Over the next several days, Dramix trained with Naleeit in the forms of the sword, mace, spear, and the shield as they waited to receive the leather gear supplies. Dramix soon found out that he was much better with the spear than any other form of weapon. He also realized that he needed a form of protection, so he chose a simple wooden shield, which he strapped to his non dominant arm. During his training, he also got to know the guards Trolan and Nalort a little bit better. They were the sentries to the king’s hall before they were told to escape with the prince, who wasn’t much more than a boy then, as he’s little more than a man now. After a session of hand to hand combat training, Dramix and Naleeit were sitting at the bar having a drink.
“Then I passed my final trial and became a full shaman. A few days of travelling had made me weary, so I decided to celebrate my success before getting back to my father to tell him the good news. Before I knew it, I was in a slaver’s cage.” (Dramix)
Naleeit sighed when he said that.
“These are dark days indeed to have border towns stoop that low. I must apologize for our shortcomings. If we won the war, you would have never experienced that kind of thing.” (Naleeit)
Dramix grunted in annoyance.
“It wasn’t your fault that you lost. If it was though, it wasn’t your intent. Now that I told you about myself, tell me about yourself.” (Dramix)
Naleeit put her hands between her legs and gripped them together.
“I suppose that’s fair. My father was a merchant. My mother, I assume, is like yours. After her service to him, he left to continue his trade and was fairly successful. He traveled not only in Drakan lands, but human, and even the elven lands as well. He just traded for several bolts of their silk and was returning home when he was attacked. Much of the details have been lost, but I was thought to be a worthy prize for the bandits. We were on route back to their lair when a group of the king’s men vanquished them. They weren’t sure what to do with my egg, so they gave me to the king.” (Naleeit)
Naleeit paused to reminisce before continuing.
“He would have given me back to the Drakan if I didn’t hatch in his arms. I’m told that he was at a loss for words. I, however, called him dada. It’s embarrassing, I know. I would have died if old Towward wasn’t around. He knows everything it seems. He knew how to feed and care for me. When offered back to the Drakan, they refused to take me, so he raised me beside his own son that was only a month older than I am. I often wondered what those other Drakan were like. The first ones I ever met tried to have sex with me after ignoring anything I asked them about our people. We were lucky for old Towward knowing some of your customs. I was my fathers anyways, and they didn’t have his permission to have me. I don’t have that protection anymore now.” (Naleeit)
Dramix took a drink slowly in thought.
“You’re of my kind, but not my people. Your tale is a very sad one, and it’s one that’s made harder due to being a woman. Not only because it will be hard for you from now on, but because fewer Drakan would even listen to such a story. I too have seen the promise of women far exceed males many times over. While training as a shaman, I know about many more talented and promising females that should have received far greater credit than they did. Most failed the training simply because they couldn’t handle the stress and the pressure. The ones I know about that passed may never become more than nurse mothers.” (Dramix)
Dramix looked at his pendent.
“I’m a humble one. I know that hardship falls on us all. There was one woman that I considered my rival while training. We both knew she was my better, yet she faltered once and was expelled as I had against her several times. When she tried to flee the city to be on her own, she was captured and was put in a stockade. Normally, that’s a punishment for a great failure and only lasts a day. With her, they bluntly told us to rape her to teach her her place. As I was the last to claim a victory over her, I was given the honor of her virginity. I knew her. She would rather have death than being forced to succumb to that, so I killed her instead. Her last words were thank you. The worst part though…. I knew I should have taken her place, yet I was praised for it.” (Dramix)
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Dramix had gripped his hand hard enough to shatter the cup he was holding. He immediately noticed what he did after his tale, so he wiped off the booze and blood from himself.
Even Peter wasn’t sure what to say to that, as Naleeit took his arm gently.
“Do you respect me as well?” (Naleeit)
Dramix put another clean cloth on his hand before speaking.
“As a teacher, yes. As another Drakan….” (Dramix)
Dramix then turned away in shame.
“Being raised as I have makes that much harder.” (Dramix)
Naleeit sighed and withdrew her hands.
“At least it’s a start.” (Naleeit)
Dramix looked at her and wondered about her odd behavior, while Peter sighed.
“Leave her be for now. Say you need to meditate or something. Try using manners this time.” (Peter spirit talk)
Dramix pondered what his spirit told him to do, and sighed to that as well.
“I’m going to meditate and plan for my future armor. I don’t wish to part with you troubled like this, but I don’t know how to ease your mind.” (Dramix)
Dramix paused and looked away from her.
“What I’m trying to say is…. the talk was pleasant, and I wish to continue it when you’re ready.” (Dramix)
Dramix sighed again, and looked toward her as he lowered his shoulders.
Naleeit giggled when he did that.
“You really are trying too hard. Relax and say what you really want to say.” (Naleeit)
Dramix took a deep breath and held it for a moment.
“I want to respect you.” (Dramix)
Naleeit looked at him as if humored, and Peter thought that she seemed to be blushing.
“You already do.” (Naleeit)
Dramix continued to hold his breath as he tried to speak again.
“As a teacher I do. Not as a woman though. I want to respect you that way too.” (Dramix)
Naleeit moved over to Dramix and put a gentle hand on his chest. She felt his heart beat beside his amulet, which was rapid and nervous.
He exhaled and took in a new breath, while calming his heart some. With her free hand, she took one of his and put it to her own chest.
“My heart is beating wild and confused as well. Dramix, I will never be a w***e for the Drakan, but I’m willing to be your lover if you’ll have me.” (Naleeit)
The world around Peter darkened as the two came closer together.