Ntaro Challenge: A House L'u-cif-er Story (ch. 3) by Acton Bell

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Genji silently cursed his lack of useful Talent for the thousandth time that klukka. If he could have but one day of telepathy or post cognition, he would gladly trade his personal fortune for it to save Viir from this frustration and pain. Still, even if he knew it would hurt Viir a thousand times more, he would ask it of him again. This was House business and House duty came before all other considerations.
"Enough, my love," said Viir. His smile was a shadow of itself and Genji could see even that was an effort for him to produce. "Calm yourself. Your thoughts batter my shields like a desert storm. It makes it," his tone was wry, "most difficult to concentrate."
Genji bowed his head and took a step back. All Psis learned to build mental shields to protect themselves – especially telepaths and empaths. Unshielded Psis risked being exposed to too much mental stimuli and having their minds scoured as a result. Even for those who were highly trained, it required a great deal of concentration to filter out the unwanted "noise". For one of Viir's erratic abilities it was even more difficult; which was why he seldom used his Talent.
They had been pacing the grounds for hours; the sandwiches Hynl had brought for them consumed as they prowled through the ashes, Viir scanning the area psychically.
Genji eyed him with concern. Viir's bronze shaded skin was taking on a dull, dusty look. The muscles beneath his right eye had begun to twitch, a sure sign he was overexerting himself.
"Enough," said Genji. He reached out his hand. "You must rest. We--." His words broke off.
When he laid his hand on Viir's clammy arm, it was as if he had been struck by Hyoh's dry lightning.
Their fault. Why dzeert? Their fault. Make them pay. Their fault. Let them burn. Their fault. My fledgling, dzeert! THEIR FAULT!
Genji mentally pushed the overwhelming flood of alien emotion away. He staggered. His stomach heaved. "Viir." His voice was a croak to his own ears. He reached through their bond, too anxious to wait for Viir's answer. Some of the overwhelming fear dissipated as he felt Viir's shaky, but honest, reassurances.
Taking a deep breath, he stood. "What the helvíti was that?"
"Our arsonist, I should think," Viir said. His weak smile couldn't hide the trembling of his lips.
Genji growled at his lover. "Viir."
Viir shook his head. "I do not know, my love. It was as it was last night. I could find nothing and then I was overwhelmed."
"Is it that vitlaus that it can leave such an impression behind?" Genji said. His Talent was negative. He should not have been able to pick up any emotions, much less the actual thoughts that had echoed in his head.
"Your hand was on my arm," said Viir. Genji recognized the expression of intense concentration. It was the one he called "Scholar Ascendant". Viir was formulating a theory. "Both times your hand was on my arm."
Genji found Viir's appraising stare unnerving. "I have held you times beyond number over the years, minn ást.

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