“The war? Very well. I can’t guarantee that the first part is true, it is based solely on what I’ve heard.”
“How do you know the second part is true?”
“Because I saw it happen. The first part was all before I arrived on Cyst. Are you sure you want to hear it? It could take a little time.”
I looked down at the bed that I was in, then gave Traynur a sidelong look.
“It doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere.”
He acknowledged me with a nod and then began the story.
“Just over eight thousand years ago the first citizen arrived on Cyst.”
Traynur shot me a glare. “No. Not Monark. If you want to guess at the facts of the story, then I can leave and let you continue.”
“No. Sorry. Go on.”
“Biest was the first to arrive on Cyst, and he arrived about nine hundred years before everyone else. Nine hundred years is a long time to go without any other company. By the time Monark came, Biest had gone mad. From the minute Monark stepped foot on Cyst he was hunted by Biest. I won’t go into Monark’s part of the tale because then you’d miss your fight tomorrow, but to make a long story short; Monark was able to evade Biest for the greater of part of two years. He nearly went mad himself, but survival kept him going. Being on the run for two years had begun to take its toll on Monark. He was losing strength, energy, and most importantly: will.”
“Biest had pursued Monark up a tree one day and to Monark’s surprise, Biest couldn’t climb trees. He was too heavy for the limbs to support him, and he didn’t have any claws. Monark was safe from Biest, but he would have to leave the tree eventually to find food. But to do that he would need to defeat Biest. Monark knew that in his state there was little chance of him taking down Biest, even only for short while. “
“It was then that he discovered his Shroud.”
“The only way to defeat Biest it seemed was to know his opponentand exploit his weaknesses. Sound familiar? However up until that day Monark had never observed Biest exhibiting a weakness of any kind. If he had any frailties, the only way for Monark to find them would be to read his mind. “
“Whether it was desperation, or skill, or the rarest kind of luck, Monark stumbled upon the ability to read minds and he immediately began to sift through Biest’s thoughts. That’s how Monark discovered the story of Biest’s past, and again, if I went into detail not only would we not finish in time, but it’d quite possibly give you nightmares.”
“For all the effort that Monark spent in finding his Shourd and searching through Biest’s consciousness, it didn’t do him any good. The only way to defeat him it seemed, was to hit him with a staggering amount of power. Obviously, Monark didn’t possess that kind of power so he despaired.”
“That was when Skrybe arrived, followed shortly after by myself, Fisyk, and Arte. Skrybe was almost killed when he arrived.In fact, the first sounds I heard when I was “born” on Cyst, were his screams of pain. As it was, he was injured past the point of full recovery. He isn’t able to run, he cannot walk or even stand for long periods of time, and his strength would never be the same. Trying to control even a small amount of Shroud power can kill him. The only thing that still functions as well as it used to is his mind. That is why he became a scholar.”
Whoa whoa whoa. That couldn’t be correct. Skrybe had nearly killed me and Paildyn with his Shroud. And he had stood up, and walked, and punched me rather hard in the face.
Something wasn’t right… but did I dare tell Traynur?
“We managed to fight Biest off, barely, and take refuge with Monark in the trees. We couldn’t go far with Skrybe anyways. Monark told us about his Shroud and explained as best he could how we could find ours. All of us, Skrybe included, were able to choose a Shroud although to this day I don’t know what Skrybe’s Shroud is. All I know is that he has one.”
“Monark then told us what he had learned about Biest. We were just as dismayed because we didn’t have anywhere near enough power to take the monstrosity on. Then Skrybe came up with the idea to combine our power. He outlined the entire plan and made sure it was perfect before we attempted it. It was the best way he could revenge himself on Biest.”
“To make another long story short, Skrybe’s plan worked without a hitch. The one drawback was that we nearly destroyed half of Cyst. That was the magnitude of the power required to send him to his grave. We had won, but at a terrible cost. What is now the southern half of the world was completely obliterated. The five us remained together and thought about what we could do to make up for actions.”
I couldn’t help but interject here, “You didn’t think that killing Biest was enough?”
“It didn’t even come close. So we decided to devote ourselves to the world. That is how the council was formed. We became schoalrs, builders, and caretakers. We built our castle in the very land that we destroyed. We were determined to not enjoy the world we lived in until we fixed it.”
“Time went on. Cyst gained more citizens, and we taught them all. And little by little the world began to heal itself.”
It seemed like a safe time to ask questions so I took a chance.
“Does that mean that once the world is regrown you will stop being a teacher?””
He rubbed his chin and stared at the floor as if he could bore right through it.
“The council has often discussed that. There are those among us who think that we should consider our debt paid and lead normal lives. Other’s think that the positions we hold are too important to just abandon. While they agree that the debt will be paid, they do not think that we should let go of our responsibilities.”
“What do you think?”
He sighed, “I don’t know. I agree that our debt will have been paid, but we are the council. The ruling members of Cyst. If we were to abandon our duties then we would not be worthy of keeping our seats. As much as I would like a break, I cannot just leave.”
“What if you trained a new council?”
“We have considered that. But we were motivated by honor and a sense of responsibility. We are afraid that others would be motivated by the power.”
“Then you must give it to those who do not want it.”
“Everyone wants power. Those who say they don’t just can’t bring themselves to admit it.”