With a last look at the glowing gem, Kennar selects his spell gems from the vampire's collection.
"I'll use these tools you've given me to increase my power," Kennar says to Leshnar with a bow. "So that I might repay the favor I owe you properly. Thank you for the aid. Though perhaps you see it more as an investment."
"That remains to be seen," Kennar says philosophically. "Increased magical power, certainly. But as I now know," he says with a respectful nod to the Yolin, "Magic doesn't automatically grant power. I suppose I might say that I found the tools to help me find what I was seeking."
The yolin nodded and began walking back towards the path that had split off at the beginning of Kennar's training. He called over his shoulder expecting Kennar to follow saying, "And what exactly were you hoping these tools would help you find?"
"Not what I originally came here for," Kennar says quietly. "I thought I was here to gain enough power to take revenge against someone. I now know that was idiocy. Revenge was simply the thing I grasped onto as an excuse to seek out power..."
Actually thinking about why he was there, Kennar couldn't come up with a proper answer. Why was he here? The pursuit of power? Maybe. Or was it more likely he was trying to prove something to himself? Kennar dismisses that thought. Whether because he knows it isn't true or because he doesn't want to acknowledge that it is, he doesn't know.
For just a moment, Kennar flashes back to the forest of his home plane. Being chased by the elves, feeling that he was about to die as they closed in. The powerlessness of being unable to control his own fate.
Ah, there it is, Kennar thinks. Has that really been what's motivating me this whole time? How interesting...
"I... I believe I've found out why I'm here," Kennar says softly. "My home was a bad place for my kind. We were hunted by elves, for being 'imperfect'. They killed us because we weren't beautiful by their cruel standards. Just before I came to Estark, I was cornered. About to die. Then... I was rescued, and brought here."
"I was powerless to save myself," Kennar continues. "I had no control. When I was here, I went on a mission with several other mages. One was a green mage. We fought several pirates, and one had surrendered. I offered her protection in exchange for information about black mana. The green mage went insane and slaughtered her. I couldn't stop him. Again I was powerless. I vowed revenge against him, but that's not truly what brought me here."
Kennar reflects a moment on the events that shaped him, brought him to this moment. "I'm here because I don't want to feel powerless again. I want control, and power is the way to have it. If I'm powerful enough to shape the world to my liking, I won't be helpless in it."
Kennar considers this for a moment before answering. "I believe that to have the control I desire, I must look at the long term and make certain sacrifices in the short. The vampire's power came with a cost, but those spells are very powerful tools. If I am to have control, I must build up the tools. It will not happen quickly, and I must start somewhere. I might as well start with the most powerful tools I can find. Theoretically, knowing more powerful spells now gives me a larger advantage over the long term."
"Yes, power now translates to more opportunities to use that power to gain more power in the long run." spoke the yolin hesitantly. "But have you considered the direct and indirect consequences of what the favor may entail for you?"
The yolin came to a stop in the center of the room that split off into several directions.
Kennar also stops in the room, facing the Yolin. "I have, but... sometimes one must take great risk to reap great rewards. The vampire may try to exploit the loopholes of our deal. Or, he may play it in good faith. As a creature of black mana, I expect him to do what is in his best interest. I must amass enough power so that my aid or alliance is more beneficial than some loophole he might find."
Kennar gives the Yolin a look with his head tilted. "One of the requirements was that the task had to have a chance of survival. You are much more powerful than I am. I wouldn't win a fight with you. You would kill me easily. So, by the terms of our agreement, the vampire couldn't ask it of me."
"You are the master of black mana," Kennar says simply. "You give others the power to use that magic, when they didn't have the ability to do so before. That much knowledge does not come without power."
"Even a blade forged in the hands of an inept blacksmith can still kill a swordmaster. Nothing is ever truly guaranteed in this world. The most powerful are the ones most open to attack, even from those who know they cannot hope to succeed and yet do so because others have struck first or at the same time." spoke the yolin calmly. "You have been shown how to access the swamps. The vampire has fitted you with a basic weapon in exchange for a future favor owed him. Why then do you think you are incapable of taking on one such as I when even the simplest of weapons can fell a powerful mage, under the right circumstances that is."
"The operative phrase being 'right circumstances'," Kennar says to the Yolin. "Perhaps if I snuck up on you while you slept. Or if I struck a sneak attack while you weren't looking. In a direct fair fight, I don't believe I would win."
Kennar thinks for a moment. Hm... He might be right. Perhaps the vampire would ask it of me.
After another moment of thought, Kennar smiles. "Because if that's truly what you thought he would ask of me, you would have struck me down the moment you learned of the deal while I was standing defenseless. You wouldn't alert me to the possibility of it and give me a chance to protect myself."
Kennar thinks it over. "I don't know. I suppose I might come to you and tell you about it. Try to play both sides and profit from it. If the vampire truly wanted you dead and sent me, it would mean he couldn't do it himself for some reason. If that means you have some manner of control over him, I would attempt to convince you to use it to remove him. Or, I might just stab you through the heart while you were sleeping."
Kennar shrugs. "I suppose, in essence, I'd do whatever benefitted me most."
The yolin chuckles, low and deep in his throat. "Very good. Very good indeed. Putting yourself and your power first. It seems you've at least grasped the basics."
By now, they've reached the room they started in. "And this is where your training ends. If you want to know more, you are always welcome to return. Provided, of course, that you have the proper...compensation."
Without waiting for an answer, the yolin vanishes into the shadows, leaving Kennar alone.
Quest closed. Take 4 XP, and get along to the main quest.