Book 2 Chapter 30

“Don’t go that way!” a small green Dragon squeaked as SoYa walked by. The creature scuttled the opposite way, finned ears pinned back against his skull.

“Why?” the Apprentice asked, stopping in his tracks.

After the long talk with Aur and all the heavy, doomful things that were revealed, SoYa needed a nice long walk. So he began exploring the caverns on his own, lost to his thoughts. Thinking that he was going someplace out of the way, it was a surprise to see one of the Dragons so far in the winding caves of the mountains.

“Because–” the Green began, only to be cut off in mid-word.

SoYa almost fell to his knees as a terrible, thunderous roar suddenly shook the walls of the caves. Streaming trails of white stone began to rain down from above, dislodged and shaken by the impact of the sound.

“Lord Zemi is seriously pissed off!” the Dragon finished with a hiss. He began making his way quickly in the other direction.

One hand braced against the wall, SoYa watched the tail vanish around the corner of the hall. His body still shook from the reverberation of the roar. His mind reeled as he attempted to hold his balance.

That was Zemi?

The Apprentice swallowed down the thick lump of anxiety that caught in the back of his throat. After the talk of how the forces of Chaos and Creation fought to influence the powers of the Arweinydd, SoYa certainly did not want to tangled with Zemi. Especially since he wasn’t totally certain that the Dreigiau wouldn’t decide to go back on his word.

Now he’s had some time to think about the situation.

The hall was strangely silent. SoYa backstepped as quietly as he could. Part of him hoped that he could vacate the area while his presence was still unnoticed.

Still, I wonder what Zemi’s doing in the back corner of the caves…

A low groan rattled the air. A deep, gritty voice uttered a low cadence in a language that SoYa was unfamiliar with. Great anger and bitterness flowed from the sharp, biting sounds. The words rose up, growing increasingly louder. The Apprentice was forced to press his hands over his ears as his whole being was rattled by the dreadful voice.

And yet, through the wave of anger, SoYa could sense something more. A sharp pang of distress. A sense of desperation and struggle. A lost, lonely sense of hopelessness.

Maybe the Arweinydd aren’t all that different from the Earthians in the end.

SoYa found himself creeping closer towards the overwhelming presence rather than turning back towards the main hall. Something within him couldn’t turn away from the knowledge of the Dreigiau’s pain.

Because I’m the one who hurt him…

Though his legs felt watery with fear, he forced himself forward into the cavern. As the Apprentice rounded the corner, he felt his foot slip. For one tottering moment, SoYa found himself staring dizzily into the endless brink of a vast, gaping cavern. Scrabbling in desperation, he clasped the stone of the wall. Hand over hand, he managed to pull himself up, rasping with panic.

There’s some kind of pit here?

Once he regained his composure, SoYa felt a shiver race over his body. A hissing breath escaped his lips as he stared into the yawning darkness ahead. Something tightened in his chest as a chill gripped his very soul. It was hard to believe that anywhere within Wyndor could feel so foreboding and forsaken.

Something massive was there, coiling and rustling against the stone walls. Even the enormity of the cavern seemed hardly large enough to contain the presence that seethed within it. Though the Apprentice couldn’t make out anything within the darkness, his mind-senses told him that the source of the havoc was there.

“Lord Zemi?” SoYa’s voice was tiny in the face of the thick curtain of darkness. It felt as if he was so small that nothing would notice of so trivial a sound.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Two slits of burning blue-green flashed to life far above his head. It took him a moment to realize the huge lights were eyes. The eyes of the Dreigiau himself.

Hedd-ynad!” SoYa yelped.

He stumbled back as raw power jolted through his entire body. Within the grip of the vast gaze, his limbs grew stiff with fear. Though SoYa was wary of the Arweinydd in the past, this time it was different. More desperate. More terrifying.

Something’s wrong! It hardly feels like Zemi at all!

The Apprentice’s thoughts reeled back to Aur’s words. How Chaos sought for control of the Dreigiau’s spirit just as strongly as Creation did. Then the dooming realization fell upon him.

Could losing AsaHi be the thing to tip Zemi’s balance into Chaos’ favor?

The Dreigiau’s tremendous voice rushed down on him from above. It pulsed straight into the Apprentice’s mind, so overpowering that SoYa stumbled back, clutching at his head with a groan.

-You know about Chaos? How?-

The Apprentice found himself unable to respond, doing everything he could to simply remain standing. In desperation, his thoughts fluttered back to the mind-training that his father forced upon him. At the time, the training seemed painful and harsh. But in that moment, it all came together, and SoYa knew exactly what Father was trying to teach him… and why.

Sweat beading on his brow, SoYa found himself reaching, straining, working to draw up his own strength and defenses. Ponderously, he found himself able to withstand and gather himself again.

Straightening, SoYa lifted his head to face the Dreigiau.

Then it is true that you are fighting against the Chaos.

-Did I say that?-

The voice within his mind grew in intensity. Miraculously, SoYa found himself able to stand his ground and respond with clear earnestness.

No, you didn’t say it. But I can feel it.

Silence fell over the chamber as the pressure within SoYa’s mind slowly drained away, releasing him. The two eyes closed like stars winking out. The Apprentice wondered if said the wrong thing.

When the Dreigiau’s voice returned, it was calmer. Less vicious. More controlled.

-You must not tell anyone what you saw here today.-

SoYa’s mouth opened as he sensed a note of deep regret within the words. As if the Dreigiau wished to apologize, but did not know how.

“Zemi?” the Apprentice called into the darkness. Hoping that the Arweinydd would not leave.

Not that I know what to do about all this. But at least, I can try…

“Are you so certain you want to?” The two eyes opened once more, no longer slitted, but gentle flowing orbs of brilliant light. As the shadows began to part, SoYa could make out the glimmering white form of the enormous Dragon curled up within the cave.


Alarmed, the Apprentice stepped back. He had never seen a creature so huge so close… to simply believe that the massive Dragon could actually exist boggled his mind. As if in response to the surprised reaction, the Dreigiau’s majestic head lowered, drawing nearer to the ledge where SoYa stood. The Apprentice’s alarm began to fade away as he was able to make out the expression… one of sorrow… regret… and despair.

“Lord Zemi,” one hand raised, an action of instinct. A motion of sympathy. “I know I’m probably the wrong one to ask this but… how… can I help?”

The great chin rested silently upon the ledge, the Dreigiau bringing himself to the Apprentice’s eye-level. His gritty voice spoke volumes, “I am not sure that anyone can help me, young SoYa.”

The Apprentice jerked his head up, eyes widening. It was the first time he ever heard the Arweinydd speak of something as being impossible. “You can’t say that, Zemi! I… I may not know much about what is going on, but if you give into the Chaos without a fight… you know what’ll happen, right?”

“I do,” the Dreigiau intoned softly. “I do know… and yet, I did not listen to the warnings.”

“You didn’t have trouble with the Chaos until now, did you?” SoYa asked, feeling a twinge of guilt.

“Things… have changed since I’ve spent time among the Earthians.” There was heaviness in his voice that was so unlike the powerful, self-assured Dreigiau whom the Apprentice knew. “I guess, things have even changed within me. I didn’t think that was possible, but I was wrong.”

Is it because of his feelings for AsaHi… because Zemi chose to give her up to me? Is it causing him to fall into the Chaos? Is it because of me?

The large finned ears perked forward just a bit, the bright eyes regarding him. Then a low rumbling rose in the white Dragon’s throat. “No… No, it’s not because of you. This has been something afflicting me far longer than that.”

“But everything that’s happening between us doesn’t help,” SoYa slumped, his face torn.

“SoYa,” Zemi’s head lifted, peering at him intently, “My own choices have led me to where I am today.”

SoYa found himself looking down at his feet. “Maybe. But I…”

“But you…?”

“I’m just…” SoYa shook his head, struggling, “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” Zemi seemed surprised.


“For what?”

“Because I can sense how much this hurts you. I feel like I’ve done something to cause it. I don’t know if there’s something I can do to make it better for you,” SoYa gave a pained look. “You are my Patron Guide and I am your Dragon Apprentice. It is my duty to–”

“SoYa,” the Arweinydd interrupted quickly. “Don’t go there.”

The Apprentice shut his mouth with a click. He cast an appealing glance up at the huge white Dragon, the creature he was raised to serve. The one whose teachings he followed since he was young enough to remember. The great power that gave his people wondrous knowledge and abilities. It was hard to think of him as anything beyond the Patron Guide… beyond Lord Zemi.

And yet, seeing Zemi now, it was hard to still think of him as the same Lord Zemi that SoYa had always known.

“I just want…” the Apprentice’s hands spread, groping for the way to express it.

I don’t want you and our world torn by Chaos. How selfish it would be of me…

“I want to help you.” Not knowing anything else to say, SoYa bowed his head.

A new, rising emotion was spreading through his chest. It was not just the wish of a servant trying to appease the will of the Dreigiau, but an honest feeling of sympathy for someone that he truly cared about.

“I…” Zemi paused, the air around them shifting, somehow growing lighter. As if the Arweinydd could sense SoYa’s feelings, the words that followed were heartfelt and grateful. “I know you do.”

“How can I?”

The great white head rose up, peering down at his Apprentice in a strange way — like Zemi was seeing him for the very first time. “You already have.”

“I have?” When SoYa lifted his face again, he found himself staggeringly alone.