Flames of Bedlam

Ch5.6 .. Friendship

It was probably really rude of me to laugh in Tywys’sface. Or… whatever spirits had. Her last statement, coupled with the utmost gravity of her tone, almost made me think that… just for a moment… she really meant what she said.

Me? Sent to be someone’s king? In what demented world?

Tywys didn’t respond to my laughter. So, I turned to share it with Levi instead. He was usually a jovial guy. He would find the hilarity in this situation, right?

Instead, he responded with a long, sober silence. For the first time, I saw the strain and stress darken under his eyes. I realized very quickly, he was not surprised about what the spirit had just revealed.

“That’s funny, right? It’s a joke,” I heard my voice quaver. Then I motioned to Levi with both hands. “Come on. This guy’s the Chief here. He’s the real leader of these people. Surely you’ve just misunderstood… mixed things up?”

-Levi is a noble soul, but he is not a Sovereign. We sent him to do the things that we could not.- Tywys responded.

“What do you mean?” I lowered my brows, looking back and forth between them.

Levi turned his gaze towards the ground.

-We tasked him to connect with you. Befriend you. Find out what you needed, and guide you back on the right path.-

I stood there stunned. I felt strangely deceived. All this time, I thought that Levi was doing what he was doing because he was a great guy who decided to help me out. Because he wanted to be my friend. Now it didn’t seem so out of the blue anymore.

He had been assigned to me. Or whatever.

I turned to him, feeling a sinking in my chest. “Levi… is this true?”

“Yes, it’s true. But…” I watched his calm facade begin to crack and crumble.

I wondered how much of it had been an act. How much of it was him following instructions.

“But what? You only did all this because some spirit told you I’m this something-or-another?” I flipped my hand. “And you believed them?”


“How long?” I snapped. “When did they tell you this?”

“When I connected with my spirit…” Levi breathed out. “When I first transformed. They told me I was Called here for a reason. That I felt the Call so strongly because I had a purpose.”

“To babysit me,” I crossed my arms.

“No! Bahamut!” He was flustered. I should have enjoyed the rare moment, but I couldn’t. “Will you just listen?”

“To what? The truth? Or just another one of your stories,” I grumbled. “Like the part where you pretended to be my friend.”

Levi hissed sharply, his hand reaching out to grab my arm. So much emotion on his face. I coudn’t even read what all of it was. But I could hear it in his voice. He was not just dead serious, he was completely sincere.

“It started out that way. It started out as a quest from the spirits… something I had to do to help my people,” he ground his teeth together, his blue eyes meeting mine. “But I grew to know you and to care about you! No matter what the spirits say about how it all began. I am your friend!

Tywys hovered silently, watching things unfold between us. I don’t think she realized that telling me the truth would put strain on our friendship. The spirits know a lot of things, but they appeared to be lacking when it came to figuring out how people worked.

I guess we had things to teach them, too.

I really couldn’t deny Levi’s statement of integrity. I didn’t want to. Maybe it was because he was one of the few people I considered a friend. I realized that I didn’t want to lose that.

I also knew him well enough to know when he absolutely meant every word he said. This was one of those times.

In fact, he looked just as afraid that I’d turn him away as I was afraid that he was only pretending this whole time. But why? Why would someone always surrounded by people who were unwaveringly loyal to him be worried about someone like me walking away?

Unless it had something to do with this whole Sovereign thing. That might have been it. He wanted in on my good side before I started my rise to fame. He wanted to be that guy who said: “I knew Bahamut back before he was the Lord of Everything! We go way back!”

I sighed, shaking these thoughts from my head.

“Bahamut…” Levi still watched me. His eyes were sad, waiting for my judgement.

I thought about what to say (for once) before I said it. Then I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry you got caught up in all this because of me.”

His response surprised me. “I’m not sorry at all.”

“How can you say that?” I frowned.

Relief flooded Levi’s expression and he gave a queasy laugh. As if testing the waters to see if everything was okay. “The spirits might have fed me a bunch of hokey information about what all you’re supposed to be… but I really do believe you’re someone important waiting to happen.”

“You know better than to feed my ego,” I warned.

“Yes, I do. So take it while you can get it.” He crossed his arms, looking down again. “I see a future for my people that they could never have back in the village. Part of them was missing until we came here. I don’t understand how it all works, but I know you were involved in unlocking that for us.”

“All I did was come here and hurt a lot of people.”

-You were tempted by Chaos.- Tywys finally spoke again. -Your choices were tainted, but you were influenced to do things beyond what you would have normally done. That could have happened to anyone.-

“No,” I turned to her. “Those choices were mine. I wanted to hurt people. I did.”

-You also chose to abandon the Chaos. You sought to help the Dragons. You still seek to save their offspring.-

“That’s not enough.”

-To make up for it, you mean?-

“Yes,” I said somberly.

She came closer, the soft blue light calming. -Even we spirits can’t undo what has been done. But you, who can will both the Chaos and Creation, can use this to build something better for those who need a future.-

I looked into her deep eyes. “I am the wrong person for this.”

-Oh no. You are absolutely right.-

My head was swimming by the time Tywys finished trying to fill me in on everything. It was all just too much to take in. Way too much for me to believe.

When I finally walked out of the Grove, the first thing I did was find a quiet place along the nearby brook. I splashed my face (yes, I was awake), and let the water drip from my hair and nose.

My reflection rippled by with the running water. It was dark, but handsome, the persona I created for myself back when I first came to this place. Tywys told me this was proof that I had just as natural a skill with Creation as I did with Chaos… part of what made me this thing they called a Sovereign.

I still didn’t understand so much of this.

I saw Levi’s image reflected by my own as he came and sat down next to me. I knew he was part concerned, part ashamed. I really couldn’t blame him for taking the path he had. But I was secretly glad he still decided to stand by me even with the truth came out.

“You know, the Elders use to tell us stories about the first Sovereign,” Levi said, folding his hands over one knee and staring into the water. “He was the one said to have first heard the Call of the spirits, and was guided to their secret place. There, they agreed on a peaceful co-existance where man and creature could be as one.”

I snorted. “In our stories, the spirits were tricked into handing over their power.”

Levi chuckled. “Why does that not surprise me?”

“Hey, at least someone remembered some version of the story,” I shrugged. I was quiet for a while, then I asked. “What do you think I should do?”

“What do you mean?”

“I could always cut and run.”

He frowned sharply. “Why would you do that?”

“Because your people deserve someone a whole lot better than someone like me as their… whatever.”

Levi thought about it for a moment, then asked, “Do you really not want to do it?”

“I don’t know. I can’t really believe it… and yet…” I trailed off. I’d seen it. Felt it. I knew the power that flowed in me. Knew that the spirits weren’t making it up.

“Yet?” he prodded.

“I just don’t think you should throw leadership at the first guy who happens to show up with unusual powers like this. That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Maybe not,” Levi murmured. “But maybe there’s more to it than that.”


“Well… So maybe not everything was flowers and rainbows. But it’s true that you coming here unlocked the Grove. It woke the spirits. It sent a Call to us.” His eyes glittered slightly as he talked. He had that far away look. “Maybe the way you fought the Invaders wasn’t the best way, but it freed us to be able to return to our ancestral land and learn about our heritage.”

“Are you trying to lay that ‘bad things happen for good reasons’ thing on me, Levi?”

“No. But I do think that every action has a consequence,” he told me. He took one of those deep breaths in, then said, “Do you want my opinion on all this?”

“I’m going to get it anyway, aren’t I?”


“Go ahead.”

“Why don’t you see what the spirits have to offer?” he suggested. “You don’t have to go around crowning yourself king or anything, but… just let them teach you. See where that leads. See what you learn from it.”

“What good would that do?”

“Well, for starters, do you think I’m the only one who knows this is going on?”

My eyes widened slightly as I turned to stare at him.

“Why do you think an Elder is here? The spirits don’t keep secrets very well, as you can see,” Levi motioned with one hand.

“You mean…”

He nodded. “The clan knows what the spirits deem you to be.”

I grumbled. “I wondered why they didn’t have my head on a pike.”

“Ah, come on. They’d not do you like that, Bahamut. They’re really a good group if you get to know them.”

“I’m surprised they haven’t tried to toss me out yet, then,” I frowned sharply. “Don’t they know what the word ‘sovereign’ means? Do they really want me to rule over them? And what about you, Mr. Chief? You expect to be taking orders from me?”

Levi laughed out loud, then he nudged me in the side with his elbow, “Not in this lifetime!”

This got me to crack a bit of a smile.

This made him laugh again, “There you go, that’s better!”

He rummaged around in a pouch at his side, then brought out some dried meat and some bread. He broke this into pieces and offered me some food. I hadn’t realized I was hungry until just then — being in the Grove as much as I was with all those crystals around wasn’t always a good thing.

Levi was relaxed again, propped against a tree while he ate. This made me feel more relaxed, too, despite all the things I now had to grapple with. I mean, my life had just become some “Chosen One” cliche. This whole time I thought I was finally getting control over something, I’d still not been in control of anything at all.

Maybe Levi was right. Maybe it was time to change that.

Tywys’ words never promised an all powerful dictatorship of the world or anything. In fact, she didn’t talk about the leadership part of it at all. She’d focused more on the teaching aspects, promising that if I was willing, they’d show me the true extent of my abilities.

As if transforming into a Dragon wasn’t enough.

“So, you know, I’ve been thinking,” Levi leaned forward, speaking casually.

“Don’t hurt yourself,” I tried to joke.

He just gave me a face, then continued. “It’s time we put down some roots here.”

“Hmm?” I glanced over at him.

“Real roots. I’m talking a village.”

“You serious?”

“Yeah. A new village.” A grin split his face at my stunned expression. “Seasons change and all, and we can’t have a bunch of tents for all these families come winter. We have enough time to put up some proper houses.”

“But wasn’t your home back in the other village?”

“My home is wherever I decide to make it.”

“And the rest of them?” I asked.

“If people want to stay, they can stay. If the want to return, they’re free to do that,” Levi shrugged. Then he took a long look at me. “So what do you say? Let’s build something.”

I didn’t have the words to express how something about his words sparked an excitement in me. This… could be something I was good at. Something I could use to show the rest of the clan that I was going to try to do… something.

I didn’t know what just yet. But helping set down a new village sounded like a good place to start.