Week 17 - Novel - Dreams Part XI - September 23-29
“This news, expectedly, hit Aeon hard. It pained him greatly to be deemed unworthy in such a stark fashion, and he vowed to never be subject to such heartbreaking humiliation again. I began to see in him a hunger and an ambition that had never been there before. While this concerned me, and deep down I knew there was something dangerous here, I still loved Aeon, and trusted him fully.
“By this point, I had had my suspicions for quite a while that there was a possibility that Aeon, unlike any that had ever come before, could be the one to harness the Heartstone. However, I also knew that he was far from ready for such an attempt, and to be gifted with such unlimited power without further practice and deep indoctrination of responsibility and discipline.
“Aeon, unfortunately, had other ideas. I had spoken to him about the Heartstone on many occasions, having explained by now every stone that had ever come into my possession and knowledge. He repeatedly pressed me to show him the stone so that he could test his potential with it, and finally, one day after much training, I relented in showing him the stone.
“As I had suspected, he took to it immediately, and the results were both awe-inspiring and profoundly terrifying. He leveled my enclave, that day, and nearly killed both of us in the process. Then, in an act even more wondrous, he rebuilt the enclave, this time more grandly than it had ever been before, with such fine precision and attention to detail as to perhaps be the most unparalleled work of architectural art ever created. His progression with the stone was astounding, from unbridled chaotic lack of control and raw power at the beginning to almost a melding in just a few hours.
“It was as if he needed to merely visualize or imagine an idea, and the stone would manifest it into reality, no matter how large or how small the scale. Before I could stop him, he had split the earth and grown a mountain, turned a pond into a magnificent lake, and turned the rest of our little valley into a magnificent field of flowers.
“The weather turned from sweltering to frigid, rain fell, snow fell, ice fell, and then the sun shone again and the weather became sublime. Winds blew, and a tornado swept across the land, simultaneously wreaking both immense and no havoc, with every uprooted tree and flower being instantly replaced as soon as it was destroyed.
“The demonstration of his power was utterly complete. In that moment, I knew I had lost him. There was nothing more I could teach him, and nothing more I could give him. He had all he needed, now, and there was no more use for me. He turned to me then, smiled, and thanked me for my kindness and my tutelage. He promised to use his newfound sublime powers to make the world a better place, as we had always hoped, and then blinked away in a flash, transported far beyond my grasp.
“I worried about him for days with no word, and tried desperately to discover his whereabouts through both my stones and the conventional channels, but there was no sign of him.
“Terrified by the thought of having unleashed him into the world with such untold powers and no discipline to control his actions, I interrupted his exaltations and requested the stone to be returned back to my care. At this point in time, Aeon still, luckily, respected my wishes and my authority, and though reluctant, ended his demonstrations and allowed me to retrieve the Heartstone. I promised that I would allow him to use the stone in earnest as soon as he completed his studies and could appropriately use such power for good, without the risk for harm.
“For a few weeks after, everything returned to as it was before, and Aeon became a model student once more, intent on nothing but absorbing as much knowledge as possible. Eventually, however, he grew impatient at my deflections at allowing him to use the stone once more, and his requests to be given the stone grew more and more demanding and insistent.
“I grew alarmed, then, afraid that I would no longer be able to control him and withhold access to the stone. I decided then to sequester the stone away in a safe location where he would be unable to take in, in the off chance that he did decide to go to such extreme lengths. I didn’t think the day would come where he would go to such measures, but at this point, I simply did not know.
“This went on for a few months longer, until Aeon decided he had finally had enough. He demanded that I give him the stone, or that he would take it, as it was useless to me, but infinitely valuable to him. He claimed to be the only one who could save this world, and rid it of the broken system that currently ruled it. He spoke of overthrowing the empress, destroying the empire as it existed now, and rebuilding a new utopia from its ashes.
“I knew then that I had made a terrible error in showing him the Heartstone when I had, and that we could go no further together. I refused him one final time, and in his fury, he attempted once more to raze my enclave in search of the stone. Though his powers had grown immensely, however, he was still young and inexperienced next to the countless centuries of experience I have had with stoneworking, and without the Heartstone, he failed to do much damage.
“I could have ended him, then, but again, my mistakes have been many, and I made yet another one that day. I disarmed him, but I did not kill him, and I banished him henceforth. He left, still enraged and even more humiliated, and even now, I can see the fury smoldering in his eyes at this final slight.