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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11. Another goddess

    Freedom. It was such a wonderful sensation. He was flying. Soaring above the world, as he did when he rode a storm. For a moment, he felt a surge of exhilaration. He was a god again! The primordials had seen how much he’d already been punished, and seen fit to restore him to his godhood.

    But no, that wasn’t right. He was still smoke. He didn’t seem to be able to change form, or direct where he was going. That was a problem. Would he stay like this forever, trapped at the whim of the currents? That seemed cruel, freeing him just to imprison him again.

    The smoke was moving down now, taking him with it in a steady vortex of darkness. He spiraled towards the ground, and then hit.

    In seconds, he had reformed, smoke blowing away from him. He coughed, and then stared at himself in disbelief. He was alive. Whole. No longer smoke. And there, standing by his side with wide eyes, was the girl.

    “So that’s what happens when we get separated…” she murmured. She paused for just a second, and then smiled. “You’re alive! I saw the smoke and thought…”

    Kanat interrupted. “You thought you’d killed me? I told you I couldn’t leave your side. What you did could have ended up with me dead. Do you know what that was like? I sat there and watched myself dissolve. I thought the gods had decided to kill me. I thought I was dying. T’haila… Tani…” his voice caught. “Tani thinks I’m dead.”

    “The girl that kidnapped us?”

    Kanat nodded. Why did that thought make him so emotional? “I dissolved in her arms. She used her flute to take away the pain, but she saw me turn to smoke. I distracted her, but… she really thought I was dying. I thought I was dying. She cared about me. Really cared. I thought she was just playing with me, but she changed. I saw how scared she was. She really wanted to help me, and there was nothing she could do.”

    The girl’s eyes went to the ground. “I’m… sorry,” she said uncertainly. “But you said it yourself. She wanted to keep us imprisoned there forever. We had to escape. At least we didn’t hurt her.”

    He nodded slowly. “It’s… alright. Maybe now that she thinks I’m gone, she won’t come after us.” Even still, he felt guilty. Hadn’t he seen his loved ones die before? He’d lost so many beautiful women to mortality. And that wasn’t counting the ones that other gods had killed. The ones that he himself had damaged. What would his supposed death do to T’haila? He had seen what grief could do to a mortal. He didn’t wish to cause such a horrible thing to happen to her. On the inside, she really was a good person. Ambitious, maybe, but good.

    The girl nodded. He could see guilt written plainly on her face. This plan had been her idea, after all. “We should… get going.”

    She turned to go, and Kanat hesitated, feeling guilty. “Girl-” he started awkwardly, not knowing her name. She turned, eyebrows raised. “Thank you. For… getting me out of there. I thought you’d betrayed me and left me to die… I guess you’re a better person than that.”

    “I guess I am.” She smiled at that. “Come on, demon.”

    He fell into step beside her as they walked.

    “So…” he said uncertainly. “What exactly do you humans do? With your lives. They’re so short, after all.”

    She glanced at him and her smile returned. “Only compared to infinity.”

    “So?” he pressed.

    “We live,” she shrugged. “We do what we like, we do what we hate. We keep on existing. I mostly try to keep myself alive…” she sighed. “I don’t have many other options. When you live on the streets, there’s not much there for you.”

    “Well, perhaps you have some heroic destiny that you don’t know about,” Kanat suggested. “I’ve known a lot of mortal heroes who were is less than glamorous conditions. If there are any oracles around, I’m sure we could ask one of them…”

    She shrugged. “If I had a heroic destiny, I’d know about it by now.”

    “I’m bound to you, aren’t I?” he pointed out.

    “You’re only bound to me because you were playing around with my soul,” she replied absently. “Just because I have my own demon doesn’t mean I’m suddenly destined for something great and amazing. I’m just me, after all.”

    “You never know,” he pointed out. “When gods fall to earth, things happen, after all.”

    “Has a god ever been cursed with mortality?” She raised her eyebrows.

    “Not for a long time…” he admitted. “But still, this could be something big. Something huge.”

    “Demon,” she said boredly. “This is modern day. Prophecies and magic don’t really exist anymore.”

    “You’re going to need them where you’re going.”

    Kanat and the girl both spun. Standing behind them was a girl with short cut black hair. She looked out of place in the middle of the city, wearing gold armor. A gold helmet was tucked under her arm, and she was studying them both with a very judgemental look.

    Naturally, Kanat instantly recognized her.

    “Nith, darling,” he said with a little smirk. “I thought we weren’t speaking.”

    “Don’t ‘darling’ me, Kanat,” she snapped. She turned to look at the girl, and inclined her head to her. “Hello.”

    The girl stared at her with an open mouth. “Who… who are you?”

    “Girl, Nith. Nith… girl,” Kanat said. He still didn’t know her name!

    “You don’t know her name?” Nith said reproachfully.

    “Nope,” he shrugged. “It’s okay, she doesn’t know mine either. So to what do we owe the honor of this visit?”

    Nith rolled her eyes. “I’m here because the rules are about to get broken. I swore I’d stay out of this, but the game just changed. Someone wants you dead, and that means shaking things up.”

    “Why am I not surprised…” Kanat muttered. Louder he added, “You said ‘where we’re going’. Where are we going exactly?”

    Nith’s eyes flicked back and forth. “I’m not sure. Somewhere where they can bend the rules. Somewhere where gods can touch the earth. You might know a place like that. You’ve been a god for longer.”

    “Phiadai,” he said instantly.

    “I’m not going to even try to pronounce that…” the girl commented. “But what is it?”

    “The gods weren’t too pleased with what was happening to the world. When we were banned from this world, we created… another world. It took all of us working together, but we created an in between space. It’s full of our creations, and a few mortals that we’ve chosen to be our heroes. The best heroes test themselves in that realm. And gods can walk the earth. Interfere. Interact with their chosen ones. Technology doesn’t work there. The power in the air makes it go haywire. If someone is trying to take us there, that means all the rules will be changed.”

    Nith’s eyes jerked to the sky. “I’ve got to go. He’s here.”

    “Who?”

    He,” she whispered. There was fear in her eyes, which wasn’t good. She’d once stared down an entire army on her own. “The destroyer. The killer. I need to get out of here. Good luck.”

    She vanished.

    “What’s happening?” the girl’s voice was tinged with fear. “That sounded bad. Do you know what she was talking about?”

    He didn’t- and it was a first for him. He could only shake his head numbly. Someone’s trying to kill me? Sure, he had plenty of enemies, but who would specifically try to kill him? And who was this destroyer?

    The ground began to shake underneath them.

    This,” he said carefully, “is not good.”

    “What do we do?”

    He felt bad for the girl. She lived in a day and age of science and technology. Magic was totally out of her league.

    He hesitated, then gave her his best answer. “Run.”

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