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Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Four: Past And Future

09 Dec 2008, 00:58

Realm Year 303

Fire lanced down from the sky, and the palace burned.

Standing on a hilltop, far enough away to be safe, a man, a woman, and a seven-year-old boy watched the palace burn, feeling the heat of a fire that melted stone, glass, and flesh as warmth on their cheeks. The boy’s lip quivered. Glancing down, the man hesitantly reached out and took his hand. “It’s alright to cry.”

“Mother said that crying never did anyone any good.” The boy swallowed heavily. “She… she was inside.”

“I’m sorry.” The man watched as another pillar of fire lanced down, and then the sky went dark again. “There was nothing I could do for them.”

The woman spoke softly. “Their plan was madness. They had to know that the Empress…”

The man cut her off with a gesture, glancing to the boy. He was still staring at the fire, as the few remnants that had not burned collapsed into the ruins, as though any moment someone might step out. The man shook his head slowly. “Perhaps. It doesn’t matter. According to these papers, he’s not from this household. The Empress won’t care about a bastard mortal child presented to another Iselsi branch.”

The woman grimaced. “I’m not so sure. This was a display. There will be more. And what if he Exalts?”

“Then keep the boy safe. Let that, at least, be something that I could do.” The man kneeled down before the boy. “I’m sorry, Thelos. I have to leave. But Amara will take care of you.”

Wiping surreptitiously at his eyes, Thelos nodded. “When will I see you again, Sifu?”

“I don’t know.” The man didn’t have the heart to say ‘never’. “When it is safe. Remember, you must pretend that you never knew this house. Your cousins will keep you safe.”

“Yes, sifu.” The boy bowed shakily, and the man smiled. Ruffling the child’s hair, he stood.

“Until we meet again.” He turned, and stepped down the path. For a few moments, the boy watched him with his eyes, until Amara caught his hand.

“It’s not safe here, Thelos. We have to leave as well.”

“Yes, mistress.” Nodding his head, Thelos turned and walked away from his life.

Realm Year 330

Harakken Cyrus sighed heavily, not looking up from his work. His current placement, as a scribe and martial arts instructor at the Palace Sublime, left little enough time for his work with the Bureau of Destiny, let alone his true designs, and the constant interruptions from eager novices didn’t make things easier. “What do you want, initiate?”

“Excuse the interruption, Sifu. I couldn’t help but see your demonstration this morning.”

Cyrus sighed, looking up. The speaker was young for a Dragon-Blood, his skin flecked with bluish tints that denoted a birth of high breeding and none of the signs of powerful Essence, but he was clearly older than the usual novice. He frowned, an old memory surfacing, then pushed it aside. “What of it, student?”

The young man bowed his head, pale hair falling across his face, before meeting Cyrus’s eyes. “The movements that you made were unmistakable, Sifu. It has been years since you showed them to me.”

Cyrus breathed out slowly. “Thelos.” He felt a smile threaten to crack his composure.

“I never forgot you, Sifu.” Thelos bowed low. “Or what I owed you.”

“I am honoured..” Putting aside the parchment he had been working on, Cyrus stood and returned the boy’s bow. He raised his eyes to find Thelos studying him curiously.

“You’ve aged very well, Sifu. You don’t look a day older than when I last saw you.” The phrase thirty years ago floated between them, and was not lost on Cyrus. The smile broke free at last.

“Come, let us talk of old times.” Stepping out from aside the desk, he started to walk, and Thelos fell into step at his side.

Realm Year 769

“Are you well, Master Cyrus?” The voice was whisper-soft, and Cyrus opened his eyes with a chuckle.

“Don’t baby me, Thelos. An old man needs his sleep.” When Thelos snorted softly, he laughed. “I was simply communing with Sacheverall.”

“And?”

“It is done. The unfortunately extensive damage that Kejak inflicted on his souls has been fully repaired, and he can devote his full attention to me. And not a moment too soon.” Cyrus made a face. “As much as I’ve enjoyed your occasional company, I feel that I’ve been letting the cause down.”

“You singlehandedly destroyed Heaven’s response to us. I think that’s worth something.” Thelos shrugged, stepping over to sit cross-legged on the ground. Cyrus nodded after a moment.

“I suppose. Any word from Draniel?”

“Nothing yet. It is, of course, possible that he will not return. If Autochthon dies, and he dies with the Maker, we might never know.” Thelos’s voice was even, but he failed to meet Cyrus’s even gaze. The Sidereal was considering how to reply when the air split in front of him, twisting and twitching into a shimmering white sprite. It leaned in, whispering two syllables into Cyrus’s ear, and then vanished.

Thelos sat up straighter. “That was an Infalliable Messenger. Who sent it?”

“A friend.” Cyrus’s smile grew. “It seems that my recovery wasn’t a moment too soon. That was confirmation that Sacheverall’s plan is about to come to fruition.”

“Oh? What did it say?”

Cyrus smiled. “Two days.” When Thelos simply raised an eyebrow, he chuckled. “In two days, it will be time for our final victory.”
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Four: Past And Future

09 Dec 2008, 01:16

Shoot. And I had been hoping that we had seen the last of him.
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Four: Past And Future

09 Dec 2008, 13:35

BrilliantRain wrote:
Shoot. And I had been hoping that we had seen the last of him.


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