The following short story comes to us courtesy of Lukas Ritter, as an introduction to his forthcoming book,
Nevvy spun around, back toward where the sun had blinded her. The trees broke away to reveal a clearing, in the center of which sat a wood cabin. Kids like her, upon nearing adulthood, were brought here for several days to finish combat training, training which had started three months earlier. It was a necessary skill in Hesiod, her village. Even if she would never be more than a bar wench, she would need to be able to wield a sword, what with all the gnolls and goblins that insisted on attacking all the time.
No one her age knew what exactly went on at the cabin. When asked, the adults always just said, "You’ll see."
Four cages sat at the edge of the clearing, equidistant apart, shaded by the trees. In each Nevvy could make out beastly creatures. They were taller even than Jaymed and Loomis, and covered in matted, yellow fur. Their heads were low slung from their heads, with elongated snouts like a dog or wolf and pointed ears, up and alert. Their eyes were filled with frustrated rage.
"Meet your opponents," Loomis said as he handed each trainee a sword.