Realms of Destiny
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After a long restful sleep that even he did not expect, Grantig woke up refreshed from the toils of the past two days. His task was far from over and having given himself a three-days deadline to bring the Crown Princess Miraina back, he has only by light’s end to rescue her from whatever Reality Realm she’s been sent to. Sephiron was due to meet him at the Map Keeper’s room, and to his relief, the Sky General was already standing in front of the room, waiting for him.
“Good morning Sky General,” said the Grand Maester. Sephiron replied in kind and they both nodded to one another before Grantig reached out his hands to open the ornate wooden doors of the Map Room.
The room was a lot busier than Sephiron had imagined. He had never visited this room before, though one always knew where it was. It resembled a library of sorts with tomes and scrolls stacked upon rows and rows of shelves. Many magical light lamps floated around to reach the higher shelves but instead of being filled with scholars, the Map room was lively with young Sylrills, no bigger than Byakuron, in white and blue uniforms and a feathered beret.
Navigators are exceptional young Sylrills of schooling age who have been given the permission to work in the Royal Palace, where they can learn about the roles of working Sylrills before they join them. Though they are based in the Royal Palace, Navigators take part in nearly all activities and areas of work in everyday life.
Several would work for the Messengers Association, one or two form a part of each military squadron, and various other industries would have one or two should they need them for whatever reason. Part of the reason why Sephiron had never visited the Map room was because, when he needed to find something, he had always sent the resident Sky Troop’s Navigator.
As the two of them walked through, many young navigators stopped to greet them as they do all officers and lords who travel the corridors of the Royal Palace. It had been a very long while since Grantig himself last served as a Navigator, before any of his fellow guardians were born in fact, but he still remembered where the Map Keeper sat.
He strode through the rows of shelves and made a left turn as he reached halfway. At the end of the room sat the Map Keeper deep among stacks of maps. As the two Guardians made their way to the Keeper’s desk, Sephiron couldn’t help but notice that some young navigators have stopped their busy work to clump together, whispering excitedly while looking at the two of them. Due to their acute sense of hearing, it was of course not beyond Sephiron’s abilities to catch every word of what was being said.
“It’s him! It’s him! Wow, he’s so much more attractive than I thought he would be!” whispered a short-haired female navigator to her friend who held a map in her hand.
“No way! That’s him?” smiled the girl with the map.
“Who would’ve thought the Princess’s very own guardian would come here?” said another.
“My brother’s never gonna believe it when I tell him!” said a young male.
Various young girls have been shooting the two of them smiles and giggles. Who would’ve thought that they were that famous? Sephiron knew that Solarus was known as the attractive one among them, Byakuron was ‘cute’, Grantig was ‘smart’, and he liked to believe that he was the ‘cool’ one. Well, I guess they see me a little better when the pretty boy’s not around. He thought to himself. Grantig didn’t seem to pay much attention to the amount of gossiping going on among the students, walking with purpose to his intended destination.
“He’s my hero.” Sighed a pig-tailed girl with round eye glasses. “To think he once stood right here as a navigator like us.”
Navigator? Sephiron was startled, they weren’t talking about him at all!
“The Grand Maester has both the looks, determination and intelligence! If I make it to the Magus academy I will get to see him every day. Perhaps even study under him!” said a girl with long flowing green hair. “My mother says that the Grand Maester only teaches the nobility, I’m already halfway in.”
“Oh whatever, Athenette, we all know you’re father’s a Lord and all that, but if you spend more time dressing up than studying as you are now, your father’s name can only get you as far as a navigator post.” Said a young boy who, though dressed in the same uniform as the others, seemed just a slight bit unkempt. His shoes didn’t shine as well as the others, and his beret looked as though it was pre-owned.
“At least she’s got more of a chance than you. It’s a wonder how a mongrel like you even made it in here.” Retorted a girl who looked like Anthenette’s sidekick.
“The same way you all did I hope?” said an adult voice which made the group of navigators turn and startle. Sephiron had barely noticed Grantig teleporting right next to the unkempt boy, placing his hand on his shoulder.
“G…G…Grand Maester Shieldfall!” shouted the pig-tailed girl, blushing to the tip of her pointed ears, drawing stares from all the other navigator cadets in the room.
“I’m just here to tell you what this young man here says is right. Your lineage can only get you so far, and only those who devote their passion and effort in the pursuit of what you value most will be able to emerge at the top.” He waved a hand and the boy’s beret looked as good as new. “Many of you will one day become leaders in your chosen field. Sylrillia’s future rests in your hands.” With that he teleported back to where Sephiron was and continued on his way, leaving the young navigators staring dumb-struck at their chance encounter with their most-respected idol.
“I’ve never known you to liked children.” Observed Sephiron, he did not expect Grantig to have paid much attention to the gossips, he seemed so determined on reaching the Map Keeper.
“I’m quite indifferent towards them, but I don’t like class elitism that is all.” Said the Magus. They stopped at last in front of the Map Keeper’s desk. He was an old Sylrill, and by old, he actually looks visibly old to the eye. As Sylrillians age very slowly it was almost impossible for Sephiron to gauge how old this person actually was. “It has been a while Map Keeper, I hope everything’s alright with the family.”
The old man looked up from the map he had been drawing on and realized for the first time the presence of his visitors. “Why if it isn’t Grantig, my boy, it’s been so long!” he cast his eyes up and down the head of Magic and Defence, catching the Grand Maester staff. “Oh, pardon me, I was meant to say Grand Maester Shieldfall.”
“Never mind the formalities Keeper, I’m still the same Grantig that you know.” Said Grantig with a smile.
“I haven’t seen you properly since you left your Navigator post, my…must have been almost two hundred years! You’ve surely grown. I am not surprised.” The last sentence he said gesturing to the staff. “You must tell old Spirios how you’ve been all these years!”
“I would love to catch up with you Keeper Spirios but I have an urgent business to attend to right now, and we need your help. Sky General and I here -- ” he began
“Sky General.” Saluted the old man as Sephiron nodded in acknowledgement. “How may I help you gentlemen then?”
“I need to borrow the map for the Talespirits’ Sanctuary.” Said Grantig. Sephiron was wondering why this was such a big deal. Surely, as the Princess’s guardians or even any ordinary officer, borrowing a piece of paper shouldn’t be any more difficult than borrowing a book from the library. However, it wasn’t that simple.
“Did you not bring a navigator? Surely, some of the youngins here should be able to help you out.” Said the Map Keeper.
“For reasons we cannot tell even you Keeper Spirios, this journey must be made by me and the Sky General alone. We cannot involve any navigators. That is why I have come here personally to request this of you.” Grantig explained. “I hope you understand. Princess’s welfare is at stake.” He added to emphasize the importance of his mission.
“But Grantig, you know the rules of map-keeping. Maps may not leave this room, and only navigators may learn their contents.” Said Spirios. “But you said the Princess…”
“I am aware of the rules, but as I said before, I can’t tell you much more.”
“We don’t have much time sir. We will take full responsibility if anything was to happen to the map.” Interjected Sephiron. He had been standing and letting Grantig do the talking for a while, however, Grantig’s sharp tongue seemed to be asleep today for some reason, or perhaps his respect for this old man and their friendship may have culled his edge.
“Very well then. I think I put it somewhere over there behind the third shelf to your right.” He stood up and led the way. The young navigators looked at them all curiously as it was rather unusual for the Map Keeper himself to be moving about through the shelves. However, at a glare from Sephiron, they all returned to what they were doing previously.
The old man reached the shelf he was looking for and picked up the scroll case that stood at eye-level in front of him. He handed to Grantig to inspect. Grantig removed the piece of paper from its dusty tube and unrolled the parchment. He recognized the map to be what he was looking for and returned it into its case. “If you’ll follow me to my desk, I’d like you to leave your seal with me until you return the map.”
“Seal?“ Sephiron exclaimed a little too loudly. He lowered his volume soon after, “is it really that important?”
“Why, of course…” began the Map Keeper.
“Very well then, you can take mine. “ Said Grantig handing him his symbol of service to the Sylrillian crown. “We shall return this to you tomorrow at the latest. Let us go Sky General.” With a swish of his cloak, the Grand Maester turned around and walked back towards the doors.
When the wooden doors closed behind him, Grantig opened the scroll case once again and produced the map to the Talespirits’ Sanctuary. “It has moved further than I first thought it would.”
“What do you mean moved?” asked Sephiron.
“The enchantment surrounding the Talespirits’ Sanctuary allows the foundation and centre of our entire existence as Sylrills, Angels of Destiny, to constantly change location every 5-10 days for the safety of its operation. Note the numbers in the corner here.” Sephiron looked closely at the map and noted that the numbers, which he initially thought were written in ink, kept counting down to the hundredth of a second. At the moment there were 24 hours left on the counter. “It means that the Sanctuary will remain in this location for the next 24 hours before it changes its location.”
“So that’s why you need the map with you until you return.” Said the half-Ulnorian.
“That’s right. Let us go.” Grantig whispered two words of magic to imbue himself and his fellow Guardian with the powers of the wind to speed up their flight. They approached the nearest exit window, called forth their wings, and took off into the morning light.