The straw-filled beast used for target practice was nowhere near the size of the actual fire beast. The wingspan of the downed tree branches attached to the stuffed body made the imitation look frightening in the darkness of the early morning. Even still, Hosperan could manage a kill shot with his spear from anywhere on the training grounds.
The sun had just made its way over Mount Kondor, the tallest in the Northern range, by the time Hosperan had finished his morning endurance training. The beams hit the grassy field and gave him a second wind after the morning of training. The only shadow cast by a winged replica; straw and grass falling out of its puncture wounds.
Hosperan brought five spears, each varying in length, to the field. He enjoyed these days. When he arrived that morning he had stabbed the silver spearheads in the tree stump about three hundred paces from the target. Holding the first one like an oversized dagger, he began to focus his aim. The smooth body of the spear touched the outside of his ear as a deep breath filled his lungs. "Hey Hasberoon," a voice screeched behind him. The spear flew past the target and stuck to a tree thirty yards its rear.
"What do you want, Agur. I'm training."
"Training for what? It’s not like you’re going to attack those weaklings in Ebeltoft. Ha! Can you see it guys, Hosperan using his toothpicks to actually do something good for our village." Agar’s friends laughed. Hosperan’s cousin was three years older than him, but his size didn’t show it.
"Leave me alone," Hosperan said.
"You can't order me around. You aren't the chief. Anyway, my mother says I would make a far better chief than you. Most of the elders think that too. Even Svana.”
“She does not,” Hosperan protested. “And you know I didn't choose this. I don’t even know what I’m doing.”
“That’s obvious,” Agur replied.
“But I know I’m not going to be a chief who orders everyone to run and hide when the fire falls."
"You mean run around like a fool and die," Agur paused. "like your father did.”
"My father was a hero!" Hosperan grabbed a spear from the stump and tackled Agur to the ground. Holding the spear in both hands he pressed it against Agur's neck. "My father’s a hero," Hosperan repeated before Agur's friends pulled him off.
"He’s a coward. And the prophecy isn't even about you. It could be about anyone. My father was the captain of the Kittla Seafarers. They raided more cities than anyone can count. And I'm just as skilled with the spear as you," Agur said as he lifted himself off the ground.
"Contest! Contest!" said one of Agur's friends.
"Yes! A competition," Agur said as he looked around. "Whoever can spear this apple off your stuffed target's head gets to be chief."
"And if I win, you leave me alone."
"Of course, cousin. Whatever you say."
One of the friends ran the apple out to the target. Agur picked up a few spears from the stump and tested their weight. After selecting one that met his standards, he took aim. A slight breeze swept the valley and Agur waited until it ceased. He took a deep breath. Seconds later the spear escaped his grasp toward the apple. The apple remained unmoved. No one said anything.
Agur picked up another spear, aimed, and released. This time pinning the spear to the tree behind with the apple pierced through. "Whatever. It's not like you can even hit the apple if you lived a thousand lives.”
The friend raced out to replace the deceased apple. Hosperan already has his spear in his hand from when he pinned Agur moments before.
He took aim.
The friend's hand was still placing the apple when Hosperan's spear cut through the top of the fruit and pinned it against the tree behind. The spear also pierced the apple that had been pinned previously.
"You idiot! You could've killed me!" Agur's friend yelled across the field. Hosperan grabbed his remaining weaponry and walked back to the village.
He was late for the elder’s meeting.
Thank you for reading. Want to read chapter 2? Click here to read chapter 2!