Book 2 Chapter 29

“SoYa, talk to me! What’s going on?” Father’s face rippled in a blur of worry and fatherly concern. The winged man placed a hand on both of SoYa’s shoulders, pulling the Apprentice to face him.

“Father,” SoYa’s voice was strangled as his hand waved with an exaggerated motion, “It’s Zemi… he’s…”

Maybe it was true that Zemi gave his word not to act out of spite on SoYa for being AsaHi’s Promised. But something in the Apprentice panicked the moment he gathered his thoughts. That’s when fear overcame him. Shaken by the vastness of the revelation, SoYa came to find protection in the only place he knew to look.

How do you tell someone something like this? “Father, I just found out that Zemi’s in love with my Promised? And I terrified that even though he said he wouldn’t, he might change his mind and decide to roast me just to have her for his own?”

The Apprentice glanced up, catching the sight of his fear reflected in the green of his father’s eyes. In that instance he knew that Father understood, an understanding that came without words. Simply emotion. The connection of one Athrylith to another. And for that fleeting moment, SoYa was grateful.

This was quickly followed by a bout of sudden embarrassment as he realized that Aur was overlooking the whole scene. As always, the deep, hooded eyes gave away no trace of the creature’s inner thoughts.

Erg… he’s probably thinking what a big cry baby I am. Running to Daddy at the first sight of trouble…

For the first time in many decades, SoYa had sought out the council of his father. Despite what anyone else thought of him for doing it, it felt good to know that there was someone he could turn to when the situation got too big for him to handle by himself.

It’s been so long since Father’s been here… I forgot how it felt to be able to talk to him.

“Take it slow, SoYa,” Father’s voice was kindly, coaxing him to find his wits and gather his senses. “Start at the beginning. Tell me what’s happened.”

Somehow, in the light of the few gentle words, and the strange tingling feeling that seem to spread from the place that Father’s hand gripped his shoulders, SoYa found his tongue untying and his thoughts falling into place. With a few deep, calming breaths, he began to detail the whole meeting – how Zemi stated his love for AsaHi… how SoYa feared for his own life… and how the Apprentice had refused to forsake his love for AsaHi despite the fact that the Arweinydd could so easily make him nothing more than another colorful blotch on the floor of the cave.

Father listened, a grim silence furrowing his brows. Aur seemed to be listening, too, from where he stood on the far side of the room.

“I really thought that was it. Zemi had no reason not to strike me down right there. He could have taken AsaHi if he wanted. But,” SoYa shook his head, still overwhelmed at the outcome. “He didn’t.”

“Really?” Father’s face was grim, “What did he do?”

“Zemi gave me his word that he would honor our Promise,” the Apprentice answered. “He said he wouldn’t interfere between AsaHi and I.”

“I see,” a flicker of surprise rose over Father’s face at the words. A surprise that mirrored SoYa’s own. “That is… something else. Especially for Zemi.”

SoYa nodded, swallowing deeply, “Do you think he means it? Or do you think he’ll go back on what he said later?”

“Who, Zemi?”

“Yes,” the Apprentice nodded quickly. The moment that he heard Zemi confess his feeling for AsaHi, his life flashed before his eyes. This fear still lingered heavily upon him, despite the oath that the Dreigiau gave him.

Light help me if Zemi decides to change his mind later…

“These are unusual circumstances, but… in my experience, if Zemi gives you his word, he will do everything within his power to back it up,” Father told him with a deep frown. “Zemi’s a creature of honor, though he may not come off that way at first.”

“I hope you’re right,” SoYa let out a long, ragged breath.

“As do I,” an unexpected addition came into the conversation.

The Apprentice’s eyes flickered up, hovering on Aur’s grim face. SoYa blinked, surprised that the creature responded to the discussion with any display of interest.

“What do you mean, Aur?” Father’s glace turned up over his shoulder to take in the tall, golden eyed man standing behind them.

A prickling rose over SoYa’s skin at the sudden feeling that something much larger may be in the midst of happening… something that he could not begin to foresee. Something that this strange creature from the Time Before was fully aware of.

“I have seen this all before,” Aur murmured grimly, confirming SoYa’s thoughts. “And just as before, I can see that the current situation is heading for serious difficulties.”

“You’ve seen what before?” SoYa shook himself out, slowly getting to his feet to make conversation easier.

“The outcome that results when the Arweinydd come to grow too close in an emotional relationship to the Earthian kind,” he turned away as if gathering his thoughts. “I do not know if there is a natural adversity to such a thing, but all that has ever come of it is the making of terrible destruction. It was part of the events that brought about the ending of the Old Age.”

“So you are saying that part of what caused the Mistake had to do with Arweinydd and Earthians falling in love?” the Apprentice asked dully.

“It is not the act or emotion shared,” Aur’s voice held a hint of disapproval for the situation that had come before. “It is the nature of the offspring that came from such a union.”

Father coughed, “Arweinydd and Earthians had kids in the Old Age? Sheeez… and here I didn’t even think that Zemi’s kind were capable of doing something like falling in love.”

“Oh, it is very much possible, ZenToYa. Just as Arweinydd influence the world around them by their presence, so have I seen the Earthian ways taken up by the Arweinydd. It is all just a matter of time and understanding,” he nodded slowly. “Some of the Arweinydd of my time became alarmingly Earthian in their nature, mostly of their own choosing and self-adaptations.”

“And some just settled down and had themselves a family?” Father scratched his chin, finding the whole idea unusual, if not a little amusing.


“What’s so wrong about that?” SoYa puzzled aloud.

“Such offspring that result from this union were terrible to behold,” Aur turned a heavy gaze down upon the Apprentice. “Perhaps it is a sign that creatures of the heavens and creatures of the earth should not, by nature, come together in such a way. For the children of this parentage grow to become dreadful bringers of destruction and death to the worlds around them.”

SoYa blinked, face confused.

Father gave a similar response, putting it into words, “Surely that’s not always the case?”

“As I have seen, it was always the case,” came the grim answer. “The children that result of a blending of the Arweinydd and the Earthian heritage are known as the Sygnus. Why their natures were so destructive, I cannot tell you.”

“What do these Sygnus do?”

“At first, the Sygnus-child seems harmless,” Aur’s frown deepened, “But over time, as the ability within the Sygnus-child grows into adulthood, it is as if the Earthian frailty could not withstand the inherited Arweinydd knowledge and power. The mind of these creatures often snapped, and insanity afflicted the Sygnus, driving them beyond the edge of reason and rationale. And for something with so much power to be out of control…”

SoYa took in a shivering breath, his mind running wild with imagination.

“So, the point being, it’s really a very bad idea for Zemi to start falling for Earthian girls?” Father summed up with a lack of grandeur

“Indeed. And if Zemi’s being has begun to alter so much that he has adopted this line of thinking already,” Aur cautioned, “It may not be possible to persuade him against the Earthian emotions that are taking root within his spirit. It’s no easier for his kind to shrug off such powerful emotions than it is for anyone else.”

Yes… I could see that when he talked to me.

SoYa sucked on his bottom lip with a growing silence. And pity. Pity for the Dreigiau… was an odd thing to feel. But, somehow, he did.

I just don’t think Zemi meant for things to happen this way. And now… from what Aur is saying… for Zemi to fall in love isn’t just out of natural order of things… it’s dangerous to allow.

“I never knew,” Father said quietly.

“You serve a creature that you know very little about, ZenToYa. In fact, I would say that Zemi himself even knows very little about his origins and the dangers of what he is doing,” Aur replied, picking his words slowly.

“And what might that be?” the winged man asked. His voice wavered, sounding like one who wanted to know the truth but didn’t know how much he could handle.

“First of all, he has broken through the barrier that separated his realm from this one.” The golden-eyed man lifted one hand then dropped it, “Do you think that there was a barrier placed between the realms for no reason?”

“I really never thought about it,” Father replied, shifting his weight back on one foot.

“Danger comes with the breech between the physical realms and the Arweinydd realms,” Aur’s words settled about the room with great weight,“Unwelcome forces began to act upon the Arweinydd who tried to do such a thing in the past.”

“Forces?” SoYa found himself asking aloud, though not meaning to interpose.

Aur did consider the question an interruption. He nodded instead, and continued, “These powerful forces are vast, woven into the very fabric of existence itself. All we really understand is that they work against each other, fighting to maintain balance. Because the Arweinydd are very powerful creatures, the forces seem to be drawn to them, seeking to influence their spirit. The names that the Arweinydd of the Old Age gave to these forces were ‘Chaos’ and ‘Creation’.”

“Yes, I’ve heard of this before,” SoYa nodded quickly. “The stories say that Zemi discovered the powers of ‘Esgor-ar… the knowledge of Creation… long ago. Is that the same sort of thing?”

“You are sure of this?” Aur’s thoughts seemed to be pulled off track as the golden eyes turned to observe the Apprentice.

“Well.. uh… yeah… that’s what they taught in the School, anyhow,” SoYa rubbed at the back of his head sheepishly. “How else did Zemi create the Dragon servants and help to build the city of Nefol?”

“Is this true, ZenToYa?” the creature turned towards the winged man for a second confirmation.

“Yeah, that’s what I always heard, too,” Father nodded. “Why?”

“This ability was attributed to him when?”

“Oh, he’s always been able to use ‘Esgor-ar since long before I’ve known him,” the winged man answered curiously.

“This was before Zemi created for himself a physical form?”

“Yeah. Zemi didn’t actually have a physical form till just a short while ago,” Father spread his hands. “Is there something wrong with that?”

“I am not certain,” Aur replied slowly. “I have never heard of an Arweinydd that could control the power of Chaos or Creation while still sealed within their own realms. Usually, the Arweinydd has to manifest physically first.”

SoYa felt totally lost. All this talk of great, powerful forces that tied into the heart of existence was a bit too big for him. It was the sort of thing he left up to people like Father and Aur and Zemi.

However, at this point, Father didn’t seem to be following along much better. “So what does all this mean?”

Aur took a long breath, condensing the concept the best that he was able to, “When Arweinydd pass into the physical world, the forces of Chaos and Creation are drawn to them. These forces seek to influence the mind and heart of the Arweinydd and to use the power of theArweinydd to sway the balance to one side or the other. It is not so bad if the Arweinydd isswayed to the side of Creation, for a creature of Creation gains power and fulfillment through nourishing the world. However, should the Arweinydd fall to the side of Chaos…”

SoYa shivered as the statement trailed off.

After a moment of silence, Father spoke. “Do you think that Chaos would eventually become a threat to Zemi, too?”

“ZenToYa,” Aur’s sigh was deep, almost regretful. “The moment that Zemi passed into the physical world, Chaos had already become a very real threat to him. I have little doubt that he has been, and still is, caught in the battle between the two forces.”