CHAPTER 17 – II
Aricame wanted revenge – to avenge blood with blood. He was dead-set on heading up to Seattle to kill Geryman, then Stievo. As he was packing up his belongings the Strifes arrived for their regular evening training session. Aricame explained what had happened: the letter and the unmistakable feelings of loss (his mother) and of gain (her power). As Victor and Victoria listened, Victor’s face took on a knowing look. This perplexed Aricame and he demanded an explanation.
There was a truth about the Champion’s power that Victor had not revealed to Stievo or Aricame. No matter how many generations of Champions are alive at any given time, there is a set/finite amount of Championship power that is accessible to said generational individuals, and it is shared among the Champions of their respective lineage. As the next Champion generation grows they begin to slowly and unknowingly extract power from their predecessor, and this process accelerates as they reach adulthood. The full reservoirs of power are equal between Light and Dark, however the percentages available to each generation depend on how many generations of their lineage are alive at any given time, and how old they are. The total pool of power can also grow or shrink, dependent on myriad factors. Of Victor’s pupils, only Carnef knew this truth, yet she did not know to whom her boon would be transferred at her death: her son or her enemy’s son, so she kept it a secret as well.
Victor explained to Aricame that he kept this information from both him and his Other because Victor needed to maintain some control. He had dedicated the first half of his life to learning about – and searching for – Champions. After tracking down Carenf in New Orleans, he has dedicated the rest of his life to training and educating. He knew more about the Championship powers than the Champions themselves. This was a dynamic he wanted to keep until he knew who the next Champions of Light and Dark would be. Aricame and Stievo were both clearly struggling internally with their true natures while also training for an external struggle that would not wait for them to come to terms with their own identities.
The realization finally set in for Aricame: HE was the Champion of Light! He wept tears of sorrow when he had read his mother’s letter stating that she did not know his true nature. He wept again – joyously – thinking about how she would react to this revelation.
Victor implored Aricame to stay back and spend a little time to explore his newly gifted abilities because no matter how much raw power he possessed, he would be taking on not one, but two Champions. Additionally, Stievo would soon understand that the feeling he experienced – that of a Champion dying and his rival Champion being empowered – would mean that he is the Champion of Dark. This was something that Stievo was not trained to understand, but will eventually intuit.
Aricame began to unpack his bags. He needed to prepare for just a while longer, and then he would get his retribution. As he was putting his bags away, he met eyes with Victoria. He saw something that was never present before, and his mind drifted elsewhere.
When few battle to be (the) one
A prize, no matter the size
Will remain a game of zero-sum
Add. Subtract. Ad infinitum