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Daughters of Fate (Chapter 26)

The thing about darkness and evil is that there is not as much of a need for it as there is light and good.  The mortal soul is drawn to the dark, so a small amount of it goes a long way.  

 Fyon Rolsun, 3rd King of Hitithe  

Chapter 26 (8th of Earonitan in the year 6199) 

The cavernous, unending tomb was a murky pit of darkness and despair, brightened only by the molten, jagged flows of swirling red, orange, and yellow that broke through at random places.  The oozing rock coalesced in sweltering pools that boiled, making the air hot and uncomfortable.  At least to those that could feel pain and discomfort.  

Descist could feel neither.  He could, however, feel his mother straining to maintain the barriers holding him here.  Just as he could sense how alive the darkness of his prison really was, pulsing with the joyless souls of the Cursed Ones.  The only sensation these tormented souls had been allowed to retain from their former lives was, conveniently, their senses of pain and discomfort.  Their agony translated to lamenting moans that merged together into a low, monotonic groaning whisper that would strike fear into any mortal that would hear it.  

Many of these lost souls had come to reside in this place in the time since Descist had been imprisoned here by his mother.  Some, however, were older even than he was.  Those vile creatures were the eldest of the Cursed Ones.  They were failed experiments at the creation of life by his father, the Great Dragon, Diur, in the time before the Greater Goddess.  Beings with such great raw fear and hatred that their presence here devoured the existence of all the rest who were condemned to reside here combined.  Except for the Dark Lord himself.  

The son of Earoni allowed the shadows to encircle and embrace him.  They were his only constant companions, imprisoned here with him for the eons.  He used the pain riddled souls like a cudgel, shaping them and willing them to push out against his mother.  His promise to these souls was their freedom when he attained his own, and thus he used their residual desire for liberation from this accursed place to weaken his mother’s grip upon him.  

Even now he felt the barriers beginning to crack.  His long hard work paying off, even if subtly.  He pushed on the barriers again, expanding them back ever so slightly and fracturing them more.  

Sensing that another had come into the boundaries of his prison, he dropped down into a makeshift throne of stalagmites warped and worn with age.  This new entity was another of the gods. But a god that, unlike him, was free to come and go as they pleased.  Although only one ever did.  Descist watched as the woman of black hair and robes came into being out of the darkness and stood before him.  

“Welcome, Daughter of Diur,” he greeted her with a mix of pleasure and scorn.  Pleasure that he had someone else now to converse with, other than the darkness.  Scorn that she was able to leave when she wished.  “To what do I owe the honor of this visit?”  

“I have come to tell you,” she spoke, “that all is proceeding according to our will.”  

The Dark Lord smiled.  “The Child of the Darkness is ready?”  

“She will be, at the proper time,” the dark Fate confirmed.  “Yet, my sister continues to protect the first-born child of the House of Stormband.”  

The son of Earoni waved his hand to dismiss the concern.  “Inconsequential,” he added.  “The Child of Darkness is the ultimate cornerstone to all our plans.  The Child of the Storm is but one of the key bearers.  As my mother weakens, the time draws near.  And I will be free.”  

“I do foresee a potential problem,” warned Octeava.  “I do not trust that Noranda will allow us to use this child as she must be used.”  

Descist sat upright in his devilish throne, “Do you doubt Noranda’s loyalty?”  

“I doubt her ability to sever the attachment that she has formed between her and the child,” Octeava explained.  “She is outside of our control.  As a being of divine origin, I can exert no influence over her.”  

“Petty mortal-like attachments,” he scoffed.  “Noranda will do as I and I alone have commanded of her.”  

“Her will is weak.  It has always been weak,” Octeava hissed.  “It was her weakness that allowed you to control her so easily.  I worry about her continued usefulness and faithfulness when the time comes.  There is still a fight within her.  A spark.  A light.”  

“Noranda is another distraction for my mother.  Now, more than ever, every distraction is important,” Descist slumped back.  “Her role is in molding and shaping the Child of Darkness.  Another influence to guide her down the chosen path you have set her on.  She is ever integral to our objective.”  

“You speak as though I care for your vengeance, Son of Earoni,” the Dark Fate shook her head.  “In fact, I do not.  You seek to conquer the cosmos.  I seek only to further the role decreed to me by our father and keep a constant strain on my dear sister.  I do what must be done to maintain the universe and balance.  For the time being, we are allies.”  

Descist smiled cynically.  “You sound so self-righteous.  I know that you do not enjoy the role in which our father, the Great Dragon, has placed you.”  

“True,” she admitted.  “But I accept it. You are necessary to my own duties.  Earoni has far too long not had a strong countering, dark influence in the cosmos.  The balance is out of order.  I side with you only for this reason.”  

“The Daughters of Diur never cease to amaze me.  In time you will come to learn that there is no turning back from the path you have chosen,” Descist admonished his fellow god.  “Much like those who came before you, I also own you.”  

“You must heed my warnings, Daughter of Diur,” Earoni pleaded from her throne atop the dais of white marble.  In her palace of ivory, the crimson-haired Goddess sat in her robes of purest white.  Healing, vibrant ether flowed all around, but those currents had a disturbance about them. “Octeava has made a dangerous pact with my son.  She has underestimated his power.  I beg you not to make the same mistake.”  

Sashna stood resolute before the Earoni in the Greater Goddess’ audience hall among the heavens.  “I am the protector the first-born child of Stormband,” she reiterated.  “Octeava is the keeper of the second.  I dare not interfere.  The Law must be kept.  You would have better luck speaking these words to Sarina than to me.”  

“I cannot continue to protect the second born child of Stormband when two forces conspire against me,” the Greater Goddess pleaded with the Fate of Law and Light.  

“Then do not protect the child.”  Sashna’s words were terse.  “Let her fate fall where it is destined.  You cannot hope to thwart Octeava’s control.  You might have great power, but you do not have that kind of authority.  Fighting against Octeava only distracts you.”  

Earoni strained as she felt a tear on the boundaries of the netherworld and fought to hold them together.  Her son had increased his efforts and tested the barriers of his confinement more often now than ever before.  “If the second is not protected,” Earoni warned, “then so too will the first-born child of Stormband become a tool for my son.  He has nothing to distract his attention as do I.  He can put his full effort into breaking free of his realm.  I do not know for how much longer I can contain him.  Two lives may be forfeit by your indecision.  And futher by that indecision? Also the lives of all in the mortal world.”  

“No,” Sashna said again. “The Law is the Law.  I am the keeper of the first-born child of Stormband.  I will keep her from following the path of her sister.  Her heart is pure, but her actions need much guidance.  She strays too easily, always seeking the quick and easy path.”  

“You are a fool, Daughter of Diur,” Earoni spoke with saddened words.  “Against my son and your sister, alone neither of us stands a chance.  We must be united.”  

“I must maintain the balance,” Sashna lamented, wishing that she had another option.  “If that means forsaking the life of another so that the destined one may live and fulfill her role?  Then so be it.”  

Sarina stood, looking into the dark waters of the reflecting pool in the heavenly hall of her father.  She could only watch as the images of Sashna and the Greater Goddess faded.  “Father,” she asked, “how have we come to this?”  

“Fear not child,” the voice of Diur boomed in the emptiness of the cosmos.  Its power and force were like that of her own sanctuary and insistent on balance.  A massive gray dragon, Diur shifted as he lay and from his mouth he let out a weary yawn.  “All will be well.”  

“I cannot bear to watch my sisters struggle so,” the Keeper of Neutrality grieved.  “The three of us have drifted so far away from each other.  Fighting against each other rather than working together as we once had.”  

“You can stop them,” Diur reminded.  “Your power is a thousand-fold that of your sisters combined.  If you so wish, it can be done.”  

“No.”  Sarina bowed her head.  “They would never forgive me.”  

“You fear that they would resent you?” Diur queried with deep and logical curiosity.  

“They are my sisters.”  

“Such feelings should be beyond you,” her father scolded.  “Those feelings are what separate us from the mortals and the other gods.  Including your sisters.  They all have fears, loves, and aims.  We are neutral.  We must not care of such things.”  

“Even if my love is equal for both of my sisters?” Sarina asked.  

“Yes,” her father replied.  “Emotions haze your judgment and may be used to gain an advantage over you.”  

“And so I am restricted from feeling such things?  For an eternity doomed to live a life of solitude simply because of my appointed role and not one I have chosen?”  The despair within her expanded and deepened.  


Sarina closed her eyes.  “And now I know the pain Octeava feels with her role in the cosmos.  Not being as she is, but being forced to be something that she does not desire.”  

“Child,” Diur encouraged her, “you must be strong.  Alone I am no longer enough to hold the universe together.”  

Sarina nodded.  “That much I understand.”  

“Maintain the balance,” he reminded her.  “But do not interfere.” 

Sarina pondered the use of her power. “I can end this.”  

“You must not,” her father corrected.  

“Even the gods are subject to fate?” she wondered.  

With the slightest of nods her father affirmed, “As they have been for all times.” 

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