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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4. Punishments and repercussions

    Ronik stood, and Kanat’s eyes snapped to the floor. Why did Ronik have to be the one dealing out his punishment? Of all the primordials, his father hated him the most. No doubt he’d made sure whatever punishment it was, it would be harsh and crueler than necessary. Of course, he’d already been threatened if he spoke out again, so he forced himself to stay quiet. Which wasn’t easy, especially when it was his father delivering his punishment.

    How long have they been waiting for this? He wondered, noting the eager expression in his father’s eyes. Do they really hate me that much?

    “My first suggestion for a proper punishment was to make you mortal, and then kill you by spontaneous combustion. A fitting end, killed by your own element. However, Kaysha suggested a slightly more… merciful option.”

    Kanat muttered a silent prayer of thanks. Even for breaking an ancient law, death was a little too harsh. Well what could you expect from the primordial of destruction? He’d always been a disappointment to his father anyways.

    “Now, upon further discussion, we decided to give you two choices. I would have refused, but the will of the primordials is not my will alone. The first punishment, I’m sure you already know.”

    Kanat took a deep breath. He can’t lash out at me here. He can’t. Not in front of all the other gods. He can’t hurt me.

    Right?

    He spoke, hating how quiet my voice was. “Let me guess. You’ll strip my powers. Reduce me to mortality. That seems to be the kind of punishment you’re fond of.”

    “I see you’re already prepared. Good. However, you must understand that a crime of this merit calls for slightly… harsher punishments.”

    Kanat’s breath caught in his throat. What would they do to him? There were many terrible things they could inflict on him while he was trapped in a mortal form. What would it be this time?

    “Since you’re so fond of this particular mortal, it seems fitting that you should be bound to her.”

    “What?!” Kanat had been trying to hold his tongue up until now. Mortality he had expected. But binding him to this girl?! That would be like being a slave. To a mortal, no less!

“I haven’t finished, boy,” Ronik said with a slight smirk. “Will you let me finish, or must we bind you?”

Kanat forced himself into silence again. He really wasn’t doing a very good job of staying calm right now. He’d promised Jinea. He’d promised. She might have been lying to him, but at least she was trying to help. He had to stay calm. Keep a clear head.

“Good. Now, I protested against this option, but the others insisted on a much more… merciful option. I say this offers you too much leniency, but it is not my decision.”

Kanat nearly blurted that he’d accept it, no matter what it was. Anything other than becoming a mortal sounded good to him. It didn’t matter what it was, and- and he saw how Ronik was looking at him. He wanted him to blurt out his acceptance without actually knowing what the punishment was. If he accepted, he had no doubt this punishment would be worse.

“Now, it was suggested that to force you to a mortal form would be a waste of a god as powerful as yourself.” He said powerful in a mocking way. “But as I see it, you are already wasted. However, my favorite son has suggested that rather than servitude in the mortal world, perhaps you should serve another god- one much older and wiser than you. Therefore, my son Tith has offered you a generous chance to be his second.”

Kanat locked eyes with Tith. That scheming bastard! Tith had been trying for centuries to find a way to get Kanat to serve him. Had he really grown this desperate? No. The god of war was too smart for that. He’d have to make it look like a burden. So of course, he’d agree to take Kanat- if it was a punishment. Bastard!

“Kanat, god of storms, do you accept these options?”
    One of the curses of being a son of a destructive god- Kanat’s temper flared easily. His eyes began to glow, and he took a step forwards, fury burning inside of her. “Do I accept these punishments?! Do I accept them?! What am I, a mortal slave, to be bought and sold to the highest bidder? What did Tith bribe you with to get me as his slave?!” He turned on Tith, hate roiling inside of him, masking all common sense. Jinea is going to kill me for this. “You don’t have the courage to say anything, do you?! You bastard! How dare you turn my punishment into a chance to bind me to your system?! Do you hear me, you meddling, scheming monster?! I will never serve you! Never! You may try as hard as you wish, but even taking advantage of my punishment will be useless to you. I will not serve you, and that is final! I don’t care what you try to trick me into, I’d rather be bound to a mortal than to you! How dare you use this as a chance to further yourself! How dare you use your petty grudges as a punishment! The point is to teach a lesson, you bastard, not-”
    “Silence him!” Tekha ordered, her voice cracking like a whip.

Glimmering cords materialized, circling Kanat like serpents. They attacked as one, binding his hands, and wrapping themselves over his mouth like a gag.

He’d been bound twice before. Once by another god, and once by a mortal. He’d ended up courting her, of course… That girl had been something! The sensation was nothing new to him, but that didn’t make it any more comfortable. The binds held his essence tightly together, functioning as a sort of bubble. Even if he shifted into something fluid like smoke, the binds would still hold him. Divine binds were annoying that way.

“This is enough,” Tekha growled. “Kanat, your outbursts prove you unworthy of godhood. You must be able to control your temper. You have chosen to become a mortal, bound to the… object of your fascination. Am I correct?”

Kanat jerked his head in a vigorous nod. He would never serve Tith. Who knew what uses that scheming troublemaker of a god would put him to? Better to become mortal. Better to face the unknown rather than endure certain torture and servitude at Tith’s hands.

The more he thought about it, face burning in humiliation at the binding, the better it sounded. Away from the gods. Away from their petty battles. Away from their power plays.

Of course, if he was gone, it would leave Nith and Jinea undefended. Tith hated them both, and had long sought to find a way to undermine them, perhaps even banish them from the gods’ realm. Kanat had helped keep him at bay. But Jinea was devious. She would have to do her best on her own.

Tekha nodded, obviously having already known the answer to her own question. “Then let us begin. If you attempt to escape, you will discover that the process can be much more painful than we will make it.”

He nodded again. He couldn’t make a single sound against this cursed bind. Tekha nodded, and sat, closing her eyes. Moments later, she began to hum softly.

Kanat felt the change beginning before he noticed it. The binds vanished in a flurry of gold, and he looked down to find a small hole opening just above his heart. A small silver cord connected it to Tekha, who’s eyes were still closed.

The other primordials began to hum as well. Kanat’s eyes widened, and then two more cords struck him. With them came an incredible weakness. It was a horrible, invasive feeling. But the worst had not yet come. He could feel his divinity leaving him. All that made him who he was, draining away. His power to command massive storms? Gone in seconds. His strength, his shape changing? Vanished like a morning fog. He could feel himself shrinking. Compacting, his essence sealing itself together into one little, blocky, confined prison.

He’d gone through all sorts of strange punishments. But never had he been forced into a mortal form. This was much worse than anything he’d had to endure in his endless lifespan. It wasn’t necessarily painful- Tekha hadn’t been lying when she said they’d made it hurt less. But the feeling of insignificance… that nearly crushed him. He was a god! He shouldn’t feel so small. So useless. He couldn’t stand this! It was just so pathetic.

Tekha spoke, somewhere above him. Her voice echoed with power. It hadn’t sounded that way before. Was this just another effect of his now-mortal ears?

“Now, begone.”

The floor opened beneath him, and he fell into darkness.

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