"Do they hurt?"
"No. They itched as they broke skin, but no longer."
"You're doing it wrong. Here… level your hand so you feel all the pins across the rod", Syd rotates the lock so the monk can see. "Like this." The monk grabs the lock and makes a second attempt.
"So what’s up with the shiny bits? Is that normal? Why can you shoot fire from your hands like Soveliss?" She asks.
Kodu smiles, "Aion has ignited my spark. This has not happened to a non-dragonborn in decades. The last human this happened to in the order was a woman by the name of Nevarene, a descendant of Kovakaru the Founder. All in my order hail from dragon blood, yet this is rare. I have found the favor of the First Dragon. "
"Yeeeah… that sounds cool and all, but what about the shooty things?"
"As a child, they were just katas to hone my focus. I am just discovering that they were more than that. Now when I repeat the motions, say the words and my blood burns then fire or ice can emerge from my hands. I have not discovered the extent yet, but I'm leary of this kind of power. Nevarene the Reckless' tale does not end well. Her ambitions in sorcery accidentally killed many of the order.” The lock clicks, Kodu smiles and meets the urchin's eyes.
"Oh, hey! Congrats! Now for something not so infantile.” She smirks as she reaches into her bag and produces another lock.
"Have you been practicing with the blade?"
Syd shrugs, "The balance is way different than what I'm used to. I guess that makes sense… there's no blade."
The monk chuckles and looks up from the lock, "This is why we practice. Last thing you need is to burn your own arm off; the blade is longer than that with which you are familiar."
"I know, I know. You're not my mom; she’s dead and I’m older than you."
Kodu smirks at her unending pragmatism and lack of fear for gallows humor, "That she is and that you are, Syd Streetwalker, that you are. How goes the search for Olma? Anyone at the docks see her board a ship?"
Syd goes quiet, losing her tough exterior for a split second, "She’s a fighter. She's ok; I know it. I just wish I didn't leave things the way I did. Go figure she'd leave right before I could come back with enough money to make hers and my dream happen."
The lock pops open and the priest hands it over triumphantly, "Now let's go get tea before putting up more signs. I'll talk to the farmers in the morning to see if she went out that way. If she's within the walls, she won't be missing for long"
The last week had been long. The monk hadn't made himself available for his standard services to the town on account of the molting. Never had he encountered such an odd experience; the constant itch, the flaking skin and the concern that this might be some serious affliction acquired from one of the many unnatural things beyond the wall. It wasn't until the silver scales had broken the surface of his skin had he begun to realize what was happening. Then came the joy; Kodu always believed his dragonspark was faint and would never actually receive Aion's blessing. Even though this wasn't a trueblood transformation, he relished in every sleepless, itchy night and focused his meditations more intently. During a traditional form exercise with Mato in the garden, Kodu transitioned into Strike of The Golden Fury only to release a bolt of fire into a tree in the garden. It was embarrassing, but Mato was his usual calm self; he even made a joke about being glad they weren't inside. The priest of the First Dragon had tried similar katas and found Silver Waits Patiently, Cacophony of the Repelling Wing and Defense of the Towering Mountain all had effects associated with them. To prevent the danger of practicing those specific katas, Elder Yen also taught Kodu a couple less dangerous parlor tricks to help him hone his focus in channelling primal energies as well.
Then came the next excursion of the Beyonders. Syd had a message sent to Kodu at the shrine asking him to go beyond the wall to fulfill his promise of procuring the Sun Blade. Although he hadn't finished his transition, he was honor bound to this task. He liked the time he spent with her. She was a good teacher and an even better friend. Although she did not cling to a code, her heart was in the right place and she was quickly teaching him so much more than how to open locks. Her lessons included speaking a type of language learned on the streets (this had helped his understanding of idioms more than Eucarion's explanations of the metaphors being made), tricks to noticing details that others would miss and, perhaps most importantly, the natural balance of chaos and law by offering a starkly contrasting point of view on things the monk had thought resolute. Needless to say, his training would have to wait so he could help his friend.
Going beyond the wall was met with the normalcy that all of the Beyonders had come to expect. He smirked to himself at how not more than three moons prior, the town had thought the idea foreign and suicidal. Adi's ability to summon a force mound made camping far less dangerous and efficiently reduced the amount of downtime by cutting out an entire guard shift.
Then came the attack in the morning. Goblins from the Goblin Queen's elite forces. They proved to be negligible, but the priest's suspicions were confirmed that they evils beyond were beginning to send more significant threats closer to the town was unnerving. The next nine days weren't as exciting. Odiri the Little was able to conjure berries to eat. Syd and Odiri's tracking ability steered the group away from most threats. All and all a fairly eventless journey to the temple.
The temple of Artimestia on the other hand? Dangerous as expected; Adi's brilliance won the day. Things were as the group had left them. More candles burned in the primary chamber. The room with the zombie ogres was still empty. The next room, however, had the largest insect Kodu had ever seen, this was also the only insect he had ever seen walk upright. The battle was a blur, He remembered using Strike of the Golden Fury, but that's about all. One blink after, he had teleported to the first room. As the monk rejoined the battle, Adi had tricked the creature into breaking through the wall into the room with Syd's prize. There were spiders… big ones. The room was covered in webs with markings to Atropos. A Strike of the Golden Fury cleared the webbing, but this temple was desecrated and needed to be cleansed (no longer was this temple his promise to Syd, but a promise to the gods to restore the sanctity of the grounds). Syd was quick to rush in through the confusion and grab the Sun Blade. The rest of the battle was easy enough. The others tried to run after Frivolity put a large black darkness on the insect's head (apparently there was something about its eyes), but Kodu knew victory would come. He pressed the attack and felled the creature. The spiders were easy enough to clear out after that. Now Syd had her blade.
Continuing on through the temple was simple enough. A group of urk heretics didn't put up any sort of fight. The keys interrupted the charge of an Urk Chief. The Beyonders were home again. The work of the temple being unfinished. Another project for another day.