The Ruby Insignia
The Year 6378 OI
“I got it for you,” a soft voice whispered.
Kerria turned. Alian balanced the water-pitcher in one hand and a glass cup in the other. Alian, her assistant, was a petite female from Spring Court. She was the same height as Kerria, but that was just about the only thing they shared.
Kerria took the glass from her. “You can rest the pitcher on the table,” she said, pointing at the chipped wooden table, the centerpiece of her bedroom ever since she moved to the city in Dunia.
Alian stood out from most of Dunia’s people. She had a sandy complexion and warm, brown hair. Nothing like Dunia’s darker skin and black woolen hair. As a Spring Courtian, Alian had a knack for lighter colors, preferring pastel shades to the bolder hues that the females in Dunia wore.
Alian placed the pitcher down. “Anything else, oloye?”
Kerria shook her head, then turned to face the balcony. When Kerria first came to the city, she was taken aback by the low-hanging fog and cloudy skies. The city was hidden deep within the forests, but Kerria was intrigued by how far the people had come with the industrialization of the small town. They still didn’t have a rail for the Liners, but their ports were developed, and ships would often dock at the ports with goods from the mainland.
“And he’s here.” Alian’s words were delicate and timid.
Kerria turned to look at her. “Who’s here?”
Kerria sighed, then forced herself toward the door. She grabbed the sweater hanging over the bedpost. “He told me He’d only visit at night.”
“Who is he?” Alian followed behind Kerria as she made her way to the stairwell.
Avoiding the long-winded conversation Alian was pressing to have, Kerria pushed past her and strutted into the hallway, breaking out in a half-sprint onto the stairs and carefully avoiding the maid-servant making her way up. As she descended the staircase, she could partially see Him in the foyer, comfortably seated on a linen-upholstered sofa centered in the open room.
He was covered from head-to-toe in black: a black cloak with a deep-set hood pulled over His face, covering the upper portion in black and the lower portion in shadow. Kerria could only see a glimpse of the smile on His face and a bit of golden flecks from His eyes if He angled His head right. She was shorter, so if the sunlight caught underneath the hood, she could make out some expression on His face.
The smile on His lips spread when He noticed that she stood on the last stair, watching.
Kerria pulled in a breath and made her way into the foyer. “Don’t visit during the day unless it’s an emergency,” she scolded.
He laughed. “This is an emergency.”
“I don’t find this funny.”
The Asaylin shrugged her off, slouching further into the sofa. He’d kept Himself away from Ịtoba for centuries. Centuries since the Zamŷni Wars—decades since the Rebellion. On the rare occasions He did visit, His preferred attire was the black hooded cloak, shrouding Him in a mystery that no one dared to uncover.
Today was no different, except it was thirty-two years since she last saw Him. So, it must have been an emergency of an exponential sort.
“Tell me,” she said.
“I think you would be interested in the information I found out,” He began. “Luce paid a visit to Ịtobaaround three years ago, but he showed his face in Spring Court yesterday.”
Kerria’s lips twitched. “Luce is in Ịtoba?” She didn’t want to think of it as true. “I thought he was trapped on Earth.”
The male shook His head. “Everyone believes that.”
“Give me one good reason why this should be my concern?” Kerria tapped her foot against the wooden floor.
“You are the Shujaa in charge of Kekere-Daun. I felt the need to tell you.”
“Ocia leads the Shujaa.”
“True. But I have My suspicions, and those suspicions led Me here.”
“I’ll still have to let Ocia know.” Kerria frowned. “Why didn’t You do something about Luce? You knew he was here for three years, and You did nothing.”
“How do you know whether I did something or not?” He straightened Himself. “Why should I draw attention to Myself?”
Kerria rolled her eyes. “Is that how You see it?”
“Lucifer is a traitor of these realms and the Triune Monarchy. Thus, he is a traitor to You. And You do nothing about him.”
“He doesn’t threaten Me.”
“Well, he threatens the rest of us,” Kerria argued. “You didn’t explain how he escaped Earth.”
“It’s complicated.” The smile on His face dropped. “There are open portals from Earth that lead to Kekere-Daun. I suspect that’s how he got in.”
Kerria crinkled her brows. “Open portals? What do You mean by that?”
The Asaylin tipped His head to the side; Kerria looked behind her and at Alian, who’d crept downstairs.
“I was—I just came to return these.” She showed Kerria the stack of plates she held in her hands.
Kerria shifted closer to the wall, allowing Alian to pass her and make her way into the kitchen. When she was out of sight, Kerria returned her attention to the Asaylin seated on her sofa. “You were saying?”
He shook His head at the question she posed. “I left the portals there to connect Kotak to Ịtoba, but I suspect someone in this Kingdom may have helped Luce get back in.” He got up, straightening His cloak and making His way to the door.
“Is this why You came to me? You think he’s hiding out here?”
“And You don’t mind this?”
“I have to go back. The other Asayli wait for Me in the Palace Courts.”
“You barely answered any of my questions.”
“I told you all you needed to know. I seal My lips from saying any more.” Then, He left.