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08 November 2018 @ 10:02 am

Ryol snickered. “We didn’t pay good enough attention to the route while we were going, to be sure of the way home. I guess we all assumed Zodiac or Irwun would lead us back home.”

“Ah. The smugglers. No doubt camped at their favorite lake.”

“Smugglers!” Gior yelped. “They said they were traders!”

“Oh yes, they are. They just don’t happen to pay tariffs or taxes, or worry about import and export permits, and don’t bother any one at the official gates as they come and go.” Xen swung down off the tall horse. “So, who needs a ride the most?”

Pyrite took three girls away at a decorous pace, and returned quickly with a whole herd of helpers. Not a stitch of tack on any of the others.

Master Xen started boosting kids aboard. “Take them to the new school, please.” And the horses all nodded.

A big black one poked Arno with her nose. :: Want a ride? ::

“Umm, yes.” Arno looked up at her back. Much taller than the lesson horses back home!

She nodded at a boulder. :: Try from there. ::

She sidestepped over to it as he scrambled up, grabbed mane and hopped a little to get his leg over. Bare back was slippery.

:: Careful with the heels . . . I know you don’t mean “go faster” but it’s a natural response. ::

“Right.” He tried to relax and let his legs dangle, and she moved off, heading for the next gate. “Do you horses explore the Maze?”

“Of course. There’s no telling when we’ll be needed. Not that you guys needed much rescuing. :: A mental impression of a sigh. :: It could have been a lot more exciting. ::

Arno grinned. “We’ll have to try harder, next time. I’m very certain that we could get a whole lot more lost.”


Back at the school, he took a long hot shower, dressed and headed for The Kitchen. Half the kids were yawning before they finished, and they were a quiet bunch as they walked back to the school. Even though he was only a couple of time zones off local, he headed straight for his room and was asleep in seconds.

/// Priests report back to One, Rael there, returns 1000 words///


Day 2

“We do a lot of our training on the beach.” Xen looked at the kids spread out in a line. The priest of both sexes sitting on the top of the first dune. With Q and Rael. He pulled his gaze away from Rael and looked back at the kids.

“Partly because any unusually strong power accumulations can be thrown out into the water or absorbed by the sand. Nothing flammable in sight, except ourselves.”

Good. An uneasy shift. They’ll be at least a little careful to not harm each other.

“This probably won’t be a concern today. I need to see how strong you are and how much training you each have. And what sort of training, as I’m not familiar with how training is done on the One World.

“Then I can split you up according to training level.

“So have a seat, and make yourselves comfortable. Do you learn meditation? Good. We’ll start there.” He dropped his shields to incoming impressions . . . and felt the hungry priests.

:: Can you shield to outgoing please? I need to listen to the kids. ::

Their aggressive curiosity faded as they shielded. Except for the sexual allure one was sending out. Rael’s head turned and that distraction cut off suddenly.

Xen had let them randomly sort themselves out. Which had resulted in girls heading one way and boys the other, with just a bit of mixing in the middle. Give them a couple of years, and heaven help their . . . parents. Sigh. Me. Although Lala’s the only one I need to worry about right now. The rest of them seem to have parents they love.

Lala was down at the girl’s end. A solid privacy shield. Leaking a bit in the high frequencies. Despair and loss. Grief, sidelined behind current problems.

:: What happened? ::

She looked up in surprise, then closed her eyes and answered mentally. :: A car crash. They both died . . . not quite instantly. Mom’s relatives didn’t want me. Bastard Half Native. The district had to sue the Clan to get them to take responsibility. They paid Orma to take me. His wife . . . accepted because they needed the money. ::

He sent a mental hug. :: I’m sorry. You’re a good strong telepath, with good early training. Your parents did a good job raising you. ::

She nodded, tears flowing.

He stepped to the next girl. Gior. “Good solid privacy shield. Have you ever made a physical shield?”

“No.” She eyed him, softened her shield enough for communication. :: Are you going to teach me? ::

:: Not today. I’ll get all eight of you very strong dimensional workers back for lessons . . . as soon as your people will allow. ::

Voyr, sitting next to her had heard that.

:: Can you harden your shields enough to block out others? ::

Fumbling and uncertain.

:: Picture a two sided mirror keeping your thoughts in, and other people’s thoughts out. Meditate and work on that. ::

Ryol was watching, and tightened her shields before he said anything. All the way up and all the way down the frequencies. An energy shield at two frequencies common to their laser weapons.

“Very nice. Did Rael train you?” A bob of her head. “What’s your telepath range? Can you talk to Rael from here?” Only a hundred yards . . . he felt her shields soften, and a sudden grin.


“Excellent.” That was all four of the girls with the Fallen Genes. Now the more standard Oners.

Rain was wiggly. :: Yes I can telepath. WITH HORSES! :: A mental squeal of delight.

:: But can you shield? :: Xen grinned, as she raised a shaky shield, and repeated his advice about mental mirrors.

The next three were pretty standard teenagers. Not trained, their shields instinctive.

Xen glanced up at Rael. :: Do all Oner kids have to figure out shields on their own? ::

:: Pretty much. Usually when they’re closer to eighteen. We ought to have realized how strong your kids would be and singled them out for training. ::

:: It’s not too late. :: Xen stepped over to the first boy .

Yrno was bubbling power all over.

:: This one especially needs training! He’s very strong. Collecting power with no idea what to do with it. ::

:: Yrno, put your hand down on the sand and imagine power oozing out of them , and into the sand. ::

The big muscular boy scowled and put his hands down . . . and relaxed, suddenly. “Oh!”

“Yeah.” :: I’ll get you back here to teach you how to use that power, and how to not collect power when you don’t need it. Pull a bit more. Yes, now disburse it into the sand. Good. Now don’t collect power . . . think of a wall between you and all that power. Now imagine a spigot in the wall. Turn it on, and collect power, shut it off when you have a comfortable amount. ::

Yrno grinned. :: Can I put it back? ::

:: Just let it go. You know how it feels when it seeps away into the sand. Now let it seep away into the air. It will warm the air, and can be collected again. :: Xen looked at the kid, trembling a little. “Stop now, and have some boost.” He fished one out of a bubble, and handed it over. “With experience, you’ll learn when to quit before you over do.”

Then two more girls who needed basic shield exercises. Two boys, ditto.

Three girls. Shield exercises.

Two girls and a boy who hadn’t grasped power. Meditation and visualization.

One of the Arnos. Sitting quietly, a low level of power, holding a shield. A disciplined mind, paying attention, absorbing the sounds and feeling of the beach in something rather shockingly close to recognition.