Chapter 12: The Banquet
The tailor straightened my hem for the gazillionth time. It was that red outfit from before apparently made with the ‘good material’. He made absolutely sure that everything was absolutely perfect. The assistants checked my make-up for the bazillionth-gazillionth time as well and made sure my hair was perfect.
“Are you guys done?” I groaned.
“I’m so sorry, but this is so nerve-wracking!” The tailor breathed out dramatically.
“For you? I’m the one who’s going to have people booing at me!” I yelled.
“That is why. I don’t want your dreams to be crushed!” The tailor said melodramatically.
“I don’t have any dreams like that,” I said.
“Sure you do. The fame, the glory, the beautiful gowns, all that food,” the tailor reminded me.
“Meh,” I shrugged. “I could go back to living in the streets no problem.”
“But wouldn’t you miss all of these things?” the tailor paused in his work to look me in the eye.
“Hell yes, but if worse comes to worse, I can always go back. It hasn’t been that long.”
“Have you seen Fire Seeker?” An assistant asked me.
“Not since yesterday,” I said.
“Oh dear, oh dear. He needs the ceremonial robes,” the assistant panicked.
“We found him. He’s ready for the ceremony,” a maid called in.
“Oh, thank the Spirits,” the assistant breathed out.
“Now, don’t listen to anyone else,” the tailor said.
“I never do anyway,” I laughed.
“Okay. I need her for the ceremony,” a maid said.
“This is it. You ready?” A maid asked.
“Nope. But I have a feeling that no one else would care,” I laughed. The maid pulled my arm and into a room, where I felt my heart almost pound out of my chest.
“Hello citizens of Pyra!” I heard Lord Ilidecian call out to the crowd. I breathed in and out several times as I heard the crowd scream in applause. “You have waited for your ruler, the Lord of Fire! You have waited and you have been patient! And that patience has worn through!”
He has a talent to talking to the masses, even when he’s looking down on them.
“Cahin! Haven’t heard from you in a while!” I said. Thankfully, no one heard me beyond the curtain that was keeping me from the crowd.
Hey, do me a favor, okay? Be careful with him.
“Why?” I asked.
I have a bad feeling about him.
“Like what kind of bad we talking about here? Is he a jerk or--”
Something just doesn’t feel right about him to me.
Stop asking questions. I won’t answer them unless I want to and there’s no way of getting me to talk.
“Fine,” I sighed.
Don’t even think about it. Seriously. Stop thinking about it. I know you’re thinking it!
“Stop telling me what to do!” I shouted at my head.
You’re about to be called on stage. Stoppit.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Here is the Lord of Fire!” Lord Ilidecian’s voice was absolutely dripping with hatred. The curtains separated and the light started to pour onto my face. The crowd went silent for a split moment, then some cheers, yells and boos rippled over the crowd.
“Oh,” I breathed out. I started to walk up to the middle of the stage. Lord Ilidecian was to the left of me along with Lord Sorak and Lord Bragor. I took a breath looked among the crowd. There were many faces that looked back at me. I was used to being the one not seen or at least ignored. It was uncomfortable.
“She is the Lord of Fire, and she--” Lord Bragor started to talk to the crowd. My focus was to my right where Fire Seeker was trying very hard to
“Shut up,” I hissed to him.
“Then don’t look as if you’re a chicken about to be put in a fire,” Fire Seeker whispered.
“I don’t have a problem with fire or chickens!” I hissed back. Fire Seeker was biting his lip to hold back his laughter.
“We have confirmed that she is the Lord of Fire, and she has great skill. She is not inferior,” Lord Sorak added.
“She is a woman, and she is uneducated, but I am sure that she could learn,” Lord Ilidecian started to sway the crowd’s opinion. “Why does she not speak? Why does she not defend herself? This is because she is uneducated. She does not know how to defend herself.”
I stared at Lord Ilidecian, opening up my mouth to talk but he would constantly interrupt me. It would happen without fail for a whole five minutes. I started to get really angry but the unusual pressure of everyone’s stares made me press my lips together and stare at my feet. I grinded my teeth against each other as Lord Ilidecian kept talking. I still wasn’t sure what Cahin was talking about, I just knew that I didn’t like him.
Before I could burst out in anger, someone else did that for me. “THAT IS ENOUGH LORD ILIDECIAN!” Lord Bragor shouted at the top of his lungs, silencing the crowd, Lord Ilidecian and the wind that was blowing across the area. “I cannot stand idly while you you belittle our equal! She was chosen, same as we were chosen by our Spirits!”
“We are allowed to question the Spirit’s choices,” Lord Ilidecian scoffed.
Like hell you are.
“Alright, I’m sure we don’t have to fight in front of everyone in Pyra during their leader’s commencement. We can do this later,” Lord Sorak whispered that last part.
“We are certain that you did not mean any of those negative comments, Lord Ilidecian,” Lord Bragor threatened Lord Ilidecian while ignoring Lord Sorak.
Everyone remained quiet as those two stared at each other. It was very awkward.
“The announcement is over. Come Lords,” Lord Bragor walked off the stage leaving everyone else still stiff and feeling awkward. Lord Ilidecian stormed after Lord Bragor (Probably to yell at him), and after him was Fire Seeker. I looked out to the crowd and saw that they lost all the life to them, probably because their entertainment walked away.
“Well, that was interesting, right everybody?” Lord Sorak turned to the crowd. I saw some of the people nodding their heads. “Say ‘hello’ to your people, Kaira.” Lord Sorak turned to me.
“Hi.” I waved stiffly.
“Thank you for coming to this momentous occasion. I apologize for it being cut short, however, we are dealing with an Elemental Conflict as it were.” Lord Sorak smiled. People in the crowd got up without a word and started to leave, some just stayed seated. I had never seen Pyrians so quiet before. It made me uneasy.
“Come now,” Lord Sorak gently ushered me off the stage. I took one last look at the people before the curtain closed. “You did very well,” Lord Sorak patted my back.
“I was close to snapping though,” I admitted.
“That’s what’s important,” Lord Sorak reminded me.
“I guess,” I shrugged. “What was your announcement like?”
Lord Sorak stroked his brown goatee. “It’s hard to remember. I was five at the time. I remember everyone cheering.”
“Better than mine I guess,” I mumbled. “What about your Spirit? How did that make you feel?”
“I felt afraid and alone. It was terrifying to learn at such a young age that you’re the ruler of an entire country. Not to mention the power I had. One moment I was at home with my parents, the next I was surrounded by people I didn’t know, waiting for my command. Me, a five-year-old, the power to order around over two hundred servants. It was a little much to take in. As you know, feeling negative emotions when you’re an Elemental Lord is quite dangerous, especially at a young age. Since that was the case, I lost control of my powers, and caused a lot of damage,” Lord Sorak said in a quiet tone.
“Whoa,” I breathed out. What else could I say?
“Seven people died. Seven, because I could not control my power. When we falter in our feelings, people get hurt; remember this.” Lord Sorak stopped walking.
“Wow, we can do a lot of damage.” I raised my eyebrows.
“Yes. We are the Spirit’s chosen hosts. We control the elements of this world. We are the difference between serenity and chaos.”
Putting you guys on a high pedestal, aren’t you? It’s not as if you guys snap your fingers and the whole world collapses. Wooooooooooooooooow.
“Now that you reminded me, how often does your Spirit talk to you? Are they as annoying as this guy?” I tapped my head.
“What?” Lord Sorak raised an eyebrow.
“Your Spirit doesn’t talk to you?”
“No. Why?” Lord Sorak asked.
“No reason,” I waved my hand. I looked ahead of the corridor and saw Fire Seeker a long way ahead of us. “Do you keep in contact with the Water Seeker?” I asked.
“Good Spirits no! He beat me to near death when he found me!” Lord Sorak said.
“And here I thought Fire Seeker was bad,” I chuckled, mostly out of fear.
“He was a lonely old man whose own family didn’t love him, so he would take it out on anyone else.” Lord Sorak said once we stopped in front of a very fancy room with all these decorations around it. Lord Sorak pointed to the chair farthest away from the door. “That’s your seat.”
“Why?” I immediately asked.
“Because you’re the highlight of night.”
“Can I not be?” I asked.
“I’m afraid you can’t not.”
“Why can’t I not?”
“Well, it’s not that you can’t not, it’s that I don’t want you to not.”
“Ah, but I can not.”
Don’t. I swear to me.
“Has her idiocy plagued you, Sorak? Just when I finally had hopes for you,” Lord Ilidecian shook his head.
“Is he always this pleasant?” I asked Lord Sorak.
“Sometimes he’s tolerable,” Lord Sorak whispered to me. “Come on, you’re seated next to me.”
“Yes,” I said as I sat down at the seat at the end of the table. I fidgeted in my seat as I waited for more nobles to arrive. So far, all the nobles I could see were Lord Sorak to the right of me and Fire Seeker to the right of him, and to the left of me was Lord Bragor and there was a seat between Lord Ilidecian and Lord Bragor. The table had a shimmering red tablecloth and forks and knives made out of gold and the goblets were made out of gold and the Elemental Lords had their designated jewels encrusted into their goblet. It was too fancy.
“You need to use the bathroom?” Lord Sorak asked me
“No, I’m just really bored,” I admitted. I paused. “Now that you mention it--”
“Go now before the nobles come and the banquet starts, otherwise it is seen as extremely rude,” Lord Bragor warned me.
“It seems like everything I would do seems rude,” I said.
“That is why you’re here to learn,” Lord Sorak said.
“Okay,” I navigated my way out from between the middle of the Lords and made my way to the hallway. I walked to the middle of a hallway before returning. “Where exactly is the bathroom again?”
I stared at all the nobles that were sitting at the long table. There was still plenty of room, it was just more people that I’ve ever seen eating at a table. They all looked very angry or very bored with the banquet. I thought I would at least recognize one person from that thing before, but I didn’t. It was so weird. That entire day was weird. I hated that day.
Look at them. They’ve only gotten worse over time. Seriously, I don’t know how they have gotten worse. Cahin used a tone that I have never heard before.
“Why do you hate the nobles so much?” I whispered to Cahin. Lord Sorak and Lord Bragor looked at me, but understood whom I was speaking with.
They think because they have money that that makes them good people and that they should have more rights than everyone else when in actuality they are horrible rotten people who belong at the bottom of the ocean with rocks tied to their feet. Cahin just was spitting out anger. There was sparks flying off the palms of my hand.
“Whoa! Calm down! You’re about to make me set fire to the room!” I whispered a little bit louder.
It’s fine, Bragor and Sorak are here. They’d stop you.
“Are you sure?”
Hey look, things you should be paying attention to instead of me.
“Subtle,” I said. The conversation between Cahin and I ended. I looked at the nobles once again, who eyed me suspiciously.
“Who were you talking to?” Lord Bragor asked me.
“Spirit of Fire,” I said.
Everyone at that end of the table just stared at me.
“You what?!” Lord Ilidecian shouted, dragging all the attention towards our side of the table.
“Yeah. We just talk.” I shrugged, really confused at why he was so mad. . . surprised. . . what was Lord Ilidecian feeling?
“Perhaps. . . No. Forget it.” Lord Bragor seemed to wave away a big idea to me.
“Oh! What is it! Tell me! Tell me!” I started to jump up and down in my seat.
“It couldn’t be done by any other Elemental Lord, so I highly doubt any one of us could,” Lord Bragor said.
Lord Sorak was on the same page. “It couldn’t be done, even if you were the most powerful Elemental Lord out there.”
This piqued Lord Ilidecian’s interest. “What couldn’t be done?” He had no idea what they were talking about.
“Old age made you forget, huh?” Lord Bragor asked nonchalantly.
“I have probably never learned what you are talking about because my master was a crackpot old fool,” Lord Ilidecian’s face turned as purple as his robe.
“Your master was a very wise man! You should not be disrespecting him!” Lord Bragor yelled.
“How should you know? You can’t tell wise from ignorant!” Lord Ilidecian snapped. They threw insults at each other, and the nobles turned a blind eye to it. The yells got louder and I started to shrink.
“Both of you stop!” Lord Sorak yelled to the two of them. The nobles still weren’t paying any attention. Lord Ilidecian and Lord Bragor both quieted down, but the insults didn’t stop flying toward one another.
“So, when’s dinner?” I asked Lord Sorak as quietly as I could.
And yet, every single noble looked at me with narrowed eyes.
“Come on! They were yelling!” I whispered.
Cahin just started screaming in my head.
“I feel the same way,” I sighed.
“Better just to stay quiet. They’re like animals,” Lord Sorak said. I nodded my head and looked at the nobles, who still looked at me judgingly, but not the man who just called them animals.
After twenty minutes of silence, the food finally came. I prayed to the Spirits that it wouldn’t be the tiny food that could be eaten in one bite. When the server brought out my dish that was encrusted in gold and fire diamonds, I could smell the beef and the potatoes. My mouth watered and it took all the willpower I had to keep myself from drooling.
“Let us eat in honor of the completion of the Lords,” Lord Bragor called out. The servers removed the lid to reveal the biggest piece of beef I have ever seen.
“Do I have to wait for any speech?” I asked.
“Nope. Go ahead,” Lord Ilidecian sneered. I hesitated due to his tone.
“Don’t. You can’t. We need to wait a moment,” Lord Sorak stopped me. I looked at the contradicting orders, wondering whom I should follow.
“Do not listen to Lord Ilidecian. He wants to sabotage you,” Lord Bragor said.
“Are you questioning my authority?” Lord Ilidecian said.
“We are just explaining to Lord Kaira that now is not the time to eat. She has been presented with the food and--” Lord Sorak started.
“You forget that I was there when you were taught all about this, Lord Ilidecian sneered.
“I haven’t forgotten,” Lord Sorak sighed.
“Then why are you contradicting me?” Lord Ilidecian asked.
“Because this isn’t what I learned,” Lord Sorak said with a calmness that made everyone shift uncomfortably.
“So. . .” I barely got a sound out before everyone’s attention was back at me.
“Eat now!” Lord Ilidecian yelled.
“Don’t eat!” Lord Bragor and Lord Sorak yelled.
“Why are we yelling?!” I shouted.
“Kaira!” Fire Seeker called out my name. I looked at him, almost forgetting he was there. “Wait. The Masters of Fire are going to come in the room, and then we eat,” Fire Seeker explained.
“Okay,” I whispered. The room was silent, and no matter what I did, the nobles would stare at me.
“What is it?” I whispered to Cahin.
I can feel their presence. Here they come. Cahin shuddered. I looked at the door and saw old men pouring through the doorway. They all had fancy robes in the Pyra red, with a yellow sash.
“Welcome,” Lord Bragor said, starting to stand. Lord Sorak also stood up. I followed their lead along with all of the other nobles. After the Masters of Fire took their sweet time sitting down, we all got to sit down. There was even more silence in the room. The words just seemed to clog everyone’s throat.
After the Master’s of Fire said a few words, they ordered all of us to eat. It was so awkward, just like the rest of that night. There was the sound of metal scraping against the porcelain, and the sound of quiet chewing. I tried to copy the nobles, but no matter what I did, I never seemed to fit in.
“Lord of Fire,” a wheezy voice called out close to the end of dinner. I looked across the table and saw the man in the middle, whose beard and hair were snow white. His eyes were closed and his face was covered in wrinkles.
“Yes?” Lord Sorak nudged me. “Sir?” He nudged me again. “Master of Fire?”
“Are you ready to proceed?” He asked.
“Proceed to what?” I asked nervously. Lord Sorak nudged me. “Sir?” Lord Sorak nudged me, again. “Master of Fire.”
“After everyone is finished, display the extent of your power,” the wheezy man said.
“Here?” I looked around at all of the flammable items. Before Lord Sorak could nudge me, I added “Master of Fire?”
“No. Out in the training area,” the wheezy man said.
“Yes, sir.” Lord Sorak nudged me. “Master of Fire.”
“Glad you understand,” the wheezy man said. I looked at the other men, who rolled their eyes. I looked at the other people that were also there, and saw that they were doing the same thing as the ‘Masters’. I stared at my plate which was almost empty, and regretted immediately on the agreement that just happened.
“All right. You have no training whatsoever?” A Master of Fire asked me. He looked like he was a little older than Lord Bragor and he looked almost as intimidating as him. I shook my head as I tried to stretch around in my heavy robe.
“Uh, no.” I shook my head. The Masters of Fire looked at each other with this silent conversation. “Was that the wrong answer?”
“Let’s get her into something less constricting,” the tailor said as he dragged me away. The tailor and his two assistants moved out into the field. The tailor carried a bundle of cloth and both the assistants carried a divider to block me from the crowd. They plopped the divider and the assistants started to take off the heavy robe. The tailor handed the assistant the bundle of cloth and they quickly dressed me in a lighter dress that only went to my knees. It was red like the robe I was previously wearing but it was so much lighter.
The assistants took down the divider, the tailor took the robe and they all walked off the field. I looked at the dress and the pants that went with them. The boots were flexible and very comfortable.
“The test commences . . . now,” the wheezy man said. A pillar of stone rose underneath my feet and shot me into the air. I quickly pushed off the stone and readied the flames at my feet. I propelled myself through the air as boulders flew out at me. I managed to break several with flames that burst out of my arms. I managed to land safely on the ground.
Look left. I looked left, to see that Lord Sorak was silently gathering water from the air. He already had enough to wipe me out. I quickly gathered more flames in my palms and shot the ball of fire toward the collection of water. Once the flame hit, the water steamed up and dispersed through the air.
Right. Once I did, a boulder flew past me. Lord Sorak grabbed the boulder with a water whip and threw it back at me. I readied as much flames in my palms, clapped them together, and faced the boulder. Once the boulder was close to me, my palms burst into flames and cut the boulder as it flew past me.
The halves of the boulder fell to the ground with a thud. I kept the flames dancing on my arm to defend myself from the oncoming spikes of ice that Lord Sorak would throw. I thought I looked pretty damn sweet, until Lord Ilidecian got into the fight.
He calmly walked into the battle and came right up to me. I don’t know how the old man did it, he just walked up to me avoiding all the flying rocks and ice spikes. He placed his hand on my forehead, and a sensation quickly spread throughout my body. My sight, my hearing, even my sense of smell went away. I was left frozen on the spot. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t even feel the ground underneath my feet.
Step to the left! Hurry! I hurriedly stepped to the left, my body spared from any pain. Shoot flames in front of you. I did just that, not knowing what would happen. Cahin listed off instructions that I followed to the letter.
Now just stay still! I tried my best to stay still. I felt wind rush past my body. I breathed with relief as I could finally feel at least something. Everything was still dark and silent though. Whatever Lord Ilidecian did, it was at least wearing away just a little bit. I was stiff, and the wind came to a pass. For some reason, my knees wobbled and my legs felt weak. The cheater took the power from your legs!
“Damn it!” I felt myself say. I couldn’t actually hear it.
Just leave the rest to me, okay? I relaxed and let Cahin do whatever he wanted. He started to do something and I felt flames starting to grow on me. I felt them flicker. I couldn’t sense anything else so I focused intensely on the feeling that the fire made. It was warm and soon coated my entire body. I felt myself blink a couple of times. It was still dark, but I just knew that flames were pretty much all I would see if I could. Suddenly, something felt as if it burst inside of me. It didn’t hurt, it just felt warm. I felt a sudden weakness in my legs and I fell to the ground. I felt the rocks scrape against my hands. I never thought I would welcome pain so easily. I felt the warmth that came from flames slowly disappear and I was left with the colder air brush against my back.
The darkness that clouded my eyes slowly dripped away, sounds filled my ears again and the smell of smoke filled my nose. My sight finally came into focus and I looked around the room. None of the spectators were harmed. The Elemental Lords that had fought me on the other hand, had burns on their clothes and skin. Lord Ilidecian was healing Lord Bragor at that moment. I looked at the ground, which still had flames growing off of it. The flames started to wisp away as I looked at the damage I just caused. I pushed myself to my feet and stared at everyone.
“Oops,” I shrugged as I rubbed the back of my neck, which had gotten a little stiff. I looked at the crowd. Some nobles were shaking their heads, and some were nodding with approval. I smiled, relieved that some nobles could actually give approval to me. The Masters talked amongst themselves.
“Very good!” Lord Bragor praised me once his wounds were fully healed.
“That was an excellent display of your power,” Lord Sorak managed to say, even through his wounds and burns.
“How were you able to attack us, even when you had my poison running through your veins?” Lord Ilidecian demanded to know.
“Hunh. Should I tell him?” I asked Cahin.
Nah. That’s no fun. Cahin cackled.
“Fine. Sorry. I can’t tell you,” I said.
“Who did you just speak with?” Lord Ilidecian asked. He got so close to my face, I could count how many wrinkles he had on his face. Well, I could’ve if I knew how to count past ten.
That’s none of your business.
“That’s none of your business,” I said.
“Lord of Fire,” the wheezy man called out to me. All of us looked at the man.
“Y-yes?” I asked.
“It is about the one who will teach you. Are you ready?” The wheezy man asked me.
“No, but you can continue anyway,” I said, trying to make sure that my heart doesn’t pound out of my chest.
“It is a unanimous decision.” The wheezy man paused.
“Yes?” I managed to squeak.
“No one will train you.”