Tom had heard stories of Elodia and one thing that stood out was that for the entire eight hundred years of its existence, Discordia had been jealous of the beauty of Elodia’s old capital, and yes, he would have rather been there. Despite all of his family privilege, their father never had the heart to ever take them on any trip so he felt sorry that his first trip couldn’t be as amazing as it could have been.
Of course, Sally knew that a visit to Discordia would be far cooler for him. But it was in bad taste, she thought. True, they went because Nick demanded answers, but if they time she’d rather see the more exotic city states than Susanoo. All of the places in this city were essentially of the same culture as Lodestone.
Tom told her once, as he always did, lost in whatever school subject he was studying at the time, “There was once this continent where you could drive a few miles and the ethnic group would change. I forgot what it was called, though.”
What was an ethnic group, she didn’t really know, but she did know that the world was much bigger than it was before. Well, she thought, the trainee knights from Susanoo at the tourney were exotic enough.
Tom expected a quiet pass into the city, but instead he saw the open faces of the people below, and then he remembered the airship was probably marked for Nick and they went straight for another hour until they landed in a pad on top of a peculiar tower.
Tom, now that they were above a city and not a dizzying field of grass, was glued looking downwards and saw the same type of tower repeated throughout Castle Susan but much smaller. About three stories tall and thin to a point, they were probably very poor stations for knights, and maybe held two or one people. They were made to look pretty, then. But the one closer to the center of town was at least thrice as high and much wider, but still it was sculpted to beauty. He remembered that neither the Black Knights or Imperial Guardsmen were necessarily skilled with anti-gravity devices, so he wondered how they could jump down from the person-shaped holes on the towers.
It was this tower that they landed on. The sand colored bricks fitted in flawlessly with the verdant garden, and with the overall greenery of the city. The nerve, to be eternally jealous. It was nothing like the concrete hills of Lodestone’s capital, and not even like the countryside where Tom and Sally lived.
It was down an elevator, onto the street, leaving behind such an interesting landmark, to get a cab who seemed a little to happy to service a king down the caste itself.
Much like how Lodestone’s Royal Palace was a tourist spot for a bygone time in the middle of the city, the Castle Susan was precisely not that. Instead, it was a huge multistory stone palace with little less than two square miles of space.
School children as well as college students walked to and from. There was enough signage to tell a nonreader that the city hall was also in one of the chambers. Not to tell, there were also several museums and specialty libraries. At least ceremonially, there was also the meeting place of the tricameral legislature.
But for all the grandness, there was a solemn air in places too. No shops or advertising were allowed, except for special memorial plates on the walls and on the floor in the open-air areas. It was a place of regicide prevented.
Sally asked under her breathe, “Why are some places so quiet,” but she didn’t really want to ask. The memorial plates were in front of her while they were walking to the center, where the residence would be.
They read strangely but one was somewhat intelligible, in the English of Discordia,
“Where oft we carry the buckler of pride.
We inter the birth of our land as near Regicide…”
It went on in very heavy prose. She felt uncomfortable, because at least for the first few lines she understood most of the words. Nick looked at Luna who seemed too tired to talk, so he said with a smile, “ someone approved these new plaques to boost confidence in Susanoo.”
Tom interrupted absently, “Claiming a common history is the best way to build a nation.”
Sally cringed. For Tom to say that, he must’ve understood most of what was written. Or at least pretended to. They walked to the residence, and it was not nearly as grand, not nearly as old, and it was so separated from everything by way of gardens and trails than no one batted an eye as they entered, that is, if there was anyone more than a tired schoolchild napping anywhere near them. In fact, it was nothing more than a nice house.
A tall woman opened the door. She smelled like baked things, and smiled beneath her gray hair, “Welcome, Nick and friends. Kevin is in his study right now.”
Tom raked his head to try to remember her. He couldn’t.
The lady said, “Oh. Where is Ms. Eleanor? I heard she was hurt badly.”
Nick replied, “She is taking care of things for me while I am here. She is doing fine,” but he could not stop thinking about how possibly she would’ve known.
Afterall, the crowd of nobles were not ordered silenced over the duel, but they shouldn’t have known Ella by name.
“Come. Tidy up and he’d be sure to take a break from his work,” she smiled and went back to her place, and they heard the sound of kitchen appliances beep and creak, “Oh, and tell him I’m sorry for using his kitchen.”