18 Days Until Mirth And the Uncertain End
Heia laid out the blankets with Kim. Kori and Karla were working the fire with Trace and Lynx, as the others brought food to be cooked over. Evester stood staring up at the sky. Zeydar, Kony, Shawn, and Phil had not yet returned. The night was chilled and the sky clear. To save on energy for the defenses, Avalain had turned off their lights for the night. While Heia and the others were supposed to be at the launch site, it was impossible to see the stars there due to the consistent departures.
“Where is he you think?” Heia asked Kim, snuggling closer to her. She stared up to the sky, and the stars for, perhaps, the last time.
“Zeydar?” Kim kissed Heia’s temple. “On his way. Don’t worry. They will all get here soon.”
“What do we want to cook first?” Onyx asked as she put the stove over the fire that had begun to burn bright. She rolled up her military uniform sleeves. Robee helped Onyx with the food, beginning to cook it. Rayda checked their utensils, as they were not using plates or cups.
“Start the rice now.” Lynx suggested. “That way it will be ready for us to start when we eat everything else.”
“Meat.” Robee shook his head. “We should cook it now, so that it doesn’t go bad.”
Robee and Onyx were the ones doing the majority of the cooking as everyone else began to sit down around the fire with glowing faces and bright smiles. There was a loud round of laughter as people told stories of the past. The whole of EverDanger was not gathered, and their weight was apparent with each conversation. Yet the laughter remained. Only Evester stood watching the sky.
“We’re sleeping out here, right?” Karla asked as she handed a jacket to Heia.
“That’s the plan.”
“Won’t we freeze?” She asked.
“When Zeydar returns, he can put up a spell to defend us from the chill.” May answered. She too was waiting for Shawn to return. She’d be left behind, in order to keep the Stars in line. Heia knew that May had wanted to go with them. Heia, herself, had wanted to go with them. They had not been allowed.
Karla nodded and returned to her siblings, handing them jackets before beginning to assist Crass with Trace and Robee. Heia sat with Kim, listening to the conversations. Their voices droned on, and with each passing half hour, Heia realized how much they were all missing those who were not with them. Heia listened to the conversations.
“No. I swear that’s it.” Kim said to May as she pointed out constellations.
“And I promise you that I memorized the star charts and it’s not.” May snapped back.
The two were talking about stars and constellations, placing them into memory when the new world sky would be completely different.
“I think I like him actually.” Karla said to Robee and Trace.
“You met him?” Trace asked Crass.
“Yeah.” Crass answered.
“Do you approve?” Robee hissed.
“He’s a stupid seventeen year old boy. He has a lot to work on.”
“Your standards are way too high Crass.” Karla pouted.
“You deserve the best.” Crass answered. “As your brother I have to ensure that’s the case.”
They talked about a boy that Karla had met in Circle city. He was some Circle boy and he’d helped her with a lot of her work. Heia was not sure when she’d had the time, but Heia figured she was not privy to all the assignments of everyone. They’d all been working for Estashia in weird and strange ways for the last month and it was no surprise that Karla had met people that Heia had never seen before. They were all talking about potential romances, and flings. It seemed as if everyone really had been acting as if it were the end of the world in a different way than she had.
She’d been so focused on survival, that she had missed so much.
Robee laughed, “Has Andre contacted you?”
“No.” Crass sighed. “I think he’s busy.”
“Wait what?” Heia sat up a bit straighter. “Andre and Crass? Since when?”
“Since Endwin started courting your sister.”
“Endwin is WHAT?” Heia gasped. She felt all eyes on her, and with a low voice she then whispered. “Since when?”
“A few weeks.” Trace rolled her eyes.
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“No.” Kim laughed. “You didn’t see?”
“But she’s a nobody.”
“All the more reason that she’s a perfect candidate. She already knows the Igilistal bullshit in brief. She has no name, no importance in X culture. It is startling, and exactly the sort of relationship that the Igilistal’s need. It will give you more power too. In the end, if he can woo her, then it will work in your favor,” Kim answered.
“That’s a big if.” Heia rolled her eyes watching as Crass shifted uncomfortably. She had not intended to make him feel conscious.
“I’m not sure. Endwin is the most charming out of the three siblings.” Lynx smiled at Heia.
“She’ll know its loveless.” Heia shook her head. She had heard the way that Kim and Endwin talked about love. Neither of them expected much for his relationships.
“It doesn’t have to be. Endwin is a helpless romantic even if he acts like a pragmatist. He supported Europa and Uly. He adores Zeydar and Evester. He wants the same, honestly I think he wants to fall in love with your sister, and he probably will,” Kim corrected.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“You’ll be a part of the family.” Kim laughed.
“Who will be part of the family?” Zeydar’s voice sounded from behind them. Heia looked back to see Zeydar approaching with Evester in hand. Kony raced up to the others, talking about how hungry he was. Shawn gave a nod to the others that Zeydar was all clear and Phil sauntered over, stealing food from Onyx and then sitting between her and Crass with a thud.
“Heia, once Endwin woos Layla,” Kim explained to Zeydar.
Neither Zeydar nor Evester seemed surprised by the news, their expressions blank. They’d known? Fuming, Heia turned back to the others, eating her food to a chorus of laughter.
Evester and Zeydar sat near Heia and Kim. Zeydar cast a spell and the air around them changed a bit, so that it was no longer as cold, although the wind still hit them to keep the air fresh with the breeze. Zeydar began to recount his exploits, and when Trace started handing out more food, they ate together under the stars in a night filled with laughter.