The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival HTML version
"But that's the problem. I don't think he'd be willing to give up his job, and I know I wouldn't. And even if
he were willing to give up his profession, there are other reasons."
Lyil was about to give the reasons, but at that moment Rand walked out of the tunnel.
The audience cheered and clapped, and stomped their feet. Tam stood up and waved.
It took her a minute to catch his attention, but finally Rand saw her and gave her a slow bow of
acknowledgement—with his right hand in front of his stomach (holding his sword case) and the left hand
behind his back, he then bowed his head slowly toward his knees. As he straightened, he blew her a kiss, and
walked to the swording mat.
Lyil had always been impressed with Rand. He was not the typical Tarmorian male with the gruff exterior,
crude manners, and grumbling voice, instead his personality and characteristics portrayed a natural charm,
elegance, and touch of class.
Tam was smiling as she sat down. "With the money from this tournament we'll be able to pay off our
apartment and most of our bills."
Rand opened his sword case and took out his sword. The blue sheen color of the sword flashed in the air as
he whipped it back and forth. He pretended a mock adversary and did a few feints, a few parries, a few thrusts,
and then, with his sword by his side, he stood waiting for Doog to come out of the tunnel.
o o o o o
The match lasted five minutes and twenty-three seconds, which was longer than many had thought. A lot of
wagering had been placed on a four-minute match. The Tarmorians, over the years, had devised an intricate
and complicated scheme for wagering. The bottom line, however, was to accurately predict, within a fifteen
second window, how long the match would last. This is where the large payoffs started, and then it became
larger depending on how accurately the gambler predicted the number of hits, feints, thrusts, parries, and so on.
And who would win.
Since Rand's match lasted as long as it did, there were only a few winners. Most of the spectators were
tearing tickets and throwing them on the floor in disgust. The few who had predicted accurately, hurried away
to collect their winnings.
"I told Rand to meet us here, and then we'd decide what we're going to do." She paused. “He really wants to
see the next match here in the main arena, but I told him we were going to watch your, uuuuhh, friend. So, he
agreed to go with us. He's such a sweetheart."
Lyil smiled. "Well that works out good, because this is where Ben's match is going to take place."
A puzzled look came over Tam's face. "Your boyfriend is Professor Ben Hillar?" she asked.
"Yes, I told you . . . "
"No, you only told me, Ben."
"Well, his name is Ben Hillar, but I don't see what difference it makes."
An amused smile crossed Tam’s face. Lyil had been friends with Tam for more than three years—long
enough to know that smile meant Tam was privy to some trivial piece of information.
Tam said, "No difference. I just heard he's an excellent swordsman. That's probably why he's swording in
the main arena."
Maybe she misread Mandril’s smile. "He's a champion on his home planet, which I’m sure means he is very
Tam smiled again, but this time it wasn’t that amused smile, “Yes," she agreed, "like Doog is a champion on
Galactus, and we all know he is extremely good at swording."
Lyil leaned back in her seat while thinking about Ben. She had only known him for three days, but during
that time she had found that he liked classical music and old movies. This was something they had in common.
Also, he loved to eat out at restaurants—as a bachelor he rarely ate at home, besides, as he put it, ‘why eat at
home when you can eat out for nearly the same price and let them do the work.’ And when he had time he liked
to read novels, but he had stated that he rarely had time for that, except when he went on vacation, which was
Among his other qualities, the two that Lyil liked most was his confidence—something he was good at
hiding—something which she was sure most people never realized. Inside his mind he was a Titan. And two,
she had finally found a man who felt he didn’t need to play games. He was who he was and that was good
enough for him. He wasn’t going to pretend he was something that he wasn’t.