It hadn't taken long for the Fire Weavers to contain and eventually extinguish Kai's ill-timed loss of control, but by the time they had snuffed the last of the wayward flames, three cottages were lost and two were scorched and smoldering, and Kai had already taken to the forest. An emergency Gathering of the Elders was called because, quite simply, there was no precedent for dousing an Exile possessing such power; never before had anyone seen a child like Kai. His failure reverberated through the clan as fast as the flames which had nearly destroyed them; it was much more painful than simple disappointment. There had been such high hopes for the lad since his power was first discovered by Master Tharyn. Most believed he could have been the most powerful Fire Weaver of them all, throughout the history of the Weavers.
The Elders were all seated around the Great Table at the head of the mead hall when the last of them, the oldest by far, slowly passed through the doors and made his way to the lone empty chair at the head of the table. Though a typical Gathering of the Elders was supposed to remain behind closed doors, as many of the population that could squeeze into the hall had assembled. They were told to leave but resisted, citing the importance for their voices to be heard in such an important decision.
A few of the Elders snorted, "Oh, so I suppose this is a democracy now, is it," but relented because they had a bigger problem on their hands than mere political harmony. After a few tense -- but quiet -- moments, all eyes moved to the hobbled and ancient form at the head of the Great Table with a palpable sense of expectancy, waiting for that one word that would relieve the clan's anxiety, but he remained motionless. Eventually, bony, skeletal fingers traveled to his head and removed the cloak surrounding it, revealing a withered old head as delicate as dry leaves, with a few unruly tufts of white hair growing at random intervals around the skull.
But his eyes! Oh, his eyes shone like beacons in the night, glistening and sharp, as quick as ever. His first order of business was to address Master Tharyn, whose newly epilated head was already beginning to swell and turn an ugly red color from the burns he received, despite a liberal coating of hastily prepared balm given to him by the Healers, "Master Tharyn, how do you fare?"
"I am well, Master Calcine."
"And what of your pupil?"
"He's scared, he panicked. I know he now regrets running away, but I worry that if we pursue him we may force him to make even more rash decisions. I would like to follow him alone so I could meet with him and discuss his options without further scaring him."
"He's a menace," Tharlbreck the Elder coughed, "you saw what the boy did to the testing site, and damn near our entire village. That much unchecked power could be very destructive. It took over a dozen of our finest men to control his outburst. We cannot allow that boy to roam the wilds unescorted. The sooner we can Douse him, the safer we will all be."
Master Calcine, the Elder, raised one dubious eyebrow and asked, "Are we really in fear of this lad?"
"He has power unrivaled for his age," another Elder, Thraxis, said, "utmost precautions must be taken before the Exile burns down the forest."
"He's just a boy," Master Tharyn pleaded, "a young boy who made a mistake and is now running scared from all that he loved. We can't hunt him down like an animal."
A man not seated at the table rose from the throng of packed citizens. He was tall and well muscled, wore leather armor and carried in his hands a shiny metal helmet. An impressive scabbard was tethered to one leg which occasionally showed a glint of highly polished metal of a sword within. He addressed the Elders unbidden, "That's because you can't. You are ageless mystics who ponder ethereal things I could never understand, but I am a practical man better suited for more strenuous things, more physical things. Things like hunting a dangerous Exile."
Master Calcine asked this new voice, "Who are you, sir?"
The man gave a slight bow, "I am L'yrris, sir, Captain of the Fire Swords, and it would be my honor to retrieve this lost boy for you."