Pops and I landed with a thud as we came out of the time portal. I was still going over everything that I had seen after I had shoved the second body through. A hunter! I knew that they wanted me and my family gone though I couldn't see them finding a real reason for a hunter.
"You wondering how they are going to justify sending a hunter?" I heard pops breaking my train of thought.
"Yeah pops that had occurred to me. We are going to have to leave Pops; I can't endanger the rest of the tribe like this." I told him a little afraid that the hunter would kill everyone just to get to me.
Shaking his head Pops started to chuckle a moment. "Really Pops I fail to see what is so damn funny!" I yelled at him.
"Toman you have far more control than your father did. Hell I'd say you have more than any mage your age. The fact that you are mastering everything you see as quickly as you are is proof of that. If Mordaf can show you a lot more I think you might be damn near unstoppable." Pops told me.
I could only stare at Pops as if he were crazy. True the second time I opened the portal it had been extremely easy. How in the hell was that gaining control. "I'm not really seeing it Pops," I said.
Sighing Pops said, "Toman you have what we call a third eye what you see you learn physical or meta-physical. You are also as Mordaf said a total user, this means that given enough time there is almost nothing that you can't do. We need to get you training as soon as we can. I feel it is the only chance we have."
I nodded as I looked at Pops again. I could see where I had increased his defenses. Sighing I reached out trying to increase them more. A few moments’ later Pops eyes flew wide as he started to feel his protection barriers raise another two levels.
"I'm sorry Pops I don't want you to get hurt. Had I you this high that asshole wouldn't have been able to hurt you. You're a level higher than he was, it isn't enough yet though, I can feel it is straining you some." I told him.
"Hell son anything you can do will be a help. I might not be able to hurt them but now I can make them work at hurting me." Pops said with a half smile.
"Damn it Pops! That isn't funny! I'm trying to be serious here like you told me." I almost yelled.
Pops nodded, "I'm sorry Toman I thought a little humor might help you to relax some. I apologize."
I hung my head it was true I was uptight as hell; especially after learning that the council was sending their best hunter after me. Everyone knew of the hunters, and they rarely failed. Armed with a myriad of charms they were virtually undefeatable. A moment later I felt Pops hand slapping my face.
"You need to stop this defeatist attitude! You think you are going to lose going into a battle then it's a damn sure bet you will!" Pops said his eyes flaring.
"Damn it Pops!" I said as I rubbed my cheek. "This is a hunter, a damn hunter their best! You know as well as I do that they can't be beat by normal means."
Pops was shaking his head looking at me as if I was the most stupid being in existence. "They can be beat and I thought you had noticed that you are anything BUT normal! You have a well spring of power within you that the universe hasn't seen in a long time! Now then get over this pity that you are feeling; we have to increase you!"
I was about to answer when we both heard Tall Bear. [Reg? Is that you?] Both of us looked at each other as we heard the almost desperation in his thoughts.
[Yes Mordy. We just got back sorry we were gone so long. We had...] Pops started.
[Thank the great power that you have returned!] Tall Bear interrupted Pops thoughts. [It's Naci! I came back today to find her missing! I have searched but am feeling nothing. I need your help Toman! Even with what you increased in me I cannot feel her.]
I was shocked as I looked at Pops. She was missing? A high elite couldn't feel her? Growling I thought this felt like a hunter. It had to be! Though it was far too soon for the council leader’s son to have tracked us. [I'll be there as soon as I can!] I told Tall Bear.
As I started to run I felt Pops trying to keep up with me smiling I thought good he's going to help. Arriving at Tall Bear's teepee I went inside trying to feel anything I could. Shaking my head I was about to leave when I felt then saw the thought cube. Walking to it I felt it pulse then open.
"Good you found this, so there are two wild magic users here! Come for me you freakish son of a human! If you are who I think you are then I should be well rewarded! Well, afraid you piss ant? You should be I am only a low level hunter and I took her easily, her being trained. You should be easy so come to me you miserable piece of filth!" I could feel the anger rising in me as the cube shut off. Walking out I tried to hold it in, though I was failing.
Through clenched teeth I told Pops and tall Bear. "A bastard hunter has taken her. This is my fault I will go after her!"
"No Toman," Tall Bear started 'til I turned toward him blowing him a good forty feet away.
"NO! I said, "I AM GOING AFTER HER! Do not interfere; do not get in my way!" Growling I held out my hand suddenly feeling Naci, Nodding to Pops I suddenly flashed out.
Pops went to Tall Bear helping him up. "Damn it Reg he's walking into a trap!"
"I think he knows Mordy, and I don't think he cares. No I think you are seeing him finally accepting that he also loves her. God I wouldn't want to be that hunter. I doubt seriously that the one holding her has much of a chance even with all the charms." Pops replied.
"Has he that much control?" Tall Bear asked.
"When it comes to her? Yeah that and a whole lot more!" Pops said.
I appeared miles from the tribe’s camp a huge clearing with Naci sitting in the middle. "Ah so you came after all! This little whore must mean a lot to you. It's ok I'll extinguish her as soon as I am done with you. Come on I know you want to kill me let's see if you can!"
Not moving I felt no less than forty charms around the clearing. Let's see power siphoning, power dampening, I think I felt power enhancers on him. Smiling I took a step feeling the siphoning start up. Reaching out I sent a huge wave of power toward all of them smiling when they all started to pop out of existence. Several chopping motions took care of the dampening effects as those split in half useless.
Taking another step I smiled even bigger. The hunter's eyes were huge as he moved to a now unconscious Naci. "Stop! Another step and your little whore is dead!"
Growling I felt my anger start again how dare this piece of trash touch her! Reaching out with my mind I saw each charm he had left. Then I felt each one start to crack. The hunter's mouth dropped open as I saw him mouth ‘how?’
"You are a stupid piece of trash! Stupid in that you should research more before you take on an opponent that is far stronger than your charms! Touch her again and know that the death you experience may never end!" I growled between clenched teeth.
"Ha! As Long as I hold your whore I have power over you! Now on your knees while I take your life!" With a wicked laugh the hunter waited.
I could feel my anger growing by the moment. Finally I raised my hand motioning toward the hunter. At first nothing happened then the hunter's arm snapped as it was thrust backward. Then the other arm snapped twice as it also was bent backward. Slicing with my hand both legs were suddenly laying beside the hunter who was screaming at the top of his voice.
Walking up to all the parts I whispered barely able to contain my anger. "You were dead as soon as I entered this clearing you were just too stupid to realize it!" Reaching in I stripped all of what little power the hunter had. "I leave you this," I told him as I placed a vision of him being burned alive over and over. "Goodbye you ass!" Walking away I heard him start to whimper, cry then scream as in his mind his flesh was destroyed over and over.
I passed a hand over Naci trying to see what he'd done to her. Thankfully she had only been knocked out. Picking her up I took a last look at the hunter feeling his memory growing smaller and smaller. Nodding I thought of the village and flashed out.
Appearing on the out skirts I started to walk in carrying Naci in my arms. There was a great commotion then Pops and Tall Bear were beside me helping me as I made a direct line for their teepee. Neither man said a word as I still wore an extremely pissed off look on my face. Finally I walked in placing Naci on her skins, only then could I relax.
Even as I felt the tension leaving me I also felt my strength falter. I refused the help of either man as I sank to my knees beside Naci. I had almost lost her once I wasn't about to leave her 'til I knew she was ok.
Pops and Tall Bear shook their heads as they sent for several women. Bathing Naci's face then trying to tend to me I sat there like a stone awaiting the first sign from Naci. It was almost two hours later that Naci's eyes flickered open. Looking around in shock her eyes settled on me.
"Toman! You should not be here!" She whispered a little afraid.
"I wasn't about to leave 'til I was sure you were alright." Leaning close I whispered, "That piece of garbage will never hurt you again! I made sure of it!" Standing on unsteady legs I bowed to all the women and Naci the turned to leave.
I heard a gasp behind me then I heard Naci, [thank you Toman. He took me by surprise I thought I was dead. Again you have saved my life!]
[You are to be my wife. Would you expect less of me? You will be the other half of me. I will always protect you one way or another!] I thought back to her as I left the teepee.
[Still husband to be I will always thank you. 'Til we are together,] Naci responded emphatically!
Nodding I moved off through the village as many of the warriors came up to congratulate me. Though most only said it then moved off seeing the look of anger that was still on my face and in my eyes. I had to find Tall Bear, I had to get stronger. I couldn't let this happen again! Marching as well as I could I soon found Tall Bear and Pops.
Walking up to Tall Bear I whispered, "You have to show me all that you can. I will not allow this to happen again!" Looking at Pops I smiled the first real smile I had all day. "It was as you said pops. There are ways I just hadn't thought of them. Though I expect that the hunter son of the council leader will have far more powerful charms."
Turning to Tall Bear I said, "We need to do this as quick as possible I need more control. I have almost all of it though I feel there is a bit missing."
"It would be an honor to teach you all that I know Toman though if I do." Here he smiled big, "I insist that you also call me Mordaf, are we agreed?"
"Sir, I was only showing respect. If you insist then I will Tall... Mordaf." I replied.
"Good let's go to the bubble I think it still has its uses." Mordaf said.
"Do you have the time? I thought you would be busy 'til tomorrow." I told him.
"In this case I have postponed it. Protecting the tribe comes first. I believe getting you far stronger qualifies as that!" Mordaf told me as I nodded.
As we moved off into the forest a sudden thought occurred to me. "Mordaf? Many saw what happened. Will you be able to do a reset of their memories? They were afraid of me enough before this. God they must be terrified now."
Mordaf stopped a moment bowing his head in thought then spread his hands out as he gripped the memories of almost all in the village. Concentrating a few moments he nodded then looked at me. "There that should do it though, I am assuming the next time you will be able to accomplish what I just did."
I stood still a moment as I looked within then with a smile I nodded to him. "Yes I have all the principles of it inside. This should be a good start." I told him and Pops with a smile.
Mordaf looked at Pops with a serious face then motioned for me to follow him. For the rest of the day Mordaf did every spell, and hex that he knew, going through them as fast as he could. Having me repeat what he'd just done was an added bonus. Finally we stopped as he turned toward me.
"I'm afraid that is the extent of all that I know." Reaching out his hands he started to scan me then his eyes went wide. "By all the power of the universe! Your control is almost complete. I'm afraid that my brother is the only one left that can teach or show you now. Though from what I feel you are quickly gaining on him."
"I'm not so sure Mordy," Pops spoke up. "Just how long has it been since you last saw your brother?"
Mordaf was deep in thought a moment then stated, "Not that long 'bout five hundred years."
Pops nodded then dropped a bombshell, "Mordy your brother's power has almost doubled in the last few hundred years!"
Mordaf's mouth was now hanging open, "By all that's holy! He told me he was trying to do it. I never thought that he would succeed! Tell me did he always seem to have a small dark green jewel with him?"
Pops was quiet for a few moments then nodded affirmative. "Why, was this of significance?"
"Uh yeah! I take it you never heard of the founding stone?" Mordaf told Pops who looked at me as I just shrugged.
"Uh, no not really." Pops told him.
Mordaf could only shake his head. "By all that's holy! What are they teaching the younger mages these days at the school?"
Looking at me with a questioning look I shrugged again telling him, "I don't really remember anything about it. I was only in my first ten years class."
Mordaf nodded then went on with his narrative. "The founding stone is a mystery much like the Philosopher's Stone. Though I have heard it is three times harder to make, taking a hundred years. This is as compared to twenty five for the Philosopher's Stone."
"Ok I've heard of the Philosopher's Stone the whole turning base metals into gold. Call me stupid but really I've never heard of the founding stone." I told Mordaf with all sincerity.
"You weren't as far as I thought you were," turning to Pops he stated. "You though studied with me. I damn sure heard of it." When pops still looked confused Mordaf sighed and continued. "The founding stone enables a magic user to increase their power and body to the point it is permanent. If my brother has accomplished this then yes, he is the only one who can teach or show you now."
"So you have shown me all that you can do?" I asked.
Nodding Mordaf replied, "I'm afraid so. Though I have to tell you your power is far beyond almost all mages. As you feared though it still isn't as high as the council leader, even though it would take all he has to defeat you that's for sure."
I nodded as I thought about the situation for a few moments. "If I am as strong as you say," here I looked at Pops. "Shouldn't I be able to get to him Pops? I know you said he has a lot of power but still."
"I'm not so sure Toman. Last I checked he had some extremely powerful guards on the island keeping everyone and everything away. He wanted no interruptions while he was resting, hell I can't blame him!" Pops said with large eyes as he could see that I was considering going anyway.
I nodded as I turned trying to get a bearing on when and where this island was. Again I nodded as I suddenly felt Merlin. I turned back to Pops and Mordaf, "I can feel him deep within the protection of the island. It feels as if I can get about half way to him."
Pops walked to me, "Please be careful Toman. The last I saw he had some really powerful sentries."
"I will Pops," turning to Mordaf I said, "tell Naci I will be back as soon as I can then we can work on her defenses."
I was about to flash out when a voice behind me stopped me cold. "So you are in such a hurry you couldn’t tell your bride to be where you are going? Damn it Toman you have to be the most infuriating male I have ever met! Here I thought father was difficult! Had you not ignored me," here she also turned toward Mordaf, "both of you! Then this situation with the hunter wouldn't have happened in the first place. Argh! You make me so mad!" Walking up to Toman she pointed a slender finger in his face. "You better come back or you might actually see what an experienced wild magic user can do!" With a disgusted grunt Naci whirled and marched away.
All three of the males could only watch her as she quickly receded into the distance. Pops shook his head chuckling, and then leaned down to me closing my mouth. "Boy, I think you better heed what she'd said. The wrath of a woman in love can be a very powerful thing! You might think you have power, she has a power that you'll never be able to overcome."
I was nodding to Pops as I was unable to take my eyes off the receding form of Naci. By the power of the universe when had she suddenly become so damn good looking? Finally she moved out of sight allowing me to tear my eyes away from where she'd been. I had just started to turn back to Pops when I heard Naci.
[You had better remember Toman! Don't make me come after you!] Her thoughts said.
I swallowed hard at the force of her thoughts. [I won't forget Naci, how the hell could I?] I replied.
[Good! I'll be waiting for you. You'd better hurry I need to train also. You are the only one strong enough for me to train with! At least that way I won't be as easy to overtake again!] Came her thoughts then all was quiet.
I could only shake my head after that exchange. Nodding to both Pops and Mordaf I concentrated, opened a portal then stepped through. As I was moving forward I suddenly felt a power pushing against the portal. Damn I thought Merlin had all bases covered! The closer to the end I got the more power I felt pushing against me and the portal.
Finally I opened up pushing back against whatever was trying to stop me from reaching the end. Finally after what felt like hours I felt the end of the portal. The suddenly I was flying out of the end at a high velocity!
Stopping in an instant I saw that the trees and vegetation was a lot larger than normal. Smiling I could see that Merlin had been extremely busy. Looking at the ground I wasn't all that sure it was safe to be down there. Floating forward I hadn't gone more than twenty feet when I felt myself sinking toward the ground.
Shaking my head I increased my power going further airborne. I might have gotten another fifty feet when I saw that I was starting to fall out of the sky again. Pushing my power up even further I finally started to feel the dampening effect that was over the entire island. I wasn't going to make it all the way to him but I might get a hell of a lot closer. It was just going to take a lot of concentration.
I made it about another five hundred yards when I just shook my head and landed. By my calculation I was more than half way to him. It shouldn't be that hard to walk to him. Even as I landed I saw movement behind and in front of me. Suddenly quite a few huge reptiles walked and leaped out of the high grass. Some of then issued hissing growls as they steadily stalked me. Waving my hand well over half of then vanished with eerie screams. The rest stopped, blinking at where the others had been.
All of a sudden a lot of those left started to hiss at me. Growling myself I didn't have time for this as I started to power up again. A voice behind me stopped me from releasing the energy.
"I don't know who you are you mage, it is impolite to destroy another's creations; especially when they are only doing their job." The voice said as I turned around. With a wide smile I saw that I had found Merlin after all or rather he had me.