Zento’s knuckles grew white as he gripped the arms of his chair. All conversation around the big table fell into silence as the two heavy doors opened.
Figures made their way down the carpeted floor — SoYa, SaRa, Suzume and LuShi – not something unusual at an Assembly. Except, LuShi didn’t go with Suzume to their usual back corner of the meeting room. Instead, the silver haired boy followed SoYa right up to the table of the Inner Circle, and sat down beside him.
Zemi, you had something to do with this, didn’t you?
Zento knew the Dreigiau wanted to include the boy-Sygnus in an upcoming Assembly. Still, feelings of heavy dread rose within the winged-man’s chest. Grinding his teeth, he pressed his thoughts down into a simmering pool in his stomach.
I wish you’d listen to me. We’ve discussed this over and over again!
Usually, Zento abided by Kudako’s suggestions to trust the choices that Zemi made. However, at the sight of the silver haired boy, even Kudako’s ears were flat and his eyes a darker shade of gold. Though it was not open disapproval, for the Dragon rarely showed his thoughts so plainly, it was close enough.
I thought we had come to an agreement that LuShi shouldn’t be allowed into the Inner Circle.
In fact, Zento was uncomfortable about allowing LuShi to remain there within Ceiswyr. It wasn’t a matter of being cruel or kind, it was a matter of the safety and survival of their people. As time passed, it became more and more apparent that LuShi was far removed from an ordinary child, and that the powers and potential he possessed were quickly developing.
If I knew this was how it was going to end up, I wouldn’t have brought him here in the first place.
No one could foresee how quickly the situation could become dangerous and crucial. No one realized upon finding the small silver-haired child in the depths of Nefol, that they would be facing the threat of a nearly full-grown Sygnus so soon.
Zemi, when are you going to start taking this seriously? Does it take the Islands to fall out of the sky before you realize that this is NOT fun and games?
Zento also spent time speaking with Aur, seeking information about the Sygni of the Time Before. Though Aur rarely offered as much knowledge as he owned, the message was always the same. Sygni were highly imbalanced and unstable creatures that wielded massive ability and skill that threatened even the Arweinydd . Insanity usually inflicted the Sygni as they inherited their full power, simply because their Earthian mind and body were not capable of dealing with the essence of Arweinydd they had inherited.
It’s part of what caused the great Mistake from the Time Before. We have to guard that something like that doesn’t happen again.
The Dreigiau only argued strongly in defense of LuShi ever since the boy came to the Islands. Despite the fact that the boy was a creation of a Chaotic Arweinydd, Zemi believed that if LuShi was given the proper environment and care, they could raise him to defeat the destiny of the Sygni.
I keep telling you that you’re wrong. Aur keeps trying to tell you to be careful. But you just won’t listen no matter what.
Between Zemi and SaRa, the boy-Sygnus was raised in as normal an environment as they could provide. There were a million and one snags to this theory, of course. One being that LuShi wan’t accepted by the normal people of Ceiswyr – either they were afraid of him or they shunned him. All of the winged people could feel what the silver haired boy would become. It resounded through their land like a death bell.
What do you think we have to gain by allowing the son of Zeromus to sit on our council?
As if she could sense exactly what her brother was thinking, SaRa glanced up with a ‘don’t-start-anything’ look. Zento simply lowered his brows in response, glancing at where LuShi now sat next to his eldest son. The Sygnus’ eyes were lowered, an air of nervousness clinging to him, in swaths of almost visible silver mist.
Fine. We’ll see how this plays out. But I’m not going to agree, and I’m not going to be responsible for whatever happens because of this.
Zento picked his way across the room to his own seat, across the table from where SoYa sat, just next to TsuYa. His wings folded properly behind him, he cast a disapproving glance up at the head of the table.
Zemi, this is in your court.
-I’m glad that you’ve come to that conclusion,- the voice of the Dreigiau suddenly filled his mind. Though it held a bit of Zemi’s usual banter, there was a certain amount of caution, as if he knew exactly how displeased his Champion was.
Then the Arweinydd was there, standing at the head of the table. His wild mane of hair hung long and free about his shoulders, except for the single wrapped lock that hung from behind one ear. His robes hung fine and rich, deep crimson inlayed with patterns of gold weaving. On the front of his robe, the image of the gold-sheened dragon reared and fluttered with Zemi’s movement.
Perched on the Dreigiau’s high-backed chair was the tiny, translucent form of the white sparrow, Zeni. At his side sat the large form of the sharp-faced she wolf, Zazo.
As the Zemi extended his hands, a ripple washed through the room, and everything hummed to life. Pale, golden-white light illuminated the chamber, spreading a pattern of circles, stars and symbols across the entire floor. Tall pillars of light shot up through the central loops of the table, the largest shaft feeding straight up through the skylight.
Zemi’s eyes were sharp as they absorbed the room. His gaze lingered longest on Zento, and the winged man turned his face away with a grimace.
Before the Dreigiau could respond to Zento’s disgruntlement, the doors to the room burst open again. The sound of small, running footfalls pattered and echoed off the tall vaulted walls, the panting breath causing the Inner Circle to turn in wonder.
“Sorry… I’m late!” AsaHi stopped to catch her breath, both hands planted on her knees. Standing just over one of the mystical glowing symbols, her face was illuminated gently from below as she pushed a number of straying locks of hair from her eyes.
“Nah, you’re just in time,” Zemi replied, motioning her to the nearest empty seat, one that was set aside just for her.
Despite the fact that AsaHi wasn’t an Arweinydd, one of the great leaders, or a Champion of any nation, there was never any question about whether or not the girl could join the Inner Circle of the Trine. The choice wasn’t just based on Zemi and SoYa’s affection for her, either.
Over the past year, AsaHi proved quite skilled as a mediator in the Assembly, especially since she could talk sense into Zemi at even the most stressed times. Though she didn’t have the vast knowledge or experience of Zemi, Aur or Zento, she displayed a keen sympathy and understanding for the emotions of others. When things started getting out of hand, her level-headed clarity helped keep people on track.
AsaHi straightened her socks under the soft flow of her silk robes and pulled herself up into the indicated chair. She gave everyone an embarrassed, cheerful grin of hello.
I guess that’s part of what love does to people.
There was no doubt in the way that Zemi looked at AsaHi that the Dreigiau still loved her deeply. Yet, ever since the battle between Zemi and Zeromus in the Spire of Nefol, where SoYa risked his life to keep the Dreigiau from falling into Chaos, an understanding between the Arweinydd and the Athrylith began to grow.
The war in the lands below also helped to pull them together. It was hard to maintain personal battles when energies were devoted to the battle waged against a powerful enemy. Things weren’t by and large perfect, however, it was obvious to Zento that friendship was forming between Zemi and SoYa from the depths of shadowy times.
It’s hardly typical. But then, neither Zemi nor SoYa are typical when it comes down to it. Mind Magery and Arweinydd-ism comes in handy sometimes.
As the room settled down, the Dreigiau gave another penetrating look around the room. Then he sat down, placing his hands on the surface of the table, which began to shimmer with its own inner light. Tiny images of winged dragons capered over the wood’s polished surface for a fleeting moment before they faded.
Very nice, Zemi. Very amusing… but let’s get to the gritty of this. I want to know why that boy-Sygnus is sitting at this table.
Zento knew the question would only be answered at the Dreigiau’s leisure, if even then. So he leaned back, pursed his lips, and watched the Assembly start.