Chapter Ten, Unity

Lyra awoke only because of the streaming light through the curtains ajar, had they been properly closed she could have easily sleep for a further five hours. She looked over and saw the time to be ten past nine, with no sign of Diviant activity she decided to attempt getting out of bed. Five minutes later she was up, and so was a rushing and stressed Diviant. She couldn't understand why he was so bothered about getting up early, she wouldn't have expected there to be any urgency.

"You don't understand" said Diviant, replying to her inquiry of his state of mind. "HQ has a daily meeting at ten every morning, if I'm late we'll have to put off meeting the others until tomorrow."

"The others?"

"Dadragon's squad leaders and clan board." Diviant stated, grabbing his armour jacket off the back of a chair where it hung. "The squad leaders organise everything in the field, the board organise the clan structure and the HQ. In other words, big, important people."

"I was there the day the clan was born, if anyone's big and important it's me."

"Not anymore, the clan way too big now for one person to organise it all. The clan hierarchy is quite complex and very strict."

"Not as I'd intended it" Starcloud mumbled.

"Ok, how do I look?" Draco asked. He was wearing an ornate coat over his armour; blue stained leather and black trimmings, a series off silver and gold pips on one shoulder. She assumed they dictated his rank or something like that. Despite the quick get ready he had done remarkably to get himself look neat.

"Fine I guess," she said.

"High praise, I think we're ready to get going. You can leave the guns here, you won't be needing them and they're technically mine anyway" he chuckled.

They left the flat in a mess and headed to the ground floor by lift. They left building block the same way they entered and were both hit by the gleaming sunlight. At night, the shiny metal buildings reflected every colour but remained fairly dark. At day however, the opposite was true; the gorge walls were glistening bright with a cloudless blue strip of sky directly above. They hadn't walked for long until they came to a huge open area with a sign indicating that they were at Business Park 12. Diviant hurried up to a black marble building with gold pillars supporting an overhanging part of the structure. As she entered the lobby she was surrounded by white marble walls and an ornate red and black patterned marble floor. Diviant was keeping a lift open for her and she ran across the lobby to get in.

"Sure I look ok?" he asked again, brushing his coat as the lift began to rise.

"Stop be pedantic." She replied. The lift stopped as her reply did and opened to the HQ welcome floor. A long corridor, lit at the top border by clear white light, lined with beds of plants and intersecting corridors lay before them. They ran out and Lyra followed Diviant down a corridor to the right and then right again further along. They entered a large conference room, a large oval table was positioned in the middle and the room had similar lighting to outside in the corridors, perhaps a bit darker. There, surrounding the table sat in leather chairs fourteen men and women looking at the pair of them. Seven of them wore seemingly identical coats to Diviant, six of them wore back suits with red shirts. The last person sat in the middle of the table opposite Diviant and Lyra, this man was the president himself and the only other person in the room from Diviant of whom she knew well. This was AJ, this was Dadragon.

"Sorry I'm late," blurted Diviant, hurrying to a seat between two people wearing the same attire as him who she assumed were squad leaders like him. Now, she stood by herself with all eyes on her. She now wished she had put as much effort into her appearance as Diviant had as they stared at her, some scrutinising her clothes and face. Her over-confidence had now been replaced with a certain anxiety. Slowly, AJ rose and spoke.

"I assume you're back to stay?" he questioned. His voice was warm to her even though he looked coldly at her. She couldn't understand why he hadn't rushed up to her, asking how she had been as she had imagined it would be on the journey here.

"Yes, if I'm welcome. This place sure had grown since I left."

"When you left this clan had thirty eight members and no structure," started one of the board members. "We now have two hundred and ninety four members and an organised system, not to mention this headquarters and bases throughout the region. It has more than grown, Miss Starcloud."

She looked at Dadragon eye to eye; she was not here to be insulted.

"This meeting is over." He announced. "I want all further reports to be handed in to my office. Dismissed."

The board members and squad leaders, including Diviant got up and left the conference room in an organised rush. AJ stood opposite her, one hand on the exquisite wooden board table. He looked up from his papers.

"I believe I should apologise for that, the meetings demand absolute concentration and your arrival with Diviant was unexpected."

"Sorry I interrupted your little get together. Shall I leave now before I get in anyone else's way?"

A fist landed suddenly on the table causing a slamming sound that echoed out the room and down the corridors. She paused.

"Look." He said, regaining his posture. "Times have changed and this organisation has little time for games anymore..."

He continued to preach about clan structure and guidelines; she couldn't believe what he was saying.

".I am prepared to allow you back into this clan. You will be expected to work up the ranks like everyone else and you will take you position and duty seriously."

She looked at the floor is dismay. The honest group she once had was now replaced by a strict, soulless business. She raised her head and spotted in a glass box on one wall, her guns; the two dark blue BBIs that represented so much. It seemed now that all that was irrelevant. She did not reply to his proposal, instead she walked over to the guns, putting her left hand up against the cold glass. What an apt metaphor it was that the glass between her and the guns represented so well the separation from the joyful past. She knew now that there was no hope in re-gaining that way of life.

"Has it really changed so much?" she said to herself, trying not to let a tear out. "Why are you like this AJ? We're still married for God's sake"

"How do you think it's been for me since you left? I lost a wife, a leader and the best friend I had all at once. All you could say to justify your leaving was that it was costing you too much to stay. I mean, what kind of reason is that?! When I asked you what you meant you changed subject, when I asked you to stay you said no. Well, if you don't like who I am now then just think this; I am who I am today because of what you did."

"I thought you'd be ok. I always said I'd return."

"Return when? It's been two years since you first left and I never knew when you'd be back." He shook his head. "Diviant left to look for you on his own because he thought it would be for the best. How do I know that if he hadn't gone searching for you you'd ever come back?"

"Because you trust me, you do still trust me right? Don't say that's been lost too."

He turned his back to her and looked out of a large window that overlooked the Ent arena.

"It may be easy for you to turn back on everything and everyone that matters but it wasn't for me. I'm a broken man Lyra, you broke me. It's gonna take a hell of a lot to fix."

He looked over his shoulder at her and then at the guns.

"Take them, they're still yours. I have no need for them anymore."

She was about to try and talk some sense into him when she realised that everything that was to be said at this point had been. She gave up trying, opened the glass case and left the room with the case empty. As she stomped down the corridor Diviant saw and caught up with her before she reached the lift.

"Didn't go well did it. I thought so. Listen, I've got to hurry back to my desk. Stay at my place until you're back in business again, I'll see you tonight."

She turned to him and hugged him strongly. It was so strange that she was far closer to him than she was to her own husband. She left him and took the lift down. It was in that lift taking her away from her husband that she decided she would earn back his trust. She couldn't afford to give up on him, he deserved more than that.