“I knew, after we arrived in Stonehaven, the Academy of Hope was truly done,” Sionis said, closing out the latest chapter of his story. “There was no hope after what we witnessed. There was no coming back from the death… the utter destruction. The only path forward was war, and it would come with consequences that none of us would fully understand until well after it was resolved.”
Vestria felt sad. She knew the Academy had ceased sometime after the Yunai were defeated, but she hadn’t expected to learn the fate was so dark and sorrowful. To lose so many veteran members in the needless destruction that the Zinji brought to the Grid… they did what the Legion had failed to do… they broke the spirit of hope.
“Where did you go after the Academy shut down?” Vestria asked.
“I did a few odd jobs here and there for Baron Revelli. I helped the Udrian soldiers with restoration projects across the World Ship. I wanted to fix things, not destroy them. I couldn’t bring myself to participate in the Zinji conflict any longer. The Grid was tough, and the Zinji fires and occupation didn’t seem to damage our World Ship beyond repair, but the Besherman wanted their domain back.”
“Fynn and Iliera?”
“They fought tooth and nail against the Zinji,” Sionis said. “They continued fighting, and they were passionate about ending the fighting as quickly as possible. Fynn saw only a repetition of the hate and destruction that killed his mother and wiped out his home. Iliera saw wasted lives and troops that could be better used to finish off the pockets of Yunai resistance.”
“So… I hate to ask… but the wand…”
Sionis smiled. “Tonight, we rest. The storm hasn’t broken yet. I don’t want you out in that right now. Stay the night, I have an extra cot. Tomorrow, bright and early, I’ll tell you what you want to know. The final chapter of this tale. How the wand ended up as you found it… shattered and without energy.”
“Do you mean it?”
Sionis nodded. “I do. The end is nearly here, Vestria. So, get your rest.”
She laughed. Knowing what she knew now, how could she sleep!? She put away her scrolls, followed her usual evening routine, and placed the spare cot near the window at the front of Sionis’ home. The rain outside produced a comfortable white noise, and she was happy to be away from the bustling noise of the inn where she rented her room.
She fell asleep that night and dreamed about the name of the wand.