The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival HTML version
As he stepped through the doorway Ben turned his head from side to side looking at the room, then said,
"Well, sir, I thank you for your compliments and your hospitality."
The director stepped into the room behind him. "Also," he continued. "during the tournament, the city
council is happy to comp all your meals, and all your friends' and family's meals." He pointed at a table against
the far wall. "There are three top quality swords for you to choose from."
Ben looked at the swords and nodded.
The director pointed at a console on the sidewall to the right. "If you need anything just contact us on the
Again Ben nodded.
The director looked around making sure everything was in order. "Well, I guess that's it. Good luck - I'm
sure you won't need it. In fact I'm so sure that I've placed a large bet on you winning the tournament." He
smiled as if there was no doubt he was going to win his wager. He turned and disappeared through the door.
Ben walked over to the juice bar and poured himself a cup of juice, then took a drink and set the cup on the
table next to the bar. He scrutinized the swords on the other side of the room. Here I am, he thought. It's funny
how life can take a person in different directions—like a road with many turns going this way and that,
sometimes fast and sometimes slow, sometimes with dead ends and sometimes infinitely straight.
And now his road had brought him to the Outer City of Galactus VII. In spite of his busy work schedule
over the years—training for the games, working for his PhD, working on archeological digs, deciphering
ancient text, and avoiding, as much as possible, the politics of his job at the University, he was finally going to
compete in a Tarmorian tournament.
Swording in one of these tournaments was a childhood dream come true, but Ben never thought he would be
fulfilling it as a Grand Master, and especially not while he was in the middle of an expedition.
The dream had started with his father.
Henison Hillar, had originally come from a planet where swording was the main sport. He had competed for
many years, but was only able to gain "B" status as a swordsman. Above that was "A" status, Expert status,
Master status, and then Grand Master Status, and, of course, there was Grand Master of the Galaxy status which
could only be gained by competing and placing in the top five at the Galactic Games. It had been Henison's
goal to go higher than B status, but his talent was lacking.
Later, Henison, with his wife and two children, relocated to Cyton, and though swording was not the main
planet sport, he encouraged both of his sons to become swordsmen.
As a child, and when he could barely walk, Ben had a sword put in his hand. At first it was just a toy—
something to whip his teddy bear with, but as he got older, it became more of a study. By the time he reached
nine, Ben was practicing two hours a day with one day off out of every six.
His brother lost interest at the age of ten, and wasn't forced to continue in the sport.
But Ben kept at it because he liked it, and finally came the day, at the age of 12, when he, the student, knew
more than the teacher, his father. So began the tutors. By the time he was 18, they knew he had a special gift
In his nineteenth year he became the champion of Cyton, the youngest ever to accomplish this feat. And he
had successfully defended his title every year since.
Ben walked over to the table and picked up a sword. He whipped it through the air a couple of times. It
made a whistling noise.
The sword was three edged with a triangular shape to the shaft, about three quarters of an inch in diameter at
the hilt. Each edge was dulled for tournament competition, and there was a little metal ball on the end where
the point should have been.
He grabbed the end and flexed the shaft. It had a good feel. The director said they were top quality swords,
and he was right.
He whipped it through the air a couple more times. Would this be a tough match? He didn't think so.
He had never heard of Xil, the man he would be dueling in a few minutes. He therefore didn't expect it
would take him more than a minute or two to finish the match. It could last longer, but Xil hadn't had enough
experience to gain a reputation. Still, Ben knew better than to underestimate an opponent.
He walked back and sat on a form-fitting couch in front of the viewer. He thought about watching a
program, but quickly dismissed the idea with the thought that most dramas were boring and most comedies
Swording, Archaehistory and the study of Earth, had been his whole life. It was interesting that the two, for