Atohi left me as he headed back into the village. I was still standing there beside the trail. Today had certainly been an eye opener that was for sure! Thinking about Naci's naked body I shook my head as I felt parts of my anatomy grow to painful lengths!
<So it appears you have made a new friend this is good. Just remember you are not to reveal who or what you are. Once I have the bubble in place no one will be able to see or feel what we do within it.> I heard Pops in my head. <By the way what the young Atohi said is true they really do beat you. Don't take the threat lightly!>
My mouth was hanging open when I heard movement behind me on the trail. Several females were coming, stopping a moment to ask if i had seen a pair of males entering the village a short time ago. Still a little dazed I told them no truthfully. The older females looked at me then nodded their heads and moved on. Naci was at the back of the group smiling slightly as she went past.
<So, she is as trusting of you as I thought she might. This is a good thing. Toman we have to do all we can to protect these people. What they are doing for us could guarantee their destruction. I'm sure I don't have to remind you of that fact!> Pops thoughts came to me again.
<I am doing all I can Pops. Like I said it feels a lot like I have a curse on me or something!> By now I was really starting to get frustrated with everything that had gone on.
<I know I told you I'd look into it, for now try to carry on. Might I suggest that you TRY not to bring attention to yourself anymore?> Pops told me.
<As if I am trying to Pops!> I was almost shouting at him in my mind.
Just then I heard more movement down the trail. Moving back I soon saw several younger males moving toward the village. One in particular drew my attention, Malak with his one arm in a sling. Moving past only a few gave me a heated look, though Malak's could have melted metal.
Stopping before me he growled, "You will regret not killing me outsider! Your days here are numbered I shall make certain of that!"
I nodded unafraid spitting back, "Only if you are as much of a coward as I think you are and attack me in my sleep!"
This of course drew more than a few snickers from some of the males with him. "We shall see when you are dead at my feet!"
"Not unless you bring a small army because you are afraid to face me again! No I think that you should just sulk away and leave those of us with real honor alone!" I said in an even lower voice again drawing a few snickers.
Malak's face was red from anger as several of the others dragged him away. I heard many of them whispering to him that I would kill him the way he was. "No, I do not bully or fight the weak and helpless like he does and is!" I snapped out at the few that had spoken.
Their eyes wide they all quickly dragged him past leaving me alone again with my thoughts. Well I thought I was alone with my thoughts as I heard a sigh. <I think I am beginning to see what you mean Toman. Just standing there trouble has found you!> Oh shit! I had forgotten Pops had been 'talking' to me.
<See Pops? Told you I never look for it, it just seems to seek me out!> I thought to Pops still seething with anger from the audacity of Malak and his cronies.
<That's another thing Toman.> Pops told me, <your power has a tendency to be linked to your emotions.>
My mouth dropped open, <Pops are you talking about what I think you are? My god! No wonder the council is trying to kill me!>
<What are you talking about?> I heard Pops question.
<Pops I am not so stupid that even I have heard of the wild power!> I thought back to him then I gasp, <I am a danger to everyone! > Now tears were starting to fall from my eyes. <I am a beast I deserve to di-->
I gasp again as I felt an extra hard slap across my face. Again I was flying across the expanse of the forest. I came to a stop at the feet of Pops, an extremely angry look on his face.
"I am never to hear that crap out of your mouth again do you hear me?! You disrespect your entire family doing it! I am training you; therefore you are no beast though I still reserve the right to end your life if I have to! Now, get your ass up, get more firewood. This time watch where the hell you are going and what you're doing!"
Picking myself up, I nodded with my head down tears still falling from my eyes. "I'll do my best Pops."
I moved off keeping all my thoughts to a minimum. I spent the rest of the day watching several of the older males as they practiced with their bows. Then I watched a few as they were making the same type bows. Gathering up a few pieces of choice wood I started to do as I had watched. Soon I had a rather large bow that I could hardly draw.
Atohi walked up a few moments later his eyes huge. "Toman! What are you doing with that? We are not allowed to have weapons of the adults yet."
"What are you talking about? I made this, though I am having a little trouble drawing it." I told him as his eyes got even larger.
"That isn't possible!" Atohi said astonished. "That skill takes many moons to accomplish!" He took the bow I had made in his hands touching it as if it were a sacred relic! "This is a fine quality weapon! You are joking with me! I see! You found this and were just looking at it!"
'Uh-- no. I made this it really wasn't all that hard." I told Atohi as his mouth fell open even further.
"I must show this to father! It is as fine of work as his are!" Atohi said then stopped when I reached out and snatched the bow from his hands.
"No!" I told Atohi. "I am already considered to be an unusual oddity in the village. I don't want to make things worse showing a skill that rivals one of the older males."
"This would bring you great honor!" Atohi said.
"No, it would have those not already against me convinced that I am more evil. We will keep this between the both of us. Possibly later we can say something but not now." I told Atohi honestly.
Shaking my head I was hoping that he would keep his mouth shut. Knowing my luck though, he'd let it slip easily. Crap I thought I really needed a silence spell! Shaking my head I walked away I could hope anyway!
A few days’ later Pops completed the bubble as he called it. Taking me inside, he waved his hand over me. "I want you to close your eyes, feel inside. Feel all your power, look closer see the energy as it comes out of you."
I did as Pops said looking inward, then I kept going in 'til I was to a place where a myriad of colorful strands were coming out of what appeared to be a hole. "I see it Pops, the hole all my power comes from. What do you want me to do?" I felt as if Pops was shocked.
"You can actually see where your power is coming from? Astonishing! You are as far as your father was. Look at your power; I want you to feel the way it vibrates. Good, now I want you to alter it so that it is completely different than what it is right now." Pops told me.
Nodding I felt the slight vibrations that were there. Reaching out I made the strands vibrate more than the slight vibration they had. I heard Pops gasp then I felt a barrier go around me. "Like that Pops? I asked.
"NO!" I heard him shout. "You have to make them vibrate slightly. The harder they vibrate the easier it will be for them to find you!"
I nodded as I touched each colored strand, each in turn slowing to what they had been. Again I heard Pops gasp when all the strands slowed. Again I touched all of them at the same time feeling them all vibrate slightly different. "There Pops, that better?" I asked.
"I didn't think you'd get it in the first try. You'll have to show me how you did it later." I nodded as I had reached out to Pops seeing all the colors coming from him. Then I noticed something strange. It appeared as if part of Pops power was cut off. Shaking my head I could see that the ability to actually see the power of another was turned off. Shrugging I reached out and gently opened it up then I withdrew, no sense getting smacked again.
We went for a few more hours, Pops showing me how to change my signature. We were finally finished when Pops gasped out. "What in the hell?" Pops suddenly said. "My god! Oh my god! It's just as he described it!" Then Pops looked directly at me, oh shit! "What have you done to me T
I withdrew afraid that Pops was going to actually kill me now. Shaking I told him, "I-- I'm sorry Pops! I thought you'd want to be able to see. I'm so sorry Pops!" I bowed my head expecting the pain any moment.
"This is what you were telling me. The color strands! My god! Your father used to talk about them! I thought
he had lost his mind, I see now! Each strand is a power of a user! My god Toman! You have twice what I do!" Pops said.
"Many of yours are blocked as most mages are." I told him. "I have never met another with as many open as me. Even the head master doesn't have as many as you Pops. I am afraid though, opening that one you might discover a few more abilities in the next few days."
Pops was rubbing his chin as he thought about this. "You have no idea what they might be?" He asked.
"No sorry Pops, I can in a day or two but not right now." I told him.
"Just how long have you had this ability?" Pops asked.
I was quiet a moment as I thought about it. "I think it started a few years ago. It seems the more I use it the stronger it gets. It is kind of like when I watched the guys fighting the other day. The more I watched the more I could actually do." I told an opened mouthed pops.
"So the fight was no fluke. You were watching them before you jumped in weren't you?" Pops asked.
"Of course Pops I told you I would keep out of everyone's way. You know that as hated as I am I don't want to give anyone more ammunition to use against me." I told Pops a little exasperated.
Pops was nodding then was looking at me with a questioning look. "Alright Toman, what else have you been watching?"
I must have had an extremely startled look on my face as Pops started to chuckle. I shook my head, how in the hell was he always able to do that! With a sigh I told him, "I was watching several of the older men making bows today. It was suddenly easy looking so I made one of my own." I reached out and pulled it to me. Pops nodded his head when I did this with ease.
Pops looked it over and started to nod his head approvingly. Then his head snapped up, "Who else knows?"
Again my mouth dropped open as I stared at Pops. "Atohi walked up after I finished it. He said I should show his father, that I would get a lot of honor from it. I told him no, that I was already considered to be an unusual oddity in the village. I didn't want to make things worse showing a skill that rivaled one of the older males."
Pops head was nodding 'til I got to the part about Atohi; I told him I wished I had my magic to do a silence spell. "No, I think you should give him the benefit of the doubt. You can always deny that you could though that might make an enemy of Atohi."
"I just hope he can keep his mouth shut. I really have enough going against me now without more being added on." I told Pops a little worried that he was going to have to run interference again for me. "I'm not really sure Pops without my abilities I just can't read him."
Pops smiled then said, "You'll learn Toman, you'll learn. It shouldn't take that long if you actually start to listen more and complain less."
Finishing up for the day I left Pops walking around taking my first actual look around the village. It was at that moment that I realized just how far at the fringe of the village our place was. As I was advancing into the village I was in awe of just how organized these people were. Here I thought they were near savages, damn was I wrong.
I soon noticed a tepee toward the middle of everything somewhat larger than the rest. I had started to head that way curious when several of the warriors stopped me. "So Toman you are trying to get a look at your new bride to be."
My eyes opened wide when I asked, "You mean that is Tall Bear's home?"
The men chuckled a bit then nodded, "Many of us have only been made aware that you are unused to our customs. One that you might want to remember young Toman is that you are not allowed to see or be alone with your future bride. At least not without her father there." The others with him nodded though their eyes were shining with a bit of mischief. "So are you wanting to see?" The man asked.
I thought about it for a moment then something Atohi had said popped into my head. "No, I don't think I want a jhatakedaar chhadee used on me at the moment." I told the men.
All of them got huge smiles on their faces then shrugged as they started to move of. "Just remember young Toman, sometimes the pain is well worth what earned it in the first place!"
I looked at him as if he'd lost his mind. The beating they'd give me was nothing compared to what pops would do to me. So continuing on (avoiding Tall bear's tepee) I nodded to several of the young males that had been there when I defeated Malak. Many walked up to me patting me on the back. It was a few minutes later that I happened to walk past another large tepee. Nodding I was moving past when I heard a voice.
"You are not welcome here outsider!" The voice said. "You should go back to where you came from!" Turning I was staring straight into the eyes of Malak's father!
"You would like that wouldn't you? Then your son could bully the rest of the younger boys!" I said between clenched teeth. "I am not here to fight I am only walking. It is you that is making threatening motions toward me!" I spit out completely disgusted that the man approved of his son bullying the weak.
"I have every right to kill you where you stand! The injury you have done to my son, my family and I will not be forgiven!" With that the man drew a large knife advancing toward me.
"So, I see you are an afraid woman!" I said remembering a taunt from the circle fight. "You attack an unarmed opponent, are you that afraid of me? One much younger than you?"
Reaching beside his leg he drew a large sinister looking knife. Tossing it to me he laughed, "there you are now armed; let's see if you can defeat me as easily as you did my son!" Still laughing he lunged towards me, waiting 'til the last minute I side stepped. The man laughed as he reversed direction and went with me swinging at my throat.
Ducking down I brought both hands flat as hard as I could into his stomach. I was surprised when the man only grunted when I hit him. Smiling bigger he stalked toward me again swinging trying to cut me across the chest. I barely avoided the swipe as it flashed nearby.
Still stalking me, the man laughed louder, "you are good young Toman, though I think you aren't good enough!" Suddenly the man went high aiming again at my throat, just as suddenly he pivoted swinging low directly toward my stomach! Falling back flat on the ground I brought both my legs up as hard as I could into his solar plexus. I had of course sacrificed my position as he cut my leg.
The man gasp then fell back gagging and vomiting. Getting up I limped to the man drawing back my hand chopping him in the back of the neck. I hadn't noticed that more than a few of the warriors were watching. That's when I heard the gasps as the man hit the ground hard unconscious.
"Father!" I heard Malak yell as he can racing out of their tepee. Looking up at me I could see the hatred and anger on his face. "I will kill you!" He said as he took a step towards me.
"You can try, with only half an arm though I guarantee I will hurt you far worse than last time! I am nowhere as hurt as you if you wish to try!" I said menacingly. "I suggest you take your father away from here before others want to make an example of him.
"They wouldn't dare! My father is a great warrior, no one would touch him!" Malak growled at me.
"I wouldn't be so sure; he attacked one much younger than him. I am not even an adult yet. How do you think the tribe will view this? Especially after I, a mere youth, knocked him out? I would say he has disgraced himself enough today. Much as you did in our fight!" I spat at Malak as I started to turn away.
I heard a shrieking howl then I saw Malak start toward me with his father's knife. "I will gut you! No one speaks of my father like that!" I sighed as I watched him advance. I feigned high then swept low knocking the knife from his hand.
Bringing my own to his throat I snarled, "Yield!"
"Never! I will never surrender to an outsider like you!" Malak yelled back.
"Fine!" I said as I cuffed him alongside his head knocking him out also.
Dropping Malak I started to limp away when I caught the eyes of Pops. Oh shit! Pops is going to skin me alive.
"You seem to be injured again young Toman," I heard Tall Bear say behind me. Looking down I saw for the first time that I was cut but nowhere as deeply as I thought I had been.
Bowing low to Tall Bear I replied, "Yes sir, I apologize for all the trouble I seem to be running into. I'll try--" About that time I felt the world start to spin as I got light headed. Damn! Guess I lost more blood than I thought!
I felt several pairs of hands grab me as I started to make a bee line for the ground. Shaking my head I thought this was no way to get better acquainted with everyone.
It was several hours later though to me it might as well have been days when I jerked awake. Disorientated for a few moments I was staring at the walls around me lost.
<I don't know what I'm going to do with you boy,> came Pops thoughts.
<Hey Pops, I was just walking when he started making threatening motions toward me.> I replied.
Sighing Pops continued, <I know Toman, I know. I was afraid that he would try something though I didn't think it would be this quick. I have started looking into what we talked of earlier. As of yet I haven't found much but I am still looking. I am afraid you are going to be there a few days to heal.>
<That's ok pops. Maybe you could fill me in on the local customs so I don't make more mistakes?> I asked.
<Yes I think that would be a good idea. You seem to have enough trouble following you without inviting more.> Pops replied. Then I felt Pops putting all that he could into my mind about where we were and what to do. Well he started as it was a little overwhelming as I shut down passing out again.