Riwenne and her friends are learning more secrets about the Synthetic Ethereal Apparatus, and the devastating effect that it has on children. And we find out a new way that Riwenne is special.
The Complete Picture
I reached out my hand, shouting for her to stay, but it was too late. Raddee had left our airship after her declaration and now we were all reeling with the implications.
“What did she mean, children’s dreams?” I said, shaking my head. “It makes no sense.”
Yanis pounded on the table. “Come back here, Raddee! If you want me to be your champion, then you’d better help me save my home!”
Illari shook her head. “That’s what you get for putting all your faith in a divine being who doesn’t give a damn about human lives.”
Everyone protested at once.
Tika let out a piercing whistle. “That’s enough!” She fluttered down to the middle of the table. “Now, we need to calm down and talk about this rationally. We aren’t fighting with each other.” She fixed her eyes on Deryt. “Let’s start with what we know.”
Deryt shifted uncomfortably in his chair and cleared his throat. “Well, um, we know the temple is using these devices to gather some kind of energy from children in the government schools.” He glanced at Nexita beside him. “And we had some different theories about what the energy represented, but it would make sense if it came from dreams.”
I leaned forward. “When you say dreams, what do you mean? Like our hopes for the future or the dreams you have when you sleep?”
His frown deepened. “The second one, I think.”
Tika squawked, except she was so tiny, it came out more like an angry squeak. “That’s why it’s been so hard for Quilla to communicate with anyone!”
I snapped my fingers together. “Yes! She appears in my dreams, except these devices are blocking her messages from getting through.” I touched the back of my neck just to reassure myself, even though I knew I hadn’t worn one of those horrible school uniforms in over a year. “But wait, how did Sawycha contact me that first time? I was still in school.”
Tika sighed. “We spent months trying to establish that link with you.”
Amena touched the spot on her shoulder where Uqra used to perch. “She came to me in person the first time. My dreams were always normal. I didn’t get the vision-dreams until later. But I wasn’t in an imperial school.”
Everyone fell silent, looking at the floor as we remembered our fallen friend.
Except for Yanis, who looked at the rest of us in confusion. “I never went to an imperial school, either, since I was raised in a rebel village until I was assigned here. I’ve had normal dreams all my life, but no deity has tried to contact me until a few months ago when Quilla told me to wait for her champion.”
“She wasn’t strong enough to enter most dreams until Riwenne freed her,” Tika said. “Quilla was trapped in a prison by her sister and five other gods. Only someone as sensitive as Riwenne could have made that link.”