Jun 14

A Song, an Awakening - I

Illion was ready. 
There was no reason why he wouldn't be - it was just that monthly event that he'd been training for since he was young. No biggie, nothing special.
He laid down on his bed, staring at the ceiling above him. The window was open, bringing in fresh air that he'd come to miss in only a few minutes. He sighed, closing his eyes as he breathed it in.
"Ill?" A voice, softly calling him, shook him somewhat. He hadn't realized he'd been about to fall asleep.
"Yes, Estada?" He sat up, grabbing a cup from his bedside table and sipping from it. Oils.
His little sister entered the room, closing the door behind her as she did. It shut with a soft click. "Are you nervous, Ill?"
"Not at all." Despite his reassurance, he fidgetted as he always did. "How are your studies?"
Estada's hair was a blond mess, but her eyes were focused. "They're going alright, but I really dislike history. I just don't get why any of it happened."
"Well, I wish you luck," he replied, setting down the cup and closing the window. It was growing dark. "I'm sorry to cut this short, but I need to get down to the Amphitheater."
"Ah, thank you Ill. I hope to see you later." As quietly as she'd entered, Estada left, the door still open enough for Illion to follow her out. She'd already disappeared down the labyrinthian hallways.
He passed several guards as he headed to his mother's preparation chamber. She was there, as always, brushing a comb through her hair. She turned as he entered, a smile touching her face. 
"Ah, Illion, you're finally here. I was worried you'd gotten lost."
"Of course not, Mother. I appreciate your concern."
"Mm. Practice for me?"
A simple request. He breathed in deeply, closing his eyes, letting the music come.
It flowed smoothly, the notes clear, concise.  As he went up and down some scale whose name he'd never learned, his mother cut him off.
"That's enough, Illion. You'll do fine."
He bowed somewhat. "Thank you, Mother."
"It's time. Look at me." 
He righted himself as that all-too-familiar blindfold closed over his eyes, the tight knot at the back of his head holding the fabric there. He said nothing, as his mother's hand held his arm as she took him from the room and to the Amphitheater.
There was silence. He knew he was there, now - the air was different, it was warmer. No, it wasn't silent any longer - there was someone crying, but he had to ignore it.
His mother began to speak.
"Dear brothers and sisters, here, once again, we are to pay homage to the Creator of all, Madeora, she who.."
He, as always, tuned her out. Instead, he focused on the darkness and what he couldn't see. 
Why would Sorana never let him see the inside of the Amphitheater?
"Here, O Great One, we bring you a meal!"
His mother's grip on his arm tightened - his signal to summon Madeora, the being he'd never understood. Why did he have to do it?
He started to sing anyway. Breathing in, he opened his mouth and let the words come.

Awaken, O mother of the earth
She who feeds and caresses us
Even within the darkest moments
Awaken, for we are to pay tribute

 
The ground began to shake, as it had last month as well. Someone screamed.
 
Awaken, O mother of the eath
It's time to break your fast
Consume with ardor
Awaken, for we are to pay tribute

 
The earth itself roared, leaving a ringing in his ears. But he couldn't stop singing. If he did..
 
Awaken, O mother of the earth
We await your arrival

Don't delay, O
Awaken, for we are to pay tribute

 
The final stanza was met with both applause and screaming. Not from below the outcropping from where he'd been standing, no, from right behind him. His mother's hand on his arm fell away, and there was a soft thud next to him.
"Mother?!" He gripped and pulled at his blindfold, tearing it off. He blinked away the darkness, only to find a hard face staring at him, a sword in his hand.
"Where's Julio?"