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The story of our Meeting
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Lady Leniesa
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The Birth of the Compass
The story of our Meeting
Ra'Mont
Lady Elesi

As told by Devin jin Tourakimea


September the ninth
Dear Diary,

I arrived at Mithros Academy today and was taken under the wing of Master See-Chin. He's to help me hone my gift during the week I'm here.
I feel slightly guilty about not being there for Eric's sixteenth birthday, but Mithros is so wonderful, I don't feel as bad. So many things have happened; it's rather hard to keep up with them all.

Earlier today, I had just unpacked in my room and heading towards the gardens for some fresh air. I ended up getting lost and found myself in the almost-deserted training grounds.
So I changed my plan and did a few warm-up kicks, and a couple spin kicks - my specialty. I was half way through my favorite kick - which involves twisted the upper body while spinning, then jumping up and kicking high - when I heard someone yell. Well, it wasn't really yelling ... yet. I was standing pretty near them and I have good hearing. Besides, I was kind of listening. (I have been taught to constantly be aware of my surroundings.)
"How could you, Stephen? I thought you were my friend. You had it great, and you threw it away for some blonde-haired bimbo!" Bimbo? "She nearly died, you git." A tall boy with red hair was yelling at another boy.
"What does it matter to you?" the blonde boy yelled, really yelling this time. "You're into the other one," he added. The other one? (I was having a lot of trouble understanding this.)
Thom looked mutinous. He was glowing faintly, emitting a slight purple radiance. "The other one?" He repeated my thoughts. "Elesi's your best friend, you prat," he said angrily. "Leniesa is Elesi's best friend and you dumped her. In front of the whole school." (Even if I didn't understand, it was sounding pretty bad.)
"Why are you so involved in this?" Stephen sneered. "Do me a favor, Thom, and just get your big, ugly head out of it."
(I will tell you, Thom is NOT ugly. He's really quite good-looking. So's Stephen, actually, but the sneer and his red face made him look oddly distorted.)
He started to walk away.
Thom muttered something I couldn't hear. Stephen heard, and it must have been pretty bad. He leapt around and jumped on Thom. In the blink of an eye, they were rolling on the ground.
I saw that Thom had the upper hand, and Stephen was looking a bit purple. I looked aound. Everyone was just standing there, watching. So I figured it was up to me. I strode over to the boys and, using a lot of my strength, grabbed them both by the hair, and
smashed their heads together. Boy was that fun!
They stopped momentarily, dazed. Then I grabbed them each by an ear and lifted them up. I could see Stephen wince as I shook them. Thom looked surprised, but not in pain. I smiled wickedly. "Children, children," I tutted. "Play nicely now. We don't want anyone to get hurt," as I was twisting their ears. I let them go.
When I stopped, the boy - Thom - looked at me, and I saw recognition flash in his eyes. Then he turned a deeper red that almost matched his hair. Thom dusted himself off, gave a quick nod, and backed away as quickly as he could without running.
The other boy, unfortunately, just growled at me. "Who do you think you are?" he demanded. "That was between me and him. Now it's between you and me" he said as he lunged to his feet, grabbing at my hair. Big mistake.
I danced away and twirled behind him. He spun around and aimed a punch at me. I ducked and grabbed his arm, pulling it behind his back and sending him flying. I hurried to grab his arm before he could get up. He was taller than I and unless I held the advantage he could probably overpower me, despite my training. I grabbed him again. Holding his arm at a painful angle, I reached up and hit him square in the back of the neck with the side of my palm.
Then I checked his pulse: he was out cold. I've done it again, I thought. I sighed and tried to lift him. He was too heavy. I'm strong, but most of my skill lies in agility and the ability to dart around and hold my own strength.
"Little help here?" I asked. The red-haired boy volunteered and came over to hold Stephen's feet. He was none to gentle as we manuevered to the healer's wing. We entered the room through Thom's direction.

The only occupant was a girl with fiery red hair and a lot of bandages, surrounded by two other girls, one with sandy blonde, another with dark brown. They stared at me as I plopped the boy down on the bed next to them. The looked at him, then at me.
The blonde girl raised her eyebrows, clearly impressed. The brunette looked thoroughly surprised.
"Stephen?" the red haired girl asked in amazement. She looked at me. "What happened?" she asked.
I started to speak but Thom spoke first. "Stephen and I were having a disagreement," he said. "She sort of ... banged some sense into us." He grinned and rubbed his head. "Literally." His black eye and cut lip were already healing themselves. (Just a note: Stephen looked a lot worse for wear.)
"I pulled him off Thom," I said with a shrug. "He was being naughty, so I taught him a lesson."
The red-haired girl's eyes lit up with amusement. "I sure wish I had taught him a lesson" she said. Then she held out her hand. "I'm Leniesa of Ra'mont. This is Elesi and Adeline," she said, gesturing first to the blonde, then to the girl with brown hair. Before I could reply, a Healer bustled in. Thom scurried out of the room.
"Better go," he whispered to us. "Thanks again."
"Good heavens! What happened?" she cried.
"I knocked him out. He's fine: he took the blow on the back of his neck," I said calmly. The woman stared at me then laid a hand on his face.
With a gasp, Stephen woke up. The Healer checked his pulse, and tended to him for a few moments. We watched. We the Healer left, he stared straight at me. "What did you do to me?" he gasped.
"She knocked you out, you git. And you deserved it. I only wish she had done more" said the girl, Adeline. He turned to glare at her. Then he turned back to me.
"Who in Mithros' name are you?"
I grinned wickedly, and then swept the Shang bow used when one of high rank speaks to one of a much lower rank. "Devin Jaketsa jin Tourakamea, the Shang Panther." I left out 'cub'. "At your service." I met his eyes as his glare turned into embarrassed shock.
Elesi spoke for the first time. Her voice was quiet, somewhere in between amusement and annoyance. "Stephen, I've always thought you were a nice sensible boy. You've proved me very wrong in the last few days. First, you date Hafwen, then you dump Leniesa, then you challenge a Shang? I thought you had more sense than that. " She added darkly, "At least, I used to."
Stephen just glared at her, then got up and stalked out the room. I sat down on the bed he had previously been occupying, and grinned at the girls.
"I must say, that was refreshing. No better warm up than a good fight," I said. Then I nodded in the direction of the door. "He seems like the pleasant type," I said.
Elesi laughed, and Leniesa smiled thinly. "Let's not even get started on him," said Leniesa.
Adeline and Elesi agreed, but Elesi added, "He was a good friend, Leniesa, while it lasted." She turned to me. "Best said, I suppose he thought I'd still want to be friends with him if I was arguing with Leniesa when he dumped her. He was wrong." She grasped Leniesa's hand and squeezed it.
Leniesa smiled again, more warmly. "So you're the Shang Panther, eh? What are you doing here at Mithros?" she asked.
I looked around the room and saw a candle near her bed. I smiled, and the candle lit in a spark of emerald green.
Elesi looked confused. "Wait, you have the Gift? But, the Shang doesn't let Gifted in," she said. "... or nobles."
I smiled. "Ah, finally one who actually knows what my title means! You're a smart one, you are." Leniesa raised her eyebrows. "I'm pretty sure you all are, though you apparently weren't too smart because you dated him." Leniesa grinned. "Well, they let me in for several reasons. One, I'm K'mir, so I already knew how to fight Shang-style. Two, my family didn't become noble until I'd already joined. Three, my Ma has the gift, and she did a big favor for one of the Shang Masters. Four, I'm one of Queen Bayani's favorite nieces, and besides, they couldn't turn down my charm."
I beamed at them.
"You don't look K'mir. And you couldn't possibly be a niece of Queen Bayani, because then you'd be a niece to Queen Thayet," said Adeline. I winked at her.
"I take after my father. He's Tortallian. And, yes, I am in very good favor with my aunt, and yes, I am related to Thayet. Though I've only met her very few times. I don't really know her that well, honestly," I said, still smiling.
Leniesa and Elesi chorused, "We do."
"She's our aunt by King Jon's side," explained Leniesa.

We talked some more, and nothing really happened until later in the afternoon. Elesi wanted to see how powerful I was. "Nothing too big," she said. "I'm just wondering..."
So I took a deep breath and made myself glow emerald green - all for show of course; I normally don't and they knew
that - then concentrated on my Shang Panther ring that I had left in my room.
In a spark, it came flying in, and stopped before me. I smiled and put it on, but I was feeling very weak. I knew I'd overdone it and sighed. Then all of sudden, everything went black.
I woke up several moments later, with the girls standing over me. Leniesa and Adeline looked worried, but Elesi just looked grim. "You knew you were going to faint. Why did you do it?" she asked.
I smiled weakly. I felt drained. I commented on this and Leniesa hid a grin. "What, do you have the Sight?" I asked wearily The three exchanged odd glances. I sighed. "I get bored with doing small stuff. It's just so annoying. I don't have much Gift, so I can't do big things. It's a game I play. I do big things and see how long I can go without blacking out. It's taken me almost two months
to get that one down," I said.
They stared at me like I was insane. I just grinned. We would have talked longer, but a healer came in and said Leniesa had to rest. So we bid good-bye and went our separate ways.

I saw them briefly at dinner, but they were on the other side of the Hall. I ended up sitting with some of the boys, who were fascinating with the Shang way of life. They asked me so many questions that I ended up going to bed early to get away from them!

So, here I am right now, writing this, even though I'm insanely sleepy. Guess I'll write tomorrow. Or maybe later.
Horse Lords! It's almost midnight!

Devin

As told by Elesi of Trelath



Friday, September 9
Dear Diary

There's a new girl at Mithros Academy. Her name is Devin Jaketsa jin Tourakamea, the Shang Panther cub. She won't be the full panther until she's sixteen. Well, I can tell more about her later. Anyhow, let's go back to the beginning of the story.

I was going to visit Leniesa. We've made up, of course, but she's still in the hospital wing with lots of Healers. I had to miss classes today anyhow. I'm too weak.
When Bryan first came with Leniesa and called for Healers, I was the first one there. I'll say; it took most of my Gift to keep her alive. I'm almost as drained as she, but I'm taking it better physically. (And also, I sprained my ankle, but couldn't fix it myself due to my very little Gift, so I had to go to the hospital wing anyhow.)

Adeline - she's really quite nice; I was wrong about her - and I were visiting Leniesa this afternoon. We were talking and laughing when we heard a slight commotion outside.
Thom entered along with a blonde-haired girl. They were carrying ... Stephen! We stared, speechless as they dumped him on the bed.
"Stephen?" Leniesa asked in amazement. "What happened?" she asked the new girl.
Thom spoke first. "Stephen and I were having a disagreement," he said. "She sort of ... banged some sense into us." He grinned and rubbed his head. "Literally." He sported wounds to prove it, though they were already healing themselves.
"I pulled him off Thom," the new girl said with a shrug. "He was being naughty, so I taught him a lesson."
Leniesa's eyes lit up. "I sure wish I had taught him a lesson," she said wistfully. Then she held out her hand. "I'm Leniesa of Ra'mont. This is Elesi and Adeline," she said, gesturing first to me, then to Adeline.
Then Healer Adams bustled in. Thom scurried out of the room. "Better go," he whispered to us. "Thanks again."
"Good heavens! What happened?" she cried.
"I knocked him out. He's fine: he took the blow on the back of his neck," the new girl said calmly. The woman stared at her, then laid a hand on Stephen's face.
With a gasp, Stephen woke up. The Healer checked his pulse, and tended to him for a few moments. We watched in silence. We the Healer left, he stared straight at the new girl. "What did you do to me?" he gasped.
"She knocked you out, you git. And you deserved it. I only wish she had done more" said Adeline. He turned to glare at her. Then he turned back to the new girl.
"Who in Mithros' name are you?" he demande.d
She grinned wickedly, and then swept the Shang bow used when one of high rank speaks to one of a much lower rank. (I saw it in a book once.) "Devin Jaketsa jin Tourakamea, the Shang Panther." I noticed later that she left out 'cub'. She confessed that she sometimes does. "At your service." She met his eyes as his glare turned into embarrassed shock.
I spoke for the first time. "Stephen, I've always thought you were a nice sensible boy. You've proved me very wrong in the last few days. First, you date Hafwen, then you dump Leniesa, then you challenge a Shang? I thought you had more sense than that." I added darkly, "At least, I used to."
Stephen just glared at me, then got up and stalked out the room. Devin sat down on the bed he had previously been occupying, and grinned at us.
"I must say, that was refreshing. No better warm up than a good fight," she said. Then she nodded in the direction of the door. "He seems like the pleasant type."
I laughed, and Leniesa smiled thinly. "Let's not even get started on him," said Leniesa.
Adeline and I agreed, but then I added, "He was a good friend, Leniesa, while it lasted." I turned to Devin. "Best said, I suppose he thought I'd still want to be friends with him if I was arguing with Leniesa when he dumped her. He was wrong." I grasped Leniesa's hand and squeezed it.
Leniesa smiled again, more warmly. "So you're the Shang Panther, eh? What are you doing here at Mithros?" she asked.
Devin smiled, and the candle lit in a spark of emerald green.
I was confused. "Wait, you have the Gift? But, the Shang doesn't let Gifted in," I said. "... or nobles," I added, showing for the first time that I understood her full name.
Devin smiled. "Ah, finally one who actually knows what my title means! You're a smart one, you are." Leniesa raised her eyebrows. "I'm pretty sure you all are, though you apparently weren't too smart because you dated him." Leniesa grinned. "Well, they let me in for several reasons. One, I'm K'mir, so I already knew how to fight Shang-style. Two, my family didn't become noble until I'd already joined. Three, my Ma has the gift, and she did a big favor for one of the Shang Masters. Four, I'm one of Queen Bayani's favorite nieces, and besides, they couldn't turn down my charm."
She beamed at us.
"You don't look K'mir. And you couldn't possibly be a niece of Queen Bayani, because then you'd be a niece to Queen Thayet," said Adeline.
Devin winked. "I take after my father," she said. "He's Tortallian. And, yes, I am in very good favor with my aunt, and yes, I am related to Thayet. Though I've only met her very few times. I don't really know her that well, honestly," she admitted, still smiling.
Leniesa and I chorused, "We do."
"She's our aunt by King Jon's side," explained Leniesa. I smiled and nodded.

I have to go!

Love as Always,
Elesi Analie