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In Full Bloom
Michael made his way home after Nikolai dismissed his guests. He had apparently impressed the head of military enough to warrant his particular attention. He wasn't sure if it was true interest or prompting from the Ascendancy but it was somewhat enlightening. The man was very good at his job but far too focused on might rather than strategy for Michael's liking.

After meeting another two dozen important people, most of whom had little interest in him beyond his momentary notoriety, he arrived in the waterfront house a little weary and mostly frozen.

He seized the power before entering, checking for any potential Atharim threat but was otherwise content to enter, change into warmer clothes and head upstairs to bed.

As he did every night he had the chance, Michael spun webs of practised knowledge, improving his speed and familiarity. Most were webs of death and destruction paired with their counterpart defences. Some webs he had not figured out how to counter, perhaps some could not be, but he gave the matter little thought and funnelled his concentration into spinning his chosen web to near completion before letting the more dangerous dissipate uncompleted.

Mornings he set aside for creation, when his mind was sharpest. He had not created anything truly unique since his first conception of wardings, mostly making minor tweaks or more complex forms of that which he already knew.

Tonight, his mind was clearer than it had been in years. Icicles of fury no longer pricked at his calm constantly. They were still there, as sharp as ever, simply encased in opaque towers; memorials not to be forgotten.

For all the gravity of his position, Michael felt free in a way he had never done so before. His webs were vibrant and unhindered by doubt or frustration. Danger loomed greater than before, but he no longer had to hide. His birthright was war and for once he embraced it.

Until Mecca, he had never understood, not truly, his own mind. The thrill of the challenge was not borne of a desire for death and hurt. It was greater. War was his realm, the struggle of life and death. The cause was his to choose, the execution his burden.

All roads led to war no matter how he attempted to avoid it, all that was left was his choice. A choice he was content with, whatever the future held in store.

In peace he was born, and where hoped to leave the world, but it would be in flames that his flower was in full bloom.


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