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    Demiurge
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Awaken - 5. Teach

*There's mention of some domestic-ish violence in this chapter*

Mama I'm sorry. Just let me try one more time. I'll do better I promise!”

You're not capable of doing any better Kalian! You simply can't!” Her voice was a harsh scream and her voice broke at the end as she sobbed into her hand. She composed herself only seconds later and glared at her youngest child. His lackluster hair hung in tangled pieces around his face. His predominately blue eyes were filled with tears as he scrambled to pick up the bowl of water he'd spilled all over. His eyes pleaded up at her, searching for compassion. She shook her head and turned away, slamming the door behind her. The boy sank to the floor, his skinny arms wrapped around his knees as he hung his head and cried.

Where did he belong in this world?

 

*

 

My feet seemed to move by themselves. I'd been down these alleys so much in the last couple of days that I seemed to have it memorized. Lex was behind me, cursing softly as he stumbled through the dark, muttering about Talon and the alleys. He complained about anything he could think of and it was starting to become tiresome. I pulled my powder blue robes tighter around me as I started to move a bit faster as the lights slowly started to appear. The familiar growth in their concentration filled me with a slight apprehension. Would he even answer the door for me? A couple minutes later I was standing in front of the burgundy door with it's spirals of small lights. It was strangely comforting and I let out a breath I didn't know I'd been holding in. Lex had enough intelligence to stop complaining as I knocked on the door. I waited and knocked again after a few moments. Still nothing. I knocked again and felt my stomach knot. Maybe he wasn't even home?

I had almost given up when I heard locks turn on the other side. I hadn't even noticed them the other times I'd been here and frowned. It sounded as if there were at least three. The door slowly opened inward and a familiar pair of granite colored eyes stared down a slender nose at us, “What?”

I opened my mouth to speak but Lex jumped in before I could get words out, “You should show more respect to Lord Alauis, filth.” Great. We were off to a beautiful start.

Talon didn't speak at first. He looked from Lex to me and slowly raised an eyebrow, “I see you brought...him.”

“My name is-”

“I'm well aware. I'm also done speaking to you. Leave.”

“Please Talon. Wait!” I grabbed his arm and he stopped, his eyes locked on the hand tangled in his loose, long, black sleeved tunic. He shook off my grip and shook his head.

“You use my name and touch me like we're not strangers Lordling. Highly inappropriate.” His usual amusement and smirk were nowhere to be found and I felt all my hope crash and burn.

“Just hear me out. Please. I know we don't know each other.”

“Absolutely not Kalian. I will not let you beg this animal. Think of where you come from.” Lex grabbed my shoulder and tried to pull me away. Those grey and black eyes tracked his movements and the corners of his mouth down turned fractionally as Lex almost jerked me off my feet. I tried to pry his fingers off without making it obvious as I looked up at Talon. He shifted, crossing long arms over his chest. His arms, like his back, were littered with small white scars. Talon's build was slim but I noticed for the first time that he still had muscle hidden under all the black fabric. It wasn't Lex's thick build but there was still strength there.

“Please hear me out. Give me a chance before you send me away. That's all I ask. One chance.”

“Fine. What do you want?”

I stepped out of Lex's reach and looked up at the lights around us, “I need your help.”

“What else is new? You're very needy.”

“Why you-” Lex tried to move around me and to my surprise, Talon's fingers circled my wrist and he pulled me into his home, twisting and slamming the door in Lex's stunned face. I blinked in shock at the sudden close proximity and looked up at him. He smelled faintly of the ocean and something earthier. As I inhaled he stepped back quickly.

“Well. That's better then isn't it? I'm finding it very hard to concentrate on what you're saying when your body guard is busy...existing in my space.” I could hear Lex pounding on the door and shouting but I couldn't help the small smile that spread quickly across my face.

“Are you going to ask me for whatever help you need or are we going to stand here in silence while your giant idiot tries to break my door?”

“He's not mine.” I spit the words out like a spoiled brat but I continued, “I need you to teach me.”

“What?” Talon stared down at me, he'd been toying with a loose string on his sleeve. He now stared down at me, his eyes wide.

“I need you to teach me how to use my power. I think I'm maybe not strong enough? I'm not positive but I know that-”

“No.”

“You can't say no like that!”

“I believe I just did. The answer is no.”

“Who else then? It has to be you.”

“It absolutely does not have to be me. That is incorrect. We don't have the same power and again, you don't know me. How did you think this made sense?”

“Please. You've already taught and helped me more than anyone else in my life. You're the only one who thought maybe there was still something else to me.” Talon sighed, closing his eyes and rubbing his fingers over his eyelids. He dropped his hands and looked up at the ceiling. I watched him nervously, pulling my robes up too much so they bunched around my neck.

He rubbed his hand over his face and sighed yet again, “Why do you even think I can do this? You've barely seen any of my power. No one I know has a power like yours. I'm not qualified.”

“I think if anyone can figure it out, it'd be you.”

He scoffed and pulled at the long string hanging from his sleeve, “Of course. I'm incredibly intelligent, but that doesn't mean I have all the answers.”

“Please Talon.” I looked up at him then, trying to read his expression. He met my gaze and for a half second I saw his eyes soften. Had I imagined that?

“Fine.” I don't know what came over me, I cried out in excitement and Talon's normal smirk fell onto his face. I grinned up at him and jumped when the door burst open. Lex barreled into the room and moved straight for Talon.

Talon sighed for the 1000th time that night and leveled Lex with an amused grin that didn't reach his eyes, “I will take the entire arm off this time and beat you with it. I promise you that Mallex.” To his credit Lex stopped short, glaring at Talon, venom dripping from his gaze. His hand again descended onto my shoulder, gripping tight.

Talon looked from it to me and shook his head, anger darkening his eyes, “Come back tomorrow. It's too late today to start.”

“Oh, about that.” I winced as Talon turned back to me, one arched brow raising a touch, “My father would like for you to teach me at our home.”

“You should've opened with that little lord. I would rather listen to this oaf,” he waved a hand in Lex's direction, “give an hours long soliloquy on why muscle tone is more important than brains.”

The oaf in question tried again to get around me but I rested a hand on his arm before turning back to Talon, “I know it's a lot to ask but otherwise they'll send me to Syrin.” I felt Lex's hand curl around my fingers on his arm and resisted the urge to recoil. If showing him attention kept the idiot from causing more problems I'd do it. I tried to ignore Talon's interest in our hands, his eyes taking on a strange hard edge.

“I care why exactly?”

“Because...because you've never seen my power. You said it yourself! I'm something new for you to study. Wouldn't you do that best if I was close? I already said it but I'll say it again, if anyone could figure my power out it'd be you. Plus, the training grounds at home are expansive and we'd have all the room you need.”

Talon ran long fingers up the inside of one of his forearms, his sleeve slipping down as he traced a tattoo in the middle. A black circle with what I assumed were arcs of letters spiraled in the center. I wasn't sure if this was another of Talon's dead languages but the symbols were jagged and curved in odd places. He caught me looking and dropped his arm, rubbing his chin with the other as he looked at me. I stared back at him, hoping desperately that he couldn't see my hands shaking or hear my pounding heart beat. Lex's grip tightened on my fingers, but I couldn't look away from those grey and black eyes. Lex tugged at my hand and I shot him a dirty look. He was like a child, needing constant attention.

“Fine.”

“Really?”

“The longer you stay here, the more time I have to change my mind.”

I felt my excitement rise and I was far past giddy. I beamed up at him and his eyes widened, he shook his head and waved me away. I realized with a small moment of triumph that I'd embarrassed him. Lex ripped that from me as he started herding me to the door. He had a deep scowl on his face and he clamped down on my wrist as he was pushing me forward.

“Oh and Mallex, I'm glad to see they managed to reattach your arm. It's the dominant one yes? A pity if you'd had to relearn your power with your non-dominant hand. That could've taken months or even years for someone like you. Simply awful.” Lex stiffened and I blinked as that feral edge crept into Talon's voice and eyes. Lex stopped pushing me and released his grip on my wrist. He turned slowly and a stoney expression I'd never seen before replaced his rage.

“It may not happen soon, but I will kill you one day.” I gasped and resisted the urge to smack him as a dangerous smile slipped over Talon's lips.

“I would love for you to try. You only have four limbs.”

 

*

 

“Can you not keep your mouth shut for five seconds?” I snarled as we moved through the town square. The town was quiet, peacefully sleeping in their homes.

“The way he spoke to you and I will not be tolerated. I will tell you that right now. I don't like the way he looks at you either. His eyes linger far too long.”

“You don't have control over how he speaks to anyone. Also, it's polite to look at people when they speak to you.”

“I'll have control when I rip his tongue out of his head. I'll take his eyes too.”

I whirled, stabbing him in the center of the chest with a finger, “Then who will teach me? You? You can't even keep your mouth shut when people are talking about things that don't fucking include you!”

Lex pulled me behind one of the stalls and onto a side street. His grip was too tight for me to resist and the air was forced from my body as he slammed me into the nearest wall.

“Everything that has to do with you is my business. You are mine, Kalian. What do you not grasp about that? And as soon as you are, you will never see the lost one again.”

I lost my temper. I'm normally not one for violence and generally I reel my anger in pretty well, but I'd had enough of being jerked around and ordered about. I gripped the arm pinning my left shoulder to the wall and squeezed as I called my power to me. Warmth spread through me and I almost lost myself as my gift sang through my body. I was brought back to reality by a scream and the smell of burning skin. I let go of Lex and he staggered back. For a moment, a naive moment, I thought I'd won this argument. Then, quick as lightning, Lex's hand shot back and he slapped me hard across my face not once, but twice. I stumbled forward, holding my mouth as I tasted blood. Lex cradled his singed forearm and glared at me. I stared back at him in shock.

He shoved me back up against the wall, his face inches from mine, “New power or not, you will learn your place in this relationship. You will be mine and I swear if you try something like this again I won't stop with a simple slap. And it will be my right as your husband.”

“Just remember, when you were nothing to everyone I was still there. I took care of you.” He brushed his fingers over my now sore cheek and I batted them weakly away as I slumped against the wall. I was defeated as I followed him back to my home. I had been so excited about Talon teaching me. I had truly been on cloud nine, and Lex demolished that feeling in a matter of seconds. I may have had a great gift but my body was still weak. I watched him baby his arm as we walked and with a grim satisfaction. The marks on his arm were deeper and angrier looking than Talon's had been. Good.

 

*

 

Talon didn't come the next day, or even the one after that. Soon it had been over a week and I had lost all hope. Per my father, I was not to leave the property after yet another “mugging”. Lex's excuse for my bruised cheek and swollen lip. I hadn’t heard what lie he’d told to explain away his burned arm.
He'd hit me even harder than Sken had in the alley and it was still tender to the touch. My parents had fallen all over themselves to thank Lex for protecting me and I hadn't even been given the chance to tell them what really happened. They wouldn't believe it either way. I sat on the front steps, holding my cheek, the other arm wrapped around myself. I wore thin white robes with short sleeves and my hair was a copper rat's nest on my head. I hadn't slept yet and I knew there had to be dark circles under my eyes. I'd been avoiding Mallex like the plague and I knew he was starting to get angry. I'd had a couple close calls where he'd entered a room as I was slipping out another door. I was running from him in my own home. More than once I had toyed with the idea of escaping to The Shift. It was stupid that after only a couple days I thought that it would be safer there. I was delusional. There was no way Talon would let me stay with him. He'd said it himself repeatedly, we were strangers. The odd fascination I had with him was inappropriate.

The sun was slowly creeping up into the sky and I closed my eyes as it's warmth spread over me. I hadn't tried anything else with my power since the altercation with Lex and the sun was the only way I felt close to it now. I sat up straighter when I noticed a shape moving up the drive. It was tall and draped in black fabric. My heart beat picked up quickly. Even with his hood up, I knew it was Talon. He walked slowly and all at once, it dawned on me. What I must look like. I cringed away from him as he finally reached the steps. I looked down at my feet and pulled at my hair as if I could fix it with only my fingers.

“You look terrible.” I glared up at him, expecting his signature grin. It wasn't there though. He was frowning, taking in my cheek and the circles under my eyes.

“It took you long enough to show up.”

“Of course it did. I didn't want to come.” When I nodded, Talon stepped closer, considering me.

I sighed and stood, “Are you going to teach me then?”

“Can you think of another reason why I'd be here?”

“I guess not.”

“Not using your Magik once you've awakened can be detrimental to your health.”

“Is this my first lesson? Or is that a nicer way of telling me I look awful?”

“Yes, is it the first lesson?” Talon and I both turned. Eon stood at the top of the steps, walking down them once we noticed him. My brother's blue eyes moved from Talon to me before he sighed, “Kal, Mallex will be here shortly. He's supposed to be meeting with father. I'll tell them you had your first lesson.”

I nodded as he walked past us, trying to brush off the fact that I winced at the mention of Lex. He turned last minute, grasping Talon's arm, a dangerous glint in his eyes. He mumbled something to Talon who squinted in the sunlight and met Eon's intensity with a smirk. Eon walked toward his training area and Talon turned back to me. He cocked his head to the side and I squirmed under his scrutiny. He stared for a second longer before spinning on his heel and walking away. I sputtered before running to catch up.

“Where are we going?”

“There's a forest on your property. We'll work there.”

“Why?”

“It's easier that way. Unless you'd like to blow the front of your estate off?” He glanced over his shoulder at me and I froze for a moment as the sunlight caught his eyes. They were the prettiest shade of grey in the light and his dark lashes cast a slight shadow over them. His hair was pulled away from his face again under his hood but strands hung around his face, framing it. I shook my head and he looked forward again. I stared at his back and tried to avert my gaze from the scars on his bare shoulders.

“Where did you get your scars?”

“What happened to your face?” I frowned, getting the hint and kept quiet as we walked for a bit longer until we were surrounded by tall, mature trees. He spun on me suddenly and I stopped short as he grinned down at me, a wild glint in his eye.

“So, first, the couple of times you've used your power how did it make you feel?”

“Amazing. Like I finally found a part of myself that I'd been missing.”

“Is that all? I believe you told me something else earlier?”

I frowned as I thought back to the pressure from the beam of light hurting my shoulder and the light spreading beyond my control and stretching out in jagged lines, “It was too much for me last time. My shoulder was sore for an entire day and the light started spreading out farther by itself.”

“You lost control.”

“Yes.”

“It's partly because you're not strong enough for your own power. Like you thought. Magik takes a toll physically on it's users. You're physically weak and you have an incredible power. To put it simply, it's stronger than you are.”

“This is how I've always been. Anika isn't physically strong and she's powerful.”

Talon smiled softly, “That's true but your sister will never be even close to as strong as you are naturally. Look at your brother. He's all muscle. Or even, though I hate to admit it, Mallex. More muscle than intelligence there.”

“So what do I have to do?”

Talon sighed and rolled his eyes upward before wincing at the bright light and looking back to me, “Train of course.”

Copyright © 2020 Demiurge; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

What a pleasant surprise to find this update!
 

Kalian suffers in a dismissive environment; it seems to describe his life so far.  Despite having shown the family a surprising gift, they continue to act as they’ve granted mercy to an orphaned child; poor Kalian got his hopes up to see their excitement that he would not remain un-gifted.

The relationship between Talon and Kalian is awkward as they deal with a curious attraction in the environment that says they should understand class status and social boundaries. Yet underlying that awkwardness seems to be a driving force of nature. Whether driven by fate or prophecy, it would seem this magical pairing has a more significant meaning; and their unique relationship may be the very key to survival.

I’m loving the storyline and hope to see much more in the life and challenges of this pairing!

Edited by Philippe
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Great chapter. It’s an amazing and interesting story. I hope to read the next chapter soon.

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I can't wait for Kalian's power to get under control so he can put Lex in his place.

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Fuuuck. I can’t wait for Kailan to wipe that satisfied smirk off Lex’s face. Grr

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I don't know how Kalian is sane. What with the horrible memory of his Mother at the beginning being an example of the treatment he received from her. Then of course, as nearly everyone has commented, there is Lex. He-who-shall-pay will eventually get his.

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I'm glad Kailan burned Lex. He should have told him he'd turn him to a more useful pile of ash after Lex slapped him. That might have penetrated his thick head. 

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Lex’s mom must have given in whenever he threw a tantrum, seems like he never grew out of the terrible twos. What an insufferable ass. On the topic of bad mothers, Kalian’s mom really takes the cake. She apparently sees all her kids as pawns for her own status. I imagine that until Kalien’s powers impress some of her snobby friends, she won’t bother to act impressed herself.

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@headtransplant uh yeah unfortunately the people who know their parents in this either had terrible childhoods or terrible parents 😬

Not sure what I have against parents 😅

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