The Aftermath Of Mount Woe Chapter 21
The Beginning Of The End
"No, no, no!" Schala scolded. "Dreamstone here! Steel there!" She pointed. Once again, Schala found herself forced to supervise the construction of an energy gathering machine. Unfortunately, this one was not as efficient as the last. Schala guessed that it would need three mages to monitor it constantly while in operation. The way Melchior, Gaspar, and Belthasar were bumbling around, she was considering asking Zeal to make them the keepers. Only Melchior seemed to have any clue of what he was doing. She was also slightly crabby because tomorrow was her eighth birthday, but there was too much work to be done for anyone to take notice of her.
Zeal's plans for reraising Enhasa were on a much larger scale than anyone would have guessed. She had confided to Schala that she hoped to raise the entire central continent, and fill it up with other cities besides Enhasa. Schala had wanted to ask how she planned to do all this without Vigo, but she decided to wait until she saw for herself what kind of power this new energy provided. The reconstruction on Enhasa was well underway, and everyone who was going to recover had, except for Mune and Doreen. Masa was guessing that it took his kind a lot longer to heal than the residents of this planet. Mune and Doreen had been hurt pretty severely when Jade sliced their ship anyway.
It was pretty hard to keep track of what was going on. There was always a feeling of chaos right now. The city was so beat up, it was hard to tell where the ruins ended and the torn up ground began. Earthbound ones flowed freely up and down the sides of the plateau. Their children played on what parts of Serges' armor Dalton hadn't carted away, while their parents alternated between cowering in awe of the Enlightened ones, or yelling at people they used to know for leaving them on the ground for so long. And of course, the Nus were everywhere. They stayed out from underfoot mostly, but one would tumble out of a cupboard every once in a while, scolding whoever had woken it up. Through it all, Schala was slightly peeved that she had to be responsible and fairly in charge, while all the children, including the Nu children, were free from any and all responsibility until things got back to normal. The earthbound ones were hoping that they would get to rise with the new kingdom, but that was undecided right now.
Melchior wiped his brow. "Schala, it looks like we're going to need a few more Dreamstone pipes, as well as some compressed Dreamstone to use as inhibitors."
"Um... Okay, I'll just tell that to your underlings." Schala ran out of Melchior's workshop, heading for what was left of the storage area. As she was running out the door, she bumped into someone larger than her, and was knocked back onto the ground. "Hey! Watch it!"
"It was your own fault." A neutral voice replied. Squinting against the sun, Schala saw a boy about eight or nine years old. He looked down at the ground, surprised, then picked something up. "Here, you dropped this." He handed her the half melted Dreamstone pendant.
"Thanks, I guess." The boy turned and began to walk away. Schala slowly stood up. "Hey, wait! I haven't seen you around before. What's your name?"
He turned back reluctantly, as if he disliked interacting with other people. "Greven." Then he smiled slightly, as if he had just realized who she was. "Remember it." As he turned around a half destroyed corner, he turned back one last time. In the instant before he turned the corner, Schala saw a purple glint in his eyes.
"Holy!..." She started, giving several meanings to the word. So she hadn't imagined that second purple blast. "Hmm... I'll remember you all right, Greven." She considered running after him, but instead resumed running to the store room.
"And then three of those older boys said that Vigo was only going to rule because his father was the king, not because he was able to lead. Then Vigo cast one simple spell, and they all fell to the ground crying. One of 'em said that he could only win in a magic contest, so he teleported them all three miles from the cave entrance and challenged them to race back. He beat them all by a long shot."
Zeal laughed. "That sounds like him. He was always ready to prove himself. Never accepting help, even when he needed it..."
"Now don't be getting all teary eyed again." Karak said, concerned. "You loved him a lot, I know, but you've got to get on with your life. You've got a kingdom to rule now."
"You're right, but that doesn't stop me from missing him."
"Everyone misses him!" Karak said. "Even me. He was my best friend until the earthquake, and I guess he really did have an excuse then. From the people I've talked to, it looks like you and Schala really would have died if he hadn't stayed up here."
"That was a hellish day." Zeal said distastefully. "It took an awful lot for another day to replace that as the worst of my life."
"Even though you got Schala out of the deal?"
"Yes. No child is worth the trouble of childbirth. I imagine ordinary women have it bad enough. Do you have any idea how painful it is to squeeze something the size of a watermelon through an opening the size of a lemon? Now, give that watermelon immense magical powers, and you've got a recipe for disaster."
Karak started to laugh until he saw that Zeal hadn't intended to be funny. "I never looked at it in quite that light." He said, wiping a smirk off his face. "Our "earthbound" women seem to pop out new children all the time. I can hardly keep track of them all."
"Well start looking at it in that light. There may be some hope for you yet." Karak nodded and got up.
"So when are you planning to reraise this hunk of rock?"
"As soon as possible. In fact, we're having a meeting to discuss that in just a few minutes."
"Hmm. So how long am I supposed to stick around here anyway?"
"I... uh..." Zeal seemed to be making a difficult descision, although Karak had thought it was a pretty simple question. "Indefinitely." She finally smiled. "I may need you for some things." She left Karak with that puzzling remark as she strolled down the hall.
"Okay people, here are your orders!" Zeal glared imperiously at the advisors. "Melchior, I want you to take your construction crews and build two cities on the central continent. One should be similar to Enhasa, while the other will be a large fortress. Make them big enough to hold at least five times what our population was before the Weapon attack. After you're through with that, chain what's left of our old mountain to the ground. There's not room for two floating mountains in the sky. Belthasar, a while ago, you talked to Vigo about building a large flying machine. Do it. Gaspar, you will try to get these darn Nus out from underfoot, and carefully monitor who Spekkio gives magic to. We're not going to be holding some planetary free for all up there. Some of the Explorers should be looking for some small islands we can attach to the current Enhasa island while this is going on. Meanwhile, Schala and I will be trying to find out just exactly how we're going to do this. Now, are there any questions?" Nearly every hand in the room shot straight into the air. "Good. There should be. Now keep them to yourself and obey my orders! I know what I'm doing here. Needless to say, I want this all done as fast as possible."
As Zeal turned and left the room, she wondered if it had been wise to just order everyone around like that. But if she hadn't there would have been days of discussion about whether or not this was the right thing to do. This way, they would be skyward again in the least possible time. As she walked back down the hall, she wondered what she was going to name this new kingdom.
"After the king died, the queen nurtured magic, which has advanced the kingdom" - Anonymous
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