In the beginning there was one land called Eden. The land was lush with forests and green. Sunshine was found all throughout and most of the land was tropical and sub-tropical. Many different types of beings and people lived together on this one land. A plethora of fruits were abundant throughout and there was always more than enough of everything for all beings, human and non-human, to live and thrive harmoniously. The people of Eden were kind and compassionate and were always helping and giving to each other. They cherished the plants and animals and worked together with loving care, understanding that all things in life were connected and that included them. Everyone was joyful and fulfilled knowing all of Eden was in abundant care. Throughout years of working together as one, the people began to grow out of this fulfillment and soon grew curious to explore and expand their understanding of their world. This led people to learn of the natures this Eden had. They realized that Eden was formed of Four Basic Elements and that each of these Elements could be matched to the Innate Nature of humans.
- The Element of Stability -
- The Element of Thought -
- The Element of Emotion -
- The Element of Action -
Although the people realized everyone had traits of each of the Four Elements, they found each person had a dominant nature and if harnessed and understood properly, they could better ensure harmony between the land and the people.
Originally, discernment of one’s dominant nature was determined through a series of trials regarding how you would respond to certain predetermined events taking place. It wasn’t until recently that the Zodiac System was developed by the Great Leader of the Air Kingdom, Oznah Om, when he was only thirteen years old. This system today, determines a person’s Innate Nature by reading the stars positioning in the sky at their time of birth.
Discovery of Elemental Natures was incredibly exciting to the people and led them to discerning everyone’s nature and organizing themselves accordingly. However, for the first time in history, this started to separate people even if only a little. Instead of one united people, it was becoming four different types of people. At first this was okay and the people enjoyed the benefits of classifying people by their strengths. By putting like-natured people together and unifying them, it made life much easier. There was less friction. This was what they called The Four Houses of Eden.
House Prithivi or Earth
House Vayu or Air
House Apas or Water
House Tejas or Fire
Progressing in this direction, another important and revolutionary discovery was made. The people found if one was to align one’s dominant nature with the corresponding Element, the power of Elemental Bending could be awakened. This was even more amazing than their original discovery. For the first time ever, people could bend the Elements to their will! People of a Fire Nature could ignite things such as wood and shoot fire out of their hands. Those of a Water, Air and Earth Nature could also control their Elements at will.
Eventually, the power of Elemental Bending became too much for the people to handle. Fighting spurred here and there between people of different Houses. Each of the distinct elements were too different and many people became very proud of their own corresponding Element. This led to people starting to create respectful boundaries between all of Eden’s Four Elements. Leaders began to step up and represent their people’s Element. These were people of great wisdom, compassion and pride. They were considered some of the most incredible Philosopher’s of their time. Although the Houses were separating, they still wanted to respect the ‘whole’ that they once were. With this desire, each House chose to use a title that not only represented their Element but also their role as a whole family. Thus, the following titles and names were chosen:
Mother Gaia of House Prithivi
Father Om of House Vayu
Sister Cerulean of House Apas
Brother Draco of House Tejas
In further attempts to prevent discrimination and encourage continued harmony between the Four Elements, the leaders of each nation created a Sanctuary in attempt to bring people back together. The Sanctuary was built in the most center part of Eden, thus, it was a central area everyone could come to. A place for unity and cooperation. The name Gaia was chosen and voted upon as it was the name of the Great Leader of House Prithivi at the time. It was thought that because it was the Earth that housed all of the people, that this should be a given honor to the people of House Prithivi. However, although well intended, some people disagreed. Fighting amongst the people began to occur over the naming of the city choosing one Element over the others. People wanted fair and respectful treatment. Arguments and conflict arose within the Sanctuary of Gaia. Fearful and discriminating thoughts filled the minds of the people.
The leaders came together one last time in concern of losing harmony between the differing Houses. They all decided to imbue a stone with their Knowledge, Wisdom and Energy. This was something that had never been done before and the Leaders thought this could excite the people’s thirst for elemental exploration but this time as a cooperative effort. This would represent all Four Elements coming together as One. Each held an Ether Crystal to be imbued with their corresponding elemental energy and then merged it into one. They decided to name it the Philosophers Stone.
They announced to the people the stone was meant to help influence balance and could help unify the people. And that this stone would honor the three other Houses by placing them on top. They also mentioned this was the first time anyone had attempted to imbue an Ether Crystal with Elemental Energy. It was a success! The people accepted this announcement with excitement. Thus, the leaders gathered to the middle of the Sanctuary where the stone was to be placed. All four of them held hands in a circle surrounding the stone. A few incantations were chanted and the transmutation began. Light started to emanate from each leader. Each light a different color representing the Elemental Nature of each leader. These lights seemed to be finding their way into the Philosopher’s Stone. Things looked as if they were going well and the people cheered them. They liked the idea of recreating harmony between Houses once again.
However, a drastic turn would soon take place. The Four Leaders began to realize their life energy was being drained alongside their Elemental Energy. Immediately, they halted their actions but it was too late, they could not stop the transmutation. It was as if the stone demanded wholesome completion. It was sucking the life right out of them. Soon after, the transmutation was complete and the stone was imbued. The Four Nation’s Leaders, however, collapsed and turned to dust. Naturally, with no leaders to guide the way, this frightened the people. Mass panic began to emerge; shrieks of fear could be heard all throughout the Sanctuary. Eventually people began to get angry. Arguments and shouting started to replace the cries of terror and sadness. They began to blame the idea of unification and Elemental Harmony for killing their leaders. Eventually, the people shifted their blame to the Philosopher’s Stone, as it of course represented that idea. They attacked the stone, casting fire, water, air and earth at it all at the same time. The stone began to crack and it started splitting it into Four Pieces. The people underestimated the force within the stone. They had no idea what lay dormant within and by breaking it, it began unleashing massive amounts of energy. This energy lead to an incredible explosion thereby destroying the Sanctuary of Gaia. The energy was so strong it created quakes within the Earth and began ripping the One Land Mass known as Eden into Four Separate Lands.
Fighting continued on for hundreds of years. Each Elemental Nation now further apart than ever before. After years of conflict and a split Eden, resources became scarce. The people of each land had chosen new leaders once again, following the only traditions they knew.
- Prithivi, the Lands of Earth -
- Tejas, the Islands of Fire -
- Vayu, the Kingdom of Air -
- Apas, the Realms of Water -
Of all lands split apart, the land of Earth was largest. This encouraged Mother Gaia to send offers to the rest of the Elemental Leaders to create a central area for sanctuary in attempt to work together once more, repeating history. Initially the other leaders were against this but in time, with more resources becoming scarce, eventually accepted. Thus, the Sanctuary of Gaia began to be rebuilt above the ruins of Old Gaia. Throughout the process of rebuilding Gaia …
"Ughh! I've almost found it!" Zero shouted as he slammed his fist on the surface of the desk in front of him. The lit candle shook in it’s holder in response. He was sitting down reading a book called “History & Mythology of Eden Book: I”. Zero was a tall, lanky man in his late-twenties. He had peachy-white skin and big, bushy, dirty-blond hair with glasses on his face. He had scruffy facial hair on his chin and upper lip as if he hadn't shaved for a few days and he wore a short-sleeve, yellow shirt and brown leggings.
"Oh yeah? Sweet! Maybe you'll be as strong as me sooner than ya think, Z." said another tall but lithe young man with a big grin on his face. This young man had tan-peach skin and seemed to be in his late-teens or early-twenties and more relaxed than Zero. He had medium-long, brown hair and had a big and goofy grin on his face. He was quite muscular and wore a short-sleeve, black shirt and brown shorts. He sat behind Zero in another chair.
"Ha. Ha. Syferr. There are more ways than having your power to be strong. But you are right about one thing, if I can find the missing piece, the puzzle will be solved and hopefully, everyone could enjoy the convenience of your said 'specialty'." Zero still faced his desk as he retorted to Syferr’s jab. He interlaced his fingers together in front of his mouth and placed his elbows upon the desk to support his forward-leaning chest.
"Well well … so not only are you trying to copy my power but now you're after my title of Puzzle King?" Syferr questioned Zero while completing what looked like a small spherical puzzle he had in his hand.
"Ah … so I've threatened your position then? It seems you must be feeling a bit in-secure with your puzzle-solving skills if you're worried about me claiming it.” Zero turned halfway in his chair to the right to look at Syferr with a small smile and his right eyebrow raised. “And if you are such a 'King' at solving puzzles then why not help solve this one with me like a good assistant rather than those small coded spheres, hmm?" Zero said in a half-teasing, half-serious tone, still looking at Syferr.
"Because … these are the only puzzles I like. Riddles and codes are what I'm meant to solve, not wild goose chases!" Syferr scowled at Zero then continued playing with his puzzle.
"But if the goose was the most challenging riddle you've ever caught?"
"What are you getting at Z?" Syferr’s eyebrows stretched upward as he looked at Zero.
Zero turned all the way around in his seat and faced Syferr directly, his hands placed upon his legs, "What I'm saying is this: The piece I'm trying to find is a code itself. I tried explaining this to you the other day but you were so wrapped up in my Elemental Cube you probably didn't hear a word I said." Zero sighed as he placed his elbow on his knee and rested his cheek on his fist.
"Hey, no way! One, that cube you made is the most challenging hand puzzle I've ever played with. Who knew matching six colors could be so puzzling? And two, you're saying this missing puzzle piece of yours is even more challenging than that!?" Syferr jumped up out of his chair with the puzzle in his hands and a big grin on his face.
Zero sat back up in his seat and placed his hands upon his legs once more. He closed his eyes and smirked, "One, thank you. Simplicity is key to inventing genius ideas, my work is rather amazing.” Zero opened his eyes and looked at Syferr, "And two, yesss! That's why I need your help with this, 'Puzzle King'!" he exclaimed as he extended his right arm and underhand pointing it at Syferr.
"Alright! Well what are we waiting for? Let's get to work!" Syferr cheered throwing his arms in the air.
“Yes! Finally!” Zero smiled as he beckoned Syferr to sit next to him.
Syferr pulled up his chair next to Zero, sat down and cracked his knuckles.
"Oww? Must you do that in my presence?" Zero scowled at Syferr.
"What? Crack my knuckles? It helps me relax and focus. Plus it sounds cool! Here listen!" Syferr began to crack the rest of his knuckles into Zero's ear.
"Okay, okay! Stop! Please, it gives me the chills.” Zero’s body shook all over. “Uhh-yuhhh." he grunted as his left eye twitched a little. “Just … warn me the next time you do it alright?"
"Hahaha sure, Z." Syferr shook his head in disbelief.
"Good! Now we can get somewhere. With my high-logistic based mind and your genius code breaking-"
"Puzzle Solving!" Syferr specified, pointing his index finger upward in the air in front of him.
"Right … ‘Puzzle Solving’ skills. We should find and crack this code in no time!" Zero said as he sat up straight in his chair and scanned the table in front of him with his eyes.
Both Zero and Syferr faced the pile of copied pages from ancient texts laid upon the table.
"Ughh! Where do we even start!?" Syferr groaned in agony at the sea of papers in front of them.
"Oh for crying out loud, Syferr, we just started and you're already giving up? If you'll just give me a second to find where I left off I'll-” Zero was interrupted by three soft knocks on the door.
"Yes? *sigh* Who is it? We are really busy!" Zero’s shoulders tensed up as he rolled his eyes left towards the door.
"It's me, Han." whispered a soft-toned voice from behind the door.
"Oh? Well come on in Han, no need to be all distant and stay behind the door." Zero’s shoulders relaxed.
"It's time to meet the new member." Han whispered once more from behind the door.
"New member? What new member?" Syferr looked back and forth from the door and Zero.
"Oh that's right! The welcoming party was this weeks dinner! I just got so caught up in finding that last piece …" Zero stood up from his chair, pulled out a small comb from his pocket and started combing his big bushy hair. He then proceeded to walk towards the wardrobe on the opposite side of the door. Beside the wardrobe was a made single-person bed with a small stool used as a table beside it.
"Hey! What new member!? Was anyone going to tell me?" Syferr shouted, putting his arms across his chest.
"Mother Gaia … discussed it last week with us during our weekly dinner meeting." Han snapped at Syferr in the same soft tone again from behind the door.
"Seriously? I don't remember that at all! All I remember was some blond lady and the amazingly awesome food! It was better than ever before!" Syferr started sinking into his chair as he looked towards the ceiling and drooled from his mouth.
"Yes that would have been Sister Cerulean, you know, leader of Apas, the Realms of Water? The one who was hand-selecting the new member to join us?" Zero stared at Syferr while putting on a clean, long-sleeve, gray coat that went down to his knees. On the back of this coat was a symbol of a triangle with a line going through the upper middle part of it.
"Sister who?" Syferr asked, still drooling from his mouth and looking up towards the ceiling.
"Sister Cerulean, one of the Four Leaders of all of Eden. She wishes to assist us in our research." Han once again snapped at him from behind the door, this time in a normal tone.
"Sheesh, Syferr, how do you function around here if you can't even remember basic facts about the world you live in? Or let me guess, you've probably forgotten that Eden is our entire little planet here in our solar system?" Zero smiled at Syferr as he finished putting on his coat. Syferr still seemed out of it as if he hadn't heard a word they said to him. Zero turned towards the door and his smile turned into a small frown.
"And for heavens sake, Han! If you're going to take the time to be part of the conversation you might as well save yourself from growing weary standing there and just come in!" Zero shouted at the door and placed his hands upon his hips. He was growing impatient of Han's own shenanigans.
Han opened the door and walked in. Zero just frowned at him while Syferr was still in his chair dreaming about the food. Han was also a tall man who looked like he was in his early-twenties. He had dark, tan skin and long, straight, blond hair which he put up in a bun. His bangs, also long, were left hanging down but parted in the middle above his forehead. He wore a black, short-sleeve shirt and charcoal-gray leggings. He walked towards the wardrobe Zero had pulled his gray coat out of and pulled a nearly identical coat out of it yet this one was brownish-green with a symbol of an upside down triangle, with a line going through the lower middle part of it, on the back of the coat.
"You hadn't even gotten your Elemental Coat yet?" Zero put the tips of his index and middle fingers on his forehead while keeping one hand on his hip. He looked at Han with open eyes.
"No, I hadn't." Han whispered as he began to put on his coat.
"So were you going to just magically grab your coat through the door then leave for dinner?" Zero crossed his arms and smiled at Han.
"No. I was going to wait for you two to leave, then I was going to put it on." Han looked at Zero with a blank expression as if it was a perfectly normal thing to do.
"Um … Why?"
"Because you sounded disturbed when I first knocked on the door. I didn't wish to interrupt you and Syferr." Han finished putting his coat on and walked towards the door, his back was now facing Zero. "We shouldn't keep our guest and new member waiting." he opened the door and began to walk out.
"Han …" Zero called out to him.
"Yes?" Han paused his step.
"I appreciate your concern. And if it helps, Syferr and I are never disturbed by your presence. You're a member of the team and we couldn't be one without you." Zero smiled at Han.
"Yeah, Han, no reason to be so overly careful. We're tough, we can take it." Syferr held a huge grin on his face while putting his right arm up in the air and flexing it. He seemed to have snapped out of his daydream due to the change in tone that occurred in Zero's voice.
A slight smile emerged on Han's face. "Thank you, Zero, Syferr." he whispered then walked out of the room closing the door behind him.
"Alright then! Let's go meet the new guy!" Syferr cheered and jumped up out of the chair with his arms extended towards the ceiling.
"Yes, it will be interesting to see who this new person is. I wonder what talents and skills they might have.” Zero was stroking his chin hairs with his index finger and thumb. “Hmm … sucks that Sister Cerulean insisted on surprising us. Oh well, the more exciting it will be I suppose!" Zero shrugged with a smile on his face. "Oh by the way, Syferr, don't forget your coat." Zero threw Syferr a coat that was dark red in color. It was also an Elemental Coat and had the symbol of a triangle on the back of it.
"Right! Thanks, Z! Now let's go! I can't wait to meet our new member!" Syferr caught the coat and began to put it on.
Zero walked towards the door and opened it.
Syferr finished putting on his coat then jumped through the doorway. "Get the lights, will ya, Z?" Syferr asked while running ahead of him down the hall.
"Not giving me much of a choice, are you, Syferr?" Zero said to himself. Zero took his arm and waved it gently towards the lit candles on the wall and on the table. A gust of wind appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and whisked the fires out. "Well it is more suited towards my handiwork I suppose." Zero grinned and chuckled as he closed the door behind him. He locked it with a key that he pulled from his pants pocket and began to make his way down the hall. Zero’s shoulders hunched forward as he walked with both hands in his coat pockets. The hallway, like the room, was candlelit which illuminated the white clay that plastered the walls and the red clay that formed the floors. It was wide enough for about three people.
After a short walk, Zero arrived at the double-door entrance to the dining hall. He stopped at the doors noticing Han was standing outside of them. Han held a long sword on his left side. It seemed he was guarding the entrance.
"That's a bit much for just a welcoming, don't you think?" Zero was looking at Han’s sword.
"It is always enough." Han murmured, gripping his sword with his left hand. "Sister Cerulean has not yet arrived and until she is verified by me, I will be protecting this entrance." Han’s tone grew stronger, he kept his gaze toward the end of the hall.
"Verified? What do you need to verify? She was just here last week and we didn't verify her then." Zero raised his forehead at Han.
"We have our reasons. Mother Gaia will explain to you soon." Han extended his left arm and hand towards the double-doors, beckoning him to enter the dining room.
"I see. Well then, in appreciation for your protection, I'll be sure to save you some food from our gluttonous hot head, Syferr." Zero said in a semi-jokingly manner as he gandered at Han.
"I would appreciate that, Zero." Han grew a small smile on his face as he finally met Zero’s eyes with his own.
Zero returned a smile and proceeded to walk through the doors into the dining hall. The room was medium-sized and made of the same clay that the hallway was. On the wall to the right of Zero at the double-door entrance was another wall that had big rectangular windows with rounded edges, they let natural light in. In the middle of the room was a wooden rectangular table. Above the table was a hanging red clay circle that held many lit candles. Around the table were six wooden chairs pulled up into it with one chair on each short end and two chairs on each of the long sides of the table. Upon the middle of the table were ceramic mugs that circled a big ceramic pot in the middle of them. Inside the pot was hot herbal tea.
On one of the far ends of the table sat a middle-aged lady with dark, tan skin and long, wavy, black hair. She had a white, sleeveless, leather tunic on revealing toned and muscular arms. Upon her wrists were tan, leather braces. She resembled Han in many ways except for his blond hair. Syferr, the only other one sitting in the room and on the opposite end of the table, was staring her down.
"You gave them the wrong time!? But I'm sooo hungry and really can't wait to meet our new member! I don't understand Mother!” Syferr shouted across the table, he stood up in front of his chair.
Zero looked at Syferr then walked up towards the table, pulled out a chair and sat down next to Mother Gaia and shifted his gaze to her, "What's going on Mother? Han was also acting all strange about the arrival of Sister Cerulean and our new member. He said you would explain to us soon?"
Mother Gaia picked up the ceramic mug in front of her and sipped at the tea inside. She pulled back her long, parted bangs a bit and looked Syferr in the eyes. "First, if you would, please move from the guest seat, Syferr. We don't wish to disrespect our guest, Sister Cerulean."
"Disrespect!? Are you kidding? You're doing all of these precautions and even invited them to dinner late! I mean how could you treat someone so willing to even hand-select a strong and helpful person to become a member of our research team with such distrust?” Syferr oddly seemed to recall important details when he was hungry. “How can you expect them to trust us if we can't even trust them!? Syferr shouted and slammed the front of his fist down on the table. It seemed as if there were scorch marks left on the table around his fist.
Mother Gaia quickly stood up from her chair and slammed both of her palms down on the table, "Syferr Draco! Calm down right now! I don't need you destroying my table, especially right before this important meeting!" she glared at Syferr, challenging his uproar with her own.
Zero blinked at Mother Gaia’s fierceness then turned to Syferr, "Yes, Syferr, calm down a bit, I'm sure Mother has very good reasons for the decisions she has made if only we could give her the time to explain."
Syferr stood up out of the guest chair and shoved it back into the table. He crossed his arms around his chest and walked around to the side Zero was sitting on and sat in the chair next to him. He was scowling. "Fine. But I want first dibs on the food and as much as I want at that." Syferr directed his scowl at Mother Gaia.
"Not tonight, Syferr, we cannot afford for this meeting to go badly but you can have as much food that is left over as we fixed extra for our guests tonight. Deal?" Mother Gaia was still glaring at him with her hands set firm upon the table.
"Ughh I feel like I'm going to die … fine, deal." Syferr complained and gave in once more. His scowl had turned into a miserable frown and he laid his head down in his arms upon the table.
"Okay, the reason I am setting up so many precautions is for exactly what you said Syferr." Mother Gaia had sat back down in her seat. She turned towards Syferr and Zero.
Syferr raised his head from the table and looked at her with wide eyes. “Huh?” he muttered.
"Sister Cerulean is a very charming person. While we have had no disharmony in the past with the Realms of Water, I'm a bit unsettled with how quickly she chose to work with us. For a year we have run this research team with only Han and you two. Each one of you representing a unique elemental nature. And despite the many invitations as we have given her to help complete the balance, she always denied them until recently. To be precise, ever since Syferr decrypted those ancient documents of yours Zero and you two started to find more about Ether, her entire communication stature has changed. She's gone from wanting no part of researching sustainability and saving Eden to insisting upon 'giving her share'. If that's not enough, she is hand-picking her own favored individual to be a part of our research team. And so, I fear she may have an ulterior motive for why she is working with us. As far as we know, she could be planning to take our team out." Mother Gaia bit her lip a little while she looked at Zero and Syferr. She had crossed her arms in front of her chest.
"Well that explains what Han is doing outside the door. He seems to be enjoying doors lately don't you think, Syferr?" Zero smiled and partially covered his mouth with his fist, chuckling a little.
"Ha, yeah, no kidding." Syferr grew a little smile, although returning his head into his arms.
"What are you two talking about?" Mother Gaia looked at them both back and forth.
"Nothing, it's nothing. Well you see, Syferr? There you have it, a perfectly reasonable decision don't you think?" Zero said as he pulled a ceramic cup of tea towards him from the center of the table, he sipped at it.
"Yeah. I'm sorry … I shouldn't have outraged like that. I'm just … really hungry." Syferr shifted his eyes to the right.
"You blew up because you are hungry? You can do better than that, you're even looking away. What's really bothering you?" Zero audited him.
"I don't want to talk about it right now, I just want to eat." Syferr mumbled.
"It's okay, Syferr, we can discuss it later. Right now we have to get back on topic." Mother Gaia turned her stare into a gaze.
"Sister Cerulean and her chosen delegate are about to arrive. The reason I invited her late was so that I could explain to you two what was going on. You two have been so busy researching Ether I didn't want to distract you both by telling you our concerns earlier. And while I do not mean to instill fear inside of you two, I need the both of you to be prepared for the worst. We do not know what to expect and I will not let my children's safety be put into jeopardy." Mother Gaia raised her fist in the air and clenched it, her eyes sharpening as she did. She took a deep breath in then slowly sat down in her chair and drank some tea to calm down.
"Understood, Mother, we will be prepared for anything." Zero looked her directly in the eyes and nodded.
"Right on, Mother, I'm ready for the worst!" Syferr got up and stood tall on his chair. He took a big deep breathe in. Both Mother Gaia and Zero watched him, their eyes widening.
"Syferr, no!" Mother Gaia and Zero both shouted in unison. They jumped at Syferr to bring him back down in his chair but were too late.
"BRING IT ON SISTER, I'VE GOT SOME FIRE BLAZING FOR YA!!!" Syferr’s voice echoed throughout the dining room. Steam started to appear around his fists.
Han was still waiting outside the doors to the dining hall. He sighed in response to hearing Syferr's taunt. She's here you idiot! Han thought to himself. Standing in front of him was a tall lady in her mid-thirties. She had long, white-blond hair that was put into a ponytail and pulled around her right shoulder. She had peachy-white skin and wore a long, buttoned up blue robe with an upside-down triangle on the back of it.
In her arms was what seemed to be a baby sea turtle, it looked like it was very tired, as if it had swam for hours. The lady brushed it’s shell with her hand.
"Greetings, Han, isn't it lovely to see you again? You and those handsome, long, blond locks." she held a small smile and eyed him up and down.
"Sister Cerulean." Han bowed, keeping his eyes locked upon hers. His tone was strong and stern.
"So formal and well mannered. Oh I could just eat you up in one bite! Ahahahaha!" Sister Cerulean cackled. "Perhaps I should arrange a trade with Mother Gaia instead, hmm? Her handsome, stud of a man for my sharp-minded, baby sister. What do you think? Huh, Han?" she tilted her head a little and winked at him as a smirk emerged from her face.
By Sister Cerulean’s side was a young girl in her late-teens or early-twenties. Her head was tilted downward and she was looking towards the floor. She had medium-long, white-blonde hair that just barely touched her shoulders. One side of her hair was shorter than the other. She, like Sister Cerulean, had peachy-white skin and wore a blue coat with an upside-down triangle on the back of it. Underneath her unbuttoned coat she wore an indigo shirt and dark blue leggings. Strapped along her side was a medium-sized, tan, leather satchel supposedly holding traveling necessities.
Sister Cerulean stepped closer to Han. He pulled his sheathed sword up a little with his left hand and held his thumb on the hand guard.
"I'm only kidding Han, there is no reason to be so hostile. Although I can only wonder who that boy, Syferr, I believe, was talking to by screaming such a rude thing just now? Don't tell me … has the Mother gotten untrustworthy of me by my sudden desire to help her? She is a bit old, I can't blame her for being frightened of me. She's probably lost her kick from her younger years I'd suppose-" she was interrupted by Han unsheathing his sword halfway.
Han gritted his teeth together and glared at Sister Cerulean, "Mother Gaia and the rest of Gaia's Research Team are waiting inside the dining hall. They are awaiting your company and are eager to meet the new member. Please, after you two." Han opened the double door entrance to the dining hall and gestured for them to proceed.
"You know, I still can't believe she had the nerve to name a Sanctuary, for all people, after herself. It's a bit arrogant don't you think?" Sister Cerulean pierced Han with her eyes as she walked up towards the entrance.
"We named this Sanctuary after it's original name. It was in respect to the wishes of the people back then to find unity and peace with one another, nothing more." Han snapped in response, his eyes tackling her in retort.
"My, my, aren't you a touchy one? Don't worry Han, all will be well. We shall proceed." she walked through the dining hall with her younger sister following her. While Sister Cerulean had been out in the hall with Han, food had been brought out by the cooks and set on the table. Syferr, against Mother Gaia's advisement, had already began to eat.
"Sister Cerulean!" Mother Gaia called out to her while getting up out of her chair to guide her and her sister to their seats. "Welcome back to Gaia, we are happy to have you again." she smiled as Sister Cerulean sat down in the chair Syferr originally sat in when he was arguing with Mother Gaia earlier. "Please forgive Syferr for eating before your arrival, his appetite is something he has trouble controlling." she explained to Sister Cerulean as she led her younger sister to the seat opposite of Syferr.
"That wouldn't be the only thing he has trouble controlling, wouldn't you say?" Sister Cerulean raised her chin and looked down upon Mother Gaia.
Mother Gaia had just sat back down in her seat. She widened her gaze at Sister Cerulean. Did she hear Syferr's challenge? If she did, what will she do? Mother Gaia thought to herself.
Han had just walked in and was making his way to the table. He looked at Syferr and while he walked towards his seat next to Sister Cerulean's sister, he made a quick remark, "He's got quite the fire in his belly, don't you think?" Han smiled at Sister Cerulean as he questioned her, his tone still strong. Syferr looked up at Han with an eyebrow raised and puffy cheeks as he was stuffing his face with food.
Mother Gaia's eyes enlarged even wider as she looked at Han. She then looked at Zero and he nodded. Sister Cerulean did hear him! And Han just attempted to throw her off from thinking it was a direct threat … Will she fall for it? Mother Gaia thought to herself. She began to nibble on her thumb nail.
"Syferr has the tendency to challenge those he believes is keeping food away from him. You see, when he was a child his father wouldn't feed him until he defeated the enemy he was presented with. It was an age old method of training and a very difficult childhood he had to withstand. And so, now he believes to get his food, he must defeat whoever is keeping it away." Han explained further.
"Wha? Muh fathu ner di tha-" Syferr mumbled with food stuffed in his mouth but was interrupted by Zero quickly shoving more food into his mouth.
"Eat the food! We don't need you attacking our guests, Syferr! Be sure you get enough!" Zero exclaimed while shoving another piece of food in Syferr's mouth.
"Oh my … that definitely sounds like Draco … well then, that explains his outburst earlier. I am ever so sad to hear you had to endure that. Please, by all means, continue to eat!" Sister Cerulean waved her underhand towards his food.
Syferr paused his eating for a second and glanced at Sister Cerulean, “Uh … okay!” his eyes squinted as his cheeks rose from his stuffed smile, he continued to eat.
Mother Gaia stopped nibbling on her thumb nail as her mouth fell open. She couldn't believe her eyes. She actually believed Han's lie! "Yes, you know Brother Draco, he is very old-fashioned … I assume you heard Syferr’s outburst earlier?" Mother Gaia sat up right and relaxed as she questioned Sister Cerulean.
"Yes. But I more than understand now." Sister Cerulean replied with a slight smile on her face. "That aside, let's just get straight to the point. This is my younger sister, Seren. She is head of the Realms of Water's Department of History, Mythology & Mysteries. She is in the top of her field and I believe can be a valuable asset to your team. Go ahead, Seren, introduce yourself." Sister Cerulean assessed her sister.
Seren’s eyes widened as she quickly jolted up out of her chair and stood tall, hands and arms down by her side. She bowed at everyone and while doing so she whispered in an even more quiet and softer tone than Han's, "Hello, I'm Seren."
Zero and Syferr exchanged looks. Syferr stopped chewing the food bulging out of his mouth and smiled at Zero. Zero smiled in return and whispered to Syferr, "Looks like we have another Han on our hands, yes?"
"Yeh hau hau, shhe sond juts lie em!" Syferr whispered to Zero.
"Oh will you swallow your food before you talk!?" Zero whispered louder but not so much to be heard by everyone.
"Buh is so guhd!" Syferr whispered while giving Zero a big food stuffed smile, his eyes squinting once more.
While Zero and Syferr were bickering, Han had already made his move on Seren. "It's lovely to have you Seren, as you already know, my name is Han." Han bowed his head a little above the table.
Seren just looked at him and nodded. Mother Gaia also welcomed her and bowed in return followed by Zero and Syferr.
Sister Cerulean place her palms together on her lap then peered at her sister, "Seren."
"Oh! Yes, of course!" Seren responded to her older sister as she quickly sat back into her seat. "I am very thankful for your hospitality, Mother Gaia, it is much undeserved." she said as she bowed once more.
"Undeser-?" Mother Gaia tilted her head a little and began to question Seren's statement but was interrupted by Sister Cerulean.
"Getting back on topic." Sister Cerulean blurted as she picked up her spoon. "But first, I don't mean to be rude but since one of us has already begun to feast, I don't see why we haven't joined him?" she questioned Mother Gaia.
"Why of course, my apologies." Mother Gaia stood up, raised and extended her arms out from each side of her body and said, "May we begin our celebration of communion. We give thanks for our food and for those who gathered it for us." she bowed with a smile on her face and sat back down in her seat. Everyone then joined Syferr and began to eat the food in front of them.
After taking a few bites of her food, Sister Cerulean started to place some pieces of her food on a side plate. "Mother Gaia, I appreciate your hospitality but I'm afraid I don't have much time this dinner. Brother Draco, is awaiting my company for tomorrow as I have an important meeting with him. So, I wish to make this quick." Sister Cerulean had then placed her companion sea turtle on the table to eat the food she had set aside. She stroked the turtles shell and took a few more bites of her food as well.
Mother Gaia had looked at Han and then at Zero and Syferr as well. They all stopped eating and seemed to calm themselves in preparation for something. "By all means, we do not mean to withhold you any longer." Mother Gaia pointed at Sister Cerulean with her underhand and encouraged her to continue.
"Yes, I doubt you do. Anyways, back to what's important. I have brought Seren here not only to aid all of Eden through the research for more sustainable practices but also because of your findings on Ether."
I knew it! She was after Ether all along! Mother Gaia thought to herself.
"I'm sure you are aware of the implications your findings have brought about. The power that could be attained by utilizing Ether is unimaginable. And so, it is very dangerous for just one party to have it. With that said, my main reason for leaving Seren here with you is for the protection of my people of the Realms of Water. And so, in exchange for leaving my best delegate with you, I ask only this: That she be briefed and fully aware of everything you and your team have found and continue to find on Ether. And that she report these briefings to me." Sister Cerulean was resting her elbows on the table and had interlocked her hands together. She was eying Mother Gaia.
Mother Gaia rested her hands on the table and returned a stare in response, "That is quite the demand, Sister Cerulean. Don't you think it would have been better to mention this last week, or perhaps give us more time to discuss this?" Mother Gaia questioned her.
"No. Seren is everything you need Mother Gaia. I am not unaware of your dilemma here. Without a properly trained Water Bender your research into Ether is halted. Like you, I know how important Ether is to the continuation of Eden. And although I am hesitant to pursue it after what happened …" Sister Cerulean paused for a moment, her eyes grew wider and her pupils began to shake. "I would rather you have a well trained Water Bender that I have connection to than you eventually finding one on your own."
"I see." Mother Gaia paused for a second to let what Sister Cerulean had said sink in. "I can tell you have put much thought into this, Sister Cerulean. I understand the risks you are taking. Alright, you have a deal."
Zero looked at Mother Gaia with his mouth hanging open. He couldn't believe that she made this decision so hastily. "Mother Gaia I-." Mother Gaia halted Zero's objection by putting her hand up towards him. He looked at her, nodded and rested his case.
"Good! Then we have an agreement." Sister Cerulean said as she finished the last bit of her food. "I will have Seren report-."
"On one condition. Seren stays here in the village the entire time unless we accompany her. Any and all reports to you will be written by Seren and then inspected by my people before they are sent. But if you wish, you are always welcome to be briefed by us while we enjoy a dinners meal together." Mother Gaia had then rested her own elbows on the table and interlocked her hands. She looked back at Sister Cerulean with a smirk on her face.
Sister Cerulean frowned at Mother Gaia, "I don't find it very welcoming of you to interrupt me while we are discussing very important details."
"Oh yes, silly me!" Mother Gaia threw her hands in the air in front of her face and glanced upward. "I have this habit of treating people with the same respect they give others. Please, do forgive me." Mother Gaia redirected her focus toward Sister Cerulean, her smirk had turned into a frown.
Seren's mouth dropped open as she looked up at Mother Gaia. No one had ever stood up for her before, nor did they challenge Sister Cerulean with such confidence.
"Well I never …" Sister Cerulean scoffed at her.
"There's a first time for everything … now, do we have an agreement?" Mother Gaia asked. I’ve won, she thought to herself.
Sister Cerulean bit her lip. Such disrespect … how humiliating! But I have no choice, I can’t risk losing this opportunity! We need Seren here at all costs! Sister Cerulean warred with herself in her mind. "Fine. We have a deal."
"Good. Now then, Han, why don't you show her the door, our guest is on a tight schedule. We wouldn't want her to be late now, would we?" Mother Gaia tilted her head a little to right and looked at Han with a sweet smile.
"Yes, Mother. Right away." Han said as he got up from his chair and walked towards the door.
Sister Cerulean rose from her seat and looked at Seren. "Do not screw up. For your peoples' sake, do your duty!"
Seren looked at her with enlarged eyes and nodded, her head shook a little as she did.
"Good." said Sister Cerulean. She picked up her companion Sea Turtle and walked towards the door that Han had opened for her.
"Oh and Sister Cerulean?" Mother Gaia called out to her from across the room.
"What could you possibly want now?" Sister Cerulean turned and snapped at her.
"Say hello to Draco for me. Let him know Mother is happy to hear he's playing nicely with his Sister." she said as she smirked at her.
"Ugghhh!" Sister Cerulean groaned and scowled as she clenched her fist and turned away. She then proceeded to tramp out of the dining hall.
Seren watched from afar, her mouth hanging open once more in disbelief. She beat her … , Seren thought to herself.
Afterward, Han closed the door behind Sister Cerulean and returned to the table to rejoin the dinner.
“Well, I’d say that was a success.” Zero looked at Mother Gaia and smiled. “Well done, Mother." he added.
Mother Gaia smiled at him in return, “Thank you, Zero.”
Seren turned and glanced at Mother Gaia. She’s amazing … , she thought.
“Shall we finish our food then?” Han suggested.
Everyone seemed eager to accept this idea and returned to feasting, however, Syferr, had passed out in his plate.
"Every time." Zero stated while looking at Syferr snoring in his food.
“Did he sleep through that whole argument?” Han’s eyes grew bigger.
Zero smiled, “Seems so. Even while he sleeps he's obnoxious, haha."
"Hehe." Seren giggled as she watched Syferr.
Everyone looked at Seren in shock. She had made a sound!
Zero smiled at her then turned towards Syferr, "Well.. it looks like you've finally made a fan, Syferr, and you don't even get to be awake to enjoy it."
"Seren." Mother Gaia called to her.
Seren jumped a little, "Yes, Mother Gaia?"
"I hope you aren't too upset with me this dinner, for the way I treated your dear sister? I do assure you I have nothing against her, it's just she always tends to stir my beehive and the Queen does not like her babies messed with. They deserve love and that is what I always want for them."
"Oh! No, by all means, I'm not upset, Mother Gaia." Seren bowed her head.
"Seren. It is okay to be truthful with me. As I said, my babies deserve love. And that includes you. You are part of the swarm now." she giggled and smiled at Seren.
"Me …? But you've only just met me, Mother Gaia."
"That doesn't matter darling, you are apart of the team now. Which means I look after you. Feel free to call me Mother, dear."
"Mother …" Seren whispered aloud as her still eyes stared into space.
"Yeah, you're part of the team! So that makes us family! You're gonna love it here, I promise!" Syferr had awoken from his sleep and joined in the conversation. He had food sliding off of the left cheek of his face. Regardless, he held a big bright smile.
"Oh! Hehehe." Seren looked at him and giggled while she covered her mouth.
"Uh, Syferr. You might want to … err … here." Han handed him a cloth.
"What's this for?" Syferr raised an eyebrow towards Han.
"Your face, Syferr! You have food all over it!" Zero’s eyebrows had pinched together as he scolded Syferr.
"I do? Oh boy! Leftovers!" Syferr began to pick the food off of his face and eat it.
"Oh you pig! Don't you have any manners?" Zero continued to frown.
"Manners? Never heard of 'em. Are they a type of food?"
"Food? No … you … ughh never mind." Zero rolled his eyes to the right.
"Hahaha! Mmmm! Tasty!" Syferr licked the food off of his fingers.
Everyone at the table had begun to laugh. Syferr, being the goof he was started to do tricks with his forks and knives while of course, Zero bickered at him. Seren was starting to really cheer up and Mother Gaia and Han were very happy to see this.
"Erm … Mother … I really did mean it." Seren’s eyes traveled back and forth from the table and Mother Gaia.
"Oh? Mean what, dear?" Mother Gaia tilted her head a little.
"I'm not upset, for the way you talked to Sister Cerulean."
"Oh … well I'm happy to hear that." she smiled and sighed a little.
"Thank you. You stood up for me. No one has ever done that before. Especially not to Sister Cerulean …" Seren’s eyes grew larger as she took a deep breath in.
Mother Gaia arose from her seat and walked over to Seren. She knelt down beside her and put her hand on Seren's. "You're welcome, Seren. Truly, I want you to know I am here for you whenever you may need me and so are the rest of the team. As Syferr said, we're a family and that means we are here for you no matter the situation." she said as she looked into Seren's eyes with a smile.
Seren looked down at Mother Gaia on her knees. Seren’s eyes were wide and began to glisten from the tears beginning to form. She smiled and nodded at Mother Gaia. *Sigh* Seren let out her breath and her eyes shrunk to normal as two tear drops fell down her face.
Mother Gaia smiled even brighter, got up from her knees and hugged Seren, “You are welcome here, Seren." she whispered to her in her ear.
Seren embraced the hug and cried even more, “I’m sorry … I …-”
“It’s okay.” Mother Gaia interjected.
Han, Syferr and Zero watched from their seats. All three of them looked at each other and smiled as they witnessed the release in front of them.
After a few minutes of embrace, Seren’s tears began to cease.
“Thank you, Mother Gaia.” Seren said aloud.
Mother Gaia let go of her embrace and pulled back to stand in front of Seren. Her eyes squinted as she smiled at her, “Always, Seren.”
Tears began to reappear in Seren’s eyes, “Mhmm." she nodded at Mother Gaia as she wiped the small tears away with her hand.
Mother Gaia looked out the window, "Oh, it's getting pretty late. Syferr? Why don't you show Seren to her room? That way she can have some time to get used to her new home before she goes to sleep." Mother Gaia turned and looked across the table at him.
"Sure thing! Alright! I can show you all the cool places around here on the way there too!" Syferr called to Seren then clenched his fists and shot his arms into the air above his head. Once again, he held a goofy grin.
Seren smiled and blushed a little.
"Mother, is that really a good idea? You know how Syferr can be." Zero objected as he peered at Mother Gaia.
"They seem to be getting along fine, and Syferr can control himself. Lighten up, Zero. You know, the way you act with him, you'd think you would be his mother, haha!" Mother Gaia giggled.
"Ha. Ha. You're really funny. Let me go with him, at least I can keep him under control." Zero continued to protest, his face became more neutral.
"I'm only picking, Zero, and no. I need to discuss something with you so if you will, stay behind."
"Oh. Okay, of course."
"Alrighty then, let's go, Seren! We've got a lot to explore!" Syferr shouted putting his fist up in the air in joy.
"Yes, okay." Seren whispered but with a smile on her face.
Syferr ran over to Seren and grabbed her hand. He started leading her through the double door they entered in before. Han turned in his seat and watched them leave the room. He then turned back and looked down at the table. Afterward he rose from his seat and paused his glance into the space in front of him, his face was expressionless.
"Han. It's okay son, don't give up just yet. First impressions are great but it's the deeper impression that matters." Mother Gaia posited to Han as if she knew exactly how he was feeling.
"Yes, Mother." Han whispered. He kept a blank expression. "It's about time for the Night Class … I don't want to keep them waiting." Han pushed in his chair, turned and half-bowed to Zero and Mother Gaia then proceeded to walk to the exit and out of the dining hall.
"The Night Class starts tonight? And you have Han teaching it, Mother?" Zero’s eyes bugged out as he questioned her. He then titled his head down and looked towards the ground.
"Yes, I meant to tell you … I just … I know how much you wanted that position. I'm sorry, Zero." she frowned at him.
"Yes, I rather did want that position. But I guess we can't have everything we want in life." Zero shifted his gaze up towards the table.
"The Night Class is something I know you would excel at teaching, Zero, it's just Han has a certain way with people that I feel is better suited for it. As for you, you have a certain way that I feel is best suited for the Morning Class. I want you to teach our beginner Monks."
"The Morning Class!? Are you kidding me, you want me to teach children? You see how much work Syferr is, now you want to make babysitting a full-time job for me?" Zero now faced Mother Gaia as he protested.
"Precisely.” Mother Gaia giggled. “That is exactly why I want you to teach the Morning Class. Syferr is only twenty years old and he's a handful himself. Yet no matter how much work he is you still don't give up on him. You are always looking out for him and guiding him towards responsibility and maturity. Though, you could learn to have a little more fun which is also another reason I want you to work with the beginners."
"Oh I see, pick two apples with one hand I take it? So this is your grand scheme to make me enjoy myself more?" Zero crossed his arms in front of his chest and smiled at her.
"Yes, this is all to get you to smile, Zero." Mother Gaia giggled and smiled in return.
"Alright, I'll do it." Zero sighed. "Though I'm not promising you that I will like it or that I will smile from just working with kids at that."
"Good! You start tomorrow!"
"What!? Tomorrow!? But I haven't had any time to prepare, are you insane?"
"Don't worry, I've got a lesson plan already prepared for you. You don't even have to go over it, just follow the steps and you'll do fine."
"Oh, well okay then that's much more reasonable. I'll do my best. So, is this all you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Well actually, no. But it seems we should wait for another day. I think, it's best I don't overwhelm you considering this is all so sudden."
"Ah I see, well I do appreciate that. But are you sure? If it's really important I don't mind shouldering some weight."
"That is sweet of you, Zero, but no it can wait."
"Alright then, well if that's all I'd like to head back to my room so I may go prepare for the morning." Zero stood up from his seat and half-bowed towards Mother Gaia.
"Yes, that's all, you may go."
Zero headed towards the door and just as he began to walk through it he heard Mother Gaia say one last thing he did not want to hear.
"Oh and one more tiny, little thing I should probably mention! Due to his failure of the Monk exams, Syferr is being held back, thus, he is still in the morning class." Mother Gaia had a tiny smile on her face.
Zero grabbed his heart and started acting as if he was gasping for air. "The Great, Zero Om, has been defeated once again! The almighty, Syferr Draco, has left his burn mark on me to finish the job! Oh! Ohhh!" Zero fell to the floor.
"If it helps, Seren will also be joining him. She might be a trained Water Bender but as she is becoming part of the Ether Research Team she still has to go through our beginner training regime. Perhaps her water can douse his hot flame?" Mother Gaia giggled at his performance.
"Oh?" Zero stood to his feet once again wiping the dirt off of himself. He seemed to have a smile on his face. "I think that will make things quite interesting. I've always wanted to know how a high ranking Water Bender from the Realms of Water fights." Zero contemplated aloud.
"And let's not pretend, I know how much you care about Syferr, Zero. If I didn't know any better I'd think he was your actual little brother. I thought that this would make you the happiest. Giving you a class to teach while letting you watch out for Syferr at the same time."
Zero hesitated for a second after hearing what she said then responded, "Yes … you do know your children very well, Mother. You really do fit that title you know?" Zero complimented her.
"Thank you, Zero, that means the world to me." Mother Gaia had a tear come to her eye.
"No, Mother, thank you." Zero smiled and bowed once more, this time, a full bow.
Mother Gaia smiled and watched Zero walk out the double doors. Although Han may be my only real child, I love them just like any mother ever would. I'm so thankful for the love they each bring to me, they are such a wonderful gift, Mother Gaia thought to herself as the tears ran down through the bright smile on her face.