"At least it can't get worse.", Musalis thought as she finally got out of the swamp. Which wasn't much of a consolation. Musalis didn't even know how she had won her last battle, the end was... fuzzy. She had had to fight a ninja, and been on the verge of loosing for a long time, straining not to give up. If she had fought just for herself, and not for her God, maybe Musalis would have given up, and run. And then... well, the next things she remembered was a Tournament Official telling her that she had won, and should make her way back out of the swamp. And so Musalis had had more than enough time to wonder how she had won, without really getting anywhere. Her best guess was that Ochre had intervened. The second best guess was that she had latent berserk tendencies, and lost herself in a rage powerful enough to overpower her enemy. After that, the guesses plausibility quickly dropped - number 14 involved her black flute, an uncut diamond and a red toad. And still, compared to what Cindy had come up with, they were all very much believable.
“Well.”, said a Tournament Aide as Musalis wandered back to the tent-town that was dedicated to organizing the Tournament, “You are... let me check my books... ah, yes. Musalis. Priestess. Won her first round against... Jaedin and Atrin? Not bad, not bad. But look at the state of you. No, you can't go like this into the next round. Come with me. We need to wash your clothes, you, and... well, somehow clean your bible. And then you need to get ready for your next round.”
A few hours later, the swamp seemed like a bad dream. Musalis had clothes that were so clean they almost sparkled. Which was really impressive considering it was robe made out of cloth. And she had taken a bath. While Musalis didn't technically need to be warm, it still felt incredibly good to lay back, and feel a weeks grime and mud melt away from the encrusted layer it had created over her bones.
“Look at you.”, the Tournament Aide's approving voice cut though her thoughts, “Much, much better. Without all that mud, you almost look pretty. Let's see, now...”, she consulted her note book, “Do you want anything to eat? Maybe something to drink?”
“Uhmm... I'm kind-of... you know... a skeleton?”, Musalis answered, “It would just fall right out again. No stomach, you see.”
“I figured as much. Still, you have to follow protocol. But it lucky you didn't need food, for your battle starts right about... wait for it... not yet... a little more... wait... NOW.”
Musalis experienced a slight dizziness, and the world around her seemed to melt away into a shifting patches of colors. 'It's only teleportation', she told herself to keep from panicking, 'you're not going crazy.'
When the colors stopped, Musalis was momentarily blinded, just normal people could be from stepping out of a dim room and into full sunlight. For Musalis, that meant there was strong magic nearby, as her vision was based on magic. As her sight adjusted, no possible source of the magic presented herself. It seemed as if the it came from all directions at the same time. And there was a lot of... spinning. Now why would there be something spinning. Musalis looked up, and saw a funnel with a tiny spot of blue at the top. And suddenly, her surroundings sort of fell into place as she knew where she was.
Inside a tornado.
It was impressive. More than that, it was awe-inspiring. Musalis didn't know much about wind-magic, but she could see. She could see how magic interwove the air currents, and controlled a power that could destroy houses in instants. And she was at the center of the insane powers whirling around her, somehow left unharmed. This had to be the mystical eye of the tornado. A calm spot where logically nothing calm should be, where you expected the storms to be at their worst.
But this was not the time to stand awed at nature and those that controlled her. For Musalis, the storm was the least of her worries. She had to focus on her opponent. With a conscious effort, she drew her attention away from the raging storms around her, and focused on the platform she was standing on, waiting for her opponent to arrive. For a moment she considered starting to pray, but decided to would be unfair to begin before the battle officially had started.
Map of DI