So, that was the revelation.
The wand, given to Sionis by Lady Sonea in his childhood, was named Iliera. Vestria waited as long as she could, then finally tapped her quill to stop taking notes and turned to face Sionis.
“You’re not serious, right?” she asked. “You finally found the wand, and then you just left it?”
Sionis nodded. “Of course. The wand was better suited in Sellia’s hands than my own. She was very good at using it for magical purposes, and I had already lost it once, hadn’t I?”
“But, how did we get from there to here,” Vestria asked, pulling the broken pieces of wood from her backpack and placing them on the table. “Is this not the same wand? Is this not Iliera?”
Sionis smiled. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think the story was over?”
Vestria frowned. “There is more?”
“A lot more, young one,” Sionis said. “I was just returning to Azirin!”
“You know they call me the Collector, Sionis Sepher. I’ve done research in this department,” Vestria said as she flipped through some scrolls. “Your airships showed up in Stonehaven, you discovered that the virus had slowed after you all killed Aeshma at the Grid. The Princess of Lederan, Ayla, retreated to the frozen realm of your World Ship. With a fully prepared army at your back, the southern realm prepared for the Yunai to arrive. The stellar vessel, also known as a Traveler, arrived as expected, but it was not full of Yunai. It was packed with refugees from another World Ship.”
Sionis frowned. “I had a much longer version of it to tell.”
“There’s no need,” she continued. “I have it all here. I found your commanding officer. The people on the Traveler were known as the Musfurin. Their World Ship, like yours, was invaded by the Yunai, but they failed to stop them, and the entire World Ship was lost, literally shattered into what they called the Remnants. They said that the Yunai now used the ship as a forward operating base to build their mechanical bodies and launch their assaults on your home.”
“Always the hero, you signed up to actually board the Traveler, make your way to the Remnants, and launch your own assault against the Yunai forces before they could reorganize and assault your home again. The incredible advances of the Besherman and the Azirians, coupled with the enhanced magical knowledge of the Musfurin paid off. You served with a company of mixed personnel, including Besherman, Musfurin, and Azirians. You made friends with one person in particular, Valiera of the Nightmoon Tribe. Your campaign was successful, and the Yunai were seemingly defeated. The rest of the Remnants were evacuated, then destroyed.”
“Do your notes speak of Marjan?” Sionis asked.
“They do,” Vestria said, flipping through some notes. “I’m sorry for your loss. I heard you two became close during your time together, though you two always had fundamental disagreements about the use of magic and its place in the world at large.”
Sionis chuckled. “That we did.”
“Anyway, you found a Yunai power crystal while you were fighting all across the Remnants. In your people’s mighty wisdom, you decided to haul it back to your own World Ship rather than destroy it. You weren’t aware that when you did so, you reintroduced a power supply to the World Ship that was attuned to the Yunai. The Princess, Ayla, soon reconnected with this power and there was a resurgence of danger from the frozen realm. At that point, your combined forces made their way to the frozen lands to see her put down once and for all.”
Sionis crossed his arms.
“Am I forgetting something?” she asked.
“No, that covers things quite well. Do you want to keep going?”
Vestria pursed her lips. “Actually, that’s where it ends. Your adventures in the frozen realm weren’t documented anywhere, and only a few dared to talk about it. I was told that the wand was the key to stopping the Yunai, but you said you left it with Sellia. Did you use it in the frozen realm against the Yunai?”
“No,” Sionis replied. “The wand wouldn’t return to my possession for a while.”
“Should we skip to that?” Vestria asked.
Sionis shrugged. “We could, but you’ll miss many of the things that build the story of the actual event. For example, in all you just stated, you left out something very important.”
“Valiera had a sister,” Sionis said. “Do you know about her?”
Vestria frowned. “Her family died when her World Ship fell.”
Sionis nodded. “What was her sister’s name?”
Vestria gasped. “Like… the sane name as the wand?!”
SIonis nodded again.
“But she was dead. So was Valiera the key to something?”
“It’s important that you understand the whole situation. I didn’t go to the frozen realm to fight against a possessed princess. The entire army of the united kingdoms were already on top of that.”
“So then why did you go?” Vestria pressed.
“Would you like to hear the story?”
Vestria shook her head, but she offered him a slight grin. “Okay, okay. I surrender. I’ll hear the story. Do you want to do the whole thing or—”
“No, you covered that well enough. I’ll give some background as we move forward, but let’s move ahead to that part of my story, when the day came for me to board an airship and make way to the frozen realm of our home.”
“Great,” Vestria said, tapping her mechanical quill again. “So, where do we start?”
“What? Now?” Sionis asked, looking shocked. “This isn’t a one day story. You’re going to need some rest.”
“Additionally, if I”m going to keep talking like this, you’re going to need to help out around here.”
“I can pay,” she started. “I have—”
“Money won’t help me harvest the field. I’ll need capable hands. You seem like you could handle it.”
“Thanks,” Vestria said. “I think?”
“You’ll be better for it,” Sionis said. “I’ll pay, of course, with food and stories, and money if you insist.”
“I must insist.”
Sionis chuckled. “Good. Then we have an arrangement.”
Vestria didn’t say it, but she was very pleased. The truth of the matter was, this had turned into far more than a simple task for her. This story, this individual that she documented… it was personal. She had a connection to Sionis now that almost no one else in Azirin could compare.
Likewise, Sionis had to feel the same way. His story had been filled with sadness and loss, and Vestria wasn’t a fool, this world was full of war. Sionis Sepher was notorious for being involved in those wars. He had lost friends and family along the way, and he was living out here all alone. In fact, she realized she might be one of the only contacts that the Flamecaller had in his life at this time. She frowned, thinking of asking for a moment, and then deciding against it. The path forward was right in front of her. She would work for Sepher, she would hear the continuing stories, and she would eventually have the full picture of how the Yunai were defeated on this World Ship.
“Okay,” she said energized. “Consider me your employee. What’s first?”
“Dishes,” Sionis said flatly. “I just cooked all day, and while the food brings me joy, the leftover dishes most certainly do not.”
“Wait, what are you going to do?” Vestria asked.
“Sleep,” Sionis answered. “You can go when you’re done, but I’ll need you back early tomorrow for work in the fields. There’s a lot that we need to catch up on, about harvesting fields here in Patnah, but you’ll catch on quick enough. Be ready to get those hands dirty, yeah?”
Vestria laughed, assuming that the Flamecaller was simply joking. He stepped into the one separated area of the hut where his bed was located, and a few minutes later, she heard him softly snoring. She shook her head and stepped over to the small kitchan, picking up the first pot and looking around until she found a coconut scrubber that she could use to loosen the hardened food. Despite the ridiculous chore, she let her mind wander, wondering just how long of a tale she was going to have to hear before she finally knew the truth about the Yunai.
The story of a lifetime. The story that she would use to save her own people… her own World Ship.