Paradox Metaphor
Chapter 28 -- Mustering the Troops
by Steve Donohue

Outside the building, Lou and Steve were trying to test the kids and see their potential. They had them in a line and asked them questions about the sorts of books and movies they watched and the sort of games they played for diversion. They were quickly finding that outside of Winter Camp the metaphor was stronger for those with an interest in fantasy books and gaming than for anyone else. They worked for about an hour and discovered that they had a number of different talents among the assembled troops.

Two of the boys from Eagles Nest had some skill at fighting and a third seemed to be magically inclined. From Indianwood, they had two more warriors and a young Ad Altare Dei recipient who seemed to have some skill with magical healing; they had him look over Dickson and he pronounced a few words. To everyoneís surprise but the Scoutís, Dickson suddenly seemed much better, although not completely healed. The third troop was a gold mine of sorts, yielding three boys with fighting skills, one who seemed to be inclined to healing and a fourth whose skills were with magic and music.

All together, they had three magicians, a priest, a bard, and seventeen warriors including the ogre, dwarf, and Elf. They reported this to the King and he seemed quite happy. While the king laid additional plans, each of the youngsters met with someone more experienced to help gauge his skills. Mark Bollman led the wizardís meeting and included the bard. They compared notes and determined that Mark was most powerful, followed by Lou, then one of the scouts, and finally the bard.

Amongst the fighters, the Ogre was clearly the most powerful but the lines after that were hard to draw. Brian, the elf, and the Dwarf were all fairly skilled and none was willing to admit that he was weaker than any of the others. The rest of them fell out in three main groups below them.

The two healers were harder to judge but seemed to be about equal in power. They joined the wizards and had a discussion of how they thought magic might work. Mark Bollman worked hard to lead everyone to believe that they could get just about any spell they thought they could get, but it wasnít easy since most of them were married to bizarre game concepts from Dungeons and Dragons or other game systems. Mark did at least convince them that they could in fact ask for specific spells.

They agreed to meet again in the morning to discuss specific spells they could get so they could formulate a comprehensive battle strategy integrating their magic with the physical attacks of the warriors.

For their part, the warriors did some close order drilling and worked on some combat techniques. They organized into four squads, one led by the dwarf, one by the elf, one by Brian and the last by Adam Pezet. The ogre was, unfortunately, slipping further into his new persona and it was difficult for him to concentrate, especially when he looked at the elf. He finally went outside and stumped around before returning to the tavern. He didnít come back inside, because he found he scared the others and that bothered him.

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