Click, click, boom.
The training ground was mostly empty except for the squad of unattached Swords practicing their drills under the ever watchful and critical eye of their commander. Cam smirked at the memories of his own commander and training days.
“Well, looky here.” A voice drifted to them from the left, “Haven’t seen you around at Shad’s lately, Gantervez.”
“Been busy, Don.” Cam replied as a man about the same build as him walked over followed by another man, this one of a slighter build.
Don snorted shaking Cam’s hand then noticed Kailah. He did a slight bow, “Pleasure to meet the Caster that finally tamed Gantervez.”
“What?” Kailah asked with a laugh and a curious glance at Cam.
Don whistled in appreciation, “Dang, if I’d known they made ‘em this gorgeous I would attend the Joinings more often.”
“You’d join with anything in a skirt.” The slighter man said with a smile on his face while Kailah blushed at the compliment.
“Morning Skiff. How’s the wife?” Cam asked the guy shaking his hand as well.
“Same ol’ thing, pregnant again though.” Skiff said grinning.
“Again? Man, you should slow down, that makes what? Eight?” Cam asked raising his eyebrows in surprise, “I don’t see how you deal with a wife and eight children and manage to stay somewhat sane.”
Skiff laughed, “Yeah, why do you think I’m hanging with this loser?”
Cam laughed as Don cried in indignation. Chelry and Esma nodded in greeting at Don and Skiff then headed on to where Cam and Kailah would be training.
“Don, Skiff, and I are old bunker mates and drinking buddies.” Cam explained turning to Kailah. He held his hand up in a mock gesture of conspiracy, “Don’t believe a word Don tells you, he’s a notorious liar and a flirtatious bastard.”
“Gantervez, I’m hurt! You have no respect for people’s feelings.” Don said in mock shock at Cam’s words. Skiff just leaned back at his post and chuckled.
“Uh-huh, the day you develop feelings is the day the Emperor gets rid of all taxes.” Cam smirked as he smiled at his old friend.
“I have feelings, Gantervez, they’re just buried!” Don said smiling back at him, “Seems your trainer is here, we should go for drinks sometime soon and catch up.”
“I’d like that.” Cam said shaking each of their hands again, “Skiff try to keep this guy out of trouble.”
Skiff rolled his eyes, “You always did ask the impossible, Gantervez.”
“Hey, I can take care of myself!” Don cried as Cam and Kailah headed over to Chelry and Esma.
“Sure, sure.” Cam said patronizingly over his shoulder as Skiff laughed. Kailah followed Cam trying not to chuckle.
“Friends of yours?” Kailah asked him as they came to where Chelry and Esma were waiting.
Cam grunted, “Yeah, we were in the same bunker during training. Don and Skiff haven’t ever attached, so like all the rest of the unattached they become regular soldiers of the kingdom. They also accompanied Shalia and me on missions sometimes.”
“You used to drink with them often?” Kailah asked stopping beside Chelry. The trainer was making his way over to them.
“Yeah, they were the only two who would let me drink myself stupid after…” Cam paused, “…after Shalia died.”
Further questioning was cut short as the trainer approached, “Good morning, class.” The trainer was a middle-aged man about five ten, medium build. He had the same grey eyes as Maltoris and spoke in the same thick Northernlands accent.
“Good morning, trainer.” Kailah said bowing slightly, “My name is Kailah, Element Caster, and this is my Sword.”
“Cameron Gantervez.” Cam spoke for himself bowing also.
“Yes, well, my name is Salforis, and to start with we’re going to be working on sensing the connection.” Salforis said as he smiled pleasantly at the two of them, “Will you two also be joining us?”
“No, we are merely observing.” Esma said coldly as she walked off toward a bench. Chelry bowed to Salforis and followed after her. Cam chuckled as Salforis shrugged and turned back to the two of them.
“Now, imagine that there is a string connecting to two of you at some point. Most find it easiest to imagine a string tied around a finger.” Slaforis began.
Cam thought back to the time that Shalia and he had trained their connection. She had analogized it to the red string of fate that tied two lovers together or something like that. Cam chuckled at the memory of the trainer turning bright red and getting flustered.
Cam could already feel the connection between himself and Kailah; it was like a buzz in the back of the head. Power flow from your Caster was an indescribable sensation; you had to be careful how much you took though, because it was possible to drain the Caster to the point of death.
Cam didn’t really know what it felt like for the Caster though, Shalia hadn’t ever told him. He glanced at Kailah and saw a puzzled look on her face.
“What?” Cam asked.
“Do you sense the connection, Caster?” Salforis asked her softly.
“I think so.” Kailah replied hesitantly.
“What do you feel?” Salforis urged.
“I feel,” Kailah’s facial features became more puzzled, “I feel…hungry.”
At that Cam’s stomach growled loudly as did Kailah’s. She blushed in embarrassment as Cam laughed. Chelry chuckled from where he sat next to Esma.
“I also feel something else, but I can’t describe it.” Kailah said as Cam continued to chuckle.
“That feeling is the connection. The sensation will become more powerful the more power you put through it. You should be careful the amount you pour in, you can overload the Sword.” Salforis cautioned ignoring Cam’s laughing fit.
“What would happen to Cameron if I did?” Kailah asked concern fringing her voice.
“I’ll die.” Cam answered before Salforis could, “Think of it like a wineskin, it can only hold so much before it bursts. I’m the same with power, I can only hold so much before I lose control of it and it kills me.”
“Is there a way to keep that from happening?” Kailah asked Salforis who was slightly ruffled that Cam took over his role of explaining.
“Yes, the Sword is able to, somewhat, limit the amount of Power poured in. Also the Sword can take power from the Caster.” Salforis explained.
“Think of it like a water tap that I control, I can turn it on full blast or turn it down to a trickle, but I can never turn it completely off.” Cam took up the explanation ignoring Salforis’s glare.
“Wouldn’t that eventually fill you up?” Kailah asked confused.
“If I don’t burn it off yes, but my body naturally burns the power off at a very slow rate. That’s what makes a Sword able to connect to only one specific Caster.” Cam explained.
“How does your body burn it off?” Kailah asked him, Salforis was pretty much forgotten.
“Same way that I would burn off food, exercise it off.” Cam replied.
“I see, so we’re in training to see how much power you can hold?” Kailah asked raising her eyebrows.
Cam laughed, “No, we’re training to attune so that I can take power without thinking about it too much and without disrupting you.”
“Does taking power from me-“ Kailah gasped as a shock went through her body. She felt slightly lightheaded afterward and swayed.
Cam caught and steadied her, “That’s what it feels like when I take power. And that was only a small amount.”
Kailah’s face was slightly flushed from the experience, “So, the more you take the stronger the sensation?”
Cam nodded, “What did it feel like? Shalia would never tell me.”
“Um, well, it didn’t hurt, it was more surprising.” Kailah dodged answering the question, “It felt like someone dropped an ice chip down the back of my shirt.”
Kailah lied, truth be told it felt good, really good, but she didn’t know how to describe it. Cam pursed his lips in thought.
“Now that you know the sensation we’ll be practicing for the next few days on Cameron taking out very small amounts of power, so you can become accustomed to the sensation and it won’t come as much of a shock.” Salforis said trying to reassert himself as the teacher.
“Once she’s used to that, then what?” Cam asked, “I need to be able to know how to stop her, should her powers go wacky, again.”
Kailah glared at him and crossed her arms over her chest as Chelry chuckled from where he and Esma sat watching.
“That will come with time, once she’s ok with the power draining, we’ll move on to the stop-gap measure.” Salforis grinned at them mischievously.
“O….k…” Cam wasn’t sure he was going to like that training by the way Salforis was grinning.
“Oh, come on Cameron, it can’t be that bad.” Kailah said cheerily.
-yeah that's right up there with, "What could possibly go wrong."-