Part the First
Olivie ran down the halls of the Sanctuary, glad he had chosen the low heels over the stilettos this morning. “Dammit, Julious.” He cursed under his breath, “You do not call an ‘emergency meeting’ on Sunday... especially when Charlie has a new shipment of jewelry in.”
Finally, he reached the large wooden doors of the meeting room, noticing Marcel following behind him. “Ah, Olivie-sama, do you know what this is about?”
“Beats me, but we’ll find out soon enough.”
All the other Guardians were already present, with the exception of Julious. Olivie asked if anyone knew what was going on, but as it turned out, they were all in the dark about why they had been pulled from their day-off. Some were upset over this, Zephel and Clavis mostly, but the rest were willing to attend. It was, after all, their sacred duty.
Finally, Julious came in with all the pomp of a fashionably late entrance with Ernst at his heels. All of the Guardians sat at the large, long oak table that occupied most of the room while Ernst remained standing. “I am pleased that all of you gave up your free time to come here. However, I am sure that everyone will find this exceptionally interesting as I feel that this will be a crucial turning point.” Julious’ last words rang through the room, unconsciously snapping everyone to attention. “Ernst, please bring forth your findings.”
Ernst straightened himself up and pushed up his glasses, his favorite habitual movement. “Well, we have encountered a new Sacrea...which acts in opposition to Dream.”
There was a tense silence. The origin of Sacrea was a mystery, but to encounter a new type was not entirely unheard of. They had been told how in the “early days” long before their time, the only Sacrea had been Light and Dark. It was said that the other types have been discovered in pairs, Water and Flame, Earth and Wind, Green and Steel, each shadows of the original two and yet having a spirit and energy of their own. However, Dream had appeared alone, so it was assumed that it was simply of an element all its own even if there were traces of Dark in it. But now it seemed that would all change.
Luva was the first to speak after the quiet. “Now, this would mean since we were...ah...able to detect this...ano...does this means that there is already a Guardian for it?”
“Yes, that was one of the reasons why we were able to detect it.”
“So” Marcel began tentatively, “someone will have to find the new Guardian and bring him here, right?”
“Precisely. That is another issue that we have to address. Who will go to find the new Guardian?”
Another silence. “I will do it.”
Everyone turned their heads to the speaker. “I would like to act as the envoy to our new comer.”
“Very well then. The duty of finding and contacting the new Guardian belongs to you, Lumiale. Now, if there is no further discussion needed, this meeting is adjourned.”
A flurry of activity ran through the Holy City. A new Guardian meant a new mansion to be built, new servants to hire, and a new office to be added. Yet things were mainly quiet at Lumiale’s mansion where the normal order had been reversed today with Clavis visiting the younger Guardian. “So... he is here on the Main Planet?”
“Yes, Clavis-sama.” Lumiale replied as he smoothed his hands over his outfit, a white long-sleeved shirt and dark navy pants which actually revealed some of his form, a contrast to his normal loose, flowing robes.
“That must make your job easier...Do they have a more exact location?”
“Yes, Clavis-sama. They think he is at the Butator Academy of Arts and Sciences.”
“Hmmmm....well, good luck then, Lumiale.”
“Thank you, Clavis-sama.”
It was always hard for a Guardian to spend time outside of the Holy City. Time ran differently there, slower than normal, and sometimes it could be jarring to leave. The flow was not so different between the City and the Planet, not like on the cultivation planets where five Sanctuary days equated to ten years. Still, often a servant would go to find a new Guardian, but this could take a while. However, if finding him were a pressing matter, sometimes a Guardian, usually the one to be replaced, would perform the notification.
Luckily, established institutions hardly ever changed with time. The Butator Academy of Arts and Sciences was a bit of a rival to the Royal Research Institute as the two schools were both considered to be high achievers in all subjects, especially the study of Sacrea. Poetic justice in a way that one who was at once the personification of an element and aware and in tune with all of them would be searching for someone in the same situation there. It was true that Lumiale could sense the Sacrea that was innate in all things and people. From the female student carrying the “scent”, the closest term to how a Guardian senses Sacrea, of Wind to the teacher with Light wafting off him. Lumiale had to do his best to ignore the underlying familiar fragrances and follow the soft, original aroma that had to be the new Sacrea. It was deep, rich and dusky, rather like sandalwood. Very unlike the bright, citrus scent of Olivie’s Dream. It led him like the ancient instincts of a salmon, right to the door labeled “Sacrea Study” which Lumiale opened and entered.
The room was daunting, vaulting nearly forty feet into a cathedral ceiling. Light poured in brightly from nine large stained-glass windows, causing a myriad of colors to dance and play over the hundred and fifty so desks. On a second glance, one could see that the windows each showcased an artist’s rendition of a Guardian surrounded by his element. Lumiale grinned at the Water Guardian, a young man with wavy indigo hair and smiling blue eyes dressed in a blue crushed-velvet dress jacket and straight white pants. However, he attention moved from the icons inlaid in glass to the overwhelming chalkboard. It went almost as high as the ceiling, only ending beneath the huge image of what had to be the Guardian of Light, a man with flowing blonde hair, his eyes looking down as if to lordly observe all the proceedings in the room. Almost as impressive was what was written on the chalkboard. From top to bottom just about were formulas and graphs in a seemingly unending mathematical Mobius strip. All of it was written in the same handwriting, basically nice and even with little personal touches like the twist at the end of the two’s or the slight curve to the l’s. Standing in front of it was obliviously one of the students wearing the maroon blazer and gray slacks of the school uniform. But Lumiale could already tell that this was who he was looking for. The aura of a Guardian surrounded him and the scent of sandalwood almost overpowered the gentle rain aroma of Lumiale’s Water. The young man was muttering to himself about “transformations of the base graphs” when Lumiale spoke up with a, “Pardon me.”
The student turned around almost immediately to see who was addressing him. Lumiale was a little taken back as he examined the other man. He was almost the same height and build as Olivie, perhaps a tad smaller. He was rather handsome, with just a slight rounding of his sharp features, which were set in a stoic expression. His skin was tanned and darker than Mel’s or Zephel’s or Timka’s and his hair was soft, straight and black, but not as glossy as Clavis’, and it was tied back at the nape of the neck, ending around his shoulder blades with a few loose strands around his face. Most striking of all were his eyes. They were a pale silvery-gray with tints of blue and aqua making them a sharp contrast to his skin, like the gold eyes of a black cat. “Can I help you, sir?” He asked in a quiet tenor voice.
“What exactly are you doing....?” He let the question hang, waiting for a name to address the student by.
“Amtiel. And you are?”
“Lumiale.” The student gave the visitor an inquiring look, but decided not to comment.
“Well, Lumiale-san, a new type of Sacrea has been discovered and I’m trying to work out its formula and graph using transformations of the base Light graph and the representation of Dream.” He pointed to a graph at the top left corner of the chalkboard and one closer to the bottom. “But I can’t seem to get the formula exactly right. It is...frustrating.” He sighed.
Lumiale had seen the formulaic representations of the Sacrea during his visits to the Research Building. He had never taken the time to study them, finding it better to leave the math to the scientists and the true mystique of Sacrea to the Guardians. “I see. May I ask though why you are doing this?”
“Yes. I find that Sacrea is better left to the realm of the mystic. To make it conform to science is almost like playing a song in a key it was not meant for.” Lumiale smiled and turned slightly towards the stained glass Water Guardian.
“I’ve never thought of it that way...” Amtiel looked back at the chalkboard.
“Perhaps you should...Sacrea is the spiritual undertone of the world and to contain it in science is to cage a wondrous and mystical bird.”
“You’re very unlike any of the professors here. They would tell you that Sacrea is at its finest when laid on paper.”
Lumiale looked wistfully at the windows. “I feel bad for them. It’s the only way they can experience it... Trying to show them it in any other terms besides what they know would be like explaining purple to a blind man.”
“They way you talk about it...” He paused and thought, “Do you work in the Holy City?”
A smile crossed Lumiale’s lips. “You might say that...Tell me, since this new Sacrea has been discovered, have you noticed things you haven’t before? Almost as if everyone is wearing perfume or carrying sticks of incense?”
“I haven’t given it any thought...but now that you mention it...forgive me for being forward, but what are you getting at?” Amtiel was beginning to think there was an ulterior motive to this conversation.
“Since you put it that way, I am the Guardian of Water and I have come to find you and inform you that you are to be the Guardian of the new Sacrea.”
The chalk Amtiel had been holding fell to the floor and snapped in half.
Part the Second