Champions of Serenity: Requiem for a Hero
“What do you mean we aren’t going to do anything right now?! We can’t just let this go without acting on it?” Shrina stormed as she paced in the central cave. True night had fallen and the Circle was finally home, discussing the battle. Her golden brown braids swished with her motions. Everyone but Shrina had changed from their battle stained clothing to more comfortable outfits.
Tris knew Shrina was as upset about losing the essence of Handsome as she was, so allowed her to vent her emotions. “And what do you want to do, Shrelannasha? Go into Sandeenai and kill every child who might be Handsome’s? We don’t even know if it’s male or female. And I’m not going to be known as the Demon who kills children. We can afford to not worry about that right now.” Tris sighed and sat down by Airidon.
Airidon wrapped his arm around his mate, silently assuring her that he would deal with the Siblen. “Shrina, we have more important things to worry about right now. Sandeenai is without a leader, of any kind. Civil wars and racial killings will begin with a vengeance. We must put a cap on that before we can worry about a child that may never grow up. I won’t have Tris upset more by worrying about an unknown child.” His voice was reasonable, though all could feel his annoyance at the woman.
“So what’s our next move, Tris?” Meckin asked as he stirred the fire. He and Jehro had started a stew for dinner, and he didn’t want it to burn. Fini, the normal cook, was helping dress a slice in Tyra’s shoulder from her encounter with the skeletons.
Meckin’s eyes were still haunted from facing the gonzoc in his ancestral home, and having to watch the total destruction of it as they had left. As a people, his had suffered the most under Handsome’s tyranny. “We organize some kind of order. And then we lead the world into peace. But first, I suggest eating and sleeping. Tomorrow is soon enough to deal with the future.” Tris stood and with a worried sigh, left the cave.
The crisp autumn air helped calm Tris as she walked through the forest, now the Circle’s home, wondering exactly how to bring order to the world. “It isn’t like I have experience in ruling a world. But then I hadn’t had experience leading a band of heroes either, and I had been doing alright so far. But does that give me the right to decided how a whole world is to live?” Tris thought as she wandered the familiar paths she had known her whole life.
When she finally decided she had no idea how to proceed, Tris found herself in Drianne’s glade. The Dryad was awake and waiting for Tris, bursting with news and wanting to celebrate the end of Greshinea. Tris sat at her feet, without saying anything. The silence filled the glade for a while and then Drianne’s musical voice softly started a conversation.
“Greenbough has brought the other Dryads back. He sends his personal thanks and says, job well done. What’s your next step, Tris?”
Tris didn’t say anything, just continued to sit with her head hanging between her knees. A gray shadow slipped into the glade and sat down in front of Tris. “With the posture, she either doesn’t know or isn’t sure of herself. Which is it?” Tris glanced up and shrugged at Noshtra, then let her head sag again.
“I’d say it was a little of both. I think she has a few ideas about what needs to be done. But isn’t sure she has the right to decide such things for a whole world. Maybe she doesn’t understand it’s part of the job. Once you take command, you must follow through, until the matter is totally resolved. She told the people of Sandeenai she’d give them freedom. They aren’t free yet, so they’re waiting for her to finish her job. They can move on from there,” Drianne told Noshtra as if Tris wasn’t there. Tris didn’t mind, so far they hadn’t said anything she didn’t already know.
“True, they can, if they have the right kind of direction to begin with. But will she see it in time to act on it? And if not, then what do we do?” the she-wolf replied conversationally. She lay down and placed her head on her paws. On that level, Tris could see her luminous yellow-green eyes. Noshtra tried to catch Tris’s eyes, so Tris closed her eyes. “But what do we do about her stubbornness? You know when she gets an idea in her mind it takes a major shakeup to bring her around to the truth of things.”
“I’d kindly appreciate it if you would stop talking about me as if I weren’t here. I already know I have a responsibility to Sandeenai and her people. I know I have to come up with a way to get all the different races working together so a repeat of what happened can’t happen again. And I don’t think I’m being too stubborn to listen to helpful and useful suggestions. Thank you very much for treating me like a child just out of diapers.” Tris stood and stormed from the glade.
Noshtra and Drianne looked at each other in confusion. This wasn’t like the Tris they both knew and helped raise. Before they could say anything, Jehro entered the glade. “Is Tris here?” He asked.
“She was,” Noshtra answered. “You just missed her. I wouldn’t recommend going after her right now. She seemed a little upset and wasn’t very talkative at the moment. Is there a problem?”
Jehro shook his head. “Not with the rest of us, just Tris. I was worried she was going to try something stupid because of what Shrina was ranting.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that, Jehro.” Drianne said with a small chuckle. “I would be more worried that she might decide to go on a hunting trip for a few days to clear her mind and then forget what she was clearing it for.” Jehro nodded his thanks and returned to the cave to see if anyone else had located their missing leader.
The night closed around Tris as she stalked off from yet another place she considered a haven, cooling off her temper. Ever since she watched the others battle without her, she felt like she had betrayed them. “Yet how was I to do things differently. Serenity herself told me it was meant to happen just as it did.” Tris told herself as she walked deeper into the forest. But she still couldn’t help feeling she had failed in some vital way, just as Airidon had when they all thought Meckin had died. Maybe if she had remembered before the attack she could have gotten the information from Handsome before Shrelannasha had killed him.
Midnight found Tris in the glade where her parents had first met, and where Airidon and she had celebrated spring. It was dark now, but she could still smell the heavy scent of fall’s flowers and hear the bubbling of the spring. She sat at the base of a tree and looked into the night, hoping to find some answers in the stars.
“Leader Tris, do you want to talk about it? The others are pretty worried about you. Jehro told us you’re in a great deal of emotional distress.” The Shadow walked to where Tris was sitting and joined her in the damp grass. “Before you ask, I used my talent with shadows. At night, there isn’t any place I can’t go.”
Sighing softly, she leaned against his shoulder and he put his arm around her. Tris still hadn’t said anything, just letting the darkness and silence surround them, feeling the peace of the night. When Tris felt Korol shiver, she lifted her head. “Thank you, Korolwyn. I needed someone to hold me and let me think things through, and you were there. I tried Drianne, but she and Noshtra got on some kind of kick, thinking I needed to be advised.”
“And did you?” His voice was as soft as the shadows in the growing coldness of the night. Tris scowled and used a little magic to summon a heavy cloak for the Shadow, which he gratefully threw over their shoulders.
Tris shook her head in answer to his question, and once again silence descended. The night insects sang their songs as the stars studded the black sky with pinpoints of light.
Stretching and looking up, Tris saw the sky beginning to lighten and giggled. “Airidon will think you and I had an affair. No, Korolwyn, I didn’t need advice. I’ve had the answers the whole time; I just needed to slow down enough to let them come. I know what we’re going to do next. Let’s get back and see who’s waiting up for us?” Tris let Korol help her to her feet and gave him a smile that only he could see the darkness. Then with a gathering of magic, Korol brought both of them to the cave.
Serenity smiled at the pool near her gazebo. When she had first chosen who her champions would be she knew it was impossible and could easily fail if they couldn’t figure out how to work together. Like Trisinda, she felt a little irritation at Noshtra and Drianne for trying to advise Trisinda. Trisinda was the leader for a reason, she had the answers if she could just be given the time to figure it out. Well, Debra had more of the answers but because they were part of a whole, it still worked out.
It did amaze Serenity that Debra was both the stronger and the weaker of the two leaders. Those from Earth seemed to thrive on conflict and overcoming their weaknesses. It was difficult to not make things just a little easier for Debra and through her, Trisinda. But that wasn’t how the rules said it had to be. Order demanded a certain rigidity and compassion wasn’t always part of that equation. Debra had to struggle on her own and stumble into her strengths and Serenity was trying to be as patient as possible to allow Debra and Trisinda to do just that.
It was always easier when the champions helped each other, as Korolwyn had helped Trisinda. Serenity couldn’t always do for her champions as she wanted because of the rules of order and balance. She felt better when the help and answers came from the others, as it had tonight. She went back to her work of putting order to the chaos of creation, the charge she was given by the Supreme Creator.