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No one had noticed Ianus’ confusion. Aashen put his arm around Ianus’
shoulders, and guided him down the aisle. Through the intricately carved doors, they
exited into the paved courtyard.
“I remember when I was eight, and received my Ceeri,” said Aashen with a
distant look in his cerulean eyes. “His thoughts confused me for several days, until I
learned to separate his from mine,” slapping Ianus playfully on his back, “I understand it
is very similar for the Shedu.” He watched Ianus inquisitively.
Ianus closed his eyes, “I don’t hear anything.”
“Really?” Aashen cocked his head. “You should hear something, even if it's only
general chatter. I will ask someone about it, if you like?”
“That’s all right,” Ianus nudged Aashen in the arm with his elbow. A moment of
dizziness, he shook his head, “Maybe our connection isn’t strong enough yet.”
With a slow, appraising look, Aashen said, “Well, happy birthday,” he bit his lip,
“I should go find my brother before he upsets someone.”
The crowd filed into the textured cement courtyard that stood between the gothic
towers of the temple, the marble domed library, the stone arched façade of the monastery,
and the hedged and flowered gardens. Drummers ran to their drums, and filled the air
with music. The rich aroma of the confections and the fruity scent of the meads filled the
air. The crowd divided, some went to the tables on the north end of the courtyard nearest
the library, and the others joined with the music and began to dance. Ianus worked his
way through the “Congratulations,” and the “Good show,” one man began recounting the
story of his merging. “I almost blacked out you know, that thing was so cold, but you get
used to it.”
Ianus shook hands as they presented themselves out of the mass of people.
Finally, he saw his parents, Ihy Khem and Maya Isann, at one of the tables. Ihy’s tall
gaunt frame was hard to miss in a crowd. He carefully navigated the sea of pleasantries
from people he had never met before, until he fell out of the throng and into a chair next
to his father. Looking around at the well-choreographed chaos, he smiled at Ihy. Maya
was gone. ‘She must have gone to get something to drink,’ he thought.
“So, you’re a man now?” Ihy said, his weathered face was just beaming with
pride, “Do you feel any different?”
“I feel like someone filled my arm with jelly,” before Ianus could say anything
else, his father thrust a wrapped package into his hands. “Something strange did
happen,” he looked up from the parcel, “When I merged with the Sukallin, I… well, I
think I received a vision. Is that normal?”
Ihy’s smile only widened, “No, that is very rare. This is a very auspicious sign,”
he wrapped one of his long arms around his son, “It is said that Tien Shaa and Rohan