Disclaimer: Valdemar and concepts belong to Mercedes Lackey; this fic and original characters belong to Senashenta and/or Fireblade.

Notes: Several days have passed since Fen woke up… he's out of Healer's now, and they're having their first lesson now, since Fen's Gift is obviously out of control. They're in Companion's Field with the Grove Born and Elita, King's Own.

Chapter Seven: First Lesson
By Senashenta & Fireblade

Time passed smoothly and quickly, until Fen was fully recovered and back in classes. At the moment, all four were suffering through History—their regular teacher, who was Herald-Chronicler Aristan, was actually very funny and entertaining, but he was off-duty with a concussion from a small incident with the Artificers and some insecure parts of their latest contraption. The substitute was a courtier and a scholar with no sense of humor whatsoever, and simply told them to take notes as he lectured.

The courtier in question wasn't even paying attention to the little group of three Blues and a Bard in the back, whispering to each other. Keahi in particular was uncomfortably aware of their scrutiny. Fen was receiving stares as well, but they seemed to be more… afraid of him than anything else, because of the earthquake. Makani was the only one not on the wrong end of the stares, since he was right under the teacher's eye in the middle of the front row. And besides, everyone seemed to be… charmed by Makani more than anything else. The former street rat could charm the paint off a wall, if he exerted himself, and he exercised that talent frequently. Triveni seemed to be oblivious to everything as he scribbled notes.

Just like him, thought Keahi, flicking a glance at the Water-oriented Trainee. Whatever's going on, he melds in without even trying. Annoying of him.

A piece of paper bounced off her chair. Keahi ignored it, but her face grew slowly red with anger. Of course, I'm the one who gets all the thrown papers. Tri's too unnoticeable to warrant any, Makani could charm the moon to rise in the west if he wanted to, and Fen's scared them into submission. Of course, I have to be the one with the demon-Companion.

Edana protested in the back of Keahi's mind. Keahi blocked her, dispassionately, growing still angrier. She slouched in her chair, taking a note every so often for appearance's sake. Inside, her anger smoldered as she felt the stares on the back of her head.

Speaking of her head… a second paper ball clipped her ear and landed on the desk, and shortly afterward, a third bounced off Keahi's head.

And inside Keahi, something snapped. She went stiff with rage, stood, and whirled to face the Blues and the one Bard. A distant part of her noted that they were the highborn troublemakers, and the Bard had been one of them before his Gift had been discovered. The Bardic training had done nothing to improve him. They clearly found her quite funny, talking behind their hands to each other, and the Bard-Trainee launching another paper-ball.

It never got a chance to hit Keahi, for it burst into flames, along with every other paper within a six-foot radius of her, and at last, every paper in the room. The other paper-balls combusted, along with Keahi's notes and the notes of the students sitting near her. The lamps along the wall flared high and went out as their fuel was exhausted, and the unlit candle on the teacher's desk melted into a puddle.

Triveni, strangely, was the only one unscathed-his notes were intact, and as everyone else beat frantically at the fires, he leapt to his feet and scrambled over several desks to Keahi. Chills ran down his spine as he stared into her eyes-bright with rage, her face red with fury, flamelets dancing in her hair, giving the uncanny impression that she was on fire.

:Shake her!: called Tethys, within his mind. Without even thinking, Tri grabbed Keahi's shoulders, and almost snatched them back—she was hot as the paving-stones on a summer day—then put them back and shook her.


Keahi's mind was incoherent with anger. Thoughts raced around her skull—burn them torch them how dare they laugh burn burn torch KILL!—and she was subsumed in the fire. Then someone shook her—she stared at a face suddenly in front of hers, seemingly wreathed in blue-and whatever it was inside her stopped, as Tri doused the flames.

"What happened?" she whispered, shaken, staring at Tri. The Trainee shook his head. Looking around, Keahi saw the students—a few still trying to put out flames, most pressed against the nearest wall—and the teacher. All stared at her.

Abruptly, someone grabbed her arm. Another someone grabbed her other arm. Tri moved to the side as Fen and Makani escorted Keahi from the room. Tri followed within a few steps, closing the door behind him.

They didn't pause until they reached Companion's Field, and once there—Companions scattering in their path—Nitesh's rock garden, seating her near the banks of the Terilee. Keahi seemed absorbed in staring ahead of her, looking neither left nor right. Tri took a seat near her, peering into her face.

Keahi seemed to regain control of herself as Fen and Makani took seats as well. "What did I do?" she said, blinking, her green eyes no longer fiery—merely confused.

"You set all the paper in the room on fire," said Makani, "And the lamps. And you melted the candle."

Keahi slumped, slowly, rather ashamedly. "Did I hurt anyone?" she said, at last.

Glances, shaking of heads, look back at Keahi. "No," said Fen.

:That's two of you gone out of control,: said a Mindvoice to all four-they looked up, and saw the Grove-Born Companion standing several feet away. :Who next?:

The Elemental's respective Companions, just arriving, stared at each other, then at Keahi, then at Kyrith. :First Earth, then Fire,: continued Kyrith, fixing the four of them with a stern, keen-eyed stare, :One ripping trees from the ground—: Fen blushed :—the other creating fire from nothing in a closed space. What next? A wind blowing the roof off the stable when Makani gets in a temper? A flood of the Terilee when Tri gets angry?:

Before any of the Trainees, or their Companions, could object to say that this didn't seem quite fair, Kyrith said, decisively, :You need lessons in your Gifts. Now. I had intended to leave this till later…but—: Kyrith heaved a sigh :—Events are determined to interfere.:

:This isn't any of their faults,: said Edana defensively, stepping forward to stand behind Keahi. :They are young. We are young. How are we supposed to know what to do? We didn't ask for this!:

Kyrith shifted his gaze to the Fire Companion, meeting her red eyes coolly. :You did not ask. And yet you are what you are. You can't deny it, I can't, and it would be useless to do so. So. Lessoning. We begin now. In control, which all of you seem to need.: Kyrith's eyes flickered over Fen and Keahi before he turned to look behind him. :Elita comes now,: Kyrith added, as the King's Own came running from behind.

Out-of-breath, the Herald still had dignity enough to fix all of the Elementals with a level stare. "You've caused havoc among the Trainees," she said, sternly. "Kyrith told me what he told you, so I'll skip the lecture. But I'm pulling you from regular classes until you all—" her gaze fixed on Keahi "—have control."

The King's Own sat, regardless of her Whites. "You've set the Trainees astir," she added, "They're terrified of you—all of you—now. Do you really want that?"

The stricken looks on all their faces seemed to confirm what Elita was thinking. "Right. So… Gifts. I would like a demonstration from all of you, so I can determine how to train you."

Elita looked at Keahi. "Your Gift is closest to the ones we know. Set this paper on fire." The Monarch's Own crumpled a note and tossed it into the air.

It burst into flame and crumbled to ashes before it hit the ground as Keahi glared at it. Elita blinked. "Ah… well. Your Gift works, apparently… let's move on."

She looked at Makani. "Air. You're Makani and Ciro, right?" At their nods, she nodded herself, crisply. "You two. Summon a breeze."

Makani stood and went to stand beside Ciro, draping an arm over his Companion. Summon a breeze..? he wondered to himself.


Makani concentrated. He thought about air, in all its forms—the breath that expanded and contracted his lungs, the air that flowed around and over him, the tiny breezes summoned by the smallest movement.

Without doing anything really consciously, a breeze began to blow, gently, from behind Elita to twine around the two, like an affectionate cat. It was joined by another, then another, then another—until Makani was wreathed in wind, ruffling his hair and Ciro's mane and tail, dancing to his command.

Makani opened his eyes, slowly, and felt the winds around him. Laughing, he raised his hands in triumph, as if cupping the air in his hands. Reaching and gathering errant breezes, he wove them into one wind and sent it at Elita, gently as if he were releasing a butterfly.

The wind passed her and the power faded from the two, slowly. Fen blinked at a curious double—image, as if the two were themselves—and yet wreathed in a pale yellow light that wove through their veins, Companion and boy. He closed his eyes firmly; when he opened them, the image was gone.

Elita looked slightly shaken. "How much effort did that take?" she said, her voice businesslike.

Makani shrugged. "It's as easy as breathing," he said, sitting. "Who's next?"

Elita looked over the others. "Triveni. Do something."

Triveni glanced at Tethys. She looked back at him. Triveni waved a hand vaguely at the stream.

A ball of water rose and splashed Elita. The King's Own looked stunned.

At the look on her face, most of the tension dissipated, and the four Trainees started giggling. Elita tried to keep a straight face, but at last surrendered to laughter. "Well, you have control at least!" she said, between chuckles.

After everyone had their laughter under control, Elita looked at Fen. "Erm…" said the Herald, "Do something, I suppose."

Fen stared at the ground, willing it to move. Willing it to do something.

Nothing happened.

:Erm…: said Tethys private-mode to Kyrith, :Fen's Gift is blocked. In a pain-loop, I think. If he sees blood, he goes… berserk. But he doesn't seem to be able to reach it in any other way.:

Kyrith relayed this to Elita, who blinked. "Ah…" she said, "Does anyone have any other Gifts, besides their… Elemental powers?"

The four lapsed into thought. Keahi though fleetingly of a dream she had had, not long before Edana had come to Choose her, about her riding a Companion with red eyes…

Coincidence, she thought firmly, and shoved the thought to the back of her mind.

"Mindspeech with each other," said Tri at last. "I've had my Mindspeech for a while. And I can reach all of them, if they're not shielded."

Nods of agreement. Elita waited for admissions of any further Gifts, then sighed and said, "I suppose having such powerful and unique Gifts cancels any chance of others manifesting," she said, her eyes lingering on Keahi—the only one with a Gift similar to any she had heard of before-for a moment. "Very well. You have the rest of the afternoon free. I shall go schedule your classes so you have them only in your little group," Elita added at the last, turning to leave.

"Thank you," said Makani, bowing from his seated position. The Monarch's Own did not respond, but simply walked with Kyrith, a nameless worry eating at her.

At last, it manifested. :If Fennelle's Gift only comes into being when he has seen blood and is out of control, and shakes the earth that violently…: she said to Kyrith.

There was a silence. Kyrith turned a blue eye onto his Chosen, but said nothing, until—

:If the Midnight Sun is as bad as you anticipate, and as bloody,: said Elita, :…there may not be a Valdemar to return to.:

There was no answer from the Grove-Born, and that in and of itself was more worrying than a response.