Toshiana was sitting in the school room tapping her foot on the floor in boredom when the walls of the entire palace shook. A piercing clap made her ears sting. The books on the shelves that lined the walls jumped with the force of the sound.
As she tried to catch her breath, she looked into the eyes of each of her four classmates. They looked as terrified as she felt.
“A shock wave,” said the teacher, his voice calm.
“A shock wave?” replied one of the other students, her voice shaking. “From what?”
The teacher, Shon Malenn, gave his student a straight gaze. “Don’t change the subject, Inyatosh. I asked a question and I expect an answer.”
“What for?” Toshiana muttered.
“What was that, Toshiana? Did you have something you wished to share?”
“Windrunner,” Toshiana said loudly. “That’s the answer.”
Shon Malenn blinked twice before he nodded and looked back down to the notes in his hands. “Right. Okay. This branch hails from the opposite side of the world. They can shift their body into various types of organic matter, often limited to one specific combination, for example: stone or wood.”
“Earthchild,” was the immediate response from Toatosh. He was an idiot.
“That is incorrect,” said Shon Malenn.
“Morphe,” Toshiana answered flatly.
Shon Malenn gave a short nod. “Exactly. Morphe. You must be careful because the two branches come from the same origin. Unlike so many of the other branches, these two can be found within the same families. Earthchildren read the earth, read its life and can a very formidable foe if you interact with the ground in anyway. But they are built for defense. Morphes are often trained on the offensive. A sub sect of the Shifters, they can disguise their body and attack unseen.” He paused and scanned the room, like he was making sure everyone was listening. “Moving on. With these next few, I will give the branch name and you will give me the summary. Use of key words counts in your favor. The first: Rena.”
Toshiana waited. Inyatosh’s hand went up.
“A powerless branch, defined only by their ability to read the threads of other people.”
Shon Malenn nodded. “Very good.”
“So, by definition, not powerless,” Toshiana said.