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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16. Pain and Prisons

Kanat was in pain. Again. He embraced the pain, reminding himself that with it, he could escape Tith, escape this miserable prison, and get back to the girl. She was alone, with no one to protect her. Who knew what could happen to her? Tith might have been a soldier, but he was incredibly clever. Sure, not as clever as Jinea, but that was hard to do. When she had been a mortal, she’d out bluffed a god, after all.

She really had been something… it’s a shame he’d never courted her seriously. Now he might not ever get the chance. For all he knew, Tith would kill him now.

He appreciated his free escape from prison, but he wished it didn’t hurt so much. T’haila wasn’t there to take his pain away with her flute, so he had to bear it in silence. He hoped it would go faster. Who knew where the girl was?

And here came Tith. Kanat could hear him, though he was in the form of a raven at the moment- Tith’s sacred bird. The bird landed in front of him, shifting back into Tith’s preferred human form.

“Kanat,” he remarked.

Kanat refused to lift his head and look him in the eye. Instead, he kept his head down and ignored him. That would anger Tith more than outright defiance, and besides, he was in pain. It was better to use as little effort as possible. He was exhausted. He didn’t want to give Tith a reason to put more guards on the room. They’d keep him from escaping, and he couldn’t afford that. Could you stop a column of smoke? He wasn’t sure, and he didn’t want to find out. He had to get back to the girl before Tith found a way to get her killed.

The only way she’d survive on her own was if Tith gave her a fighting chance. He always liked to be entertained by mortals fighting for their lives, so he might put her into some rigged competition to watch her as entertainment. He didn’t seem to know about Kanat’s whole dissolving into smoke thing, which gave them a secret advantage. Hopefully she’d be taken somewhere far away, somewhere he could vanish to easily.

“What, no response?” Tith remarked. “Where did your fire go? Have you finally admitted defeat? This is priceless. Countless centuries haven’t curbed your tongue, but one day as a mortal has rendered you speechless. Truly, this punishment should have been exercised earlier!”

“Darkness take you,” Kanat muttered, trying to keep the pain out of his voice. “Trust me, my tongue hasn’t been curbed. I’m just planning what I’ll say to you when I’m free and you’re the one all chained up. It’s really very entertaining. I’ve been practicing while you were gone. Not much to do when you’re lying around in a prison.”

“A shame. Still so sarcastic.” Tith sounded disappointed, which meant a point in Kanat’s favor. “Just like that little rascal Jinea. How do you imagine she’s doing right now? The poor girls. They watch you constantly, with all the pathetic worry they possess. They’re like mortals, pining over their favorite pet. The poor things. They actually think you’ll make it. In a way, it’s a blessing. Jinea’s been quiet, and Nith has kept her nose out of places it doesn’t belong.”

“You’re still sore about that army you sent out raiding once, aren’t you?” Kanat smiled. “Nith and Jinea trounced you. You should never mess with them as a combination.”

“Ah, but the combination’s been broken up,” Tith smirked.

That startled Kanat. What had happened? Jinea had visited him once, and so had Nith. Were they being punished? Were they mortals too now?!

    “Yes, your dear friend Jinea’s gone missing. Up to no good, probably. When I catch that girl, she’s going to regret whatever she’s been doing.”

“Good luck making her regret it,” Kanat muttered. “Jinea regrets nothing.”

Does she?” Tith smirked. “I have spies that watch the goddess. She’s weaker than you think she is. It’s understandable, of course. The goddess was once a mortal, after all.”

“There’s a certain appealing strength to mortals, actually,” Kanat remarked. That burn inside of him wouldn’t stop! Was she not far away enough? What was happening to her? “They do a lot with the short lives they have.”

“Since when have you appreciated mortals so much?” Tith remarked. “Last I checked, you were just as disdainful of them as any of us. You laughed at their short little lives. Their antics were a drunk game for you and your friends! What’s changed you?”

That cursed girl. That was the most obvious answer. She’d somehow gotten into his head, and screwed it up.

    “I thought hated Jinea. Why are you spying on her? And how, without her knowing?”

    “She was once a mortal. They have a habit of missing things.”

    “Mortals are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for,” Kanat shrugged. “This girl was just dropped into a world of chaos, and yet she stays sane. That’s got to add a few points in her favor.”

    “She’s a child. Children are weak,” Tith replied matter of factly. “Ironic, isn’t it. You choose such a young form, and thus are bound by their childish passions and problems. You always did like to make things complicated.”

    Kanat’s head was spinning. Had he started to dissolve into smoke yet? Had Tith noticed? He felt sick. His head was whirling, spots flashing before his vision. It hadn’t been this bad last time. What was happening?! Was she just close enough that he wouldn’t dissolve?

    “Bonds are painful things, aren’t they?” Tith remarked. “Don’t worry, you’ll probably live. Can’t have you cheating and helping the girl with her trials, can we?”

    “Trials?” The word was forced out through gritted teeth. The feeling was worsening by the second. Along with it came worry, building up in an anxious knot.

    “The girl will fight for her freedom. Either she wins, or she dies. She leaves, you stay here. In pain. For eternity. I think it’s about time someone put you in your place. You always acted like you were better than the rest of us, didn’t you? You thought you could pretend you were ‘special’. A child of destruction who was too good for the rest. Well here’s some information for you, little brother, you’ll never return until you start acting like a first generation god again.”

    “Hard… to act like… a god… when you’re mortal!” Kanat growled. Why hadn’t he dissolved yet? It was an odd thing to wish for, but turning to smoke meant freedom. It meant finding that girl before she got herself into trouble.

    I still don’t know her name… That thought bothered him. He’d only been bound to her for maybe one day, but they’d already been kidnapped, escaped, attacked by some weird dark thing, dropped into Phiadai, kidnapped again, and then imprisoned. That was a lot for such a short time. Thought for all Kanat knew, it could be longer. He’d spent a lot of time unconscious, after all. He was certainly being a lot of help to the girl…

    “And yet you’re still just as arrogant,” Tith shrugged. He dropped to one knee in front of me, putting a hand on my chin and forcing my head up. I met his eyes, and saw he was smiling. That was never a good sign. Why did people who hated me always smile at me? I’d prefer a little more obvious hatred. “You know I have some pull with the primordials. Agree to second for me. It would be a short time. A century, perhaps. I’ll speak to them on your behalf. They’ll break the bond, and you’ll be a god again. All of this won’t be necessary.”

    “Your promises always come with strings…” Kanat groaned, jerking his head to the side and letting it drop. “I’m going to have to refuse.”

    Tith rose and stepped back. “Enjoy your prison.” He turned into a raven again and flew upwards and out of the prison.

    Kanat couldn’t even lift his head to follow him anymore. Whatever was happening, the whole turning to smoke thing wasn’t working. He was stuck here. The girl had no one to protect her.

    His vision began to cloud, and before he knew it, he was crying.

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