Essence of Mercy by Trenton Morrison

Part 1
Black and White

Caia sat, content for the moment. She was in a bay on the upper half of Polren, open to
the Lerene Ocean. The sun reflected the glistening ocean into her eyes. It was annoying, but she had grown use to all of the peculiarities of the sea, including the cold wind, and salty scent. Around her workers bustled, removing boxes from boats going about their daily routine, and so was Caia. Polren was a peaceful country. The Assassin’s Empire hadn’t needed to conquer Polren, it had surrendered. Caia was mad, but she hid it well. Most of the time.

She waited for the boy to show up, rubbing her fingers along a blue cube. Like a dice,
but no signs on the faces. It was transparent near the edges, and misty blue in the center. Her eyes should be light brown. The boy approached, Caia smiled, she tucked the small cube into her jacket. “Hello Caia.”

“Hello, Ethan.” Caia said remembering his name. She studied him, his eyes were light
blue, relaxed and confident, annoying. “You’re here to tell me about SK?”

“Yes.” He said taking a seat. “We found out what you were doing a month back, and
have become impressed over time. My leaders would like to meet with you, to discuss
possibilities of you joining SK.”

“Can’t you just tell me what SK means?”

“If you come and meet with my superiors, then we will tell you. We applaud your actions
in making more and more people aware of the war, but SK fears it’s not enough.” Ethan said, taking a sip of lemonade brought by a waitress with brown eyes.

“What more can I do, start setting whole towns on fire?” She hesitated, then made a
connection that had been nagging her all day. “You have your own magic don’t you?” his

“Yes, SK has the ability to access essense.” Ethan responded.

“Embers!” Caia cursed under her breath. “I thought I was the only one who had
discovered this!”

“Far from that. SK wasn’t even the first to discover it, the time for ‘firsts’ is long gone.”
Ethan said. “Anyway we would like to have you meet with the leaders of SK tomorrow, which will give you tonight to do as you please. They want to help you, not just recruit you.”

“Okay, I’ll meet with them.” Caia said, something wasn’t right, like there was something
in the air.

“Tomorrow, I will find you, don’t worry yourself looking for us. We will find you, when we are ready.” Ethan stood and left. Caia remained silent. When he left, Caia stood stretching, the sun still stared her in the face.

“Hats for sale, hats for sale!” The voice screeched out over the bustling. A lady was
walking down the dock, with a wagon filled with hats. She spotted Caia watching her.
“Would you like a hat young lady.”

Burn the convenience of hat wagons! burn all of them! Caia cursed in her head, bringing
out some coins, she hated wasting money

When dinner rolled around Caia was sitting in a Cafe, with a good look of the harbor.
That was probably half the reason they charged so much. Caia wore a hat with a wide brim that put her face in shadow. A servant approached wearing black and white. Caia looked at him curious.

“Why black and white?” She asked him.

“Excuse me Miss?” His eyes were grey, he was peaceful.

“Why do people think of black and white as nice.” Surprisingly he had an answer, and
not a bad one either.

“Black and White are opposites, just like night and day, we wear them to signify equality.
we have to be equal to all, to understand each other.” He said.

“Why does it matter if we understand each other?”

“We might act in haste, if we don’t understand the intentions of others, and regret past
actions and experiences.”

“And if the other people are actually wrong, and nothing can justify them.”

“Then the idea of black and white vanishes, and the situation falls into the hands of
judgement or mercy.” He said, finally depositing her meal. He left her thinking one thought. I am judgment, not black and white, but color, something with life, I will make them listen to me. I will make them regret their choices!

Anger rose in her, but she kept it down, tonight she would release it.

When the Assassin Empire started, they attacked Polren first, due to the proximity.
Polren surrendered early on allowing the empire to replace their laws. They strangely let Polren keep their leaders. The leaders had in turn, given the Assassin Empire a better view of the land.

They gave maps that lead to possible resistance strongholds, and committed men to their army. The Assassin Empire captured the west in a single year, with the help of these maps, and were currently reaching their tendrils of command into the east. Thousands were slaughtered as they swept the continent.

None of that would have been possible if Polren hadn’t surrendered, and given them the
maps, and more fighting men. Thanks to their contributions Polren was mostly free from their control, their concentration was in the East, on the front line.

Caia had only been a child. A child holding a stuffed lion ready to fight the bad men,
standing over the body of a father. A child with eyes of black. Caia felt her eyes turning black, that trait about people in Polren was useful, you could read people’s emotions in their eyes.

She forced those thoughts down, and felt the darkness retreat giving way to light brown:
content. She finished her meal of fish, which left a savory taste in her mouth. Then left the cafe. She didn’t return to her rooms.

Her eyes were red. Caia held the small white cube, then carelessly, tossed it to the side.
The road was busy, and nobody noticed the movement, it was night, and the sky hid the eyes of the people below. Caia jumped, and a crack sounded through the air. She had learned how soon the cube would be stepped on in a busy roadway, spreading ice over everything nearby.

Ice shot out under her, it squeezed in between the stones expanding, cracking. It
climbed over the well in the intersection, it swept the intersection growing like crystal.

This all happened in a second.

The result was unnatural. Ice blanketed everything, it clogged the intersection freezing
people to the ground. Caia landed softly on the ice, and people yelled, their eyes probably bright pink. Caia pulled down her hat as people yelled for help. She threw a handful of sheets of paper into the air, they drifted across the square, and Caia left. She froze five intersections that night, dropping more and more papers each time. This had worked, more people in the city were noticing the papers and joining the resistance. She had written the papers, and knew what they read by memory. Of course they were illegal.

It explained how the world was slowly being overtaken by the Assassin Empire, and how
men, women, and children were being slaughtered by the empire. It blamed Polren for the murderers. It also said that even Polren was a servant to the Assassin’s Empire. If Polren fought though, they could help fight the empire’s lands from all sides. Polren could wipe the world clean of the evil it had released.

She usually attacked control buildings for the Assassin Empire, weakening their control
in the city. Over time that grew tedious, and they had almost captured her.

Caia only felt a sliver of guilt for freezing, it couldn’t hurt them, but it was cold. That guilt
quickly vanished, as memories arose, stirring the currents of her mind. A little girl being carried away from her home, her eyes glowing black, screaming and fighting all she was worth, before being tossed into a cage with dozens of other children.

Caia returned to her rooms when the deed was done. She fell asleep still wearing the
button up shirt, calf high trousers, and boots she had been out with.

Part 2
Skryline

Caia awoke to warmth. The sun always warmed her room nicely in the mornings. She
stood straightening her shirt, adjusting her trousers and boots, before pulling on her gloves.

Then jacket and hat. The black jacket didn’t have sleeves, it was long almost touching the floor.

The black gloves were just a habit that hadn’t been broken by the harbor. The hat she had wasted money on yesterday actually fit her outfit quite nicely. If she had a pistol, she would look like a policeman.

She pulled on a brown satchel, and filled it with her one other set of clothes. Her more
precious belongings went in a pouch attached to her belt.

SK would be recruiting her today, and she intended to join. From what Ethan had hinted
at in the past, they would provide her with a new shelter.

She left the room, and started wandering the streets waiting for Ethan to approach her.

She wandered for half an hour, before giving in and buying breakfast. She sat at a table on the docks, munching the warm, doughy, and sweet roll. People with brown eyes walked around doing daily chores. She finished her rolls, and as soon as she stood, Ethan appeared. He wore black baggy clothes, that had wraps around the shins and forearms.
“It is time to meet with SK.” He said walking away, Caia ran to keep up. She noticed him
staying to the docks, she had been thinking they were to meet someone somewhere in the city.

His baggy clothes were strange, bunching up around the forearms. He led her to three big black boats, they dominated the harbor, majestic and long. People wearing similar baggy clothes climbed the rigging and walked the deck. A man wearing a crown directed them. He had on gold sashes, but the forearm sashes seemed to be stained red. Before she could ask, Ethan placed a hand on her back, and pushed her onto the thin board connecting the boat to the harbor. She
slowly climbed up onto the deck. Before she could say anything, air tightened around her.
Her arms, snapped to the side of her body, her legs slapped together. Caia fell forward,
but a big man in black caught her. They put a bag around her head, and she lost sense of
everything. Caia floated in the air. She didn’t sense herself moving, so when the bag was
removed a few minutes later, she was surprised to find herself under the deck in a kind of meeting room. The force holding her deposited her in a chair, the meeting consisted of three people. The King with his elegant crown, the Queen wearing a silver more subdued crown, and Ethan. They sat across from her on a round table. The king was the first to speak.

“I sincerely hope we didn’t frighten you up above, but it was necessary, you were being
watched.”

“What does SK mean, and how do you control the air?” Caia asked, she felt terrified,
something was wrong, it was in the air.

“We can teach you how to use magic as we do, that we will be happy to do, our name is
Skryline.” The King said looking at Caia across the table. Skryline, it wasn’t Polren, it was
something farthur east. Caia knew its basic definition: the point of no return.

“Caia, if it is okay with you, we would like you to join us, you obviously have Skryline
blood, and we would appreciate a new member.” The King told her, it sounded more like a command. The King appeared to be more friendly with his possible employees than she
expected. She had been anticipating a meeting with his scribes or something.

“Why are you recruiting me yourself, isn’t this job too lowly for a king.” Caia winced at the bluntness.

“It has been two years since we found another person with Skryline blood. I am doing
this to show that I care about all of my followers, and that all of them are valued.”

“Why should I join you?” Caia asked them, curious how they would respond.

“Let’s be honest Caia, your life was dedicated to the Violence Awareness Movement as
soon as you stepped foot in Polren. You didn’t come here with dreams of peace and equality, you came here with intentions to change things. Skryline is the next step to stop the empire and avenge any lost family.” He watched her this last part, and noticed her look away.

“Yes Caia, we are all scarred, we all have been treated wrongly by the Assassin Empire,
we intend to stop it. If you join us, you will gain the abilities to make people cower in mercy before you, you will become Judgement, unrestricted and raw. You can punish all those that have wronged you. Once you have finished helping us exterminate the Empire, you may move among the earth as you want, we would not seek you out again. You will have gained Godly powers and riches, and be free of guilt and responsibility.” He hesitated letting this last part hang in the air. He sounded vengeful, and his eyes were red. Did Caia want riches, no, but if she had power she could save people. She could
actually make a difference. Yes, Caia just wanted to be able to make a difference in people’s lives, she wanted to be able to stop people who wished to destroy.

Caia nodded. “I would be honored to join you, I wish to make a difference.”

“You will be able to change the earth Caia, thank you.” The King said, a grin spreading
across his face.

Caia was being held down by two men. She was a little nervous, but the king told her
this was necessary to access the magic. She was on the deck, they had just left harbor. They had to get out of people’s sight before doing this, it might make them weary. Caia had nodded
with nervousness, but then the sailors had told her of when they had gotten their cuts. Their
stories and laughable nature had relaxed her, but now staring down the shining knife, that a
man in red unsheathed, it fled her. Woman waited at the side to bind the cuts, she would be
fine.
“Continue.” She said through gritted teeth. The man in red nodded to her in respect.
Then, moving with blinding speed he reached forward and cut a deep, long, straight, cut,
running down her exposed forearm. Then with another blinding swipe, her other arm had an identical cut. They immediately started to bind them.

Caia felt the pain coming, like the moment before a wave crashed down on you. It hit
and she gasped, her eyes widened stretching her eye lids. Caia’s body started to spasm, her hands, which had been gripping wooden beams seized up so tight, she thought she would never be able to remove it. A fire passed through her brain seizing any moment of peace and turning to chaos, it was followed by unconsciousness.

Embers! Embers that stung, like a thousand different versions of agony were fighting for
space on her arms. She smelled the sea air, breath slowly. The salt in the air comforted her, and her arms soon fell pleasantly numb. She opened her eyes, the boat never rocked, she realized that with a start. She had been on boats, they were always struggling against the ocean’s currents, but Skryline just glided smoothly. She sat up, her arms were far from recovered, but at least they were numb. She swung out of bed, and found that she was in a private room, with a closet, bed, and night table.

She walked over to the closet and looked inside, it had three sets of black baggy
clothing. She changed into one, glad to rid herself of the button up shirt, and black coat, she kept her hat on though. It didn’t suit the outfit, but she didn’t care much. Caia found her way up onto the dock, it was serene.

There was no gurgling of water, no shouts of men, or shaking of ropes, only quiet contained conversation and some laughter. Tables had been set up all around the deck. Men and women sat on these, playing games, drinking, or talking. Caia spotted the King, Ethan, the Queen, and a tall light haired boy conversing on the bow, the front raised part of the ship. Caia approached, their’s was the only table up on the bow, and nobody was approaching. They had food, and Caia found she was hungry enough to interrupt whatever was going on

She climbed the steps nobody tried to stop her. When the King spotted her, he smiled,
and waved her to a seat across the table from him, it was next to the desserts, fine by her. She sat down next to the Queen who had long brown hair, her current eye color was brown: familiar.

Caia checked on her own eye color on a polished steel bowl that Ethan handed her, it was blue, marking her as happy, well, better than yellow. She filled her bowl with grapes and orange slices.

“Would you like to begin your training when you are finished eating?” The King asked.

“Why not now?” Caia asked impatiently.

“I guess Ethan can inform you about how it works while you are eating.” The King
nodded to Ethan, who traded spots with the tall boy so he could sit next to Caia. His first
question came fast.

“From what you might have gained from observation, what do you expect the magic can
do?” He took a bite of an apple. Caia popped a grape into her mouth.

“Well, it is obviously able to move either the wind or water, maybe both how else would
we be moving so fast.” Caia ate two more grapes

“How do you know we are moving?” Ethan asked.

“We make a small wake behind us at our passing.” Caia had spotted it when she had
climbed up onto deck.

“Fair enough.” He nodded. “Have any clue about how the King is doing it?” He asked,

Caia turned and inspected the King. His clothing was clean, he didn’t look like he was straining or anything. Her eye caught something, so small, it look liked a gold dust was rising from his forearm bandages. As she watched she caught sight of more golden tendrils of light rising from his arms. It was only visible because the gold stuck out against the black.

“A gold light is coming from the cuts, he is doing something with the cuts.” Caia told
Ethan.

“Right, You saw those gold specks of light, that is called the Essence of Everything. We,
as people with Skryline blood can make our blood turn into the Essence, which in turn can do one of two things. Tell me what they are.” Caia glared at him, he was some teacher.

“Manipulating air, and manipulating water.” Caia guessed. He raised his eyebrows.

“Well, you caught onto the manipulating part. We can change the temperature, state,
and movements of the elements. We don’t produce more of it, or change it into something else, we just change its state. I don’t expect you to know the second one.” He admitted. “It is called a Wave. It is a wave of Essence, that conveys a feeling.”

“Like peace, or chaos?” She asked, shoveling down an orange slice.

“Yes, waves are hard to produce, and you need a large group of people focused on the
same thought to release one, but they are effective. Since waves are too dangerous and
demanding, we will start practicing with manipulating. Are you done?” He asked.

Caia looked around the table, then grabbed a small sandwich. “Yep.”

Ethan led her to the opposite side of the boat, and up steps. They were on the platform
that the wheel occupied. No one was sitting up here. He walked to the side and reached into a box, tossing her a cushion, and taking out a jug of something and a wine glass. He gestured for her to sit on the ground, she settled on the soft plush cushion, and Ethan placed a wine glass in front of her, he poured water into the cup. It sloshed from side to side.

“I told you the basics. The first step is getting the essence to come out of you, the
second is seeing everything as the same, the rest will be easy. Your goal is to keep the water from spilling from the cup, in about a minute the wind is going to pick up.”

Caia shook her head. Then tried feeling for her essense, he said essence was blood.
So… Caia closed her eyes, holding out her forearms. She felt something… gold in her blood, like her blood knew it was always worth more. It could be so much more. Caia let her blood evaporate. It rose out of her forearms in gold light so precious, so much potential, it could be anything. Caia opened her eyes, and saw the world from the eyes of the Essence of Everything, she saw it all. The water in the cup was beginning to slosh, Caia saw the water as the same thing as the essence except the essence could change the state of the water. Caia willed her essence to enter the water, once she had her tendrils of essence, in the cup, she stilled it with a thought.

The ship began to rock unsteadily. Caia in turn easily kept the cup from spilling. She
watched in eagerness, it was beautiful, so beautiful, but she could do so much more. Caia
narrowed her eyes, the essence that was pooling in the cup straightened, then dissolved into the water.

With a crack of gold light, the water in the cup froze. Expanding out of the goblet, cracks
spread, but it didn’t break, Caia was somehow doing both at once. Holding together the cup, and freezing the water.

Caia relaxed back with a satisfied smile, she made her blood stop turning into essence.
She did feel a little light headed. She looked up to Ethan, who was reading.

“Hey Ethan, I am done.” Caia called to him, he answered without looking up.

“Has the ship stopped rocking.”

“Has your brain stopped being stupid?” Caia asked, this earned her a glance from Ethan,
whose eyes widened at the cup frozen the deck. Caia smiled, Ethan dropped his novel to the deck, than said something unintelligible to Caia. The King heard it, and looked up across the boat at the two of them.

“Do it again.” Ethan told her placing the whole jug of water in front of her, Caia looked at
it then her essence dissolved into the water making it freeze. To her it happened slowly, the essence dissolving into the bottle. The cracks and ice spreading slowly, but she blinked and a crack split the air again. The bottle had exploded, a chunk of ice was frozen to the deck. Ethan pulled her to her feet, as the King joined them. They led her to the short wall at the back of the boat.

The sea spread out before her, a beautiful expanse of blue water, the sky was clear, and
the salty air stung her nostrils.

“Freeze as much of the water as you can.” The King told her.

Caia smiled, breathing in the cold wind.

The air, the water, the boat, even the humans, were all one. Caia opened her eyes, and
let essense escape through her cuts it flooded out dissolving into the ocean. Time seemed to freeze as she poured as much essence as she dare. When she blinked, and time seemed to snap back into place. A sound like thunder hit her, and she was thrown back. A cold wind washed over her. The boat rocked precariously, but stilled at a raised hand from the King.

Caia scrambled to her feet, and rushed to the edge, ice spread out, not to the horizon,
but it glittered in the distance, encompassing a mile at least. The ocean was disrupted by the sudden growth of water. The waves made glittering sharp ridges in the distance. Caia smiled, slumping to the deck.

“There is a danger of loosing too much blood isn’t there?” Caia asked drunkenly, she
was sooooo tired. Her arms drooped, and her skin looked pale.

“Yes, it is something we must be aware of as we practice this art.” The King said, in awe
of the ice, his eyes were dark blue. Caia knew her eyes were yellow, this was something new. Sailors rushed up and looked over the side, they said the same phrase that Ethan had spoken to get the king’s attention.

“Fulo-krelo-si.”

“What’s it mean.” Caia asked.

“God of change, God of power, God of fates.” One of the sailors said.

“Fulo-Krelo-Si. You.” Caia laughed.

“Apparently I am a God now.”

Part 3
Mercy

They fed Caia a thick green drink, that would restore a lot of her blood. For the time
being she rested in her cabin. Ethan had informed her that they would be making their first, and last, move on Polren tomorrow, and that the King wanted her participating.
She sipped the green smoothie as she thought, and felt… bigger, the smoothie felt like it
was pouring blood directly into her veins, it tasted good though.

Caia was curious, he wouldn’t tell her what they would be doing. He claimed it would
make a difference though. Caia was told to not use her powers, but build back up her strength to help with the assault. She grew bored after three hours. Caia walked out of her room, and up onto the deck. It was evening, and bowls of stew were being passed around. For being a boat crew, they sure did lounge around a lot, and must have hired an amazing cook. Caia found the line and received a wooden bowl of creamy soup from an old quiet lady.

“Thank you.” Caia told her, this made her freeze and stiffen, she looked at Caia with
yellow eyes: unfamiliar, and then they turned a light blue:happy. Caia walked away from the table and found Ethan sitting at the back of boat, where she had been practicing.

“Why did they call me a God?” Caia asked him. “Why did you call me a God?” He
started, then began talking, his voice was flat and his eyes glazed. This was memorized.

“Before Skryline, there were The Fifty, fifty beings who could access the essence,
except, they could do so much more. They were immortal, and were the leaders of the land, eventually they were hunted in anger, and some were killed. Only one passed down his legacy, his name was Dumadorien. The others that survived ruled the land more quietly, doing what they could to help, but they were eventually driven into hiding. The crew now assumes you are one of them, and I did, until you asked me just now what Fulo-Krelo-Si means. He was the God that helps the humans the most, so they guessed you were it.”

Caia was surprised, Ethan nodded. “Your eyes just turned pink, you obviously aren’t one of them.”

“You actually believe they exist?”

“It is part of being Skryline, we are Dumadorien’s descendants, and must know the truth
about our ancient father.” Ethan said. Finished eating, he spun the bowl on the deck.
“So they basically think that I am an immortal being who can use the essence perfectly.
“They don’t just use the essence, they are the essence,” he said, his bowl still spinning
surrounded by a light golden haze.

Caia nodded, made sense the way they treated her. As she took Ethan’s bowl to return it to the cook, she understood the sailors passing glances, and dark blue eyes. A young man in black even walked up and took the bowls from her. Caia walked back over to Ethan, who was looking at a wet spot on the dock where her ice block had been removed.

“You might not be immortal, but you are strong, don’t use your magic until tomorrow.”
Men were climbing downstairs, finding hammocks, or small rooms, so she did the same,
climbing down to her room. Though she had slept most of the day, she still found it easy to sleep.

Ethan woke her. He sat in a chair, leaning back against wall, waiting patiently for Caia to wake.

Caia glared at him. “Watching me sleep now, are you?”

“I have been ordered to tell you what we will be doing, as soon as you awake.” Ethan
said grim. Caia pulled herself to a sitting position then nodded, a little nervous. Ethan began to speak of horrors.

“We will be pulling into the harbor of Kiln, in an hour. With our three boats full of Skryline members, we will be releasing a wave…”

“What emotion?”

“Hate, we will damage Polren so badly, that the Assassin Empire is forced to retreat to
Polren and gain control again.” He said.

If there is some immortal beings out there trying to protect humanity, they are doing a
very bad job at it, Caia thought remembering her and Ethan’s conversation the night before.

“We will release the wave inward from the coast. It will consume many towns and
villages, bringing justice to Polren.” Memories, memories, Embers! Caia was no longer sitting in the cabin. She was in a warm stone room, the bottom of a lighthouse. Her parents worked in the kitchen smiling, eyes light blue, they were always light blue. Scents of fresh fish, and warm salty air filled the room.

Caia saw herself, a toddler, sitting at the wooden table, playing with a stuffed lion. Her
light hair was down to her waist, and her blue eyes seemed to light the room. When she smiled, the air itself brightened. Caia looked at the door, her parents laughed. Caia heard those dreaded footsteps, of men coming to the door. A knock at the door made the toddler’s eyes flash briefly with pink: surprised. Before father could open the door, it was shoved off its hinges, it crashed to the floor, and cold air swept into the small room bringing with it men like shadows that slid across the room. The men drew shining steel swords with metallic hisses, that blended into the blowing wind outside.

Her parents eyes turned white: scared. They yelled something. “Run Caia!”

The little toddler was huddled beneath the table crying. She heard a sword
rushing through the air, then a thump as a body hit the floor, Caia covered her ears clutching the stuffed lion that had gathered dust from the floor. Men rushed out of the room carrying her mother.

Caia crawled out from under the table. The night was a hole in the quiet room. She ran to the body lying face up, her father was spasming, he focused on her. He opened his mouth to say something, but a sword fell, piercing him in the chest.

Caia looked up at the man in black, then screamed standing up and pushing him back. She stood over the corpse her eyes black.

The man in black seized her arm and dragged her into the night leaving the corpse of someone she had needed, someone she had loved with the power of a daughter. Caia was then carted to a safe house, and given a small inheritance. She had run away two years later, crossing the border to Polren looking for vengeance. Her life had been destroyed because Polren decided to side with the enemy, giving
power, wealth, maps, and an army.

Caia returned to her cabin, Ethan was still talking. She wasn’t listening though, it was
right to destroy Polren. That is what she had come here to do, so why did it feel so wrong?

Caia waited on the deck. Her eyes were still black.

They killed my dad and enslaved my mom, they deserve this. Caia nodded to herself.

She had on her hat, shielding her eye color from the others. They all had red: angry. Caia
turned from the ocean, the boat didn’t rock. The sailors, spent their time waiting anxiously at the sides of the boat. Someone shouted as Caia was climbing the rigging, she turned and regarded the land that rose from the ocean on the horizon. She looked away pulling herself higher. She found a small railed off platform. Her eyes had finally found another color, brown.

She leaned against the railing watching the growing mass of land. Caia confronted something, did she want to be a murderer? Did she want to destroy people’s lives so bad men could be stopped.

No

The thought surprised Caia, but it all became clear the anger and turmoil crumbled like
the base of an old house giving way before time. Caia didn’t want to murder, Caia wanted to stop men from killing, that didn’t have to mean killing people herself. The men below, in the blink of an eye became her enemies.

I can’t kill innocent people, I can’t do what they did to me, I must become better than
them. Was it about being better?

No.

Then what.

I have to become stronger than them, I have to be able to make the right choice, and
save people, not going with the natural flow of men, because the natural flow of men is what gives bad people power. Polren was just following the flow giving the empire what it needed.

Skryline is following the flow, in bringing destruction to them. I must be different from them. Caia bowed her head to the sea and sky.

I am going to give them a reason for thinking of me as a God.

She wouldn’t let them hurt her people. She descended from her perch, people called to
her. She made to descend to her room, but Ethan intersected. He looked worried.

“Caia, are you okay, I just felt something.” Embers! How had they known.

“I am fine, just feeling a little sick.” Caia pushed past him, dropping below. They were
nearing the docks. Caia felt the bubble of essence that had been making the ocean clear
evaporate, as the ship swayed against with a wave. She found her cabin, inside, her hat rested on the bed. She changed into normal clothes. When these boats collapsed, she didn’t want to be looking like one of them. She pulled on her hat last, and when she opened the door to escape, she had been planning to stop them from the docks, Ethan stood outside. A dark look in his eyes, that only grew darker at her change of clothes. His essence shoved her back into the room.

She hit the wall with the glass window, which shattered at the force of her impact. Caia
leaped for the hole and brought out her essence. She was hanging from the side of the boat gripping the slick window ledge. She used her essence in the form of ice. She let herself drop, but flung out ice beneath her, she landed with a pang in her legs. The ice block was frozen all the way to the shallow ocean floor.

The city was full of bustling ships and people, roads all ending at the harbor. Caia dipped
her hands in the ocean then jumped against the side of the boat, before it drifted out of reach.
She froze her hand to the side of the boat, then reached up farther with her other hand and
froze it in place above. She then made the water on her first hand melt and reached up and
grabbed a dangling rope, pulling herself onto the deck.
Most of the sailors were on the top, but she could hear Ethan yelling and running below
deck. Caia’s blood turned into more essence to make wind shove the hatch below closed. The
three Skryline boats were already in the harbor. No one disembarked, to the confusion of the
dock managers. Everyone’s eyes started to grow black. Essense left bodies, and created a
cloud above the three black boats. The wave was starting. Caia closed her eyes, it was time.
When she opened, they were glowing green: betrayal.

Caia focused on a section of wooden planks in front of her, she fed it a little, and paired
it with heat, a spark flickered across the surface of the boards. Then she fed it essense, a LOT
of essence. The sound was like an explosion and Caia was flung into the air. How much had
she fed it?
When her vision returned, she saw that the ship she had been on was sinking, a hole
blown in the middle of it. The explosion had caught one of the others on fire, and it was ablaze,
as the first sunk. Caia was standing on the platform of ice she had made before the massacre.
She thought she saw Ethan’s piercing green eyes staring at her from the first boat, as it
crumbled: Betrayal. Then he was gone. The last boat was releasing the wave. She saw the
waves edges burning up the docks. Caia focused her energy, she could do it, she would save
them no matter the cost. She wasn’t a powerless child this time. She could make a difference,
she could change things.
“We can change the temperature, state, and movements of the elements. We don’t
produce more of it, or change it into something else, we just change its state.” Ethan’s words
returned to her. She looked at the third final boat. She didn’t know if she could make it catch fire
this far away, so she tried something different.
Blood was essense, essense was wood, wood was changed into splinters, the wood
SPLINTERED. Caia released her blood, so much she fell to her knees. It infused itself into the
wood of the boat. The boat cracked, disintegrating, the grains of the wood coming apart. It
collapsed in a heap in the ocean.
Caia relaxed, she had stopped them, her skin was grey and she felt small. She looked
up at the city, and blinked. The wave had been released, A wall of yellow dust hit the docks,
which burst into flames. Sinking the ship had not stopped the wave.

Noooooo! I committed to saving them! I won’t be proven too weak for this! Caia emptied
her veins. Gold dust rose from her skin.
I will save them, I will make a difference for the good. I will NOT go quietly!
Caia lost feeling in her legs, her skin was grey. Her head ached, her heart ached!
Everything in her body was demanding the blood, she breathed in slowly, her lungs weren’t
working properly. Her arms fell to the cold platform, but she couldn’t make them rise.
She used the last of her strength, to give the wave a thought.
Protect them. It released itself, and Caia fell, her mind refusing to work anymore.

The waves crashed over Faze. Caia’s wave was strong, it consumed the Skryline wave,
and where the waves met they dissipated, canceling each other out. The humongous half circle
of golden light that had been destroying the harbor, exploded. Golden ashes rained down on the
city. It was quite beautiful: The wall of gold dust suddenly exploding, and the flecks of essence
floating down to dust the docks. Faze had only seen it a handful of times.
Faze stood on the dock, he turned to regard the body of the girl lying almost dead on a
platform of ice, he had met her once before, as a waiter in a cafe. Faze stepped off the dock,
people shouted, he landed on stone. It rose from the shallow ocean, he walked to the girl. The
exploding boats were impressive, the wave was more impressive. Faze hadn’t seen a mortal
release a wave by themselves.
Faze lifted her, then walked back over to the dock. He stepped back onto the low
platform and walked past the stunned crowd, her limp body slung over his shoulder. She had
lost a LOT of blood. Faze wandered idly what it would be like to be mortal, he had been for a
short time, right before people started calling him Fulo-Krelo-Si. That name was good for the

past, bad for now. He found his companions waiting in the harbor, idling at shops. They walked
forward to meet him.
“What should we do with her?” Reku asked.
“She is Dumadorien’s descendant. He is dead now, she could replace him.”
“But she is still mortal.”
“So were we.” Faze added, this fact made them uncomfortable. “We can train her to
become one of us, but not so scarred and beaten, we can train her to become men’s savior.”
“Oh, and which of us will be doing that.” Reku asked raising his eyebrows at Faze, no
one said anything.
“I will.” Faze said finally, sneering at Reku.
“You always did like the mortals too much.” Reku laughed.
“I will train her to save men, they will need her in the future. Embers! None of us can stop
what’s coming, but maybe she can.” Faze told them. They grew solemn, only Reku was smiling.
“Then we wish you luck in trying to save the mortals.”
“I won’t save them, she will.” Faze said.