“I’ll go to the Central Forum,” Castra volunteered.

Friends at Colossus Massive

Solaria returned to Novalight, crestfallen. She didn’t need a mouth to express her sadness. It filled her eyes, weighed down her shoulders, and slowed every step she took.

              “What happened?” Nerice rushed to Solaria’s side and placed a hand on her shoulder. It was both a gesture of comfort and a way to open a line of communication.

              I cannot find him, she said. I lost him in the crowd.

              “Tryden’s gone,” Nerice relayed to the others.

              “Then we’ll find him,” Castra said with a fierce look of determination.

              But the festivities, Solaria protested. You worked so hard.

              “She’s worried about all of your hard work going to waste.” Nerice gestured to the abundance of decorations.

              Solaria furrowed her brow. The communication barrier didn’t often bother her, but now she felt her frustration in full force. She worked her jaw as if that would somehow help her voice her despair.

              “Don’t worry about it,” Castra said. “It’s nothing more than paper and glitter. Tryden is one of us. He’s more important.”

              She closed the distance between them and placed her hand on Solaria’s other shoulder.

              I do not know what to do.

              “I’ll tell you what we’re going to do,” Nerice said. “We’re going to split up. Solaria, you’re going to go to his home. There’s a decent chance he’s there.”

              “I’ll go to the Central Forum,” Castra volunteered. “There are a lot of places a sad being could go to distract themselves.”

              Solaria’s brow ridges drew together.

              “I’m sorry,” Castra said quickly. “I didn’t mean sad. I meant…”

              Do not apologize for saying what is true. Solaria let out a sigh. He is sad. I am responsible for making him so.

              “Couples fight all the time,” Nerice said with a dismissive wave. “That’s a big reason why I can’t be bothered.”

              “Not helpful,” Castra said through gritted teeth.

              “You know what’s not helpful?” Lorrik spoke up. “Getting only one side of the conversation.”

              “You can always come touch Solaria,” Nerice pointed out.

              “It’s a bit weird to have three people touching her, isn’t it?” He replied.

              It is far from orthodox, Solaria admitted.Physical touch was also kept to a minimum among her people. But I am willing to bear the temporary discomfort.

              “She says get over here,” Nerice surmised.

              Lorrik approached Solaria.

              “Sorry,” he muttered before placing his hand on her shoulder blade.

              It is acceptable given the circumstances, she said.

              “So, we’ve got Tryden’s home and the Central Forum covered,” Nerice said, drawing attention back to the matter at hand. “Where else does he like to go?”

              “I’ll go with Castra,” Lorrik offered. “The Central Forum is gigantic. There’s no way anyone could search it alone.”

              “There are a few places in the Underground that come to mind,” Nerice added.

              The Underground was the unofficial name for the lower levels of the Colossus. Those who inhabited the upper levels would call the Underground the home for all of the undesirables, but that wasn’t the case.

              Art, creation, and freedom thrived in the Underground.

              “I didn’t realize Tryden ever went down there,” said Castra.

              He goes to meet artists, Solaria said. He is hoping to meet someone to teach him.

              “That settles it,” Nerice nodded. “We have a plan. Let’s find our friend.”

Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla

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