“For centuries we have fought, yet neither side has ever won.  We have slaughtered each other over some unknown hatred; and just like the Hydra of myth, more spring up to take the place of the fallen.  But what are we gaining from this?  What reason do we have to fight?”  Adjusting her reading glasses, the woman behind the podium looked out over the crowd of gathered representatives.  It was a strange feeling, seeing multiple races sitting next to each other, their eyes all focused on her.  “Can any of us remember a time when we did not fight?”  Again her words were met with silence.  “What is it about us, Angels, Demons, Vampires, Mages, Therians, and Dragons that make us want to fight one another?”

A tall and feral looking woman got to her feet.  “We fight to avenge the death of those the Vampires killed!”

“You hunt us in packs like we’re some sort of prized deer!” shouted a young man whose body flickered slightly as he gestured towards the woman.  “I’ve seen you leading those hunts, Alessa!”

“The Mages hunt us for our parts!”  came the cry of a woman with long scaly looking dreadlocks.

“How dare you make that accusation!”

Sighing, Mekana massaged her temples as the room erupted in shouts.  People flickered in and out as others reached out to grab at them, making Mekana grateful she’d convinced many of the delegates of the gathering to use the new holographic projectors Kalen had recently produced.  Her irritation growing, she licked her index finger and ran it over the microphone.  Shouts were replaced with cries of pain as her magic clashed with the electricity feeding through the sound system, feedback shrieking through the speakers.  Moving her finger away from the mic, she grinned playfully and gazed out over the gathered races.  “Looks like we can agree on something.  You all hate it when I do that.  Now then, I believe a break would be a good idea right about now.  We won’t get anywhere with everyone trying to point fingers and blame one another for their plights.  Those of you who are here in person can go and grab refreshments; the rest of you, I request that you get back to your seats in half an hour.”

An irritated sigh passed her lips as she removed her reading glasses.  The various delegates who were present in person were making their way over to the refreshment tables in the back of the room while the other delegates flickered and vanished as they shut off their projectors.  Collecting her papers, she made her way down the steps and towards the room that had been set aside for her, where she quickly locked herself inside and slid down to the ground.  “Just once.  Just once I want to douse everyone with Thorazine and be able to finish a speech.” she muttered, running her long thin fingers through her hair.

“Even then, I doubt it would work.”

“You have two seconds to identify yourself and explain why you’re in my room.” stated Mekana, her eyes moving to the black haired man sitting on the couch by the window.

Rising to his feet, the man adjusted his suit and smiled politely.  “My apologies, my name is Lirotiel.”

“Still waiting for why you’re in my room.”  Mekana stood, her body tensed in case Lirotiel proved to be less than friendly.  “I’ve never met you before and you weren’t on the list of delegates for this meeting, how did you get here?”  She could feel power emanating from Lirotiel that she’d only felt around others like herself and her son, but there was something off about his power.  Eying him over, she took in his pitch black hair, fair unblemished skin, and perfectly tailored suit.  Nothing was out of place on the man before her, not even a single hair.

“I received a personal invitation at the last minute.”  Lirotiel smiled.  “Your son and I go way back, all I had to do was ask.”  He stepped forward, crossing the gap between them in only two steps and extended his hand.  “Again, my apologies for not making a more proper introduction, but time is of the essence.  In fact, I’d say the fate of all the races is at stake with what I’m going to tell you.”

“Well why didn’t you say so?” asked Mekana, sarcasm showing through her voice and smile.  “It’s not every day that I get a man in a finely tailored suit telling me that he’s going to impart knowledge to me about the fate of the world.”

“You don’t have to be sarcastic about it,” the smile faded from Lirotiel’s face, the expression in his pale grey eyes hardening.  “I am being perfectly serious, this is no joking matter.  You are aware of the generators that are used to keep the barrier up between us and the Mundanes?  Someone is sabotaging them and the barrier is weakening a little more every day.  Before the year is out, if something isn’t done, the barrier will be completely gone.  The Mages that were tasked with the upkeep of the generators are all but dead, with only a single man trying to undo the damage that is being done.”  

His grip hardened around her hand as his tone escalated.  “I have been trying to get the other races to set up guards around the remaining generators, but they refuse to listen to some unknown man.  You can get through to them, convince them to set up watches, get the Mages to find those who are able to work with magitech and get them out in the field to help with the repairs.”  He almost sounded desperate as his other hand clasped around his first, his eyes not even registering the expression of pain on Mekana’s face as he squeezed tighter.  “You are the main delegate to all the races, you for some reason have some special way of reaching them!  Please, I beg of you, convince them to protect the remaining generators while I try to find the cause and what happened to the people in charge of their care.”

Pressing down on his wrist with her left hand, Mekana broke his grip on her right by jerking her hand up and quickly moved out of his reach.  “You make it sound like I have some sort of sway over the races.  Have you seen the chaos in the hall?  I can’t even get them to stop fighting long enough to consider why they are fighting, and here you are asking me to convince them to stop their fighting long enough to fix a problem that they don’t even know about?”

Lirotiel’s gaze hardened.  “You are an agent of order, the sole negotiator amongst your race, and the one controlling the strings behind the scene, whether you wish to acknowledge it or not.  Without you there would be no peace talks, there would be no treaties to be upheld.  Whether you like it or not, you are the only one who can get everyone to stop and see what is happening right under their noses.”  

“Why are you expecting me to do this?  There are other negotiators amongst the races, why not ask them as well?  Why are you putting all of this on my shoulders alone?”

“Did I stutter?  Your fingers are controlling the strings of the others.  You alone are pushing for peace between all of the races, it is you they listen to.  Your voice is backed by some of the most powerful beings in existence today, and yet you want to claim that I am putting this solely on your shoulders.  Should you stumble there are others to help you back to your feet and get you back into the battle.  Can you say the same for the other negotiators?”

It was obvious that there was no convincing this man that she was already overburdened and couldn’t take on any more work.  “I can’t make any promises, but I’ll see what I can do,”  she sighed.

The smile slowly crept back to Lirotiel’s face and his body relaxed.  “I know you will succeed.  Remember, you control the strings, all you need to do is give them a little pull and people will come to your aid.”

Tapping her finger on her chin in thought, Mekana’s eyes moved up and down Lirotiel’s body.  “What race are you, anyway?”  Her eyes widened as three pairs of sleek black wings spread out behind his back.  “Just what are you?” she whispered.

“What you have the potential to become.”