“He will come.”

Quilla, birdman, sat cross-legged on the smoothness of the eastern balcony of the temple.

Before him, a vista of indigo and deep mauve shadows, each gradually giving way to the amber and gold of a glorious Valarian sunrise. The air was frigid and he shuffled his wings to wrap around him for protection against the intrusive cold.

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How many millennia had he waited to see the sun arise for Valaris? He lost count of the years spent as a breath and thought, an ethereal wanderer through the Temple’s mighty halls. Now he was a physical being, a few too short months, and every day was new and miraculous and every sunrise spectacular.

It could end eternally in the next few days.

He trusted the Enchanter to keep his word … and doubt niggled. Did anyone really know another?

“He will come.”

“I do hope so, Phet.”

The blue birdman sank into a crouch nearby. “You have watched him, Quilla. You know he is honourable. And I have spent enough time on his shoulder as Falcon to fathom his moods and intentions. He will come.”

“It seems to me we hark to his will. Is that not dangerous for the Q’lin’la?”

Phet was aghast. “You would ask that? Is he not the One? Are the Q’lin’la unique in this?”

“Everyone harks to his will. It is a dangerous precedent.”

“He does not ask it!”

“And yet it is so. How much power does that confer, Phet? Are we not creating a tyrant? Already the man has a dual nature. He is Lifegiver and Destroyer. What if our bent knees and heads grant free rein to the Destroyer side of his nature?”

“You do not know him at all!”

Quilla murmured, “I do know him.”

Phet glared, eyes flashing ire. “I am sorry, but you cannot, not if you think it a possibility. Torrullin has inner demons, granted, but he ever seeks the good.”

“In this current climate it is expected of him, yes. What of tomorrow, when there is nothing left to fight? Darak breeds in boredom.”

Phet shot to his feet. “I am not listening to this.” He strode away.

He left Quilla with contrary thoughts.

Who was the real Torrullin?

Would he come?

THE DRAGON CIRCLE

Age of the Q’lin’la

Quilla stood, clasped his hands into a cradle.

“How old do you think we are, my friends? I attempted to calculate the vast period and am defeated in the task. We are ancient, prehistoric, pre-everything in this universe, and as such have learned to take the long view. We regard time as something invented by those who cannot grasp its true nature. They think linear, therefore they tally linear, their lives too short to take note of the curve. We see it as an element that has no beginning or end, for it is an eternal circle, tiny and gigantic simultaneously. It is, was, will be, and then beyond, and we ride the curve. How do you put a number to that? An instant is forever and forever is an instant. Time can be distorted, stilled, hastened ahead, and change nothing or change everything. It is its own master.”

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