After the Powers War, few with the inborn Talent were born into the world. One of the last born, Grey is the inheritor to the laws that have governed his kind since the beginning. But there are those who wish to rule with their inborn power.. and Grey must overcome some of the demons that have haunted his friend and teacher Wolfsong, since before the Powers War.

His master was in one of those moods again. One where he got all philosophical and tried to pass on wisdom that he had gained throughout his 50 years of life. Grey sighed. It really didn't fit his master, who was better at drinking and cards than he was with talking to other people. He rarely got into these moods but when he did, he usually had something worthwhile to say.

And for a man who liked quiet he sure could ramble on before coming to his point.

"Never let an earthly crown touch thy brow boy." That was another thing. He never called Grey by his given name, saying that he would have a name in time, but that until then he would address the child by 'boy' or whatever term fitted his purpose. Only when introducing Grey to others did he use his birth name.

When Grey asked, he said that his true name would be revealed in time and that it would be an insult to use anything but his true name; that very few were lucky enough to be graced with one and he should be thankful.

"Why not Master?" Grey asked, curious "Is it harmful or something? It's just plain metal isn't it?"

"Well yes boy, it is just normal metal and will not harm you. However, what it means is important. The likes of you and me are graced with an ancient power. The world's power, the gift of all living things. It is our responsibility to care for the world in return for this gift. As we are given a power over all other living things, so we must be balanced. The people who are born without our gift have others in its place. Among those is the right to rule."

"But if we have power why don't we rule? I mean it would make sense that those with the power to govern, govern those without power. If someone disobeyed then we have the power to make them listen to us. Everyone would have to do as we wanted. Wouldn't that just be easier?"

His master sighed and shook his head. "You just do not understand yet." He got down on eye level with the child. " If I told you that you couldn't eat anything but greens ever again how would you react?"

Grey scrunched his nose. "I wouldn't like it!" His master laughed. "Well then what if I told you that you could never again turn left down a street, that you always had to go right?"

Grey looked confused. "But Master, why would you do that? What if the place I wanted to go was down the left street? How would I get there?"

"You wouldn't." He took Grey by the shoulders. "It's all about choice. We have the power to take away people's choice. But you can understand how they'd feel then. Obligated to do one thing or another, never being allowed to make the decision for themselves. The people would become unhappy. It isn't right for one person to have that power over another. Our responsibility is to take care of the world and all that inhibit it. If we only think about what we want, which is what would happen with that power, then we forfeit our right to protect. We would lose our gift. And our gift is our life."

"Oh…" Grey was thoughtful. He had never before thought about the responsibilities that came with the power he had been born with. It had always just… been there. "Then how come we have a king anyway? Wouldn't he abuse his power too?"

His master stood up. "Of course some do. But we have always been around to keep the balance. If a King is ruling badly we have the Responsibility to protect the people and remove him. Then the people choose someone else to rule. We are the peacekeepers. And the reason we have a king… well I want you to think on that tonight. I want to know what you think tomorrow morning; but first I want you to make a promise for me."

"Yes Master, what is it?" Grey knew that his master would be going out that night. That was why he had been given an assignment to meditate after.

"I want you to promise me that no matter how tempted you are by the power it might bring, you will never take an earthly crown upon your head. We are the princes of the Earth. Our own crowns, our responsibilities, are with us always. We do not need a physical reminder. Do you promise?" Grey nodded his head. "Yes Master, I promise…and I think… I understand."

Grey shook himself out of his memories. He was held in place by the gaze of one with the power of a Basilisk. He felt as if thick cords surrounded his body, keeping him from moving. The boy in front of him wore a crown of gold, with rubies embedded in it.

"You should join us. With you we will be complete. We shall rule the Earth, as its masters. It was intended from our birth. We were given power, so we were meant to rule. Why else would we be able to control others?" This was said by a girl on his left. Well she wasn't really a girl, considering that she was about 10 years his senior but that hardly mattered. She carried a crown of silver in her hands and wore a crown of gold studded with sapphires on her head. "Once you join us, we shall rid ourselves of that pesky little human" she spat the word as if it was poison, "prince that even now cowers behind you. Before he dies he will know what real power is truly like."

As she lifted the silver crown above his head he had time for one last thought before chaos reigned, ' I'm sorry Master, it seems that I won't be able to keep that promise.' He closed his eyes and waited for the ensorcelled crown to be placed on his head. He could hear the young prince whimpering softly behind him, and felt something swell within him.

It rose and grew before roaring out of him in a maelstrom of power. In the shape of a Dragon, his inner power was released, scattering everyone in the room and loosening him from the invisible bonds that held him. His pupils elongated like a cat's as his power ricocheted around the room, still pouring out of him in a torrent of will.

It spun a protective circle around him and the small boy he had been protecting. He in turn sheltered the child from his own power, as it drained the strength from him. Suddenly his power returned and he collapsed to the floor, drained. The last thing he saw before falling into unconsciousness was the worried form of his master above him, telling him that everything would be all right.