After the Pentad has finally shaken off the blindness caused by the unexpected white light emitting from the Chamber Rniti, each of the children gasp and gape widely when they observe the other three Daijoks standing casually at the opposite end of the Chamber.
Vaiqon ushers the Pentad in, having to nearly physically push the children into the Chamber. After the last of the Pentad has stepped into the Chamber, Vaiqon shuts the massive door with a resounding thunder that echoes throughout the Chamber, reverberating into the children, forcing them to break from their dazed states.
The Pentad sees Vaiqon embracing with his Daijok brothers individually as they welcome him back to the Injhihato. The Pentad sees that the Chamber is filled with nothing but a map of Munda Luna made of stone behind the reunion of Daijoks, a bench that follows the circumference of the Chamber, stopping only at the massive door, and a majestic mural of portraying a battle with five brave men prepared to face a monster in the center of the mural.
“I trust you had a rewarding trip?” a deep voice rings throughout the Chamber.
Vaiqon nods, “Yes, Rhino, as you can witness for yourself,” he says gesturing towards the Pentad behind him. The Pentad straightens at the glances of the other three Daijoks bearing down on them.
“Five newcomers, eh?” a second Daijok with blue eyes and white hair and beard says. “Perhaps days are turning to be brighter indeed.”
Vaiqon nods again, “I sure do hope so, Shark.”
Vaiqon’s smile drops when he glances at the final Daijok wearing a grimace upon his face.
“Vulcan,” Vaiqon begins, waiting for the grimacing man to glance at him. When Vulcan glances briefly at him, Vaiqon continues, “Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to the Pentad?”
Vulcan shrugs. He glances back at the Pentad and speaks in a soft hiss that resounds through the Chamber with surprising force, “Pentad, as that is your name, I am Vulcan, Sigo Daijok of the Rniti.”
The Pentad nod reverently when Shark speaks, “And I am Shark, Pentad, the Rniti have gained quite an extraordinary group, I am sure,” he says with a bow to the Pentad.
The Pentad returns the bow themselves when Rhino’s booming voice tears through the Chamber, “Last but not least, I am Rhino, Pentad, as I am sure you are all aware, but know that we Daijoks will be your masters, mentors, and friends, we are here to aid you always, we are but a question away.”
The Pentad nod with smiles upon their face.
“If only they knew what you have planned for them, Rhino,” Vulcan hisses effectively shattering the light atmosphere. Rhino glares at Vulcan, but his expression cannot match the fury that already stems from Vaiqon’s glare at Vulcan.
Vulcan shrugs, “And who are you five?” he demands gesturing at the Pentad but pointing at Hawk directly.
Hawk does not hesitate, “I am Hawk.”
Vulcan spits, “Where are you from?”
“Karacrross,” Hawk says without flinching at Vulcan’s ferocity.
“Who are you?” Vulcan demands of the boy to Hawk’s left.
Pork shudders slightly before answering, “I am Pork,” he says without thinking.
Vulcan chuckles, “I am not partial to nicknames, boy, what is your name?”
Pork then straightens in defiance of Vulcan’s mockery, “Boar,” he finally says with confidence.
“Excellent, where are you from?” Vulcan asks.
“Karacrross,” Pork answers.
“Oh how wonderful, two little ones from Karacrross, tell me,” Vulcan continues, “how are the walls faring? Are they still standing?”
“Vulcan!” Vaiqon warns, his face turning red with anger, “You cannot bark demands at my class! This is not your class and they will be taught and directed at my discretion alone!”
Vulcan snarls at Vaiqon, but nods nonetheless.
Vaiqon breathes deeply, allowing his anger to filter out of his aura before turning to the Pentad, “Apologies, Pentad, now, may you introduce yourself?” he asks the girl to Hawk’s right.
Santhemum merely stares at the Daijoks in silence.
Vaiqon attempts to coax Santhemum into speaking again, “They are your friends, Santhemum, do not be afraid to speak to them.”
Santhemum’s eyes tick just enough to glance at Vaiqon, but hides her disbelief that Vaiqon feels she is afraid. When she still does not speak, Vulcan nearly erupts in anger, but a voice echoes soft as silk, calming him instantly, “Santhemum. And I am not afraid,” she says in complete defiance of Vaiqon’s assumption.
“And where are you from?” Vaiqon asks, his smile faltering drastically.
Santhemum clamps her mouth shut tight and Vaiqon knows he will not be hearing another word of her silky voice for possibly years.
“You are from Southern, correct,” Vaiqon states, but Santhemum nods in agreement.
Vulcan raises an eyebrow then turns to see he is not the only one questioning the actions of the child for he sees Rhino and Shark are glancing at Vaiqon with confusion as well.
The Daijoks speak through their auras for a moment as Vaiqon relates Santhemum’s dark past quickly. The Daijoks then focus on the Pentad again with nods of understanding.
“And now you, young man,” Vaiqon says pointing at Fox to Santhemum’s right.
Fox stands straight and says confidently, “I am Fox.”
The Daijok’s eyes widen as Fox’s voice and demeanor seem to ignite memories to tear through their auras but cannot quite solidify. The Daijoks shrug and Vaiqon asks, “Where are you from?”
“I am from Coas,” Fox says deflating slightly at the utter scrutiny of the Daijoks’ gazes.
Shark glances at Vaiqon almost imperceptibly, but Vaiqon acknowledges Shark with another near imperceptible nod. Shark relates the confirmed suspicion to Rhino and Vulcan though their connected auras.
“And last-” Vaiqon begins.
“I am Desert, and I am from Dzrt,” Desert states on Pork’s left side before Vaiqon can finish his question.
Vaiqon ticks with hidden anger, but Vulcan smiles at the boy.
“Finally!” Vulcan exclaims. “Vaiqon! Why did you not inform me you had a victor from Dzrt? Ah, Desert, I am from Dzrt as well, as I am sure you know, but tell me, is the Palace just as grand as it has always been? The windows still dancing with eery red light at night?”
Desert just nods in agreement, pride in his hometown ripping through his aura.
Vulcan smiles widely.
Vaiqon breathes deeply again but the addresses the Pentad as a whole, “Pentad, I am afraid now you must pass a test to continue to your training. The Daijoks will ask you individually one question that you all must answer honestly. Desert, you will answer first. Hawk, Santhemum, Fox, and Pork, please find a place on the bench behind you.”
The Pentad split, Desert remaining where he was standing, the other four children sitting on the bench, their feet dangling off the ground.
“Desert,” Vulcan says, ecstasy clear in his voice, “should one of your Pentad fall, would you aid that side so that you all can remain whole?”
Desert cocks his head to the side as he ponders the question. He straightens and responds, “I wouldn’t aid any of the ‘sides.’ I don’t have any support in this Pentad. The rest can fall.”
Hawk appears as if he will tackle Desert, but Pork’s aggressive glare seems to tear through even Hawk’s untrained aura and he glances at his friend to see Pork twitching with anger. He raises his eyebrows, but Pork pays him no attention.
The Daijoks deliberate through their aura connections.
‘Do we earnestly want a Rniti that cares not for his fellow brothers?’ Shark asks.
‘He is but a boy, and a boy from Dzrt at that. He knows not what brotherhood is,’ Vulcan counters.
Rhino and Vaiqon remain silent but filter feelings of agreement through the connections.
‘He also spoke truthfully,’ Vulcan adds.
Vaiqon then speaks aloud, “Desert, you have answered honestly, please take a seat to my right.”
Desert smirks and walks to the bench where his toes just touch the floor.
Vaiqon shrugs then points at Pork, “Boar, would you please rise?”
Pork then stands and walks towards the center of the Chamber where Rhino asks, “Boar, should one of your Pentad fall, would you aid that side so that you all can remain whole?”
Pork opens his mouth, then hesitates. He glances at the Pentad then back at the Daijok. After a few more minutes of silence, Pork answers, “I would aid any side that falls,” he says in a high-pitched squeal.
The Daijoks do not have the chance to deliberate before Vulcan spits, “Boar, I am a master of manipulation and deceit, in the future, please remember that. Now, speak honestly.”
Pork blanches at the scalding, ‘How could he tell I was lying?’ he thinks to himself. He shrugs, swallows, then answers again, “I would only aid Hawk and Santhemum.”
Vulcan smiles then nods towards the other Daijoks. Hawk appears wary at Pork’s answer, Santhemum appears confused, Fox shrugs indifferently, but Desert snarls with utmost aggression radiating out from him.
Vaiqon notices the reactions of the Pentad, but shrugs and claims, “Boar, you have answered honestly, though it would be best in the future to always be honest initially. Now, please join Desert.”
Pork glares at Vaiqon as he walks towards the bench to his left and plops himself down on the bench where his toes just touch the floor and next to Desert where the tension between the two is palpable. Vaiqon sighs then points to Fox, “Fox, you are next.”
Fox eagerly jumps from the bench and stands on his hands for a moment in the center of the Chamber, entertaining the Daijoks for a moment. He stands on his feet straight where Shark asks, “Fox, should one of your Pentad fall, would you aid that side so that you all may remain whole?”
Pondering the question for a moment, Fox answers, “I would not aid any side as I feel that if I would only help two, I should not help any at all.”
The Daijoks deliberate through their auras, ‘Well, at least he was honest,’ Vulcan admits.
‘Vaiqon, it appears the Pentad is not as cohesive as you desired,’ Shark warns.
Vaiqon waves Shark away, ‘They have only known one another for less than a week. Even we as a class loathed one another then.’
The Daijoks nod in agreement and Vaiqon deems aloud, “Fox, you have answered honestly, please find a seat to my left.”
Fox cartwheels to the bench where his feet dangle in the air.
Vaiqon then turns to Hawk and Santhemum, but sees Santhemum is already waiting in the center of the Chamber.
Vulcan asks the question and silence is emitted from Santhemum as she thinks. Moments later, Santhemum’s silky voice echoes through the Chamber, “I would aid any of the sides.”
The Daijoks blanch at the complete honesty that sifts powerfully through Santhemum’s aura. They do not even look at one another before Vaiqon says, “Santhemum, you have spoken honestly, please have a seat next to Fox.”
Santhemum’s serene green eyes seem to implant themselves into each Daijok’s aura as she waltzes to the bench where she sits with her feet dangling off of the floor.
Vaiqon then turns back toward the center of the room where he sees Hawk standing, waiting to answer the question. Vaiqon asks, “Hawk, should any of your Pentad fall, would you aid that side so that you may all remain whole?”
Hawk appears deep in thought, he glances at each of the Pentad individually. He sees the beginning friendship with Fox, the serene green eyes of Santhemum, the years of friendship with Pork, and the brute of Desert. Hawk glances towards the floor at his feet, then at the mural behind the Daijoks. He sees the five brave men preparing to give their lives for one another. A though occurs to him that the five men are brothers and would not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for one another.
Hawk nods to himself as he answers, “I would aid any side that falls, and not only of the Pentad, but of the Rniti. We are all one Pentad after all.”
The Daijoks’ eyes widen at the answer of a man much older than the boy they see before them. They speak through their connections.
‘Is Hawk?’ Shark begins
‘No, he could not possibly...’ Rhino adds.
‘Perhaps he is the solution...’ Vulcan provides.
‘Hawk is most extraordinary,’ Shark concludes.
Vaiqon then deems aloud, “Hawk, you have spoken with the utmost honesty. Now, will the rest of the Pentad please stand together with Hawk?”
Vaiqon waits for Desert, Santhemum, Fox, and Pork to rejoin with Hawk at the center of the Chamber. When the Pentad stands fully erect once again, Vaiqon says with the utmost pride, “Hawk, Desert, Santhemum, Fox, and Pork, you five of the Pentad have spoken sincerely and have proved yourselves ready to begin your training as Rniti. We, as the Daijoks of the Rniti, proclaim you Ummkoniyos!”
Rivers of pride wash through the Pentad’s auras with such force, even the trained Daijoks must steady themselves.
Vaiqon continues, “Please follow Firose to your bed chambers,” he says gesturing towards the air to his right that ignites in a blue light to reveal a beautiful girl with dark russet hair, tanned skin, and twin blades strapped to her back.
She smiles at the new arrivals, “Come, Pentad, I am Firose, a Rniti and friend,” she says as she leads them out of the massive door. When Santhemum reaches the door, she stops to glance up at Firose.
“You are very pretty,” Santhemum says, her silky voice worming deep into Firose’s aura.
Firose cannot help but smile at the compliment as if knowing Santhemum rarely speaks. Firose takes Santhemum’s hand and leads her out of the Chamber to join with the Pentad.
Vaiqon closes the door with his ire as he turns towards his Daijoks.
“It is most unsettling that periods of happiness must be marked by periods of misery,” Vaiqon says as he connects with Vulcan, Shark, and Rhino’s auras and then to Uxxok and Teqqc’s where the two relate all that has occurred to the other three Daijoks in the past week.