Enter the Dragon.
After Richard left, Bakbuk asked Sledge to call up some of his most ancient mnemonic prompts. As a Mechanic by personality type, Bakbuk had a historical memory that was usually unconscious. Accordingly, he preferred not to focus on the past, and when he did, he tended to dwell on his failures rather than on his successes. But with Sledge’s help and that of the Mind of the Lord of the Realms, he could outmaneuver that natural tendency, consider his performance impartially and improve his tactics in the present.
If ever there were a time Bakbuk needed to do just that, it was now. His star pupil was going to need all the help he could get.
Chris Alan was now a Sijo, formally the Head of the whole Order of Blademasters, yet he was still young and had only begun the many lessons that the late Grandmaster Toa had set before him. His potential was truly unfathomable, and when called upon indominable, yet the Need of the Hour kept the White Hand restrained, so as to test its Wielder’s character step by step.
And not even the White Hand had been enough, when it really counted, to do away with the Jade Dragon. Then was not the time.
Bakbuk remembered now the stories Toa told him of the rebellion of Nicholas Blackthorn and his failed coup. There was more to his rebellion than simple jealousy of the Destiny of Man. No, Nicholas (like all the Old Ones among Elementals) knew of who was to arise among the Adamim, he knew what that implied, and he became hell-bent on stopping his arrival, or failing that his ascendency – before the Founding of the Sphere, over four thousand years before Chris Alan’s birth.
The organic species known as Imperial Dragons, along with their Elemental Archon the Dragon Lady, had joined Nicholas, as had Set the Disciple of Entropy and many other Elementals. So had the bat-like Shadow Creatures called the Daimonae, like all Shadow Creatures not originally evil, but merely perverted from their created roles of guarding the underpinnings of the Music of the Spheres. But while those dwelling in the Light had more energy, those dwelling in the Shadow had more power, just as it takes more power to produce low-frequency sound waves than energetic, high-frequency ones. Once perverted, the Daimonae and all the Shadow Creatures became terrible potential foes of the Loyal Elementals, the Adamim and their allies. Most terrible of all was the ruler of the Shadow Creatures, Ouroboros the World Serpent, who was himself perverted by the Dragon of Chaos imprisoned behind the Portal of Darkness.
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