Eventually, all the children were placed in one group or another, his still being the smallest. One by one the other groups were led away by guards down an exit they had conjugated around. It took them some time to get groups moving, especially the one farthest away from them, as they all appeared to be brain dead. Most were either dragged or pushed along by guards.
One of the guards belonging to his gang of children began to whisper to another. “Those Newborn don’t seem to have taken this well,” said the guard looking at the backs of the latest group leaving “Think they’re going to be of any use?” The guard he asked merely shrugged “if they can’t fight, then at least they can be bait" another shrug followed. "Ah who am I kidding, they're going to be bait, or shields. You saw the looks, it’s like the ritual stopped halfway through their change.”
A clap pulled his and the rest of the children's attention to their exit. Where the leader of the guards stood with the women who were now their fellow brothers in arms.
“Alright Newborn, you will all follow us where we have food waiting, FOOD”. The man paused looking at each of them “Good you all understand most of what I said”. As he mumbled, "Giver has shown me a little misery this Rotation." the leader motioned to his men, and those behind them lightly pushed the group of children forward. It wasn’t easy at first as the children were reluctant to let go of each other. The oaf for one seemed a little miffed to be parted from him. The oaf even put in the effort to form a scowl.
Unlike the oaf, he remained neutral on the matter and did as told. If he proved to be a useful little soldier one more competent than the rest (he prayed to the gods) he won’t be at the very front of whatever they were going to face.
Their speed was a crawl compared to when the women had carried them. This ritual of theirs’s may have sped their growth, but they were still far from fighting material. The children had their full attention on walking. The guards stuck close sandwiching the children in from behind and ahead of them. Stopping most from hurting themselves when they tripped over their own feet.
He’d been getting questionable looks from the Guards as his own strides were almost similar to theirs. He still had hiccups from time to time, it wasn't easy getting used to the new legs, but compared to the other children he was a master. He should have tried acting like he’s having trouble, but hunger had different plans. Namely to take up all his thoughts and broadcast loud in his mind ‘so very hungry’. With things settling down and the chance of them dying horribly at the present gone. Hunger appeared and grew in intensity with every passing moment.
Hunger his greatest weakness, the one pain that he has no shred of belief he could possibly fight against. He knew this, for he had lost to it more times than he could recall. It’s had led him to more deaths than any other desire, to foolish actions that he would normally have never dared to try.
After a torturous amount of time, they arrived at their destination, another but a smaller circular room. Covered like every other surface they have so far passed with those glowing runes.
This room was filled with table slabs made of stone, with simple stone carved chairs to sit on. It probably would have been more comfortable to stand and eat rather than sitting on those for any extended periods of time.
From entrances on the other side of this circle women would appear carrying trays of food to the largest stone slab. At least he hoped it was food, it smelled good, but it looked all very foreign, the constant downside from moving from one life to the next. He lost the ability to tell what was consider food or not.
Many things looked like large white mushrooms, others appear to be cooked meat. Though the color was different, rather than red it had a bluish tint. But most things on the trays seemed to be varying sized and colored mushrooms. He could only hope that these tasted far better than the ones from his previous life, if not he prayed this society had the proper spices to resolve the problem. If it didn't then this life would take another step towards him believing this was hell.
“Take your seats, Newborn, any spot will do,” the leader of the group said while he and the women went towards the mountain of cuisine. None of them questioned the order, as most were still puzzling out what the words meant. Many blindly followed his act when he quickly sat in a chair. Those that hadn't eagerly mimicked it a moment later as they realized it allowed them to be off their feet. He sat eyes glued to the food, those that had joined his group first sat around him. The oaf taking the seat right next to his, and rested over the table as did the other children.
This caused his eye to twitch. 'How is this going to work? How are these children going to be of any help to the guards? They're tired from walking for a few minutes. What? Will they have to be carried to the front if it is perhaps an hour walk or more?’ He hadn’t been tired from it, but then again walking was something he already knew how to do. They could be mentally exhausted, which for him could prove useful. If their too tired to think they may just follow what he says blindly. Maybe stand in front of him if he asked. Perhaps offered lies that he had a way to save them. When in truth he would be running away as fast as his bent legs would allow.
A stone plate filled with a mound full of food woke him from his thoughts. Followed by stone utensils. One of the guards handing out plates around their table snapped his fingers to get their attention. “You all seem a little clueless, so if you’re not sure how to eat.” He grabbed a utensil and stuck it into a mushroom, and then placed it in his mouth.
The minutes that followed were silent save for the chewing of food and the clanging of dishes. When the children were given their share the guards went about getting their own. By the time most were done (after their second or third plate) the trays left on the central table were meager.
Though most of what he had just eaten was varies forms of mushroom, none, thankfully tasted as such. Some tasted sweet others similar to salted pork. It’s possible that it could have all been an illusion from his staved body, egging him on to eat the food as fast and as much as possible. But none of that mattered for the moment. This he felt was the most relaxed he’d been (besides from the effects of spells) since waking in this world. Sleep called to him and that always puts him in a good mood, easier to fall back into the comforting embrace of his paradise.
The stone chair being oddly comfortable and soft helped lull him to sleep. He laid his head on the table for a moments rest. In an instant he was once more laying in an oversized bed, overflowing with different sized pillows. All around women he had either married or just un-paralleled beauties he saw, surrounded him. All slept next to him, a ghost of a smile was on his lips before the whole scene vanished and he's jolted awake by one of the guards shaking his shoulder.
Others were woken in the same rude manner. Followed with another clap ringing out, dragging their attention to an exit on the left side of the circular room. There stood the Guard leader “Alright Newborn you will follow us so all of you can be equipped with the needed objects for your assigned Task.” A hand motion and the guards went to work encouraging them out of our seats towards the exit. He was the first to react and follow the orders given while the rest were reluctant to move.
Walking seems to be a trying experience for them, requiring most of the guards to force or help children out of their seats. But it didn’t take too long before he and the other newborn were once more in the sandwich formation. This trip, however, lasted far longer than the previous one, the children started to whimper a little. The women hummed a tune and he felt a relaxing sensations wash over him and the children stopped their noise making, even if it didn't help much. The women that carried them had never made any sound with their movements. But the child, well, they were making endless amounts of it.
When they arrived at their new destinations, he’d already grown bored with the layout. Once more another circular room, this with only one other entrance to it, but it was still the same layout. He couldn't help but wonder how these people found their way around if everything was so similar. Some Guards and three better-garbled individuals appeared from the other entrance. One of which was carrying a crystal that looked similar to those used on them for their growth.
Said individual seemed rather surprised when he looked at their group “Is this really all Harl? I was told to expect a least forty to test.”
The Guard leader Harl half bowed his head “There was, but things seem to have gone amiss with the ritual” gesturing to the children. “These are the brightest of the bunch, the one’s Worth training”
The crystal bearer face sunk a little at that announcement “Must be a dim bunch if these are the brightest” he said while rubbing the back of his neck. “Well” trying to reinvigorate himself “Let’s see which of these Newborn truly shine”.
He and the other children were instructed but mostly moved into forming a line leading to the crystal bearer. Once face to face with this individual they had their hand placed on the crystal. Depending on the amount of glow it gave off it allowed them a good estimation of the individual Soul or Will, and if they could perform spells. If it was dim or worst of all didn’t glow those children were moved over to the Guards, if it was bright enough then the child would stay by the crystal bearer side.
As time passed and the line slowly shrank he felt is gut tying into knots, a make or break moment. He lived enough lives to know this crystal could be measuring if a individuals body was able to hold enough Mana within it to be used. That if he had any hopes of living at least some form of safe life he needed to pass. He used and has had access to magic from all the lives that he could remember. But it varied, some bodies could perform more than others. So in that regard, he wasn’t too worried.
No, what had him scared was if his magic skills of the past measured up to these peoples standard. The walls around him an ever-present example that it may not. Maybe they will give him a break even if it’s a low glow. The mood of place as gotten rather depressing, to put it mildly. So far of the fourteen in his group, and the ten that have been tested only two have given off enough of a glow to stay at the Bearers side. Worst most of those tested didn’t even give off a glow at all. He had almost thought maybe the device wasn’t working after the fifth test.
When it was finally his turn, it felt as if his heart was going to pop out of his chest. This was it a glow or no glow. An easier life or a quick end as a guard or maybe bait. So when his hand met the crystal and a moment later it began to shine, he almost dropped to his knees and wept. The Bearer seemed pleased too, though the light being given off hasn’t been the brightest of the group. It was still enough that he could be taught whatever goes for spells in this realm.
A guard guided him over to the other two chosen and the last of the children were tested. Sadly those left failed and had been moved with the others further away. The feeling in the room was somber from what he could pick up on. He, on the other hand, was feeling quite happy, thrilled even. If they were needed and few were on hand then he was far more likely to get out of a painful death. Even better treated, maybe.
The way those women, their caretakers were being treated even when it was clear they performed spells, made him slightly uneasy. True he doesn’t know if what they were doing was difficult, but he has seen no guards perform the same tricks. Being able to put your enemy to sleep would be a rather effective weapon. At the very least the women had shown an ability to use spells while the guards haven’t. Yet said women were treated like trash and thrown in with them to 'the front'.
He felt a bit of sympathy for those who failed to produce any light. Even more for all the others that have been label so worthless as not to be trained. They, he was sure were going to meet a very unpleasant end. ‘Bait, yes bait for sure’ he thought or worse as a sacrifice. Sacrifices could be used to increase the power of all spells, holy or damned it didn't matter. The body is a larger Mana holder in the end like a crystal. He wouldn’t be surprised if that was their fate, not from what he had seen so far. These people saw their children, see him as a resource to be used and discarded.
If the way he was used led to a quick painless end, he didn’t care much….
‘But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try to avoid it’ he thought quickly. Again faced with the panic of what could be considered as suicide, and if that (probably) was what was causing each life to be more miserable than the next.
It took him a moment to notice that the others (the oaf included) were being led away towards the entrance they had previously come from. Leaving him the two other test passers, and the Bearer. The other two fancily dressed people were leaving with the others as well.
“Alright then,” said the Bearer with an overly enthusiastic tone as he turned to regard them. “Three new trainees I, well we have high hopes for you.” Smiling like a fool “Don’t you all worry I’ll get you trained up and ready for the big fight, you’ll have those critters shrieking in fear in no time.”
He’s lived enough times to notice such obvious lies, the other two, however, were smiling just like the Bearer. He wondered if they even understood what the man had said. ‘Training, we're going to need a lot of training to make anything shriek in fear of us’ he thought solemnly.
“Alrighty then, if you three would follow me, I’ll lead you to where all the really blessed weapons are at, no soulless weapons for you my new friends.” “Oh and the names Aethin” holding up a hand as if to stop some question that was about to appear. “And don’t you worry, after all the tests and training I’ll give you three your names.” Added with another large grin that the other two mimicked. He, on the other hand, couldn't help but notice Aethin was the first person to speak and treat them as children. Against his better judgment, he decided to speak “I take it these tests won’t take long then”?
Aethin didn’t answer instantly as he spent a movement studying him “No, not long at all, a Round at most.” Pausing “Do you know what a Round is?” Again not listening to his smarter self as the word Round came out as an hour in his mind “Why wouldn’t I know what a Round –“ he stopped talking. He had looked over at the other two and noticed that they were completely confused. Oblivious to what was being said, in a way only a child could convey so clearly.
Aethin placed hands on his shoulders leaning in, getting uncomfortably close to his face and staring into his eyes. As moments passed the closeness got to him, and he finally voiced his discomfort “Is this one of the tests? I can’t say I like it very much” As he leaned away from Aethin. Aethin stayed quiet for another second before his grin returned. “Again no, my bright new Acolyte,” Aethin said while rubbing his shoulders before stepping back.
“But you’re going to go through a few more tests and some other things.” The alarm must have shown on his face, as Aethin performed a none-threating motion “Don’t worry bright one, nothing bad, just some extra things to help you, and more importantly to help us.”
He was tempted to make a sarcastic comment back at Aethin but stop himself. He already raised warning signals from a single question, he wasn’t going to add even more for Aethin to think about. Again he looked at the other two adult children, who aren’t even paying attention anymore merely looking around.
He wondered if he could even stop that from happening, he knows too much to act clueless all the time. These children seemed to know just enough to follow simple directions and commands, he would have to watch his every action to blend in with them.
Unaware of his thoughts Aethin motioned them to follow, which he did but the other two hadn't. Aethin didn’t even check behind himself as he headed for the exit.
“Come.” As he motioned them forward. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t even bother hiding I’m smarter than them, it would make me worth more in the eyes of others.’
They traveled for a short bit, this tunnel network had many more turns and crossroads. Along the way, he couldn't help but hope this training of theirs would reveal how these people were able to navigate these tunnels without the fear of getting lost. If not it didn’t matter how much smarter he was. If he somehow got separated from the others he'd still look like a fool stumbling around trying to find out where to head.
When they finally arrive at their destination he’d have no hope of finding his way back to the other group. The room was smaller than the others, and had been blocked. It had looked like the tunnel led to a dead-end. Then Aethin placed his hand on the wall its runes brightened for a second before sliding way into the floor.
Inside there was weapons and armor most in better repair than what the guards had. Their shape and design matching what the lead guard Harl wore. Aethin wasted no time heading to and handing out short swords. He didn't recognize the metal. It seemed to have the strength of iron perhaps steel but it was dark almost onyx in appearance.
It was many moments watching Aethin going about the equipment to give them before he realized he had equipped the sword straps around himself without thinking. As if it was the most natural thing in the realm. Inside he was panicking at standing out, even more, when he noticed that the two other children had also strapped the sword around themselves. ‘These children hardly understand speech yet know how to use this equipment?’
When Aethin then past armor for them to use, he once again equipped it with the ease of breathing. The body acting on its own. Same for the children as they went about placing the armor on themselves as fast as he did.
His gut was in knots from that display. These children are clueless about everything else, but when it came to things that involve war, their naturals. ‘We're just soldiers, nothing more?’ he asked himself while also imagined kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs that they can’t do this to them. But he didn’t act on it, these children wouldn’t have that thought going through their minds. Not yet anyway, not before they were already facing whatever was out there on the other side of the walls. If he did act out he would just show more of how different he was from the rest of them.
They’re soldiers, the children were soldiers that is what was planned for them. He wondered if any of them were going to survive whatever they're sending them to. Wondered if these tests and training really would make any difference at all.
Aethin still going through what equipment he had deemed worthy of them, finally made up his mind retrieving and give them short spears. Which he had a hard time figuring out what possible use it could use for in a fight. That is until Aethin twisted the handle of the spear in such a way that a click was heard. Then he elongated the weapon to an appropriate length. Aethin must of notice his questioning gaze “Easer this way when moving in the tunnels” his smile spreading even wider “Don’t want it to catch on a brother or the wall when turning around do you.”
“Anyway my bright one, why don’t you give it a try?” Aethin said as he stepped closer to him. Once more showing where and what way to twist. It only took him one try to get it right as did the other children when he heard the noticeable click of their spears behind him.
“Good,” said Aethin clapping both in fake joy and to grab their attention. “Now that you three are geared up we can begin your training.” As Aethin walked to a section of wall he said, “And then your names will be given.” Aethin placed his hand on the wall, new runes appearing over the normal ones. A section of the wall slid away to reveal yet another tunnel thinner than the ones that they were used to. Forcing them to walk in a line rather than shoulder to shoulder.
He also noticed as he traveled and beckoned the other children to follow along, that this passages had far more detailed runes carved into the surfaces. The glow was of greater brightness, which hurt his eyes at first. He felt safe in this tunnel, or safer, he even noticed that Aethin had relaxed. His shoulders, and ears that had been upright now drooping downward.
‘This must be where the more important people stay.’ He felt joy at that thought, it meant that perhaps he was going in the right direction to gaining a comfortable life. Or at the very least have a chance to avoid what these people seem outright terrified of.
When they eventually arrived at their destination he was slightly surprised that the room they enter wasn’t circular. Instead, it was pyramid-shaped, with a large crystal in the center hanging from metal looking chains that extended all the way up to the tip of the pyramid roof. The Crystal wasn't as large as the one that he saw used to grow them. But he was still uneasy at the sight of it, he rather not go through this training and tests if it involved the level of pain he had endured during his growth spurt.
Even the other two appeared to have enough sense to be concerned, pain is a hard thing to forget even if one is empty-headed. Aethin, however, waved off their concerns when he finally turned around to notice their looks. “No need to worry young ones” he paused looking embarrassed “It won’t be like last time.” He turned back touching and performing odd hand signs on the crystal. “There won’t be any mistakes here, I can assure you, I’m well versed in the use of this type of Heart.”
Waving them over “now come closer I don’t have shards for you to hold, so you're going to have to be rather close for this to work.
He reluctantly approached the children one step behind him hiding behind his back as a shield. He was rather annoyed at that ‘this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, I’m the one that should be hiding behind them!’
Aethin didn’t appear mad at their slow approach, but he did roll his eyes and complain. “It’s not going to kill you” waving his hand “We can’t afford those” His eyes seemed distant, lost in thought “But maybe one Rotation I – we will live in a Sanctum that can afford such defenses.”
When they were close enough to touch the heart Aethin stirred from his thoughts. “Alright place a hand on the Heart it doesn’t matter where and we’ll get this underway." The two children stared at him to act first. ‘O gods please have mercy, and make this end quick.’ Followed by more dark thoughts of what should befall these people should it not, before placing his hand on the heart.
Nothing happened no pain or flash of agony that should have caused a blood-curdling scream. So the two children were content and placed their hands on the heart as well. All the while Aethin carried a false smile, one he could easily read as ‘hurry along please’. When Aethin seemed to think things were in place and they appeared ready for another course of torture Aethin placed his own hand on the heart. The moment he did the Heart light bloomed to new heights forcing the children to close their eyes. Instantly knowledge poured into them, all the things deemed relevant for them to be useful Chanters.
It was a moment of absolute wonder for him. One moment nothing made sense, the next he could understand what the carvings performed and understood which symbol did what. He knew the markers hidden within the pattern that told him where and what tunnels to take to get to his destination. But what really grabbed his attention was with this knowledge he now knew that the runes on these walls were full of flaws. That it was of novice level, and if, when their enemy attacked outright the outer tunnels wouldn't hold them off for very long.
He didn’t even have time to worry about that, as a new wave of knowledge washed over him. This time he felt discomfort, a growing pressure in the center of his skull. This was all new, it wouldn’t be a hard guess that this process could be taking a heavy toll on his mind. But as the knowledge sank in he couldn’t find himself caring all that much, distractions upon distractions clouded his mind.
The songs, melodies that he heard the women sing or hum turned into known casts and phrase. Which was to channel one's soul into willing a certain effect on the physical plane. Then the hand movements that helped the flow of the soul out of the body. This part was needed, absolute if one was to be seen as a worthwhile Chanter. For this was what determines if the person, in general, had the body that could use enough soul fast enough to cast a deadly chant.
The very thing Aethin was looking for, what the crystal measured. He felt a moment of joy that he was special, needed, able to stand above the rest. Only for that to be crushed as reality sunk in. He was needed, one of the few who could kill with a spell. ‘Am I doomed to fight the things out there? For the rest of this life?’
He didn’t get distracted again the flow of information was slowing. The final pieces given to him were about ways to strengthen the channels that his Soul traveled through in his body. Eventually allowing one to hold more within themselves and be able to release it with greater destructibility. It was horribly slow process, so much so that people instead spent their time praying to the Giver. Praying that she proved a blessing. Then it stopped, as well as the feeling that he wasn’t aware of at the time, seeming all-knowing.
It left him somewhat confused, perhaps even in shock when the flow of knowledge ended. He also had the urge that a headache was on its way. What with the pressure in his skull still there. Plus an intense wave of fatigue forcing him down to his knees. For a time he didn’t think, he didn’t appear to have the ability to. His mind pushed to the brink and forced to stop all functions.
Then it ended and things kicked back on in a way. His first thought to return ‘why am I on my knees staring at the floor drooling like a fool?’ Followed by a stream of worrying thoughts about what was he going to do. He didn’t want to live a life of war, even if it could be mercifully short. Dying was a painful experience and was never pleasant, nor calm based on his many ends.
He threw all forms of curses at these people in his mind. This race of monsters who throw their child into the jaws of death without batting an eye. He cursed them, even more, when he finally noticed sifting through the new flood of knowledge in him. That not a single piece of it had anything on what he was going to be fighting. One would think that would be the first thing they would give to them, or at the very least what spells that would be the most effective at killing, whatever was out there. But instead nothing, besides his growing fears and paranoia of what their hiding from him.
Sighing he slowly rose from his knees cradling his head in his hands. He was a little dazed from the ordeal, and the pressure in his head was indeed turning into a numbing headache. He appeared to be doing better than the other two when he almost stepped on one. Both were on the ground curled into balls holding their heads, a whimper or two would sound from them every once in a while. Aethin was nowhere to be found. But he did see that there was yet another hidden tunnel that had been opened.
He would have to check where it led eventually, but for now, he had a more pressing concern involving a headache. One that he now had the ability to get rid of all on his own. The spell their caretakers had been using was a rather simple one. It didn’t take much Mana or soul as their call it to perform. Focusing and going over what he knew one last time he coughed and tried to chant the proper sounds. Only for his voice to come out crackly and horribly off tune from what he envisioned.
Rubbing his throat as the effect left it feeling slightly scratch “Never was much of a singer.” The itch went away quickly leaving him with no reason not to try again. The pounding in his skull egging him on with its constant stabbing. This time he didn’t try to perform the whole spell all at once, but instead focused on it one section at a time. He hummed until he reached the right note, then stop and try again practicing it. He only moved forward after he correctly performed the note every time.
His effort doubled in getting it right as either his humming was making his headache worse or it was happening on its own. The other two still hadn't gotten up from their curled positions. ‘Maybe they're trying to sleep it off?’ he considered when getting ready to perform the whole spell. ‘And where is Aethin? This is the worst time to just go missing, he could make this pain go away instantly’. Breathing slowly he focused himself and lightly cough and hummed to loosen his throat.
Slow and meticulous he hummed the subtle chants that would bring him sweet relief. He could already tell that things are going far better as the tone of his voice was near the melody their caretakers performed. His voice almost went off tune when the wave of relief envelop him. Instantly ending the accursed headache and releasing the bent up stress in his muscles.
When the spell finished he very nearly dropped face first onto the stone floor. His vision blurring as he was hit with a force of fatigue similar to what the heart had caused. ‘I think, I think I could use a nap.’ He thought as he carefully kneeled and laid on his back. A good choice as those small moments had his head spinning. It didn’t make him feel queasy which he was both thankful and confused about. The sensation left him feeling distant, unfocused, more or less numb to the happenings of the realm.
Rather nice to experience when one was about to sleep. Which he was, or at least had been getting close to, the floor wasn't the best material for this, but it would have to do. That and he couldn’t help but worry even under this wonderful effect. 'If a single spell left me in such a state, what use am I going to be in a fight?' If the battle became close quarters he would be gutted in mere moments, if he had to retreat he would trip over his own feet while trying to get away. ‘Perhaps that’s why that madman, Vernac was it? Didn’t want to be anywhere near the front.’ he thought as he placed his hands behind his head.
He was just about to reach his dream when he heard someone approaching and stand over him. Needless to say, this wasn’t a situation he was fond of at all. ‘Too many bad ends with people over me watching me sleep’.' He forced open his eyes half expecting to see some assassin with a knife about to gut him. Perhaps Aethin decided to show back up with pillows and blankets for them. Instead, it was one of the children, beaming down at him with the widest of smiles. A genuine smile, unlike all the others he’d seen of late, the smile only a child can give (even an adult sized one).
Still she, and he was pretty sure it was a she even though her figure could use some more girth to it. Was still staring with the same smile, which was going the way of creepy. So even though he really wanted to just close his eyes and sleep, he voiced his concern. “Hello there, um, is there something you need?”
This caused the girl a moment of confusion before what he said dawned on her. “No need. But want.” She said her voice smooth and soft in tone. She bent down on her knees getting closer to his face peering into his eyes. From his view, it seemed she was trying to gaze into his soul. Unwanted unease coursed through him, so he got up from his laying position. Breaking eye contact from her, and as he was about to stand she placed her hands on his shoulders holding him down in place.
He looked at her once more his unease building up to worry, and he saw her still staring at him wide-eyed. Her smile had stretch wider, seemly unnatural too him. His mind marking it clear in the realm of sinister, animalistic, and all around not pleasant.
Even tired he began combing through his mind for the spells that would zap this child turned creature. He wasn’t pleased with what he recalled as it required time and hand moments, rather than a quick chant of words. Her being this close, she could easily disrupt his hand moments failing the spells or causing the amount of Mana released to wreak havoc on them both.
So instead he planned to overpower her with physical means when the need arose, he might be a thin mock of a man, but she was thinner and with even less muscle mass than him. Placing his hands on hers he removed them slowly from his shoulders, all the while she continued to stare. “Miss it not very polite to just stare at someone like that.” he said as he tried changing his posture to allow better control for when things turned sour.
She must have thought he was attempting to get up as the next moment he was on his back again with her on top after a quick tackle. He would never admit that he let out a short shriek and began trying to rip her off of him. Moments of fruitless effort finally tired him out enough to make him come to his senses. Namely that he was not being attacked and that this was getting him nowhere. ‘Why am I pushing her off when one thumb into those large eyes of hers and she would do the work for me’. He voiced, Followed by other dark thoughts as he caught his breath. Which wasn’t all that easy as the women snake constricting hug wasn't letting up. Her face for the time being was pressed into his chest, if he wasn’t scared of her or thought her odd this would have been an intimate moment that he would have taken full advantage of. Now, however, he kept his hands off anything that might cause retaliation.
Once his breathing was under control and he had a better laid out plan to get away from this loon he would enact it swift and without mercy. But before he had a chance the women looked up at him. Her eyes appeared to be that of a predator to him and his spine tingled. One moment her head laid on his chest the next they were face to face lips pressed together.
For a few seconds, all he could do was blink as his mind went blank. White hot panic had shot through his spine swiftly followed by relief. Relief that there wasn’t any pain, and just now began to focus on what was going on. This child, girl, woman was kissing him, which he wasn't to say unhappy about, he was always willing to take in affection, just confused. So very confused and beginning to panic as they have been kissing for a while now and breathing was becoming a problem.
He felt breathing on someone so close through his nose as rude but she left him little choice, especially as the woman hands began roaming and groping his nether regions. ‘Why now? Can’t we wait for somewhere more private?’ he thought while his own hands wrapped around her face and pushed her away. Their lips parted and he took in a large breath, he didn’t have the chance to savor it as the woman began fighting vigorously to get close to him again. It was rather embarrassing for him to realize this body didn’t have the strength to easily overpower her. But that didn’t matter much as his hands were on her face and better his thumbs near her eyes. With simple quick effort, they stabbed into them, her strength and iron grip vanished instantly. Replaced with a scream so loud and painful he sore his ears were bleeding.
His hands closed and forced his ears down in a vain attempt to lessen the maelstrom of noise she was letting loose. She wasn’t showing any signs of stopping her cries either as it echoed around the room and possibly down the tunnels. Panic took him as he wasn’t sure if this amount of noise would attract attention to the things they were hiding from.
Eyes darting across the ceiling and walls, he scanned for any changes, all the while the screams continued. Then near the top of the pyramid, one of the runes began to change, from white to green as did the others around it. He tore his vision from the ceiling and back to the girl curled on the ground hands over her eyes.
Reluctantly he removed his hands from his ears and focused on the spell that soothed pain, and one that can heal minor damage. He wasn’t able to tell at first if his tone was right through the screams, but as he felt the Mana begin to flow through him and leave, he knew it worked. The screams didn’t stop all at once, it lowered in volume gradually till it was only muffled whimpers. Taking a refreshing breath he performed the far more complicated chant. One that sped up the body’s own ability to heal itself. Which would do little save stop the pain permanently, if he had damaged the eyes in a way the body couldn't repair.
That sort of spell was above his league, though the knowledge bestowed by the crystal clearly showed there were spells that healed the body beyond what it’s capable of.
His thinking broke as the spell ended, he collapsed from his sitting position as fatigue hit. His vision blurred the edges of his sight darkened. He was sure anymore and he would lose conciseness.
He didn’t know how long he laid there his mind had stopped altogether. But when he came to the girl was still curled up, as for the other child he was stilling laying on his back asleep. How he slept through her wailing was a mystery.
Looking up he saw that most of the ceiling runes were going back to the default white, but the first to change was still a deep green with spots of yellow beginning to appear. The safety he once felt from these runes as lessened considerably. With the crystal knowledge, he could plainly see all the flaws. All the mistakes that have been woven into the pattern. It screamed of rushed work, people caring little about the end product.
All he could do was sigh, he was only one man-ish person it would take considerable time to fix these runes, worst of all the circuit would have to be turned off. Leaving all easy pickings for the monsters that wait outside.
Looking down he rubbed his face, a futile attempt to remove the fatigue he still endured. His body felt like it had run up a hill for hours, worse his mind felt worn, beaten. All he wanted to do was sleep but fear kept him from acting on it. That girl might come after him again, perhaps partake in some cruel revenge at his expense.
Rising and very nearly falling he edged his way to the hidden tunnel that had been revealed. If he was to sleep then he had to be out of that girl line of sight. Aethin be damned if he caused the man any worry that he’d gone missing. It didn’t matter, he could read what had been woven with the other carvings. It was child’s play navigating the tunnels now as the runes detailed where the tunnel led was carved over and over through the length of the passage.
He had planned to reach its end before resting but his mind had other ideas. His eyes refuse to stay open and for many passing moments. He walked with his eyes closed, his hand resting on the wall as a guide. When he tripped over his own feet he decided it was a good enough sign to stop. The passage was small, similar to the others where it could only have one flow of traffic. So he was sure that someone would eventually find and wake him when needed.
Flopping on his back he got as comfortable as stone would allow before drifting off to sleep into his dream. Even there he had a hard time opening his eyes as the weariness seemed to have followed him. He was still in his overly large bed where a dozen or more people could sleep in it comfortably. His wives lay all around him, waiting on his every command. He would have liked to enjoy himself but the fatigue held him down. With a slight wave of the hand, one of his wives began humming the melody the caretakers had used to put them to sleep. As his thoughts began to fade he could only hope that this mess he was in would end quickly and as painlessly as possible.