When the rains rolled into the valley, most things quieted down. Vestria understood that just thinking that was absurd. Everything was already so slow moving in this place that slowing down seemed… impossible. And yet… it still happened.
By now, Vestria knew the inner-workings of the city. If the rain wasn’t heavy, several of the farmers would head to the ponds to try their hands at fishing. Sionis had a favorite spot picked out, one he claimed he’d stolen from a world famous angler, so Vestria knew exactly where to find him.
Of course, he didn’t seem too excited when she walked up.
The Flamecaller was tucked under a large umbrella, with a reclining chair and a long fishing pole that sat near the water’s edge. He wore a straw hat with an over-sized rim, and he was currently sipping on some kind of warm beverage.
“Nice day out?” she asked, approaching him carefully.
“What brings you all the way out here?” Sionis asked, glancing up at her.
“Oh, I dunno. It’s a rainy day… nothing to do… except talk?”
Sionis sighed, but then nodded and gestured to a place under his umbrella. Vestria excitedly rushed under the protection and planted herself on the ground, still dry underneath Sionis’ cover.
“I haven’t been avoiding you,” Sionis started, checking the tension on his fishing line. “This part of the story is a bit… unique… so I’ve been trying to get it all sorted in my head. After all, that last time we spoke, you learned that I should have burned alive in an underwater cave, but then I was snatched out of time by a benevolent Yunai and told that I would be better use to my reality if I was alive.”
“I remember all that,” she confirmed. “It was after the Shattered Calamity. You left me off right after that. I filled in some of the blanks. The Zinji surrendered not long after Captain Taylor’s soldiers were saved. It turned out most of the Zinji were being controlled by an ultra-violent militant cult. Once they realized they couldn’t use the creature to bring the Yunai into our world, they were disenfranchised. They decided to take out their anger on you and Taylor in particular… they destroyed Vers with an aethereal bomb. Knowing what I know now… I’m so sorry, Sionis. That must have been difficult.”
Sionis nodded, then looked out at the water as the raindrops disturbed the surface. He took a long time to consider where he’d start, then he squinted his face and looked back at Vestria.
“A lot can happen in a short time. The Yunai had warned me that his kind was going to assault a World Ship and use it as a staging ground for another invasion. Obviously I wanted to prevent that. I spent a lot of time trying to pull together a group of soldiers dedicated to helping the other World Ship, but it was difficult. I had to reach out to the Besherman in the world above to try and locate this other ship using the Grid. They were helpful, but it took over a year before we found what we were seeking.”
“That must have been difficult,” Vestria said. “Searching for that year, knowing something was out there but not able to lock onto it.”
“Unfortunately, it didn’t matter. Not long after we finally found the World Ship, a Traveler arrived carrying Yunai soldiers. Musfurin that had been taken by the Yunai spirits and used as puppets. We were prepared for the attack, thankfully, and the Yunai seemed surprised that we had prepared at all. They must not have known I was contacted. When we fought them back, we took control of the Traveler, a massive space ship that could carry armies between World Ships. We knew it was time to act. I sent word to all of my contacts. I rallied all of my allies… and we flew to a new World Ship to confront this foe. Valiera, who had been in hiding for years now, stood at my side, proud to finally be following through on her mission to save her family. She hoped it wouldn’t be too late this time.”
“How did that go?”
“We arrived unexpected. We took a foothold. Valiera explained that before the Remnants had been ripped apart, it had been a World Ship just like our own. To this this place, alive and well, it was beautiful and terrifying at the same time. We secured the place where the Travelers come and go. The Besherman technologists locked it down. No Yunai would leave this World Ship while we fought. It meant we couldn’t leave either, a sacrifice we were all willing to make.”
“We spread out. We searched for allies, fought against the Yunai invasion that had come to this World Ship. We were taken in by the Musfurin, who were in the midst of a war against the Yunai, fighting them for the first time from their point of view. We bolstered their conflict and offered them technology and insight on the enemy, which quickly turned the tide in our favor. All the ideas of shattered reality and alternate World Ships vanished in the realization that this wasn’t any different from any other conflict we’d faced. It was war. Visceral and personal. I was back in my element and ready to fight.”
“I imagine so.”
“Which, of course, made the next event so bizarre.”
“The next event?”
Sionis nodded. “Yes, the day I met Iliera Starfall.”
Vestria nearly squealed with excitement. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this part of the story,” she said, scooting closer and grabbing a fresh scroll of paper. “Finally, let’s hear all about it.”