, Sven could see other fury craft masters within. "Your final test was as such; whilst overcoming an obstacle course, you will be assaulted by fire, air and wood. Maintain your stone form, and you will not perish!" The hetat stood to the side, and Sven saw the fury crafters channeling their powers. Donning his stone form, Sven began towards the first obstacle. Scaling the wall, a bolt of fire hit him with full force. The attack was vicious, though his form protected him. Sven mounted the second obstacle, a narrow raised balance bar. Battered by gale force winds, courtesy of his fury crafting tester, Sven slowly made his way down the bar, rooting each step to the bar while maintaining the stone form. The final obstacle was a series of swinging logs. Sven made his way swiftly past each, though his legs were harried by entangling vines throughout. Breaking free of the vines, Sven made it to the end. Nesrin seemed pleased. "Well done Sven, just remember that your ability to move is lessened by the form, take that into account when you use it." Smiling down at him he finished, "Go clean yourself up and get a bit of rest. I will be calling to the Qalm shortly."
Sven did as he was told, returning to his room and changing his clothes into a fresh set. He felt ready for whatever lay ahead. Stronger, both in his fury craft and grit, Sven was pleased. His thoughts were interrupted as a presence flared across the bond shortly followed by Nesrin's voice ringing in his head," Assemble my warriors. We must make haste to our next assignment. I expect you armed and equipped for a journey in ten minutes. Meet on Landing 9. I will explain there." Taking up Avalanche, and placing his throwing axes in his sash, Sven made his way to the landing, ready to test his newfound abilities.