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Chapter 1


Bones splintered on impact, and while a few shards flew free, Danath held the animation together. By this point the bone avatar had been almost completely shredded into fragments, anyway. This made it harder to maintain in a human-like form, but he could do with the exercise.

Not physical exercise, obviously, since he stood on the sidelines directing the avatar from afar. He’d rather be in the fight, wearing armour of metal as Baroden currently did, enjoying the thrill of combat without this remove. His role prevented him from indulging, though. If he were honest, he also worried he’d started to get out of shape. Despite taking regular exercise, he felt slow, clumsy.

This session was for training his champion, anyway, in preparation for a duel against Marella’s champion, Krutkys, who’d taken to using bone animations. While Danath had only seen him use them in one duel, he had a good idea how he’d fight, and how he’d use them against Baroden.

Another punch from Baroden crashed into the bone avatar, achieving little as the shards flowed around it. A few slivers went flying, too few to worry about. Of more concern was the oxyth animating the avatar.

The opaque white gemstone currently resided in its lower leg; hidden in a shell of bone he could move the moment Baroden got close. Touching an opponent’s stone and speaking the activation phrase to dismiss the animation might be illegal in a duel, but destroying the stone wouldn’t be, and would put a quick end to the contest. Baroden focused his attacks on the head and chest, though. Used to fighting opponents who wore their animations, where their stones would be held safely inside, he didn’t adapt quickly to new things.

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