Aurus stood staring at the massive structure. Never had he seen a building as large as the Chamber of the High Council. Equal parts nervous and excited, he quickly made his way inside. Here and there were doors to various side chambers; perhaps living quarters for the councilors, or simply hallways leading around the vast, circular building. All of the stonework was impeccable, carved white pillars contrasting with the majestic, dark marble tile. Of course, in typical changeling fashion, the style would be considered hard on the eyes by any other race; the pillars were angular and jagged, made to look like age-old stone rather than smooth, rounded spires. Even the walls were jagged to a degree, a comfortable and pleasing shape to the creatures who were not so elegant and beautiful themselves.
He lost track of himself while admiring the structure, so much so that he stumbled into a reception desk. A young female changeling looked at him idly, as if it weren't abnormal to simply plow into a solid stone table. "Do you have an appointment?" she asked flatly, a tone clearly practiced in dealing with stupid people on a regular basis.
Aurus painted on his best warm smile. It was best to return rudeness with confident calm, or so he had found. He was above such nonsense, and though the thought was arrogant, it was true. He would never have considered his time valuable enough to treat someone he didn't know with disrespect just for taking it up.
"I'm not sure, miss. The council summoned me here on fairly short notice. My name is Aurus Marz," he said, hoping the name might spur some kind of memory.
He wasn't far off the mark. The female eyed him with more interest suddenly, practically rising out of her chair. "Ah, so you're the one. You're certainly nothing like what I envisioned, but I suppose there's no telling what the council might see in you. Head down the hall to your right, and enter the chamber when you are ready. You're expected, of course," she replied with a warm smile.
It was strange, as if she had turned on a dime from being rude and impatient to almost unbearably pleasant. Aurus did his best to shake it off, keeping his smile safely in place. "Perfect, thank you," he replied, moving off at a rather quick pace. He followed her instructions to the letter, pausing outside the door. After that curious reception, he was even more nervous than before. What in all the possible hells beyond was going on?
Steeling himself with a heavy sigh of determination, he pushed open the doors with his magic. The light from the hallways filtered in, painting a path of illumination directly before him, parted by his long shadow. Streams of light filtered down from above, carving distinct rectangular patches of sunlight on the floor. Green torches burned low on the walls, paled by the sunlight. It all gave the room a serene feel, the lighting similar to that at dusk with portions of the room standing in luminescence more befitting high noon.
He stopped walking suddenly as a cough sounded somewhere in the darker regions of the room near the wall. Torches sprang to life suddenly, many yards ahead of him and several feet above. In front of them stood the silhouettes of various changelings, the green light reflecting off the smooth, shell-like hides of many others that weren't directly in sight. Green eyes stared at him from all sides, some full of intrigue and others full of indifference.
So this was the council. Most impressive, or so he fancied it. It had a certain mystique to it, an archaic feel of ages long gone. Aurus had no doubt that this was perhaps one of the oldest buildings in changeling history, and was likely home to some of the most ancient rituals and rites that his people had ever established. It was only right, he concluded, to be awed in such a presence.
"Greetings, Aurus Marz. Welcome to the Changeling High Council," called a voice directly ahead of him. A pair of deep green eyes blinked in the shadow of a silhouette. The changeling there flitted out of his seat and down, confirming what Aurus had assumed when the male had spoken. He was quite old, older than most of his kind even lived to be these days.
He alighted lightly in front of Aurus, grunting slightly as the impact tweaked his ancient joints. "I am Korrick Varal, the chairman of the council. It is an honor to meet you at last," the old changeling said warmly.
Aurus was experienced with fast-talk and flattery, and this was not it. This old changeling was sincerely thrilled to be meeting him, despite the fact that Aurus had no idea who he was or why. He put those questions aside, certain that they would never have called him all the way out here just to leave them unanswered.
"Greetings, old one," Aurus replied reverently, dipping his head in respect. His grandfather was of a similar age, had always held to the older traditions of the changelings. This way of greeting and elder changeling was all but dead these days, but Aurus took pride in his grandfather's teachings. "The honor is mine."
When Aurus met Korrick's eyes after an appropriate pause, he was pleased to find them wide with surprise.
"Now that is a greeting I have not shared with someone in many, many years," he said, his tone a mixture of shock and respect. "It would seem our information was right after all."
"Information?" Aurus inquired, his eyes betraying all of his curiosity.
"We have been searching these last few days for someone like you... or so we hope. We shall yet see about that," Korrick replied calmly, keeping his answers exceptionally vague. "Before I disclose to you why you are here, you must promise that it will never leave this room without my consent." His tone had shifted from casual to deadly cold, a point Aurus did not miss.
"You have my word," Aurus replied evenly, locking eyes with Korrick to prove the integrity of his word of honor.
Korrick nodded after a moment, satisfied with the honesty in Aurus' eyes. "Very well. It is no secret that Chrysalis failed in her endeavors to subdue Equestria. What few know is that while she claimed it was in the interests of the people, it was only to further her own magical powers. With all of the people's adoration at her disposal, she surely would have become unstoppable. Her failure was a stroke of luck, for I admit the council was too short-sighted to stop her. Had she succeeded, there is no telling what kind of tyranny she might have unleashed upon her own kind. This is not public knowledge, but she is the queen no longer. The council has used its power to strip her of that title," Korrick finished gruffly, clearly full of lingering feelings of shame for their people and anger.
Aurus was somewhat shocked by this news. He had never followed politics deeply, but there was no changeling who had not known about the upcoming invasion, or it's eventual failure. "Why are you telling me this?" he asked quietly. He couldn't fathom any reason that this needed to be disclosed to him.
"Because we need you to understand, Aurus. Do you? Can you see where she failed? It was not because her plans were poorly laid," Korrick said sternly, as if he were a teacher trying to give a lesson.
"Of course I can. She was a tyrant, she used the people when she claimed to be trying to help them. She failed because the only love she had was for herself. How could she expect to win, when she was so weak? We cannot feed on our own narcissism, councilman," Aurus replied cautiously. He knew his words were a perfect expression of his opinion, but he knew from experience that his opinion was rarely common.
Korrick smiled widely, as if he had received the answer he desired. "Tell me, what would you have done instead? If you desired more love for our people, how would you have taken it?" he asked.
Aurus scowled at that, displeased. "Taken? Love is not a commodity. You talk of it like it is money. Even if it was like that, even money is not meant to be stolen. It is meant to be earned. Perhaps it is our lot in life to be liars and thieves because of how we are designed. But I have based my entire life on the belief that love earned is far more powerful than love stolen through trickery or force. Instead of trying to enslave our neighbors or replace them through disguise, I would have appealed to them. Would have become one of them honestly, not just in image alone. There is no better way to be loved, councilman," he finished firmly, the distaste in his tone plain and clear. He didn't flinch at the realization that he was being rude to Korrick; he didn't care. This opinion, his lifestyle, was too deeply rooted in this belief to bear anything so contrary.
Korrick was set back on his hind legs, clearly taken aback and astounded. He tried to speak for several moments, but nothing came out. This was it, their visionary! How could one so young see the value of love so differently? Korrick could not comprehend Aurus' feelings on the matter, was too rooted in his own ways to understand that point of view fully. But even that incomplete understanding of this young changeling's outlook was grand by comparison to the dark ways their kind had lived by for so long.
Korrick bowed his head in sudden shame. "I am sorry, wise Aurus. I didn't mean to make it sound as if love is meant only to be stolen. It is simply the way our people have always done it; you said it yourself that it is in our design. Do you truly believe that the old ways are so terrible?" he asked, his tone holding a hint of hope.
Now it was Aurus who looked astounded. Wise? Certainly not. It was just his opinion and nothing more. "Of course I believe that, Korrick. Why would I have defended it so loudly if I didn't? Can't you see that the old ways are responsible for what happened? It's through them that selfish kings and queens come into their power."
Korrick raised his head and grinned in Aurus' face, his wings buzzing with excitement. "I had hoped you would say that. You are more clever and wise than you know, my boy. Perhaps it is time I told you why you are really here. But first..." he paused, turning to the assembled council. "Brothers and sisters, what say you? Is his vision of our future not correct? You have all seen it too; the old ways are leading us to ruin. It is time for change!" Korrick shouted.
The council echoed it with a resounding cheer, a single shout of agreement and resolve. Korrick resumed his speech, pacing about. "For too long we have let tradition lead us blindly by the mouth. Our days of disgrace must come to a close. Tell me, brothers and sisters; is he the one?" he cried.
The resounding roar of "aye" returned from a hundred throats, shaking the chamber with their enthusiasm and volume.
Korrick turned back to Aurus, whose look of confusion was far beyond anything he had ever worn in all his life. "Councilman?" he asked meekly, clearly shocked at the sudden speech. He shuddered as his body coursed with the energy of infinite approval, all eyes on him as he shuffled uncomfortably from the sudden influx of power from the council's admiration.
"Congratulations, Aurus. You will be our next King."
The council had been thoroughly understanding as Aurus waited in shock, his face a mix of terror and disbelief. At last he had come back to reality, had realized that this was no dream or nightmare.
"Aurus?" Korrick asked politely, once it seemed that the young changeling's mind was back under his own control. "Are you alright, my boy?"
"I... No, councilman," he said at last, steeling himself against his itching, shaking nerves and the sudden energy of his body. His mouth was terribly dry, but he had to force the words out. "Surely you must have been joking?"
"I'm afraid not, Aurus," Korrick replied, now seeming confused. "Aren't you thrilled? Any changeling in your position would be bouncing off the walls with excitement." Indeed, when they had christened Chrysalis as the next queen, she had all but spent the immediate influx of energy casting spells like a mage off the chain.
"I am horrified, councilor. I'm not fit to rule our people!" Aurus cried, now shaking with fear. "I can't wield that power!"
Korrick was shocked. He honestly did not want to rule the changeling race. Did not want power! "Are you mad, boy? Think of the change you could bring us, the light you would be to the people!"
"Think of the ruin I could cause, or the pain for our people when I lead them astray. I am more sane than I have ever been," Aurus countered hard, gritting his teeth to keep them from chattering.
Korrick smiled sadly. Truly he could understand those terrors; anyone with power could. But Aurus wasn't afraid for his own reputation, wasn't concerned with his own magic or greed. His prime fear was that he would fail the people, that he was not fit to help them, to lead them.
"Aurus... that is why it must be you," he said quietly, his tone bittersweet.
"What do you mean?" Aurus asked, calming a bit.
"Any changeling eager to rule is power-hungry, and ill-suited to be the king our people desperately need. It is your very reluctance that speaks volumes in your favor. We need you, Aurus. A changeling who can truly change us all." Korrick was smiling at him warmly, almost pleadingly.
The old changing fell to his knees bowing his head. "Please, Aurus. You must be the one to lead our people to peace."
The council murmured in surprise, for never in his life had Korrick ever bowed to any of the kings or queens of the past. The room was practically vibrating for the myriad whispers that overlapped one another.
Aurus was just as surprised for his part. "Please don't bow to me, Korrick. Don't beg me to do this," he pleaded.
Korrick did not leave his disgraceful prostrate position, but held it firmly. His tone, when he spoke, was determined and unafraid. "If I must lay down my pride to show you how desperately our people need you, then it is a small price to pay."
Many others in the council ring left their seats, flitting down to the floor in front of Aurus. To his horror, they too bowed to him, pleading with him. The energy inside him went mad, flooding his poor body with uncontrollable power. Never had he needed to contain so much of it. It was tearing at his mind, and his body ached as it trembled in an effort to withhold it.
His eyes glowed like fire in the gloom as he gritted his teeth. "Stop... Please..." he begged, his voice little more than a whisper. His tone startled him, shocked him, for it was as if he were speaking in three different voices, all in concert.
Korrick raised his head long enough to sneak a glance at Aurus, curious what had changed in his voice. When he saw his eyes, glowing like an emerald inferno, he smiled sadly. "This is the fate of a king, Aurus..." he said quietly. "The only way to use this much power is for the people... or against it." He lowered his head again, resigned to what might come next. Aurus had repressed the sudden influx of magic dangerously, and there was no telling if he could control it once released.
The council knelt before him, prepared to face their fates in this struggle.
He could stand it no longer, his breath came out as wisps of pure energy, like puffs of steam in the cold. He felt monstrous, dangerous. He was afraid what would become of this energy, with so many gathered helplessly in front of him. It surged through him, making its way to his horn, where it would come forth in some form he had no understanding of. He was no great mage, no excellent student of magic. But he had to try something, anything to stop the devestation.
As the magic left him in a rush, he focused with all his mind, and shouted one simple word. "Rise!" he cried, his triple-voice laced with the magical energy contained within him, filling the room with deafening volume. A green blast exploded out from his horn, the aura splitting into distinct wisps of energy. Each wriggled its way through the air to a kneeling council member, crashing like a wave of water against their hard hides. Each, unable to control themselves, rose to their hooves.
Nothing more happened, nothing terrible or unholy. Aurus dared to watch the entire thing. By the time it was over, he was the only changeling kneeling, though in his case it was from shock and exhaustion.
Korrick, now standing, looked at Aurus with admiration. "Even as you stood there, filled with the power of a god, all you desired was for your people to rise and meet you. And in the end, it is you kneeling before your own power, not us. Can't you see it, Aurus? Even in your desperation, you did not harm us. I can think of no better king than that."
The old councilor extended a porous hoof, and Aurus took it gratefully. He was tired, and his legs shook as he stood, but stand he did.
"I see, councilor... Though I still don't like it," he said with a defeated smile. Korrick smiled back, for he could see in Aurus' eyes the answer he had fought tooth and horn to receive, had bowed and pleaded for.
"What must I do?"
"Your highness, please," Korrick began.
"And stop calling me 'your highness'?" Aurus begged for the umpteenth time. "I'm not even the king yet."
"Fine, Aurus. But you need to meet with the nobles to secure your position. They're honor-bound to respect the council's decision, but without the public eye looking upon you with approval, you won't have the power sufficient to lead them." Korrick and Aurus had met shortly after the little show in the council chamber, in Korrick's private quarters.
"I admit, councilor, that there is a great deal I don't understand about politics. I want you to understand that I want to keep it that way," he said calmly. "I'm not certain I want all of the magical power that comes with the title, nor the attention. Just because you declare me king doesn't change who I am. I've always been a simple changeling."
"Very well. But whether you want it or not, you're bound to receive it. You can feel it, can't you? Even after expending so much energy, the council's adoration still flows through you even now. They respect you as their lord. Unlike other changelings, the king can feel the love of his people no matter where he is, or how much distance separates them. Of course the effect is diminished, but it changes nothing if you have all the nation behind you."
"I don't even know what I want to do with that power yet... Why would I need it?" Aurus asked, pacing about. He didn't like that Korrick was right. His body still felt too full of energy, felt as if more was trickling in every second.
"If you had the power to do anything, what would it be?" Korrick asked curiously.
"I don't know... We're alone, Korrick. Our people are isolated because of how we have treated all the other races. Most recently our failures with the ponies of Equestria. I think the first step for our people is to redeem ourselves," Aurus said at length, minutes of heavy thought kicking out that idea.
Korrick nodded sagely. "A sound plan. But how?" he asked, for even his aged, wise mind could find no way to do so easily. "It is not as if we can simply appeal to them or apologize for our actions. Our military terrorized their capital, after all."
"Under her orders, and nothing more, though certainly the military could do with an education in ethics," Aurus said with a sigh.
"Your high-. Aurus?" Korrick asked, correcting himself quickly.
"It's so strange, Korrick. I'm only speaking my mind, saying the first things that pop into my head. They're opinions and nothing more; just my speculations. The ideas of a young changeling who still has much to learn. But the people, even you, are going to take them to heart as the words of a king. How am I to know that they're right, or wise?" Aurus asked cautiously.
"My boy, even at my age you cannot know your decisions are wise," he chuckled. "I have been swathed in politics since I was no older than you, and still I make decisions I later regret. Nothing is certain until it is tested. I cannot even know that you are the king that will lead us to a brighter future." He smiled as Aurus flinched at that, giving him a comforting look. "I do not have to know it to believe it."
Aurus sighed, convinced enough to continue his thoughts. "We cannot go to them like we did before. A swarm of our kind would only bring chaos on our doorstep. We must approach them slowly, because we have frightened them. You will object, but I wish to go to them alone, and see what healing can be done."
Korrick shook his head. "I don't think that's a good course of action."
"I already said you wouldn't think so. Knowing that, assume I've already taken it into account. Korrick, though I know you little, I value your counsel. But something must be done, and it must be done carefully. Who better than the king of our people to appeal to them humbly? How else are they to know we are sincere?" he asked pleadingly.
Korrick sighed, for he could not fight that logic. "Sadly, I have never in all my years met a changeling better suited to send in search of peace. Still, if you plan to go to them directly, you will need the help of your people. You cannot go there unarmed, my lord."
Aurus frowned. "And why not? If I come into their world brimming with so much magical energy that I can't contain it, what will they think of me? What if what happened back there happens in some pony village somewhere? What if it happens worse? And stop calling me your lord," he grumbled finally, still uncomfortable with titles full of so much respect.
Korrick couldn't repress a grin as Aurus grumbled and shuffled nervously, reminded suddenly just how young he was. "Aurus, there are things that you don't yet understand. You can't contain that energy yet, but your body will... adapt. We are not called changelings simply because we can change how we appear," he said soothingly.
Aurus calmed a bit at that, happy to sink his mind into a new subject for a few minutes to take his mind off the trauma of kingship. "What do you mean 'adapt'?"
"You have seen Chrysalis before?" Korrick asked. When Aurus nodded, he continued. "Did she look anything like your average female?"
Aurus shrugged. "She looked similar, but she was much taller, and certainly seemed more powerful."
Korrick nodded sagely. "Think of your body like a cup, and the magic like water. Too much and it begins to overflow, and you cannot always control where the water goes. In your case earlier today, you willingly tipped the cup, carefully deciding which direction to pour the magic out. Your body begins to change to accommodate more magic as it becomes used to the increased levels. The council refers to it as metamorphosing," he finished quietly. "It is not a subject that we teach you in school, for it's a carefully guarded political secret. Kings and queens always appear to be superior in form to the common folk, for they deal with almost toxic amounts of magic. It's both a blessing and a curse."
"Toxic amounts?" Aurus asked cautiously. "As in, fatal?"
"Yes, unless you are willing to utilize your magic often, or adapt enough to handle the massive influx of positive emotion. If you suppress it long enough, there is no telling what kind of damage it might do to you. It is best to carefully regulate it by practicing magic often," Korrick said quietly. "It affects me too; I'll never have to deal with the levels of magic you will, but between my age and my position on the council, even I have to vent excess energy sometimes."
Aurus nodded, glad to have received that information. "That certainly doesn't make me any more eager to meet these nobles of yours," he muttered.
Korrick laughed. "No, I imagine not. But after what I have seen, I believe you can handle it. Now then, perhaps it is time you stopped being stubborn. Your coronation is only three days away, and you will need all the energy you can get to deal with that stress."
Aurus allowed himself a nervous laugh at that quip, letting it take some of his tension with him. "I still can't keep up with all of this, Korrick. Alright, you win; I'll meet them, and do what I can to impress them. Just one thing."
"Anything, my lord," Korrick said, smirking to show he had knowingly used the title this time.
"Don't expect me to change," Aurus said with a friendly nudge to Korrick's shoulder.
The elder changeling 'oofed' and let out a grumbling laugh. "I wouldn't dream of it, Aurus."
Three days of meeting with politicians, rich changelings, business owners, and various other folk with clout had been just as energizing as draining. As had always been his trend in life, Aurus was ever polite, refusing to be called 'lord' or 'highness' courteously.
As for the part of those he met, they could not have been more pleased with him. Greedy as they were he catered to them in many ways. First, he made them feel good about themselves; as if they did not need to lower themselves in front of him. He treated them like equals, though he was soon to be king of them all. This satisfied their pride.
More importantly, he catered to one of the most base enjoyments of any creature; curiosity. He was sincere in everything he said, a truly kind and gentle heart amidst such a coarse throng of changelings. Nobody he met could place him, could find his angle or his motivation. And all came to the realization that he didn't have one, was exactly as he appeared.
Instead of making him more transparent, everyone was abuzz with talk about this strange new king. He was odd, had a sort of mystique about him, for nobody could relate to him on his own level. Yet everyone felt alive after meeting him, renewed. He charged them with his interest and sincere admiration for their accomplishments. Any time the public met a king or queen before this they felt drained, having to trade their adoration for empty disdain.
This king did not look down on them. This king loved them, all of them, for nothing more than the fact that he had met them. By the time three days had finally passed, Aurus felt sick. He had been expending magic almost constantly, for there was not a single changeling he had met who had not honestly liked him.
It was only to get worse, for the upper crust of changeling society was not wont to keep their mouths shut. They told anyone and everyone of their meetings with the new king-to-be. That he was fascinating, a wonderful changeling to meet, and bound to be a king unlike any they had ever seen. The press caught wind of it, and when news of the coronation ceremony finally hit the front page, the entire nation was in an uproar, everyone eager to see this face they had heard so much about.
Aurus shuffled uncomfortably as he reflected on it all, prancing about behind the stage curtain. His blue lenses blinked in and out of his vision, anything to expend even the slightest amount of energy. Beyond that curtain, he could hear the chatter of thousands, almost the entire nation had assembled to see him. To see the new king. To see the visionary.
He almost hoped they would be unimpressed, if only to stop the aching flow of energy. He stopped and pointed his horn at a large, lead block that had been brought for just such an occasion. He strained his focus to lift the block, expending as much energy as he could muster, even turning the block this way and that. At last he set it down, breathing heavily. He felt more stable now, though the energy still flooded through him.
Korrick had assured him that, once the curtain rose, he would be assaulted with so much positive energy that he would pass out if he were not constantly expelling it. But there was always a feat of strength expected at the coronation for just that purpose. Aside from keeping him conscious and alive, it would serve to impress the people, to show how powerful he truly was.
Aurus didn't like that idea, but he knew he had no say in the matter. It was that or possibly die. His parents had been informed, were seated at a key position in the grand Capital Colosseum, granted a box all their own at stage level. Thousands would be watching from outside on magical screens projected by skilled mages, and hundreds more filled the air like black clouds.
The assembly quieted down as a fanfare rang out, and Korrick could be heard over the resounding echoes of the people bouncing about the stone circle of the colosseum. His voice was magically augmented, reaching even those outside.
"Greetings, my changelings friends! On behalf of all our people and the Council, I welcome you to this glorious occasion! For too long we watched Chrysalis with an idle eye, blind to her greed and malice. Unseated and unfit to rule, she has been locked away!"
Cheers rang out like thunder, shaking the wooden floor under Aurus' hooves.
"But an empty throne would lead us into chaos and disarray, an anarchy so widespread that the Council could not stop it. Fearful of putting another tyrant in the seat of power, we searched long for a true leader! A changeling with wisdom so far beyond the ways of old that only he could lead us into the golden age the council and our people desperately seek!"
Again, thunder in the form of voices, rocking the very core of the structure, all crying out to see him, to see their new king.
Again the lead block flew high, at last coming to rest as he vented the energy needed to stay conscious.
"My friends, welcome our new King, Aurus Marz!" Korrick shouted.
The curtain rose and Aurus exhaled deeply as he prepared himself. The energy hit him like a ton of bricks, yet he managed to move forward to the center of the stage. Positioned all about the colosseum were massive torches he could use to expend his energy, for they were unlit. Carefully, he focused on two at a time, lighting the torches opposite one another in a full circle around the top of the colosseum. The effect was simple but impressive, and vented a substantial amount of the energy he needed to remove.
The rest he used to augment his own voice, instead of receiving help from the mages standing ready nearby. "People, hear me!" he cried loudly, and the effect was nearly deafening as his voice was again infused with an otherworldly quality. The assembled all hushed suddenly, awed and amazed.
"I am honored that you would call me your king. That I can call you my people. You are not my subjects, but my friends. You cannot understand the depths of my adoration for you all. Your fears are my fears, and your hopes my hopes. Each of you is a light in my eye, all of you part of the bright future I see ahead."
He paused slightly, awaiting a reaction. There was none, for everyone was rooted still as stone, hung on his every word. Many trembled, for his words had not been hollow. They were all filled with his love of his people, his unending desire to make them happy and whole, and it energized them, thrilled them.
"I did not ask to be your king. I did not try to woo you, to persuade you, or fight with you. I am here because of you all, because our people needs a change of direction, and a change of heart. The world is afraid of us, and this should not be so! We're not monsters, my friends. Why should creatures who thrive on love be reviled? Our kings and queens of old have led us astray!" he risked a shout, and was nearly knocked flat by the resulting cries of approval.
Changelings hovered in their seats, energized by Aurus' words, and his love for them. They could hardly sit still, and put magical energy into everything they did, their shouts and cheers amplified tenfold.
Aurus turned his attention to his next outlet for magical energy. Overhead, the colosseum could be closed, a stone roof that took twenty skilled mages many minutes to seal, should the weather prove faulty. With nothing present in his mind other than the will to move it, he poured all of his energy into it, drawing it closed. The stone slabs slid out on metal rails, slamming together like a thunder crash overhead in mere seconds. Again, he felt stable, but now it was dark, except for the green light of the torches ringing the dome above.
"I am tired of being hated, of being feared! It is time the world saw us as we are meant to be. It will take time and patience, but I will lead us to the doorsteps of those we once called prey. Instead, we shall call them friends. We will tolerate our own greed and monstrosity no longer. Why should we hide what we are? What good is love and adoration if it is not meant for you? I will not hide us from the world, my friends. The time has come for peace," he finished firmly, seriously. This was the part of his speech that could most likely be disagreed with.
It did not happen. The people could feel a connection to his heart, could feel the truth radiating in him, his words merely conduits for the perfect vision that they could all see blooming in his mind. Nobody cheered, instead they were all ruled by an awed silence as he showed them the image of a world where changelings were adored openly. Even the most stubborn and greedy among them saw the worth in that vision, though it wrestled with their nature. Nature lost out to hope, to the glory of the will of their new king.
"I will go to the people we once called enemies. I will go with all of our sincerity, our desire to know them, and our regret for our tyranny and foolishness. I will not disguise myself, will not hide. From this day forward, the world will see you all and love you all as I do. As a people," he finished softly, warmly. "Thank you, my friends."
The crowd cheered so forcefully that the stone plates above rattled loose, sliding back gently on their tracks, gravity grabbing hold of them. The effect was beautiful as the sun filtered back in, starting as a single beam bathing the stage, then flowing out to encompass all the stadium.
And for his final release of a love he could not even measure, Aurus had no outlet. He stumbled and winced as the magic did its best to consume him. Instead he could feel it changing him, his body doing anything it could to route the power away, contain it better. His horn grew longer, more majestic where changelings were concerned. It became jagged and long, but yet still looked proportionate to his body and skull. His body could not affect any more rapid change, could not stall the magic any longer, and at last Aurus had to let it fly.
The clouds for miles around swirled around, gathering above the stadium. The people cheered, for this was the truest display of their new king's powers, when all of them were cheering his name, adoring him loudly and openly.
The dark blanket overhead roared with lightning, but the bolts were green, not white. A beam shot out from Aurus' horn, piercing the sky above and feeding into the clouds. The gathered storm bulged and whirled around that beam, the lightning arcing to it. At last the beam faded, and the clouds flashed brilliantly once before going dark.
Suddenly it began to rain, thunder roaring overhead. But each drop glowed green, filled to bursting with magical energy. Where they struck the earth, grass sprung to life on barren ground. Where they struck stone, flashes of beautiful green fire burned for a split second.
And where the rain struck a changeling, he or she was filled with magical essence, a rejuvenating and comforting amount that soothed the nerves. The entire nation basked in a storm of bliss, conjured by the might of their king.
"My gift to you, my friends; the power you give me, I share with you. I hope that you can continue to believe in me, as I lead us forward into a new dawn."
Korrick smiled as the rain splashed against him, soothing the aching in his joints, reveling in the storm. Though the sky was dark above, all the world was bright to him now.
"There can be no better king than this," he muttered silently, a phrase he himself could not hear over the roar of the energized crowd.