Fate doesn't work that way

It started with three drunk gods, and one drowning mortal. It snowballed into a quest for destiny with bound gods, sky prisons, mazes of death, and far too many disasters.

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1. Drunk gods and a drowning mortal

    It started off as a drunk joke, but then again, so do most disasters. The drinkers appeared young. Not that their age was relevant. After all, age was a thing of humans. Gods usually didn’t care about that sort of thing.

    There were three of them. Two of them were female, for while gods have no specific age, they do have specific genders. The third was a boy, who would later become the subject of much drama. At the moment, though, he was simply drinking with his friends.

    That’s the strange thing about gods. They are powerful, but in a way, they’re as petty as humans. They hold grudges. They love, they fight, and they feel, in the same way their favorite species does. And when a god drinks with other gods, they, much  like humans, are prone to rash and sudden behavior.

    Can a god get drunk? That is another question with a surprising answer. Yes. Yes they can. Human wines are often not strong enough  for them, but they have a special kind of wine called Rhysia that only they can drink. Any mortal that tried it would dissolve into a pool of ash, but gods find the taste quite pleasing. And, in most cases, this drink is highly intoxicating.

    The three gods in question were each on their fourth glass, watching a small sphere that hovered before them. As gods, they settled for nothing less that ultimate comfort, and they each lounged on comfortable chairs. The two girls were laughing at whatever the boy had said, each obviously competing for his attention. Their petty crushes were all the same too. It was a wonder that they could be considered divine at all.

    In a way, they weren’t divine, in the sense of omnipotence. There were laws that governed them too, laws above even them. And it was one of these laws that was about to come to a head, and cause a whole lot of trouble for one of the three drunk gods, and an unsuspecting mortal.

    The god in question, of course, had no idea he was drunk. Most gods have a hard time telling. He had a vague notion that he might have drank too much, but that didn’t really matter, for what harm could it do? A drunk god was, for all intents and purposes, the same as a not drunk god. The only difference was that while a god was drunk, they liked to skirt around the rules and laws that held them in place.

    In this case, the rule skirting came in the form of the game they were playing. It was a common challenge between the younger gods to see who could find the most entertaining mortal. They would watch for a little while, laughing at the ridiculous situations mortals got themselves into, and then move on. But they never interfered. Never directly.

    But in this case, the boy god would be the one to cause trouble. Aside from having drunk quite a bit, he never had been one for following rules. And besides, he had a soft spot where mortals were concerned. His two companions had once been mortals themselves. So that was why he reacted when he found the mortal.

    Honestly, he wasn’t sure if they were a boy or a girl. Their hair was long, but that didn’t really mean anything necessarily. And he couldn’t guess by the shape of their body, because they were halfway submerged in water, clinging desperately to a broken piece of wood. The victim of a shipwreck, maybe.

    Temporarily ignoring the laughs of his companions, he leaned closer to the sphere, studying the mortal closely. They were, as it appeared, close to drowning.

    He frowned. The lives of mortals were cheap things, of course. They lived and they died. Their time was short as it was. But this kind of death… it wasn’t very fair now, was it? Besides, this mortal appeared young. And… Yes, they were definitely female. He found his breath catching. She was hot! Sure, she was weak, exhausted, and soaked through, but she was something else! How often did you find a mortal like that?! You couldn’t just let an extremely hot mortal drown in the ocean like that…

    He paused, feeling guilt twisting at him. Technically he wasn’t supposed to do this… Maybe the girl would make it on her own? No, it was obvious that she’d drown without his help. If he saved her, things could get rough for him. But she was just so pretty… Besides, gods skirted the rules all the time! They were gods! They made the rules!

    He made his mind up almost instantly. There was no way this girl could be allowed to die. He laid his hand on the sphere, and manifested himself in the mortal’s world.

    You see, gods can’t leave their realm of existence- not exactly. They can manifest temporarily, but it’s harder for them to assume full form. A part of their consciousness always remains in their own realm, ready to yank them back like a safety line, in case something goes wrong. In this case, Kanat used very little of his consciousness, remaining aware of his godly surroundings while manifesting at the same time as a giant hawk. The girl looked up, and then her hand slipped off the piece of wood she was holding. She plunged underwater, and Kanat felt a surge of panic. If she died now, after he’d committed himself to saving her…

    A hand burst from the water, and he saw her clawing around, struggling to reach the board. Her fingernails tore gouges in the soft wood, but it was clear that her hands were slipping. She’d drown soon. There was only one course of action he could take.

    He dove, tucking his wings close to his sides, and shooting towards the water. Claws out, he prepared to snatch the girl, and carry her to safety. And then he hit the water.

    The cold shocked him as it soaked into his feathers. It nearly was enough to snap him back to his divine consciousness, but he had a mission. The girl couldn’t die.

    She was slipping further down. Had she already inhaled water?! Was it too late?! No. She was still fighting to climb towards the surface. That was good. That meant she wasn’t dead.

    There was another problem though. The weight of his feathers was crushing him, pulling him down with her. Hawks weren’t meant to be swimmers, and in assuming this form, it was harder to swim. But if he changed form now, she’d panic, and then she’d die.

    She could see him, he was sure of it. But she didn’t appear frightened. Just determined to surface. She struggled, and so did he.

    And then his claws closed around her arm, and he frantically propelled himself towards the surface. And then he burst from the water, soaked and freezing, holding the girl by the arms. She was afraid, but it was obvious that she was delirious from exhaustion. Maybe dehydration too. How long had she been clinging to that log?

    He flew, searching for land. Hopefully there was some nearby. He couldn’t carry her forever. He might be able to fly ten times faster than a normal hawk, but that would do him no good if he was trying to cross an entire ocean.

    And then, like a miracle, there it was. Land. Flapping his waterlogged wings harder, he turned towards it, grim determination driving him on. His head was slightly foggy now. The cold water had helped to clear it, but now his confusion was returning.

    He hit the sand roughly, dropping the girl before rolling to a stop himself. Not very graceful, for a god. But he was drunk and disoriented. It was incredible he’d gotten the girl this far.

    She was coughing as he righted himself and walked towards her. As she looked up at him, he gave her a slight nod, and then withdrew from the mortal realm with a flash of light.

    Back in the divine, he withdrew his hand from the sphere, to find his two companions looking at him. Nith, of course, looked worried. She always had been a rule follower. Goddess of battle, of course. There were laws in wars, at least where she was involved. Jinea didn’t appear overly concerned. The goddess of trickery was leaning back on the couch, another cup of Rhysia in her hand.

    That was risky,” she commented. “You know there are laws about these things Kanat. We’re not supposed to interfere in the lives of mortals.”

    “Not true,” Kanat shrugged. He was still cold. Maybe more wine would help. “We get three strikes.”

    “You never know when you could touch a mortal’s life,” Nith pointed out. “And doing it so directly?”

    “It’s no big deal.” The Rhysia was helping warm him up. “Besides, I’ll never see her again.”

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