Feyth sat within a clearing of the pristine forests of Talthapha, the untamed continent. Behind her, her wide grey wings flexed. She was troubled; Feyth could sense a shifting of the magical energies. Something had happened. Behind her Esthero stood.

'You can feel it too.' It wasn't quite a question, just merely a statement.

Feyth replied, 'I fear for our cousins.'

'Why, they don't. The Atari would prefer to see our race fade into obscurity. The Dathkrall have sworn to destroy us. While the Dijinn seek to force us to reveal our powers to them.'

'They are misguided, yes; but I still fear for them, as I fear for the others.'

'They can all look after themselves; that is why Tathaygren is here, to care for them until the Creator's return.'

'No. Something is wrong, the Dathkrall have become misguided, I fear that is to be the fate for the Atari.' Esthero's wings folded behind his back in apprehension. He gripped his sister's arms, 'do not fear; if war should come, the Ankara will not become involved, we never have. We will be the pillars of strength for our cousins in their time of need.'

'That is what I fear. I do not think we will have the choice.' Feyth looked through the clearing at the night sky, watching as the third moon slowly rose high into the sky.

Risis felt the warmth of Ash'inai's familiar embrace. She sighed in contentment. All of her worries had faded from her. She still felt weak. Never in her life had she felt such a strong absence of magic within her. Closing her eyes she viewed the world through her magic-sight. Everything appeared different, dull. Life itself seemed obscure now.

Ash'inai spoke in a whisper, 'are you all right?'

'Yes, I think. No. It's wrong, everything looks different now.'

'That's because you can't see your own aura.'

'I'm tired. I feel weaker.'

'You'll get used to it.'

'What are we going to do?'


'For what?'

'War, the Dathkrall and the Dijinn will both strike at us when we are weak.'

'We better go then.'

The morning sunrise rose over the western waterfalls of Sinetha'taiah. The light glistened on the city. As the homes of the Atari begun to stir, two robed people quietly slipped past the streets of the southern quarter. The taller of the two walked ahead while the second, noticeably female in her figure, followed close behind. On they paced northward, towards the centre of the city. With a strong sense of purpose they scurried through the back streets of the city. By now many of the citizens of Sinetha'taiah were awake, tending to their morning chores. The couple finally stopped outside of a substantial-looking home. It was simple in its design, as were much of its furnishings. The man knocked at the wooden door. After another knock and a few moments wait the door opened.

'Kelos, it is me, Ash'inai. We need your help.'

Risis and Ash'inai were seated at Kelos' table. The house had obviously been in better condition, many things looked scattered or misplaced and much of the house looked bare. Kelos had been telling Ash'inai and Risis of the current state of affairs.

'And then last week they disbanded the Celestial Order.'

Risis' gasped in shock, 'on what grounds?'

'On the grounds that the Order had displeased Tathaygren. Now I have to pay for much of which the Order usually supplied, I've had to sell many of my possessions just so I will have enough money to care for myself.'

'Still, the Order is one of the oldest orders in existence, how could they do that?'

Ash'inai quietly mused, 'it would not have been hard, the Order had many enemies from the less powerful orders and many of the Lord and Ladies of the council who the Order had not supported. Once the order lost its power, its enemies would have been abounding.'

Kelos spoke once more, 'well just because the order no longer doesn't exist, doesn't mean the mages in it will just disappear, no matter how much the authorities want them to. Some have refused the councils ruling and have been arrested, while others have formed underground factions. Most of these people are of no consequence as almost all of the people in the order never bothered with self-magic, so now that Tathaygren has withdrawn his powers from the order, they are powerless. But if you are seeking an army of sorts then there are many a dozen who would join your cause. Most are your old students who you taught yourself.'

Ash'inai mused over this new this information for a moment before he spoke to Kelos.

'Kelos, would you be able to hide Risis here for a while, I need to speak to Lady Mirana. Her armies relied heavily on the Order. She will need the help of these rouge mages.'

'Of course you may, consider it penance for doubting you in the first place, my friend. But in case you don't know, the city has been sealed and put under curfew to stop the unrest from breaking out into riots. Of those that can't get into the city, I directed them to gather in the port-city of Halisstah.' He paused, 'these mages have very little experience in self-magic, if it comes to civil war them and Lady-Queen Mirana will be overwhelmed quickly.'

'I know,' Ash'inai replied. 'I will discuss this with Mirana.' He stopped again as though he was considering something. 'Kelos, I need you to take Risis to these mages and organise them. Once the streets become busier I will go to see Mirana.

'Okay, it's decided.' Kelos clapped his hands together with enthusiasm, now they would have a leader to help them through this crisis. He left the table to prepare for the day's work.

Mirana swept past servants of the court in a fit of rage. Through the elaborately decorated corridors of her manor. Tobia, her diligent servant, followed quickly behind her.

'I can't believe her!' Mirana shouted without any regard to her servants. 'The whole council is under her finger!' She burst into a chamber filled with generals, officers, advisors and Chancellor-Senators.

'What is wrong my lady?' An old man asked who was conversing with one of the generals. He was wearing white robes with a black cape featuring Mirana's symbol, symbolism for the sunlight, now commonly dubbed Tarai or the "Symbol of Light".

She addressed the whole room, 'Velaskae has obtained the seat of Grand-chancellor and now has the legal right to command the national armies of Atathiah and the nation's economy.' The whole room began to erupt in advice, suggestions and conversation about the implications to what had happened. 'Silence! There has also been rumour that mages from the celestial order have been going to the lands of the Dathkrall, where in return for servitude to their nation, they have retained their divine powers.' Another wave of discussion crossed the room over the implications of this. For most of the afternoon Mirana continued to talk to her advisors and discus their retaliation to recent events.

As the sun set her last advisor left the room. She sat in the chair at the head of the table, frustrated. Her dark hair blew gently in the small breeze from the open window.

'Hello my lady.' A voice spoke behind her. She turned to see Ash'inai.

'Ash'inai! How are you?'

'I'm fine.'


'So is she. I came to talk to you about the recent events.' Mirana sighed in frustration.

'Horrible! Velaskae has been appointed Grand-chancellor; the celestial order has been disbanded; my armies are almost void of skilled Craftmasters; and I have a pounding headache.' Ash'inai smiled at her. 'What?'

'You haven't changed much.'

'It was a long time ago Ash'inai. How have you been?'

'I've managed, until they exiled me.' He grinned.

'You're smiling again.' Mirana looked into his piercing green eyes; they still had vibrant life in them. He was al right.

'How is Aerith?'

'She's fine. She's becoming a beautiful woman. She has your eyes'

'This isn't what I'm here for; we have to plan our next move. The armies of the Dijinn are rumoured to be fortifying their borders while the Dathkrall are mobilizing their armies.'

'Once the celestial order was disbanded Velaskae's armies became the most powerful in the nation. My legions no longer have any support. After that she easily out manoeuvred me. Ash'inai, I need help, none of the smaller orders are capable nor willing to get involved in politics, especially now that an order has been disbanded for the first time in a millennia.'

'I might be able to. The Celestial order hasn't just disappeared; Kelos tells me that many of the Craftmasters and mages are forming resistance groups. They are certain that they had in no way displeased Tathaygren. As we speak Risis is uniting the factions within the city. All of the others are gathering at Halisstah. From here I'm leaving to lead them. Velaskae's and the imperial army will not be able to withstand an attack from both the Dijinn and Dathkrall.'

'Do you still think they would attack us?'

'Certainly, they Dijinn will seek to take back the lands we conquered; the Dathkrall have sworn to destroy us in our time of weakness.'

'If your right then the Atari face destruction. Without the Celestial Order our strength could barely match that of one of the other races.'

'Mirana, don't you see? This will affect not only the Atari, but this war will engulf the entire world. It will bring destruction upon all of us.' Mirana sat in thought for a moment.

'Come back when you have organized the mages. I will try to slow Velaskae down and fortify my estates. When the enemy does come I want to ensure that at least I will be ready.' Ash'inai moved to leave but Mirana spoke again, 'Ash'inai, I still love you. And no matter what happened between us Aerith is still our daughter, she would love you too. If she knew who you are.'

'Mirana, what happened between us ended. I will love my daughter but I will not tear her life apart as I did yours. She will live, I will ensure it.'

'Goodbye Ash'inai. May you be well.' Ash'inai leapt out of the window to land soundlessly on the outside ground. Mirana quietly walked to her bedchamber, changed into her nightgown and lay on her bed. A tear trickled down her cheek as she mourned the loss of her past husband. Quietly she drifted to a deep sleep.

In the middle of the Ashen'thel fields a battle was playing out. The Atari were defending a farming community against the invading Dathkrall. Among the fighting and raiding, the astral form of a woman, she appeared slightly transparent while ethereal energy pulsed from her. She looked around her; a moment ago she had been quietly lying on her bed. Her bright blue eyes contrasted against her jet-black hair. She was wearing the robes of an Atari Queen, Mirana. Garbed in a white long-sleeved top, black pants and a white silk robe with her insignia sown on the back, a white bird holding a red rose in its claws, and her personal symbol, the Tarai or symbol of light; the sigil of the lady-queen Mirana. Through the fighting she walked, invisible to those around her. She watched as the demon slaves of the Dathkrall tore through the community. Winged demons flew overhead occasionally swooping on an innocent. She watched helplessly, these Atari were only farmers with a few guards. She passed one of the granaries to look at the expansive fields. They were ablaze with red and black fire, a dark form of magic that the Dathkrall used—demon summoning. Astral tears flowed freely down her face. Suddenly her heart leapt. A demon eight feet tall loomed over a small child. Knowing it was futile, Mirana raced to the child's aid. Suddenly the demon cringed at Mirana's approach. It leapt and fled from the small child. Mirana turned to the Atari child. He stared crying from fear. He looked at her with a shocked expression.

'Run!' Mirana turned to see an enormous winged-demon looking directly at her, she stepped back. A dark ball of shadow formed in its clawed hands. As the demon threw the orb of darkness at her she turned to flee. Suddenly darkness engulfed her, the scene around her fading from sight…