Episode 3: Iliera (Intermission)

          Sionis checked his fishing line and tossed it back into the water. Vestria sat next to him, his mouth open in shock. There was a gap of time where nothing was said, before she couldn’t handle it anymore.

          “That’s it?!?” she shouted.

          “You’re scaring the fish,” Sionis replied, throwing another line into the water.

          “Do you understand why I’m here?” Vestria asked, her voice rising. She hadn’t realized it until this exact moment, but the way Sionis led her on this story was actually quite frustrating. “I brought you a broken wand, a shattered relic of the past. I want to know the history of the wand and the man that yielded its power!”

          “I’m telling you that history,” Sionis said, unimpressed with the her frustration.

          “You’re telling me every little detail! Then, when you finally get to a piece of the mystery that I am dying to hear, you just walk away from it? Iliera, the name of the wand, showing up. You were the one that saved her life. It can’t be coincidence!”

          “Are you like this with a good book, too?” Sionis asked. “Skipping to the end?”

          “This is different. I want to read a book about one subject, and I’m getting the entire series of volumes on the entire origin of the universe.”

          “Context is important,” Sionis said, still checking his line. “When I met Iliera, it had been several years since I last thought about the wand from Lady Sonea. On top of that, what did it matter anyway, since Vers had been utterly destroyed by the Zinji in their final aggression, so if there was something of value there, it was lost to time. Finally, I was trying to save our world from a repeat of the prior Yunai invasions, which mattered far more than musing on the questions of how my old wand got its name.”

          Vestria grumbled. “She does have something to do with it, right?”

          Sionis finally smiled. “She was important, yes.”

          “So can we skip to the part where she shows up again?” she asked.

          The Flamecaller raised his brow, then nodded his head. “Sure.”

          “Really? Good. So, when was that?”

          “The next week,” Sionis answered. “I was about to tell you that, if you hadn’t interrupted.”

          Vestria’s face fell flat.

          “She came to Starfall Garrison,” Sionis continued. “She told the commander that she wanted to help us in our fight against the Yunai. She wanted to see her home safe from the threat of this powerful foe. Obviously, we needed all the help we could get, so Iliera was soon fighting with us on missions all across her world, which the Musfurin called Xernia.”

          “Surely you were curious about her name?”

          “Of course,” Sionis said, smiling again. “I was curious about her name, so I worked with her when I could. I wondered if maybe Lady Sonea had known more about the future than she originally told me. I had concluded a while back that my old teacher knew about the Yunai virus before it happened. She knew about the world above, too. So, maybe she knew Iliera was important. I set out to keep an eye on her, and I’m glad I did, because we soon became strong allies. In fact… if you are still interested… I can continue my story?”

          Vestria nodded slightly, then held her head low. “I’m sorry. I do enjoy hearing about your adventures. I didn’t mean to imply that you should stop or shorten them for me. I am writing it all down, of course, for my work. I got passionate.”

          Sionis didn’t respond to the apology, instead focusing on baiting another shrimp for his fishing line and tossing it into the cool blue water.

          Vestria wondered if she had gone too far.

          Then, Sionis leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. “Well, I guess it was about six months into the campaign that things started to pick up…”     

          Vestria grabbed her mechanical quill and went back to recording. She knew the story would be long and winding, but she needed to hear it out or she might never know the truth…

To Be Continued…

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