The High Spark
Dear Shiri Minister Aufemissa,
Much has been accomplished after you sent me to the grand planet of Sidanasa. I am much more mature, and EANE has completely diminished. As an aurora phoenix, I possess as much intelligence as a yellow flame phoenix. I cracked the Divine Web, an almost unpenetrable puzzle that had never been able to be decoded before my arrival. In doing so, I have been granted the title of spell master, and a position on the famed White Flame Council. This I have never dreamed of.
Grand Maven Avirs asked for me to write a letter telling you of my success. He tells me that he is well acquainted with you. As a gift for cracking the Divine Web, a sword is forged in my honor. He has granted me the Astral Blade, a sword of kinetic energy that can cut through etheral. Well, in time I must end my letter. I entreat that you respond as soon as possible. I have missed the institute and you very much.
Your Shiri student of grace and honor,
Almost four years later
“There is no word uttered than beyond the scope of knowledge!” With that last statement, Grand Maven Avirs flew off his podium gracefully. His speech had concluded. Tselera and Alastelle clapped readily and excitedly. After almost four long years, the formerly remote eastern wing had been fully explored, scriptures were read and collected, and knowledge was gathered. Tselera was proud of this accomplishment, yet in these four years, it had not always been so joyful.
Two years previous, Grand Maven Avirs had lost the will to live. Fire fever struck almost half of the wizards and wizardresses of Sidanasa. There had been several deaths, but none was more impacting than Avirs’s best friend, Kirsgus. He was an elderly divine phoenix who formerly served as the White Flames’s third. Through Kirsgus’s death, Avirs mourned heavily and had dreamt of death. He was rather unwilling to promote Alastelle to his third. It took much encouragement on both of their part to revive Grand Maven Avirs. Also in these four years, Tselera and Alastelle had grown nothing but closer. Unfortunately, Tselera was still not viewed as a suitable wizardress in the council by some, including the green olive phoenix who continuously disrespected her. Many called her Olive, and she had a vicious temper.
“Tselera?” Alastelle tapped her shoulder with one claw. The aurora phoenix jumped. “What?!”
“It is time for training”, the thunder phoenix smiled. “Race you to the wizard hall!” Alastelle flew off, and Tselera and him chased each other around the temple, causing Grand Maven Avirs to go nearly insane. “Stop making such a mess!” he yelled. “You two are council wizards, not foolish apprentices. Stop this game, right this instant!” The thunder phoenix and aurora phoenix landed gracefully, but were not pardoned from Avirs’s stern look. When the yellow flame phoenix left, Alastelle whispered: “The grand maven never chides, he always emphasizes.”
The temple’s wizard hall was rather spacious, surrounded on all sides by roman columns. Tselera relished and took in the rose deciduous trees readily. She was surprised that everywhere she flew, she would espy crystals of an orange hue. She noticed that Alastelle and her were among the last to arrive. There were a total of four including herself and Alastelle. Her heart sank when she realized that Olive was among them.
“You four have not dueled in quite a while, and despite the fact that there is peace, we must be prepared for anything at all costs. I shall pick the pairs randomly. Olive will duel Tselera, and Alastelle will duel Haunus. Olive and Tselera, you two wizardresses are up!”
Tselera and Olive faced each. Olive’s eyes were burning with hatred. They walked in opposite directions, their backs facing each other. Both of them yelled at the same time: “Spatix!”
Tselera transformed from her normal robes into sharp violet robes with blue streaks. Great, she thought. It had to be my least favorite color. Astral Blade whipped into her claw, and Tselera hovered into the air. She watched as Olive transformed. She changed from drab brown robes to a rather natural green and brown color. In her claw, was a sword whose hilt was an olive green color with runes written on the blade illuminated by a silver light. Oh no. Tselera had always failed in nature assessements, and this would be her trying test. She had never dueled Olive before, and knew that she was a formidable opponent. She was after all, two years older than her.
Olive charged into her, her wings spread out. Tselera barely had time to block with Astral Blade. Both sides clashed with Tselera on the retreating side. I wish I had my aurora partisan! I could try summoning it from here. Tselera closed her eyes and focused on the aurora energy within her. Her Astral Blade formed a barrier, protecting her, as she concentrated. Summon thy partisan of aurora. Summon thy partisan of aurora. Summon thy partisan of aurora. She muttered the spell to herself, but there was no effect. She had to try a riskier way out, and that would mean breaking the wizard rules regarding essence of energy.
Tselera called off the Astral Blade much to everyone’s shock. She folded her wings, and yelled to the skies: “First Aurora of Summoning, Release From Repose!” As she spoke, the aurora energy broke free of her body, and spread across the room. Tselera closed her eyes and concentrated. She was combated by another force, Olive’s. She had screamed the same spell used by Tselera, only of a different essence. Tselera fell to the ground not able to block the essence of olive, of nature. “I am victorious!” she heard Olive’s air of arrogance. “The aurora was unable to beat the awesome power of nature!”
“Be quiet!” Avirs roared. “There shall be no more wizard practice duels. There is nothing to fear, all four of you, go back to your chambers!” Tselera heaved herself up, and was devastated when she saw Olive fawning over Alastelle. She could hear her annoyingly flirty voice: “It was so unfortunate, dear Alast that the grand maven had to intercede, or I would have beat the fricks out of that phoenix. She should run back to Shiri, and never come back. Right, dear Alast?” The aurora phoenix felt tears well up in her eyes, and she ran, crying out of the wizard hall.
“Dear Tselera”, the yellow flame phoenix sighed as he looked out the window. “I do not wish for you to be in such a baleful mood. I love it when you smile or laugh, but not when you cry. You have been through much, and one mean wizardress isn’t going to crush you. That would be virtually impossible.” He passed her a porcelain cup filled with a watery substance that Tselera did not recognize. “Here, this is chamomile tea. It is to refresh yourself.”
The aurora phoenix sipped the tea graciously, and Avirs continued to talk. “I see that your weakness is nature in all forms. There is practice-“ He was interrupted by a wizard who stormed in rather anxiously. “Grand Maven Avirs!” the wizard seemed to be out of breath. Tselera took notice that he had a plumage of orange, red and yellow, all colors of a flaming star. The wizard was dressed in orange robes clinging onto a sword that was orange in color and had a white jewel in the pommel. All in all, the sword looked like it was forged from a star explosion, and Tselera cringed when sparks of orange fire flew from the jagged blade.
“My planet is under attack! Being the protector, I had the obligation to protect the High Spark, but I was surrounded and could not escape. I fled here. You must send help for Useng. Without the High Spark, we are fairly over with. Useng will disappear into oblivion, and the balance of the Albus Ignis System will be completely disrupted!”
“Right away”, Avirs stated nervously. “Tselera, can you please fetch Alastelle, Olive, and Castina?” The aurora phoenix cringed when she heard the vain olive phoenix’s name. She had to put her fears of Olive after the safety of Useng and the legendary High Spark which was the essence of the planet. She had read texts about the High Spark. The High Spark and Useng were forged from a supernova of an exploding red giant from a nearby solar system. Each were dependent upon the other. It was up to Tselera to save Useng along with her fellow wizards. Olive was minor now, it was a planet that needed saving.
“Aren’t you the youngest protector/king to have ever been as reigner of Useng?!” Both Alastelle and Tselera narrowed their eyes at Olive who was yet fawning, except towards a young wizard about the age of the thunder phoenix. “I am your biggest idolater!” Castina, the cerulean phoenix and Olive’s apprentice rolled her eyes, not bothering to hide her exasperation. “We have a planet to save. There is no time for flirting. We get it, the prince of Useng is handsome.”
Olive blushed and looked rather embarrassed. “Of course...the mission. Can we leave?”
Thanks to Castina’s portal, they arrived there quickly. Tselera took in the glowing yellow sphere which held the High Spark which was the fuel of Useng. It also contained the palace and living quarters of all the inhabitants of this yellow planet. “Let’s fly into that sphere”, Olive acknowledged. Tselera glared at her. “You are throwing us into a trap, aren’t you?!”
Too late. Everyone was staring at her now. Alastelle’s eyes were burning with deep anger, and Castina let out an exasperated sigh. Meanwhile, Olive was smirking at Tselera and flashed her light green eyes at the aurora phoenix. “Of..course..not”, she exaggerated sarcastically. “Your safety..is my number one priority.” Olive and her apprentice flew into the yellow sphere, and Tselera was about to follow when Alastelle snagged her robes with his claw. “Maybe, you should trust her”, Alastelle snarled. Tselera had never seen him so angry. “She has been my oldest friend around, you know.” He stormed off and Tselera had no choice, but to follow. Perhaps she should keep her feelings to herself.
“Master, this is such a spacious area to store such a precious object”, Castina remarked. They had reached the outer rims of the Useng Palace in where the king and wizards could stay. The cerulean phoenix looked disappointed when Olive did not respond. Tselera was trying to hold back a biting comment.
“I could agree”, the olive phoenix did not even look back. Tselera was instantly suspicious. Was Grand Maven Avirs right to bring Olive along, or was he attempting to uncover something, perhaps a betrayal?
“Hey, master!” Castina exclaimed. “Look!” Olive did not even turn her head. Tselera instinctively pulled out Astral Blade from her sheath, but Alastelle gave her a warning look. “The High Spark is not stolen! It was a false alarm!”
It was then that Alastelle pulled out his sword as well. Castina was literally shaking and had transformed herself into Spatix, holding a beech wand. “Is anyone there?” Immediately, Olive turned around and smiled wickedly. “Quite astute, dear Castina.” She slashed Silverwind at the cerulean phoenix, and Castina faltered slightly. “How could you?!” she protested.
Tselera lifted her Astral Blade and charged directly into Olive. Yet, the olive phoenix was not harmed. “Such rancor for me, you have”, the olive phoenix laughed. “Here is a paring gift.” She pointed Silverwind at Tselera: “Rune Natura!” Tselera barely had time to cast a protective shield, and Astral Blade flew out of her claw. She fell towards the ground and collapsed.
“No!!” she heard Alastelle scream. Just as Alastelle was about to impale Olive with Obsidian, out of nowhere olive phoenixes much like Olive appeared. It did not take long for Alastelle to be defeated. “Drag this beloved phoenix away”, Tselera saw a male olive phoenix say to Olive. “This could be rightful ransom for the Wizards of the White Flame. I could then finally get the justice my father deserved!”
“Help me!!!” Castina was screaming erratically now. “You can’t forsake me!”
This mission was such a failure, and now we definitely know that this was a trap! Olive is a traitor to the White Flames! I knew that all along!