Felix had given Destiny the day off work so she could do her other job. Liliana complained that the shop would be busy, but Felix insisted that saving the world from a massive black hole was more important than an antique shop. The six Infinities stayed at the Taveras’ house long enough to see the humans off to work.
Fortune stepped forward, closing the door behind the humans, and turned to face the group. “So let’s get going then. I obviously want to get this over with as soon as possible, the longer we stay with you boys the worse my sister gets. And my Creator needs to be stopped before she can do any more damage.”
Destiny shivered in response. The Nexxis was growing every moment she was in Chance’s company. She had taken to wearing one of Demise’s overly large gray sweaters, dark jeans, and a pair of Fortune’s tall fur lined boots. She hadn’t had a Rouhk long enough to shop in Òrìsà to get many of her own clothes yet, so borrowing from her sisters was going to have to work for now. “I agree with that. I sort of don’t want to freeze to death.”
Karma pouted, crossing his arms and sticking out his tongue. “Awe, and here I thought we were on a fun holiday retreat. What’s the rush darlin? Don’t tell me you are bored with our company already.”
Destiny shook her head, a small smile tugging at the corners of her lips. “Don’t worry Karma, we will be spending plenty of time with each other during this expedition.”
Karma flashed her a brilliant smile and sent her a playful wink. “It’s a date.”
Fortune let out an exasperated sigh and rolled her eyes. “Let’s just work on our job first. Getting rid of Ziarre is our number one priority. When we have completed it then we can focus on other things.”
Karma sent Fortune a wary glance. “I didn’t take you to be one so found of violence.”
“She targeted my little sisters. Nobody messes with my Concept and gets away with it, not even our Creator.”
“Alright then. Let’s get this show on the road.” Chance extended both his hands out to the group.
Everyone joined together and a second later they were on top of Mount Fairweather. It was far up north, on the border of Alaska and next to a glacier. The wind was howling and the air was cold, but the only one who seemed bothered by that was Destiny. The youngest Fate shivered again, hugging herself tightly in an attempt to warm up.
“Oh Des, my silly little Fate. Will you ever learn?” Chance shrugged out of his coat and draped it over her shoulders. No one else had a coat, they didn’t need it. Destiny smiled slightly to herself at the fact that he had probably only worn the coat in the first place knowing she would end up needing it. The Nexxis was inside her so the jacket didn’t help that much. but it was a nice thought.
Karma spoke up slightly impatiently. “So where exactly is this Muse supposed to be? This is a pretty big mountain; she could be anywhere on it.”
Luck narrowed his eyes so he could see better through the snow. “You said you have bad history with her yeah? How bad? I can sense her presence nearby; she is just refusing to show herself. She might be trying to avoid you.”
Demise tied her now messy hair up with a hair tie Fortune had given her. After a moment of standing there in silence, gazing out over the land, she glared up into the sky and called out, “Show yourself you backstabbing ice queen!”
“I’m sure she isn’t that dapocaginous.” Karma mumbled to himself.
Fortune turned to Demise, a thoughtful expression on her face. “Didn’t you make a deal with her? Something along the lines of being able to ask each other for help as a tribute to all those years of friendship you girls had?”
Demise nodded, though she didn’t look happy about it. “We can only use it once every hundred years though. I’m not sure if enough time has passed since the last time.”
Chance shrugged. “Well what’s the harm in trying?”
The Fate sighed and gave in. “Fine. Ya hear that you useless Muse? I’m cashing in.”
Fortune sent her sister a slight glare. “Don’t insult her, that will only make it worse.”
“That’s all I needed to hear. You know the rules, don’t come to me again for a while.” A voice came from all directions, light and airy yet eerie, like a storm cloud. Her earthy brown Abbaxa came together.
“You are Urania?” Destiny hadn’t heard that much about this Muse, but she hadn’t expected her to sound so cold either. From her lessons she remembered Fortune saying the Muses were typically friendly and passionate Infinities.
“I’m as much me as you are you. May I ask why the two most unlikely Concepts have bonded together to seek me out?”
Demise frowned and shrugged her shoulders, replying sarcastically. “Oh you know, just stopping by, we were in the neighborhood. How’s the family? Say hi to little Thalia for me.”
“I don’t like your attitude. Maybe I won’t give you the information you seek.” Her words hung in the air for a moment, echoing over the mountain top.
Luck began tapping his feet and glanced anywhere but at the Muse. “If you know why we came then why even bother asking?”
Chance shot a look to his brother, silently telling him not to be offensive. “We didn’t come here to start a fight. Sorry ’bout him, he lacks tact sometimes.”
“He isn’t the only one.” The top of the chestnut Abbaxa solidified, forming her Rouhk. Her skin was dark, like Ziarre’s. But her short curly hair was silver, like starlight. Freckles were gently sprinkled across her nose. Her waist and below was still just an essence. Black cold dark eyes were set on glaring at Demise, who glared back.
Demise huffed and scrunched up her face in disgust. “Oh don’t even pretend like this is my fault. You knew what the consequence would be for standing against our friend good ol’ Specky.”
“Interesting word choice. That is no way to speak to someone in my position.” Urania hissed. From what Destiny understood their falling out had been hundreds of years ago, but clearly the Muse was still not over it.
Demise bit the inside of her cheek as an attempt to not scream. “Don’t pull that card, I don’t pity you. Nobody cares that you can’t, walk so shut up.”
Urania sighed as her chest deflated, apparently Demise had struck a sore spot. Slowly the rest of her body formed. Short legs that hadn’t grown all the way forced her to be confined to a wheelchair. “I hate this you know. I would rather be up with the stars. At least up there I’m not limited by this stupid thing.”
“That was a bit harsh sister, even for you.” Destiny heard Fortunes voice echoing around her head.
“I don’t have anything against handicaps, just her.”
“Then uses something besides her disability to insult her.” Destiny sent a sideways glance to Demise. She was used to her sister saying sassy and sarcastic things, but she had never said anything so brutal before.
“Right…” Chance’s voice trailed off as he took in her condition. Urania had been a bit scary at first, all mysterious, but now the only one not looking at her with pity was Demise.
Destiny shivered and pulled Chance’s coat tighter around herself. Urania turned to the youngest Fate with slight apprehension. “This one has Nexxis within her. Pity there is no cure. I can help with the pipe, but not with the curse.”
Demise stomped up to Urania, getting all in her face and wiggling her finger, letting all her sass show. “Don’t tell me my sister is doomed you daft stargazer! How dare you have the audacity to tell me there is nothing to do! You bigoted, pretentious —”
“Urania, we do not mean to bother you. And we most certainly did not come here to cause any conflicts. All we wanted was a little bit of help.” Fortune came between her sister and the Muse, speaking with her usual charm. Fortune had a way of easing everyone’s nerves when she spoke, making everyone believe they wanted the same thing. It wasn’t magic, it was just a part of her charisma.
Demise was still glaring at the muse, ready to pounce and strangle her at any given moment. Luck stepped forward, gently grabbing her arm and leading her away from the group. It was amazing, how quickly he managed to calm her down. Destiny and Fortune gazed at the two in awe. Nobody had ever been brave enough to approach her during her wrathful rampaging before.
Urania turned her attention away from the blonde. She wasn’t angry anymore, she just looked tired. “Well then stop wasting my time. Hand it over, let me take a look.”
Destiny realized the Muse was addressing her and quickly reached inside her pocket. She took the pipe from the case and handed it to Urania. “It called to each of us. And there are symbols engraved, something for each of us.”
She nodded and turned it over, hardly glancing at the carved wood. She tossed it back at the general direction of the group, Karma catching it before it hit the ground. “Well that was useless. Where is the rest of it?”
Everyone seemed confused by that and turned to Destiny for an answer, but she didn’t have any brilliant ideas either. “Well, if you mean the case I have that —”
“Little sister,” Demise interrupted, a thoughtful expression on her face. “That day you showed me the pipe, it came in a little cardboard box. You threw it behind your bed.”
Destiny nodded, suddenly understanding. “Be right back.”
Òrìsà was nice, warm. The Nexxis couldn’t touch her here. She ran up to her room, tripping around corners and jogging upstairs. She dropped to her stomach as she reached her bed, rummaging around underneath. The majority of her room was kept tidy, except for under her bed. Somehow that’s where all unwanted things ended up. Crumbled up paper from when she had attempted to be a doodling artist, empty plastic water bottles, a dirty sock with a hole in the toe.
After a moment she found the cardboard box and with a triumphant smile she went back to the top of the mountain. Destiny let out a huff as her stomach hit the cold rock ground. She probably should have stood up before dimension traveling. Everyone stood around her in a circle, not expecting her to show up like this.
Chance had a half smile as he stuck out an arm to her. “Alright, up you go. You good?”
“Yeah, thanks.” She handed the box over, trying to direct the attention off herself.
Urania gave her a look, like she couldn’t believe Destiny would have the audacity to be so clumsy. “Well first of all, as I’m sure you guessed, this is no ordinary pipe. This is an Azarze. I’m sure you are familiar with the term?”
After a moment of everyone giving each other blank looks, Fortune spoke up. “Sorry, no. But we are more than willing to listen if you are willing to tell us.”
“Don’t even bother batting your pretty eyelashes at me. Won’t get you anywhere.”
“Well, then just tell us already.” Luck sounded so tired with this.
“An Azarze is something with unexplainable and unmeasurable power. Something from the fourth dimension.” The Muse glanced at the box. “MADE BY. Demise, do you remember Speculation’s speculation?”
Demise nodded, seemingly thankful they were no longer glaring at each other. “I know many of them. Which one specifically?”
“Two actually. The Big One and the apocalypse.”
Demise craned her head to the side in thought. “Well she had an idea that there was someone who made the Creators. You think whoever they are made the pipe? But I don’t know anything about an apocalypse.”
Urania sighed and nodded her head. She brushed some of her silver hair away from her face. “MADE BY. Someone older than even the Creator’s. Someone so old they didn’t even have a name.”
Again silence fell over them. The thought was uncomfortable, and even a little frightening. Demise had said something once about the Creators not being the most powerful thing out there. Destiny hadn’t wanted to believe it, but now she couldn’t help but wander. The others looked uneasy, fidgeting and unable to look at the same thing for more than a few seconds. They were all thinking along the same lines.
Luck cleared his throat loudly. “So tell us about this apocalypse.”
“Well there are rumors from the humans that the world will end in December of 2012. That’s this month. However, they have it wrong, or so Speculation says. Yes, something big will end, but it isn’t the entire world.
“Big enough to be the end of a Creator?” Demise asked, her eyebrows scrunched together. The Muse nodded and rolled her chair into some shade, carefully avoiding slipping on the ice.
Urania took out the instructions and tucked the box between her leg and the chair. “Have you ever even opened this before? Instructions are there for a reason you know.”
Destiny bit her lip and shook her head. The first thing she had done was toss it to the side without another thought.
Urania shook her head and chuckled a little. “You are all idiots. Brilliant, but so incredibly stupid.”
Well that statement stumped them all. It was too much of a contradiction for it to make any sense. At least they could all take comfort knowing everyone else was just as confused.
Luck narrowed his eyes at the Muse. “Well do enlighten us. What do you know?”
Urania looked bewildered at the blonde Coincidence, she wasn’t used to suck lack of respect. She shook her head and suggested gently, “Don’t use that tone with me boy. These instructions are written in a language older than Kruir. I can decipher them in time, with help from the stars.”
“We don’t have time.” Demise spat the last word. “What I do have is a dying sister and an insane Creator.”
“Destiny won’t die.” Fortune assured, placing a hand over Destiny’s. “We won’t let her. You will try and hurry won’t you great Muse?”
Urania mumbled something about stopping with the flattery before she rolled her eyes and nodded. “I have to don’t I? Volcano girl and I have a deal.”
Demise made a face at the name. “Yeah, so hurry up.”
Urania closed her eyes. Her Rouhk disappeared, and then after a moment so did her Abbaxa. It scattered into tons of little flecks and floated up into the sky, like sparks of a fire.
It was early morning, not even noon yet. The sun was high in the sky. But when the Muse disappeared the stars came out, twinkling brightly alongside the sun.
Everyone turned to each other, raising eyebrows and making faces. Each of them were wondering the exact same thing. Exactly how sane was Urania? Sure, some believed it to be possible to use astronomy to read the future. But talking to the stars to translate a dead, possibly nonexistent, language? This whole situation was bizarre.
She came back a moment later, reappearing in her wheelchair. Urania faced the group. “Okay, I think I got the jest of it. Let’s hope you aren’t too stupid to remember.”
“Common, give us some credit would ya?” Karma protested, sticking out his lower lip in a pout. “I know I’m gorgeous, but not all pretty people are dumb.”
“You sure have a lot of confidence in yourself.” Demise raised an eyebrow.
“There is nothing wrong with loving yourself little sister.” Fortune waved off their comments and turned her attention back to the Muse. “So what does it say?”
It’s a list of steps. You Fates are familiar with lists I hear.” Urania paused, waiting for them to nod. “You have to do it in the dimension of the victim, in this case you would have to go to Crëwr. Find who you want to use the Azarze on and surround them. Tell the Azarze who is using it, why you are using it, and what you want it to do.”
That sounded far too easy, there had to be something else. Destiny bit her lip and looked down at the Muse. “What else?”
Urania sighed and hung her head for a moment before looking back up. “Then you have to address them, use all the titles and names.”
She was The Divine Provenance. Her name was Ziarre. They knew the professional name and the given name, but not the original name. And nobody knew a Creator’s real name.
Demise chewed on her bottom lip angrily. “And where are we supposed to get that? It’s not like we can just waltz up to our Creator and be like ‘yo Z, help a sista out an tell me your name so I can kill ya’.”
Urania smirked up at them. “No you can’t. At least not with that attitude. You have to at least try to be smart about this. Ask the other Creators. The Luminary Virtuoso, The Tranquil Sovereign, The Compelling Annihilator, one of them might know.”
“And where are we supposed to find them?” Karma whined in protest, annoyed that she wasn’t giving any more information.
“Not my problem.” Urania shrugged and dissolved into the air, presumably back to dance with the stars.
Destiny bit the inside of her cheek. “Okay well that was a start I suppose.”
Luck gave her a sarcastic smile and nodded far too much. “Right, a start. Look at you, such an optimist. An inspiration to us all, truly.”
Karma glared at Luck. “Now now brother, no need to be rude.”
“Just trying to be realistic, one of us should be. Infinities don’t find Creators, Creators find Infinities. And even if we got your Sin friend involved, what good will that do? It took him five days to find a simple Muse. How long will it take him to track down a Creator?”
Urania started wheeling herself towards the others, an annoyed look on her face. “Hey! I heard that!”
Fortune sensed the anger from the disabled Infinity and quickly made sure her group was all holding hands. “Well we wouldn’t want to overstay our welcome. Thank you for all your help. Goodbye now!”
Everyone took a deep breath as they collapsed onto the fold out bed in Liliana’s basement. They hadn’t talked about coming here, it was just a silent agreement that this was their headquarters.
Karma turned to Fortune, his green eyes shining with glee. “I think our hero deserves some congratulations. If not for her good manners, we might not have gotten out alive.”
Fortune waved it off though clearly enjoying the round of applause she received. “Well I’m not one to take all the credit. You all were okay as well.”
“She didn’t judge us.” Demise whispered, mostly to herself, though the others heard it.
Luck gave her a quizzical look, blonde eyebrows scrunching together over his forest green eyes. “Well you may have missed it, but I heard her call us idiots several times.”
Destiny replayed the scene in her head, realizing her sister was right. “No, Demise is right. Think about it. We come to Urania with some old pipe and instructions and ask her to translate so we can essentially kill a Creator. She never asked why or disagreed with our mission. She helped us with no judgements.”
Chance nodded in thought. “And why would she do that?”
All the Infinities turned their attention back to Luck. Neither of them had any idea, but Luck had a thoughtful expression on his face. He was the best one to come to in a situation. He had a tendency to be brutally honest, no sugar coating anything.
Luck didn’t disappoint. “Because she is on our side. She knows what we are doing is right. She studies astronomy, the stars tell her what is going on. She probably saw something horrible in the future about what The Divine Provenance could do that made her want to help.”
The air seemed to get cold as everyone realized just how real this was. Something terrible was going to happen, and it was up to the six of them to fix it. Destiny sighed and nodded. “When Ziarre cursed me with the Nexxis she did look half crazed. Her eyes alone were intimidating enough. All the light was sucked into her, like a black hole. She looked like she could go off her rocker any day now.”
“That’s good though, right?” Everyone turned to Fortune, thinking the exact same thing. She was nuts. After realizing what she said and how she sounded the eldest Fate was quick to make it right. “I mean if Urania agrees that this atrocious deed is for the better, than it’s the right thing to do right? There won’t be any terrible repercussions. Killing Ziarre is the only thing to do.”
Karma stood up and began pacing the length of the basement, twiddling his thumbs while he procrastinated what he was going to say. “Look, Fortune, don’t take this the wrong way okay? I don’t think you should come along.”
The blonde crossed her arms and glared daggers at him. “And why not? I have just as much reason to be there as the rest of you. Why single me out?”
Karma shrugged and continued pacing, unable to maintain eye contact with the angry woman. “I have done horrible things to bad people, I give people what they deserve, that’s what I was named for. But everyone I hurt deserves it, the punishment matches the color of their aura. I don’t want you going because I think you only want revenge. You aren’t looking at this from an outsider’s view, you just want your Creator to suffer. When I do ugly things the people had it coming. You are doing this for your own satisfaction. I don’t want you to become a monster because you are vengeful.”
“And what about my sisters? They want revenge just as much as I do.” Fortune was standing now, her chin held high.
Karma shook his head. “They want revenge for themselves. You want revenge for both of them. Over my years I have noticed one trait that most share. Caring about others more than yourself. You are in this for both of your younger sisters, that’s more hate then one of them in it for their own skin.”
The silence echoed around the basement, as thick and cold as steel. Luck and Chance stood up on either side of their brother, prepared to hold him back if need be. Demise and Destiny did the same to Fortune, they couldn’t deal with a physical fight right now, there was no time. Fights between Infinities were never pretty. Legend has it that once Wrath and Pain had gotten into a fist fight, leaving Wrath with an ugly scar that trailed from the throat to the shoulder. And scars were a big thing for Infinities, it took a lot to mark them permanently.
Fortune and Karma glared daggers at each other, neither one wanting to give in first. Karma spoke softly, a warning undertone hardly noticeable. “I’m not trying to control you, I understand that it is your life, your decision and all. All I’m saying is I don’t want you to regret this later because you acted on impulse. Regret is the hardest thing to live with.”
Fortune took a deep breath as an attempt to steady her emotions. She knew deep down karma was just trying to be a good friend and look out for her. Thankfully Luck stepped in, easing a little bit of the tension. “She has to go with us. The Azarze calls to all of us, and she is one of the six. She is the gold coins, remember?”
Chance glanced around the room, studying each face individually. He knew he was walking on thin ice, but there really was no way to stop Fortune from tagging along. “We need her if we want this to work.”
Karma didn’t want to give in, but he hardly had a choice. He hated giving in so easily, but he slowly nodded anyways and stormed upstairs to the kitchen.
“Don’t mind him, he gets grumpy when he doesn’t get what he wants. He will bounce back soon though, always does.” Luck deadpanned as he reclaimed his seat at the edge of the bed.
Fortune walked over to a corner, plopping down away from everyone else so she could calm down. She had already been out of control the last few days, her nerves on edge with the Coincidences and all. But she needed to take a break before she completely lost whatever sanity she had left.
“What if Karma is right?”
“Demise! How can you say that? We have known Fortune our whole lives, and not once has she ever lost her temper. She is always cool and collected, able to make tough decisions for the greater good. We are supposed to support her; she is part of our Concept.” Destiny gasped, astonished by her sister’s words.
Demise nodded and gestured with her hands, urging her little sister to understand. “Never once. That’s my point.”
Chance nodded catching on. “Exactly how long has Fortune existed?”
Destiny shrugged, wondering where this was going. She had an idea of course, and she didn’t like it. “Three thousand years, give or take a few.”
The blonde Coincidence stared at the ginger Fate, waiting for her to process it. “So she has been perfect for three thousand years. Don’t you think she is entitled to a midlife crisis right about now?”
“I like you. We are keeping you.” Demise proclaimed, smirking at Luck.
He pretended to be bashful as he adjusted his green silk shirt collar. “Well then, it’s decided. I guess I have no choice but to stay in your glorious company.”
“Stop giving me that look sister.” Demise shot a look to Destiny with a slight shake of her head. Destiny couldn’t help it; she saw the way Demise acted around Luck. He made her brighten up, she almost even smiled when he was around. It was about time Demise made a friend. And if they turned out to be more, than all the better. Destiny put her hands up in surrender and walked away, laughing softly to herself.
“It’s so odd.” Chance marveled, following the youngest Fate. “Karma is usually a flirt, and I haven’t seen Luck sober in ages. You have such remarkable sisters if they can make my brothers change for the better.”
Destiny rolled her eyes. Her sisters were wonderful; she had never doubted that. But they had only known the Coincidence brothers for two days, there was no way all their change was because of her sisters. Surely some of it had to do with the job at hand. “It can’t be all them, in order to change they have to want it for themselves. I think your brothers are just trying to be better.”
Chance nodded, as if pretending to consider that. “Could be. My whole Concept is unpredictable, no telling why we do things.”
Destiny couldn’t help but laugh at that. She had already admitted silently to herself that he could be a potential friend. Now it was no use denying it, she had always been an open book.
“Whatever. We have a few hours till morning, might as well make the most of it before we have to do this.”
Luck and Chance went upstairs with Karma, presumably to lounge about in the family room. Fortune stayed in the corner, but Demise and Destiny laid on the bed back to back. It was time to sleep, there was no telling when they would have time to do it again.