Iteroah was wearing a grass green and purple robe, embroidered with striking rich patterns that seemed to flow out from the pendant around his neck. This pendant held the shape of the academy symbol, how Uthra had come to understand this shape he did not know. Dark short hair with tints of grey, this and his trustworthy eyes were the only parts that showed any age, his face completely free of lines.
“I’m sure you have many questions,” he said “so let’s start with the fundamentals. Your name is Uthra” as Iteroah said his name for the second time, he felt a familiarity spreading over the word, although if asked about his name a few moments before Uthra would not have been able to give an answer. Uthra prepared a question.
“We are in the inauguration room of the academy,” Iteroah said as if reading his mind “Today is a special day for you, today is the day that you became aware or sentient. All insentient’s are cultured in suspended animation until they reach maturity. After the brain hits a critical mass it becomes fully viable to host life. Sometime after, the brains neurological processes change. A spark of life, a sense of awareness, thoughts and feelings develop. Therefore we wake you. Happy first aware day Uthra” he said this last bit with a smile on his face, he still found this amusing no matter how many times he had said it in the past. Uthra felt more confused than ever now. If this was his first day of being aware, then how did he know what objects are and how they worked. In fact, how did he understand the words Iteroah was saying.
“You will know many things,” Iteroah said before Uthra could voice the question “ while your brain is gestating we feed it information about the world. Speech and movement are one of the first bits of information, although the capacity of a brain is not limitless. So once the basics are in place, we allow the brain to consume what information it prefers. These are your skills and interests. Please stand here.” He indicated a concave circular shape in the centre of the room, only noticeable because it was smoother than the rest of the floor. As Uthra moved towards this pad, Iteroah situated himself behind an elongated computer panel. Uthra could not see the buttons Iteroah was pressing only the metallic backing plate but with every finger movement, a tight satisfying beep could be heard. An almost imperceivable current ran through Uthra’s body, the feeling not unlike walking through air. Uthra went to ask what he was doing but before he got the chance Iteroah spoke first.
“I’m scanning your body and mind for anything unusual,” he said, raising his head and giving Uthra a warm disarming smile. “The results look nominal, seems to me like you are a healthy adult ready to be enrolled. It’s showing me that your brain was naturally attracted to leadership and physical information. There are other interests but I will let you figure them out on your journey. Wouldn’t want to give too much away now, where’s the fun in that?” A quick chuckle followed by another warm and quieting smile.
“Based on the results” he continued “ The best course of action is to enrol you in a Guardianship, you will be trained to be a protector of the realm and defender of the people. Although nowadays there is not much to defend or protect against, I feel you will be pleasantly satisfied with this career path. In time you will become the leader of your own team of guardians, who knows maybe one day you could be a prestigious bodyguard to one of the council.” Iteroah pressed another button on the panel
“Could you ask Yui to come to the inauguration room?” he asked with no reply. “ Yui is the guardian instructor here, he will help you prepare for the test. This test is to make sure you can physically perform complex tasks to check your mind body connection, think of it as a physical check over to make sure everything is running smoothly” Uthra wondered what happened to those that do not perform correctly, for the first time Iteroah did not respond to what he was thinking and so Uthra stayed silent. Either Iteroah did not know what he was thinking or more likely he did not want to say. With a distraction from these thoughts, a door opened at the far end of the room to reveal Yui.
The man confidently strode into the room with a quick glance at Uthra before turning his attention to Iteroah. A golden mane of hair gently curled down to his shoulder, almost juvenile features and playful eyes cemented a youthful look. He held perfect posture wearing sky blue cloths, comfortable bottoms which allowed his movement to flow freely. In comparison, his tight top looked restrictive showing the outlines of a muscular body. At this point, with a momentary look down, Uthra realised what he was wearing. It could only be described as a plain grey nighty. Feeling a little out of place Uthra subconsciously stood up straight.
“Uthra this is Yui,” Iteroah said. “He takes his training quite seriously, Don’t you Yui?”
“As seriously as everything else in my life,” Yui said with a mischievous grin spreading across his face. “Come on Uthra I will show you around. First lesson how to walk.” A slight chuckle emanated from his throat.
“I think this is one thing I can do,” Uthra said with a first smile. His voice felt unfamiliar, Uthra realised this was the first time he had spoken. The sound was deep but smooth, it was the sound of a man’s voice, not quite his voice. For now, Uthra only felt like a bewildered boy.
The Raeloir’s quarters was vaster than most, he was the head of state and with that came with some privileges, although there was no décor inside. The floor curved into the walls which looked like the same grown purple metallic surfaces that made up all the buildings in this city. Rejected chairs and a couch lay untouched around a knee-height table in the centre of the room. These were from an age ago when the Raeloir had regular company. An engraved wooden table sat abreast one of the cold smooth walls, accompanied by eight firm seats for personal meetings. Along the other side of the room ran a continuous window.
This is where Lyra stood, she had been waiting patiently next to the thoughtful Raeloir for hours now. Not a word had been said. It was not a bad place to be waiting, she had always loved the view this window gave of Ukantu. Situated in one of the tree-like skyscrapers, she could see across Ukantu with ease. Bathed in sunlight, the reflective surfaces shined back at her making the world sparkle like a sunset on a sea. Ahead of her was a straight road that ran through a myriad of estates to the inner wall which dwarfed the buildings around it, this indicated the end of the inner city. A swollen gate permitted the road to pass through this wall and into the outer city. The outer city was a place of production where food was synthesised, energy was recycled and vehicles were manufactured. At this distance it looked to be a blur of constant motion, great wells moved to pump nutrients, cranes carried building sized crates and small aircraft busily passengered Zelari from one place to another. Past all this motion Lyra could just make out the grand academy building, fused to the academy around halfway up was the outer wall. This stretched around the entire city.
Lyra after years of practice had got used to waiting, being the personal bodyguard to the Realoir it was one of her jobs. Pondering for hours at end was not unusual for him, but this had become more frequent of late. He held a frown above his glazed eyes, his face emanated age and wisdom. Nobody knew how old he was, he had been the Raeloir long before Lyra was awakened. Long before anyone was awakened if the rumours were true. His age along with his name had been lost to time. She often fantasied about asking him but it was not her place. Lyra doubted he would give an answer anyway. He liked the mystery, he liked to keep people guessing. His straight silver hair ran down to meet his usual robes. Embroidered with runes each symbolising a house of the council. He changed the colours but it was always the same symbolic style of robe he wore. His eyes came back into focus.
“I am not long for this world Lyra,” The Realoir said, his deep soft voice filling the bare room. Lyra did not feel the gravity of the words. She did not want to feel, the emotions would only get in the way of her thoughts. “I have set plans in motion for the successor to take my place.”
“Are you unwell?” Lyra said. Internally she cursed herself for such a blunt question. She had a habit of overstepping her place with instantaneous questions. The Realoir seemed to like that about her. He smiled.
“No, but one does not live as long as I have without a deep understanding of life and death,” He said his face showing more of its age. “I can feel a shadow falling upon me. It is my time.”
“Who is this new leader?” Lyra could not help herself, she had to know whom she needed to protect. “You cannot trust the council and who else could measure up to your legacy?”
“No not the council,” He said his face growing lighter as if the clouds had moved away but there were no clouds today. “ New blood Lyra, new idea’s, new concepts a new passion. We have been living in a cycle for millennia now, and this cycle must be broken if we are ever to grow as a society again. I have voiced my opinion to the council many times and they just brush my ideas aside. We used to work in harmony but they have got too comfortable in their seats, they have gained the support of the people and now they work against me. Fearing change, they will do anything to keep the old ways. But we are stagnating in our repetitiveness and so things must change.”
“Ungar” He called, and a lumbering piece of metal came out of one of the adjacent rooms. It had a head and four limbs but that was all it had similar to a Zelari. Its head almost touched the already high ceiling, every step let out a heavy metallic clunk that Lyra could feel vibrating through the floor and into her feet. Its tree trunk legs were attached to a comparatively small triangular torso, long arms stretched down to almost touching the floor as its oversized featureless oval head hung low so no neck could be seen. It had joints that bent with ease but no obvious mechanical parts were moving. Apart from the heavy thumps as it walked it did not make any noise. Lyra knew this to be one of the Danoiri, a creature that was grown the same way the rest of the city was grown. Created to serve they helped with every task a Zelari could think of.
“You have named it?” Lyra said feeling shocked, knowing that this was against tradition.
“Yes Lyra,” said the Realoir “ Many things must change and it can all start with a name, although he is of a hive mind, he has served me well for many years. He is as loyal servant as you are ever going to get. I thought it was about time I gave him a name. They are the only creatures that are as old as I am. Though they seem to act like mindless servants I feel as if there is more to them than they like to let on. Tell me, Ungar, what do you think of your name” he said turning to the creature.
“We are the Danoiri. We have no names” the Danoiri said with no mouth. The voice echoed out from somewhere behind the head.
“Hmmm,” said the Realoir thoughtfully “ He is going to need some practice I think, what is your name?”
“We are Ungar,” The Danoiri said. A moment passed.
“Yes definitely needs practice,” the Realoir said squinting his eyes.