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Authors: Callie Kanno

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BOOK: The Threshold Child
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They were talking about her.

Chapter Thirty-one:
A New Role
 

“I do not understand.”

Adesina and Ravi were walking through the palace gardens. The
stars twinkled brightly above them, and the night breeze was warm and silent.
Ravi had gently extracted Adesina from the dinner party so they could talk
privately.

“What do you not understand, Ma’eve?”

“How could I possibly be this Threshold Child?”

Adesina understood that there were some talents she possessed that
were unusual, but she could not believe that she was the only one with those
abilities. Yes, she could Dream and she had unique insight into how the
greatest enemy of the L’avan thought and planned. She acknowledged that her
Shimat code name was Falcon, which was a bird of prey. Even with all of these
things, she could not accept that it was her destiny to be the Threshold Child.
She knew her own faults too well to believe that she was the fulfillment of
some prophesy, let alone the fact that she didn’t even believe that prophesies
came true!

“Perhaps there is something I should explain,” Ravi said quietly.
“I am sure that you have noticed the unusual color of L’avan eyes. Also that
every L’avan has two different colors in their eyes.”

She nodded. “Yes, L’iam explained that it was because the eyes
were touched by
vyala
.”

Her guardian inclined his head. “Exactly. The color of a L’avan’s
eyes indicate what gifts their particular
vyala
has. You can always tell a L’avan’s abilities just by observing the colors of
their eyes.”

Adesina frowned. “Only two?”

Ravi saw that she was beginning to understand and smiled. “Yes,
Ma’eve. On rare occasions a L’avan will only have one, but they never have more
than two.”

“What do my eyes mean?”

He stopped next to a small ornamental waterfall, sitting back on
his haunches. “Purple indicates focus—the ability to hone and control both your
physical self and your spiritual gifts above average. Usually it is a
supporting gift for the other
vyala
indicated.” He gazed up Adesina intently. “Gold is raw energy, without tangible
form. It is a gift rarely seen. Two or three L’avan in a generation may have
it, but no more.”

She was confused. “But, L’iam said that things like my knife
throwing…”

Ravi nodded soothingly, still explaining. “More unusual than
having gold eyes is seeing it coupled with purple. In fact, I have not heard of
it happening since the days of the Serraf. They all had purple and gold eyes.
Under normal circumstances, all it would mean is that you can focus energy
either coming into your body or going out of it. Had you been raised by the
L’avan, your gifts probably would not have amounted to much.”

“Why?” the young woman inquired.

“Because the L’avan have been raised with the belief that one’s
gifts are limited to only what is immediately apparent. Instead of being told
what was possible, the Shimat taught you to seek and achieve the impossible.”

Adesina still didn’t quite understand, and Ravi could see that.

“You were taught to believe that anything was possible if you
focused hard enough, and therefore, your
vyala
believes it as well. When you focus correctly, the raw energy you wield becomes
any kind of
vyala
you wish it to be.
You have at your command all L’avan gifts—something that hasn’t been seen in
the history of the race. Something the Serraf were able to do, but never their
children.”

Her eyes were fixed on the water flowing in the small stream in
front of them. “So, you are saying that I should not be able to do the things I
do?”

Ravi shook his head. “No, I am saying that you are able to do
things that other L’avan cannot. That does not make you wrong or abnormal, it
simply means you are gifted.”

Adesina sat down heavily, hugging her knees tightly. “So what does
it mean for me?”

He leaned gently against her, warming her chilled skin. “Nothing.”

She was startled by this answer. “Nothing?”

“We have discussed this before, Ma’eve,” he reminded her, “there
is always a choice. The prophecy only means something to you if you choose to
make it so.”

Adesina’s voice was low in hopelessness. “Then how can it be
called a prophecy?”

“If you are not the Threshold Child, then someone else will fulfill
the role. The prophecy will happen no matter what, but it is still your choice
whether or not to take part in it.”

She processed this for a while before speaking again. “There is
something that does not make sense to me.”

“What, Ma’eve?”

She gestured vaguely. “This ‘threshold’ thing.”

Ravi took a deep breath, thinking his words over carefully.
Adesina had the feeling that he knew more about the subject than most.

“I like to think of the passage of time as a maze.”

Adesina laughed softly. “You think of everything as a maze.”

He chuckled, but did not change his analogy. “There are sometimes
unexpected twists and turns, but it is fairly predictable which direction one
is headed. In this particular maze, however, each section is partitioned by a
gate or doorway. These partitions separate the passage of time into ages. When
something largely significant happens, it often leads to a new age. This can be
an action, a discovery, or the arrival of important people. The Threshold Child
is the one standing on the edge of that new age, ready to lead the way into a
world different than the one in which we currently live.”

She snorted. “You think that I am that person?”

Ravi gave a half smile. “Only if you choose to begin on that path.
None of us are now what we will eventually be—but if we begin on the correct
path, we change into the person we are meant to become.”

They sat in thoughtful silence for several minutes, and Adesina
considered how much her life had changed in the past couple of years. If she
had seen then where she was now, she never would have believed it. Was it so
difficult to accept that the following years would change her just as much?

With a quiet sigh and a heavy heart, she asked, “When do I need to
decide?”

He leaned a little closer, lending her his strength. “When you are
ready, Ma’eve. Not a moment before, not a moment after.”

She smiled wryly at her companion. “At least I can always count on
your irritatingly cryptic answers.”

He nodded calmly. “Yes.”

They both sensed that it was time to go, and got to their feet.
Adesina spoke quietly as they
walked back. “Ravi,
would you ask them not to say anything to anyone else? I do not want people
staring at me with some sort of misguided hero worship.”

Ravi gazed at his young friend kindly. “Of course, Ma’eve.”

E’nes was waiting for them by the entrance that led from the
palace to the gardens. He watched their approach with uncertainty, half
expecting his sister to declare her intention to have nothing to do with any of
them. Adesina didn’t speak, but allowed him to put his arm around her and lead
her home.

 

***

 

The next day, E’nes informed her that he had some mandatory
training to attend. Curious about L’avan training methods, Adesina asked if she
could come along.

He gave her a teasing scowl. “Why? So you can criticize us?”

She shrugged. “Perhaps.”

Her brother laughed and beckoned for her to follow him out the
door. And, as always, they were followed by Ravi.

The L’avan Protector training facility was next to the palace. The
gray stone of the building shimmered slightly in the clear morning sun. The
dark wood of the door was polished and had the detailed carving of an ornate
sword along its length. E’nes pulled the door open easily, and Adesina followed
him inside.

The interior was well lit and filled with L’avan of all ages.
There were doors leading to classrooms, an entire section belonging to the
smithies, and a large opening at the far end of the main room leading to the
training yard. E’nes made for that archway.

The training yard was large, with stables on the far end. There
were obstacle courses, target ranges, sections where one could practice horsemanship,
and so forth. Everywhere Adesina looked there were L’avan training. The
atmosphere was much less rigid than what she was accustomed, but there was
still a very clear sense of order.

E’nes smiled as he watched his sister taking everything in. She
was more visibly at ease here than he had ever seen her anywhere else. He
touched her elbow briefly. “I must go report to my leader. Can I leave you here
for now?”

She nodded absently, analyzing the movements of two L’avan who
were sparring. E’nes chuckled as he walked away. She wasn’t bothered by his
apparent amusement, and continued her study. She was surprised when she felt a
gentle touch on her forearm, and turned to see K’eb at her side.

“I apologize if I startled you.”

She forced a smile and shook her head. “You did not startle me.”

K’eb seemed unsure. He paused for a moment while searching for the
right words. “I was wondering if I could trouble you for some assistance.”

Her brow furrowed. “What kind of assistance?”

He took a breath and rushed forward with his request. “On our
journey here you told me that a flaw in my fighting was that I assumed everyone
was as honorable as myself.”

Adesina knew where he was going with this. “Yes.”

 
“I am not certain how to
apply that to my training, and I was hoping you could show me.”

She shook her head. “It would be no trouble at all.”

He smiled gratefully and led her to the far corner in the training
yard, where they would have a measure of privacy. Ravi took a seat to the side
of the ring, a small smile playing at his lips.

K’eb pulled out two practice swords and handed one to Adesina. She
twirled it experimentally, noting that it felt quite a bit different from a
real sword. She made a mental note to mention it to E’nes later. A warrior’s
tools for training should be as close to reality as safety would permit.

Adesina and K’eb stood facing each other, practice swords in hand.
She began her slow circling, gazing at him in disdain. K’eb began shifting his
weight nervously, and Adesina stopped.

“Do not do that.”

He was baffled. “What?”

She pointed to his feet. “Do not move unnecessarily. Every move
you make should serve a purpose. Otherwise, you are wasting energy and letting
your enemy know your uncertainty.”

K’eb nodded and took a defensive stance again. Adesina smiled
faintly. “K’eb, do you know why I circle you with a sneer on my face?”

He shook his head, once again looking confused.

“Because it intimidates you,” she answered simply. “If I can shake
your confidence, I have already won the battle. The physical fight is easy once
I have conquered the mind.”

He nodded, taking in every word she said.

“If I start a fight like this,” Adesina continued, taking a
defensive position, “it tells my enemy that I am cautious and afraid. An enemy
can easily use that fear against you. On the other hand, if I present myself in
a way that shows I am not concerned by my enemy’s attacks, it will give my
enemy pause. That being said, you must also never underestimate your opponent.
Appear confident, but do not become careless.”

She walked over to him to show him a new grip on his sword. “If
you hold your sword like this, you can bring it up faster.”

K’eb whipped his sword up and grinned in amazement. Adesina smiled
in return. “Let us try again.”

They began circling each other slowly. She suppressed a short
laugh. “You are trying too hard to look casual. Relax, take deep breaths and
make sure that your sword hand is always ready for action.”

He did as he was instructed and Adesina nodded in approval. She
allowed her guard to drop slightly, and K’eb moved forward eagerly.

Adesina sidestepped him and brought her wooden sword down across
his back. He winced, and lowered his own sword.

She raised an eyebrow. “What did you do wrong?”

“I let you get past me.”

Adesina laughed quietly. “Yes, that is a problem, but there was an
even bigger mistake that led up to that.”

He thought about it for a moment. “I perceived an opportunity that
did not exist.”

“Exactly. You did not even consider the possibility that I might
be tricking you. Therefore, you did not prepare what to do if I was.”

Adesina moved toward him slowly. “If I attack like this, I have to
account for every possible action you might take. Based on how you are
positioned right now and what I know of my attack, I can think of five
different reactions you might have. Not only that, but I know what my reactions
will be according to how you choose to move.”

BOOK: The Threshold Child
8.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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