266 Days Until Memories and The Uncertain End (part 3)
Zeydar walked down the streets of Arcadia Staff wristband on and Tyler at his side. He was seven, a child, and looking to the sky above him in awe.
“Look at the way the sky moves Tyler.” Zeydar pointed up. The sky waved and flowed much like water. It sparkled and glowed, different colors swirling through it.
“That’s the sun’s reflections on the glass and clouds.”
But it wasn’t. It was the magic. It was the magic and Zeydar knew better than to talk about the magic in front of Circles. It scared them. He didn’t want to scare them. He wasn’t listed as a Star yet, after all.
“Where are we headed?” Zeydar asked.
“Where?” Tyler asked with a smile. “Why… The Arcadian council building.”
“Arcadian council building?” Wasn’t that at home? At the academy?
“Not on the Star campus. That’s the Superior council building. This one is for all the world, specifically for the council in charge of Arcadia and her tower.”
“Why are we headed there?”
“To get you tested.”
“But I’m not eight yet!” Zeydar tried to contain his excitement. Being tested and marked meant that he would be able to start magic lessons with casting. It meant he’d learn to use the Staff on his arm, not wear it only for protection. It meant that he’d be enrolled in the academy and wear the cool uniform. It meant he’d be a Star officially — as he’d always known he was a Star. He could see the magic. It talked to him.
“No, but the Superiors have put in this special request.”
“You’re a Superior.”
“I’m the one who suggested it to the council.” Tyler laughed. They approached the tall skyscraper, entering the building to see many people busy about moving in their own way. “Here we are. Stay close now.”
Zeydar grabbed Tyler’s hand moving with him as they headed towards the reception desk. The secretary directed them inward towards the testing facility for the children. When they arrived all the other children were with their guardians, worried. They were going to get sorted into X, Circle, and Star. It was the most important day of their lives.
“Tyler.” Zeydar whispered. “What if I’m not a Star?”
“Not a Star?” Tyler looked to Zeydar wide eyed. “Zeydar we’ve known you were a Star since you were born.”
“Really.” The way Tyler said it, almost sounded sad.
“What class am I?”
“That I can’t tell you until you are marked as a Star.” Tyler smiled at him with soft compassion.
“But you are sure?”
“I’m sure.” Tyler’s voice dropped as he looked on ahead. Zeydar remembered being tested by the Superiors to hold a Staff and for them to check his magic with crystals. They had never told him the results despite how curious he was. They had given him his first Staff for protection to wear at four. Was he a Class 1? They were rare and highly protected? It would only make sense. He was a Class 1. He had to be.
“Zeydar Arcadius.” All Stars were named after their city of birth. They weren’t like Circles that belonged to a family or X’s who had no last names. He was a part of the Tower itself.
Standing Zeydar skipped to the tester leaving Tyler’s side. He walked into the room and was asked to place his hand on the crystal testing machine. As he did as asked they declared him a Star and that he’d go to the Superiors to be tested for rank. From there they led him to another machine as they called the next child in. They took his hand and placed it under the inking machine. Clenching his fist, Zeydar blinked back tears and tried not to cry out as the machine dug into his skin to permanently mark him. Once the cooling salve was placed on, followed by a bandage, Zeydar felt unfiltered joy. He was a Star.
“Do not remove it for seventy-two hours.” The tattoo operator sent him back to Tyler who waited outside.
Zeydar held up his hand to Tyler. “I’m a Star.”
“I told you.” Tyler offered his hand out and Zeydar took it with his other hand. “No, touching it for seventy-two hours. You don’t want them to have to fix it. That is far more painful.
“I understand. Now tell me? What rank am I?” Zeydar asked Tyler.
Tyler looked to the doors and answered in a hushed voice as they exited the building. Zeydar blinked twice trying to place the answer. Class what? He’d never heard of it before. Tyler looked down to him and cracked a smile. “Just kidding. Class 1.”
Zeydar let the other answer slip away. He was a Class 1. After all, how could he be a class that didn’t exist?