Chapter XX: The Aurora (8/12)Mature

Initially, the students were hesitant to join Elena's clan, but soon they settled and began to enjoy themselves. There were so many on the hillside that the campsite spilled over down the hillside and even onto the field, but Will and his friends were able to secure a space on the hillside, marking their places with their bags whilst they sat down in the inner circle of blankets at the fire. Whilst Elena's group would sleep outside in the moonlight, the students were given their "luxury" in the form of marquee-sized tents, even with individual rooms to sleep in. The three girls in peplos' had the challenge of bringing food to all of the students, slices of roasted bison and fruits supplied by the clan, bread and wine summoned all the way from the Sanctuary kitchens.

The friends were tucking into their meal, enjoying the warm glow of the fire when Elena sat down on their blanket with a wooden goblet of wine.

'Is this your first time viewing the Aurora?' she asked, curling herself up in her short patchwork dress.

'That's right,' said Sayara, 'have you seen it before?' 

'Years ago, when I was just a girl. My father took me to one of the Thirteen Isles of the Halknor Crescent to see it, we sailed out  to the middle of the Ashen Sea in a rowboat just big enough for the two of us. We led there all night in our sleeping bags watching it come and go. But, of course, to have it in Anamae is far more convenient. So, what are your names?'

Before anybody could say, Tayna cut in, 'Taryn. I'm Taryn, and this is Andrel, uh - Wasily and...Sabrina.' The others looked at her dumbstruck.

'Hmm, how...interesting,' said Elena, obscuring her mockery. 'Anyway, I imagine this outing is very special to you, you can't have left the Sanctuary for quite a while, have you?' They shook their heads, 'it's probably for the best, it isn't safe out here anymore, thanks to some people.' She leaned in closer to Tayna, 'can you feel that in the air?'

'Feel what?' she asked nervously,

'The hatred,' she spat, 'that's the one blissful thing about the rare gatherings between magi, we all share a common abhorrence for the human race.'

'I wouldn't say abhorrence,' Sayara said hesitantly, Elena's eyes - once soft, now bore into her.

'How can you say such a thing? Are the human race not the reason you hide in such a stronghold? To see the land, the beauty of Anamae should be your basic right, instead you are denied it, forced to run. Why, if my clan did not move where the wind blows, they would have caught us too.'

'So, you're nomads?' asked Andrel, trying to change the touchy subject,

'Yes,' Elena said stiffly, 'they call us the Raido clan.'

Tayna's eyes widened, 'the Raido clan?'

'What's the matter?' asked Will, 'who are they?'

'An extremist clan,' Tayna answered, her eyes narrowed warily on Elena. 'They are known for their thievery, protests, and above all - unwavering loyalty to the monarchy.'

'You speak as if it is such a bad thing, Taryn, but we are not ashamed,' said Elena proudly. 'Everything has been taken from us because of the human race, our homes, the ones we loved, our freedom, all under the pretence that magi are destructive and cruel. Thievery is not even the word, we steal from those who have benefitted from the persecution of magi, wealthy barons and lords surrounding the Elemental Court, and give their wealth and supplies to those that need it, such as the starving children living in the mud.'

'And do you deny trying to start a revolution?' Tayna retorted, 'do you deny trying to assassinate the associates of the Elemental Court?'

'No,' Elena grumbled, 'we do not.'

'A revolution?' asked Sayara, her voice high, 'but...that could start a -,'

'War? So be it. It will happen anyway, I would prefer it was on the terms of the magi. You are children, you are shadowed from reality by your innocence, and even the protection Percival Paradam has given you within the Sanctuary. But spend a week in Anamae how it really is, and you will lose your pacifism. Humans and magi are too different to co-exist. If one of us does not seize power, it will be lost forever -,'

'Well, what would the monarchy say about this?' Tayna snapped, her fists clenched. Will realised that in whatever way possible, Tayna was trying to stop their identities as royals from being revealed.

Elena looked surprised and said, 'the monarchy, I do not doubt that they would support us. Do not look at me like this, do you refer to the exiled royals who are locked within their estates, forbidden to leave under constant guard? Kings and queens hold the freedom of the people, and the human race has tried to quell that within them, to strangle it like the weeds of a dying garden. But our freedom grows within new hope now, within our new royal princes and princesses. You would all do well to remember your duty to your royal families, and the duty to your people! Now, if you excuse me, I must tend to my clan.' 

Elena rose quickly and stormed off to the other side of the campsite, once she was our of earshot, Tayna was bombarded with questions.

The End

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