"What?! Purple?!" exclaimed Dag, in disbelief.
Although others before Asa had noticed the change in the color of Dag's eyes, no one had ever told him so explicitly.
Dag paused to think. Unintentionally, his mind had made a connection: it would have been more logical if his eyes had changed color after ingesting Xis' blood. In that case, the blood would enter his digestive system and change his body chemistry. But with that hare it was different... it was a simple animal, its blood was normal red blood. It had no connection to the Xis.
So why did one of his eyes go purple for a few seconds?
Purple eyes were a peculiar feature of the Xis. If the animals weren't the only link... what other connection was there between him and that alien race?
Dag could not understand, thoughts continued to crowd in his mind.
"It's impossible, mother. This doesn't make any sense! That hare didn't have magenta blood, why did my eye change color?" asked Dag, frightened by Asa's revelation.
Asa paused for a few minutes, trying to think of an answer to give Dag.
"What exactly does 'Unknown' mean?" she asked.
"Uhm? What do you mean?"
"The Temporum, or what's called that thing... You said that when it examined you, one of the values it released was Unknown, right?" continued Asa.
"Yes, that's it" Dag said.
Immediately he opened his eyes wide as if an electric shock had just struck him.
He remained motionless and a sea of memories invaded his mind, blurring his sight. In a few seconds, he retraced his whole life, focusing on the last period... the one during which he realized that he had developed dark powers.
Everything was connected, now everything was clearer.
The key to the riddle had always been within him.
"My blood! It's my blood, mother! You're a genius! How did I not think about it before, how stupid!" shouted Dag, happy to have discovered such an important thing about himself.
He hugged Asa hard, lifting her off the ground and spinning her.
"Thank you, Mom!" he said again, kissing Asa on the cheek.
"What... what did I say?" she replied, unaware that she had sparked in Dag such a deep reflection on his ego.
"The Temporum. The answer is inside that 2%. My blood has something different from other earthlings. When they had to decide what to do with me, the Xis of the Great Court started talking to each other. It was the first time they were unsure of the decision to be made. I have to find out more about my parents, I need more answers" Dag continued, enthusiastic about his discovery.
"Are you saying that somehow your blood may be tied to that of the Xis?" asked Asa.
"It's strange to say, but... yes. I think a small part of me isn't human. I really hope Vegard has the answers I'm looking for."
"He's just an old blacksmith. Anyway, his connection to the Gods, according to Brann, was authentic. Hopefully, you're right. I wish you all the luck" Asa continued, smiling at her son and stroking both his cheeks.
Dag returned to the house and began to prepare the equipment for the trip. The stop at Temple Of Orn was supposed to be short: reaching Tyven was his main goal.
As he packed dry food into a leather bag, he thought back to what Asa had just said.
From that second, it was like he was seeing the world with different eyes.
It was evident that the Xis, after sending him to Skjold, had continued to study his case, spying on him and monitoring his growth. They were watching him as if he was a lab rat.
He looked back on the stories that the dorm nannies told him and the other children when he was on Earth. Lady Ysabel always spoke of the Xis.
They were described as beings with anatomic features similar to humans, but a much superior intellect and out-of-the-ordinary physical abilities. Not only that, but their minds were also more evolved than the human one, that they could control matter as they pleased.
The goal of those stories was surely to increase fear in children so that their young minds could be shaped to recognize the absolute dominance of the Xis race over earthlings.
Growing up, Dag finally began to realize that perhaps not even the great and powerful Xis possessed absolute knowledge. He was the living proof of this hypothesis.
But why would they try to kill him? Is it because his powers could be a threat?
Back then, maybe they weren't as powerful as Lady Ysabel's stories told.
A specific memory came back to Dag's mind: "What about killing the Xis? Are they that strong?"
Gridd's words, during the first dinner at the farm, echoed in his head.
Without knowing what she was talking about, she suggested fighting against them, against their immense powers, saying that she could kill anything with a well-aimed axe blow.
Maybe she wasn't wrong. Maybe it was possible to defeat them... but what's the end game? Humans were unable to use alien technology: ending the Xis meant ending all the 6 planets they created.
Dag shook his head, trying not to fantasize too much.
His thoughts were distracting him from reality. There were more pressing issues to resolve. It was necessary to reunite the Clans and conquer the domination of the planet. Only in such a position of power would he have a chance to really change something.
As he closed the leather bag full of food supplies, the pendant fell from his pocket.
He picked it up and put it back.
"I will not be able to rely on others forever, I must conquer the other emblems. And I have to do it as soon as possible" he thought.
Being busy with the preparations, time seemed to flow faster for Dag and soon the Sun set and evening arrived.
For many hours he did not speak to anyone, immersed in his thoughts.
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