Eyeing the 'guards' that Merlin had made, I wanted to make sure I wasn't attacked while he and I talked. Merlin noticed my uneasy gaze, and then turned to hiss and growl at his 'guards. All of them hissed back then moved off back into the high grass.
"Now we can talk, though I am unsure of why you are here." Merlin stated.
Sighing I nodded, "I was told that you were the only one that could help me. You see I am a wild magic user." I saw Merlin's eyes go wide then he nodded as he extended a hand toward me.
"Ah! You're Tollan and Drenna's son! A fine pair of mages!" Merlin said then suddenly his face twisted into a mask of rage. "How dare they!" With a sigh Merlin shook his head. "I am afraid that I cannot leave here for a bit. I need this recharge if I am to survive. Though I can teach you all that I know."
"That's why I am here sir." I stated to Merlin.
Merlin stood there a moment as I felt him scanning me again then his eyes flew wide. "By all that is holy! You are a total user also! As I can see, you have almost complete control! Why have you come to me? Better yet who told you I was here... wait! Ah I see. Reginald is your grandfather!"
I nodded, "Your brother Mordaf wanted to though Pops didn't think he was strong enough. As I saw he wouldn't have been."
Merlin nodded then his eyes opened wider, "So--- you and my niece are to be joined. A very good marriage I feel. Though, as I can also tell she has the Wyllt temper!" Leaning close Merlin whispered, "Watch that one! She has a fiery temper much like the rest of the family!"
Touching my arm I nodded my agreement with him as he started to chuckle again. "Yes I am well aware of her temper!"
Nodding Merlin's face suddenly got serious, "I will teach you all I can. As have you, I also found that the level learning and skill retention makes things so much easier." Turing back toward me he looked harder. "Ah! I see that you can also turn them off. Keep that to yourself as long as you can Toman, as long as possible. Even if you do reveal it, do so to a very few!"
Waving his hand Merlin made a modest Mage house appear. Smiling I nodded, "After what Pops and I have experienced the last few months. I welcome this!" I told Merlin.
"I am afraid that it will take a few days, I am still recharging, so I will have to start with the strongest first." Merlin advised me.
"It's fine sir," I said. "Anything that I can learn that also increases my control will help." I was staring at Merlin seeing all the power he had. Obviously his was also starting to decline a bit. Reaching in, I saw that a small, very small part of his completely open power was a little dull. Flicking at the spot I saw Merlin's eyes open then he turned toward me and nodded.
"It's always good to have another to help. I'd felt that decline for years now." Then I suddenly felt Merlin
within me moving a few things. Suddenly I felt like I had almost total control! I was astounded! Was this for real? Looking back at Merlin he laughed a bit as apparently my mouth was hanging open! "I take it you like the shift in control better?" Merlin asked.
"Like!?" I almost shouted. "It feels fantastic!" Then I felt something else almost slip in me. I felt a sudden rush of energy coursing through me. Looking at Merlin I could suddenly see a few things that I hadn't before. Reaching out I felt an old magical wound that hadn't healed. The thing is it was extremely close to the source of his power.
Shaking my head I reached further feeling almost a tear releasing far more energy than should be. Barely able to be near it I started to close the tear as fast as I could. Damn it! It was so hard! Suddenly I felt Merlin beside me as he was watching what I was doing his mouth open in shock. Reaching out I felt him add to what I was doing though I could feel myself fading. Almost complete I pushed as hard as I could to finish. Then I withdrew, lying on the ground panting from the effort.
"I think," I said panting trying to regain my breath. "That is why you have been having such a hard time recharging." I told Merlin gasping harder for breath. Damn it had taken a hell of a lot out of me.
Merlin was beside me a moment later, and then we were suddenly within the Mage house. "What you did was foolish Toman; though I am glad that you discovered it. I am not about to sacrifice you to be whole again. What you healed was from hundreds of years ago. A parting gift from Morgan le Fay," Merlin said a distant look in his eyes. "She was many things though a truthful mage she wasn't. Beware a female mage that always agrees with you!"
I nodded at Merlin's words or rather I tried as I felt my strength slowly evaporating. "I'll try sir." I replied.
"No, after today call me Merlin. What you have done for me should enable me to return far faster than I thought. Rest we start as soon as you are up." Merlin told me. I just smiled as I closed my eyes to rest.
Not sure how much time had passed; I stared around at the unfamiliar surroundings as I jerked awake. Jumping up I started to power up 'til Merlin walked through the door.
"Ah! I see you're awake! Good!" Dropping an empty bowl on the table he scowled at me. "Eat we start soon!" Then he walked away. Smiling I could almost see Pops in the actions that Merlin was doing.
Waving my hand over it a steaming stew appeared in the bowl. Smiling I waved my hand again feeling the counter spell that Merlin had set up. Nodding I removed it then started to eat. Swallowing the first bite I could taste the rancid flavor of the meat. Rushing outside I brought up all that I had eaten, to the sound of Merlin chuckling on the other side of the door.
Looking at the bowl I saw several other more subtle spells on the bowl. "You dirty ass!" I yelled as I shot a fire ball at him. Almost yawning he stopped, held it, and then absorbed it! ‘Ok,’ I thought, ‘not my first choice but quite effective!’
"So you see the direct path isn't always the best. Then again," here he fired a fireball at me as I repeated what he'd done. At least I thought I was as the fireball started to eat its way through my shield! Bringing my hands together in a clapping motion I thought I had extinguished it. Only to find that it split in two! Smiling, I
remembered Pops doing something like this as I concentrated wrapped one of the fireballs then extinguishing it. "So you did watch Reg! Good then this might not take as long.
The rest of the day we went through several spells, plus several variations that at times completely baffled me. Finished for the day I was panting. "Why are we stopping?" I asked.
"Son you're exhausted, though the third sight helps greatly, it still takes a great amount of energy. Besides I feel you are almost ready, I just hope the tricks I have showed you will help. This hunter they are sending is the son of the present council leader. He's very strong though you have surpassed him many days ago. Many of the tricks I showed you today will save your life." Merlin told me as felt my energy suddenly fall.
"Now that you mention it sir," I said as Merlin sighed. "I am suddenly more tired than I thought. Rest might be good though I am hungry, if you let me eat that is." I said as I looked hard at Merlin.
Throwing his hands up he smiled then he pointed to the table, "Alright, no more training today." Several plates appeared with steaming hot food on them. Nodding I scanned them all, I was starting to reach out when I stopped. A suspicious look crossed my face as I scanned again nodding as I felt the first spell.
Watching as Merlin smiled I started to reach again then shook my head as I did a third, then a fourth scan. Nodding I was removing all the spells I was finding. Looking at Merlin I started to open my mouth.
"You really think I am about to let up on you now? After tomorrow you should get all of them in only two scans." With that he turned away as he started to eat. Again I was about to open my mouth when he again spoke up. "That's all Toman always remember to look first it just might save your life in the long run. Well that and a few well placed following wards."
I was nodding at what he'd said I just hoped that I could use all that he was showing me. I had only done them once so I hadn't learned them that well yet. Reaching out I thoroughly enjoyed the meal that he had prepared. Eating as if I was starving them realizing I hadn't eaten much since the day before!
I collapsed after that on what I thought had to be the softest bed I had ever slept in. That night I dreamed of Naci, well at first then I realized that it had quickly turned to a nightmare. Even as I watched Naci was using a lot of the tricks that I had used against the last hunter that took her. Damn it! She was a hell of a lot better but nowhere as ready as I had hoped she might be.
I awoke in a cold sweat as I realized that it wasn't a dream. Dressing quickly I was about to flash out when I felt the presence of Merlin. "I know young Toman I felt it also. You have gained far more than you had before you came here. This one is tricky though be careful. I feel this one makes the first seem an amateur. I will follow soon son, I expect them to not be expecting me this soon."
Nodding I was about to make a portal when Merlin waved his hand then again. Then suddenly I was standing outside the village. Walking in, I went straight to mine and Pops home. Gathering several things that Merlin had told me about, I nodded.
Stepping out I was met by both Pops and Tall Bear. "You both know I am going after her. DO NOT get in my way!" Turning I looked at Pops. "I spent the whole day with him Pops, though I didn't get to finish he taught me quite a few good tricks."
"Be careful Toman this one..." Pops started.
"I know this one makes the last look like a child. I think I'll be ready." I told the both of them indicating the bag I had full of more than a few things of my own.
Tall Bear gave me a salute. "Bring her back alive Toman." I nodded then flashed out appearing a ways off from where I could feel he and she were.
Reaching into the bag I grabbed a handful of seeds throwing them in a circle around me. Even as I was stepping forward they suddenly sunk into the ground. Nodding I took several round balls throwing them in a circle around me. Theses split several times then soared aloft. Finally I took several small animal carvings out placing them in front of me. Stepping away with a determined gait I heard several grunts and groans behind me.
As I kept going I could start to feel the hunter ahead. Reaching out I saw that all of his traps and devices were magic shielded. Smiling I thought well he was going to be surprised. Finally stepping into the clearing I waited at the edge. I was sure if I didn't move the ass would appear in no time.
"So! The true wild magic bastard seed has appeared." Appearing next to Naci he held a knife at her throat. "Step into the circle you repulsive freak!"
Even as I took a few steps in, the idiot started to laugh as I felt the dampening field take effect. "So I'm here, what's with the female?" I said hoping I could get Naci out of here before all this started.
"Come on! You think I don't know? Please I am a hunter not one of the ignorant masses that the council has fooled! You are going to die soon but not before you watch me use this little piece of ass!" With that he pressed the knife slightly across Naci's neck raising a thin line of blood.
Damn it! I could see the look of almost terror on her face. Standing there I couldn't move I had to let everything get ready. "Ha! Another fool sent by an even more foolish council! Like the last hunter, Ha! What a joke you are seriously underestimating me."
"No I think not, you might have the wild magic but I know you can't control it!" The hunter yelled.
Shaking my head I started to laugh. I had to have a little more time they were almost ready. I stalled for some more time by saying, "You hunters are so dependent on your devices. Like the last, there is always a way around them." Finally I felt the last piece move into place. "Oh, by the way? I have almost complete control!"
Even as I said it several vines came out of the ground crushing almost all of the dampers. Screaming the hunter tried to drive the knife into Naci's throat. Smiling I watched as he pulled the knife away from Naci's throat moving away. Smiling the hunter's eyes darted around as several hundred needles came flying toward me. Out of nowhere the spheres I had released earlier intercepted all of them.
A little shocked the hunter just smiled more as several huge mechanical beasts lumbered out of the trees toward Naci and me. Waggling my finger at him the animals I had released came flying out from behind me. The vines had already slowed his down to the point that mine hit his at a full charge.
It was over in a matter of moments. Walking up to him I saw the first sign of terror taking root in his eyes. "As I said, you hunters depend far too much on these... toys. I know that you are watching through him. A piece of news? I now have over ninety percent control. Also in case you missed it, Merlin knows. That little trick you had Morgan le Fay do? That is gone I discovered it, Merlin has made a full recovery. To say he is upset? He was now?" I just smiled at the hunter an almost evil smile, then I started to rip out everything that the hunter had.
Leaving the drooling idiot on the ground I ran to Naci. Healing several of the cuts and bruises all over her face, neck, and arms. Scanning I breathed a sigh of relief, that was all I felt. Snapping her bonds I picked her up flashing out to the edge of the village again.
Pops was there as was Naci's father, both back away when I growled at both of them walking into the village with her. Placing her on her sleeping area I turned walking out. Walking to both Pops and Tall Bear I motioned for both of them to follow. Entering the bubble I stopped turning to both of them.
"If I stay here the entire tribe will be destroyed." Looking at Pops I nodded. "I think it's about time I took this to all the other mages. Especially to all the families that they have destroyed, and then finally to them. Tell Naci I will never forget her I..."
"You think you are going to leave me here without you? After you saved me three times!? You'd best think again! My wild power isn't as high as yours but it is high! I could hurt you if you need an example!" I stopped cold at the voice of Naci.
"Naci," I started. "It's far too dangerous for..."
Suddenly my face was stinging from the crack of the slap she laid across my face! "You selfish piece of work! If I didn't love you as much as I did I'd be kicking your ass all over the village! Don't think I couldn't! Now then, you want to amend what you were saying?"
I looked at Pops and Tall Bear as both of them were looking away. Suddenly there was a rush and a boom then Merlin was standing there! "Ah!
This is where you got to." Looking at Pops then Tall Bear, Merlin stated. "Mordaf, Reginald." Looking at me then the hand print on my face, plus Naci was panting a look of almost death on her face. Nudging me Merlin said, "told you to watch that Wyllt temper. Now then..."
Naci's face twisted into a look of rage, "Look here old man! This is a family matter! I have to save this idiot..."
Merlin turned toward Naci nodding, "Quite right, this is for family my young niece. As for an idiot, yes your right, this one is a little brash. Though you have to admit he has saved your life three times!"
Naci looked at Merlin with daggers growling, "Yeah don't remind me, I... wait!? Niece?"
"Why yes my dear, I am your uncle Merlin." Merlin told her as he shook her hand. Naci could only stand there her mouth hanging open. Merlin started to chuckle a little as he nudged me. "As I remember that's about the only way we had to shut our sister up." Here he chuckled a little more.
"It's good to see you again brother." Mordaf said having already changed his appearance. Looking closer Mordaf rubbed his eyes. "I thought you'd need more of a recharge."
Merlin nodded, "Normally I'd need another few years. Apparently I missed a tear when I healed after the Morgan incident." Turning toward Pops he continued. "Your young grandson took it upon himself to heal me." Growling he turned toward me. "Young fool! Damn near depleted his power! Am I glad he did? Hell yes! Although it was still a stupid thing to do, especially when you aren't as trained as you are now!"
Pops turned toward me shaking a finger in my face. "You forget the law of power and healing? You could have died boy! Then what would all of us have done?" Pushing a finger to my forehead he pushed on it. "You need to start thinking more, son!"
"Look Pops I saw he was hurt. You know I can't resist especially when I know that I can help! Besides he's a lot better and I think a bit sharper for it." I told Pops and all of them.
All four of them looked at me as if I had lost my mind. (Naci was over her shock slightly glaring at me)
"All I have to say is this," Naci said finding her voice. "You leave without me? I will hunt you down! Believe me you DO NOT want that!"
Mordaf looked at me and shook his head no. Ok this girl was starting to become a terror. Was I that sure that I wanted to marry her? Spend most of the rest of my life with her?
Naci must have somehow sensed my hesitation, "So you are really thinking of backing out?" Tears started then. "Do I really scare you that much? Toman I love you, don't go off, and leave me here. I refuse to do that. I am a wild magic user also. You are really the only one that can teach me."
Damn it! She had me, if not for the tears then for the sense of responsibility that I had to help her. She and I were so much the same it was practically frightening!
"Alright!" I suddenly said. "You do what I say; I don't need you getting hurt, ok?" I asked her.
"YES!" She shouted as she kissed me sending a shock all the way through me and apparently her.
Slumping to the ground I sat there with Naci shaking my head. Looking up, I saw a smiling Merlin, Mordaf, and then Pops. I... Looking again at Pops I saw what appeared to be a white shadow again. Shaking my head I watched it start to shift into more of a woman's shape!
The woman's shape seemed to be speaking to Pops though I couldn't understand what she was saying. As I concentrated on the shape it started to take on even more human shape. Suddenly the mist cleared there standing beside Pops was the faint almost ghostly apparition of my mother!
Backing away I stared at Pops no! There was no way! The apparition floated toward me, "Yes Toman it's me." The image said.
"NO!" I yelled. "You're not real! NO!" The image stopped looking at Pops.
"Please father, tell him. He is the only one that can, even Merlin can't." The image said.
Merlin turned toward Pops, "She's right, you know." Pops mouth dropped open he should have figured that Merlin could see her.
Toman turned toward Naci as she also was staring at the apparition. ‘Ok,’ he thought, ‘Pops and me perhaps but Merlin and Naci?’