Navihm was making his way to the dining hall when he heard the shouting.
“Come back here. I’m talking to you, foreign dog.” The voice was too far away to be addressing Navihm and there was only one other person that he knew of that could be called foreign.
Navihm placed his writing books on a bench and went to investigate. As he followed the raised voices he checked to see if he still had his rings on. More than just decoration, his metal rings looked like a plain accessory, but the edge facing his palm sported a short spike, about the length of his thumbnail. Naivhm never went anywhere unarmed.
He didn’t have to go far before he came upon Eamonn being pressed up against a wall by Karl. A few of his friends were looking on. Eamonn wasn’t in a great condition, sporting a cut above his rapidly swelling eye and nursing his arm painfully.
“Three on one?” Navihm rose an eyebrow. “How very tough you are, Karl.”
“Shut it Navihm, or you will be next!” Karl pushed Eamonn harder up against the stable wall, getting a strangled grunt from him in response.
“We both know that you wouldn’t dare try anything with me with only two dimwitted children to back you up.” Navihm narrowed his eyes.
Karl still had his hands fisted in Eamonn’s shirt and he was in no condition to fight back. Navihm figure he could goad the boy into leaving Eamonn and attacking him instead. That way, he wouldn’t have to be worried about Eamonn getting hurt any more than he already was.
“Are you alright?” Navihm addressed Eamonn in the Nomadic tongue.
“Broken arm,” Eamonn responded, not as fluent and more halting in his pronunciation. “Maybe broken ribs. Bruises. Can walk.”
“What are you saying?” Karl jammed his forearm under Eamonn’s chin, cracking his head against the stone wall in the process. He let out a pained groan.
“Now, now Karl. The grownups are talking. Shhh.” Navihm switched back to Nomadic “Eamonn, when I tell you to, get clear. Don't try to help, just get out of the way.” Eamonn nodded. Meanwhile, Karl was turning a brighter shade of red with every word he couldn’t understand. He knew the two foreign dogs were talking about him and it was infuriating to be unable to understand.
“What did you say?” he demanded.
“We were just discussing the weather actually,” Navihm spoke in a deliberately condescending manner.
Karl dropped Eamonn and took a threatening step towards Navihm. The two other tormentors took a cue from Karl and moved to surround Navihm. As soon as the boys moved, Eamonn picked himself up and ducked around the side of the building, giving Navihm a grateful nod as he went. He wasn't worried, he knew that Navihm could take care of himself.
“Go back to you rooms boys, you don't need to bother me.” Navihm was going to give them every opportunity to get out of a confrontation. He was not interested in revenge and now that Eamonn was safe, he didn't see a reason to continue this pettiness. He turned to leave. One of the boys grabbed him by the arm.
“Running scared?” the boy said with a malicious grin.
“Let go of me, boy.” Navihm glared at him, refusing to be intimidated by his fellow student’s foolishness. “I’ve faced much scarier men than you, Karl.” Navihm didn't even bother to turn back around. “You won't frighten me with your tired tactics and childish attention seeking. I’m bored with it, honestly. Just leave.”
Karl didn’t take Navihm’s very good advice. Instead, he chose to rush the other boy, who still had his back turned. Navihm suspected Karl would react in such a way and countered with a swift elbow to his nose, probably breaking it. He then turned towards the boy still clutching his arm. Navihm grabbed the offending arm, taking care to sink the spike on the ring adorning his forefinger into the pressure point on his wrist. He cried out and immediately let go of Navihm’s arm. Navihm didn't let go, he just twisted his wrist behind his back and forced him to his knees, crying out in pain.
The third boy rushed Navihm, fists raised. He battered the fist away with his free hand and sunk his ring spike into the fleshy bit between his shoulder and neck. The boy yelled in pain and dropped to his knees. He tore at Navihm’s arm but was unable to rip it off him.
Karl looked up from where he lay prone on the floor. He blinked away tears and saw that Navihm had subdued the two other boys.
“You broke my nose,” Karl said thickly through the blood running down the back of his throat.
“Yes, it does look like it. You will never be as handsome again.” Navihm couldn’t bring himself to care all that much. Karl stood up and glared at him through the blood.
“You broke my nose!” He drew a knife from his belt and stepped towards him threateningly.
“Karl, I've sort of got my hands full here,” Navihm said looking meaningfully at the two boys he still held. “You wouldn’t attack a person incapable of defending himself would you?” Karl continued to advance, waving the knife. Navihm could clearly see that he had no idea what he was doing. He rolled his eyes. “I guess you would.”
He ducked the swipe aimed at his throat and kicked Karl solidly between the legs. Karl buckled and sank to his knees like the others. Navihm kicked Karl’s wrist, knocking the knife away and, making sure to keep a firm grip on the other two bullies, he kneed the boy in the temple.
The thump Karl made as he hit the ground unconscious was a satisfying one.
“Now boys,” Navihm addressed the two he still held prone with his rings. “If I let you go are you going to leave me alone or are you going to end up like Karl?” The two shook their heads and pleaded to be released. “That’s what I thought.” Navihm let them go and they scrambled off in the opposite direction to where Eamonn went.
Navihm stepped over Karl and made his way over to where Eamonn had ducked around to the other side of the stable, absently wiping the blood off his rings with a handkerchief. Navihm found Eamonn a short way round the building, slumped against the wall.
“How are you doing?” Navihm asked, helping him to his feet.
“Been better.” Eamonn allowed him to sling his good arm around his shoulder and help him walk. Together, they made their way to the medical ward.
They entered the building and Navihm called out to the small girl stacking the shelves with bottles.
“I’ve brought you a victim, Millie,” he called, almost cheerfully. “Where should I put him?” Millie jumped, much like she had that first day and promptly dropped the bottle she held.
“Oh dear,” she said miserably, looking at the mess she made. “Oh dear!” She had just noticed the state of the two boys. “What happened?” She bustled them over to the nearest bed where Navihm gently unloaded a groaning Eamonn.
“I think the word you are looking for is patient Navihm,” Eamonn said through a groan. "Not victim."
“From what I’ve heard about Lowlander healing, I think victim is definitely the right word.” Eamonn chuckled and winced. Navihm was busy inspecting the bottles on the shelves, interested to see how Lowlander healing worked. Millie was fluttering about Eamonn, inspecting his arm and placing extra pillows at his back.
“Dr. Adelaide,” Millie called. “We have a patient.” The thin woman Navihm saw on his first visit came out of a back room, tieing on a white apron as she went. She didn't look surprised at Eamonn’s appearance.
“More than one actually,” said Eamonn from his place on the bed. “Navihm left the guy who did this to me in a heap behind the stable.”
“Millicent,” said the woman, “make yourself useful and go fetch this other boy.” Millie nodded and fled the room. Navihm wondered how she would get the boy back to the medical ward but she was gone before he could ask.
Dr Adelaide was poking and prodding at Eamonn’s ribs. He winced. She only poked harder and began rotating the shoulder of his good arm.
“What are you doing?” asked Navihm. He was interested in her healing methods.
“I’m checking to see if his ribs are broken,” she said dismissively.
“Oh.” Navihm placed a finger on Eamonn’s hurt side and let a tendril of his magic trickle into him.
“It’s mostly just bruising” he reported. “There’s a small crack on this rib here.” He placed one finger at the bottom end of his left rib cage. Dr. Adelaide blinked at Navihm in confusion.
“I have some healing talent. It's a part of my spirit magic,” Navihm explained, waving vaguely at himself as if to make her aware of his foreignness.
“You can heal him?” she asked. Navihm was about to reply when he was interrupted by a flying man.
It was Karl.
Millie had him levitated in front of her in an incredible display of air magic. She placed him on the bed opposite to where Eamonn lay. A teacher Navihm recognised as Professor Blaise hastened in after the small girl. Professor Blaise was Navihm’s trainer for his ‘Practical use of Elemental Magic’ class.
“What is going on here?” she demanded.
“There was an incident behind the stables, Professor,” Navihm explained. “Karl and a few of his friends were attacking Eamonn and I put a stop to it. I’m not sure of the names of the other two, but they shouldn't be too hard to find. They will be the ones bleeding.”
“Attacking?” Professor Blaise was confused. “Why would they attack another student?”
“Maybe that is something you should ask the students when I am finished with them here Professor,” cut in Dr. Adelaide. She turned to Navihm. “On their own, these bones will take weeks to heal. It is my understanding that your people can heal them almost instantaneously.”
“Not that I’m not having fun here,” added in Eamonn, “but ‘instantaneously’ sounds pretty good right now.”
“I know the theory,” said Navihm. “But I’m afraid it only works for me about half the time. Strange things tend to happen when I try to use my mind magics.”
“Professor Blaise could help you, though,” piped up Millie. Eamonn was quick to agree, smiling at the girl. She turned a brilliant red under his attention. Navihm sighed and eventually nodded.
“I would stand back if I were you.” Everyone took an immediate step away from Eamonn and Navihm. Navihm closed his eyes and placed one hand on his injured friend. He once again sent a trickle of magic into him. He could feel that Professor Blaise was closely monitoring his progress. When his magic reached the source of the break in Eamonn’s arm, Navihm directed it to knit the bone back together. Nothing happened at first so Navihm increased the amount of power.
There was a huge crash as the pot that held a small fern near the head of Eamonn’s bed shattered. Millie let out a strangled shriek. The fern was rapidly swelling and digging its roots into the mortar and floor. Before long, the fern had tripled in size and dirt covered half the hospital floor, mixing in with the noxious liquid oozing from the bottle Millie had dropped earlier.
“Well that was interesting,” said Professor Blaise mildly. Eamonn let out a startled laugh, not taking his eyes away from the mutant plant.
“I think I know why you are having so much trouble Navihm,” she continued. This got everyone’s attention. The entire school knew of Navihm’s odd powers and his inability to control them.
“Navihm, when you direct your magic for a healing, are you drawing directly from the well of power or are you just skimming it from the overflow that runs through the rest of your body?” she asked.
“I usually just draw it out from whatever hand I’m using to make contact with the patient.” Navihm wasn't quite sure where the professor was going with this line of questioning.
“And when you are using other magics? Like your elemental magic and other mind magics. Where are you drawing it from.”
“I usually just pick a thread of it as it runs through my hands. That’s the most natural, even though my other magics don't need physical contact.”
Something else occurred to the Professor. “Does your spiritual magic have a similar well of power as your elemental?”
“Yes,” answered Navihm. “It resides in the mind, which is why it is often called mind magics.”
“And after your two magics flow from their wells, they mix and flow through your body together.”
Navihm nodded. “They are quite sticky and tend to mingle together.”
“What if when you are drawing on your magic to heal, you are sometimes drawing on your elemental magic and vice versa?”
Navihm blinked. “It can't be that simple.”
“Why not?” Professor Blaise shrugged. “The practical application of this theory won't be quite so simple. You will need to draw directly from your wells of power. It is an advance technique. Most people don't even try it until their third or fourth year of study.”
She moved to stand next to Eamonn so she could be in Navihm’s line of sight.
“Try it again,” she said. “Concentrate on channeling the flow through your body without it mixing with your other magic and then channel it into Eamonn.”
“I am no longer so eager to test this,” said Eamonn. “What can a few weeks in a sling hurt?” He clutched at his arm protectively.
“What’s the worst that could happen?” said Navihm, eager to try the new technique. Eamonn looked meaningfully at the huge plant that had now started to grow apples.
“Don’t you trust me?” Navihm pulled out the trump card. Eamonn sighed and held out his arm.
Navihm placed one finger on his arm and, concentrating on channeling his power directly from his mind, he went through the process again. Less than a minute later Eamonn was waving his arm around in amazement and wiggling his fingers in everyone's faces, eager to show off his newly perfect limb. Navihm battered his arm away but Millie indulged him, inspecting his arm seriously.
Navihm quickly healed Eamonn’s ribs and the rest of his various cuts and bruises and then turned to help Karl.
“Navihm,” said Professor Blaise, “When you’re finished, I expect to have a long conversation with you about what happened behind that stable.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Navihm nodded seriously and then went to work.