Zanah disappeared into the forests on the island to speak with Alluria. "Fahren has betrayed us. The elowyre have showed up and he has yet to pass which can only mean one thing; he has decided to change colors. I do not know his reasoning or who's ascendency he has joined so we must move the children for their safety." she said to the white lioness. Alluria just stared at her confused. "I do not think Fahren would change colors…" " HE HAS BETRAYED US!" Zanah cut her off. The twins showed up at this and Alluria told them to go play in the water and not to harass the visitors too much. If they behaved they could have some of the brownies one of them was making. "Excuse me your grace, but Fahren had to have had his reasons for this. Perhaps Nath has offered her color as attonement for my brother's behaviors." Zanah was rattled "Impulsive as Andros may be, he is not an idiot. HE KNEW FAHREN WOULD BETRAY US! I should have thanked him." Alluria looked nervous. Of course she did. She loved the children and they were at risk now. From what though? "Your grace, I am sure the truth will come to light. I will take care of the children and make sure they are safe from ALL HARM." This was suffiecient for Zanah. She had to go back to the bungalow and start her own machinations into motion sooner than anticipated. "Thank you Alluria, I will be in contact. You should hide in The Gray. It should be safe." Alluria nodded at her, yet the look in her eyes seemed wistful.
Zanah snapped awake at this, the drugs still flowing through her system, yet starting to ebb finally. This was not the first time she relived this moment in her dream. It haunted her. It became paramount that she outed the other two members of the triad for what they were. She had never imagined she would find a way to go home in the process. Marie was always a little twat, now her loyal puppy dog would ruin her himself. Zanah glanced around the room she was in. It was a lavish room bedecked in a literal glowing white with brilliant gold accents. I thought Icthalyn saved me, where is the purple? It was customary for the ascendency to adorn their personal living spaces in their colors. This was not the white of Eluna, nor the greenish yellow of Udath. Maybe Icthalyn took her elsewhere. Yes that had to be it.
No sooner than the thought had crossed her mind, she heard a knock at her door. "Come in." she said, still in a haze. Icthalyn walked in, wearing his usual purple attire. This put Zanah at ease. "How do you feel?" he asked her. "I am starting to come to, my mind is still scattered all over the place but mostly coherent. What is the deal with this room? Where are we?" Icthalyn pulled a chair from the table into the room. "We are in my home in the north continent." A servant came in with a plate of food and set it on the nightstand. "Eat, it will make you feel better. You had quite the journey. Tell me how did you break the seal?" Zanah grabbed a piece of cheese off the plate and nibbled on it. I am not hungry right now, I can barely think let alone try to consume something. Still she ate. "There was a seal on a deed and I broke it. The sealing magic itself was strong but not impenetrable such as yours are." Zanah picked up the plate and began to pick at more of the food. Yes he reminded her of her duties to Amat earlier when she was brought to his home. She even signed it again. Wait signed it again? The plate dropped from her hands at that moment.
Icthalyn stood up and began picking up the mess in front of her. "You have gone and made a mess Zanah. You are good at that aren't you? Making a mess of things I mean…" he trailed off. Zanah sat frozen, realizing her drug induced hallucination was a reality. "You are a clever enough woman. I take it you realized something you hadn't before." Zanah sat up taking on the haughty and aloof attitude she reserved for times when things needed to be hidden. "You made me sign a contract. I would like to see it please." Icthalyn placed the plate on the table he had gotten the chair from and produced one of his aether parchments. "Here you go. Have a look. It isn't awful and doesn't change much. You just have to obey my commands and you know me. I would never ask anything that would kill one of my favorites." He made it seem so simple, surely there was more to it. She snatched the aether parchment from him.
I, Zanah Arina, will follow the commands of Icthalyn Tarbit in accordance with the Aether Accords. Icthalyn Tabit in turn swears that no harm will come to me while serving under his command.
"This is literally pulled from the Ascendency Contracts. What are you playing at dragon?" Icthalyn shrugged. "Of course the words are pulled from the Ascendency Contracts. There is no more binding contract, aether or otherwise than the Ascendency Contracts. My best work if I do say so myself. I signed it too. We changed colors together after Rialla had the twins remember? We were BOTH supposed to protect them. We swore it. Both signed a contract for that too." He said as he produced a second Aether Parchment. "Oh and here is the one when you decided to create the triad and swore to keep the children safe on your island. You are lucky I was able to speak with the powers that be and have him let you sign a second contract to keep you from being erased from the multiverse/ Really you should be thanking me for getting you out of the messes you keep making."
Zanah's temper started to rise and a purple mist began to emanate from her body. She kept her composure, but the mist could not be helped. "Oh, and about those messes. I had to adventure to The Gray to eat Fahren in order to find any inklings about the children. I mean it really worked out well considering as it was also a show of good faith for my newest friends. Perhaps you know them! That guy with a squid head, the two fire mages, some guy from the Order of Zairen. We stuck up a nice little Aether Treaty as I am a business man through and through. I expect GREAT things from them. Let's see… squid boy made friends with Gem while out fetching whatever it was, so Gem is here now too. What else…" Zanah sat there, the mist leaving her body at alarming rates, filling the room. Why is he not fainting. He has always fainted before. "Oh right, Gem is now the great dragon of the one." And with that the mists dissipated.
Zanah's eyes widened. "I am sorry what? I must still be hallucinating." she began to chuckle at the insanity of everything she was hearing. This was all some fever dream she was having. Icthalyn scratched his head and looked at the ground. At that moment a ragged looking man in a finely tailored glowing white business suit entered the room with Amat. Now I know that I am hallucinating. Both men pulled chairs from the table, the ragged man knocking the plate of cheese and grapes to the ground. "Sorry." He said in a quite voice as the plate and food disappeared from the ground and reassembled on the table." Amat and the ragged man took a seat next to Icthalyn.
"Ah good you guys are here. I have a guest I wasn't expecting so soon, but here we are." Amat looked the same as ever, his purple eyes piercing through Zanah, as if he knew something she didn't about the situation. The ragged man sat very still, his aura giving off a feeling that was both terrifying and serene all at once. Zanah knew she didn't like him. "So I made her sign an aether contract to obey my commands and that I would protect her. I also don't trust her to not make more of a mess though, either accidentally or otherwise, so I am hesitant to keep this aether contract. I want a second opinion. "She thinks she is delirious and imagining all of this you know." Amat said. "Excellent! I was hoping for this actually, would make the transition really clean." Icthalyn turned to the ragged man. "What do you think of her?" Zanah began to lift off the bed and was moved to the center of the room. She tried to fight off what he was doing, but he overpowered her own aether abilities. Amat looked on, seemingly nonplussed by this. It is all a dream for sure. Amat wouldn't allow for this.
Zanah rotated in place, the ragged man appraising her from every angle. "This is the one that is creating such a mess, just to keep the powers of the aetherflame? Does she not understand how fire works in the first place? A flame may start from a spark and grow greatly, but the flame can just as easily be quelled as the spark with the right extinguisher." Zanah felt herself weaken. Not just body, but spirit as well. She felt powerless, much like she felt when her home was ripped from her as a child. I really hope I am hallucinating. "She will suffice for now, but should she start making a mess that I don't find entertaining enough, I will snuff her." the ragged man went on. "Awesome! So glad to have your blessing. Amat, I will make the same contract with her and our friend here as you did with me so that her new duties don't interfere with yours…" Icthalyns voice trailed off as weakness overtook Zanah.
Alluria stopped Zanah as she left to leave. "Your grace, do you think what we are doing is right?" Zanah walked over and hugged her. "Of course it is. As keepers of the aetherflame it is our duty to light the paths for others. By granting physical forms to the aspects that govern our universe, The One made a mistake. It is our duty to make the personifications pay for what they do. Force them to live so that The One can not make rebirth happen anymore. If there is one thing that living through a rebirth has taught me is that with each new universe created from rebirth, the more dangerous things become. What happened in Kasuriah has proven that." Zanah paused searching for the words that would make the lioness see. "The One wants to take the children away and make them the twin dieties of magic after the next rebirth. The twins would have no mother if we allow rebirth to occur." Zanah knew bringing the children up like that would cement Alluria's loyalty to her. Alluria was a follower of Eluna, midwife of the aspects after all. "You are right your grace. I will take them to The Gray and hide them." Alluria said. "Good girl. You should also stop and see your brothers in Cardyl on the way. I am sure they miss you. I will be in touch." Zanah said, thinking in the back of her head how naive Alluria was. Zanah turned toward the bungalow and began walking.
Zanah awoke in a bed in her castle in Ithlyn. Romero was at her bedside holding her hand and waiting. "You are finally awake. You have been out cold from the drugs that wretched man put into your body. It took forever to find you, but we have supporters and they aided in finding you. They brought you straight here. You were hallucinating or reliving some distant memory, ranting about Amat and Icthalyn." Zanah sat up trying to recall this incident, but had no recollection of it. Why would she? Amat was gone just like the other aspects who had shrugged their duties. Icthalyn was playing pirate since he disappeared. "I went home in search of something to prove that Marie was guilty and to oust her family from power back home. She used the deed to our old brothel as the place for the seal barring us and I lifted it! We can go home now." Romero nodded "Yes we found some things on you when you were brought home showing as much. Marie is in jail now and I have sent Andros to Kasuriah with the evidence you have found. His non-sparked brother is still a high ranking government official, so I expect things to move quickly once he gets back."
Zanah smiled. Things were working out relatively well despite the setback with Ventnal. With the power of Kasuriah back under her control, it would be easier than ever to locate the aspects. Now all she had to do was not fuck things up when they brought the next aspect in to stand trial. Who should be next on her list?