Songs of Arcencai image card

Arcencai, Lux Aestas of 2997

Fennec gripped the strap of her guitar case, her knuckles almost pushing through her skin with how tightly she clenched her hand around it. 

The rhythmic crash of the waves as they hit the shore did little to ease her nerves as she stood on Arcencai for the first time. A warm breeze tousled her hair (she hoped it was the island welcoming her, but she couldn’t be sure) and Fennec bit her lip.

“Hey,” Coral placed a hand on her shoulder, “You nervous?” 

Fennec looked up at the young Gogi. They were twenty-one - too young, some felt, to be scouting for the Warriors Guild, but Fennec was glad they were here with them.

The morning sunlight filled her vision and she squinted her eyes to see Coral’s calming smile. 

“N-No,” she answered, knowing it was what Coral wanted to hear. 

But to her surprise, the Gogi squeezed her shoulder. 

“It’s okay if you are,” they said. “I was nervous when I first arrived on Gaia Island - and I had my whole family with me!” 

They gave Fennec a sympathetic pat. “Everyone’s really nice,” they promised. “You’ll fit right in!”

Fennec looked ahead across the island. The plants here were bursting with colour, their flowers large and so different to the ones back home, on the Emerald Isle. Even the sand shimmered pink and purple, and when she shifted her body so her shadow fell across it, it sparkled blues and greens. 

She let her gaze travel upward to the tops of the weird trees, all sizes, and bearing the strangest fruit. Their leaves were long and skinny, or round with red spots, or bright yellow, or - there was so much to look at that she felt queasy (she’d been feeling kind of sick since she’d jumped off the seacraft).

But in the distance, beyond the rainbow forest, she could make out a patch of bright light blinking as the clouds moved overhead. 

“Nexus Edge,” Coral spoke from beside her, Fennec's bag slung over their shoulder. The Gogi had followed her gaze and was looking at the same patch of light.

That’s the academy?” Fennec asked, perplexed. She’d assumed that the training school was, well, a building. 

Coral laughed at her confused expression. “Most of the school’s walls are huge glass windows. Wouldn’t want to miss out on this extraordinary view, right?” Coral threw their arms out and gestured at the bright display of colour all around them.

Fennec sucked in her cheeks. The view was more unnerving than anything else, she thought. Emerald Isle, being a green island, didn’t have so much purple and blue and yellow. It had deep, grassy gorges, and sea-green lakes, and the foliage was more leaves than flowers. She was already missing home. 

Coral had told her all about Arcencai before they’d arrived, and she’d heard tales of the anomalous island before during school… 

It was just… seeing it in person was completely different.

She supposed she would just have to get used to it, though. She was going to be here for the next five years, after all. 

Coral had finished locking their small seacraft into the shore and turned to the young girl. “Ready?” 

Fennec looked out at the wide, open sea they’d just come from. The waterbirds splashed playfully along the surface, every so often resurfacing with a silver fish between their beaks. And beyond the ocean, somewhere very, very far away, Emerald Isle waited for her return. 

Her heart longed to go back, yearning for the friendly familiarity of home. It would be a long time before she could smell her sister’s cooking again or play in the green gullies with her friends.


She turned back to the blinding spot that was Nexus Edge. Some of that initial excitement fluttered through her again. She was going to become a Warrior. How cool was that?! 

The first in her family of Bards to be scouted for such a selective position.

She adjusted her guitar strap across her torso and gave Coral a timid nod. 

“Then let’s go!”


The path to the academy was long and winding. Coral had given her the last bit of water she’d kept in her flask, but that was ages ago.

“Remind me,” she asked between pants, “why we have to… to… walk?”

Coral flashed her a sheepish grin. “I like taking the scenic route…!”

Fennec scowled. Her shoes felt like animal-traps around her feet - and this was her most comfortable pair! 

She stopped abruptly and sat down in protest. “We’re going to have to camp, aren’t we?”

Coral chuckled and shrugged off their bags. “Don’t be so dramatic, young musician,” they said, rummaging through their things. “We’re almost there, I promise.”

Fennec sighed and flopped down, ignoring the sand that was definitely in her hair now, and stared up at the sky. At least it was the same blue sky back home.

“There is another reason why I wanted to take the longer route,” Coral spoke. 

The young girl turned to look at them, curiosity twinkling in her eyes. “There is?”

Coral crossed their legs and held out their flask. “I wanted to show you something. I think it might help you feel better about being here.”

Fennec sat up. The sickness she had felt earlier was starting to subside (mostly because the ache in her legs was starting to overpower it) but her heart still hurt a little. 

Coral unscrewed the lid of the empty flask. “I want you to take a deep breath. Feel the island in your lungs.”

That was a weird thing to say, Fennec thought. Regardless, she trusted Coral, and so did what was asked of her. 

The Lux Aestas* air was chillier now that they had climbed higher, but it was still soft and pleasant. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, feeling her lungs expand. 

“Good,” she heard Coral say quietly, “Now keep doing that.”

Fennec did, each breath holding for longer, until she started to feel dizzy. 

“Can you feel it?” the Gogi asked. 

‘Feel what?’ She wanted to ask, but then that next breath, she felt a…  fizz. Eyes wide with shock, Fennec turned to her friend.

Coral’s blue eyes creased as they smiled at her, recognising that look.

“Is the air supposed to sing like that?” Fennec asked with bewilderment. 

Coral tipped their head and nodded approvingly. “Huh, that’s the first time I’ve heard someone describe it as singing. That’s a good way of putting it, young musician!”

“Coral, what was that?!” Fennec implored, leaning forward on her knees. 

Coral’s eyes sparkled like the beach sand earlier. 


Fennec did a double-take. Sparx? But, it had never done that before. She’d always been able to feel the energy that kept Lumina alive, but… not like that. Never like that. 

Her fingers touched her throat. She’d breathed it.

“Play me a song, little Bard,” Coral asked, “And I’ll spin the tale this time.”

Fennec obediently pulled out her guitar, tuned it at lightning speed, and then started to strum a few notes. 

Coral sat up straighter. 

“You’re from a green island, Fennec,” they began, “Your whole life you’ve only been able to feel the green Sparx. Do you remember how sick you felt when we first set sail?”

Fennec nodded, grimacing at the gross reminder. She kept playing, though, and the notes came so easily to her, even though she’d never played them in this order before.

“I explained to you then that it was because you were so far away from Sparx - green Sparx, specifically.”

Coral continued, repeating what they’d said that day about how it just took a bit of time to adjust to not being surrounded by energy. They said again how it wasn’t going to kill her, but that this was how people who weren’t Sparx-attuned felt every day and they were fine, and so too would she. 

“But Arcencai is very different from the open waters, little Bard. You felt sick again earlier, didn’t you? It wasn’t because of the lack of Sparx, though, no - quite the opposite. This island is a multicoloured one, and so you’re feeling - subconsciously - the energy of all the island colours. All the different coloured Sparx. That’s the singing you could feel.”

Fennec stopped playing. The last note was swept away in the breeze and carried over the hills.

“So…” she tried to wrap her head around everything Coral just said. “Here, on Arcencai, I can…I can feel all the different kinds of Sparx?”

Coral nodded. “You can feel them, yes. It’ll subside eventually - I mean, you being affected by it will subside eventually. Everything heals with time, after all.”

Fennec brushed the sand off of her pants. A different kind of thought nagged at the corners of her mind. 

“Can the people on Arcencai use it?” she whispered.

Coral glanced at her, surprised by the question. 

Fennec fidgeted. It felt wrong to say, but she had to know. “The different colours. The different Sparx… Can we use it?”

Something flashed in Coral’s eyes that Fennec couldn’t decipher. 

“You know only Gogis can command all the colours, Fennec,” they said carefully. 

“But if it’s here…” she let herself trail off. 

Coral stared at her for a while, the young girl squirmed under their gaze. Then they sighed. “People have tried. Arcencai was fought over quite heavily when it was discovered. But the island doesn’t change your abilities. It’s up to your own design.”

Fennec didn’t know why she was both relieved and disappointed to hear that. 

Coral’s hand was on her shoulder again and she felt regrounded. 

“Who knows,” they said, “Maybe you do have Gogi abilities in you.”

Fennec didn’t think so. She thought that if she did, she’d have had a very different reaction when first stepping onto the island. She suspected Coral thought the same. 

“Nah,” she said, forcing a smile. “I’m happy just training to be a Bard. Oh, and a Warrior soon, maybe, haha!” 

If Coral picked up on the awkward laugh just now, they didn’t say anything, instead simply ruffling her hair. “Well, then, that wasn’t all I wanted to show you.”

Fennec was more than happy to drop the previous subject. “Yeah?”

Coral held out the flask again. They shook it a little and Fennec could have sworn she heard jingle bells.

“Play your guitar once more,” Coral instructed, “And this time, really focus on the green Sparx energy you can feel.”

Fennec picked up her guitar and held it on her lap. Her fingers plucked the strings expertly and when she started playing, she concentrated on the familiar breezy feel of the green Sparx. It wasn’t hard to pick it apart from the throng of energy that sang around her because it sounded like home. 

The green Sparx practically surrounded her when she played (a song that her grandmother had taught her, the first song she’d ever played the whole way through by herself) and before she knew it, the song was over. 

She felt renewed, stronger. Fennec opened her eyes, not even realising she’d closed them, her fingertips buzzing with magic. 

“That was beautiful,” Coral said. 

Fennec thanked them with a bashful smile. Coral handed the flask to her. 

It was heavy. Strange, wasn’t it - 


The flask was filled to the brim with green sparkles. 

“Is this…?”

Coral laughed. “Sparx, yes! Your music brought them and I channelled them into this flask. Pretty cool, huh?”

Fennec was mesmerised by the flickering little lights as they buzzed and twirled around each other. There was a low hum coming from some of them. 

She laughed. “It’s like music!”

“Keep it,” Coral said, helping her up. “Use it to tell the grandest of stories, young musician.”

Fennec screwed the lid back on and zipped up the flask in her guitar case. She could still hear the faint song the green Sparx hummed. 

“Your teachers at Nexus Edge are going to help you discover all sorts of hidden abilities,” Coral told her as they continued along the path. “But I wanted to show you the essence of being a Warrior. You can use your Sparx-abilities for good, Fen. And no matter how far away you are from home, there’ll always be a part of it here with you.”

“Because of the Mycelux Weave that connects everything?” Fennec asked, remembering the stories she herself had told on Emerald Isle about the thread-like fungi.

The Gogi nodded, their salmon-coloured hair fluttering wildly against the blue Lux Aestas sky. “That, and the Sparx. Some of it travels through the weave from island to island. There is very likely Sparx from the Emerald Isle here on Arcencai.” 

And as they walked and Coral told her more about the interconnectedness of things, Fennec didn’t feel so alone anymore. Her home might be thousands of kilometres away, but parts of it were here with her. And because she could feel the green Sparx, no matter where she went in the world, Emerald Isle would always be with her. As the two of them climbed the twisting pathway, Fennec looked out across the island. Its bold nature was starting to look beautiful and not just confusing. She could make a home here, she realised. 

She was ready to be a Warrior.

*Lumina’s summer


Fennec the Bard



Emerald Isle