The World Time Has Forgotten

Unrest 6

“Master SoYa,” KiNa popped his head in the study with an abashed look, “I’m really sorry to bother you, but this is an emergency.”

Only a few small crystals lit the far end of the room with just enough light for SoYa to translate by. He wasn’t really having a lot of luck that evening, so it wasn’t a bother to be interrupted. In fact, he welcomed the chance to step away from the confusing jumble of old language for a little while. The idea of the emergency, however, wasn’t so welcome.

“What’s wrong, KiNa?” he turned in his chair to address his student. Then he blanched, “And what’s that on your head?”

“Oh?” the boy blinked, snatching the Ingway-made cloth from around his shoulders. It made his hair stick up, adding to his frazzled expression. “Uh… we’ve had a breech in security.”

“The Manor? Are they here?” SoYa got to his feet. Of all the things that he could hear, this was one of the most frightening. “Is anyone hurt?”

His mind took off in a zig-zag, trying to decide the best way to deal with the great Manor invasion that always hung heavy over his shoulder. He knew that one day it would happen. It was only a matter of time before someone put things together.

“No… no… no…” KiNa waved his concern down. “Everyone is fine. It’s nothing like that.”

SoYa stopped and took a deep, long breath. He turned his attention back to his student, “Tell me what’s going on.”

“Well… it’s… uh…” the boy couldn’t meet his gaze, “Sorta Fu.”

“Fu?” he opened his mouth. “Is he hurt?”

“No one’s hurt,” KiNa repeated. Then he paused, “Yet.”

“KiNa,” SoYa said, his voice hinting that the boy better make himself clear quickly.

“He found us,” he spread his hands. “Fu found us.”


“And he’s here, in the Ingway camp.”


“Taken prisoner,” KiNa’s voice got quieter with each point he added.

What?!” SoYa stared at his student, too stunned to find something more intelligent to say.

“I didn’t know what else to do!” the boy waved his hands around frantically. “He came walking straight across the river like he knew where we were. Set off all the Ingway alarms and everything. I went with them to see what was going on, and it was Fu.”

“What’s he doing here?” the mind mage finally found his voice.

“He says he wants to join Anarchy,” KiNa held his breath.

“That’s not possible,” SoYa responded without a moment to think.

The boy released his breath in what seemed relief.

“He doesn’t know about me, does he?”

“I don’t think so. We kept him away from the main camp and bound his magic. I didn’t give anything away and the Ingway… well, you know how funky their heads are,” KiNa crossed his arms. “I couldn’t just send him back, right?”

When SoYa didn’t answer, the boy peeped again.


“Yes,” he mulled over it. Then he sighed, “You did the right thing, KiNa.”

“Good,” his student sighed, too. “But whadda we do now?”

SoYa strode to the other side of his room thoughtfully, “Let me handle this.”

“What? But what if he realizes who you are?”

“He’s magic bound,” the man shook his head, then pulled down a hooded robe. It was one he used from time to time, when he needed to move around without being identified, “And you’re not the only one who can hide your identity.”

KiNa didn’t look so sure about it. Not that he blamed him. Of all people, SoYa was hardly a spy. He didn’t really have the skills in subterfuge the way some of the children did there. That was the reason he left the undercover things to them.

“He’s my son, KiNa,” SoYa added. “I can do this. I need to do this.”

“Are you going to tell him about…” the boy swallowed. He seemed really antsy at the idea that Fu would discover their secret truth.

The man told him, “We’ll see how it plays out. Okay?”

KiNa nodded and followed at a distance, pulling the Ingway-made cloth over his head again. It wasn’t a long walk to the Ingway camp, and the paths were familiar, even in the last light of the day. When SoYa arrived, many worried faces peered at him from around the camp fire. SoYa could hear their buzzing and chirping in his mind, concern about their safety along with the safety of the Zemitree camp.

“Will there be danger?” Burr asked with deep eyes.

“No,” SoYa reassured him, pulling up his hood. “You have my word that there is no danger for your people or mine. This one is my son.”

The glade filled with the sound of surprised half melodies as the Ingway responded to the revelation.

“Understood,” the Ingway leader nodded and took a step back. The motion invited the man to head inside the tent, where they were holding Fu.

SoYa checked his hood downward before he walked inside, his breath catching in his throat when he saw the lone and blindfolded form of his only son. A momentary uncertainty filled his chest and he fought it down, forcing out a stern and rough voice to cover his usual gentle tone.


The boy’s head lifted at the sound and he turned towards the voice. “How did you know my name? I did not tell anyone who I was.”

“We know many things,” SoYa said quickly.

“Then you should know why I am here and that I am telling the truth,” Fu retorted quickly with more spunk than a boy tied up and blindfolded should display.

“We’ll see.”

“Who are you?” he frowned.

It was a simple sentence that set SoYa’s mind at ease – his son didn’t recognize him yet. Still, he didn’t know how to respond, the silence drawing around him as he searched for an answer. That’s when he realized no answer was far more intimidating, and he let it stand.

“You are the leader of Anarchy?” the boy asked. His voice cracked a bit, the fringe of fear closing in.

“I am,” SoYa finally answered, taking pity on him.

Fu drew in a long breath, gathering his thoughts before he continued, voice heavy with great respect, “Master, I know that you don’t know me. You have every right to doubt me and my words. However, I did not come here to expose your movement or infiltrate your base. I am no spy. I am someone who hates the Manor as much as you do.”

“You would go as far as to allow yourself to be captured by Anarchy?”

“If that meant that I could speak to you and offer my services in person, yes,” he nodded from behind his blindfold.

A lump caught in SoYa’s throat. After having so little positive contact with his son, this was a side of Fu that he had rarely seen. He couldn’t help the beaming pride that was concealed under the hood.

“You have my attention,” the man said, reaching slowly to remove the blindfold.

“Master,” KiNa said with a husky voice of warning.

SoYa motioned for him to relax, then he pulled the cloth away so he could see his son’s face. Fu was no longer the child that he remembered. His hair was longer and more unruly, eyes piercing with a silent inner fury, jawline set with a serious shape. The man winced under his hood for just a moment, as Fu turned to look at him. He relaxed again when there was no sign of recognition in his son’s expression.

Instead, there was an uncharacteristic look of longing and respect. Fu even attempted to offer a slight half-bow, despite the rope that bound him. “Thank you, Master. I… cannot speak my gratitude and praise enough.”

“Make it fast,” KiNa grumbled. “We have pressing matters to attend to.”

“Of course,” the Journeymaster nodded, then motioned over to where a pack lay against the wall. “I have worked for many turns to gather internal information on the Manor’s objectives. As it must be known to you, they secretly secure children and take them from their homes. The purpose behind this… they are searching for children who show talent in crystal mastery.”

SoYa rubbed his chin with a grim look. “Yes, we deduced something similar.”

“I have solid proof,” Fu told him.


“Nothing we didn’t already know,” KiNa crossed his arms. “What else do you have?”

Fu was obviously trying very hard to impress them, “They are gathering natural crystals… as many of them as they can find. There are some who are learning to… manufacture… such crystals.”

This made SoYa pause in concern, “Create crystals? Is that possible?”

“I do not know,” he spread his hands in concern, “I can only confirm this as one of their goals.”

“Maybe that’s why they’re looking for people with crystal shaping abilities,” KiNa mused.

“Perhaps,” SoYa murmured. “The thought of the Manor crafting items that can contain that much power is very, very troubling.”

“I thought so as well,” Fu pursed his lips and fell into expectant silence.

It was hard for SoYa to remain tough and unmoving. There had been so little time for him to praise his son in the past. And now, the boy looked to him with both respect and hope, searching for his approval.

Would this be the same if he knew who I really was?

“This information will prove useful to us. I appreciate your courage to seek us out and provide it,” SoYa finally said. It was difficult to pretend to be a stranger to his own son.

Though, it’s really not all that inaccurate. I don’t know Fu anymore. And he certainly doesn’t know me.

“Thank you, Master,” Fu gave another half-bow. “If I can be bold, I wish to offer an exchange for it.”

The man waved his hand, “We will release you, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“No. That is not what I mean,” the Journeymaster straightened, steeling himself as he faced his father. “What you are doing here is the most amazing movement I have ever witnessed. Let me become a part of it.”

SoYa swallowed the lump in his throat again. It took all his restraint not to reach out to his son.

“I want to stop the Manor. I want to join the Anarchy,” Fu told him when he didn’t get an instant negative reaction. “I want to fight with you. Please accept my service and my life.”

It was so, so hard – Fu rarely ever asked his father for anything, and certainly not with so much passion and conviction. A deep ache grew in the center of the man’s chest. SoYa had failed his son in so many ways. Giving Fu this one desire could be the first step back on a road of forgiveness for them both.

Or it could be his death.

The thought hung heavy in his mind. The more that Fu knew, the more the threat hovered over him. Already, this was far too close and far too dangerous.

SoYa’s tongue felt like a leaden weight in his mouth as he finally spoke, “I appreciate your offer.”


“But this isn’t possible,” he turned away, not wanting to see the pain in his son’s face.

“Why not?” Fu protested, more softly than he expected. “If I must earn your trust, I will work at it. I know that I am only a Journeymaster. But, I am a mind mage and I am progressing in my studies faster than any other student has.”

“This isn’t about trust,” SoYa said.

“Then what?”

“It’s too risky to have someone so close on the inside playing both sides,” he frowned. It wasn’t as strong an argument as he’d like it to be, but it was all he could come up with on the spot.

“I will leave the Manor,” Fu said stubbornly.

“They’ll hunt you down. I doubt the Manor will allow a prized student and mind mage to walk out the doors,” SoYa shook his head. “No, that could lead them all right to our doorstep.”

The boy fell silent, unable to argue with that logic. Then he did the unexpected. He began to plead, “Master… please. There must be something I can do to serve your movement! I have waited so long to find you and bring you what I found. Do not just turn me away because I am a prisoner of the Manor.”

SoYa choked up under his son’s pained expression.

Oh, Fu… I wish you could be here with me. I wish I could tell you. I wish you knew the truth. I just can’t risk that…

“Master,” KiNa intercepted, recognizing his teacher’s struggle. “The internal information is helpful to us. He did a good job in obtaining it without our support. Why not allow him to continue on as an informant?”

Before SoYa could answer, Fu replied eagerly, “I can do that. Please, allow me?”

He’ll do it whether I allow him or not.

“Very well,” SoYa agreed, struggling to speak. “But I have conditions.”

“Yes, Master?”

“You are to under no circumstances return to this place or try to seek out our people to make contact. We will come to you.”

“As you wish,” Fu swallowed hopefully. “What if I find important information that I need to give to you?”

“I’ll leave the two of you to figure out the details for that,” SoYa answered making quickly for the door. “If you will excuse me, I have important matters to attend to.”

“Thank you with my deepest gratitude, Master,” his son half-bowed to him again, an uncharacteristic excitement written across his face.

“Be well,” SoYa choked. Then he left the room quickly before his tears gave him away.