Chapter 4: One Nation Underground

Chapter 4: One Nation Underground

A Chapter by Letiel Naynarou
"

The Nihood was the best kept secret, it had to be for Tempest to not know about it. It's time to explore.

"

Blade led the rest of the way, entering first and walking straight to Letiel. She refused to stay in the hospital bed and was propped up on a chair, her head falling to one side. The security head gently cradled her head in his hands and let himself in. She winced in her sleep and was tense but otherwise seemed to be fine. 

"You did a good job on those wounds. I'd like to know how you did it sometime," the doctor mumbled, keeping his voice low.

Tem regarded her with the doctor, arms still crossed.

"It was messy, I could've done better. I'm certain I left her bleeding internally." He looked at the other man. "I don't believe I got your name. I'm Tempest."

"Ah, Professor Egan," he said offering his hand. "You actually did very well. Her coughing, wheezing, and bleeding is normal. Her, ah, tenant keeps her from healing all the way. No one knows why, we just deal with it." 

Blade finished what he was doing and let her head slump forward again. "I'm going to go secure the area."

Tem shook his hand firmly, gaze drifting back to the unconscious girl in the chair.

"Her tenant. Could you tell me more about it?"

"She has a very, very old spirit living inside of her. The story goes that she sold herself to him in exchange for power but only she knows the details. All WE know is that it's dangerous and plays with her judgement and emotions. She has a terrible temper and is prone to cruel and violent measures but when she's not playing host, Letiel is the most gentle of souls. She'd gladly give her life to protect these people." Egan's voice rang with pride. "I imagine she will be frustrated if you leave. Spare us all the angst and stay awhile?"

"Frustrated? She barely knows me. I can't imagine once she's in her right mind she'll be pleased with the fact that I brought this on her." He looked at her with concern.

"...I will stay. I need to know more about here, the er, similar experiences we've had. And i want to see more this undiscovered world of yours. We aren't anywhere I've ever been before. Going this many years without anything new is a tad boring, and this is definitely new. What is this place, anyway?"

"This is the Northern hospital wing of the Central Nihood Tribe and it's probably the busiest of all the hospitals. We're just under Pike's Peak in Colorado. This is the headquarters tribe for the whole world. Any and all Nihood citizens, mostly humans but just about every Eloium on the face of the Earth is active in Nihood politics and SHE is the leader of it all. So you can imagine our relief when she popped back up on the grid."

Tem blinked wow. He'd stumbled across the First Lady of an underground government.

"Eloium? Nihood? These are things I've never heard of. How can I never have heard of this?"

"Well because we've been living in secret for hundreds of years? You're a black Mage right? I know the Eloium traded and communed with black mage communities many eons ago, but I'm not surprised they didn't make it into your history books."

"Yeah me too. We didn't keep terribly good records. Most of our knowledge was passed down in thought." He looked at the professor with a curious gaze, "How would you know about us?"

"Eloium history is annoyingly detailed and I am a professor of history among other things." The Professor tapped Tem's shoulder. "I have other patients to attend to. Will you keep an eye on her for now?" he asked.

Tem nodded, "I'll call if she gets worse."

After the professor left, Tem took a seat next to Letiel, reaching out and shifting her into a more comfortable position.

She grumbled, "No doctors please." Then she started to wake up, slowly and groggily, clearly under the influence of heavy pain medication.

"I thought you would've left," she said, looking at Tempest.

Tem chuckled. "I'm no doctor. That much is obvious."

He patted her on the non-scarred shoulder gently, eyes soft.

"I stayed."

She weakly tugged at the hospital gown, clutching her shoulder. 

"I'm so sorry," she bumbled. "For the hotel, the park... I'm so, so sorry."

Tem shook his head, "No, forget about it. I was the one who put myself in harm's way. You just rest. It's ok."

"His name is Omaotin," she whispered, falling asleep again. Her head bobbed.

Tem released her shoulder and sat back.

"Omaotin," he muttered allowed. At least he had a name for it now.

"He saved me and now I belong to him, at least until I die," her bumbling continued. "I'm sorry."

Tem shook his head again, "Sleep. There will be time to talk later."

She nodded and closed her eyes, it took less than a minute for her to fall asleep. 

As if on cue, Professor Egan entered. "She seems to be well. She's very comfortable around you, despite the beat down."

He winced. "Really. I think...I think she feels like she deserved it. She shouldn't feel like that."

"Perhaps not," Egan said, "or perhaps so. It's really up to her how she feels about her past." He consulted the clipboard again. "Normally we'd move her to her room but she's very in and out so we'll keep her here. I am, however, going to ask that you leave. She deserves some privacy."

Tem nodded and stood.

"Of course, I understand. I'd like to see more of this place anyway."

"There's plenty to do. I can assign you a guide if you'd like."

"Yeah, that would be very helpful. Maybe a map too. I can't imagine this place is on the small side."

"No it's not," Egan grumbled. He tapped the pen on the clipboard, thinking. "I'm not sure we have maps yet, the place is constantly changing and there's too much risk in having a printed map but a student will know what to do." He led Tempest out of the room and to the nurse's station, where he addressed them in an unfamiliar tongue. The nurse nodded and made a phone call. "Should only be a moment."

The Mage waited patiently, trying to stay out of the way of nurses in the meantime.

It took five minutes but eventually a young man, maybe 17 years old, approached the desk. 

"You called Professor," he said. 

"Ah yes, I'm glad my assistant called you. Tempest this is Zev. Zev, this is Tempest."

Zev presented a little half bow and then offered his hand. "It's good to meet you sir."

Tempest shook the offered hand and nodded, "Good to meet you as well. I suppose you'll be showing my sorry self around then, huh?"

"If you would permit me to, sir," Zev said happily. He was cheery and bright with a dazzling smile and warm chocolate eyes that matched his neatly tailored dark brown hair. 

"Zev, is one of my top students. He is second in his class, in BOTH of my classes at least. I imagine he's doing fine in his others as well."

"Come on Professor, you know as well as I do that a good student stems from a good teacher."

Egan blushed around his white beard and adjusted his glasses.

Tempest laughed, "Well, now I see why he gets top marks. You're too easily flattered, professor."

"I assure you sir, my grades speak louder than my praise," Zev laughed. 

The professor snorted. "Be off with you two, I have patients to attend to before my next class, and you shouldn't be back here anyway."

Zev bowed a little deeper to Egan before turning. "Then we take our leave, Master. Let's go."

Tempest followed Zev as they left the hospital wing in a hurry. He didn't much care where they went, he just wanted to explore.

"I hope I'm not keeping you from your studies. What's the education around here like, anyway?"

Zev chuckled a bit. "If I couldn't handle being away from my studies I wouldn't be in the outsider guide program. The applications are brutal and there's more paperwork then anyone here wants to do." 
The tunnels they walked along were brightly lit and wide, colored in natural tones with the occasional colored light. 

"Every child is required to attend classes and as they grow they're sorted by ability. The smarter, harder working students are rewarded with more opportunities and freedom so long as we keep those grades up. The not so great students are dealt with differently according to the individual's needs. There are required courses though that all of us have to take and at a certain age, we all have to contribute military service."

"Hmm. Sounds pretty standard to me. So where are we headed to now?"

The youth responded quickly, “"Well, there's the stables, the council is open right now, the gym is open, there's the arena, plenty of classes. There's a lot to do, it depends on your interest. Ah, we should maybe try and find you a place to stay."

Tem chuckled, "That isn't really necessary. I tend to just camp out wherever I am. I'm sure I'll find a quiet place around here somewhere." After reflecting on his options for moment, he spoke again. "I'd like to see a council meeting, if that's possible."

"Sure, the library is on the way, I think that may be the quietest place in the whole Tribe. The rest can get pretty busy." 

Zev wasn't kidding there. Even with students in classes the halls jumbled about, men and women of all different shapes and sizes jostled about the hall with more arriving as the hallway widened and started branching off. It was like walking about an unusually large airport with little cars zooming about and moving walkways. Zev stuck to the tile.

Tem was used to crowded streets, but this was different. There was no open air. He assumed they were underground or something, but the lack of sky was making him just a tad claustrophobic, especially with all these people crowding around. He stuck with his guide as they made their way through it.

Tempest was pretty well guarded but most of the reason Zev was brought into the program was his hypersensitivity to emotions, motives, and various other parts of the inner workings of the mind. He was already a specialist in the psychic interrogation section of the military serving with other spies. Zev's welcome and help was genuine but it came with other duties. Over the course of the while Zev had been gently reading Tem's vibes and was more or less satisfied. The Mage was dangerous but meant no harm to the Nihood, his curiosity was just that, curiosity. 

"We're underground," Zev said at last. "The Nihood is a collection of tunnels that branch out all over the world. It's the safest place for us."

Tem's eyes snapped to his guide.

"You've been reading my thoughts," he said.

Zev's own guard was airtight. It was the primary focus of his training. Physically he was no better than an average human but psychically he was one of the best. 

"No, not your thoughts. Just your intentions." He kept walking. "It's this way," he said turning down a yellow lit corridor.

Tem tilted his head and followed. Well, at least he didn't get pulled into a dark room to be questioned. This method seemed much more effective. He would've been none the wiser if Zev hadn't spoken up about being underground.

The hallways stretched endlessly as they walked and another ten minutes later placed them at another turn, this hallway branching off in two curving directions. The ceiling was a tad lower here, no longer reaching up two or three stories but they were much wider. The atrium in front of the open double doors was large, to accommodate large numbers of people, and the doors were wide and ornate. Paintings of storybook scenes and major historical events lined the walls as the circled to other doors in the manner of a large theater. 

"This is it. When the doors are open, the public is allowed to enter and sit in on proceedings."

Tem could here shouting, formal words, and disagreements coming from the open doors ahead. It sounded like politics. This must be the council.

As he and Zev pushed through the audience crowding the doorway, Tem started making out what was actually being said.

The arguing was limited to only a couple people on the upper tiers, each delegate labelled by country and tribe. There were easily more than 1000 delegates lined around in a 3/4 circular pattern around a central stand where more official looking people sat. The topmost chair was empty. 

There weren't very many of the public actually sitting on the benches reserved for such an occasion, but the doors were overcrowded with students, curious enough to be within earshot but too nervous to actually enter. 

Zev cleared his throat and the students turned, assessed the rank patch on his arm and snapped to attention before shuffling off. 

"If they sit down, I wouldn't have to chase them off," Zev muttered, leading the way to the benches while the council argued about the budget. It was a casual topic that needed approval but the divided council wanted to review it again and remove unnecessary expenses. 

For the most part, they looked bored. Only about half the delegate's seats were filled and even the main stand looked empty with 12 of the 15 seats open.

The Mage sat down on the bench while still staring around the room, marking the myriad of diverse people here. This organization spread further than he originally thought. Most people here were human, as far he could tell, but there some exceptions, like the huge, anthropomorphic white tiger seated in the upper tiers.

"I suppose today doesn't have much on the agenda?" Tem asked Zev, noting the empty seats.

"Not really. The council holds session everyday and what will be discussed is announced. Delegates who have no opinion on the matter don't necessarily show."

A courier entered from a side door and approached the stand, leaning over to whisper in a woman's ear. She was seated the highest of anyone present, just below the topmost seat. A letter was pressed into her hand and she waved him off. Motioning to guards on the edges of the hallways. Their leader's silver-white hair waved as he turned and directed the guards to seal the room. One of them started clearing the public audience as well. 

"Excuse me sirs, you need to leave."

Zev politely dipped his head. "Professor Egan has given this guest full access."

"Not to a closed meeting."



© 2013 Letiel Naynarou


Author's Note

Letiel Naynarou
Please look for grammar, I suck at that the most.

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Added on January 22, 2013
Last Updated on January 22, 2013
Tags: Eloium, black, mage, letiel, tempest, blade, conar, elite, four, nihood, battles, maelstrom, omaotin


Author

Letiel Naynarou
Letiel Naynarou

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I'm as my friends would say: spontaneous, unpredictable, odd, a little weird, and have high moral standards... I can't help it! ...Should I add more? I feel lonely not having my favorite pictures u.. more..

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