Book 3 Chapter 3

Light knows, I hate Assemblies.

TsuYa sat at the far end of the table, a forced position given in accordance to his place in the Ya family line. His mouth curved in a constant downward turn, as if breathing the air within the room was an irritation.

It’s all a bunch of crazy creations derived straight from the mind of the Dreigiau

Everything in the big Assembly Room felt alien. The white walls seemed to slope and descend in strange optical illusions, their faces imprinted with long drapes, colorful banners and flowering vines. A huge ornate skylight loomed in the center of the room and kept the chamber illuminated, even after darkness fell.

Zemi’s always gotta be a show off.

TsuYa’s eyes fixed on his folded hands on the table’s burnished surface. All the furniture was crafted in strange interlocking loops, built of unusual light-colored wood. The table was polished to an impossible shine that never faded nor scuffed, no matter how many agitated fists slammed on it during heated Assemblies. The chairs sported backs open around the shoulders for those with wings.

Not that his sisters are much different. The Trine is the Trine. And they’re all a bunch of crazyv Arweinydd.

It wasn’t just the room that set him on edge. It was the feeling of so many people gathered all in one place under focused intentions. TsuYa knew that important meetings had always been a regular part of his father’s life, and part of him would have been seriously pissed off if he was left out of the Inner Circle of the Assemblies. Yet…

I still hate these things. Too many people. Too much noise. Nothing but bickering and bad news. When does anything ever get done?

TsuYa handled it by keeping to himself. He rarely spoke unless he was asked to give input on a situation, which seemed very rare. Zemi and Father held the most talk-time out of anyone in all the Assembly history.

They can talk all they want to, but it doesn’t change the situation.

People started to file into the room. TsuYa was early, as he always was. He liked to be able to gauge the state of mind of people as they walked through the doors, even if he wasn’t always the best judge of those sorts of things.

It never hurts to see who is grouchy or who is being far too cheerful for their own good. Keeps me out of potential trouble.

A sudden tingle rushed over his body, freezing his breath within his lungs. He knew without looking who had just entered the room.


As if the thought only served to intensify the feeling, the tingling spread out over his limbs. Finally, it condensed right around the amulet fastened around his throat. Though it was hidden from view underneath his shirt, it was most important thing that TsuYa owned.

He could feel its cooling surface pressed against his skin. Though it tingled in response to Aur’s presence, it was a small price to pay for the protection it gave. The enchantment on the amulet was his only defense against the groping will of Zerom. It held the power that stopped the progression of Marked-ness that had begun to threaten him over a year ago.

So far, it’s worked. The grey patch of skin is still there but it hasn’t spread. I haven’t had any more dreams.

The chain was crafted of what was once TsuYa’s long, white hair, woven and bonded through Aur’s own essence into a light-weight white metal. The amulet itself was a deep blue stone, set into a ring of the same white metal.

Even when I leave the Islands, I haven’t felt compelled by Zeromus at all.

TsuYa twisted the chain between his fingers at the place where it met the nape of his neck — a newer habit, done in idle times. At this moment, it was just to relieve himself of the tingling that tickled his skin.

It’s just reacting to its maker.

That’s what Zemi told him the first time he felt it. The tingling wasn’t really much of an issue, however. TsuYa was rarely in the same room as Aur for very long, usually only seeing him in Assemblies.

Especially since he was sent to oversee the Spiral.

Aur chose to go back to the Spiral to reestablish the civilization that was brought to its knees by the removal of the Armsmaster and the Speaker. The people of the Spiral knew Aur as the Golden Lion, and he still held some authority with the population. Because of that, he had far more a chance to succeed as a leader in the eyes of the Spiral people than any of the white-haired northern clans would.

Aur’s supposed to be pretty good at what he does, too. Level headed. Decisive. Gets the job done. I guess there’s not much else to ask for.

Kudako also returned to the Spiral to aid Aur’s rule. Between the Dragon, the Watcher and the Dreigiau, they were hard at work attempting to remove the effects the Implants had on the Spiral people. So far, TsuYa heard they were relatively successful.

If it wasn’t for the air-raids on Ceiswyr, they probably would have found a cure by now.

TsuYa cast a stray glance over at Aur. The sandy-haired man took a seat on the other end of the table, along with Kudako. Despite his origins and alleged knowledge, Aur rarely owned up to his position among the people of the Assembly. Though he belonged somewhere up at the head of the table with Zemi and Father, Aur was always content to put himself wherever space dictated.

The room remained silent between them, since none of the three were much for talking. That was, until Father burst in. As always, he greeted everyone in the room with a huge muster of cheerful banter and warm welcome. After giving a wave towards TsuYa, he managed to get the usually silent Kudako and the placid Aur both to respond in some semblance of conversation.

Let the chatter begin…

As much at TsuYa respected his father, he just couldn’t see how one so highly revered among everyone could chitchat so much, and about so trivial things.

I mean, we’ve got a war going on. Can we talk about the weather later?

-You’re a real stick in the mud, TsuYa,- a familiar voice rose within his mind.

He responded in a deep, inadvertent groan, “Zazo.”

-Shhh… they don’t know I’m here,- the voice chided, though no form enveloped it. -I’m not supposed to upstage Zemi by coming earlier than he does. You know what an impossible ham he is.-

“So why are you here?” TsuYa murmured under his breath, knowing she could hear the tiniest whisper he made.

-Why, for the Assembly of the Trine, of course.-

The Assembly of the Trine.

It was the full name of the meetings presided over by the three Arweinydd: Zemi, Zazo and Zeni. Ever since the coming of Zeromus, the three worked together to suppress the forces of the Marked and to shepherd the people who lived upon the ground to safety. The three chose the name of “Trine,” though in TsuYa’s opinion, it was probably a fancy embellishment that Zemi picked.

“I mean, why are you here early?” he restated the question.

-To annoy you, for one.-

TsuYa huffed. “Mission accomplished. Now, what else?”

-To see the fun, of course.-

“Fun?” he frowned. “Since when has anything that’s happened in here been fun?”

-Since the day that Zemi’s decided to allow the Sygnus to sit in on the Inner Circle,- came the bold reply.

TsuYa nearly choked, voice becoming strangled and far louder than he meant it to be, “Whaaaaaaaat?”

The group of talking men on the other side of the room paused and glanced at him curiously. Father gave him an eyebrow, “Tsu, are you okay?”

“Uh, yeah,” he slumped away from the trio of peering eyes, two pairs of gold and one green. “Sorry.”

After a moment, they went back to their talk, shrugging it off. TsuYa was known for his strange, sudden outbursts ever since the Marked thing. Not to mention, he was now pestered from time to time by the voice of the Arweinydd Zazo, which was something that TsuYa soon discovered only he could hear.

Though I have no idea what she wants from me.

His dark green eyes flickered to the front of the room, digesting the Arweinydd’s last statement. He could feel a tinge of amusement in the air. Zazo was enjoying his discomfort at the news.

“Are you certain?” TsuYa finally asked.

-Wait and see for yourself,- the cheery reply filled his mind. And then, just like that, Zazo was gone.

He gave a deep sigh, “Crazy Arweinydd.”

At that moment, the doors to the room swung wide, admitting a group of people. TsuYa felt his jaw drop a bit. For as his brother, SoYa, made his way up to the table of the Inner Circle, it was easy to make out the tall, lanky form of the silver-haired boy that walked beside him. A pulse of pure aversion rushed over TsuYa’s body, his hands tightening into fists, gripping his knees.