The Golden Globes of Light: Part One
As promised in my last essay, whether I wrote it directly or not, I have come to record all the relevant events regarding an adventure I refer to as “The Golden Globes of Light”. It has been nearly two years since this story took place; the length of time is due to distractions of briefer events that followed when my sister, Ky, became an Ambassador for the Citadel. In addition, I was somewhat sulky after being transformed into something other than an Eyrie, so I did not feel like writing. I might have gone on without completing this if it hadn’t been for the confounded hints that my sister kept putting in at the ends of our other stories. As it is, I am now quite relieved to present to you the crowning writing project of our family; The Golden Globes of Light.
“I’m telling you, Shriek, you will never find enough information for that essay of yours unless you look in the Citadel libraries!”
“And I am telling YOU that the Citadel libraries burned to the ground long ago. The library no longer exists!”
“I highly doubt that every single book went up in flames. The books that were left intact must be somewhere. All you have to do is ask where!” Ky finished with a huff. Turning sharply, she stomped over to another table and sat down with two other Shoyrus.
“We aren’t going to get anywhere with the two of you arguing,” Ashiel said crisply as I stuck my tongue out at Ky.
Kassiel sighed, and then clacked his beak in annoyance. I could tell that he was getting bored listening to my sister and me argue. I snorted and lashed my tail. “Help me out here, will you?” I asked exasperatedly.
Kassiel shook his head. “She is your sister, Shriek, not mine. Besides, I think she is right. It would at least give you a reason to go to unusual places on the Citadel,” he said with a smile in his eyes.
I frowned. I had been arguing with my older sister, a Christmas Shoyru named Ky, for nearly an hour. Although quite tiny compared to me, she was definitely the authority figure in the family. Whenever I had difficulty with something, she always acted like she could have done it better many times over. When I decided to join the Eyrie Guard, she warned me that since I was neither painted Darigan nor native to the Citadel, I would not finish with my two best friends, Kassiel and Ashiel.
Kassiel and Ashiel were brothers; Kassiel was a rather large and muscular Darigan Eyrie, and sometimes he was mistaken for Kass. He was almost done with his training, and was eager for me to get painted so I could advance in the training. Ashiel was a slightly smaller and calmer purple Eyrie who was partial to the academics. He had been born on the Citadel, so he did not have to be painted Darigan to complete his training in the Eyrie Guard. However, he had requested his commanding officer to delay his induction until I was ready out of friendship. As for me, I am an enormous red Eyrie with a burning desire to become an Eyrie Guard. Because I was born on Terror Mountain, the only way I can meet the final qualifications and become a full fledged Eyrie Guard is by becoming a Darigan Eyrie. Unfortunately, my family did not have the resources to buy a paintbrush. Instead, we had been saving up over several years to complete the Secret Laboratory Map. We were still left with more than half of the map to buy, and the delay was very taxing on Ashiel’s patience. Until I was zapped into a Darigan Eyrie, he would have to wait. Waiting was not one of his strong suits, and it was not one of my sister’s, either.
I was about to go over to Ky’s table when she suddenly became very excited. She zipped back over to me and began to wave her arms about in excitement. “Lilly says that she can help! You see, the Citadel is working out trade agreements with Shenkuu, and one of the key areas of interest is Citadel recipes. Lilly is an official representative of this particular tea house, and she will be going to the Citadel as soon as she can find enough helpers to search through the books that were part of the Citadel library. It all fits in!”
I stared at her. This sounded like one of her crazy ideas of an adventure that she used to perpetually force onto friends and family. While multiple rejections had cooled her passion for adventure to a reasonable level, she still possessed a slightly overactive imagination. “Who is Lilly’s contact on the Citadel, and how many helpers does she need?” I asked sharply.
“She only needs five helpers. Alex and I have already agreed to help out,” Ky said with a smile.
Ashiel raised an eyebrow. “If Shriek joins, there would still be a need for two more helpers.”
“I thought you might want to come with us,” Ky said with a hint of surprise in her voice.
I sighed and covered my face with my hands. “That still doesn’t explain how Lilly got permission in the first place. For all I know, you are making this up, and as soon as the Council finds out, we will land ourselves permanently playing Cellblock,” I moaned.
Ky was not amused. “For Maraqua’s sake,” she snapped, “I hadn’t considered you this clueless, but it seems I was wrong. Celestial is part of the Citadel Council, don’t you remember?!”
“What?!” I squawked. Celestial was a Darigan Draik that frequently visited the very same building we were arguing in, a wonderful place called “The Shenkuu Tea House”. She was close friends with a great deal of the staff and regulars, including Lilly and Ky, respectively. Ky and Lilly were the best of buddies, and it was nearly impossible for visitors who did not come regularly to know that Ky was not part of the staff. Sometimes she even served the food when the tables got crowded on the evening of a huge Yooyuball match. If the Citadel was trading with Shenkuu and Celestial was part of the Citadel Council, it was only natural that The Shenkuu Tea House (or TSTH as the familiars affectionately called it) be chosen as the instrument of negotiation. In turn, it was only natural that Lilly be chosen as the representative of TSTH. Lilly, an Electric Shoyru, had (pardon the pun, but my time spent with the R00ligans has rubbed this habit onto me) a rather magnetic personality. She was always quick to smile and a very efficient member of the staff, and everyone enjoyed her company. Ky and Lilly were the best of friends, so if Lilly had need for helpers, Ky would be the first one she would turn to. Ky, as usual, would get overexcited and enlist me and my friends to help. I had to agree that the logic made sense, but I was still not satisfied.
“Shriek. Shriek. SHRIEK, ARE YOU THERE?!” Ky yelled. I jerked out of my thoughts and glared at her.
Ashiel tried to hide a smile, and gave a slight cough. “Oh, don’t worry about it, Shriek. We’ll help out. It will give us something to do, anyway.”
Kassiel snorted. “Yeah, ever since we nearly got ourselves imprisoned for playing hide-and-seek in the Citadel dungeons, there has been nothing to do...” Suddenly he stiffened. “Wait a second... Did you say Alex?” He frowned.
“Yes, Alex is coming with us,” Ky declared, folding her arms. “Is something troubling you?”
Kassiel shook his head uneasily. “No, not exactly... It is just that... you know... I kinda look like a former dictator,” he said flatly. “Meridell knights don’t exactly like my company.”
I could see his point. Kassiel looked very similar to Lord Kass, and the fact that Lord Draconis Darigan had returned from the grave caused many pets, Meridell or otherwise, to think the same had been accomplished by Kass. Meridell knights in particular had no benevolent feelings toward the former ruler, so Kassiel tried to avoid them if he could.
“Alex is different. She has been to TSTH, and she knows you. Besides, this has nothing to do with Meridell and the Citadel. This is about Shenkuu and the Citadel. Are you coming or not?” Ky finished impatiently.
Kassiel gave me a side glance and I could tell he wanted to sigh. Turning back to my sister, he nodded his head in concession. “Yes, I guess we are coming. When are we going?”
“Lilly just contacted Celestial. We leave for the Citadel tomorrow morning,” Ky said happily. Her mood had greatly improved, but this only made me feel worse; whenever Ky was excited like this, bad things tended to happen.
When Alex joined us in Meridell the next day clad in full gear, I should have realized that this entire idea would turn out more complicated than it appeared. Although she was not carrying her sword, she still looked fierce in her armor. The emblem of the knights, a red and blue shield, was strapped proudly to her back. Besides her gear and the amused look in her eyes, she appeared to be an otherwise completely normal red Shoyru. Kassiel appeared very uncomfortable, but Ashiel seemed fascinated. “Why aren’t you wearing chain mail? Leather isn’t quite fitting with the theme of ‘knight’!” he said in astonishment.
Alex laughed. “Oh, this? All aerial fighters wear leather armor. Chain mail is extremely heavy and not very useful if you are flying, because you can’t move as quickly.”
Lilly cleared her throat, and we all turned to see what she wanted. When she had our attention, she smiled and began to instruct us. “The official reason we are visiting the Citadel libraries is to find recipes that could be used as leverage for trade. In essence, we are looking for cookbooks. However, if you happen to find books containing Citadel history, it is perfectly acceptable to record whatever information you find useful. There are a few ground rules I would like to make clear,” she noted as her eyes swung in my direction. “I have requested Celestial to ask Master Vex to accompany us-”
“WHAT?!” Ashiel, Kassiel, and I shrieked in unison. Ky glared at me, but Lilly appeared unfazed.
“As I was saying, I have requested Celestial to ask Master Vex to accompany us to the libraries so they can aid us when necessary. I expect the three of you to behave yourselves,” she finished flatly. I shuddered. It felt as if something cold had passed by. Lilly frowned. “Is something wrong?”
“Nothing,” I lied. “Nothing at all!” When Ky narrowed her eyes, I knew I had better think of something to say before she started getting ideas. “Actually,” I said as casually as I could, “I was wondering why you requested Master Vex.”
This wasn’t a total falsehood, so Lilly believed that was what had worried me. She smiled. “Celestial has told me about his repeated complaints that he never gets enough vacation time. I expect he will be relieved to be out of the dungeons for a while.” Then she turned to Alex. “You,” she said sternly, “WILL NOT aggravate our hosts. This trade will be greatly profitable for all parties included. I didn’t tell them who I was bringing with me, so they don’t know that they will be sponsoring a Meridell knight.”
“Then why did you accept my offer in the first place?” Alex said with a huff. It was obvious that she wasn’t pleased that Lilly had made an effort to remind her of the delicate situation.
“I thought that your help might be useful. Also,” Lilly retorted with a sly smile, “Ky told me you had never seen the Citadel up close. She thought it might be an enlightening experience.”
Alex glared at Ky, who seemed highly amused. That is, until Lilly focused the spotlight on her instead.
“As for YOU, Ky,” she said with an unbelievably straight face, “I have been repeatedly warned of your habit of making everything into some wild adventure. We are not going to the Citadel to play or to tell stories. We are going there to do some work.” Ky looked flabbergasted and started to protest. Lilly just talked over her. “I am aware that you have greatly improved your skill of self control, but a library is a bit too tempting. I don’t want you leaving my sight.” The look of bewilderment on my sister’s face made me wish I could have a painting of the scene, it was so amusing. Lilly ignored her sputtering protests, and we set off into the sky.
We arrived at the Darigan Citadel about fifteen minutes later. Alex received a few confused looks from the locals, but the sight of Kassiel reassured them and they didn’t hamper our passage. Since Ashiel, Kassiel, and I were the most acquainted with the Citadel, Lilly asked one of us to lead the way to Darigan’s Chambers. I was volunteered without my consent, and I grudgingly took the head of the line and marched to the Chambers. I knew why I had been chosen; for some odd reason, Master Vex thought I was in charge of Kassiel and Ashiel because I was the biggest, and when we got in trouble, he always released most of his fury on me. As soon as I knocked on the Chamber doors, I knew that they had done this on purpose.
Sure enough, when the doors flung open, they nearly smashed me in the face. I only avoided them by running right into the one pet on the Citadel who knew me by name, Master Vex. I could have melted in shame and fury. “What in the name of the Founders?!” Vex snapped. “Of all the Eyries to come knocking, why did it have to be you? We are expecting an embassy from Shenkuu any minute now!”
Ky was having trouble breathing, she was shaking so hard in silent laughter. Alex seemed baffled at the Mynci’s reaction. Kassiel and Ashiel were grinning shamelessly at one another, and I felt enraged. Luckily, Lilly chose that moment to step forward. She gave a slight bow and said, “I apologize, Master Vex. I did not realize they would be troublesome.”
As soon as I saw the reaction on the warden’s face, I understood that there were many levels to Lilly’s reasoning. She told Ky to come along because she knew Ky would enlist myself and my two best friends. Then, she deliberately requested for Master Vex to see his reaction when he set eyes on me and his reaction when he learned I was part of her group. Ky definitely knew about what would happen, because she had only proceeded to laugh so hard that she was in physical pain from the stress on her muscles and the lack of air. While Lilly was explaining the situation to Master Vex, I went over to my sister and nudged her. I didn’t think it was that funny. However, when I saw the look on her face, I became alarmed. She wasn’t laughing anymore, but she was still gasping for breath. The look on her face was one of pure terror. I felt the shiver run up my back again, and I became alarmed myself. I helped her up, and she gradually recovered. She looked exhausted. “Are you alright?” I asked softly.
Ky shook her head and stared into the distance. “I don’t know,” she muttered quietly.
Before I could respond, Celestial appeared out of nowhere. Literally out of nowhere; she teleported onto the scene like some sort of faerie. She was full of excitement. “Are we all ready to go?” she said briskly.
Lilly nodded. “Yes, we are all here and ready to search in the library,” she said with a wry grin in my direction. I blushed heavily, but since I am a red Eyrie, no one noticed.
“Alright! Off we go!” Celestial grinned as she whisked down the hallway. Glancing over at Ky, I could tell that she was beginning to have doubts as well.
To be continued...