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Chapter 15
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Chapter 15

It was another day before Jaki could summon the strength to haul her aching self out of bed. She downed another dose of the painkiller and limped towards the building that housed their potion lab. Trev was already there, and he smiled as she entered. He indicated a pile of notes that was on the table near the entrance. Jaki skimmed through them to see what Trev had been working on. She saw that he had had a lot of failures, but he had found a formula that was showing promise. She read the current formula, and started on modifying it to see which would be the most potent. She gathered herbs from the store at the back of the room, and placed them neatly on her workspace. An hour later she had five different variations bubbling over fire. She sat back and looked over at Trev. He had fallen asleep at his workstation, and Jaki decided to let him sleep. She limped over and turned off the three small fires that were lit at his workstation. The concoctions were clearly done, and she took them off to feed them to the rats. None of them worked very well, and she went back to her own workstation.

She read while waiting for her own mixtures to finish, and found that the yarrow root they were using would be counteracting the mint. She made a notation in the notebook for her next three tries. If the current ones didn’t work she had something to change. Waiting was always the hardest part of making new potions. If it wasn’t to help her friend Jaki didn’t think she could have sat through the long hours of waiting. She had wanted to check on Taru before she went to the lab, but she knew she would better serve her friend by being here.

It was another couple of hours before her first set were ready for testing, and she woke Trev when they were ready. He would want to see what she had worked on anyways. He had been pleased with her progress. They both worked on four new formulations to try when Jaki’s current ones had either proven effective or not. Only one of her tries showed any effect, and it was not all that good. She had simply confirmed that the two key elements were working against each other. They worked on the new ones, and then went for lunch.

In the main building they ran into all of the leaders at the same table. They sat down and ate as quickly as possible. Alye and Dayn asked for an update, and they were both happy to report that they had had a bit of a breakthrough. Jaki hesitated for a moment, but then asked about the girl who had attacked her.

“She has not given us any information yet, but I will continue to interrogate her.” Hawk replied, his tone clearly annoyed at his lack of success.

“Do we know how she got into the camp without being registered?” Jaki asked.

We believe that she arrived with that large group of about twenty that showed up last month. There is no explanation for how we could have missed her. We are lucky that after checking all of our records she is the only one that we could have missed. We also sent a message to all the troops in the field about her, and fortunately she was only involved in our day-to-day dealings here, she was not informed of troop movements, and hadn’t been taught anything as to our fighting styles. It could have been much worse then what it was, considering she is a powerful mind speaker. Dayn replied. Nik sighed and nodded. He was frustrated that he hadn’t been able to find out before she became an issue. Nik was an excellent spy, but it was obvious that only one spy in the Compound was not enough. He didn’t know how to get more of a network in there however. Trusting anyone in the Compound was a dangerous prospect, and he was too important to risk in such an endeavor.

“It’s good that nothing very important was given away, but the fact that she got in is very concerning, if one person manages it, then there is the possibility that another could as well. Have we figured out how to prevent this from happening again?” Trev asked.

“We have set up stricter border patrol, and all new people to come into the camp have to be counted and placed in a locked building until they can be questioned by Hali. We hope that these measures will prevent something like this from happening again.” Fire Wind replied. He was in charge of the security for the camp, and had taken this issue very personally. Talk dwindled as they hurried to eat and get back to their respective jobs. They bid each other farewell and good luck and then went their separate ways.

It was almost time for dinner when Jaki had a breakthrough. She double checked her formula, and then went over to Trev’s workstation. He was buried in a book again, and she tapped him on the shoulder, indicating that he should come double-check her work. He was pleased with the result, and they decided to try it on Taru before dinner. If it wasn’t as effective on her as it was on the rats it would be better to know then to wait. She hadn’t seen her friend at all in a while, and she hoped she hadn’t worried her.

Taru was very pleased to see Jaki, she had been horribly bored without anyone to talk to in the past few days. Fire Wind had been in to talk to her about the girl who had attacked Jaki, but Taru hadn’t known anything about her. Fire Wind seemed to be very concerned about how she had gotten in without being questioned, but Taru was too tired at that point to care. She had been reading more then she was used to, and it was causing her eyes to get very tired very quickly. She was however learning a lot, and Shet had been a in a few times to question her knowledge. She had been pleasantly surprised to find that she was absorbing a lot of the information. She was not able to try any of her newly learned things out, but she couldn’t wait to try some. When Jaki and Trev came with a potion for her to take, she was very excited about the prospect of getting out of this room.

The concoction tasted horrible, but even a few moments after she had taken it, she could feel something different. She didn’t know if it was a good thing or not, but it was definitely something. She got a sudden head rush, and had to lie back to gather herself. She sucked in a deep breath, but when she let it out she could feel her whole body relax in a way it hadn’t in a very long. It was much like the feeling you got after fighting for an hour and then finally winning. She took this as a very good sign.

“Taru, are you feeling ok? Is there any change?” Jaki asked nervously. Taru nodded, and sighed. She closed her eyes, and drifted off into sleep.

“We can take that as a good sign. If she was going to have a negative reaction it would have happened already.” Trev said, and Jaki nodded. Things were looking good. Taru’s face was relaxed in sleep, and there was a calmness to it that had been missing for a very long time. They left her to sleep, and went to get some food. They would check on Taru again after they finished eating.

They returned to the small infirmary room to find Taru sitting up without assistance. She smiled at them as they entered, and informed them that she felt much better. Jaki helped her across the room to go to the bathroom, and wash her face. Settled back in bed, she had more color then she had in the last tow months. Normally that trip would have caused her to be panting and needing to sleep almost right away, but she was still wide-awake. Jaki was ecstatic. She wasn’t recovered by any means, but if things kept going the way they were that wouldn’t be too far in the future. They talked for a little while, and Trev went to fetch another portion of the medicine. Taru made a face, the stuff was foul, but she did want to get better and she would do whatever was necessary to get there.

It took another 12 doses before Taru felt completely normal, and then Shet led her through some serious guided meditation in order to determine if the magical portions of the poison were still a threat. They were surprised to find that somehow her body had known what to do as soon as she had started taking the potion. The magical traces were completely gone, and she was back to her normal self, other then the severe weakness that came from not moving for almost two months. Hawk worked out a therapy schedule for her, and set apart a good portion of his evenings to work with her. He had her start simply by flexing sorely neglected muscles. Taru would never have guessed that it would be that hard, but these early sessions left her as tired as a full fighting workout had. Even after her long recovery from the injuries sustained from Blue Sky, she had not been this weak. She was frustrated at her body’s betrayal. She ended up lashing out at Hawk, but he took it with a smile and a tail wag. He knew she was simply frustrated by her situation, and he was an easy target.

He had taken to staying and talking with her after their long sessions, and discovered a scathing wit and very damaged spirit that matched his own in the human girl. She could make him bark with laughter without even meaning to. She would glare at him when he laughed at her trying to be serious, but soon they developed a deeper connection, and discussed some of the things that had happened to her in the compound. Hawk knew that to fully recover in the body but not the spirit left half a person. Hawk was very surprised that Alye or Dayn had not made Taru speak to a mind healer before. There were a few who had the ability in the camp, but she had not been introduced to any of them. Hawk realized that Taru had done an amazing job of covering up her serious mental scars. The scars on her body were visible to all, but those deeper ones she hid very well.

Discussing why Blue Sky had treated her the way he did made Hawk angry at his Cheveyo brother. He knew that in the Compound Cheveyos were taught to think of them as better then their human partners, but to hear that the younger generation took it to that extreme made him very disappointed. He had wondered why there were so few new Cheveyos to join their cause, but talking to Taru he realized that it was because they saw the Compound as a better place then freedom. They had a lot of power there, and they would not be willing to give that up easily. This presented them with another problem to face when they finally took on the government of Malaquent. He was also disturbed at the fact that those who were only able to speak mentally were treated as lower class then the rest of the people in the compound. Demertia must have been playing up the fears that lingered in the whole continent over those with magic.

“You do know that he had no right to treat you that way Taru. You are a sentient being, and no one has the right to treat you like you are nothing more then a slave.” He growled out the last part, and she looked at him questioningly.

In the Compound we were always taught that the Cheveyo was the powerful partner of the Unit. We were not to question them, no matter what they did. It took me a long time of being here to see how wrong that was. You have to admit your natural advantage with strength and speed makes it hard to question your right to rule over us. She looked into his rich golden eyes, and realized for the first time that he was one of the most beautiful creatures she had ever seen. His extra ruff didn’t detract from the sleek lines of his body, or the noble shape of his head. His eyes were stunning as well, rich golden, that could flash with anger or sparkle with contained laughter. She shook her head to stop from staring.

“Strength of body alone does not give a right to rule. You must have seen that here.” She nodded and he continued. “I do understand that when you have been treated one way for so long it is very hard to change the way you see the world, but I am glad that you don’t hate all Cheveyos because of your old unit mate.”

In the beginning I did, but when I met you and you trained me in fighting and didn’t treat me like a stupid child, even when I acted like one. I had a hard time seeing any grey Cheveyos as friends, but then I met Calm Sea, and she changed my views yet again. I have learned a lot here, things that are worth more to me then the ten years of education I got in the Compound. She smiled at him, and brushed her hand gently over his silky head. She had never touched him in such a friendly way before, and he was unable to keep his tails from wagging a little. He moved a little so he was lying curled up next to her. She was surprised to find that she didn’t mind this closeness. She had thought that she would never be able to enjoy the presence of a male again after her experience with Demertia, but Hawk was the furthest thing from the dictator. She smiled, and let herself drift off to sleep with Hawk’s warmth comforting her.

Onto Chapter 16

 Malaquent is completely fictional, any relationship to real people, places, or events is purely coincidental, and is in no way ment to offend. All pictures of the Cheveyos are Emy Rothenberger. Any use of names, places, or images from these pages is strictly prohibited. Other images may be other artists, and all rights belong to those artists. Use without permission is prohibited.