Dee stared the dull wood and plaster walls surrounding her in boredom. The room wasn’t a cell exactly, but she wouldn’t call it very welcoming either. The Meilin woman that had walked in on the scene of Dee killing the three dirtbags had taken her here for some questions. She had been taken into some kind of large walled area that seemed to house members of a particular community, judging by the insignia they wore.
It was like she had been taken into a city, within a city, within a city. This walled area certainly seemed large enough for a small city, and was situated at the edge of the inhabited area surrounding the teleportation gate. The inhabited area was certainly large enough to qualify as a big city, and was of course located within the Day city. She wasn’t a prisoner exactly, apparently the girl she had saved was part of the community of the Meilin woman, and the woman was a sort of guardian of the community. She was probably also the person that Dee came here for.
The woman’s name was apparently Moirai, and she had asked rather politely but firmly for Dee’s cooperation, and had left Dee in this room while she took care of the girl Dee had saved. The girl had been in shock, and would most likely be having some level of trauma for a time at least, so Moirai had to see to her needs before talking to Dee. Apparently being bathed in your attacker’s blood wasn’t very conducive for mental health of normal people. Who could’ve guessed?
Well, it’s not like Dee was in a hurry so she was ok waiting a bit. She still had several of those delicious meat skewers she had bought stored inside Croestia’s storage space. Besides, she wanted to analyze how Moirai had stopped her attack. Dee had struck at the woman on almost pure instinct, and the reflexes required to stop that kind of surprise attack would need to be stellar. It was slightly amusing she had managed to surprise someone who was so obviously stronger than her.
‘Did you notice how she stopped my attack?’ Dee asked Croestia silently in case someone was trying to listen. Dee would almost certainly notice if someone did try, but no need to take chances at this point.
‘I noticed she clad her skin in some short of protective layer of power, but your attack didn’t reach that far. What did you feel?’ Croestia asked back. She had to rely on sight, while Dee could feel what happened to the attack.
‘It’s like my wing hit some kind of force going the opposite direction. Invisible force at that. It was a little like someone had sent an invisible punch at my wing, except it felt like whatever hit my wing had a much greater mass behind it. Like getting punched with a wall.’ Dee had trouble explaining her feeling.
‘Some kind of pure kinetic energy perhaps?’ Croestia suggested.
‘Perhaps.’ Dee replied thoughtfully. Her thoughts were interrupted by footsteps outside the door.
The person who entered was that same Meilin woman named Moirai. Dee couldn’t help but find the differences between them slightly amusing. Meilin as a race were rather diminutive, roughly the same height as dwarves, except without the burly build. The small woman’s pair of rather large ears, reminiscent of those you'd see on a squirrel, came just above the navel of Dee, who on the other hand had the heritage of several tall races.
If the woman didn’t have such obvious aura of strength about her, Dee might be tempted to pet that puffy squirrel tail behind her back. As Meilin had something of a childlike appearance even at later age, it was hard to judge their age. The woman’s brown and long hair tied into two loose braids and her large brown eyes certainly did nothing to dispel that youthful impression. However, it was quite certain that this woman was significantly older than Dee, probably also much older than Sarfina.
Moirai noticed Dee’s appraising look, and noticed the slight twitch in the girl’s hand when she saw Moirai’s tail. This was something Moirai was used to, even if she didn’t appreciate it. Other races had trouble taking the Meilin seriously due to their appearance, which was both an advantage and a disadvantage. Meilin were great mages and despite their mediocre physical strength they made for pretty good warriors, mostly due to their agility and dexterity. Thus underestimating them could be lethally dangerous. On the other hand, the other races always tried to take advantage of them, due to their appearance. Meilin were smart and could avoid such pitfalls, but it wasted precious time on many occasions.
“Well then, I should probably start by introducing myself. My name is Moirai, and I’m one of the guardians of this community, which functions as a sub community of the Four Winds.” Moirai took a seat across from Dee, placing her hands on the table between the two. She gave a friendly smile in an attempt to show that Dee wasn’t really in trouble.
“Oh, if I overheard correctly, then the party outside is thrown mostly by you. Something about your parent community gaining a high rank or something? My name is Haydee, though most just call me Dee.” Dee replied, returning the introduction.
“You heard correctly. The Four Winds became one of the top two hundred communities in Day city. Firstly I’d like to thank you for saving one of our members. As a guardian, that should’ve been my job. Although I do think you might have been a little excessive in your use of force.” Moirai remembered how Dee had almost casually snapped the neck of the third and final surviving member of the three assailants. She’d been holding the man up by the throat with one hand at that point. Dee’s flick of a wrist had been so very casual, and she hadn’t even looked at the thug that had collapsed on the ground.
“I’ve always been taught not to leave live enemies behind, and everything I’ve seen only confirms that lesson. They will not thank you for your mercy, only seek revenge. Even if they can’t strike at you, they might be able to strike at those close to you. I would apologize if that seems excessive, but I would be lying if I said I was sorry.” Dee tilted her head questioningly at Moirai while answering.
“That’s a lesson many have to learn the hard way, and some never do. That often comes to bite them in the back in the inner circles. We aren’t in a habit of giving mercy to degenerates like that either, though I would’ve preferred to question them first. Also, it might have been better if poor Mina, the girl you saved, wasn’t covered in their blood.” Moirai grimaced a bit. Mina had been unable to get out a coherent sentence as she was carried to bed.
“That I am a little sorry about. I’ve been taught to strike at my enemies in a way that I won’t be spattered in their blood. Unfortunately that blood still goes somewhere else. My control is inadequate. More practice is required.” Dee replied thoughtfully, completely oblivious to the implications of ‘more practice’.
Moirai narrowed her eyes a bit. Only certain types of people were taught to strike in a way Dee described, usually because it would allow them to remain undetected and lose pursuers in a crowd. “Would you mind telling me why you are here? I get the feeling you aren’t local to this area.”
“I don’t mind. I was told to come here by the Threads of Fate. I’m looking for a teacher.” Dee looked pointedly at Moirai. “And unless I’m mistaken, I’ve just found her.”
Moirai couldn’t hide her surprise. This was totally outside of her expectations. “Teacher you said? And Threads of Fate guided you here?” Even though the Four Winds was nominally a much higher ranked organization than Threads of Fate, even they knew not to pick a fight with the enigmatic organization. Moirai also knew the reliability of their information.
“Yes. Until recently I was in the care of the Order of the Radiant Sun, who saved me from…” Dee grimaced a bit. “…from some very bad people. One of their captains took a liking to me, and taught me much in the way of the templar, but the order isn’t exactly filled with people capable of training a psion. Hence why I sought advice from the Threads of Fate, who then guided me here.”
Moirai leaned back in her chair, lost in thought. The girl had thrown out another name that could not be ignored. Radiant Sun was another organization that could not be trifled with, and the order even had a post in this area as well. In addition to their strength, the order was closely tied with the Holy Orders, and no one picked a fight with the stewards of the gods.
“Do I want to know who the Radiant Sun saved you from?” Moirai was slightly leery that the name of another big player would come out. Unknown to her, she would’ve been right. It wasn’t a blind guess though, as something about Dee already told Moirai enough.
“No you don’t. I’ll answer if you want, but I’m fairly sure you don’t want to know. I also hope to leave that part of my life in the past.” Dee said in a slightly sad voice.
Moirai could imagine that whatever she had been saved from wasn’t something she wanted to think about too much. “So. You need a psion teacher, and I’m supposed to be it. I’m not totally opposed to the idea, but what’s in it for me? Saving Mina is hardly enough, even though I appreciate it.”
“Well that I’ll have to return to you a bit. What would you consider enough? I can tell you that I’m trained in both templar and priestess holy spells, and I didn’t sense too many of those capable of using either among your people. I’m fairly sure you can find a use for someone like that. Besides, having spent so much time among very bad people gives me different kind of perspective. I can help you spot them, and help safeguard your community against them.”
Moirai knew Dee had a point. The girl had spotted that trio much easier than she had, and they didn’t exactly have an oversupply of those that could use holy power to any degree of proficiency. Especially those with templar training were rare, as the order didn’t like giving out their techniques willy-nilly, and most templars served in the order until the day they died. It was something of a calling. There were other groups with similar methods of using holy power, but they were rare and tended to be just as insular.
“Do you have to return to the order?” Moirai asked calculating the possibilities.
“For a time at least, yes. I’m not bound to the order like most of their number, but I am expected to return to finish my training. I would assume I have to also serve among them for a time.” Dee replied. Sarfina hadn’t told the exact plan, so she was forced to speculate a bit. Most likely Sarfina didn’t know either, but unlike a normal Radiant Sun recruit, Dee wasn’t among them due to a calling. She was kind of forced to be there a punishment for things she might have been forced to do for the assassins.
Moirai thought for a while. “What race are you? Looking at you more closely, I’m pretty sure you’re not just a kitsune, are you? I remember seeing a wing that reminded me of a Fallen.”
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure. Why?” Dee asked, a little wary of the change in subject.
“You’re not sure? What about your parents? I know you mentioned you were saved from some bad people, but as a psion you should be able to remember your life as a baby to a degree at least.” Moirai was well aware of the memory psions had, being a psion herself.
Dee was quiet for a while. “I’m not entirely sure I ever even had parents. The earliest I can remember is being saved from the purge by my adoptive mother. It seems though that I have many races in my heritage, most demonic.”
Moirai could make a guess how something like that came to pass. “The reason I ask, is because I need to get an idea of your lifespan.”
Dee raised an eyebrow. “Why? Never mind. I wouldn’t worry too much. None of the races in my background have short lifespans, and at least a few are functionally immortal.”
Moirai gave a small smile. She had a hunch and decided to act on it. “The answer to the why, comes now. If I take you as a student and disciple, then I want you to first train with me as long as you can before returning to the order. Then you will come back and finish your training with me once your time with the order is over. You could try talking with them about some kind of double membership in both our community and in their order if that makes things easier. I want you to become part of our community.
You will serve our community as if you were a member for the time you study under me, and afterwards an equal amount of time once your training is over. So with ten years of training, you’d be a member of our community for twenty years total. Once that time is over, you are free to leave, but my hope is that we will get along well enough for you to stay.”
Dee was quiet for a moment. Even throwing a century at this community would most likely not make a real dent in her lifespan. Both werewolves and angels only got stronger as they aged, and kitsune and Rakshasa Rani lived for thousands of years. So even if she took after the worst heritage within her in this, she would still live long enough to render something like a century irrelevant. And that was assuming she never became class ten psion and thus immortal.
“That seems at the same time awfully demanding and awfully generous. Why do you want me to become a member of your community that badly?” Dee had to ask.
“Well, like you said, you have skills we could really use. Besides, I have a feeling you have an important future ahead of you. I will freely admit to wanting to utilize that future.” Moirai replied straight faced. Threads of Fate seemed to put some weight on Dee, thus so would Moirai. She could put two and two together.
“Deal.” Dee finally said, shaking hands with the diminutive woman.
“How old are you anyway?” Moirai suddenly asked.
“Just turned fourteen, why?” Dee asked back.
“Just curious.” Moirai replied, hiding a grimace. She wasn’t sure which one irked her more. That a girl that young was twice her height, that a girl that young was already a class 5 psion or that a girl that young could already deal with death so casually. That last one was a little sad though.
As Meilin led her outside, Dee noted happily that the rest of the area controlled by the Four Winds was much more welcoming than the drab room she had just exited. The four races making up the vast majority of people in this area all seemed to favor wood as a construction material and most of the buildings were only one story with screen doors and covered walkways. Water and nature seemed to both be heavily favored, as trees, small ponds and streams were everywhere.
Dee noted a handful people outside the four races that made up the alliance, most likely either visitors or people who had been recruited due to their skill or potential. Just the four races made an interesting combination though. The Dagon were large, even taller than Dee and much sturdier. They looked much like dark skinned humans with a pair of draconic horns and some scales in various places. From what Dee had overheard, the Dagon were the brawn of this alliance. They weren’t the smartest of races, but they were honorable and hard workers, which had led to other races taking advantage of them before this. The Dagon provided the alliance physical labor and warriors.
Meilin and Jun were the smartest races in the alliance and magically gifted. While the Jun were wholly useless in physical combat, the Meilin were a rather balanced race and could be said to be the glue that held them together. Jun on the other hand were the public face and the skilled craftsmen and artisans that produced most of the trade goods. Dee hadn’t heard that much about the fourth race, the Anshar yet. They seemed to be few in number and fairly secretive. All in good time though.
“Today I’d like for you to help us identify people like you dealt with earlier. We’d like to nip the possible problems in the bud before they develop into major issues. You seemed to spot them really easily. I want you to point out those that might be similar, and I’ll have them monitored.” Moirai explained while taking Dee back towards the celebration area.
“Oh that reminds me, how did you find me so fast? I mean the Threads of Fate told me you would, but I had arrived here only few hours earlier.” Dee suddenly remembered a question she had.
Moirai looked at Dee in confusion, as if wondering if she was joking. “Oh you don’t know, do you? How much have you been taught about being a psion?”
Dee shrugged a little. “Not that much really. My adoptive mother taught me some meditative techniques and how to empower myself with the psionic energy. I learned how to clad myself or my weapon in that energy to help me increase my attack power, and I have a technique about forming weapons out of psionic energy.” She thought for a moment. “That’s just about it. I seem to have the ability to make people ignore my presence, but that’s something I learned on my own.”
“So your abilities so far have been purely enhancement type. That’s not uncommon when dealing with psions with no official training, seeing as those are the simplest to learn.” Moirai said half to herself. She had expected something like this, though Dee’s ignorance of the basics was a bit shocking.
“Enhancement?” Dee asked.
“Yes, abilities and powers that increase your capabilities in physical combat. Basically warrior types. Psionic powers can be divided into three major categories. Enhancement type skills like you use are one and those that focus on them are generally compared to warriors. Power types are often compared to mages, as they let their powers do most of the fighting. They focus on skills and abilities that bring about devastation with just a thought and a gesture.
For the record, I myself am mostly a power type, with a big helping of the third type which is called mental type. Many people think that any fight with a psion is a fight against time, because the fight comes effectively to an end when a mental type psion manages to breach your mental defenses. That is due to all the nasty things they can do to your mind, ranging from illusions to just…well death. Not all psions are strong in the mental aspect, but it is undoubtedly one of our major strengths in general. All mental related abilities and skills fall into this type.” Moirai explained.
“The tiger werebeast at two a clock, fifty mel.” Dee suddenly pointed out. Just because she was listening, didn’t mean she wasn’t observing her surroundings.
“Anything special about him?” Moirai asked in curiosity.
“He has seen more death than anyone should. His eyes are dead and carry hate towards anyone living. He might not do anything, but I’d keep an eye on him just in case. Also a human pickpocket at eleven a clock, hundred mel. Female, dark brown hair, about ten years old. About this tall.” Dee held a hand below her waist.
“Oh I think I saw her before. I was about to catch her earlier, before you came along.” Moirai had a faint smile on her lips.
“You still didn’t explain how you found me.” Dee pointed out.
“Right, I was getting to that. Psions are very hard to detect by normal means, which would make them a problem even at the innermost circles if it wasn’t for one thing. It’s almost impossible for a psion to hide from another psion that has training in the mental skills. That’s why almost all major communities keep at least one mental focused psion around. To someone like me, someone like you shines like a beacon. Or to be exact, your mind does. It still took me effort to look past that aura of yours, even if I knew where to look for you.” Moirai explained, half mocking herself at her failure to notice the effect of that aura.
“My mind shines like a beacon?” Dee asked with a frown.
“Yes. All psions can use an ability called Mindscape. It’s like entering a dark void, with all the minds around you shining like stars. Strong minds are larger and easier to detect, and other psions are like a beacon. Normally this takes quite a bit of concentration and meditation, but someone like me who has trained the ability and trains with mind abilities can overlap the Mindscape with the normal world. It still takes a conscious effort, and the detection isn’t exact, but it can help give an approximate location pretty easily.” This had turned into Dee’s first lesson, and already taught her something critical for her future.
“Well now, this is something I’ll need to learn. I had no idea I was that easy to detect.” To say Dee was unhappy about it was an understatement. “Any way to avoid such detection?”
“I won’t say no, but I don’t know of any viable method. That said, there’s always a way with things like this.” Moirai replied simply.