Originally this scene was in my book, “Ogre Clan Chronicles: The Prophecy”, as is. I needed to make a few small changes, however, so that it would fit better and the keep the flow of events moving. Still, I always did like it and wanted to save it. A little background as you read it. Dualta is a kind of spiritual leader for his people. He is a Spirittalker. Khellian is the leader of those people and they are very close. Chakai is an ogre War Chief thrown into the discovery of who else she is, and not happy about it. Here she is “learning” how to use, what to her, is just another weapon to master, though it is far more than that. Chakirra, briefly mentioned, is a really bad guy. 😉 The conversations that are in :: :: are not spoken aloud, but in their minds. Think telepathy of a sort. Enjoy!))
“Show me how to ‘find’ you.”
Dualta’s brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what she wanted to be taught exactly. She closed the distance between them again and reached down and took his hand in hers, the grip tight and unrelenting, but not painful.
“I followed what Taishan did when he was healing a wound on me. Show me how to do that when I want.”
“War Chief, what you ask isn’t that easy and in your current state of mind it could be dange..”
“Ye be a teacher. Now teach. If what ye say is true about me then show me.”
:: This would be a good time for you to be paying attention to me, Spirits. :: he prayed hopefully.
“I’ll try, but not many get it right away and I won’t make you a promise I may not be able to keep. If you don’t get the hang of it don’t say I didn’t tell you that was a possibility.”
“Agreed. Sit and we start.”
:: Khellian? ::
:: Yes, I’m here. ::
:: Monitor me, dear friend. If I go silent send Lyrith to Chakai’s tent. ::
:: What?? What’s happening? Do you need me to come? ::
:: No. I want no one else here but us, but please do as I ask. ::
:: Yes, yes, of course. Please be careful! ::
Dualta sat down on the longer couch. “Sit beside me please. I know you’re used to giving orders, but in this, you must do as I tell you. I don’t want either of us to get hurt. Will you do this?”
“Aye. A good leader knows when it be time to lead, and when it be time to follow. I will follow.”
He smiled at her and took both her hands in his. “Try to relax. It will be easier for you to concentrate if you aren’t a raging storm inside.” For the first time a ghost of a smile touched her lips and he smiled more broadly at her. “Now I want you to listen to me carefully. It’s your will that guides and directs the power to the use you wish to put it. In your case there is no problem with strength of will, so it’s more a matter of teaching you how to direct it.”
She nodded, listening, and Dualta could feel a lessening of the chaos inside her. She was doing something proactively instead of just being acted upon and she preferred that. It was calming her somewhat.
“I use a mental picture of something like ivy. It sends out tendrils that weave in and out of other things and holds on tightly. Later you won’t need the visualization, but in the beginning it helps. I’m going to reach out with my mind, with my will guiding it, and touch your mind. I don’t want you to be surprised by it so expect it, alright?” He smiled and squeezed her hands, falling into the mode of teacher to a nervous student as he had thousands of times before. Gently he reached out and encountered the walls he knew were there. They were less prickly than they had been earlier.
“You have strong defenses up around your mind, which isn’t a bad thing, but in your case, you need to learn how, and when, to control their reaction to someone else’s touch. There are times you will need to let others in so you can work with them. It doesn’t mean you are helpless though. You can slam them shut anytime, and you only have to let them in as far as you’re comfortable with, but you cannot mentally attack everyone who tries to work with you or teach you. Picture your mind as a fortress with high strong walls, for that’s what you have. Now form a door, a small one, and with your mind’s eye, open it when you feel me.” He gently touched the walls of her mind and exerted a small amount of pressure against them. At first they resisted and he felt them grow spiky again in defense, but then he felt the spikes withdraw and saw a “door” open just a crack. He gently slipped inside and remained still, letting her get used to the feeling.
:: You can hear me? :: He kept his ‘voice’ pitched low and gentle so that it wouldn’t sound threatening. He knew Taishan said she was able to speak to him, but he wasn’t prepared for the great booming sound of it.
:: I hear. This be Spirit gift? This way of talking? ::
:: Yes, although not all can do it. The stronger you are, the more likely it is that you will hear easily and be able to speak to othersmore easily. Do you understand how you are able to respond to me? :: :: Nay. ::
:: It is your will to answer me. Your will chooses to answer me this way and the power that is within you, and around us, gives you the “voice” to do it with. The closer you are to someone, both in distance, and personally, the easier it is to speak to them like this and to hear their responses. Now let yourself feel me, feel my touch in your mind. Try to respond to that touch with one of your own, like a handshake. ::
Whatever he’d been expecting it wasn’t the image of the heavily armed and massively muscled woman that appeared in his mind. She stood, sword drawn, before him as if challenging him. They were standing in a black space with flashes of images that came and went. The events and memories those images represented played out like bits and pieces of vignettes then were gone as quickly as they came. More surprising was that she had projected an image of himself so that she had someone to actually look at. He was fascinated. Perhaps it was the very literal nature of ogres that caused her to automatically seek a non-nebulous representation for both herself and him. Whatever the reason it seemed to work well for her. He moved forward, doing it as he always had, but now he saw an image of himself walking towards her.
:: Now what? ::
His mind self smiled and chuckled. He let more power flow along the tendril that was holding the door open, though nothing of that increase showed in the image they were viewing.
:: I am here by your invitation and I’ll leave when you ask me to. The images you see flashing around us, are memories of events, people, place that have shaped your life. The deeper the contact with the person, the more private and personal the images would be. Also, things that have happened most recently, if they affected you strongly, would be more vivid than old memories. ::
As if his words had triggered the memory of earlier he saw a picture of a robed male ogre with dark hair and dark eyes. He smiled but it was a calculating, cold smile. He felt “wrong” and Dualta knew he was looking at Chakirra. Chakai looked at the image of the male and then looked back at Dualta, knowing the Spirittalker had seen the image.
:: There is less ability to hide your true nature when you are with someone this way. Look at me. What do you feel from me?
:: The Chakai image walked around him, her eyes thoughtful. :: Ye feel warm, steady. I can feel power in ye, around ye. :: Then her images eyebrows rose. :: Ye be worried, too. No, more then that. Ye be afraid but I can nay tell what ye are afraid of. Ye be afraid of me? ::
Dualta smiled, but he felt his own body tense. She was far too intuitive and was feeling more from him than he’d thought she would.
:: Who is that robed man, War Chief? :: She looked at the image which had yet again appeared.
:: I met him this afternoon. He had a lot of interesting things to say. ::
:: Like what? :: Instead of answering though, she held out her hand and stared at it and a long dagger formed in her palm. Dualta could feel the power around the two of them, in the physical realm, gathering and building. He also felt a curiosity and joy start to rise in her.
:: I can create things here? ::
:: Yes. Not many can do that. You must be careful though. ::
:: Why? ::
He felt the power swirl around him and he looked down to find a sword in his hand. By the Gods…
:: This is serious, Chakai, you should not take this lightly. What happens here can have repercussions outside of our minds as well. ::
But Chakai was enjoying herself now. He knew that for all the discipline and rules she lived her life by, this touched the wild heart of the ogress and she reveled in it. He could feel her gathering the earth powers to herself and knew she could feel it now as well.
:: Come. We play. I want to learn. ::
Dualta moved back a step and felt himself starting to grow angry.
:: This is no game! ::
The image of the male ogre appeared, closer to her this time, and she frowned at the Dualta-image. She tilted her head as if considering how do do something. Moments later, Dualta felt the gathering power swirl around his feet and looking down, he felt cords of power vining around his feet, holding him in place.
:: What are you doing? :: the Dualta-image demanded. Why are you restraining me? ::
:: Do nay be afraid. :: the cords let him go and it was as if they had never been.
:: I did nay hurt ye. Ye know how to do that when we nay be in here? ::
:: Why do you want to know this, Chakai? ::
:: Someone told me these.. gifts.. be no different than learning to wield a new weapon. ::
:: I wish to leave now. We will discuss this outside of here. :: He started to withdraw, cutting off the flow of his own gift gradually so that the withdrawal would not hurt her and suddenly he found himself stopped. The Chakai-image held her fist in front of her and the image of the door that she’d formed to let him in, was gone. On his end it felt as if the flow of power had been cut off entirely and he was trapped in her mind. He tried not to panic.
:: Khellian! :: he shouted as loudly as he could but had no idea if it had reached his friend or not. He struggled and he felt himself grow furious.
:: Chakai let me go, Now! I do not find this honorable or amusing. ::
He felt honest surprise from her and she raised her eyebrows.
:: I be nay hurting you. Why ye be so angry? I just wanted to see what would happen. I would nay harm ye. Why ye be afraid? ::
Immediately he felt himself filled with the power that he himself had been trying to call on and he left quickly, not worrying about if he hurt her or not. The wince on her face gave him a shameful second of pleasure which he quickly scolded himself for. He pulled his hands out of hers and stood, walking across the room from her.
:: DUALTA! :: He winced at Khellian’s scream in his mind. :: I’m fine.. I think. I’m here at least. I cannot talk now though. Please.. Gods Khellian… we underestimated her… ::
Chakai stood also, watching him closely.