The Earth’s eye lit blue. Madala could scarcely look. It was a breathtaking, and hideous sight. Her nerves didn’t like it one bit. She felt that power of her brother’s once again. That power she couldn’t answer. But yet she had to. She pulled herself from a fearful ball, and swung her scarlet blade for one last shot. He was just seconds away. She could do this.
"Act II, I see." Said Alexander, watching the same nightmarish jewel eclipse the world. "Oh well," he sighed with a clear hint of hurt, "so much for that."
Carl said nothing. He grit his teeth while he hoped.
Jocaster’s power flowed so strong its ripples tore the air apart. His hair shone white, fierce and startling, just as he had done before his sister. And all about, his aner lashed at the naked world. People were already dying, in its heat alone.
But for Christopher.
Madala put both her hands together, and gripped her weapon. She charged it with enough of her remaining power to kill almost anything. And then she charged at that murderous light, inside which lay her brother, and her son.
Jocaster told his rival he would die unless he fought. But no words returned. Jocaster said that only the supreme Ana could lead their world. Not the second, but the first. He had no choice but to determine that now.
Ten, a hundred, no one could tell how many times brighter he now surged. But Jocaster went beyond anything ever witnessed by Earth or Andala. The oceans leapt, the ground seethed, and the sky at the eye turned to starry black. His power seemed truly limitless. The only thing between him and scalding the whole Earth into vapour was the boy. By all rights, he could not live. Yet there he was, staring back.
"Holy fuck." Said Jackson, quite convinced he wouldn’t have a commander to return to any more. His right hand rested hard on his fighter’s trigger, to escape at superlight.
Jocaster glared at his newfound nemesis. His power so all encompassing, that he was quite transformed. His hair, his brows, his lashes, all shone white. His aner itself glowed a shade beyond Andala’s blue. Jocaster was barely Ana any more, he was something else. He was the being of legend: the next step, like Ayana.
Alexander put his finger on the button. He had to see this, before he shot away.
"Don’t!" Said Carl.
The contrast between the princes was more than night and day. It was the inferno and the abyss.
"Well?" Said Jocaster, raising his hand to the boy’s stern face, where he clenched his fist. "Fight me!"
And so, at last, he did.
To my frustration, I realised yesterday that I’d quite forgotten about Atarchus and Samean. The story has a fair few moving parts right now, which I suspect I’ll shuffle into better order once I know where it goes. But, awkward as it is, I need to edit Jocaster’s men back in.
The thing about his laiyeen, or “knights” as I originally conceived them, is that they are good men. Not perfect, never that!, but independent spirits from their master. Jocaster turned a corner some time ago, and their loyalties are up for grabs. I opted to keep them with the Dragonfly, instead of dropping off at Andala, for just that reason. And then forgot it.
They’re still around. Likely outside the ship, where I should have put them as soon as Madala went there. The Kinnerin household craft has no shield, you know. So Carl and Alexander need all the help they can get. Hair trigger to escape quite withstanding.