Akachi closes his eyes and gets up off of the ground, giving you space. Elder Kejak stands by your guardian, waiting patiently for your decision. You feel faint staring at the elder Sidereals and lean against the wood railing for support. A cool sea breeze sends everyone’s clothing into disarray. You shiver and turn your back on the elders to face the White Sea. Your finger nails bit into the rough grey wood as you watch the sea birds frolic in the dirty harbor water.
You were treated like a child by everyone. Akachi. Sasha. Wanahton. Sorcery would prove to them your Exaltation wasn’t a mistake. You were meant to be a Sidereal now, not in sixteen years. Seeing Shen raise an ice giant just inflamed your desire for sorcerous power. Aiko learning sorcery before you still grates at your pride. If she could initiate into Sorcery, so could you!
Your mind drifts to your guardian, Akachi. You weren’t quite sure where you stand with Akachi. He kidnapped you from your family and lied to you about it. Yet he seems ready to make amends and finally tell you the truth. Abruptly, you knew you weren’t ready to abandon your guardian. Life on your own without Akachi was daunting. Misguided as Akachi is at times, you never doubted he only did what he thought was the best for you.
Elder Kejak set you on this path for reasons you don’t really understand. He seemed to engineer this whole situation to separate you from Akachi. He manipulated you at the Loom so you would find out your family was still alive. You wouldn’t be surprised if he arranged for Aiko to be in Chiyoko’s circle so you would be exposed to Sorcery. While you feel comfortable with badgering Akachi for answers, you know you will get none from Elder Kejak. Not about this. In his own way, the Elder Oracle did care about you. You remember Elder Kejak’s anger when he discovered Trailing Sorrow injured you. Yet you did not want the Elder Oracle in control of your fate. You do not trust your fellow Chosen of Secrets as you did Akachi.
Akachi, Elder Kejak, Sasha, Wanahton, the Owl. They care about you. They remember you. Even Haythem looks out for you in his own twisted way. You’ve spent your whole life wondering about your real family, when they were hiding in plain sight in front of you. While you loved the idea of having a normal family, you were a stranger to your birth family. You could spend a lot of effort breaking past Arcane Fate, but you didn’t want to expose yourself to the heartbreak of learning to love your birth family just to lose them over and over again. Tears stream down your cheeks and you close your eyes. It was time to let go of your birth family and accept your true family. The Five Score Fellowship may be a conniving, quirky, dangerous mob, but you were one of them.
A great gust of wind roars in from the White Sea and startles the sea birds into flight. Thousands of squawking birds dart to and fro, blocking out the sun and obscuring the sky. Your anima flares, casting a dim emerald light in the darkness. Your caste mark burns on your forehead. In the mist of this extraordinary phenomena, you are at peace with yourself and the world around you. For the first time since your Exaltation, a heavy weight has lifted off of your chest and you release a deep cleansing breath. As your anima fades, you turn around and face your elders.
“Welcome to the Terrestrial Circle of Sorcery, Oracle.” Elder Kejak says gravely as both he and Akachi bow their heads and kneel before you. You stand there stunned at both elders’ reaction, unsure what to say or do next. You have finally achieved your goal of becoming a Sorcerer. Now what?
“We should be going before the birds’ strange behavior attracts a crowd,” Elder Kejak advises, having noticed your confusion. Curiosity burns in Elder Kejak’s eyes. He wants to know what you sacrificed during your trial.
“No.” Sudden anger blossoms at Elder Kejaks’ words. “I’m not going anywhere with you.” He didn’t respect you enough to deal openly with you. He manipulated you to get his way. You control your temper before you say something you’d regret. “Go.” The Elder Kejak can discover the answers on his own. “I need to finish talking to Akachi.” Elder Kejak, not betraying any disappointment, graciously inclines his head and walks back the way he came.
You wait until the Elder Oracle leaves you alone with Akachi.
“You took my family from me.” You state simply. Now was not a time to mince words.
“Yes.” Akachi agrees, tightly griping his wrist.
“You hurt me. You hurt them.”
“I know.“ Your guardian’s eyes closes in anguish.
“We can’t change what happened,” you realize “but we can move forward.”
“What?” Not daring to hope, Akachi waits for you to continue.
“There has to be a better way to prepare future Sidereals for their Exaltations. We shouldn’t take them from their families.” You pause, thinking. “Maybe relocate the whole family closer to the Yu-Shan gates. Watch over them and tell them what they need to know when they are ready.” You words rush as you come up with ideas.
“We can explore other options.” Akachi quickly agrees.
You give your guardian a small smile. “We better.” You go to Akachi and embrace him. Your guardian tenses for a moment and then relaxes and returns your embrace.
“When I was talking to Anders, it wasn’t him I was thinking of as a father but you.” You whisper. “I spent all my life wondering who my family was, but I can never have a normal family. I can try and try, but it wouldn’t be the same. They wouldn’t be you or Sasha or the Owl. ”
Akachi says nothing at first and hugs you tighter. “I was afraid of losing you.” He admits.
You bury your face into his color clashing cloak. “I want my curfew to be two hours later.”
“What?” Akachi asks, as if he didn’t hear you correctly.
“I want my curfew to be two hours later.” Seizing the opportunity, you continue listing off demands. “I want full access to all of the restricted areas of the Bureau of Destiny. The ones I should have access as a Sidereal. The Loom of Fate. The Library of Secrets. The Cerulean Lute of Harmony…”
“You are still too young for the Cerulean Lute of Harmony!”
“I checked! There is no age limit for that part of the Bureau.”
“That’s because in the entire history of Creation everyone who works for the Bureau of Destiny has been an adult!”
“Maidens! I’m not going to buy a prostitute. I just want to see what’s there! “
Akachi gives you a stern look. “We will discuss this later.”
“I still get the later curfew.” You insist as you and Akachi walk away from the dock.
“Yes.” Akachi agrees. “I don’t see a problem since you have apparently been up late reading Jupiter knows what in your room.” He indicates the squawking birds flying above you.
“You should be happy. The Owl has been trying to get me to read for years!”
Akachi shakes his head. “No demon summoning in your room. Actually, no demon summoning at all. “
“Fine.” You cross your arms. You weren’t planning on summoning demons anyways. “One more thing. I want to know the truth. I don’t want lies anymore.”
Akachi exhales, dreading what is coming next. “What do you want to know?”
Your guardian smiles wanly. “Perhaps you can be a little more specific.”
What do you want to ask Akachi?
- Tell me about your wife and her Lunar Mate
- Tell me about the failed meeting with the Lunars
- Tell me about Yeva. What is going on between you two?
((That was a tough choice! I’m glad you guys had to make it instead of me! ))
((The image in today’s post was brought to you by the marvelously talented Jen! I had a few different images in mind for this part of the story, so your choice decided what Jen drew! ))
((This last choice is to see what questions are left to deal with. I’m not going to promise to answer all of them right away, so try to prioritize what Svante wants to hear.))