My new Dragon Blooded character! Created her last night. I like where she’s going, but she has a lot of growing before she’s as masterful as I hoped. Doesn’t do a lot of damage, but her entire point is to pester people on the battlefield. Currently have her set up so if she doesn’t want you to hit her, you can’t. Because she can fly and jump really far. She doesn’t play real well with her comrades, though. Here is the story of her Exaltation.
“But sir, the Bastion District in Nexus is likely the wealthiest concentration of people in all of Creation. While the wealth of the Dynasts is no doubt grander than those living in Bastion, it is spread out that one compound is the size of their entire region. No doubt you meant what city, not district.” Tepet Ezra was ten. She lived in her books, reading night and day by candle light. Her favorite candle was Sesus Rosrick, a fourteen year old boy who recently Exalted under Hesiesh, dragon of fire. He was attractive enough, but more than anything he was a smart, strong boy. Dark brown hair had gained a touch of red, and his skin was hot to the touch. On those long days in the winter, it was a reason for him to wrap his arms around her. She knew there was something more to why he enjoyed holding her, but she didn’t understand. And she didn’t mind.
The patrician, an elderly Tepet who was too old to march, wrinkled his nose. “Confound you, child, you’re a stubborn girl. So be it. Now to your next lesson.” The lessons continued, unrolling scrolls she read in secret, looking through books with little to no new information.
Then she interrupted, “Tepet Ilten, when do I get to do my sword lessons?”
“No acrobatics today?” The old man grinned, a brow lifting.
Ezra’s eyes went wide, “Can I really? Is the course back up?” After a boy Exalted on the course, an earth aspected child, he was so angry with he simply ran through it.
“It is. I think your swordsmanship is already well beyond the other children your age. Maybe you should work on your agility. You are Tepet, after all.”
Move like the wind. Be silent like the falling leaves. Go unnoticed as the air. It wasn’t quite her House’s motto, but she lived by it. If…. She shook her head, I can’t think that way. When I Exalt. When she Exalted, she would be a great warrior sage, maybe even learn the arts of magic. She would follow the Roseblack into combat, the dreamy and youthful warrior who was advancing quickly in ranks, becoming a favored of the Scarlet Empress.
The winds were gentle outside Lord’s Crossing. It went through her short platinum hair, tickling as it rustled the strands. There were streaks of blue and her eyes were a bright blue. Pale skin and an infinity for the cold all pointed to Exaltation being all but promised. Some wondered if she secretly had Exalted, and simply hadn’t told anyone. But such a prize would allow her to see her parents. It had been four years since she last saw their faces, when they left for the Imperial City. Ilten said they were in the legion now, fighting wars on behalf of the Empress in the Threshold. Some day, Ezra would do the same.
The obstacle course was a hundred feet tall and several dozen wide, with wood planks situated to allow children to climb. There were moving beams in some segments, operated by servants and slaves when required. Ilten must have summoned them as Ezra could hear the clack of wood on wood, the rolling sound of wooden joints in motion. Her teeth showed through the large smile.
Ilten said, “Go ahead, child. I know few things suit you like this does. With your love of swords and acrobatics, I quite fear one day your hair will turn red.”
“I am Tepet.” Her chin lifted, her gaze narrowing. “I will be the wind. Not the fire.”
“But of course, my lady.” He winked at her, and she giggled. “Now, go. I will time you.”
She climbed up to the entrance, twenty feet up, scrambling on the small boards which acted as footholds. The course was meant for those working on their agility. Many children thinking it little more than a game fell to break bones. Fat children who thought one could eat pastries as they wished and still play in the realm of air. She scoffed as she thought of Ragara Ulren, who fell off on his third attempt to reach the platform. He broke an arm and leg. She half thought he would just bounce with his shameful girth.
She reached the platform, flexing her hands as the feeling of rough wood staid for a while. “Up or down?” There were multiple paths through the course, a maze, but all paths led to the end. She jumped up to climb higher. Thirty, forty, fifty feet. She kicked off, and jumped between the wooden panels until they were close enough she could extend her limbs to support her in the small chute, climbing up slowly, small muscles straining. She loved the way it worked her body, how it engaged so many more muscles than sword fighting ever could.
The winds seemed to react to her. It happened now and then, when it felt as if they were pushing her, but this time there was a definite breeze at her back as she reached a flat platform and sprinted through the corridor, filled with wooden sticks flinging out to knock her down. She slid on her knees, hurtled herself between two blocks, rolled under another, and sprinted again as she was out of peril. She laughed and jumped over a pit which would take her to the bottom. She didn’t want to be on the lower levels. Not yet.
The winds picked up and she jumped another pitfall, but this time it was as if she were flying, her feet not touching the ground for near twenty meters. “Ilten,” she screamed, unsure he could hear her, “I’m flying. I’m flying!”
She could hear muffled shouts from the old man, but couldn’t make them out. He was running alongside her now, his old body almost comical in the robes. Arms waved at her, but it didn’t matter. She reached the end of the obstacle. There was an opening. She could fly, so she jumped, launching herself even farther than last time.
Ilten called out, “You can’t fly, Ezra! You Exalted!”
He was right. Soon the ground was coming up to her, over a hundred feet below her. A pit formed in her stomach and started to rise. “Ilten, what do I do?” Tears were forming, freezing in the corners of her eyes.
“Call on the wind, child. It will save you.”
She concentrated on the winds as she neared the ground. Fifty feet, but she wasn’t slowing. Ilten was still chasing after her, though he was slowing down. Twenty feet. The winds picked up, buffering under her in such force she felt as if there was something physical there. Two feet from the ground she came to a near full stop and vomited before being gently put down on the earth.
“Child,” Ilten said, finally catching up to her. “You Exalted! This is joyous.”
When he knelt to help her up, she shrugged him off, crying. “I threw up.”
“Oh child, that doesn’t matter. You are chosen of Mela.”
But it did matter. Ezra threw up during her Exaltation. She ran to the house, crying as she did, the wind carrying her.