Jalem kept score of the debates, wondering how long it would take for both ‘opponents’ to realize they were more alike than they cared to admit. True, she had the advantage of knowing something intimate about Desmon and Allen, secrets she’d keep until the end. Given the true strengths beyond the masks they wore, she expected to live a long, long time.
Maybe that was why Jalem wasn’t surprised by the bonding ceremony, a foolish hope she had even before the revelations in secret. She couldn’t define – then or now – what it was that made each man a relative outsider to the community, yet fitting in seamlessly so for safety’s sake. If Desmon knew the truth about Allen, or vice-versa, then neither friend needed to worry about punishment from the magistrates.
Yet Jalem saw the power behind their combined talents, an opportunity of throwing fire with the rain. She would only have to steer them like the winds that blew over the coastal waters, guiding defensive learning with an empathetic soul. They could succeed, guarding the next generation from the trappings of twilight. Maybe.