‘That is largely correct,’ said Qorvass. ‘We have never had “kings,” per se, but we did believe that individuals with a certain power had been chosen to guide our people.’
Hector put two and two together and looked at Asad, who was busy yawning and hardly even seemed to be paying attention.
‘Such individuals are historically quite rare,’ Qorvass went on. ‘They usually appear only once in five generations. Oftentimes longer. There were several instances where we went without a clear leader for extended periods of time. But then the gods decided to play a cruel prank on us, and three children manifested the divine ability in the span of a single year.’
‘I suppose it would’ve been too much to ask for them to just rule together,’ said Garovel dryly.
‘The children themselves were not the real problem,’ said Qorvass. ‘They were children. They did as their Hahls told them. And each Hahl feared--perhaps quite correctly--that one of the other two Hahls would betray them for power. And precaution became escalation, and escalation became war.’
Hector still didn’t understand something. “But, er... uh, how did the Shards factor in?”
‘The Shards are powerful catalysts for servant abilities,’ said Garovel. ‘And they work for anyone, divine power or no. They would even work for you, for instance. But there is a catch.’
Hector was not surprised.
‘They fall dormant when there remains no living person who wields the Sandlord’s divine ability with sufficient skill.’
“Uh... not sure I understand...”
‘It has to do with the way they were made,’ said Garovel. ‘The so-called “Dry God” was, in truth, just another person who happened to have the divine ability. Like our good friend Asad here.’
Asad matched Hector’s gaze evenly. His expression seemed somehow sad.
‘The Dry God’s real name was Rasalased, and he was one of the most powerful servants of his age,’ said Garovel. ‘The story goes that he was so powerful and so heavily relied upon by his people that he became terrified of what would happen to them if he were ever killed in battle. As was known to happen. So he created the Shards, hoping that they would help keep the Sandlords safe after he was gone. The only problem was that in order to create them, he had to fuse his soul with his ability so completely that he turned himself to crystal. Which killed both him and his reaper, ironically.’