A gift from a god can be good. But what if it is damaged?
Our reporter tracked down the Justi’s stepfather in his home in the coastal town of Ortun. Rocley spoke to us as he prepared to hunt.
How did you become Justi’s stepfather?
I encountered Justi’s mother Arturi on the Fathom trail. Saved her from getting gored by a boar. I was just behind the big-tusked brute when it charged into Arturi’s campsite. She put a small fire between herself and the beast, but it jumped the flames. I put a bolt in it, and it fell dead at Arturi’s feet. I think the creature was possessed.
What did Arturi do?
She fainted, but woke to enjoy roasted pork.
Was it love at first sight?
Why was Arturi alone in the forest?
She had gone in search of her husband, Valego, Justi’s father. Unfortunately, he had been killed by a Tantrocan party. She claimed to have escaped the Tantrocan’s. That couldn’t have happened without her using a power like Justi’s. She killed an attacker with a bolt of flame, but that came out only when Justi first experienced his own power and wanted to know where it came from. He wanted me to confirm it.
Did you see Arturi’s power?
I guess I did. Two Tantrocans accosted us as we neared Ortun. One got past me, and Arturi grabbed his arm. He screamed. His arm was blackened with scorched flesh.
Did you see Justi’s power as he was growing up?
Never. He was a normal, rambunctious kid. It wasn’t until we were fleeing from Ortun when he was eighteen. Then he defended us against four Tantrocans. He took one down with a pale beam that stilled the man’s heart. The second man fared worse. The bright blast evaporated the knife he threw. The thunderous boom and bright light left a smoking crater in the man’s chest.
How do you feel now about your stepson’s power?
I believe he is the Child of Power mentioned in prophecy. My role was to protect him until he could use his power. He also needed a good dose of discipline, which I was happy to provide.