“No,” you look down at your hands lying in your lap. “I don’t understand. People died because of my actions. It doesn’t feel right we are profiting from a tragedy.”
“Not profiting from the situation will not bring back those who died, Svante.” Elder Kejak patiently explains. “Do not let Lung Duri’s death sake your confidence. When the Maidens gift us with power, they do not make us perfect.”
“If I had just followed Chuzei Enki’s orders…” you stop when Elder Kejak rubs the bridge of his nose. “What?”
“Chuzei Enki was not… the most imaginative man. It is entirely possible events would have played out the same way or worse. To be honest, we were all surprised when Mars chose one of his children…”
“What the fuck does that have to do with anything!?” Your chair clatters to the floor as you stand up. “Chuzei Enki died. According to Chiyoko, I dishonored his death by disobeying his orders.” You clench your fist. “And you sit here and insult his intelligence. Especially after the idiot act you pulled tonight.”
“Svante, sit down.” Elder Kejak’s tone bore no disobedience.
You stand over the elder Sidereal, trembling. You wanted to throw the chair against the wall. Instead, you pick it up and sit back down at the table.
Elder Kejak sits calmly at the table, watching you settle in your chair. “Svante, growing up means you must understand some hard truths. And here in this place, I need you to be more grown up then you have ever been.”
“First, you need to realize Saturn comes for us all. Not even we, the chosen of the Maidens can deter her. If it was Enki Osamu’s time to die, nothing you could have done would change that.” In a softer tone, he adds. “I would not worry too much about Chiyoko’s words. She feels just as responsible for her Chuzei’s death as you do.”
“Which brings me to another hard truth. Dragonblooded children are raised differently than you were. They have to be prepared for the day the Shogunate requires them to sacrifice their lives. While the death of a Dragonblooded is a tragedy, a death of a Sidereal is a catastrophe. “ Elder Kejak points at you. “You are one of a hundred. Dragonblooded are born each day. A Sidereal we have to wait decades before their reincarnation.”
“Yet the elders had a vote whether I should live or die.”
“I believe you understand now how much damage you are capable of.” Elder Kejak reminds you before returning to the topic at hand. “Thirdly, I find it convenient to play the fool before the Shogunate court. Very few know that I am not the helpless mortal I appear to be. No one besides you and Sasha know my position among the other Sidereals.” Elder Kejak smiles to himself. “You would be surprised by what people say in front of those they believe to be fools.”
The elder Sidereal leans forward. “What happens over the next few days will decide the future of the Shogunate. These are dangerous and chaotic times, Svante, yet such times are when heroes are made.”
“If this place is so dangerous, why did you have us come here?”
“Us?” Elder Kejak repeats and then he nods in understanding. “Lung Chiyoko’s and Mayim Masaru’s parents needed a reminder of what they fight for. I am not surprised the Lunars have an interest in the Shogun’s succession. What is unexpected is they have gained support among the Dragonblooded. Lung Hayate is playing a dangerous game….” Elder Kejak muses and shakes his head in disapproval. “Svante, I need another pair of eyes here. I can’t be everywhere I need to be and Sasha’s attention is focused on the Shogun.”
You consider everything Elder Kejak said. “Now their parents have been reminded, why couldn’t Chiyoko and the others retreat to Yu-Shan? It is safer there.”
Elder Kejak snorts. “I am more likely to move Mount Meru than convince Raijin Reva and Lung Gayoto to let their children out of their sight. Though…” Elder Kejak’s emerald green eyes met your own. “Heading back to Yu-Shan is an option for you. Is that what you would like?”
What do you do?
- Head back to Yu-Shan
- Stay in Meru