POM Part 13: Being Included by RedPhantom ()
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“I did it!” Fom bound into class. “I did it!”
“Hey, great!” Ann smiled. “Good job.”
“What did he do?” Dae frowned.
Ann shrugged. “I don’t know but he’s excited, so I thought we should be too.”
Fom growled at her.
“Grrr.” She growled back. The others laughed.
“I can breathe fire!” Fom finally told them. “I got a plume as long as my wing.”
“Great! Now only two to go.” Dae smiled.
“Two?” Bria frowned.
“Ti and Ann.”
“Not me.” Ann shook her head. “I’m exempt. I have an excuse for my healer. He said it would be bad for my health.”
Ti frowned too. “I’ve breathed fire.”
“Only a claw’s length,” Dae said.
“I can still breathe fire. I talked to the teacher, and she said it would be good enough. We’ll work on it in class.” Ti explained.
“Ghin, what about you?” Pim asked. “Does your tongue give you trouble?”
Ghin nodded. “A little. The teacher said she work with me.”
“So maybe we’ll be doing that soon,” Dae said.
“It’ll be a time Kith’s here. He’s going to help too,” Ann said. “He’s good with breathing fire.”
At the request of Emeton, Ann scried Janta and Piena. While neither were happy with their grandfather’s behavior, neither felt it was necessary for her to come get them.
Kav continued to practice taking different forms. He’d come to class every few days with a new form. At first, some of the class thought he was a new student, but after a couple of times, they started assuming the person they didn’t recognize was him.
The teacher had her baby. Nim acted as a substitute at the time. Bria was excited because she got to help with the delivery. The teacher brought the baby for a visit. Dragons had children so infrequently Ann wasn’t the only one who’d never seen a baby dragon before.
Ann asked about that, but no one knew Ann wondered if Lyni would know. He was a dragon and seemed to know more about healing than most. But no one knew where he was. She tried scrying him, but the spell failed.
Kith still came occasionally, but they also worked out a self-study program for him since he was at the college too. He came for a visit one evening after his college class to see her.
“Where’s Sapphire?” Ann asked.
Kith laughed. “She’s seventeen. She’s okay alone for a while. She’s helping at Dark’s clinic. The hags like her there because she keeps the place organized.”
“It's a shame he doesn’t need her full-time,” Ann said.
Kith nodded. “She enjoys the job. She’s thought a little about taking classes on patchwork. Then maybe she could get a job at one of the other clinics.”
“Is she going to?”
Kith shrugged. “She’s worried about leaving home.”
“Why? She’s lived on her own. And she’s on her own a lot now.”
“You didn’t see her when we first met. She was a mess, sick, half-starved, scared of everything and everyone. I had a real hard time getting her to trust me.”
“But she’ll have a place to stay at the college. And we’re both there in Sen-gan often.”
Kith nodded. “I told her this. She said she’d think about it.”
“Are you staying the night?” Ann asked.
Kith smiled. “Would you like me to?”
“Do you need to ask?”
“I’ll let Hu know. She said she’d still listen for us.”
Ann was woken from her nightmare before it had barely started by a roar. She jerked up. Kith caught her.
“It’s okay. It’s just a mating cry.” He told her.
“A mating cry?”
“Dragons do that when they take a mate. It sounded like it might’ve been Bob.” He paused and grinned. “Yep. It was Bob.”
That better have not been you two, Hu sent. Ann cringed at the pain.
It was Bob, Kith sent back.
“How do you know?” Ann demanded.
“I asked him.”
“You did? Now?”
Kith grinned. “It’s common to do so.” Then the community calls started, people asking who it was and congratulating the couple. Ann cringed in pain. Kith held her close. He thought about taking her to Thager, but they had no chaperone there. The calls didn’t last long, and the pain subsided quickly once they stopped.
“If we’re here when we mate the first time, I’ll tell them not to do that. They can send to me only.” Kith offered.
“I’d like to be in Thager, but we’ll probably be in Sen-gan,” Ann told him.
“We’ll get married in Sen-gan, but we can spend the night anywhere you want. If you want to go out to the oasis, we can even do that. I’ll even take the bed out there.” Kith suggested.
“Outside?” Ann asked, shocked.
“Why not? No would be there.” Kith shrugged.
“Except maybe Nim.”
“Only if he’s hunting. But if I let him know we’re there, he’ll stay away. I thought about inviting him to the wedding.”
“Do you think you’ll come?”
“Probably not,” Kith admitted.
“Has there been any progress finding my dad?”
“Nothing yet. I need to talk with Tylan. A healer was coming from someplace to help your grandma. He may have met your dad. I don’t think we ever talked to him. Unfortunately, I was too drunk to remember anything about him.”
“I’m surprised you even remember that.”
“I think it was the only time I ever saw your mom with anybody besides Dark, Ty, or Vor. And Ty started looking like she was going to make advances on him.”
“What about that guy you said she got a room with?”
Kith sighed. “I think it’s time for my annual Nielboh check. I’d forgotten about that too. I think Vor was working. I’ll talk with him.”
“I wish I could help you, but I have no idea where to begin looking.”
“Don’t worry about it tonight. I know you’re probably done sleeping, but I need more.”
“I was thinking about sleeping more too. I haven’t had a nightmare yet so I might be okay.”
“Okay, good night sweetie.” He kissed her.
“Good night, my love.” She laid her head on his chest.
Once the teacher returned, she and Kith took the class out to the desert for testing the fire-breathing skills to see who needed help and what kind. Ann listened some but was mostly bored. It was hard to stay interested in something she barely understood and never truly would because it was something she could never do. She worked on her mage sight exercises and tried to develop her addiction.
The teacher had them lineup to see how far their fire could go. Ann slipped into the line and threw a fireball.
“Narticani, please don’t be disruptive.” The teacher warned.
“Sorry.” Ann cringed at the use of her apprentice name. She disliked it enough that Nim had relented and said she didn’t need to go by it all the time. He and the teacher were the only ones who used it anyway. Both still used it if she was in trouble.
“Didn’t you bring something to do?” The teacher asked.
“Yes, ma’am. I just wanted to be part of the class.”
“You are part of the class. You’re not the first student to need special work, and you won’t be the last.”
“Yeah, do you know how old I was before I could fly?” Kith asked. “And Uncle grew up in Resdelk, so he needed lots of help.”
“And I took about three years before I could use my vial properly.” The teacher admitted. “And Nim, he had learned most of what we studied while he was away. When he was in class, he spent much of his time drawing. The teacher would accuse him of not paying attention, so then he’d recite several minutes of class.”
“Just work on your addiction and let me know if you get too hot. I know humans are more sensitive to heat.”
Ann nodded. “I will. I brought my waterskin too.”
The teacher nodded. “Good.”
Ann found a shady spot and sat to cast and read. Sometimes, she watched them practice. The teacher and Kith worked with those struggling. A couple of times she cast images of animals for them to try to hit.
Late in the morning, Kith flew off. He returned a short time later with a couple of deer. He took Ghin with him to collect the rest he’d caught. Kith roasted some for Ann, and they all ate lunch.
Ann continued reading while they practiced. She was what running low on water and starting to get uncomfortable. She’d run out of books and was about to ask the teacher if she could get more to read and to drink when the teacher announced it was time to go.
“Are you okay?” Kith asked.
“We’ll get you more water when we get back. Maybe we should have Bob check you too.”
“I’m fine. I’m not that fragile. Trust me.” Ann insisted.
“You’re also not still a prisoner. You can get help if you need it.” Kith reminded her.
“Kith, really, I’m okay. I’m just a little hot.”
“You’re a lot hot. And your face is red. Are you sure you don’t sunburn?”
She nodded. “I stayed in the shade. I’m okay. I’ll drink some water when I get back. The cave’s cool. That’ll help.”
“I’m keeping an eye on you.” Kith insisted.