“I’ve heard a lot about you.” I told him. “Or rather, a lot of people have referred me to you.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. I guess I have a lot of questions. I was told you had the answers.”
Traynur chuckled. “If you’re looking for answers you want Skrybe. Answers are his life.”
“That may be true, but he wanted me to come to you.”
“Do you know why he told you to come to me?”
Traynur gave me a look that spoke of years of skill, determination, patience, and hard work.
“Because I won’t just give you the answers. I expect you to earn them.”
“How many people have you taught?”
“Excluding Monark and Skrybe, everyone, including myself.”
“But, how is that possible? Can’t you only have one Shroud?”
“Most can only gain control over one power. But some, known as Poly-Shrouds, can learn more than one power.”
“How many can they learn?”
“That is determined only by their patience and determination.”
“How do you know if you are a Poly-Shroud?”
“I believe I have answered enough questions. And you need not worry about whether or not you are a Poly-Shroud until you master your first power.”
“And how do I do that?”
“By doing what I tell you. I will start off easy, but do not expect that to last. Your first task is to choose your Shroud.”
Traynur continued to talk as I shifted uncomfortably because the room was getting hot. The fire heating the contents of Sheff’s pot wasn’t taking long to heat the room as well. I began thinking about how a fan would be really nice at this point in time. Back at home I had a small electric pocket fan that I carried nearly everywhere during the summer. I think I’d had it before I came here, but it hadn’t come with me.
I closed my eyes and envisioned a huge fan blowing on me, and after a minute I could almost feel the wind from it!
Wait a second, I could feel something. My eyes snapped open and I was staring a large fan propeller that was spinning parallel to the back of my hand. In fact, it looked like it was attached to my wrist!
“What the heck?!”
“You have chosen.”
“What? No! but- How?”
“That’s what I was just telling you. Were you not paying attention? You must focus intently on the form you wish your shroud to take. That is why they tell newcomers to not think on one thing for too long.”
“I was never told that! I-I… th-this isn’t what I wanted! Can I take it back?”
Traynur shook his head. “I’m afraid not. Should you turn out to be a Poly-Shroud you can learn a separate power, but you cannot get rid of this one.”
No… No! I didn’t want a fan for my power! There had to be something, anyth-
“Since you have chosen a combat power, you will meet me in the arena for your training sessions. Practice duels will be held every thre-“
“I don’t want a combat power! This has to be a mistake!”
Sheff had stopped peering into her pot to watch me, and there was the sound of feet coming down the hallway. However, I didn’t care. All I cared about was choosing a different power that had nothing to do with fighting.
“Juewuhl get a hold of yourself. Now! I refuse to train someone who can’t control himself.”
At this point I couldn’t have cared less if he trained me or not. At least I wouldn’t die in the arena.
I would have continued my frenzied denial of the situation, but I was interrupted by a voice from behind me. I couldn’t make out what it said, I was too preoccupied with my current task. There was a change in tone as the voice spoke again, but I still wasn’t paying attention. Then it uttered a single flat syllable and I felt a stinging pain on the back of my head.
My vision grew as black as the walls.