It was almost a month later, and Taru was still not able to
access the elements that she had been able to in the past. She was able to do
some other things, like produce the mage light, but she was frustrated that all
of her training was now worthless. She also felt as if she had lost something,
something that she didn’t even realize was there, but its absence was almost a
physical ache. She was just very glad that her ability to speak hadn’t been
taken away. Without that she would be isolated, and now that she and Hawk were
together she didn’t know how she would deal with that.
Hawk had seemed very surprised when she spoke to him about
what she and Alye had discussed. Taru was worried at first that her feelings
would not be returned, but Hawk was only surprised because of her history. He
didn’t think she would ever be interested in him that way, and had resigned
himself to just being her close friend. He had insisted on taking things
slowly, and Taru was getting frustrated. She was the one with the issues,
shouldn’t she be the one to set the pace? She loved their closeness, but she
wanted more. Alye was insistent that it was just because Hawk was a gentleman.
He was very old fashioned in his views on relationships, and believed that
courting was just as important as sex. Taru didn’t like it, but she would do
whatever made him happy.
Hawk had shown her that they could do many things without
actually having sex, and she had been surprised at how talented he was in this
area. He had admitted that he had never been with a human before, and had never
seriously looked for a Cheveyo mate. He had been with a few female Cheveyos,
but they were meaningless to him. He was also a bit of an outcast in the
Cheveyo community because of his age, and his throwback genes. Taru loved the
extra ruff on his back, and the double tails were a lot of fun too. These
things also made him different enough from any other Cheveyo that she didn’t feel
that churning in her gut that she did when she looked at the others. Blue Sky
had caused a lot of damage, and as much as she tried to show she was over it,
she truly wasn’t. Hawk knew this,
but he never pushed her to talk. If she needed to talk she would, and he would
be there, but pressuring her just caused her to retreat even further.
They had been working on getting her skills back to where
they had been. She hadn’t lost all of her ability, but she was rusty, even with
the mounted combat. Hawk was also teaching her how to survive if she were ever
stuck in the wilderness without any tools. A Cheveyo would not have any
problems there, but humans were another story. He was frustrated in her
inability with hunting, but she was able to be almost as silent as him when
moving through the woods. She could stalk right up next to prey, but she
couldn’t hit it if her life depended on it. She hadn’t been part of any of the
small battles that had taken place since she had recovered, but she was hearing
that Demerita was pushing even harder into Buenasha. Nik had informed them that
the northern border was secure, and as such the troops were free to engage the
rebels. They were still winning, but their losses were becoming greater with
They had started setting up man traps all along the border
now, and that had helped slow Demerita’s forces from pushing into Buenasha.
Taru hadn’t heard anything about what was going on in High City, but she
assumed that nothing had been taken care of. There was still a mage from
Malaquent there, and he was still a threat to them. Hawk had been trying to
convince Alye and Dayn to start some offensive moves, but so far the twins had
been reluctant to be the aggressor. They both believed that the whole reason
Demerita hadn’t rallied his whole army to come and eliminate them, was that he
still didn’t see them as a threat. Nikkaron had informed them that Rederick was
not as naive as Demerita, but he was not in charge.
Now that she spent so much time with Hawk, she found that she
knew a lot more about what was gong on in the camp. She and Hawk talked most
nights, and she was surprised at how much thought and planning went into
running a rebellion. Before she had thought that they just fought whenever
Malaquent attacked, but there was much more to it then that. She was also very
startled to hear just how many people had been killed in action. She had known
that they suffered losses whenever she was fighting, but what she didn’t take
into consideration was that the battles she fought were not the only ones that
happened. Hawk told her about the seven war leaders they had in the camp, and
Taru remembered one or two of them from her own campaigns. She didn’t miss
fighting exactly, but she did miss the feelings that came from fighting and
Life had settled into a routine, and was starting to feel
normal when everything got upended again.
It started with a huge storm that ripped though the camp, and flooded
almost all of the buildings. They spent over a week trying to get everything
cleaned up. Then the mage showed up, and with her she brought all kinds of
issues. Her name was Helena, and she claimed she was from Shenta. Shenta was
far to the north, and she explained that she had started traveling when she
felt Taru’s powers forcibly awakened. She knew that she was needed here, so she
came. Knowing what she did about mages, Taru found this hard to believe.
Helena tried to explain that in Shenta mages had never been
seen as the ghastly creatures like they had in the more southern lands. In
Shenta mage was simply another class, it was not a high class or a low class,
but rather right around the middle. They were appreciated for their abilities,
but they were not paid huge sums or treated like vermin. Helena had always
wanted a reason to leave the country of her birth, as she did not agree with
the strict class system that her country clung to like a life raft. Hali had
questioned her three times, but had been unable to catch her in a lie so far.
Alye and Dayn were nervous about her being in the camp, but for some reason
Hawk accepted her without question. Taru asked him why, and he couldn’t explain
it. He said to her that she just smelled right. Because Hawk trusted the woman,
Taru tried to as well. Shet had not let her be alone with Helena yet, but she
had wanted to ask the woman so many things. Mostly about the place inside of
her that was keeping all her elemental ability trapped.
Helena’s arrival had put the whole camp on alert, and Taru
was tired of the constant checks and questioning that happened every time she
wanted to go anywhere. She had taken to spending a lot of time either at the
stable with Loyalty or in her room reading up on everything she could about her
mage ability. If Shet wouldn’t allow her to talk to Helena, she was going to
make sure that she knew as much as possible so that when they were allowed to
talk she would be able to ask intelligent questions. Every night she struggled
through the old tomes that were worded in such a way that she had to ask Hawk
to translate sometimes. His personal knowledge of some of the older way of
speaking helped her out a lot, and they would laugh over the changes that had
occurred to their language in just a few hundred years.
It was almost another month before Alye and Dayn trusted
Helena enough to let her work with Taru. Their first meeting was strange, and
Taru didn’t really think she had learned anything at all. They had discussed
her dream, which at this point Taru had written it down, and tried to pull as
many details from her memory as possible. Helena seemed just as confused by it
as she was, and Taru wondered why everything seemed to be centered on her. She
had never asked to be different, but fate seemed to have other plans for her.
She would change it if she could, but thinking about all that had happened she
wouldn’t give up what she had for a normal life. Normal was overrated anyways.
Helena was a lot like Shet, she wanted to focus on theory
before they even touched on practical. Taru hated that way of teaching, but she
guessed it worked, as she had had a lot of success with Shet. Helena was not
the best teacher, but she did know what she was talking about. Taru showed her
the few things that she could do, and Helena had explained that all of those
abilities came from her not having any control at all over her gift. Once she
managed control then she would be able to access that place that was holding
her abilities captive. She explained to Taru that the reason her abilities were
locked away was a safety measure. If she had access to the elements now she
wouldn’t be able to control them, and would either hurt herself or someone
else. Her mind knew this on a primitive level, and as such protected itself by
making that place.
It made a lot of sense, and so Taru worked hard on learning
to control her abilities. Hawk helped her practice at night, and whenever they
were together she seemed to have better control then any other time. She asked
Helena about this, and she explained that her connection with Hawk was such
that he could help shield her. As her relationship with Hawk progressed, the
more control she came to have over her abilities. It was the night that they
finally took the last step in their physical relationship that everything came
The warm fur rubbed softly against her back. His body
temperature was slightly higher then a human’s and it was like liquid fire
slipping over her sweat damp skin. He was deep inside of her, and with each
movement she could feel him sliding deeper and deeper. Then a point came when
he was locked inside of her. This surprised her, but he just licked her face
and she fell into the feelings that engulfed her. Her mind was so lost in sensations that she didn’t notice
when the dam in her mind broke. As her orgasm rippled though her, her mouth
opened in a silent scream.
She could feel him still moving deep within her and
continued to loose herself in the sensations. He suddenly stilled; she would
have whimpered from the loss of friction, but she was unable to. Warmth flooded
her insides, and he shook with his own orgasm. He let out a short howl, and
Taru wished that she could join him. She collapsed onto her forearms; she had
been holding herself up on hands and knees. They had decided that this position
would be the best for their first time. He stayed inside of her, and gently
licked all over her back. His rough tongue rippling over her oversensitive skin
caused her to shiver. He shifted slightly and she could feel that he was still
hard. She worried for a moment that she had done something wrong, but he seemed
to be happy. He was gently nuzzling the back of her neck and the coldness of
his nose against her hot skin was an amazing contrast. She slipped into sleep
before Hawk left her body, and he was careful not to wake her when he finally
did pull out.
The next morning was an interesting lesson. Apparently sex
was messy even the morning after. She quickly moved to the small bath attached
to the room. She cleaned herself thoroughly and then found clean sheets to
change the bed. Ew, it smelled. She bundled the dirty sheets into a ball and
tossed them in the hamper that was scented with lavender and sage. She gathered
a clean set of clothes from her closet, and headed to the main building for
breakfast. She was ravenously hungry, and still buzzing from the night before.
“Hey Taru!” Jaki waved her over to the table where she and
Hali were sitting. Taru changed her course to join them. She wasn’t sure that
she could tell them about last night, but that was no reason to ignore them. She
smiled as she sat at the table. “You look happy today, you haven’t smiled like
that in a long time.”
Taru knew that she flushed at the comment, and ducked her
head to let her hair fall across her face. Jaki knew something was up
immediately, and she and Hali shared a look. They tried to cover their giggles,
but Jaki couldn’t manage. Taru glared at her, and Jaki covered her mouth with
her hand. “Sorry Taru, but it’s so obvious that you got some last night, and
we’re just happy for you.” Jaki told her. Taru nodded and ate faster. She
glared at them once more as she gathered her things and headed off towards the
stable. She wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of the details. Besides it
wasn’t any of their business what she and Hawk did.
She jogged to warm up, and then found Loyalty waiting for
her. He seemed overjoyed that she was there again. She knew that he had been
ignored while she was sick, but to see him this happy to see her made her day a
little better. She rubbed him down before they worked out, just to help him
work off a little of his tense energy. She took him around the cross-country
course once, and then decided to get a little weapon work in. She didn’t like
it much, but she knew practice was the only way to get back to full fitness in
anything. She gathered her sword, and a shield, and went to find someone to
practice with. Hawk was nowhere to be found, so she asked one of the younger
boys to work out with her. He wasn’t very good, but he was a great person to
start off with. His sloppy hacking chops were easy to block, and it was very
similar to the way that the soldiers of Malaquent went after you.
An hour of fighting later Taru was starting to suck wind,
and called a stop to the training. She thanked the boy, and walked Loyalty for
a long time to cool him down. Hawk joined her and let her know that Helena had
asked about her while she had been working. He had figured it was better for
her to work off all of her aggression before sitting for hours with the mage.
She thanked him, and headed towards the bathing pool to get cleaned up. A quick
bath later she was back inside, and sitting cross-legged with Helena’s voice
droning in her ear. She was trying to focus, but her mind kept drifting to the
night before. She was very glad that Helena couldn’t sense any of her thoughts.
“Taru, you’re distracted, and this isn’t going to work if
you can’t focus. What’s going on?” Taru could hear her frustration and felt
bad. She knew that Helena was trying to help her out. She ducked her head and
shrugged. Helena could tell that she didn’t want to talk about whatever it was,
but she couldn’t let it go. Taru needed to be trained and soon. Nik had been
bringing more and more disturbing news to them. If they didn’t do something
drastic by winter there was a good chance that they wouldn’t live to see the
spring. After proving her loyalty Helena had been included in most of the
tactical discussion. She was now working with everyone in the camp who had the
potential for mage gift, and was finding more and more had the ability. Tar was
by far the strongest, but she was certainly not alone in her gifts.
“Taru whatever it is you can tell me I won’t judge you for
anything. I just need to be informed because it’s obviously affecting your
focus here. You know that time is short here with Demerita not having Terotmal
to distract him. You need much more control then you do now.” Helena tried to
understand, she remembered being young like Taru, and she would not have wanted
to share things either. She had to keep reminding herself that Taru was barely
17 years old, and while she acted very mature she was still just a child.
I slept with Hawk last
night. It was good. She was not going to say any more then that, and at
Helena’s smile she glared at her. It was times like these that she wished she
could vocalize her anger. It was then that the table they were sitting next to
began to shake.
“Taru, Taru! Stop!” Helena gathered her wits; she had been
very surprised when her student’s anger started leaking out this way. “Taru,
you need to calm down, I am just happy that you and Hawk are together.”
Taru jumped up and the shaking stopped. She glanced
worriedly around but everything seemed to have stopped the moment she gained
control of her emotions. She sat back down, and looked up at Helena.
“Well I guess I can conclusively say that your ability has
become completely unlocked. It must have happened last night or you would have
felt it. Well this is very good news. We can stop dancing around that issue
now.” Helena seemed pleased and that was the only thing that kept Taru from
panicking. She took another deep breath, and brushed her hair back behind her
ears, trying to get full control of herself.
Is that what’s going
to happen every time I get upset now? She was worried about that, because
she really did have a temper.
“No, nothing like that, you simply were not expecting it
that time, it won’t happen again unless you want it to.” Helena moved over to
the bookcase, and pulled down a small diary from the top shelf. “This is my
personal diary. I was waiting for you to become fully in control of your
abilities to give this to you. I think from this point on you can learn more by
yourself then you can from me.”
Taru looked at her with confusion, but took the small book.
Helena showed her to the door, and then quickly moved over to the table and a
bowl of water that sat there. She swirled it gently with her finger. It rippled
gently before calming into a mirror-like surface. A face of a man with silvery
hair to his shoulders appeared and Helena smiled grimly.
“Helena, you had
better have some information for us this time, or we might have to do something
unpleasant” The man’s voice was smooth and melodic, but there was something
dark about it.
“The girl came into her full powers last night.” She
informed him. “None of the others have even half as much latent ability as she
does. I stopped all of her training from this point. I told her she was done.”
“Perfect, be sure to
keep us informed of the movements of the troops.” His face shimmered and
vanished. Helena sat down with a deep sigh. She really hated that horrible man.
He thought he owned her, but she would show him. She would only give him enough
to keep Gwenna alive. Any more then that he could get that information himself.
She felt horrible about selling out the rebels, but with the information that
she just gave Taru, she was hoping that the girl would be able to figure it