To all of the Guardian of the Core fans, here is a chapter from the upcoming book set to be released sometime in 2015. This chapter features a unique character perspective–Aiton Paen (Hydro Paen’s little brother). I hope you enjoy it. Comments are greatly appreciated.
“Where is he?”
“You expect me to know?
“Coronation is tomorrow. He is expected to be there aside us and Aiton. How could he lose?”
“Something I wish to know as well. Mourse is no name of royalty.”
Aiton could hear his parent’s bicker in the hallway. He had left his door slightly ajar after a short break granted to him by Professor Haruko. The noise was better than the silence that usually roamed the halls. Aiton missed the clack of his brother’s sole and the tune of his voice.
“Perhaps he is waiting for us there?”
“And if he is not?” his mother asked.
“Let us pray he is…”
The bickers from his parents faded into nothingness and the brief reprieve was once again replaced by maps and nations and provinces. Aiton looked up to Professor Haruko who sat on the other side of the desk. His face was old and doggish, drooping around the faint white whiskers. Eyes as gray as granite stared at him intensely, giving no sign of acknowledging the dispute that just occurred. In his hand he held a meter-long ruler and used it to point to one of the four maps in front of Aiton.
“What nations make up Agrost, Aiton?”
“Cresica…Epoch…” Aiton paused. He knew the last nation, but learning this wasn’t what he wanted. “Where is Hydro?” Aiton dropped his pen and put his hands underneath his thighs. His feet still didn’t touch the ground when he sat in grownup chairs.
“Not here. Back to your studies,” Professor Haruko insisted.
“Why do my parents fight?”
“They are worried about their son’s education. Now, the last one?”
“I don’t want to learn. I want my brother. I want Mother and Father to stop fighting.”
“Do not want to learn,” Haruko corrected.
Aiton looked away from his professor’s granite eyes. The maps he gazed into held nothing for him. No one ever understands me. An irritation underneath Aiton’s chin caused him to look up. The professor had used his meter-long ruler to gain his attention.
“Hydro is not here right now. But, your studies are. Let us continue, okay?”
“But I do not want to. I still hear them even now.”
The voices weren’t nearly as loud but Aiton could still hear his parents. His mother’s screech, his father’s booming yell. The fighting frightened him. Why can’t we just be whole again? Aiton crossed his arms and leaned back into his chair.
“You have remarkable hearing for one so young. I hear nothing. Perhaps it is my age…” Professor Haruko laid his ruler down and stood. He turned his back towards Aiton and stared out a window overlooking the hedged labyrinth.
Aiton looked at the maps blankly. For the past few days his parent’s bickering had caused too much distraction for his studies. If they were trying to keep Hydro’s absence hidden, they were doing an awful job. Aiton heard none of the servants say anything, or any of the guards, but he sure they heard, deciding to keep as silent as shadows.
“I know it is hard.” Professor Haruko turned around to stare at Aiton. “Should we conclude our session for the day?”
Aiton gazed from his maps to the teacher’s eyes. “Why do people fight?”
“People fight because they are confused.”
“Of what they want.” Haruko took a breath and reclaimed his seat in front of Aiton. “Some fight for power. Some for love. And some for pride and honor.”
“Why are Mother and Father fighting?”
“Love should go away.”
“You do not mean that.” Aiton was forced to keep his professor’s gaze for his chin was held up by the ruler. “If love went away, only pain would take its place.”
“At least there wouldn’t be fighting.”
“No, there would not be fighting. There would be chaos…”
A silence settled in. Aiton pushed the ruler from underneath his chin and returned his gaze to the maps. He tried to decode his professor’s words like his father would. There was something in his voice, some sort of knowing that only was gained from age. Aiton wished he wasn’t so young. He wished to be old and powerful and clever like his brother and father.
“Are you ill? You look pale.”
“No…” Aiton looked up to Professor Haruko again. “…Will everything be fine?”
“If we pray hard enough, I believe so.”
He had shortened his prayers of late. Aiton found himself too tired every night and would fall asleep while reciting them. Maybe that’s why things weren’t fine. Maybe if he prayed his parents would stop fighting. Maybe Hydro would come home.
“Are you certain?” Aiton asked.
“You ask too many questions. Let me ask some and continue with our studies. What is the last nation on Agrost?”
“Mistral,” Aiton said, dismal.
“Who are the current Marquises that your family rules over and their sigil?”
“Roy Tityle, Marquis of Katarh, his sigil is the frozen flower, Blue Kaffir. Marqiss Puwl, Marquis of Rhemu, his sigil is a seahorse trotting over the sea. Hekter Sigurd, Marquis of Roil, his sigil depicts a ship sailing into a setting sun—”
“Or is it a rising sun?” Professor Haruko asked.
Aiton stared at his Professor dumbfounded. He had never really evaluated the picture. To him it was always a setting sun. As Aiton was contemplating an answer, the Professor said, “No one knows for certainty. But it shows that images, even names, have more than one meaning. Remember that Aiton, not everything is as it appears…Now continue.”
Aiton shook his head, trying to remember where he was. “Alyn Bloctor, Marquis of the Summer Isles, his sigil is a dolphin leaping over an island. Cadell Periwinkle, Marquis of the Hart Isles, his sigil is the coral reef of East Hart Isle. Lastly is Seth Axyl, Marquis of Talyn, his sigil shows the eyes of the leviathan, Thalassa.”
“Very good, Aiton. There was no hesitation.”
“Thank you, Professor Haruko.”
Aiton could speak the words well enough, and remember them better, but words were water. His brother taught him that. His brother also tried teaching him Power. But, Aiton still couldn’t cast.
As Aiton listened to Professor Haruko ramble on about their planet’s history, Aiton kept a steady gaze of his hand which he held underneath the steel table. He looked up every once and a while to nod his head and feign attention. In truth, he kept his true focus on his hand, muttering words of Power under his breath. Those were the only words that mattered. His brother taught him that as well.