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21 May 2015 @ 05:55 pm
FIC: Destroyer of Worlds, 1/1  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Destroyer of Worlds
Part: 1/1
Rating: G
Configuration: Yaden/Colin
Warnings: /
Word Count: 2000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index or the Phoenicipedia
Characters: Colin, Yaden, K'gosi
Summary: Attending a meeting of Ynagra priests on the Youh'Kai homeworld of Far'Gesh turns out a little less harmless than Colin thought.
Feedback: Yes, please!

---

“This area is not for public access,” the Youh'Kai at the desk, emphasizing each word with a gesture. “You have to turn around, go back and then left.”

“I think I am exactly where I want to be,” Colin replied, slightly defensive. After all, Father K'gosi had given him quite specific instructions. “I am here to -”

“Not. For. Tourists.” the Youh'Kai repeated, stabbing each word at Colin as if that would help him understand. “Guided Tours of the Temple are back in the main hall, then left.”

“Now listen you little shit.” Leaning forward, Colin put his hands onto the desk and growled. “I come here on the explicit invitation of one of the Seven Immortals, to speak at this meeting. And if you fucking little worm won't give me my name tag now, I will have your hide. Is that clear?!”

The Youh'Kai blinked, clearly surprised to have a softskin talk back at him in that tone. Then, Colin's words registered, and he gave him a doubtful side-eye. “Your name?” he asked.

“Father Colin of Schimmelbach, plus husband.”

Colin cast a glance over his shoulder at Yaden who was standing a little off, apparently inspecting the walls of the temple complex they were in.

The Youh'Kai at the desk sifted through a box of ivory sticks in front of him, then picking one out with visible surprise. “You are Father C'lin?”

“Colin. Yes.”

“Please excuse me, Father,” the Youh'Kai said, trying for a consoling tone. “I wasn't aware we were inviting sqet now.” He hesitated when he saw Colin's glare. “Humans. I mean Humans, Father...”

Colin rolled his eyes. “Don't bother,” he said, taking the name-tags. “I am used to it.”

The name-tags turned out to be narrow, flat sticks of ivory, a little larger than popsicle sticks, with thin leather strips on either end. They were handcrafted and carved with symbols on one side, apparently showing name and rank of each participant in the manner of Youh'Kai ba'ata. They were rather pretty, Colin had to admit.

Youh'Kai hospitality was a dicey thing, K'gosi had been right. On one hand, it was hard as a human here in the very bowels of Far'Gesh, their ancestral homeworld, in the temple city of Mar'Tecla. More than once they had already been mistaken as tourists, and sometimes the reaction had been not as condescending as just a moment ago, but borderline hostile. And then, a moment later, something as banal as your name-tag turned out to be a small work of art.

“Here, honey, there you go.” Colin said when he reached Yaden, holding out one of the name-tags for him.

“Have you seen this?!” Yaden asked, his eyes sparkling like a child's. “These wall are amazing! They must have been alive at some point, some sort of fungus, maybe, and it calcified! This temple hasn't been built, it has been grown!” Then his noticed Colin's bitter-sweet smile, and his excited descriptions trailed off. “Is everything alright? You sounded a little tense, over there...”

“Next time, I'll have K'gosi pick us up from the porter platform,” Colin sighed. “I am getting sick of Youh'Kai mistaking us for some clueless sqet tourists.“

“Can you really blame them?” Yaden asked with a low smirk. “I mean, you ARE the first non-Youh'Kai priest of any of their Gods.”

“Of course I can blame them, and I do!” Annoyed, he looked at the name-tags in his hands, trying to remember which one was his and which was Yaden's. “You don't happen to read old-fashioned Youh'Kai ba'ata script?”

“I don't even happen to read normal, everyday Imperial script, love.” With a soft chuckle, Yaden took both tags off Colin and inspected them. “I think this one's yours,” he said. “It's got that same symbol on it we saw on the temple gates. And the other one has something that looks a little like a mangled phoenix, so that's probably mine.”

Colin looked down, smiling wryly. “I could have seen that.”

Yaden just shrugged and smiled. He was so calm, so level, while all Colin could think of were all the countless ways this gathering here could go terribly wrong. Which, of course, was one of the reasons Colin had taken Yaden with him onto this trip. That, and the fact that Jenny had just given birth to her second child after Kaylee. Little Roja was mere three days old now, and even though Jenny was completely miffed about the fact, she herself had admitted that she was no-where near fit enough to enjoy a trip into the caverns and tunnels of Far'Gesh and join a meeting of Ynagra priests from all over the Empire.

So Yaden had become Colin's plus-one, grounding his nerves with his endless, mountain-like calm.

“Will you help me put it on?” Colin asked Yaden, gesturing with his name-tag. “All the others apparently can put it on on their own, but I think I need help here...”

Still smiling, Yaden took the ivory stick and tied it to the inside of Colin's right forearm. With the carvings on the upside, everyone greeting him with the classic arm-clasp could now discreetly pass their fingers along the carvings and read the information there without staring. That was, of course, if one could read old-fashioned ba'ata script with their fingertips.

In return, Colin helped Yaden fasten his tag.

“I think I would take a whole lifetime to learn how to read this with just my fingertips,” Colin said, absent-mindedly fingering his tag. “Do you think we should go in already? K'gosi said he would pick us up here...”

“Let's go inside,” Yaden said, shrugging and wriggling his eyebrows. “At least now they won't mistake us for tourists any longer.”

Colin laughed, took Yaden by his arm and walked past the 'welcome' desk into the large room where they could already hear the other attendants milling about. He even managed to ignore the deeply doubtful looks the assistant at the desk was shooting them when they passed.

“I wonder...” Yaden started, then trailing off. “You think it could be possible that for me, learning how to read with my fingers would be easier than to read with my eyes?” He pointed at the tag on his forearm. “This already feels like making more sense to me than most written texts...”

“Sure, why not?” Colin replied. “Talk to Darren about it, I bet he will have something smart to say...”

Right then, Colin realized that the animated buzz of conversation around them had fallen dead. He looked up and found himself staring into a wall of Youh'Kai faces, their expressions a wide range between surprise and alarm. Then, as if she had waited for everyone to be quiet, one of the Youh'Kai priests started screaming. A rail-thin, middle-aged woman, she dropped to her knees, pointing accusingly at the two humans, wailing as if she was being torn apart from the insides.

“I think I preferred it when they still thought we were tourists...” Colin remarked flatly. He sighed and untangled his arms from Yaden, raising his hands in a defensive gesture.

The other Youh'Kai, initially just as startled by the wailing woman as Colin and Yaden, shook off their surprise as well and rushed to help and calm her.

“It's him!” Colin could make out her hysteric voice from the throng of priests around her. “I have seen him! In my visions! It's HIM!”

“Can I help?” Colin asked a tall man who was standing between him and the screaming woman. “What is wrong with her?”

“I... don't know,” the Youh'Kai replied cautiously, glancing back and forth between Colin and the woman. “I have never seen her like this before. Though she's always been very sensitive about her visions, you know? It's probably nothing.”

“Get off me!” the woman screeched, breaking out of the protective shell of priests around her. “YOU!” she yelled, pointing clearly at Yaden, her face a distorted mask of sheer terror. “You will destroy us all! I HAVE SEEN IT!” Turning around to face her stunned colleagues, she added: “It's him! The DESTROYER OF WORLDS! He will KILL US ALL!”

“That sounds like a little more than probably nothing,” Colin quipped before he could think better of it. But in the corner of his eyes, he could see a faint smile tug at the corners of his companion's mouth.

“It does indeed,” the other priest replied. Then he turned around, a bitter-sweet smile on his face. “I am T'sume, of Aylian. Welcome to Far'Gesh.”

“Thank you. I am Colin, of Leichnam.” Pointing over to Yaden who was still standing a little aside not to antagonize anyone any further, he added: “And this is my husband, Yaden.”

“The destroyer of worlds, yeah. I have heard of him.” T'sume chuckled. “Is it true? Did you really face one of the Ancient Evil with your bare hands?”

Colin cringed but nodded. “In a way, yes. I also had a broken broomstick, and a lot of anger.”

By now, the other priests had mostly calmed the screaming woman. Only now and then, her exhausted muttering was heard over the buzz of voices around her.

“We were surprised K'gosi managed to convince you to come here,” T'sume offered. “Legends like you tend to prefer staying aloft, lest they be seen as mere... Youh'Kai... humans... people?”

“I am not a legend,” Colin replied, “I am all too human, I can assure you.”

“Maybe one can be both.” T'sume smirked. “What about we pick up your husband from the sidelines and see if there is something on the buffet that won't kill a softskin, how does that sound?”

“Wonderful, actually.”

Colin and T'sume walked over to Yaden, and Colin introduced them.

“Is she okay?” Yaden asked. “Should I rather leave?”

“She'll get over it,” T'sume said and started leading them over to a long table at the side of the room where various snacks were stacked. “Ynagra warns all of us of potential dangers, eventually. Those visions aren't predictions, just... risks. And some see those risks more prone to happening than others.”

“So... she just freaked out because I could THEORETICALLY destroy everything?”

“Basically, yes.” T'sume chuckled again. “Might be a lot more complicated than that, but yes.”

“Well, she wasn't entirely wrong then,” Colin mused while looking over the offered refreshments. Most of them looked like nothing a human should try, but here and there someone obviously had take great care to offer something edible for humans – the trays clearly marked as 'for fa'lang' – for non-Youh'Kai.

“I am not a destroyer of worlds...” Yaden good-naturedly rejected Colin's suggestion. “I couldn't destroy a planet, much less more than one...”

“Well, if you did to Far'Gesh only half of what you did to the moon of Kismet,” T'sume said, “I don't think anyone here would survive that.”

“But I would never!”

“See, love, and that's the difference between risk and prediction.” With a wide grin, Colin pulled Yaden close to him and kissed him square on the lips. “I love you, my average-looking demi-god.”

T'sume tried to suppress a chuckle and politely pretended to study the snacks.

“Oh, here you are!” Somewhere in the crowd, finally Father K'gosi appeared, looking genuinely rushed and flustered. His skin was just as pale violet and his long hair just as white as Colin remembered, and his youthful face was full of various emotions. “Please excuse me for being late, but there was something of a little emergency. I hope everything is okay and you've had a nice welcome?”

Colin, Yaden and T'sume all suppressed a laugh. At K'gosi's confused expression, Colin added:

“We're good. Look, someone even put a pot of tea onto the buffet, and some muffins. We're perfectly fine. Let's start with the gathering, shall we?”



 
 
 
Charischarisstoma on May 21st, 2015 11:34 pm (UTC)
This is going to be interesting. What is it that Colin, sqet that he is, will be speaking about to the meeting of Ynagra priests and what is this little emergency that kept Father K'gosi from being on time?
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 22nd, 2015 10:58 am (UTC)
Nice to see you around, thanks for dropping by!
Maybe this wasn't clear enough - it's just a short vignette, no follow-up included.

Colin is there to talk about his life as a non-youh'kai Youh'Kai priest, which surely he has a lot to say about. We just wanted to have this moment out here when Yaden is called 'Destroyer of Worlds' for the first time. It'll come up again later... :D

I'm currently writing how Yaden met his husband Teagan, the demon warrior. That'll be a longer story, and another stepping stone to the wedding of Yaden and Sam.