Slowly ever so slowly I felt consciousness begin to flow into my mind.
I suddenly sat up with a start; we were back in the time of the people I had left! Again I struggled as I tried to get off the bed falling to the floor with a thud. I heard a female voice scream as I tried again and again to rise off the floor.
Damn it! I had to leave I couldn't endanger these people! I had just started to make enchanted motions in the air as several glyphs appeared. Nodding I tried to push more power into them as the glyphs grew brighter. Panting I was crawling as fast as I could toward the opening, just a little more and then they would be safe again! "Toman!" Damn if that didn't sound like Naci. Good she'd follow me. Again I pushed as hard as I could, but suddenly feeling a sticky wetness on my leg.
Looking down I smiled; I was bleeding again, at least I knew I was alive. I had just reached the portal when I heard several voices approaching my position. Then I felt several powerful spells that were trying to keep me still. Ok!
Now I was pissed as I pushed back harder feeling the stickiness grow thicker. I had to get away as I reached for the portal again. A soft hand caressed my cheek as Naci's face came into view. "Please husband you will die if you don't heal more first." I was suddenly starting to feel cold as I grasp her hand.
"No, we have to leave we can't endanger all of them." I told her in a low whispering voice. "Help me so we can leave, please." Leaning down Naci looked me in the eyes as she shook her head no. "Have you forgotten that Uncle Merlin is here?
I don't think that they would dare try anything with him here." I tried to smile as I felt and saw Naci's image and voice start to fall further away.
"I'm sorry Naci, I'm sorry I failed. Don't let the hunter's take you!" With that I felt everything fade into a blissful darkness. I wasn't sure if I dreamed or not, I wasn't sure of anything when I awoke the next time. I was far sorer than I thought I would be. Sitting up slowly I looked around, huh, why was I supposed to be so sore in the first place?
A moment later a beautiful dark haired female walked in through the opening of whatever I was in. "Ah! Good Toman you're finally awake!" When I only stared at her, her smile was quickly replaced with a more worried look. A moment later an older woman walked in a worried look on her face.
Shaking my head I had the strongest feeling I knew her though as I grasped for it, it slipped away. Then an even older almost ancient looking man stepped into where I was. Damn, it was starting to get crowded. The three of them bent to converse in whispers a moment then the old man stretched his hand over me. He started to chant in the old mage language then harder suddenly stopping shaking his head. "Son, do you know who you are?" Finding my voice I stated, "The pretty woman there said my name was Toman, so I guess that's who I am." I pointed to the older woman, "You seem so familiar I know you though I can't conjure your name." I fell back as I tried harder to bring her name to mind.
I felt I had to no matter what. I concentrated as hard as I could. I heard the pretty young woman gasp as I felt something wet falling from my nose. "You have to stop him! If he presses that hard again it will kill him!" I saw a look of panic and true concern on her face.
I felt deep down I had to do this so I pushed harder. That's when I felt something inside me almost break!
Blinking, I felt memories rushing back into my mind. Gasping for breath I feel back, "You're Drenna a first class elite mage." As dizzy as I was I turned toward the older woman. "Mother!" I gasped out. "I'm so sorry I forgot you!" My mother leaned over me, "It's alright my son, rest, all is well." I nodded as I again felt the welcoming darkness swallow me.
Was it days or weeks? I wasn't sure when I felt myself awaken again. This time I knew where I was laying, then I started to sift through the few memories I had after the council member's guard had hit me. I had to make sure that didn't happen again.
To my horror I knew that had I not moved to take that blast Naci would be dead. I had strengthened her quite a bit but not where I wanted her. True she could take on a hell of a lot more than before. She still had a bit to go, though I had to admit that shield she'd thrown up had definitely impressed me. Laying still I could feel the wounds on my body were almost healed though I was still weak.
Two female voices were approaching so I powered down as far as I dared. A moment later my mother and Naci walked in. "I wish he'd wake up. I miss him terribly." I heard Naci tell my mother. "You miss him? In what way Naci? As I understand it you are both still pure." My mother said. "I have grown to rely on him as I hope he has me. For now neither of us has time for anything but the plan. Still I long for him to hold me again." Naci said with a sigh.
I felt my mother's scan go over me then I felt her hesitate. "It won't be long Naci. He had so many injuries it is taking far longer than normal. Besides his left leg, his back, and left arm were also badly injured. Weren't you on his left when the both of you entered the portal?" "Yes I was; I was trying to help pull Toman to the portal when they attacked. Why do you ask?" Naci asked. "Just gathering information my dear." My mother replied.
["I'm very proud of you Toman, not many would have done what you did for someone they hardly knew. Rest you have council with Tall Bear, Merlin and your grandfather."] My mother's thoughts said. ["Here I thought I had masked all, I never thought you would detect me."] I answered. ["I am your mother, as if I couldn't tell you were awake."] I felt my mother's almost smirking thoughts. Naci suddenly sat up cocking her head to the side as if listening.
I quickly pulled further back as I felt Naci start to scan the inside of the teepee. Shaking her head she sat beside the bed as my mother rose shaking her head. I groaned as I felt a mental nudge from my mother.
I opened my eyes as I saw that Naci was staring at me. "Thank the great creator!" Throwing her arms around me I felt her hug me tight, her body pressed to mine as I reached up holding her to my chest.
"Please Toman, don't do that again!" Then she was flooding the front of my shirt with tears. Holding her close I let her cry it out as I saw my mother nod her approval then walk out.
"How long?" I said in a squeaky, low, raspy voice. "Almost ten days," came Pops voice from the opening. "It took all Merlin, Tall Bear and I had to close that damn portal. As for your worry we are well hidden. After I created a bubble to hide the village Merlin and Tall Bear expanded it to cover many miles. Believe me we are very well hidden." "Ten days!" I said as I bolted upright almost falling out of the bed. Then I tried to get up as Naci tried to hold me down.
"We have to get going!" Trying to struggle with no strength was fruitless as Naci climbed on top of my pinning me to the bed with her weight. Feeling her there caused my face to blush as even in my weak condition my body responded to hers.
"No Toman! You need to regain your strength before you try to move!" Sighing I nodded my head as I consigned myself to at least another day in bed. "Rest some more son, we will help you to plan better before the two of you go off again." Pops said nodding to me then moving off out the opening.
I made a face again as Naci was once again feeding me. "Naci, I'm not a baby I can feed myself you know!" Naci eyed me suspiciously, "I'm not so sure Toman. After you almost exhausted everything you had trying to leave, ALL of us have been watching you closely." Oh great! Just what I needed a bunch of adult baby sitters! Sitting up finally finished, Naci walked with me to Tall Bear's home.
"Come in Toman." I heard the man say. "We have been waiting for you. Though we wished to start sooner none wished to risk the wrath of your warrior wife." Naci's face took on a deadly serious face, "None would have felt it had they not tried to keep me from him!" Naci's voice snapped as her eyes seemed to grow red a moment.
"I will not be kept from my duty of helping him!" All three of the men looked at me when we entered. "You are most fortunate young Toman." Merlin told me. "To have such fierce loyalty from a life partner is a rare thing indeed!" Then Merlin looked away a tear falling from his eye. Yeah I thought, I would go after Morgana one day, I owed this man more than my life, and I intended to repay him.
Merlin's head snapped up as he stared at me almost as if he'd heard what I had just thought. Sitting I waited for them to start whatever they were going to do. "We wish to help you to plan your assault and possible extermination of the bad element of the present council." Tall Bear said as he looked at his daughter sitting next to me. The look on her face was one of fierce loyalty, plus something else. It appeared that she would in no way leave; woe to any that asked or suggested she go.
I doubt anyone could force her either. I nodded to Tall Bear; god knows I wasn't doing that well on my own. Then I remembered Pops telling me that at one time Merlin had actually helped to plan a few assaults. Scratching my head I also seemed to remember Pops doing something along those lines when I was younger. "As it is, your last portion of justice you dished out now has the council taking things far more seriously. From all I have seen they have more than doubled their guard. I have also heard that they have also pulled all hunters off their jobs.
They have all been assigned to try and find you. With the exception of the council leader's son or many of them together you are far stronger than anything that they can do to you." Merlin explained to me. Tall Bear and Pops were nodding in agreement when Tall Bear and Merlin's heads snapped around to stare at Naci.
"By the great creator daughter! Your power is almost twice what it was!" All three of the men turned toward me Pops and Tall Bear their mouths hanging open.
"How?" Turning toward Merlin his eyes wide. "I thought you were the only one that could do this!" Merlin smiled a half crooked smile looking at me as if he were asking if he could tell. When I nodded he smiled and continued. "Toman, much like myself when I was younger, has this ability naturally. Somewhat like Morgana though stronger, much stronger." Here Merlin turned toward Pops.
"I see that he has worked on you also Reg.
Use it as often as you can I dare say that it will stay with you." Pops eyes showed shock when Merlin smiled at him. Nodding his head yes at Pops, I thought Pops was about to yell out in happiness. Pops eyes flickered toward me as I saw him relax; Yeah right I thought Pops was about to bust with pride.
"Now then, we have gone over all three of assaults that you made. I have also included the two hunters you defeated. I also included the two battles you had with the council leader's son." Turning toward me Merlin nodded. "Your last was a brilliant plan which would have worked except that you failed to take into account any guards that he had.
We three intend to teach you better planning and strategy." Merlin started. "I know that there is nothing I can do or say that will dissuade you to not go after them. With all that has happened I fear that they are going to be coming after the both of you with a vengeance.
Rather than watch the both of you die, we would rather help you however indirectly or directly as we can." Tall Bear said as he nodded agreement with Pops and Merlin. "Til now direct and distracted assault has worked to a degree." Pops started.
"Though now with the escalation of hostilities it is quickly becoming a war. One I hope that the rest of the families they have scarred will become involved in. Now, as of today, your battle education begins.
You're strong yes, though with enough combined they could destroy you." Here Pops looked at the other two nodding. "We intend for this not to happen." Naci's hand tightened on my arm as she smiled. I let out a groan as I thought crap!
More School! "Just think Toman," Naci said. "We'll both be learning this should be fun!" I looked at Naci as if she'd lost her mind.
Then I thought about it for a bit, actually learning with her might as she said be fun. I looked harder at Naci again seeing her as if for the first time. Again I saw something deep within her eyes though I wasn't able to recognize it.
I swear I could almost see her emotions as she returned my look then turned her head with .
was that a disappointed look? It was a week later I was tracking Pops through the forest hunting for him in our latest 'war game'. I had managed to get behind him taking him by surprise. "Bang your dead Pops," I whispered in his ear. "As well as you are Toman," I heard Merlin's voice behind me.
"Though this time you actually got Reg before I got to you; you have improved greatly." Sighing I looked at Merlin crestfallen.
He'd managed to get me every time though this time I had gone in differently remembering something he told me the first time. ("Always remember to look first; it just might save your life in the long run. Well that and a few well placed following wards.") Looking hard around I saw several wards that had to be Merlin's!
So that was how he was always able to find me. Nodding I thought sneaky effective though still sneaky. The next day we were again out in the forest I was moving forward when a thought hit me. Concentrating I suddenly shifted to another form. Opening my eyes all the way I soon saw two of Merlin's wards searching. Nodding I was finally starting to see what the mage had been doing. Wrapping myself in a spell I glided through the forest feeling for anything different. I smiled when I thought I felt Merlin.
I moved to what I was feeling keeping my eyes open for any wards. Stopping I stared at the image of Merlin, something wasn't right as I very slowly backed off feeling for other differences.
An hour later I was behind Merlin moving far slower than I wanted to. Suddenly I whispered to Merlin, "You're dead Merlin," even as he whirled and I vanished. A huge smile broke out on his face as he nodded. I continued on looking for Pops when I felt another presence in the forest. Tall Bear? Stopping, I shifted again as I saw not Tall Bear but Mordaf moving through the trees hunting. So I thought they are all in on it this time.
Dissolving the following wards I sided up to Mordaf whispering, "Bang you are also dead," even as I faded away behind him.
Now I thought there is only Pops left. Then I stopped a moment, knowing the three of them they had another involved in this though who? My eyes went wide as I nodded it was about like what they would do! Finding Pops I was three times as weary looking at everything I noticed the subtle differences in the area. From a distance I whispered, "I have you pops!" Then I vanished even as a weak bolt was flying to where I had been.
Smiling I appeared on the other side of where Pops had been. Not moving I started to search. Ah! There she was! Appearing behind her I locked my arms around her whispering in her ear, "Got you Naci! Concede." I had to give her credit, as she didn't scream or move. What I could see was she was trembling. No, not fear but something far more intense. I heard her slight panting as I tightened my hold on her. Locking her arms so she couldn't conjure was only half the battle. Feeling a little smug that I had her I didn't expect her to step back throwing me over her shoulder.
Landing on my back I was trying to scramble out of the way when she landed with me between her legs! "I think not! You concede!" I heard her say in a whisper. I could feel the heat of her skin against me. Again my body betrayed me as my pants started to tent 'til I was very uncomfortable.
I tried to flip Naci off me which only caused her to grasp me tighter though the move had moved her lower. Her eyes as well as mine went wide as we felt our lower clothed anatomy touch! She and I both separated as if we were both burned staring at each other! Looking at her I saw that she was panting trying to catch her breath.
Then I noticed that I was the same way! Shaking my head I heard all three of the men I had defeated laugh. "So," I heard Merlin say. "It appears that you both are finally ready. Well for enemies as for each other, well that remains to be seen!" With that I heard all three of them laugh.
"Hey!" I yelled at the three of them. "I for one don't find any of this to be a bit funny!" All three of them were suddenly quiet as I looked at Naci who was blushing a deep crimson color. Merlin and the other two talked in whisper's a few moments then Merlin turned to the both of us.
"I was glad that you finally remembered what I told you that first day. Always do as you did today. Remember if there's nothing there, look again there just might be. As you saw there are more than a few ways to hide." Merlin told us as I was nodding. "With the area as well protected as it is you might consider this a new sanctuary." I nodded as I looked at Naci; again she had a look of pride on her face as she was staring at me.
Thanking all of them Naci and I went to our shelter to get ready to leave. My mother appeared a few moments later asking to talk to Naci before we went. I told her ok as they both walked out away from our place.
They didn't go far as I finished packing making a sphere to decide on our next target. Still I was a little curious as to what my mother was talking to Naci about. Leaning into the opening I saw mother was doing most of the talking with Naci nodding or asking a question. I was intrigued as I watched them for a few more minutes. Suddenly I saw Naci blush blood red as she was nodding agreement to my mother. What in the hell were they discussing that had Naci blushing? Shrugging it off I waited for Naci as I finally zeroed in on a perfect situation.
Nodding I thought this really ought to throw a wrench in the councils' plans. Looking closer I smiled, with all I had learned it would go far better this time. Naci and I bade all of them good bye as I outlined what I had seen and planned. Naci's eyes went wide as she smiled a little smile herself, this was a perfect opportunity. I made a portal as we slipped through far easier than before.
Appearing not far from the central council building. I nodded to Naci as we both shifted our appearance. Stalking after both of the mages didn't take long affording me more of a chance to size up the guard. Rather weak compared to most I thought. Keeping contact with Naci we moved through the streets to an abandoned building. Quickly I stepped up behind the one I was following burying a blade as deep as I could go in his throat.
The other shouted as he came running back. Wait I thought he'd been alone, as I heard more than one set of steps!? Catching the mage as he came around the corner I broke his neck with the force of his momentum. Letting the body fall I felt prepared for whoever was coming next, that is 'til I saw it was the council leader! Firing off several bolts of fire and electricity I heard the mage scream as I already had the portal open.
Throwing Naci over my shoulder I dived into the portal. Behind me I heard the council leader screaming, "you're dead! I will never rest 'til I have your carcass strung up before the council hall! You hear me!
I WILL KILL YOU!