CHAPTER 16 – II
Geryman’s trio was on a rampage. His search for Glendan continued and the incessant raids instilled fear into the hearts of everyone in the region. Tayli exploited the leverage gained from deposing Haiti Poe to wield power over much of Seattle’s food supply. Shortages and rations starved the resistance. And then there was Janifer. She had committed her formidable firepower to crushing Hanci’s dynasty. There was a new kingpin of the kingdom and no one was spared. Whether they be senior leadership or lowly errand boys they met the same demise. And so too did their friends, lovers, siblings, parents, children, and even pets. It was a true campaign of eradication. Hanci herself was forced underground, constantly on the move.
Despite all that Tayli and Janifer were able to accomplish, Stievo remained more powerful than the two of them combined. And yet, Geryman opted to keep him close rather than send his son out into the fray. Geryman wanted to teach – and be taught by – his son. This suited Stievo just fine, for even though he was intrigued and enthralled by the power that was at his fingertips, he couldn’t help but feel left cold by the thought of all the bodies that were being left cold. That level of destruction seemed disproportionate and was discordant with his strong innate sense of justice.
As the father-son sessions continued, Stievo occasionally let down his guard about Victor Strife’s teachings. He expounded:
Neither created nor destroyed
Moved around, from one to another
We, the Champions, have been deployed
To bring to heel our Other
We move life around
Bring it in, expel it out
With humanity as mere pawns
We bring harvest and drought
Stievo went on to explain that the specific powers of each previous Champion varied greatly. Some were more adept in the mental realm, while others more so in the physical. Some could control animals while others controlled the weather. Earth, air, fire, water; language and number, reason and emotion. Each power put into direct opposition against the rival Champion as the two would compete over the direction of the society around them. Lowly mortals were drawn to these leaders and the great movements throughout history were the result of this ongoing struggle between Light and Dark. Their movements on the micro-scale had macro-sized repercussions. And each side held a righteous worldview for which they fought. Humanity was not absent from the equation, however. One’s very own “human” nature could be in conflict with their Champion nature. This led to unpredictable outcomes, broken minds, and, sometimes, masses of bodies.
During these conversations, Geryman’s eyes seemed to cloud, shielding his thoughts. This always made Stievo feel uneasy. He knew that Carenf had dedicated her life to preparing Aricame. She nurtured and trained, and then she gave of herself all that she could to ensure the next in line was put into the best position to succeed. Perhaps Geryman was embarking on the same mission? Or, perhaps, he had witnessed the transference of power from one Champion to another and taken away a different lesson entirely?
Covered in dirt and grime
Stalked by hurt and time
Hide myself from that which I cannot face
Would that I reveal and get met with grace