Dreams & Distant Places: Chapter 7

Several weeks have passed. The Mage is getting better attuned to the weave but her growth comes in fits and starts. She’ll handle a task well until her patience ebbs and she decides to blow through it using raw force. The problem this poses is that her power shall be the sword she’ll die by. She’ll blow through all opposition like a hurricane wind until she hits a mountain. If she won’t refine her gifts then a superior power will crush her utterly.

And there are superior powers to hers. I’ve already encountered several.

Augumon and the Party have become fast friends. Them passing him off as some sort of oversized stuffed animal has proven to be a surprisingly reliable cover him. During their game nights he regales them with tales of his many adventures and his many companions. Do not let his small stature and pleasant nature allow you to presume to underestimate him. Truly he is a seasoned and accomplished hero of multiple worlds.

The most succinct and seemingly bizarre manner in which I can explain this is that if Superman was a t-rex it would be him. Together they took him on many little adventures over the course of our time here. Those tales are his to tell, not mine. It does suffice to say that he loved every minute of it.

My extended stay in town has forced me to expand my cover. While confident that I could fend any of any government action taken against me does not mean that I am eager to indulge that headache. According to that need I started renting a space for a dojo. Several months in and I’m a regular in the community under a totally false identity…I am a pretender and fraud.

The upside is that as the Mage begins her martial training we have the luxury of doing it indoors. Having the physical outlet greatly tempers her reliance on her rage. The more she channels her power into her physical prowess the more centered her connection to the weave becomes. By the time three months have passed she can use her power without her nose bleeding. Good, that means she’s not going hemorrhage as we dive deeper.

The girl is a natural telepath and a blooming master of telekinesis. With the growing need to challenge her power we are forced back our little arena in the bog. Now with her enhanced speed and strength she can start running laps with Augumon on her back. If you are envisioning a particular training sequence from a particular film series you would be correct…I am a thief….The difference is that this is the 80’s so we have much better training music. You know the routine…and a hack. THE music plays…

Rising up, back on the street Did my time, took my chances Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet Just a man and his will to survive

The Mage and I are taking turns doing hand stands with Augumon on our feet.

So many times it happens too fast You trade your passion for glory Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past You must fight just to keep them alive

We practice energy flow techniques as we pose against the backdrop of a setting sun.

It’s the eye of the tiger It’s the thrill of the fight Rising up to the challenge of our rival And the last known survivor Stalks his prey in the night And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

In a black void I see a man dressed in black monk’s attire, a grey tunic, with a red sash wrapped around his waist, and white boots. His back is turned to me but I recognize the clothing and his black curly hair but they belong to two very different beings. I awake in a cold sweat in the dead of night.

Face to face, out in the heat Hanging tough, staying hungry They stack the odds still we take to the street For the kill with the skill to survive

Sparing between me and her with our bare hands, she’s getting faster and stronger as the months pass. Almost five months in and she’s really getting the hang of using telekinesis in combat; throwing rocks, logs, anything she get a good grasp on and telekinetic defenses are better than mine.

It’s the eye of the tiger It’s the thrill of the fight Rising up to the challenge of our rival And the last known survivor Stalks his prey in the night And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

I’m in the void and the see the familiar figure again but this his time he’s facing. It’s the Bastard but not like I’ve ever seen him before. His features have become…wolf like, teeth like fangs and piercing yellow eyes. I snap out of the telepathic meditation and walk away from the Mage.

“Who’s that?” she asks me. “That answer is complicated” I tell her. “Friends don’t lie” “I’m not lying but it’s hard to explain” “Try” “Alright. It’s what you’re, what we all must face before our training is done” “What?” “Our darkness but mine is a little different since I last saw him.” “And mine?” “Only you can face it. Only you can beat it.” “I’m scared.” “You should be. You should be. Let’s get to back to it.”

Rising up, straight to the top Had the guts, got the glory Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop Just a man and his will to survive

Augumon and the Party join us, namely to throw anything and everything at me and her. The objective is simple, don’t get hit. The lesson, be cool under pressure. I’m trying to catch each individual thrown item in the weave while she is simply projecting a wall in it that the stuff bounces off of. Our dino friend ups the ante by firing a fireball at her. It impacts against her against her barrier shattering it as it explodes. None of the fire gets to her but the force of the explosion does send her tumbling head over ass backwards more than a couple meters.

She’s none too pleased and scrapped up pretty good but she’s alright.

It’s the eye of the tiger It’s the thrill of the fight Rising up to the challenge of our rival And the last known survivor Stalks his prey in the night And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

In my nightmares I remember a battle long past. It’s a starless night and all that can be seen are the silhouettes of two pairs of combatants squaring off against one another. Two men equal in height and two wolfmen, one very tall and the other very short. One of the men ignites a purple blade and the other starts glowing like golden fire, while the large wolf emanates a black flame as the small one taps his claws together and they become drenched in blood. The fires fly at one another while their respective partners charge each other. As they are about to clash lightning strikes and I’m jolted awake.

The eye of the tiger The eye of the tiger

Augumon is firing fireballs at me rapid fire and I’m deflecting them using the saber. After he’s out of energy I turn towards the mage who’s flinging debris at me. I cut through the projectiles and rush towards her as I do she outstretches her hand and closes her eyes. I’m in the black void and I stop dead in my tracks. It takes me moment but I realize where I am and what is going on. Through my mind I banish the void away and the world erupts back into existence around me. As it does a rock hits me squarely in the face and I’m down.

Bruised and slightly miffed, I curse underneath my breath as I get up. Augumon chides me for my foul language. The Mage looks anxiously towards me. I walk over to her and congratulate on how far she has come in these 7 months.

The eye of the tiger The eye of the tiger

We are at the end of eight months and the Chief has made it clear that he doesn’t want her training to interrupt her schooling. This’ll be the first year she’ll be enrolled in public schools and that’s enough for her worry about. He’s content at how far she has come and is confident that she has the tools she needs to live a normal life. That and he’s worried that I’m going to drag my apprentice off on some dangerous journey beyond this world.

I couldn’t be honest and say that I hadn’t considered it at many points but ultimately I choose not to. Sure she would be tremendous asset to my endeavors but she’s also a little girl who’s been denied a normal life her entire life. Let her live life a little and then she can decide that for herself. That decision is hers and I’ll let it be hers.

So was all of this a waste of my time? I’m no closer to my goal and what occurred here should have no bearing on the rest of my quest. No, no it wasn’t. I helped her achieve some balance, I’m leaving a highly capable defender against the Nightmare Hive should that threat arise, and I started a minor boom in the appreciation of the martial arts in the American Midwest. All good things, though the second point warrants some further consideration.

There is no way the presence of myself and my traveling companion failed to impact the world’s balance. I was certain that the Nightmare Hive would respond, I mean I know for a fact that its attention is firmly on this town and the Party. Maybe it’s waiting for us to leave? But what action is warranted from me?

Shall we stay, as I don’t want to leave this world to be trampled underfoot the instant we leave, and then how long are we obligated to stay? Then again this is their world and their battle. Do I not have an obligation to others, to her that I must uphold? Why don’t we just initiate the fight and win it outright? Then again it is their fight and wouldn’t I be stealing their conflict, denying them their growth?

That bridge will be crossed tomorrow. Today is the last and critical test for the Mage, the trial of fear. She must go to a dark and cold place so that she may face her darkness. How she fares in the face of it shall determine the path she shall take. It will be a difficult test but there should be no peril for her.

“At least it is true that man has no control”

I was so very very wrong!

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