That you for the kind words, it's the first I've gotten for my stories! You may want to edit this next part for your kids though, there are two fights.
The Cure for Boredom --- A Taron Sunwake Story
Chapter 2: Meet the Band
As expected, dinner came with a show for Taron, as his siblings and Mother were eating far more than there slim, fit bodies would lead you to believe was possible. One student actually had to leave the hall, afraid he'd lose his dinner if he stayed. Not because he was about to throw up or anything, oh no, he was afraid the Sunwakes would want more and come after his! Taron was careful to eat slower than his family. His Uncle had explained he tried to encourage the belief that background didn't matter here, and that included family and race. Ammy saw through that though, and told Taron as much later. His Uncle actually didn't want rivalries and feuds to affect the relatives of those involved, or for ridicule and torment to find it's way to students who had parents as teachers.
Students like Taron, Ephebe, Jiminy, and the three young red-heads Uncle Ryo said were his. Yeah, you heard me right, Aananda and Tamrin Sunwake were teachers. It was one of the reasons Ryo had asked them to come stay at the School. He needed someone for PE(Aananda got this job, but students needed to be at least the equivalent of a 15 year old and had to sign a waiver to take her advanced class. She was fierce!) and Arcana Studies(Tamrin got this one, obviously).
Other than the one student and Jiminy accepting an eating/winning challenge, dinner was uneventfully(and as you may have guessed, boring for Taron). After dinner though...
“Excuse me! Everyone, please pay attention for one moment!” Ryo, seated in a balcony with the teachers, said, his voice magnified by a bit of magic. “One hour after dessert is over and you've had a chance to prepare, I'm opening up the second basement for a Snipe Hunt! Those of you who wish to participate should put your names on the entry forms. As usual, you must meet all qualifications for the Hunt before you can join. Students new to the school will find a pamphlet on their beds explaining all prerequisites needed to join the Hunt as well as the rules to be followed throughout the event. That is all.”
Immediately a buzz rose up among the students to fill the void Ryo left behind when he sat down.
“A Hunt? I can't wait!”
“I'm going to go get ready right now!”
“Do you want to be teammates?”
“Do you think Daki will want to be on a team?”
All this and more Taron ignored as he sent Ammy to fetch his copy of the pamphlet while he left the hall with a myriad of other students. He was alone not 50ft past the doors though, as the others rushed off to their rooms.
“Must be a popular event.”
“It is. It lets them blow off steam and let's them use abilities in combat.” Said Kamenwati as he rounded a corner and stood in front of Taron. “Are you going to join in?” He said, a malevolent gleam in his eyes.
“I've made you angry, haven't I? How long have you been here without anyone noticing? You want to fight me, here I am, but don't keep making thinly veiled threats. They are boring.”
“I can't get into a fight with you, not outside of the Hunt. Violence gets you teleported to Detention faster than lightning strikes. My question remains, are you entering?”
“I was getting bored and looking for something to do anyway, it might as well be this Hunt.” Taron replied as a portal opened above him and Ammy dropped through with the pamphlet. “See you there.”
As Kamen stormed off toward the stairs down, Taron took a moment to read the rules and regulations before heading in the same direction. “1: There are only three Snipes in the Hunt. The people playing the part of Snipes are chosen at random, and can be anyone from a new participant to a teacher.” He read out loud. “2: All abilities and powers are allowed during the Hunt, save those that would allow you to know who the Snipe is. Go all out and hold nothing back, the more students you defeat in battle increases the chance that one of them is a Snipe! 3: If you are defeated, you will be teleported out of the Hunting Ground and into one of the observation balconies. Accept defeat with dignity and grace. 4: The Hunt is over when all the Snipes have been defeated, or in two hours, whichever comes forth. 5: Have fun! This may be a war game, but it is still a game.”
“Regulations ” he continued, starting to walk down the basement stairs. “A student may only participate if they are old enough(respectively for their race's rate of growth), and have a passing grade in all of their classes. If a student has had any disciplinary problems in the last month, they will not be allowed to participate. Each student must sign on the line below, showing that they understand all of the rules and regulations.” Taron took a pen out of his pocket, signed on the line, and handed the pamphlet to the surprised teacher as he walked through the door. He was twenty minutes early, which meant he'd have plenty of time to check out the area he'd be hunting in. He also kept an eye out for Kamen, not wanting to alert his angry roommate of his presence. He noticed the markings everywhere, on the ceiling, the floor, the walls... He shifted his eyes and saw abjuration magic wove deep into the markings. Protections and wards to prevent serious injury and death he guessed. He turned a corner and found himself staring out at a forest. Vast, with trees placed so naturally, his Aunt Adsila must have had some part of it. He'd have to thank her for this later. Hiding was so boring, and until the Hunt started, he'd have time to stop hiding.
He started running, getting miles away from the entrance before he let the transformation take place. His skull stretched out, his neck and spine lengthened, making loud popping sounds as his human form distorted grotesquely before his skin “flipped” over and became dark amethyst colored scales. He felt his shoulder blades crack in two, separating as his torso expanded and his wings formed. A loud crunching sound emanated from his body as the rest of his dragon-self formed and settled into place. It always felt so good to take the slow transformation... He threw his mind out in search of other students and found only Kamenwati, miles away, to far away to hear the long pent-up roar Taron shattered the forest's silence with!
“I know the pamphlet said you could go all out” said a familiar voice behind him. “But you should know better than to change here when the basement will be filled by nearly the entire school.”
Taron turned his neck to gaze over his wings, meeting the eyes of his uncle.
And you should know that I'll never be caught like this. Even my roommate Kamenwati, the only other person in here besides us, is miles away. Taron thought at Ryo. I'm more cautious than you were, Uncle Cardcaster.
“I had to use my cards to keep people safe. If that brought me to the public eye as a Cardcaster, so be it. They forgot soon enough, and that was a long time ago. You are here now, and the hatred Agarthians have for dragons is still running strong. Change back now, the Hunt starts soon, and I don't want the other students thinking a dragon is one of the Snipes. I'd hate to loose them too.” Ryo said with a knowing wink.
I wouldn't do any permanent damage to them. Taron thought as he shifted back into his human form. “Unless they did something extremely stupid.” A loud piercing sound echoed throughout the forest. Ryo glanced behind himself, eyes clouding over.
“A decent amount of new students are joining in this time. Wonderful, maybe some new talents will show themselves.”
“So that's the real reason this event was held? To ignite new strength in the participants?”
“Actually, that's just a side-effect of the emotions and stress the Hunt brings on. I actually started it so everyone 'could get away from it all' for awhile. I have to go now. If I don't I'll have the entire student body trying to take me down!” Ryo waves farewell and steps into a Gate as Taron takes off toward Kamenwati. If he wasn't going to believe him when he said he'd keep his secret, he was going to knock some sense into him...
Despite his head start, Taron wasn't the first to get to Kamen. Apparently there were some small teleport-pads scattered throughout the forest at random, and they'd take you to a specific person.
Amazing what information a little telepathy can get you, isn't? Anyway, back to the story!
He found Kamen in a clearing facing five other students, each one radiating the aura of experienced fighters. Kamen didn't seem to mind though, since he was leaning against a boulder and looking for all the inner-world like he was tuning his guitar. One of them, a halfling, ran at him tossing a wave of daggers and throwing axes straight at Kamen. Each one fell from the air as Kamen struck a few chords, small shock waves knocking them all aside.
“You didn't think I brought this guitar for show did you? You're going to need to step it up against me.” He plucked a single string, and knocked the halfling back a few feet, placing him in front of the other four. “It's five on one, so this should be fun.” Kamen looked up and saw Taron, and grinned. “Are you going to join in? Six on one would be even more fun.”
The group looked surprised to see Taron, but they seemed to like the idea of him joining their side. He dashed their hopes quickly.
“Actually, I think I'll take you all on. I need something to do until you can devote your full attention to our fight.” He waved his hand at the halfling, copying Kamen's attack and more, flinging him into a tree with a thunder-like crack. He didn't get back up. “I don't think this will take too long.”
That set the remaining four off, and they all attacked at once in their own way. The half-orc pulled a sword from out of nowhere, the two humans jumped over him to attack from behind, and the elf spoke an arcane incantation and threw two darts of pure force at him. Taron ducked under the sword-swing and rolled with the human's, but the darts he couldn't dodge. Fortunately, his draconic ancestry and the elf's inexperience worked together to negate the magic.
For those of you who don't know, most dragons in D&D/Pathfinder have something called spell resistance, which can stop some spells from even effecting them. The stronger a spell caster is, the easier it becomes to bypass spell resistance, though older dragons have stronger SR.
“Kamenwati did say you'd ha-” Taron started to say to the shocked elf, before Kamen's guitar slammed into his head, sending a shock of electricity and a painful vibration throughout his body. “That hurt.” He said as shook the ringing from his ears before glaring at the guitarist. Figuring out that the two feuding in front of them were out of their league, the group quietly collected their halfling friend and ran, leaving the Hunt.
“It was supposed to knock you out. Guess your words before weren't boastful after all.”
“Whether you believed them or not, my skill and endurance level remained the same.”
“Good!” Kamen exclaimed as he lunged forward to attack again. Taron barely had time to slip into a defensive posture before slipping out of the way of the enchanted instrument. Kamen shouted something at him, and for a moment Taron thought he'd lose his dinner as pain ripped through him. “Oh no.. ” Kamen whispered as he backed away, horrified.
“Since when,” Taron spoke slowly as he stared at the retreating musician, “do band members know evil spells?”
Kamen tried to run, but Taron was faster, and it took only a few seconds to pin him against a tree. Taron expected Kamen to struggle, and used a Stone Grapple to hold him steady as he tried to get away.
“Agh! Let go of me! Leave me alone!” Taron could see wet streaks on Kamen's face now, proof that the spell had done more to Kamen than himself, even if it wasn't physical.
“Kamen, calm down. I told you before I'd keep your secret, even if I don't know what it actually is. If this has something to do with the form you hide, I won't tell anyone about it. I'm not a liar.” Kamen didn't seem to hear him and was on the verge of hysterics when Taron released his grip, spun him around, and punched him in the gut. He let Kamen slump down toward the ground, stunned. “Damn it, listen! I'm not going to tell anyone!” He yelled at the guitarist. Then he stopped, both to take deep breathes and because he was shocked. He'd never been angry before, never been anything but bored.. He knew about stuff like anger and joy and sadness, but until now, hadn't felt them himself. And he didn't know why...
“You.. mean it don't you?” Whispered Kamen, snapping Taron's attention back to him. “About not telling?”
“I did. But I want to know why you reacted like that. This school was started to help people gain control of their abilities, and a side-effect of the Hunt is that it may cause new ones to rise. If you knew you might lash out like that, coming here was a mistake.”
“It was the only place close enough that might hide me. I told the Headmaster my mother sent to learn how to control my storm-magic. He believed after I showed him one of my spells.”
“Your mother doesn't know you're here, does she?” Taron didn't wait for an answer. “That doesn't matter to me, but I'll listen to your story later. Right now, let's get out of here.”
Kamenwati got to his feet, shaking the sudden stiffness from his body, before he nodded for Taron to start walking and picked up his guitar. Unfortunately, they didn't even get close to leaving the Hunt.
“What have we here, hm? Kamenwati and a new kid, all alone with nowhere to run...” A sickening sweet voice said. Murmurs came from all around the pair.
“Crap.” Said Kamen. “We're trying to leave Belyu.”
“That's too bad Kamenwati, cause my friends and I wanted to have a little fun, and none of the new talent is very... well, talented. Well, except for that one, if those five fools told the truth.”
Taron knew where the voice was coming from now, and he knew how many there were. 20 others and this Belyu, who was walking around the circle her friends had made around him and Kam, trying to hide where her voice was coming. If he didn't still have a bit of adrenaline , her plan would have worked. Would have.
There were a lot of them, so he had to use his mental powers sparingly. He glanced quickly away from her, as if he thought she was over there, then tossed a ball of mental ice at where she really. Caught off guard, she wasn't able to fully dodge in time, and felt the preternatural chill spread through her shoulder.
“Ooh, that's cold! Guess that means those newbies were telling the truth after all. Get 'em!
Have you ever been in a snowball fight, and snowballs are coming at you from everywhere? Now imagine it's arrows and throwing knives, javelins and clubs. It's a scary thought, isn't it? But Kamenwati and Taron moved quickly to block and dodge as many as they could. Despite their best efforts though, they still got hit more than they would have liked. A dagger that had cut across Taron's back was poisoned, and if he'd had the time, he would have thanked his racial immunity to such toxins. Immune or not, that daggers was the reason his gray-blue shirt was slowly turning dark red in the back.
Seeing their prey weakened, the gang swarmed them, drawing all kinds of weapons made for close ranged combat. Biiig mistake.
Now that they were close enough, his mother's training kicked in, and he kicked out. The first attacker went down clutching a “sensitive area”, disappearing as another moved to take his place. Behind him, Taron heard the faint thunderclaps that accompanied Kamen's guitar, and decided to pick up the pace. He slipped between two of the students and tripped another, sending her into the first two to bring them down with her. He jumped out of the way of an ax only to slam into a shield. He was getting real bored of being hit with stuff that wasn't supposed to be made to hit. Turning, he ripped the shield from from the offending student's arm and proceeded to slam it down on his head, actually breaking it in two on the student's surprisingly thick skull. Tossing the broken pieces aside as he ducked another ax swing, he punched the ax-man’s kneecap and used the momentum from the resulting fall to fling him sideways at the other students. As he did so, he saw golden flecks rain down on the mob, and felt a spell trying to affect his mind. He forced himself to get rid off it, and was rewarded by being able to still see. All the other students in the fight that got caught by the spell were blinded by the light bouncing off the flecks. Several of them tried to run, only to lash out at whoever they ran into. Withing ten seconds of the spell's casting, only half the group remained in the Hunt, the others teleported away by the wards before their injuries grew too severe. Taron glanced back at a grinning Kam, who made another boy vanish as he swung his guitar again.
“What can I say? Not everyone likes stage make-up!” He laughed. Bleeding from minor cuts, the most serious injury he seemed to have was a swelling eye. The things that didn't surprise Taron about this guy were growing by the minute.
“Belyu, you can come out now! You too Su'Ta!” Kam called out. Slowly, a beautiful brunette step out from behind a tree, a playful grin on her face. She was followed by a gray-haired boy. Each looked to be the about the same age as as Kam and Taron.
“You didn't disappoint this time, did you Prince? That was a very entertaining fight! Who are you?” She asked, suddenly turning to Taron, who was still waiting for an attack of some sort.
“I'm Taron.. a new student and Kam's roommate. Who are you two, and why aren't you trying to attack us?”
“I'm Belyu Dae and this is Su'Ta, one of two former new kids. We're both part of Fly Free, Kamenwati's band. His roommate you say? Kamen, I thought you preferred to stay alone in your room? You even asked the Headmaster if you could have a room all to yourself! Something about not wanting to hit someone with lightning.”
“Well,” said a suddenly uncomfortable Kam, “I didn't have much of a choice. I was coming back from the concert and found him in the room, already unpacked.”
“Soon after which I was threatened profusely.” Taron interrupted. “Now if you'd answer the second part of my question? I'm getting bored just standing around like this.”
“Nothing gets past you, does it Sunwake?” Su'Ta said, speaking for the first time. Taron recognized him now as the student that had lead his family to the auditorium. “Don't look so surprised, I know most of the students around here before they know me. We're not fighting because we usually round up the least experienced fighters and get them into a group, raising their confidence and skill as we direct them against stronger students. They usually split up after their second Hunt as a big group.”
“I see. Kam, let's go before I accidentally knockout a Snipe or something. My reason for being here is gone.”
“Jeez Taron, could you be a bit more blunt and maybe add a hint of rudeness? I don't think they caught it.” Kamen muttered. “He's right though, it's time for us to leave. Maybe next time we'll get Su'Ta and Ta'Su together and have a big fight.”
They left through one of the teleportation circles, got cleaned up, healed by the medics, and returned to their room.