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After the bonfires turned to ashes, the assembled revelers wended their way
through the labyrinthine streets on their way home. Valeryn shared his house with the
crew of the Valkyrie.
Ianus woke up before the sun had managed its way over the horizon and strolled
leisurely through the city street. The sunlight glinted off the gilded roofs of various
houses and temples on either side of the sandstone streets. The sweet smell of the burned
spice woods lingered on the air. Bakers and other chefs had began cooking for the day.
So many people filled every alley; it hardly looked like the same city.
Everywhere Ianus looked groups of Enmadra towered over the crimson robed A’nath-ari
who talked or practiced their arts. There was an urgency in the air that Ianus had never
felt before. This was the moment these people had been waiting for. They had trained all
their life for what was coming. Most had never faced anything like the coming storm.
They were both frightened and excited. He could see it in their eyes.
Around a corner, Eman was giving a group of A’nath-ari their marching orders.
He bowed and turned around, “Hello. Ianus, I didn’t expect to see you up this early. You
were one of the last to leave the square.”
“Me?” Ianus nodded, “You were still there when I left. How is it that you are
already issuing orders?”
“My kind don’t have to sleep in quite the same way you do. We have learned to
get through the day after only a period of deep meditation. Are you ready for today?”
“Yes. I’m sure I am. I can do whatever you need me to do.”
“Don’t you start too. Look, the A’nath-ari serve us as penance for their many
years of terror after the death of Adir Radd.”
“He had been murdered.”
“That cannot excuse the bombing, the lynching, and the all out war that they
brought to the galaxy. Nothing excuses the nightmare they unleashed. We knew others
would rally to their cause, so we brought them under our control. Now they benefit the
communities they once harmed. You do not serve us. You are your own. I might ask
you to do something but it is always your decision whether to do it or not. Do you
“Yes,” said Ianus glumly, “I understand.”
Hinun walked up to them and bowed, “Eman, I have good news. The east gate
has been repaired. The new eidolons have installed themselves.”
“Very good, were there any incidences while our defenses were down?”
“No, the reputation of these lands scared away any would be treasure seekers.”
“I’ve been wondering, why do you use eidolons for defense?” Ianus asked.