What would make you most happy? “I want to see my friends.” You answer.
Akachi shakes his head and laughs. “You complain about us sending you to the school and now you want to go back?”
You shrug. “It’s not like I’ll be attending classes.”
“Very true. “ Elder Kejak says. “Grab your things and I will be waiting here.”
You head to your room and pack a change of clothes and some other things. Digging around in your sock drawer, you pull your hidden copy of the White Treatise. You’ve been studying the after bedtime, but still haven’t actually tried to cast any spells out of it. You hide the stolen book at the bottom of your bag. You will figure out some way to balance sorcery and the Owl.
As you start to head back to Akachi’s workshop, you have an idea. You step outside of Fate and stop by the door and listen to the elders’ conversation.
“I just want him to have some sort of childhood.” You hear Akachi say.
“His childhood ended the moment he took his second breath. You are blind if you don’t see the way that he fights against your coddling. “
“I’m not coddling him. I’m trying to keep him safe from your med…” Akachi pauses middle word. “mistakes. You should have thoroughly checked the school before sending him there.”
Elder Kejak is annoyed, “Did you have to bring that back up now? Svante could walk in at any moment.” The conversation turns to innocuous topics and you realize that they know you are eavesdropping. You drop back into fate and enter the room. Surprisingly, no one mentions your eavesdropping.
“You have everything you need? You got right money?” Akachi asks.
Why did Akachi treat you like a child? “I got the right fucking money!”
There is an awkward silence in the room. Elder Kejak gives you a stern look and you realize that you said “fuck” in front of both Akachi and Elder Kejak.
“I am not the one that had the bright idea of sending him to a Military Academy. Don’t blame me when he starts picking up the bad habits of the other students.” Akachi drinks out of his water bottle.
Elder Kejak sighs, “Let’s go.” And then he leads you out of the workshop.
“Have fun!” Akachi yells.
You walk through the streets of Yu-Shan in awkward silence. While you have spoken to Elder Kejak once or twice, you have never been alone with him. It was easy to forget that Akachi was an elder, but with Elder Kejak it was impossible not to remember that the millennia that stretch between the two of you.
“How are your studies going?” Elder Kejak inquires.
“Okay.” The elder seems to expect something more than a one word answers so you say “It was really cool when you decapitated that Lunar. “
“Hmm?” The tall man seems surprised by your comment. “I normally don’t participate in Wyld Hunts, but when Akachi and I discovered the Lunar’s presence, we had little time to act.”
You nod. “Akachi said that I was placed at the school to make friends.”
“Did he now?”
“Was that the only reason why I was at the school?”
“Of course not. Yeva has been trying to get you assigned to a dragon blooded school since you exalted. Having another Sidereal intimately familiar with Dragon bloods would be an asset. “
“But no other reason?”
Elder Kejak smiles. “Svante, when I do something, there are always multiple reasons why.”
“Which you aren’t going to tell me.”
“Of course not. Why should I?”
“How am I supposed to learn if no one answers my questions?”
“How are you supposed to learn to find answers to your questions if we just give them to you?” Elder Kejak counters. “Svante, soon, you will be asking questions that no one in Creation knows the answers to. You must learn how to find answers yourself.”
“How will I know if they are the correct answer?”
You consider this. “Well, if I think I found answer, can I ask you if it is right?”
“Sure. You can always tell me anything.”
“Okay. Did you send me to the school to introduce me to sorcery?”
Elder Kejak rubs his hand over his face in frustration. “You must drive Akachi crazy. I can’t answer that question.”
“Have you heard the term “Plausible Deniability”?”
“You know how Akachi feels about you learning Sorcery. The Convention on Essence Wielders agrees with him. You are not start to learn sorcery until you are sixteen. I cannot defy the Convention’s ruling without political repercussions. ”
“Plausible Deniability.” Kejak interrupted. “Look. We are here. And I am late for my meeting. I’m sure you can find your way to the school on your own. “ He nods to the Celestial Lion outside of the Vanchow gate. “Try to stay out of trouble.”
“But!” you watch Elder Kejak walks away into the crowd. “I had more questions…”
You groan in frustration and start to head for the gate. A feathered hair woman bumps into you hard enough for you to drop your bag. “Sorry!” The woman bends down to repack your things into the bag. You stare dumbly at this familiar woman whom you have never met.
You are working late in the Bureau, finishing up the last of your paperwork. You get up from your desk and walk over to a couch in your office where a small girl has fallen asleep on the couch. You quietly repack her bag of toys. With a gentle hand, you stroke the girl’s feathery hair before you gather the girl into your arms and carry her out of the office.
You shake your head, trying to come back to the present. You bring back a name. “Ika?”
The feathered haired woman freezes when you say her name. She looks up at you in confusion. “Mother?”
You and Ika sit in a café not far from your gate. You are plowing through a large piece of cake while she nervously fiddles with the remains of a fruit tart. You study Rikali’s daughter. She is short and delicately boned with short brown and grey feathered hair. Her clothes are wrinkled and ill-fitting, a rarity in Yu-Shan where everyone uses a tailor.
“The Owl never mentioned you.” You say between bites of cake.
“Father? No. We haven’t talked since Mother died.” She smiles. “He lets you call him Owl?”
“He never lets anyone call him Owl. Except for mother.” The waiter come around and asks if Ika wants a refill of espresso and she nods.
“How do you remember Rikali? Do you work for the Bureau of Destiny?” You’ve seen a few god bloods around the Bureau, but don’t remember seeing Ika.
“I used to, but you might say I’m an independent contractor now. Actually, I’m on a job now.” Ika crushes the crust of her tart with a fork.
“Really? What kind of job?”
“I can’t tell you. It’s confidential.” She gets up from the table. “I need to get going or else I’m going to be late. I’m sure you have important Sidereal things to do. Weren’t you headed though the Vanchow Gate?”
“I won’t keep you. See you around, Mother.” She abruptly leaves.
“But… I’m not your mother….” You are being ditched by everyone today.
The waiter comes by and leaves the bill on the table. “Whenever you are ready.” He walks away to check on another group of diners.
“Umm…” You don’t have any Yu-Shan currency, as you were about to head into Creation. You vainly look for Ika but she is nowhere to be seen.
What do you do?
- Talk to the Waiter into letting you head home to get some Yu-Shan Money. Hope that Akachi has already left for Creation.
- Try to pay with your Creation Jade. This will leave you broke
- Sneak off and skip out on the bill. The restaurant may lodge a complaint with the Celestial Lions, but they have no way of knowing which Sidereal ran out on the bill. You hope.