165 Days Until Desperation And the Uncertain End
Zeydar stood outside of the safe house watching Kony, who starred off into the distance. The light was growing low on the horizon. Another sunset that brought a fear of destruction. Too close to the enemy to feel safe.
Most nights, Zeydar placed the traps, the spells that would protect them and activate if an enemy got too close. Tonight Kony was supposed to lay his magic down along with Zeydar’s. Kony had gone through many text books on the drives. He’d learned many spells and much theory. With his practical training with Zeydar, Kony was on par with many Mages in terms of spells. Zeydar was no disappointed in Kony. Kony hav put in effort more so than some of the Mages Zeydar knew. Kony had pressed to learn, perfect, and master the spells. What Kony lacked was time. He did not have the time to understand the spells even if he could cast them. He was not as apt at adapting them and working them to work for him better. He did know understand the full history behind them, and nor did he have the practice that made him quick and precise the first time he said them.
Still, Zeydar knew that was asking for something they did not have. Could not have. And could not think about at this time. Zeydar felt Kony lay out the spell for defense. It was correct but not complete to the best conditions of the night. Zeydar would have to adjust and strengthen them later. Kony went again for the next one and the next one after that.
“We have to work on adaptation.” Zeydar walked forward the moment the magic was lain, prepared to reinforce it, but only after he gave his lesson.
“Adaption?” Kony turned back. “Am I doing the spells wrong?”
“It’ll make the spells more suitable for your magic. Learning to adapt them away from the original form makes them fit you better.”
“I don’t have to do the spells the exact way they were made?” Kony asked a bit confused. “You said I did.”
“To learn them. Mastery does not come from performing the spell eight out of ten times properly. It comes from making that eight a ten, by making the spell work for you. You had to learn the spells before you could change them.” Zeydar saw something that was flickering in Kony’s eyes. Like something had been sparked. A dead passion of the sorts, coming back to life.
“But I can…” Kony whispered looking to his staff that glowed like a class one’s. “Theory first then fun.”
“Exactly.” Zeydar rubbed his arms looking out to the darkening world as chill swept over him. He’d need to make sure that he reinforced them later. Something felt off to him.
“Are you okay?” Kony asked.
“Yeah.” Kony looked over Zeydar. “You are working on yourself and on the run at the same time. As a Star that can’t…” Kony was saying Zeydar had grown up spoiled. He was right, Zeydar had.
“I’m fine.” Zeydar sighed. He had kept his thoughts at bay about the living conditions the entire time, because he knew he was on the run. He had known that everything was going to be atrocious, especially considering his situation. When he was having a panic attack or a shaking fit, he had said nothing, because it could have been worse. Now that they were stationary, it was hitting him how everything was so different. The food. The inconsistent temperatures. The way that the nights froze them and could kill them if they were out too long. The Aralax, the way they had to sleep. EverDanger had not said a word of complaint but he could see how they too were reacting to the world around him. They too were spoiled. But unlike them, he felt magic too much more on the LowerLands. Or perhaps it was because of the dwindling Dreams. He was not sure. “It will all be fine.”
“And after we find Evester’s dad?”
The thought hadn’t crossed Zeydar’s mind. They’d be stuck out in the wastes and Zeydar wasn’t sure he could survive that. What would he do? Would he have to completely… his skin burned at the idea of it. There was no way he’d survive that. Not out here. Not where everything wasn’t controlled. He wanted safety again, but he knew that was a privileged thought. He also knew that by going back, he’d abandon Kony. Kony still had so much to learn, and so much Zeydar could teach him, had to teach him.
“Are you going to go back?” Kony asked.
“I can’t.” Zeydar shook his head. He had a duty to the Project. He had a duty to Kony. He had to help Heia. And Evester.
“I’ve been thinking about it.” Kony kicked the dirt. “I heard Heia and Shawn talking and I’m almost certain that Heia won’t be able to sit still. I’m almost certain that she will want to save the world and the possible war we started. She’ll want to go back to the X’s, but not just any one of them. She’ll want to go to one of the Prime Ministers. Evester will stay with his father. We all know that. But if Heia goes back to the X’s, shouldn’t we go back to the Circles and Stars?”
“We?” Zeydar tasted the word. He could smell the stale air of the city. Air he’d once thought fresh, but knew it was not after being out here and tasting real fresh air. He could hear the propaganda. The bright lights that never let it get as dark as it was here, at this time as the sun dropped below the horizon, let alone true night. Home. But not his home. Just a home. A CloudCity.
“You and me. I’m a Star marked X. My magic can not be replicated. I should go with you.”
It was true. “And do what?”
“Help Heia from the other side. Stop the corruption.” Kony’s eyes narrowed. “Only you and I know how involved Stars were in that Unwanted Guest city. You and I know that they were at the root of the experimentations. There is corruption and we have the chance to stop it.” Zeydar’s breath was caught. He hadn’t expected Kony to pick up on it. “We have to save the world. It’s not just about getting us off the planet. If we can’t support each other then what is the point? We’ll destroy ourselves no matter where we end up settling.”
Kony had a point and Zeydar sighed to himself. “We’ll figure it out.”
Hand out, staff somewhere he had forgotten, he cast the spells to strength and support Kony’s. One after another, in quick succession. No words spoken. Relying on what he knew, having done this time and time again. He could hear Kony making comments to himself, notes on Zedyar’s adaptation.
However, Zeydar’s mind went blank. Heia would go back. Evester would stay. He would have to go to support them all, but if he was not strong enough what would that do for everything? Nothing. Was he strong enough?