Book V Chapter 29: Wide Awake
Laps-du-Ment Grande Ballroom
Kelan felt everything alive around him, and piece by tiny piece, it whittled away at him. The ballroom was utterly teeming with people, and every heart beat in time with his own, every pulse echoing in his ears.
The joy and excitement of the celebration flowed through his being, along with tiny hints of uncertainty, of intimidation, of shyness; none of those emotions were his, but he observed them as they filtered through him.
He felt the earth, beneath the dead wood and stone floor he stood upon; it was slow and cool and crawling, saturated and ailing with poisons invisible to the eye, undetectable by touch or taste or smell.
He felt the tiny miracrystals scattered within it, growing slowly, as slowly as glass flows and as trees turn their leaves towards the sunlight, and he felt their alien energy seeping into the sick land, thick and inky and wretched.
He felt the Fatis Mirajin's energy most of all, like a wave of power coursing through everything here; oozing, soaking into the buildings and the plants and the earth and sky, the partygoers and Elliot and Selarion, dripping from the tiny silver threads of life he so often drew his fingers across.
He felt the energy curving around and away from himself, repelled by the vital shield his magic had created and sustained as if by some instinct of its own; he felt it drawing into [[Nefirian], as though he were a great hole sucking it all in, feeding from it, thriving on it.
And beneath all this, he felt another source, more faint than the Fatis Mirajin, but somehow more prevalent.
But before he could consider the implications of such a thing, before he could gather the nerve to confront Nefirian a second time, he felt Selarion approaching, his gentle, graceful steps falling into time with the beating of his old, noble heart.
"Kelan, what did you say...?"
He wrested his attention away from the thousands of supernatural stimuli vying for his attention, focusing with some effort on the sound of Selarion's voice and his own thoughts and emotions.
"I told him that I'd been murdered by my own son."
Selarion sighed, pressing his hand to his lips. "Confronting Nefirian like this isn't going to accomplish anything but to alienate the two of you further. I know it's difficult, but please, show some restraint."
"... I'm sorry, Selarion. I don't know why I thought this was a good idea, with my temper... but nothing I said to him was untrue."
"That only concerns me more," Selarion said with a little smile. "Why don't you come out to the floor with me, and try to enjoy yourself for a little while? The fellow on the piano is quite good."
"I'd love to, but I'm not certain I can. This place... all the feedback, the mirajin... it frightens me," Kelan admitted. "It frightens me for you, and for Professor Christoph, and for Valenth, itself.
"Chimre is desperately ill, and if this is allowed to spread..."
"You can't spend every waking moment saving the world," Selarion pleaded gently, taking his hand.
"No," Kelan sighed, watching over Selarion's shoulder as Nefirian spoke to a man in an ornate dragon costume. "I suppose I can't."
Next Chapter: Book V Chapter XXX
Category: Book V | Story