Homaquis
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The moonlight made the clear pond dazzle on a cloudless night in Florida. The pond smelled of mildew, compost, and the fresh metal of the newly installed fence surrounding the lake.

Sarah stood behind the chainlink fence separating her from the small pond. The fence was topped with barbed wire, and the only way in was through a gate on the other side of the pond, which was blocked by an armed guard. A sign attached to the fence stated that the area was private property, despite the fact that the only thing resembling human habitation was a wooden hut that was already half-composted. This pond had always belonged to nature, and, in Sarah's opinion, calling it private property was akin to theft.

But Sarah couldn't argue with the sign, so she did the next-best thing. Licking her lips, she tasted the air. Unlike the desert, the air down in Florida was very humid, which would make channelling much easier. She straightened her back, unclenched her fists, and took in a deep breath. She felt the raw power of Water course through her veins like blood, and she directed the power into transforming herself into water, collapsing into a puddle like a folding chair.

In this form, Sarah still had control over her body. She directed herself to slip around the cracks in the fence, and then, releasing her breath, she let go of the Water and returned to her previous form. Sarah opened her cloak. She had four bottles filled with purified, infused water prior to her transformation. Now she had three, and one nearly-empty bottle. She removed one of the bottles from its strap and uncorked it.

She trotted to the edge of the pond. At the moment, her worst fear was being seen. She was exceptionally pale, and the full moon shone brightly tonight. Despite her cloak, an observant eye could spot her among the flat area surrounding the pond. She pulled her hood further over her head as she approached the pond's shore.

Sarah turned the bottle upside-down and poured its contents onto the ground. This was bait for the creature that lurked inside of the pond. After setting her trap, Sarah crouched nearby and waited.

After a minute or two, an arm made out of water emerged from the lake, and dug itself into the sandy ground. An identical arm dragged itself out a second later. The man made out of water pulled himself from the lake and marooned himself on the shore, then shakily stood up. Homaquis.

As the Homaquis approached the puddle, Sarah approached him slowly. You needed to be slow around Homaquis, since they're easily startled. Sarah just stuck low to the ground, and crept towards-

The Homaquis saw Sarah, screamed a high-pitched screech, and hugged Sarah. After getting over the initial shock of meeting an eager Homaquis, Sarah hugged the Homaquis back, and started to probe its mind.

The Homaquis was born, as much as a Homaquis could be born, in this lake. He'd never bonded with anybody before; he was too timid. But a thousand years later, after the fall of the Golden Days, he regretted it. He regretted it so much. He longed for a true friend. He'd tried to make friends with bears, birds, and even a musky old man. But it never lasted long.

Sarah extended her hand and offered that true friend. She offered a companion to stand by even in the greatest storms. She held her hand out.

Then the Homaquis accepted it.

Sarah opened her eyes and found that she wasn't in the embrace of the Homaquis anymore. In fact, the Homaquis was no longer there. She opened her palm, and found the Homaquis standing there, waving up at her. She waved back.

"Hold it right there!" a voice yelled from behind her.

Sarah turned around to see the guard pointing a pistol at her. She raised her hands behind her head, hiding the Homaquis from view. Sarah analyzed the guard. He was wearing a Kevlar vest with that damn shield inscribed on a badge in the front. He had a taser in his back pocket, and goggles around his neck. He was definitely ready for a fight. The guard, or whoever sent him here, was probably aware of the Homaquis, though he didn't know what it was capable of.

Sarah still had the element of surprise. It's showtime. she thought to herself.

Taking in a deep breath, Sarah channeled Water. However, she didn't take in the Water from the bottle stored in her coat. She took her power from the Homaquis. It was beautiful, raw power, untainted by the clumsy hands of humans. As she collapsed into a puddle, the guard dropped his gun and reached for his taser. By the time he got it out, Sarah had let herself flow into the lake.

The guard stood over the pond for a minute, debating whether or not to fire the taser in and potentially subdue his enemy. This gave Sarah the opportunity to creep out of the lake and reform behind the guard. The guard started to turn around, but it was too late. Sarah took a greatwood staff from her coat and slapped the guard across the hands, making him drop the taser. She then took a step in and used her momentum to bring the blunt end of the staff into the guard's jaw, knocking him out and sending him to the ground.

After defending herself from the assailant, Sarah looked to her shoulder. The Homaquis stood there, and waved at her again. Sarah gave him a thumbs up, and let him slide down into her pocket.

After the brief interchange, Sarah didn't waste any more time. The guard could've called for backup, and she didn't want to have to deal with more of them. Channeling Water, she slid back under the fence, and waded her way through waist-thick brush back to the Jeep she had taken to get to the pond in the first place.

As she buckled herself into the car and let the Homaquis take refuge inside of the glove compartment, Sarah noticed her cell phone buzz. She took it out of the cup holder and opened the messenger app.

ZENO

Are you ready?

Sarah stared at the phone screen for a minute, collecting her thoughts before responding.

I'm in.

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