Ambidextrous -- A Fantasy Weight Gain Story
Chapter 1: The Tournament
Castle Kulak’s black edifice rose from the rock foundation of the cliff it was built upon. It had taken fourteen of the king’s most powerful Sinistral mages to make the necessary iron for the walls and months of work by a Dextral artisan to shape its brutalist facade and fuse it to the rocky ground. It loomed over the valley below where the people of Ruka City bustled in its shadow. None of the citizens were allowed to enter the massive iron structure. Not even the King, who lived in a smaller stone castle in the valley, was allowed to step foot inside. No, Castle Kulak existed for the sole purpose of locating, housing and training those that were gifted in the art of magic.
It wasn’t rare to see denizens of Castle Kulak in the city. Some even chose to live there if they had spouses or families that didn’t share their unique gifts, however, most of them kept to themselves in the iron castle and devoted themselves fully to their craft. However even the most secluded and secretive of their order had to enter the city at least once a year for tournament day.
It was like a holiday in Ruka city as the hundreds of mages made their way down the switchback staircase carved into the side of the cliff. Sinistrals would set up shops and conjure food and refreshment for the eager townspeople and Dextrals would impress crowds by transmuting hunks of brass into small figures and toys. The real show, however, was in the arena. Most mages practiced their skills as artisans or devoted themselves to the study of magic to become sorcerers, but the ones the citizens were most impressed with were their warriors.
The vast majority of those that entered Castle Kulak did so hoping to wield their powers in battle as a knight in the king’s army but only a handful were selected for that honor every year. The king himself would watch the tournament and select five hopefuls and from among them the elders would select three who they determined to be skilled for knighthood. Among the mages competing this year was a woman named Ryote Kikite.
The sorcerers watched from their private box as Ryote entered the arena. Her sword was in her left hand leaving her right open for Dexteral magic. Elder Rupert, an older man who had gotten on the council based mostly on seniority and considered himself very clever, turned to Elder Raina, a woman who actually was quite clever, and scoffed under his breath.
“There’s one every year isn’t there?” The female sorcerer didn’t laugh. Elder Raina was watching the girl intently. Already Ryote was practicing different casting forms with her right hand leaving glowing purple streaks where her fingers passed through the air.
“There have been Dexteral knights.” She started not taking her eyes off of the girl below. It was true though that Ryote was at a disadvantage. Not only was right-handed magic (also know as Dextral magic) more difficult to perform it had little utility in a fight. While left-handed magic (Sinistral magic) could create and manipulate the elements with a few basic gestures the right hand was more subtle. Most Dexteral knights had made up for their limitations with their incredible fighting abilities but this woman was tiny. Ryote’s opponent stepped forward. Dobson was a big man whose talents as a Sinistral mage were brutally effective if not a bit uninspired. He smiled down at the smaller girl and raised his sword.
“Feel free to back out now. I won’t hold it against you.” his voice was smooth and confident in a way that clashed with his hulking appearance. Ryote didn’t answer instead keeping her jaw clenched and raising her own sword in response. There was a sharp pop as a sorcerer summoned a handful of gunpowder just above his open palm and ignited it to signal the start of the match.
Dobson didn’t waste any time. He charged forward swinging the sword with both hands not even bothering with magic yet. Ryote dodged out of the way with unexpected agility. The crowd gasped and even Elder Rupert seemed surprised. Elder Raina squinted at the purple streaks that followed the young warrior's hand.
“She must have placed a speed enchantment on herself.” she surmised half to herself and half to the elder sitting next to her. Rupert seemed shocked.
“Impossible,” He scoffed. “That’d take at least four hand-signs.” Raina shrugged
“Three if you’re good enough.” Even so, it’s quite a feat to perform a three-sign spell in the time it takes to avoid a head-on attack. Ryote was on the move now. She hadn’t had time to make the two extra hand-signs that would have given her spell extended duration and her speed quickly faded. She began a five gesture spell as Dobson regained his balance. He caught her out of the corner of his eye and assumed she was casting a spell for strength to make up for the size discrepancy. He lashed out toward her with his left hand and a jet of flame burst forward in hopes that it would keep her from closing the distance but Ryote didn’t need to be up close
Her fingers curled and extended independently as she made the hand-signs for “medium-range”, “magnetism”, “sword” and “extended duration”. She could have done it in four gestures if she hadn’t added the sign for “medium-range” but as confident as she was in her casting she wasn’t positive that she’d be able to indicate Dobson's sword rather than her own without it in the heat of battle.
Dobson’s smile turned to alarm as his sword suddenly leaped from his hand and clanged against his breastplate. It took him a moment to register what had happened but he regained his composure in time to see Ryote charging him, sword raised and with a victorious grin on her face. He lashed out with a bolt of lighting faster than she’d expected and she was knocked to the ground by the impact. That might have been enough to end the fight against a fellow Sinistral but he could already see Ryote’s fingers signing a minor healing spell as she rose to her feet. Her victorious grin had turned into a determined glare.
He set about trying to pull the sword from his breastplate but the weapon wouldn’t budge. Technically without his sword, his right hand was now free to perform Dextral spells but Dobson had never trained in Dexteral magic and instead, he tried to buy himself some more time by shooting a blast of ice from his left hand and freezing the ground in front of Ryote’s feet.
She ignored this and leaped over the ice at him with her sword raised above her head. He shrieked in alarm but at the last minute grabbed his sword in his left hand and turned the blade to bronze. It swung free of his breastplate and blocked Ryote’s blow. Even using his off hand he was much stronger than her and her sword was knocked out of her grip. She scrambled back and he laughed extending his sword at her chest.
“Good try, Ryote.” He said with earnestness “Looks like you’ll have to try again next--” He was cut off as Ryote shot her left hand forward anf let loose an unexpected blast of Sinistral magic. Dobson tried to counter with his own left hand but found that she had frozen his fingers to the hilt of his blade.
Ryote grabbed her discarded weapon and performed a speed spell this time including the extra signs for “extended-duration” and charged. Dobson put up a good fight and was obviously the better swordsman but he was stuck fighting with his off hand and was unable to perform Sinestral magic. Ryote’s speed picked up and Dobson started to fall behind. He swung desperately over her head but she easily ducked him and placed her blade against the larger man’s neck.
There was another burst of gunpowder signifying that the match was over. She stepped back to see that Dobson was laughing and he extended a hand to her.
“Looks like I’m the one that’s going to have to try again next year.” She took the hand cautiously and allowed herself to smile at him and raised the pommel on her sword to shatter the ice around his fingers. He dropped his weapon and flexed his fingers creating a brief flame to warm them. The king stepped forward.
“You two may both stay where you are,” he said loud enough for everyone around the stadium to hear. Dobson raised his eyebrows in surprise and shrugged at Ryote. Apparently, despite losing he had impressed the king enough to be chosen as well. “Will the mages Barclay, Diana, and Giles also step forward.” The three other mages approached. Barclay and Diana had both won their sets though Giles, like Dobson, had lost. Unlike Dobson who had impressed due to pure strength Giles had shown incredible creativity with the use of his Sinistral abilities. The king turned and looked up at the Elders’ booth expectantly.
The Sorcerers deliberated for several minutes. The crowd was near silent except for a dull murmuring as the townsfolk made guesses at who might be chosen. Finally, Elder Raina stepped forward.
“The three mages I name today shall henceforth be known as Knights of the realm.” The king drew a long, bejeweled rapier from his belt and the five mages kneeled. Ryote set her jaw as she felt her heart pounding in her chest. She had won her fight. She just had to remember that and had nothing to be worried about.
“Sir Barclay!” Elder Raina began The king tapped Barclay on the shoulder and he stood to thunderous applause. Elder Raina’s eyes swept across the hopefuls but no smirk or errant eyebrow betrayed her thoughts. “Dame Diana!” She continued. The king tapped Diana’s shoulder and she rose as well to equally enthusiastic applause. “And finally...” She continued. Ryote’s heart was soaring. Of the remaining hopefuls, she was the only one who had won her bout. She was going to become a knight. Elder Raina’s eyes met each of their’s again but this time they hung for a moment on Ryote. They stayed locked on her for a few heartbeats before the older woman finally looked up and announced “Sir Dobson!” Dobson looked up in surprise as the king tapped his shoulder and raised him to his feet. The crowd cheered again and Ryote looked around in confusion.
But now dozens of mages were flooding into the arena to congratulate the three new knights. The sea of people swept the others away and left her and Giles behind as the audience began to disperse. She looked up at the elders trying to make sense of it. Why had she not been chosen? She had won! She looked up to see Elder Raina staring down at her. They made eye contact and somehow Ryote understood that this woman had been the one to make the final decision. For one reason or another Elder Raina had decided that Ryote was not ready for knighthood.
Her gaze became icy as she stared an unsaid accusation at the older woman. The elder looked down at her impassively and finally turned away to leave with the other sorcerers. She wanted to scream. She wanted to demand to know why, but it was over. Ryote wasn’t a knight. She would make the long climb back to Castle Kulak tonight. She would go to sleep and allow herself to order her thoughts, but in the morning she would get her answers.
For those of you concerned. This is, in fact, a weight gain story. You'll see more of that in Part 2.
I'm planning to start updating at least twice a week again. Once a week you'll get a new part of Lancelot and a new chapter of this story. Although I will be drawing illustrations for this series It's likely that they will be less integral to the series as I'd like this one to be more story driven.
So I'm officially making my first foray into Fantasy! Let me know what you think!
Special thanks to and for helping me work out the magic system. Without you guys, I wouldn't have been nearly as excited to make this a reality.
You can view a larger version of the cover image here:
Does something in this chapter not make sense?
Check out the Ambidextrous - Reference Guide to see if that sheds some light on anything.
If it hasn't been answered there post a comment and I'll try to update the guide with the info you're looking for.
Thanks for supporting my work!