Leon, the Mighty Gale Chapter 10
Splitting of Ways
By Samara Secor
After the majority of the students had left, Raven, Chris, Leon, Vair, Pyra, Arek, and Ember remained behind with Lark. Lark ran a hand through his hair and sighed, Leon, normally Id launch into some big speech about how great and wonderful it is to have you join the guild... not that it isnt, but, considering the circumstances, I think we can all agree that weve got better things to do with our time right now. Vair can get you settled in and make sure you get to classes on time. Is that all right with you?
Lark barely waited for Leons nod of acknowledgment before turning to Arek. Captain, I understand that youve got to get back to Riviera, so Ill make this brief. When youre done there, Id really appreciate it if you could take me over to the White Dragons Cave so that I can check up on her. Course, if you agree to that Ill have to come with you to Riviera. I hope you dont mind having another seasick Ausa on board your ship, he said, laughing nervously.
Now, wait just a minute! Ember crossed his arms. You cant go skipping out on Vane! Whos going to take care of guild business, watch over the defenses...
Lark interrupted Embers tirade, I thought that would be perfectly obvious. Raven is... with your expert help, of course. You are up to it, arent you?
Ember muttered something unintelligible and stalked away angrily. Hey, Ember! Ember, dont do anything rash, okay? Lark called out and winced, I didnt expect him to take it so hard... He must still be smarting from getting his head cracked open.
Chris frowned, He shouldnt be feeling any pain. Im positive that I got the words right.
Ah, its no flaw with yer healin, lad. I may be wrong, but I think that hes sufferin from a huge case of bruised ego. He doesnt seem the type ta enjoy standin aside when theres work ta be done, Arek said and, after a moment, added, Hes probably not used ta anyone gettin the upper hand on him, either, if the way he dispatched those monsters back in Meribia is any indication of how he normally fights.
Its true that Ive never seen Ember lose, but he isnt unstoppable, and he knows it. He may be steaming now, but hell get over it when reason sets in, Lark turned to Chris and said, Well, that takes care of everybody except you and Pyra. Pyras pretty much stuck here until the shields found, but you, my friend, are another story all together. You cant stay here cause the little wing stealer could show up at any time. If he doesnt find you here, the first place hell look is the temple, so thats out, too. Is there any place else that you know of that you might be able to go for a while? With family, maybe?
Chris shook his head, The only family I ever had was my mother, and shes dead. I dont really have any place to go.
You could stay in Riviera at my house, Leon cleared his throat and continued, Ive got to warn you, though. Youll be dealing with my older and younger sisters, a diet consisting mainly of fish, and a house full of cats.
I can handle fish, and I like cats, Chris looked at Leon skeptically. Are your sisters really that bad?
It seems like it, but theyll probably be nicer to you since you arent me. Sometimes, I get the impression that they think its their divine mission in life to cause me grief, Leon grinned. Thats one advantage of coming here to learn. I dont have to put up with them anymore.
Well, how about it? Do you think we can squeeze Chris in, captain? Lark asked.
I think I can manage that, but wed best leave as early as we can, preferably before dawn to avoid any watchers, Arek cautioned.
Which means, of course, that Ive got to get my two picks for the Red Shield Rescue team done fast if I want to have any time for packing, Lark grimaced and asked, Raven, I dont suppose that you or Vair have any idea who I should send, do you?
Well, I guess that Id send Serena. Shes quite formidable when it comes to lightning and status magic. Also, since her people havent been involved in any direct conflict with the magic folk, there shouldnt be any friction between her and Master Zariens two choices, whomever they may be, Vair replied.
Yes, infighting certainly wont help our mission any, Lark said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. I think Ill take your advice, Vair. Raven, who would you recommend?
Actually, I think you should let Ember choose, Raven said. It might make him feel a little better about getting left behind if he has some input as to who goes.
Im almost afraid to ask just who hed pick, Lark thought, then said aloud, If it will make him get out of his sulking fit sooner, Ill do that.
Lark found Ember lying on one side in the grass mere inches from the edge of Vane that faced the Goddess Tower. You know, there are a lot of safer places around here to get some peace and quiet, Lark said.
But none of them have this view, Ember protested, then, looking up at Lark, he frowned, What do you want? I need some time to think, so if its not important, just go away.
It is if you want the Red Dragon Shield to be in good hands, Lark sat down in the grass beside Ember and said, Ive already decided to send Serena... thats one of my students skilled in lightning/status magic. As for the other person who will go, its up to you.
Up to me? Youre letting me choose? Ember raised an eyebrow. This is no joke, right?
Its no joke, Lark affirmed.
Then, I can pick anyone I want, Ember smiled. Ive got just the person for the job... if I can get Althenas permission, that is.
Althenas permission? Lark glanced nervously towards the tower and asked slowly, Is there some, ah, dire reason why you need her to okay things? Is this person some kind of criminal?
Well, not exactly, Ember said, his smile getting wider. However, she is, as the people of the Blue Star used to say, under house arrest. In other words, shes not allowed to leave the tower without Althenas express permission.
Ember, who is she? Lark asked.
You said I could choose whomever I wanted to, Ember reminded.
Yes, I did, and you still can, Lark growled, exasperated. Its just that I am entrusted with Vanes welfare, and Id like to be aware of any possible threats to it, okay? Just tell me already!
...Fine. Ill tell you, Ember sat up and eyed Lark warily. But shes not a threat to Vane, so keep what I tell you to yourself, okay?
At Larks nod, Ember continued, Her name is Marina, which, I know, means nothing to you. She came from the Blue Star with Althena and the first four dragons. The reason why I know she wont do anything to Vane is because she helped build it and its defense system. Also, theres one more thing to recommend her. Do you remember reading in your history books about that wave of sickness that wiped out all of the dragons except for Marius?
How could I forget? My family earned its prominence by defending Lunar and protecting Marius during that time.
Now, take a wild guess. Who do you think might have had to raise three unruly dragons from infancy to maturity all by herself, hmm?
So, youre saying that she raised you?
Not just me. Aerie and Granite, too.
Man... She must be as old as the hills.
Older, Lark. Those hills are post Landing Day, remember? Ember looked at Larks skeptical expression and said, I know what youre thinking. Shes way too old. Well, think again. Shes like Althena. She doesnt age.
Ember, are you implying that shes a goddess?
If you consider Althena one, then... yes. But dont mention the g word around Marina, okay? In fact, dont give her any more respect or awe than you would any other skilled magician or swordsman with a lot of experience behind them. Shes acutely uncomfortable, some might say angry, with the pedestal treatment. There must be a reason, but she hasnt told me what it is, Ember smile got even wider and he asked, So, what do you think, old buddy? Shall I go and beg an audience with Althena?
Sure, Ember, but wait until after dark. Theres no sense in letting everybody else in Vane know that you and the Red Dragon are one and the same.
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