The Loneliest Traid

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  • Published: 2 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 13 May 2017
  • Status: Complete
Love and death and war and Gods and blood and magic and dancing and rest and revenge and kings and fate.
Don't worry, within these three stories you'll know yourself,
And I will put you back together again.

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75. In Time

 

    “What’s wrong?” he said, his hand levitating above her shoulder.

    “It’s hot,” Samhain said, pulling the coat tighter, “There’s nothing we can do, her body has to adjust.”

    “But-”

    “She’ll live,” Samhain said, her voice cracking.  He realised, that this was the girl who had started their war, a girl so fine the greatest Goddess known to be would fall to her knees for her.  And this was the girl was was in bits, in pieces, who screamed long into the night, “Just give her time.”

    They began walking, slow.  If anyone saw - they did, everyone watched although they’d deny it, they knew better than that - they said nothing.  

    The market was empty, all the goods worth little in the realms age of darkness and fear.  No jewels were shown, no foods were shared.  They moved to the plaza, where Samhain spoke of a friend, Celene, who would help.

    “Are you okay?” he whispered.

    “Better now,” she said, “When this is over, I’ll make it up to you.”

    “Make what up to me?”

    “Not telling you who I was.  Leaving you for so long.  Everything.”

    Jinmi did not mention his time spent in the tower.  He did not mention Eros’ murder.  He did not mention a thing.

    He didn’t get a chance, because suddenly Samhain froze, and as she opened her mouth a new voice cracked the air wide, like a whip.

    “The wizard, our prodigy, he returns.”

    Daphne did not falter, as Jinmi expected her too.  Instead she turned around, on order.  A dancer in a music box, wound up, following commands.

    “You,” he said, trying with all he had to sound brave.

    Appalla bowed low, her knife winking to him, even from so far away, “You.”

    “What do you want, Appalla?  Because clearly it’s not me.” said Daphne.

    “Sweety, I love you, I really do,” she looked down her blade’s edge at Jinmi, “But he stole you first, and I want him to pay for it.”

    “You were the one who tortured her, I let her grow, I let her live.”

    Appalla tutted, “This is about more than life, boy, this is about love.  Something you don’t understand.  Tell your girl, why did it take you so long getting to her?”

    He swallowed hard, Daphne’s eyes flicked over him for just a second.

    Appalla chucked, her low words bouncing off the cobblestones, “You fell in love again, didn’t you?  I told you before, doll, men are like that.”

    “I love her.” he said.

    “And that’s enough?”

    “I love her.”

    She walked closer.  Even in the darkness, Jinmi could see more people.  Gods, ones of death and war and crime and night.  The huddled around Appalla, her dark wings.

    “You’re a fool, Jinmi,” she said, stepping closer.  Her steps became a ticking clock in this hour of twilight, and the curtains opened as people watched fate come to a close.

    “You, wizard, are not going to kill me tonight,” she growled through her crooked smile.

    “Why would I kill you?”

    She laughed, “Don’t play coy, I know your plan.”

    He looked at Daphne, but she just stepped back, and took his arm.

    “Just let us go.”

    “Funny,” she snarled at them.  She was now close, her knife pressing into Jinmi’s chest in one quick sweep.  Her Gods stopped behind her, “It’s about time that wicca like you got what they deserved.”

    As she pushed the knife forward, Daphne took his place, and the knife lodged itself in her sternum.

    Jinmi gasped, and moved to grab her, but she didn’t even sway.  Instead, she pulled the knife from herself and took a step against Appalla, who was impressed, although he swore he saw fear pass her eyes when she held the knife out.

    “This,” Daphne said through lisp and mumble, “Is love.”

    Appalla scoffed, but shut up when Daphne shoved her backwards.  Her fear was now obvious, a sheen of knowledge, and doubt, and the insanity of the two.

    “You made me this way, you cannot change it now, I’m immortal and you are to blame,” Daphne spat, holding the knife in her fist as if she had been practicing this for so many nights she had lost count.

    “Please, love-”

    “Love, is me stepping in to keep you from killing him.  Love is him coming back for me.  Love is me giving my life to keep him happy, love is him giving me his home to keep me safe.  Love is being true to someone, no matter what they’ve done, and always giving and receiving in return.  Love is more than you can hope to know.”

    Daphne dropped the knife and kicked it to Samhain, “And I love him, there is no one you can kill or torture or chain up that will change that truth.”

    Appalla dropped to her knees, her eyes shutting, as if she was off, or dead, or asleep.  Daphne jumped back at first, and saw her Gods hold her up by her limp arms.

    “Jinmi,” he said.  Osir.  He had beaten her half to death so many times before, even his words, like grunts, made her insides boil, “We were waiting for you.”

    Jinmi stepped forward, “Me?”

    He nodded, “We needed you to take Daphne back, while she was in this world, Appalla’s death would always mean her returning to being mortal, and as the Goddess of Nature, we couldn’t risk that.”

    “What do you mean?” she said.

    Someone rested their hand on her shoulder, a tall woman, in a net gown, her grey hair pulled back from her face.  She looked kind and said, “We are going to kill Appalla.”

    “Of course, if you wish, we won’t,” Osir added.

    “But we would love to,” the woman smiled.

    Daphne looked at Jinmi, and they shared a look.  The knife that was once in her hand left its print, and that alone felt like shared blame.

    Brizo, she identified, stepped forward and nudged Jinmi, “Eros spoke highly of you, wizard.  After his death he asked me to look after Daphne all I could.  But now that she has you I doubt that she need me.”

    His name again.  Eros.  The God of Love, who gave, and gave, and expected nothing in return.

    Jinmi swallowed the bile in his throat, and gave a shallow smile.

    The woman from before, who had given her name as Pandia, took Samhain’s hand, and whispered just within earshot, “It’s almost over, it’s okay,” and Samhain hugged her, for whatever that meant.

    “Daphne,” Pandia said, taking both Estha’s hands, “This is up to you.  If you want us too we will kill Appalla, and we will make you immortal ourselves.  But if you let her go know that you are confining our realm, and possibly all four, to damnation.  This is bigger than us, this is war, or this is her death.”

    Brizo’s eyes were gold too, and they gleamed for his friends vengeance.  Samhain smiled for rest.  Pandia squeezed her hand, praying for an end.  Osir wanted freedom.  All of the Gods present needed something, and only Estha could give it to them.

    “Jinmi?” she said.

    “Yes?”

    “I cannot have her death on my soul,” her voice was small, too small to know what she needed.

    He kissed her forehead, perhaps the only place where her body was still together.  She would never rest, she would never have and end, she would never be free.  What the Gods wanted, that was something Daphne had lost at the hands of that woman.

    And Eros was dead.  And so he took the knife from Samhain’s hands, and gave it to Brizo, who held it like a treasure, and maybe to him, it was.

    “Estha,” Pandia spoke in a cool voice to distract from the commotion of the rest bringing Appalla’s defenseless body to the middle of the plaza, and they counted their blessings that it was still too dark to see how the knife became wet with blood, “We only have a moment now to bring you back but decide one more thing - you don’t have to be immortal.  If you die now, your soul will go to the third realm.  But you will die now, and that will be the end of it until you both meet again.”

    Daphne spun around to him.  The curtains were opened wide, the windows and doors were too.  People watched, silent, some crying, holding hands, praying to each other.

    “Jinmi-”

    “Don’t die.  I refuse to lose you again.”

    “But Jinmi, if I die now when you do we can meet again.”

    He opened his mouth, and closed it, “I can’t lose you again.”

    She leaned up, kissing him on the lips, her mouth drooping to one side, her body aching in the reach, but she didn’t seem to mind for him, “I don’t want to lose you either.”

    And then Jinmi knew.

    He pulled Pandia aside, “Make us both immortal.”

    She eyed Daphne, who shook her head sporadically, “No, don’t.  An eternity is a lonely thing, Jinmi.”

    Pandia agreed, “It’s hardly worth living through.”

    “But I’ll have her.”

    Daphne sighed, and smiled and shook her head, “You’ll be giving me an eternity, Jinmi, are you willing to give all that to me?”

    “Always,” he kissed her crooked mouth, gently.

    “Are we ready?” Osir caled, and Pandia excused herself with a shake of her head, and a coy smile.  They held each other, looking away as there was a snap, and the sticky sound of blood sliding on metal, and then Daphne fell, and Jinmi went down with her.

    “Quick, Brizo,”

    Brizo pressed his palm to Daphne’s chest, Pandia’s to Jinmi.

    And they shot up, breathing again, hearts beating eerily in time, as they always seemed to do anyway.

    She took his hand, and he took hers, and the sun broke across the skies, the people coming out to see the corpse of the Goddess who had fallen madly in love.

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