Na never really liked being at home. He didn't like the crush of bodies or the lack of freedom. He wanted open spaces and fresh air. He wanted his own room. That was why he was thrilled when the Mother Firebird appeared to him in a dream and said she had a job for him. She said that he should wander the kingdom until she called him again. He was only twenty years old, so instead of starting out immediately he began training. Conditioning his body to withstand the weather and the land. He began learning the ways of the
|A title of the Mother Firebird that I invented. I hope that's okay. |
Na began wandering when he was about forty. He loved the smell of the snow and feeling of the crisp cold air rushing into his lungs. He loved the challenge of walking into a village and trying to discover the town's myths and legends. And then trying to piece them together with those of the surrounding villages to get the actual story and, more importantly, the relevance to the current generations. He loves piecing things together and figuring them out.
He was forty-five before he met his first student. The boy's name was Feron. He was malnourished, uneducated and parent-less when Na met him. The meeting was hardly ordinary. Na was walking through a village to which he had just come when a large boy or small man rushed from the side of a building toward him. Na flinched, but he was able to cast a spell before the humanoid got to him and the man/boy just bounced off of the force shield that Na had erected between them. The would-be-pickpocket looked up at Na and Na realized that he was just a boy, about twelve or thirteen. Most thieves, when put in this position, would run. But this kid just looked up at Na in bewilderment and said, "How?" Just the one word, but Na could tell that it was painful for the boy to speak even that one word by the rasp it made in his throat and the way he refused to swallow, preferring to let the saliva in his mouth dribble down his chin. He could see two red streaks of severely chapped skin running from the corners of the boy's mouth to the tip of his chin. Just then the wind blew and as the boy's hair got blown about he could actually see tiny movements in it where the lice scurried away from the chill air. As he breathed out a bubble of snot swelled from his right nostril and exploded, spraying droplets down the front of his tunic; a tunic already crusted with snot and dirt. The thief's raw red hands sunk a little deeper into the snow as Na took in what he was seeing. He looked at the boy for a full ten seconds and the pickpocket was about to bolt when Na extended his hand and said, "Let me show you."
Feron took Na's hand and for the next two weeks Na used the skills at his disposal to restore the child to a healthy state. It would have taken months, but Na had encountered a disease delaying spell and a few healing spells already. After he had gotten Feron healthy, he decided to take him on the road with him and show him the wonders of learning and the knowledge bursting from everything around him. He traveled with him for two years before allowing him to set off for his own discoveries.
Two weeks later, Na met Lorie. She was a beggar and a prostitute when she could get a buyer. She seemed fascinated by the way that Na's crossbow worked. He mentored her for a year and a half before letting her set off on her own.
The next was Sophia. She was arranged to be married to a thug so that her father could stay in that man's good graces. She begged Na to take her with him when he left, but he said, "No." He would not take her without her family's consent. He was not a kidnapper. He would not compromise his research, his reputation and his ability to help others for a story that she had told him. Na then assumed that that was the end and went on with his research like normal, but once he left he noticed that he was being followed. Knowing the respect that the locals held for the wilds, he decided that the girl's story was probably true. So he took her back to her village. He explained the situation to the father and convinced him that his daughter was more important than his business. He then went to the would-be-husband and convinced
him to go easy on Sophia's father. Later that day he left with Sophia. He had expected her to stay with her father, but she decided to accompany him instead.
He traveled with her for a year. Then she died. It was the first time that anyone who was his responsibility had died. She had been killed by a gang of Biata bandits while bathing in a hot-spring. Her scream has haunted Na ever since.
It was several years until Na took another apprentice. But he did eventually see a child in need and the pull of his nature drew him to take that young man under his wing, Klaus. And so he began teaching again. Michelle, Covra, Sapith, Helan... The list goes on. Now he has been called to teach a new student...