The fire crackled on in the black of the nighttime forest, partially illuminating the faces of Kevocea and Mitch as they sat just outside a cave. They had traveled a mile or so and discovered the small abandoned cave, once home to a Rultle Boar if the messy appearance was any indication. There were fruits and fresh dead animals scattered about the floor of the cave, which the three put to quick use. Kev roasted a small, plump Meork rodent on a stick, while Mitch contented himself with munching an apple. Sek had chosen to go to bed early, sleeping on some grass in the back of the cave.
"Am I really brain damaged?" asked Mitch as he stared at the fire, allowing the now gnawed core of the apple to drop to his side.
Kev looked over at him and swallowed her food before speaking. "No, of course not. Sek was just angry."
"But she actually knows about Experimentalist biology." said Mitch. The reflection of the fire danced off the lens of his glasses. The apple core rolled away on the dirt. "I know nothing about my own self. Maybe Experimentalism is a brain disease, and she knows that, but I don't."
"It's a pretty nice brain disease if it is one." said Kev, smiling. "Look at all the stuff you've made!"
Mitch reached into his belt and pulled out a small device. He pressed a small button on it, and the device hovered in his hand. Kev moved a bit closer to get a better view.
"Honestly, most of my stuff is just things I've copied off of other Experimentalists. But this little thing is something original. Contained in this small vessel is a hovercraft. It took a while to fully compact, but I found a perfect material for it. It's hard enough to carry a passenger, yet flexible enough to fold into a small, compressed space."
"See?" said Kev encouragingly. "Now ask any person or otherwise on the streets to build that. Heck, ask Sek to build that! Just because she's studied a lot doesn't mean she knows everything."
"I suppose." said Mitch, shrugging. He reached up and pressed another button on the device and it stopped hovering. He placed it back in his belt.
"My father used to love to tinker with machinery." he said. "I never knew if he was an Experimentalist. I knew my grandfather was though."
"What happened?" asked Kev.
"I was very young." said Mitch. "I know they were killed. By what, I'm not sure, though I have theories. I was sent to Jun'Yar to live with my grandfather and help him in his repair shop."
"Where did you live before?"
"A small town called Yto." said Mitch, leaning back against a rock. "Just on the border of the Southlands. My grandfather was my only known living relative, so a family friend took me to his home. He taught me everything I know about machinery."
Mitch looked down. "He died when I was 13. Electrocuted by his own invention gone wrong. It got me too. Left me with a few scars, and something else."
"I'm…I'm so sorry." Said Kev. "How did you…was there anyone else?"
"No. I raised myself." Said Mitch.
"And what is the…something else?"
Mitch brought his hand upward, as if observing it. "I have a very keen sense of anything electrical. I can practically smell the electricity of the world, even the subtle scent of human electricity. When I met you, I could sense an even stronger electricity than most. I didn't know what to think of it, until I found out your true identity. It's the same with Sek, magic users have a strong electrical field than most. It's hard to get used to being around the two of you."
Kev looked slightly sad. "Does it hurt?"
"Hurt? Oh, no of course not. It's just a little dizzying sometimes."
Kev looked down with guilt and moved a little further away. Mitch noticed the movement and put his face back in his hands.
"See, this is what I mean. I'm terrible with other people. Look at all that's happened-getting you in trouble, the attack I had after Sek took away my stuff, suspecting her for no reason… I really hate myself." said Mitch.
"Don't hate yourself." Kev insisted. "All of that is understandable, you're not a bad person."
"I hope so." said Mitch. "I just hope my oddness won't put either of you two in danger. Well, more danger than it already has."
"I guess I'm worried about that too." Said Kev. "Not about you." She said quickly as Mitch looked up. "About myself, more."
"Why exactly?" asked Mitch, his face lightening up slightly. "If you're talking about your dragon form, you certainly aren't dangerous then." he laughed. "When those mages were attacking us you were scared of hurting them."
"It's not anything relating to my forms." Kev muttered. "Not really anything relating to me."
"What do you mean?" asked Mitch.
"Another time." said Kev. She stood up and walked into the cave.
"You know, you've said that before." Said Mitch. Kev stopped for a moment, thinking. Then, she shook her head and continued into the cave. Mitch shrugged, got up and followed her, ready for some sleep.
The days seemed to pass slowly without Kev's flying abilities. They trekked across the landscape, coming across small croppings of trees that were not quite forests and large stretches of land too green to be plains. Three days had passed since they had left the Tython district, and at noon one day they came to rest in a usual small grove of trees to have lunch. Kev had managed to find and kill an anteater with a small knife Sek had begrudgingly given her. As they roasted the animal, Sek vigorously cleaned the knife.
"This is an enchantment knife you know." Sek snarled. "It's not to be used to randomly hunt down animals and get bloodied and ruined…"
"It's a knife." said Kev between mouthfuls of anteater. "It has a sharp end. Therefore, it's useful for hunting."
"Fine, but do not expect to use it that much." said Sek. "Look, one of the engraved symbols is chipped, that's going to affect it…"
"This is such good food." said Mitch, ignoring Sek.
"Thanks!" said Kev brightly. "I'd be able to find more in dragon form. But, to be honest, I enjoy hunting in my human form. It's fun."
"Well, fun for you anyway." growled Sek, polishing the knife.
They continued to eat in silence for awhile. Kev soon finished her meal. She lay back, allowing the rays of sun to soak into her skin. She took a deep breath full of the freshness of the great oak trees and grass nearby. She listened to the sounds of the small glade, the chirping of birds, the calls of the crickets, the very close rustlings of something in the undergrowth…
She sat up, eyes wide.
"I heard it too." whispered Sek, who was standing. "Wait here."
"What's going on?" muttered Mitch, who had been sleeping in a sunbeam.
Sek raised a finger to her lips as Mitch sat up, adjust his glasses. Kev watched as Sek quietly stalked over to a nearby bush, her hands at the ready. Sek stopped just over the still and unassuming bush. She waited.
The bush rustled.
"HYARG!" yelled Sek, pouncing into the bush. There were a couple of yells and leaves thrown in the air, as well as the sound of another voice yelling "LEGGO! OW!" Soon, Sek marched out of the bush, dragging a recognizable boy out by the hair.
"This little Tython nit was spying on us! He's probably been following us for days."
"OW!" Dymio yelled, struggling. He reached around, trying to get at a guitar strapped behind his back.
"OHHH no." said Sek, smirking and grabbing his hands to hold them in front of his face. "You are not going to play any music today, you little sneak!"
"I just want to get it out from under my back. It's very uncomfortable…OW!"
Sek had pulled him up to her face level by the hair. His feet only just remained on the ground. Finding no other room, she held his hands to her chest to keep them still.
"WHO are you working for? The Tythons? Are you trying to get back in their good favors by telling them where we are?"
"No! I swear I…"
"WELL, you can just go back and tell them that I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DEATHS OF THOSE PEOPLE. Just because I'm a Dark witch doesn't mean they should go straight to a Gods Damned LYNCHING…"
"Sek, PUT HIM DOWN." yelled Kev. Sek stared at Kev, who was now standing up. Mitch stood off to the side, slightly confused.
"He's a little spy! We have to…"
"Just put him down." Kev pled. "Please."
Sek looked at her with disappoint. Then she looked back at Dymio and released her grip, allowing him to drop in a pile on the ground.
"E-yow…." he said, rubbing his head. "You're pretty strong."
"Shut up spy, why are you following us?" said Sek, crossing her arms.
"I'm not a spy!" Dymio moaned.
"Then why were you following us?" asked Mitch, slightly more gently than Sek, though still insistant. Dymio forced himself back to his feet. He stared at all three faces, grimacing slightly at the stern look on Sek's.
"I just…" he said, looking down and away. "Well, I just…."
"Spit it out." said Sek.
"Sek." whined Kev. "Quit interrogating him like that."
"I just wanted to join you guys!" said Dymio in a burst.
All were silent. Dymio coughed awkwardly and began to reach for his guitar.
"No." Sek quickly interjected. "Explain yourself like a normal human being."
"FINE." groaned Dymio, crossing his arms. "I was kicked out of my house. I had nowhere to go. I probably would have left the district for one that's a little more my style, but I have some…troubles there. I saw you guys leaving, and I decided to follow you."
He looked at Kev. "I was going to make myself known sooner or later." he begged. "I just didn't see the right time."
"It's ok." said Kev, smiling. "We understand."
"She understands." Sek corrected.
"Well, so do I." said Mitch, also smiling. "You're welcome to come with us. We aren't exactly a group or anything, but you can travel with us to the next town."
"Really?" asked Dymio, his face splitting into a grin. "Thank you! Oh, thank you so much!" Once again, his hand reached for the guitar.
"I'll tolerate you staying in the group if you keep your infernal Tython antics to a minimum." growled Sek. Dymio dropped his hand.
"Sek has a music aversion." said Kev, laughing slightly.
"It's alright, I understand." said Dymio, looking at Sek and smiling at her slightly. Sek chose to look in another direction.
"Want some anteater?" asked Mitch, offering Dymio a leg.
"Sure, thanks." he said, happily taking it. "M'name's Dymio Kent by the way."
"Mitch Filantrop." said Mitch, shaking his hand. "This is Kevocea Laquir, and the one who probably yanked out a few of your hairs is Sek Uncaro."
"Oh." he said, looking at Sek again. "Hi."
"Just so you know, I'm a dragon." said Kev awkwardly.
"Wah?" said Dymio, looking Kev up and down, confused and slightly fearful. "Erm…what kind of a dragon?"
"I'm a morphic." she said.
"You really should see her other form, it's quite impressive." said Mitch.
"Mitch is a Technological Experimentalist, and Sek here's a witch of the Dark element." said Kev, pointing to both of them. "And you, as we already know, are a Tython. This is forming into a rather interesting group."
"It's NOT a group." yelled Sek. "We're just some people who ran into each other, and we're trying to survive until we can get to a decent town. Don't expect anything more."
They snacked for a while before dousing the fire and heading off through the glade.
"I still can't seem to transform." said Kev dejectedly. Mitch could see her pulsing slightly.
"Well, hopefully the next town will have a few witches or mages more experienced than myself." said Sek. "I think there might be another one up ahead."
"So, you're a Dark Witch?" asked Dymio, suddenly appearing by her other side.
"Uh…yes?" stated Sek, raising an eyebrow.
"Cool, so you work with like, dark magic and stuff. Right?"
"That's generally what a Dark Witch-kin does, yes." said Sek.
"Wow!" said Dymio as they walked on. "So, can you raise the dead and all that?"
"No, that's more on the level of a Necromantic Mage. Same class of magic, but more specialized. Interestingly, though, Light Mages can go into Necromantic Magic too. Most people don't know about that little detail."
"Wow!" said Dymio. "So you could raise the dead!"
He continued to chatter away, with Sek trying to deflect his questioning, as the sun descended in the sky.