231 Days Until Catastrophe and The Uncertain End (part 1)
“What is it like to be a Superior?” Zeydar asked Tyler.
“Why?” Tyler looked down Zeydar. Zeydar was but a small boy who was only just beginning his magic training.
“I don’t think I want to be one.” The idea was scary, frightening, and full of too much responsibility.
“It’s your birthright. All Class 1s become Superiors.” A birthright.
“Can Class 2s become Superiors?”
“Can I not become one?” He really didn’t want to be one.
“… No.” Tyler sounded a bit amused by it all.
“Then its forced?”
“It’s a title associated with your gift, in a world where no one knows the truth of classes and ranks. Not really.”
“I don’t want to be a Superior.” Zeydar whispered, afraid his honesty would get him in trouble. Tyler stopped walking and Zeydar flinched, worried he would be scolded.
“Why?” Instead, Tyler knelt down to him. “Why don’t you?”
“I don’t want to have to deal with kids. I don’t want kids. I want to be free forever.” Zeydar hesitated to look into Tyler’s eyes, but once he did, he did not back off. “I don’t want to have to be in charge. I don’t want to be a…” What were all the responsibilities of a Superior?
Tyler laughed. “You say that now, but one day you might meet the right person and want children. Besides, being a Superior is not just about he responsibilities.”
“Never. And I don’t want to be a Superior.”
“Never…” The dream shifted to later, when Zeydar was fifteen. “Never?”
“Never.” Tyler laughed.
“Why would I say that?” Zeydar was aghast. How had his younger self been such an idiot? Zeydar looked at the letters he as a child wrote to himself in the future declaring he’d never be a Superior. It wasn’t like Zeydar wanted to be a Superior, however he was going to become one whether he wanted to or not. It was a title and like all titles he respected it and the magic it would allow him to learn. Regardless of the responsibilities, the magic capabilities and the stuff he’d be able to learn and have access to… It would far make up for it. “I was an idiot.”
“You were nine.” Tyler tried to persuade Zeydar that this was a reasonable thing for a child.
“So an idiot.” Zeydar was not buying it, which made Tyler laugh again.
“Do you still not want to be one?”
“I will be a Superior.”
“But do you want to be?”
The dream shifted again. Zeydar starred out the window as they moved through Arcadia back to the Academy. How many times had this question been asked? In how many ways? How many times had they had this conversation? He thought of the true answer and lied. “Yes.”
What he wanted was the magic. The magic teachings that only Superiors could learn, that was what he wanted. The rest of it was not.
“That’s good.” Tyler agreed.
“Is it? Were you worried?” Zeydar struggled to keep himself from looking back to his guardian with wide eyes. Keep his cool. He could do that. He’d pass his tests and become a Superior all too easily, and then he’d have no other choice.
But, he’d have the magic.
“I’ve always worried for you.” This caused Zeydar to look at Tyler. Tyler seemed listless, worried, lost in his own thoughts. It was not a look Zeydar saw on his guardian often.
“I don’t want kids though.” Zeydar tried to crack the joke. “Never.”
“As a Superior you will have many children to supervise.” Tyler snapped back to reality and joked back. Zeydar was both interested, and not. He didn’t want to dig deeper into things on this matter. Soon he’d graduate, and it would be a nonissue. He had no choice, really.
That was, if they gave him the Superiorship. They’d been holding him back from taking the test for far too long. It was more frustrating than anything else, if he were being honest. They’d rigged the test the year before, so that he would fail. Before that he’d been forced to see the world and not take it. Before that he was too young. Before that he’d actually failed to pass. This year was his year.
“And I dread the day I do.” He smiled. This was his year. He was going to pass, finally.
“Not even with May?”
“I don’t love May.” Zeydar wasn’t sure that he loved anyone except Tyler and Tyler was his family. He cared for May, but was it love? He wasn’t sure. The night was coming like it always did, fading in the sky, and the lights turning on, when the ground began to shake. The City ground and the Train began to shake. Tyler grabbed Zeydar and Zeydar knew. He knew what this was.
The Catastrophe had come. They had all been wrong. How many would die?
The sirens and emergency protocols activated to stabilize the Tower as the rocking came from the earth. The CloudCity stabilized and Zeydar feared. He feared for those who were not in the Towers. For if their world had shaken… How much had been destroyed? Nothing was supposed to be able to rock a Tower.
Nothing besides the Catastrophe.
And then the reports started coming in.