Graduation Day—the day we’ve been working towards since we joined up here. Somehow we assumed that the day itself would be rest and celebration. I realize now that no one actually SAID that…
The first treat today was the wake-up call going off even EARLIER than usual. Sarge quickly let us know that before graduation, we were going to be given the OPPORTUNITY to test ourselves against both our own teammates AND the other team training alongside us. Also, he announced that Reginald (our Eldakar) was being promoted to Private 1st class (brown-noser).
The tests would be: Running (or Flying, as the case may be), Swimming, Boating, and Team Mele combat. Doesn’t sound so bad, but the other team of 4 immediately assumed they had the wins already in their pockets. (They think they are so superior. I guess we showed them. We took all four contests… but I digress.)
Mordecai, our flying elf, handily won the running (flying) contest. I suppose it was fair since they made him fly twice as far as we had to run. I got second, after creatively shapechanging into a cheetah. You should have seen the looks on their faces!! Some of the other team could really run, too, though, so it wasn’t an easy contest.
Next contest was the swimming. Sarge let me know before it started that if I transformed into a fish, I would get latrine duty for the rest of, oh, FOREVER, so I decided against that strategy. (Even though I would have transformed into a dolphin, which is technically NOT a fish. Based on Sarge’s words, I decided not to push it.) When the whistle went off, Flyboy Mordecai jumped gamely in the water and then almost drowned. (He had to be rescued.) Our ogre (her name? Ogre, I guess, she’s never called herself anything else…) won this one. The other team’s best swimmer was neck-and-neck with her until the turn, when a sudden, mysterious, HUGE splash of water overwhelmed him. After that, Ogre pulled ahead.
The boating contest was third. Many people did very well on this, but Harry (my pixie familiar) helped me lots, holding ropes, steadying the tiller, playing lookout, etc. I won this (ok, Harry, WE won this) with no problem.
The final contest was the team mele combat. The arena was set up to level the playing field (so to speak). It was a netted dome 12 feet high in the middle and 7 feet high at the sides. Ogre had to hunch down a bit at the sides, and Mordecai could never fly high enough to get out of reach of our opponents. I summoned a soldier to guard me, and Harry hovered around to provide our team healing as necessary. The other team tried to gang up on Mordecai and Reginald right at the start, but we eventually kicked the other team’s butts. In the process of the butt-kicking, I was very impressed with Harry’s taunting skills. That little pixie turned the air so blue with what he had to say that the guy he was taunting just stopped and stared for a moment. Amazing.
SO at the end of these exercises, our team had won ALL FOUR of them. Woo-hoo!!
At the end of the day, the graduation ceremony was actually fairly moving, if only for the looks of grudging respect that our instructors gave us. The ceremony was followed by drinking (lots!) and partying (lots!). Not a bad start to our careers, if you ask me!