40 Days Until Retribution And the Uncertain End (part 1)
Zeydar placed his hands on Kony’s shoulders. Kony’s Superior hood was large on him. They stood before the doors of the Superior council room, waiting for their summons. The doors had never looked particularly imposing before, but in that moment, Zeydar was more fearful than he’d ever been. Three lives were directly in his hands, let alone the millions who were holding out for him to stop the Superiors. The time limit had arrived for the Star’s betrayal, and Zeydar had nothing to prove for himself and the effort he’d put in.
“I will be fine.” Kony told him. It was a lie and they both knew it. Zeydar could feel Kony shaking from where his hands were placed.
Zeydar was more scared than he was. In part because Kony had no idea what he was in for, in part because Zeydar was afraid of failure. He’d stopped nothing. He’d lost Heia and Evester. The end of the world was on his watch, and he’d messed up to the point where he was not even sure he’d be able to solve the issue through Kony.
“We should go in.” May told him.
Their demands were Kony as a Superior and a test or the Dreams. Zeydar could do the Dreams. He’d done it before. He could get off of them again. He wanted them so much, and they would never let him go. Never. Zeydar let Kony go, and steadied himself. If it was necessary —
“Don’t fall for the Dreams.” Shawn grabbed Zeydar’s arms, as if reading his mind. “You swore to me.”
“To save them…” Zeydar looked to him, knowing it was the wrong choice but if it was the only choice he had…
“To save them no. You do not fall for it. You win. You win.” Shawn let him go and then hugged Kony. “You’ll be okay.”
“I’ll be fine.” Kony’s voice began to break.
“Superior Zeydar.” Zeydar heard Majorie call him from inside. Zeydar’s head snapped back to the door as it began to open.
“Let’s go.” May said, pushing the door open more for them to enter. Zeydar watched as Shawn peeled himself off of Kony and Kony turned to walk inside. Zeydar hesitated. He looked at the door, seeing how dark it was inside, and felt thousands of unplaced fears bubbling up to the surface.
“You will win.” Phil said pushing Zeydar forward. “And we will be here waiting.”
Zeydar looked to Phil who smiled at him bright. As it was an official Superior bidding, no one was allowed on to the Star Campus who did not already have immediate access. Getting Shawn and Phil through, had been difficult, but as a Superior he’d been able to. No one else was allowed there. He gave one last nod to Phil and Shawn who were then escorted by Military mages out of the building.
Zeydar looked one last time at May and then walked into the room with Kony. The door shut behind him, May unable to enter. In the center was the tablet surrounded by wards, and protection spells of all the Superiors in the room. Everything was set up exactly the way it had been when Zeydar had taken his oath. This time, Zeydar had none of the confidence he had that day.
They’d won. They’d broke him. Finally, they had broken him down so far that he was willing to submit to them, and Zeydar doubted that Superior Anthony even knew. The man lorded over the two of them from where he sat. The Supreme Leader, Superior, Elder, all powerful, their god.
“Come sit.” The Superior Supreme told him. “The boy has to do it himself.”
They wanted him far away from the tablet and Zeydar obliged, with one last look to Kony. Kony hugged him. Kony squeezed, and when he let go, whatever residual fear Kony had was gone. In his eyes was hope and confidence not in himself, but in Zeydar. This boy believed in Zeydar completely, without question, without remorse. He had unwavering faith and where the rest of the Superiors idolized the Superior Supreme this boy worshiped Zeydar.
“I’ll be okay.” Kony whispered before he stepped into the center and Zeydar was escorted up towards the seats. Zeydar wanted to tell him that the hope and faith was misplaced, but as he was dragged up to the seats, he found that his voice had vanished. He had nothing he could say. He’d led Kony into it. He had to believe in Kony’s faith and in the research. It was all he could do. He could not let that hope vanish. Not again.
“Candidate Kony.” Superior Anthony started without waiting for Zeydar to sit.
Zeydar watched as the man grimaced at the lack of his official title. The lack of prestige that Zeydar had indoctrinated into Kony was going to bite them both.
“You come to us in hopes of becoming a —“
“You demanded that I become a Superior.” Kony corrected, cutting him off. There was a hiss and gasp that went through the crowd, people equally surprised. “My grades sucked. I failed my tests and we both know that. You made me be here, to control Zeydar, and thus here I am.”
Zeydar watched as Superior Anthony did not seem to react to the words at all. All eyes were on Zeydar, and Zeydar was horrified by Kony. This whole time the pride, the preparation, all of it… He’d built it into Kony for the purpose of a support like his own. However, now Zedyar could see himself in Kony. He could see the pretentious words and the sarcasm. The rudeness, the disregard, the lack of consideration for the ways and the rules…
They’d broken Zeydar, but they’d destroy Kony the moment that they had their hands on him. Zeydar stood wide eyed, realizing, watching, and understanding just what it was that they’d done. Control him or kill him. That had been the ultimatum that he’d given them when he’d become a Superior, and they had won.
“Well, then we will skip the pleasantries.” The Superior Supreme agreed. Another Superior brought out a Staff for Kony. “Before you is a Staff and you wear the hood we have designated for you.”
Kony picked it up and placed on the hood. He placed the staff, the one from Tyler down. With it, Zeydar knew they had lost. His heart slowed. His hope vanished. What had he done? He’d gotten them all mixed up. He’d ruined it all. Could he stop it? He didn’t know if he could use Kony. He didn’t know if he had the ability to even take control anymore. He’d been a menace from the beginning, and he had no proof that he could win…
“Do you know the oath?” The Superior Supreme asked.
“As a Superior I will act as pure, perfection, and true to magic and to the Stars as a whole, guiding and aiding all those who require my magic. As Superior I will teach and learn, constantly striving for knew knowledge and world in which our magic can strengthen and support all.” Kony said without dropping a word, staring at Zeydar as he said the words. In his eyes held the pride, the hope, the care. He still had faith. He had unwavering faith, like May, like Phil, like Shawn, like… The prickling in the back of his skull that told him that something was wrong. Casting a spell around himself, the air was filtered and immediately he was coughing silver, as he forced his body to heal and erase what had gotten into him. It was not Dreams but something similar, something made for control of his thoughts and feelings.
Zeydar glanced around trying to find the Elder who was in charge of the emotional reaction. He saw Majorie staring at him with a sad look. She had not noticed, none of them had noticed his spell. Gasping the air, his certainty did not return but his anger did. He would destroy them all, even if that meant destroying himself.
“To be Superior is to be Class 1 or above.” The Superior Supreme requested. “State your classification.”
“One.” Kony answered.
“To be a Superior is to be a teacher. Your assigned class will be practical magic and guidance.” Zeydar watched as a Superior handed Kony a file.
“To be Superior is to be a student.” The Superior handed Kony a computer tablet. “You will now have unlimited access to all texts and materials, please simply.”
The vows began then.
“To be Superior is to be true to magic and to guide those who use it unjustly or ignorantly. To this you vow?”
“To be Superior is to be a leader. To be the figure that all Stars may look upon and see as an example. To this you vow?”
“Are there any other statements that would like to be given at this time.”
The room went silent and Kony looked to the tablet. There was a brief moment of hesitation as Kony looked to it and then back to Zeydar. Zeydar nodded. He would do it. They’d given him their faith and Zeydar would stop at nothing to make it worth something, even if that meant destroying all of the Elders and Superiors.
“Place your hand upon the table of Superiors.”
There was a long moment where Kony placed his hand on the tablet and the room went silent. He said some words, that Zeydar remembered saying and then Kony removed his hand seconds later. There was a new look in his eye, void, dull, controlled, contained. Zeydar reached out and immediately was stopped from both moving, and using his magic.
“Welcome, Superior Kony.” The Supreme Leader said.
“Welcome, Superior Kony.” Zeydar echoed with the rest of the room. Kony nodded. There was a long silence in the room. Zeydar knew there was little way for him to get to Kony now, but when they got home, out of the room, he’d be done. He’d have Kony in his hands and everything would be over.
“Let me guess you want me to leave?” Zeydar asked when he saw the focus land on himself.
“On the contrary.” The Superior Supreme answered, standing up. “Superior Kony, go alert the other companions that all is well. Superior Majorie. Superior Zeydar. Follow me.”
Zeydar looked to Kony, who did not glance at Zeydar and left. He’s controlled. But it meant nothing. Once Zeydar was next to him, he’d have his own mind back. It would be okay.
Zeydar followed after The Superior Supreme, to a backroom behind the council chamber.