Episode 20: Leaving the Frozen Realm (Intermission)

      Vestria waited, her mechanical quill at the ready. She was certain that the Flamecaller had more to say, but the pause was long enough that she knew he had no intention of pressing on. Still, she liked to wait a few more precious seconds to be sure.

      “You seem disappointed,” Sionis said, looking up from his dishes, now nearly washed.

      “You kinda skipped over some stuff there at the end. Are you telling me that Valiera, a Musfurin from the Remnants, was honestly the one responsible for kicking off the Shattered Calamity?”

      “I’m afraid so,” Sionis confirmed. “Broken realms, massive casualties, and declarations of war. All of it rested on her fingertips. She would spend the rest of her days in Azirin as a fugitive.”

      “It worked, though,” Vestria said calmly. “Seriously? You mean to tell me it worked?”

      “I’m afraid that’s skipping ahead a bit.”

      “What about Marjan?” Vestria asked.

“I left her in peace,” Sionis said quietly. “In hindsight, it was the only choice. Time is like a woven thread rope. Millions of little strands all tying together the flow of history. The damage that I could have done… the damage that Valiera did…”

      “I can see the risks,” Vestria admitted. “It just seems like you were so set on your decision, breaking rules and getting to the spell… then you just… didn’t.”

      Sionis nodded slowly. “I thought of Evanor. The way I found her in that cage when I got to the frozen realm. She was nearly dead. I felt like I saved her life that day. If I went back and altered time, I might save Marjan, but I would be putting Evanor’s life in the air. Christine and I saved one another a dozen times during our time at Birchwood. When we faced Ayla, it was Christine that brought her down. If I changed any of those pieces of history, I might have made it far worse.”

      “So, it became an emotional weight. Marjan would cost the lives of others, and you couldn’t bring yourself to sacrifice them for her.”

      “Marjan wouldn’t have wanted to know that she lived because I harmed others,” Sionis added.

      “So, finally free of Ayla and Udiria… it was off to war for you?”

“Another day,” Sionis said. “I’ve done my share of thinking today.”

Vestria groaned. She knew of what came next, obviously. She had done plenty of research before she ever found Sionis. The Zinji War erupted in the immediate aftermath of the Shattered Calamity, and her records did indicate that the Flamecaller served in the military during that time. Of course, she couldn’t wait to hear the story he had to tell about that, as those very official records showed that Sionis had gone missing in action, then killed in action, and finally right back on the records again like nothing had ever happened. Of course, her mind was also reeling with Sionis’ revelation that someone had pulled a World Ship through space and time using an ancient spell book. That was unbelievable, to say the least, and it was becoming clear to Vestria that this world was far and above anything she ever understood about her universe.

“Enough talking for now,” Sionis said, smiling at her. “How about we eat?”

“Leftover shrimp dumplings?” she asked excitedly.

“That’s right,” he replied.

“I’m in.”

“Good,” Sionis said. “I’m starving, and I’ve run out of dishes to clean, so I should dirty some of them.”

Vestria chuckled, then stood and started helping Sionis with the meal, all the while wondering about the adventures that remained untold, and how she’d finally learn the truth about defeating the Yunai…

Sionis’ Adventure will continue in…

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