Lumian sat cross-legged on a tall rock, alone. Padaga rose into the sky three times and still Lumian sat. As Padaga rose a fourth time, Lumian opened his eyes, blinked three times, and turned to the south. A caravan camped three miles out, a single camel moving further, closing the gap before the wind wearied prophet. To the east a hawk could be seen in the sky. As the camel’s rider dismounted the hawk alighted, resuming his former shape. “Remian, Gellian, brothers—the Council of Three Suns is now in session.”
Remian regarded his eldest brother carefully, his head cocked to the side showing his recent dalliance with the Hawk’s form in his habits. “You have called us here earlier than we would otherwise have come.”
Lumian remained calm at his brother’s query, “Circumstances have dictated it so.”
“The Burning Sun has not risen a twelfth time yet—the land is yours to guard.”
“Come, Remian!” Gellian broke in, “We are all aware of the schedule we have laid out, and while it hurts my business to be called away months before my time, but I can assume our eldest brother had his reasons.” Gellian spoke smoothly, as one accustom to making speeches, a sharp contrast from his older brother, Remian, who seemed unused to his vocal chords.
“I am needed at the aerie.”
“The affairs of your avian life can wait, Remian.” Lumian spoke harshly, his wrinkled face showing the years of worry he had over his brother. “The Shrine has been disturbed.”
At these words, Gellian’s jovial expression faded into a grim visage. “For nearly thirty years we have kept the Shrine safe—each four months of the year. I have kept my part, and Remian his—tell me, Lumian, is it you have failed us?”
“By the Healing Sun I serve I have let none pass the way we guard. The disturbance came from within.” The two younger brothers realized now the reason for their brother impudence in summoning them before their turns, after centuries of slumber, Alak Ret Ken’akare had awakened.