The darkness which engulfed his mind clouded it with confusion as Kaden asked once more without words, "You want what from me?" The voice of his guide and mentor wrapped around him silkily, "I want a little chaos and you are the one who will give it to me." The words lingered in his mind as he tried desperately to grasp their meaning, "I don't understand." There was a very audible sigh as Lumin pressed, "Life here is too borning. Every year it is the same thing over and over; new faces, same places. I'm tired with the subtly of this world."
"There is peace in Rinsha, why would you want to destroy it?" Kaden asked as a slight chuckle answered him, "Oh, there is no reason to be so dramatic. I don't want to destroy anything. I merely want to have a little fun and you will be my vessle to do so. Being a spirit of nature doesn't give me grounds to actually manifest my wishes as I please, so I need someone as ambitious as you to do it for me. Come on, young Whisperer, we could have a grand time together. Don't you want to feel the power I can give you?"
"No, I don't want to hurt anyone for your pleasure." Kaden answered firmly as Lumin quickly responded, "Who said anything about hurting anyone? I am a spirit of nature, young one. There is no malevolency in my intentions! Just the pure desire for some fun. Come now, Kaden, let's light this world on fire." Again the exhausted boy replied, "No, I can't, it doesn't feel right." There was a moment of hesitation before Lumin replied softly, "For now. You'll call out to me again, young Whisperer. When you want more than you have now, you will find me. I'll be waiting, Kaden."
"Kaden! Kaden! Are you all right?! Kaden!" A much sharper voice pulled him out of the darkness as his golden eyes fluttered open to the violet gaze above him. It took a moment before the face became recognizable as Mie's idenity came to him, "Mie.....what are you doing here?"
"Looking for you! I was training and one of my birds saw you collapse! Are you all right?" Mie fretted over him as Kaden sat up slowly, "Yes, I'm fine." She placed a hand on his back to support him, "What happened to you?" His honey-colored eyes searched her face as she pointed to his singed arm. Confusion laced his thoughts as he raised his right arm to the light, turning it one way and another, "I don't know. I didn't feel it burn. I was training and then....."
"Then what?" Mie asked as the conversation between Lumin and Kaden raced through his mind, "Um....nothing.....I overdid it. That's all. Nothing to worry about." A slight breeze came across the hillside and made the small girl shake as Kaden tried his best to stand firmly, "You look like you're freezing, why don't I walk you home?" The gesture was kind in nature, as was Kaden, so gingerly, Mie slid her bird-like hand into his un-scorched grasp and allowed him to escort her.
The village of Rinsha avoided the pair absent-mindedly, as if they had a subiliminal reason for doing so. Mie glanced around at their faces as their backs turned from her soft-spoken classmate. Her wet eyes turned up to Kaden's face as he walked with an aura of pleasantness unknown to most. He wasn't like the other boys their age who were loud and obnoxious; Kaden was always kind and sincere.
"It isn't right." She stated softly as Kaden's topaz eyes searched her face, "What's not?" Feeling a flush come to her cheeks, Mie replied, "The way everyone treats you. What ever have you done Kaden, that wasn't kind or accepting? You always volunteer to help when you can, you speak polietly and you ignore the terrible things people say. So why is that you should be shunned as you are?" The words tumbled out of her mouth quicker than she intended leaving the shy girl regretting that she spoke them at all, sure that she had offended him.
"I guess they have their reasons. Not everyone can be accepted in life." Kaden replied, his tone and smile patient as Mie looked down, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything." As the breeze lifted his dark hair, Kaden placed a hand on her impossibly thin shoulder, "Don't be afraid to say what's on your mind, Mie. You have an exceptionally lovely one. And don't worry about me, I'll be fine. Thank you for looking for me today. I bet I looked rather silly laying on the ground like a drunk, didn't I?"
Mie's violet eyes turned back to his burnt arm concerned as he smiled and waved, "Well, you take care now." She waved back shyly, before disappearing into the safety of her home. Kaden cleared the corner before his troubled thoughts returned and the fresh streak of black marred his arm wickedly. What was going on? Why had Lumin sought him out with a request like that? And why had his affinity turned on him so? Of course, the young fire Whisperer had been burnt in the past. But this was the first time it had ever happened in an unconscious state.
"Training hard?" The voice met him darkly as Kaden bit his tongue and turned, hiding his singed arm behind him, "Yes, ma'am." Jessah emerged from the alley, basket in hand, giving her the image of a normal woman shopping for supper. If he were to glance in on the contents, Kaden knew he would find a bundle of freshly picked herbs for a series of antidotes she would concoct for the villagers. Jessah had the potential to be so good and yet, her bitterness kept most of the villagers from asking her for anything unless it was crucial.
"Let me see your arm." She ordered frigidly as reluctantly, Kaden exposed the mark which slithered up his arm just as the red and black serpant coiled around his mother's shoulders did. She stepped forward and grabbed it firmly, "So, it has come to this now." His golden eyes turned up to her piercing gaze made him feel as if he were four again, "Jessah?" She rotated his marred skin one way and lifted it slightly to get a better look on his bicep, "Lumin is your guide, yes?"
The name sent an involuntary shiver down his spine as Kaden swallowed, "Yes, ma'am. He spoke to me today." Her onyx hair fell forward slightly as the curious snake slithered around it's perch. Jessah was silent for a moment, before her eyes took in her son with a new fascination, "Come with me, we are going home. I have something I want to verify." Quick as always to obey her, Kaden followed his mother through the streets of Rinsha, people making a clear path for them as they passed.
Later that evening, Winna, refreshed from her encounter with Rita knocked lightly on Mie's bedroom door. It opened and the sight of feathers and sounds of chirping reached her ears as Winna took in the impressive display of birds around the room. Mie had always kept pets since they were children, but recently she had undergone a vast study of the Recukoo birds which were becoming more and more scarse in Rinsha's forests.
"Good evening, Winna." Mie said as she raised her hand to feed the large bird with crimson feathers, perched on her windowsill. Winna stepped over a stack of notes all scribbed in Mie's perfect hand-writing and sat on her bed softly, "You wanted to talk to me?" Mie brushed off her hands on her skirt and turned to face her best friend, "I just thought we could have a girl's night. I haven't seen you very much with all that's been going on in your life and I felt a little left out."
Winna held out her arm for Mie to happily take as both girls laid down on the soft sheets. Mie snuggled closely, finding comfort in her friend's unending strength as Winna sighed, "Things have been so crazy lately. Everyone is asking for my help on everything. My poor parents have been woken up at ungodly hours because of it. It seems like everyone is pulling up with their ailments for me to fix."
"Well that's a good thing isn't it? You've always liked to help and now you have found your affinity. This will only make it easier for you to do what you love doing, right?" Mie asked as Winna brushed back her friend's auburn hair lightly, "I guess, I just wish they would give me more time to practice before asking me to fix a hurt they've had for ten years. I'm so worried about disappointing everyone. Besides what that worm breath Seto said is in the back of my mind."
Not liking the sound of the nasty boy's name, Mie narrowed her eyes, "What did he say? Was he picking on you again?" Winna smiled at her friend's protectiveness when it had always been the other way around before. She shrugged, "He was just being mean, but the words stung pretty badly. He said that I was a fake, that it was a fluke with Vikas in the forest and that Elder Fala is going senile. If Kaden hadn't been there, I probably would have upset the balance and knocked him out."
"Kaden was there? He protected you?" Mie asked quietly as Winna nodded, "Yeah, he was pretty great. But scary at the same time. Like, I don't know, like he actually meant was he threatened. Not something I'm used to seeing from him." Mie's searching eyes flickered around the room as her mind raced, "Winna, do you think something's wrong with Kaden?"