Narrate: Kasvarina walks down the righthand aisle, and silently the past manifests around her in a bubble that reaches clear up to the rafters of the concert hall, more than a hundred feet overhead. At her side walks a stern-faced eladrin with a streak of white in his auburn hair, well-dressed despite the ongoing construction around them. In this memory-event, much of the ceiling has yet to be completed, leaving the structure open to the sky while crews of workmen put down the foundations of the stage and the rows of supports for the absent seats.

Kasvarina: It’s beautiful, Navras.

Navras: It’s not. Give it another few years… then it’ll be done. Finally, it will be done.

Narrate: Navras gives the weighty sigh of a man who looks forward to throwing off a long-shouldered burden. Some of you recall now, hearing that the opera house took over two centuries to construct. Eight different Risuri kings reigned before its doors finally opened.

Navras: I was beginning to think I might not live to see the first performance.

Kasvarina: (smiling) Knowing you, I think you’ll be giving the first performance. I only wish you’d had the sense to build this back home.

Navras: (firmly) I am home. Risur is my country now, and I doubt very much I’ll be leaving its soil ever again.

Narrate: Kasvarina looks at him, aghast. Navras turns to look at her, and you can suddenly see a gleam of anger in his old, weary eyes.

Kasvarina: You shouldn’t say things like that. Elfaivar is—

Navras: —Turning into something ugly, thanks to you and the other matriarchs. But mostly, thanks to you.

Narrate: Kasvarina bows her head, fighting back tears like a shamed child.

Kasvarina: Will you at least let me hear your first perfomance…?

Navras: (with quiet rage) If I see you at the night of the debut, I’ll drag you out of this building by your hair—that is, if you don’t kill me like you killed your friends. Goodbye, Kasvarina; I hope you reap what you sow.

Narrate: Navras stalks off without sparing her a second glance, and the matriarch stares a hole in the floor, her fists balled up with impotent frustration, sorrow, and embarrassment. There’s a strange flicker as the memory-event ends, showing the concert hall complete and filled with an eager crowd, but it fades in an instant, and the Arc reappears atop Kasvarina’s head.


Zeitgeist elfshire