I've taken it upon myself to change the name of the dominant race from Pyre, to PYR No reason;I just like it more.
"Ask your questions,' Je'Makh said. "And I will answer as I may.'
The pair were seated once more in Ri'Shard's chambers. The Council meeting had dissolved, after all Eight had unanimously agreed to So'Hala's decree that Ri'shard be entrusted into Je'Makh's guardianship.
"I have so many; it is hard to know where to begin.' Ri'shard confessed. He sipped slowly at the Ichor Je'Makh had poured him, as he attempted to pull the shreds of his thoughts together.
"Then let me begin for you.' Je'Makh said. "Your training, such as it is, will consist mainly of history lessons. Only by means of education and information, will you be at all ready for the tasks ahead of you.'
"What tasks? And what if I wish not to undertake any tasks?'
"In time, my friend. And I think that any question of your free will in this matter is largely academic.' Je'Makh told him. He held out a reassuring hand. "I think that you will do well, however. And the benefit to you personally, will be enormous.'
"It seems that I have little choice, but to trust you in this matter. I wish now, that you had never brought me before the Eight.' Ri'Shard grimaced. "Very well, to begin. What is a Scion? I was addressed several times by that name.'
"Yes; as good a place as any at which to begin.' Je'Makh told him. "Although the younger Pyr refer to themselves as Anari, Scion is a much older term. It is an old tongue word that means descendant, particularly when applied to a noble line, such as the Pyr. The Eight use the term when discussing the younger Pyr, such as yourself. It is, or was, an honorable term,' Je'Makh threw Ri'Shard a slightly apologetic look. "Though I am afraid it is not, now, as honorable as it was. But, let me ask you now; how much of the special Ichor did you bring back with you, from the deeps?'
For a moment, Ri'shard was caught off guard by the sudden shift in the discussion. "Three flasks.' He replied, after a moment. A sudden insight caused him to look up from his glass. "Is that the "True Source' So'Hala spoke of?'
Je'Makh appeared surprised, but quickly masked it with a nod of approval. "Very good. I doubt that I would have made the connection so fast. So'Hala is rarely wrong in her assessments. I think that I have chosen well. So, three flasks; it will have to suffice.'
"Suffice?' Ri'Shard queried. "Surely, it is merely a fine vintage Ichor. For what, must it suffice?'
"For you.' Je'Makh said. "And yes, it is a fine vintage; one of the best. I take it the flasks were well stored and preserved?'
"Yes,' Ri'Shard told him. They were in a powered box. I accidentally powered it off, and it opened. I took three flasks and left six behind. I powered the box up again. Why is it so special?'
"It is special, because it is not a synthetic.' Je'Makh told him. "It is actual Sapien blood, preserved in a stasis box for all these cycles. I confess, I had thought that they had all but gone. I have not seen a stasis box for many, many cycles. Drink of it sparingly, my friend; one small glass each day will suffice, if supplemented with Ichor.'
"But-, actual Sapien blood?' Ri'Shard was unable to conceal his astonishment. "True Source indeed. How could Lady So'Hala know I have tasted such a thing?'
"She was able to sense it, within you.' Je'Makh answered. "Ri'Shard, one of the main differences between the Eight and the Scion, is that none of the younger Pyr have ever partaken of the True Source; Sapien blood. And, now that you have tasted, you must needs know: you are no longer Scion.'
"What!' Ri'Shard stared at his companion; his incomprehension plain to see.
Je'Makh gazed calmly back. "Once I tasted the Ichor, I was certain.' He told Ri'Shard. "Although not yet an Elder, you are no longer of the Scion. Allow me to explain, if I can.' Je'Makh thought for a moment. "You, and all others of the Anari, including the Dracule, have only ever taken Ichor.'
Ri'shard nodded. "Of course; there is no longer a supply of Sapien blood; only Ichor.'
"Indeed.' Je'Makh agreed. "Now, while Ichor is perfectly adequate in sustaining the Pyr, it lacks certain components, that can only be found in the True Source. What is not known however, is that we of the Eight still require these components, in order to maintain ourselves, and to function capably.'
Je'Makh raised a hand, the index finger aimed at Ri'shard. "You have now also tasted the True Source; already, your body has already begun to change. As time progresses, you will find, among other things, that you will become stronger, and more tolerant to temperature change. You will think faster, and react accordingly. There are other changes that will occur as you mature, but we will leave it for the now. My point is, True Source changes the Pyr metabolism. It allows us to survive. The lack of it will destroy us.'
"But,' Ri'Shard frowned. "If there are no more Sapien, how then do you-,' Ri'Shard corrected himself with a frown. "How do we, survive?'
"We feed upon the Milari.' Je'Makh raised his own glass. They were drinking standard Ichor; at Je'Makh's insistence. "As you are now aware, the Milari are, or were, Sapien. The distinction is enough that their blood still carries the components we require. We are able to feed upon them with no ill effect, either us or them. We must take sparingly; the Milari are of limited numbers, and we cannot afford to let any perish needlessly.'
"And, herein lies the crux of our dilemma. The Milari are sterile: only the Sapien had the ability to reproduce. We think that this is due mainly to their short life span. But, although long-lived, the Milari are not immortal, as are we. At the most, they survive for a mere several thousands of cycles.
"But, that would mean that..,' Ri'Shard never finished his sentence. After a moment, Je'Makh finished it for him.
"It would mean that the Eight, and now, you yourself, are under a sentence of doom.' He said softly. "The oldest Milari is now two and a half thousands of cycles in age. In another two thousands of cycles, three at the outside, the Milari will be no more. Then the Eight will also cease to be.'