There in the backyard with the sitting rock, some of the old flowers remained, growing rampant over the walls. Thirteen people were gathered within, Raev Sturlusson among them. It was an odd mood that prevailed here – nostalgic, jolly, rueful, accomplished, all these together with more complexity between. They’d been through a lot, and done a lot, with just that touch of victory and finality over all the tragedy and sacrifice. All of them wore a piece of Old Hirylien, the culture that once was, on the quiet planet where they now stood. Some of them remembered each other as children, though now they were hardened and scarred. Each held the memory of this place, which they’d taught to others as they pursued vengeance through justice. There were fewer coin holders than when they began.
“Yeah we had a time, that time.”
“It may have been a good time, even if we weren’t exactly good people.”
“Then, surely not – not entirely, despite our noblest aims.”
“What are we now?”
“More than half a person? More than just a shadow?”
“I think so. Really, I do.”
As they bantered casually, they softly, almost unnoticeably deposited their phronium coins atop the boulder, each of them inscribed with the trisected triangle. Eventually all thirteen lay there together, and the talk dwindled until they were all gazing down at them and at each other silently. Ghostly smiles floated across faces.
Raev stepped into the center and gathered all thirteen into his one remaining hand. They had that translucence, shimmering in varying tones of the spectrum. He shuffled them around, looking out at his compatriots and intensely into this handful, figuring something out. Some of his tattoos, showing across his uncovered torso, were glowing in resonance with the coins. The air around him crackled, and he nodded. His eyes began to glow. “Step back, friends. All the way back,” he said indicating the garden walls. “I’m going to try something, and I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing.” A chuckle murmured through them at his all-too-familiar utterance of this phrase.
Raev’s hand, holding the coins, began to spark. The current he was inducing with his fingertips ran through the different materials, from one to the other and back to him. He reached through his augmentations, experimenting and modulating. He sought cycles and vibrations that enhanced the flow, uniting and magnetizing the coins to each other. He dug into energies from the aetherscape, to which he’d long been connected, his own biology, and dragon-given boons from the Red Nexus. The coins began to radiate a combined glow as the cohesion tightened. Bracing himself, he gave the bundle a surge. It lifted into the air above his hand, hovering in its own pocket of energy. Lightning beams connected this to Raev, who was now encased in a similar brightness racing around him, his eyes fully alight, tattoos blazing. He lifted off the ground, floating back as the knot of energy around the coins expanded with power.
The Hirylienites posted around the backyard bore somber witness to this phenomenon – not the first time they’d risked themselves along with their Signalman attempting an unpredictability. This may be as necessary as all the rest. They shielded their eyes as currents whirled around the blinding ball of light. Floating before it, Raev stretched out his arms and threw his head back. The electric tornado condensed into a beam that stretched from the planet into the atmosphere, and everyone but Raev had to cover their eyes completely.
They all felt and heard a dissipation, like a breeze under the passing of a storm. They heard something fall. They heard Raev land. They opened their eyes. Steaming there on the ground was an orblike ingot with a never-before-seen glow. Raev was braced on one knee looking at it, long black hair hanging lank with sweat, skin shimmering as the tattoos dimmed in pulses. The nearest few of his cadre rushed in and supported him to his feet. They stared at the rounded phronium ingot, hints of uncomprehending accomplishment flitting at the corners of their mouths.