New year, New Start
Crëwr must have sent them back to Ineôcâ, telling them they didn’t belong in the dimension of the Creators. Only, this wasn’t like how traveling dimensions usually was, something was wrong. Traveling from Òrìsà to Ineôcâ and back again, that was quick, over in hardly an instant. Maybe it was just because they all came from Crëwr this time, or maybe it was something else. She wasn’t whole. Her Abbaxa was ripped apart, scattered through the dimension. It wasn’t the being torn apart that hurt, being put back together did.
The colors swam around, slowly transforming from a blur of everything to solidifying into a singular place. As soon as her feet hit solid ground the Fate lost her balance, falling to the floor and catching herself with the palm of her hands.
Destiny was back in her Rouhk, but she was no longer cold. The Nexxis was no longer lingering up her arms and inching its way to her heart. Defeating Ziarre must have melted it, considering she was the one who cursed the Fate with it in the first place. The only trace that the Crëwr Ice had ever been inside her was the silvery scar on the back of her hand in the shape of the symbol of Crëwr. Two diamonds and some swirls, it was a simple enough mark. But it held so much meaning. Anyone that saw her now would know she had done something to wrong a Creator.
She could feel the other five Infinities around her, so at least everyone had made it back safely. Not necessarily unharmed, Obayana had warned them there would be consequences to killing a Creator. Black spots still clouded her vision, so Destiny was still unsure where she was. She squeezed her eyes shut tight and used whatever was nearby to help her stand up. Once she was sure she was okay, she slowly opened her eyes again as the world came into focus.
Rows of aisles with tons of slightly dusty knick knacks, at least she had been taken to a familiar place. They were in the back of Old Stuff, scattered about the furniture and displays. It was dark, hardly any light was coming in through the window. The shop must have been closed or in the process of being closed down, the lights had already been turned off except for the one by the register.
Hearing seemed to be the last of Destiny’s senses to return to her. Three soft voices, laughing and talking quietly towards the front of the shop.
“Wait, so how old are you exactly?” Felix nervously laughed.
“You scared of a little age difference?” A semi familiar voice teased.
“Not scared… just curious is all.” Felix admitted quietly, running a hand through his tousled hair.
The man sighed, his eyes moving upwards in thought. “Older than the Coincidences but younger than the Fates. I’m not sure exactly, all the records are with the Creators in Crëwr.”
“I sure hope Destiny is okay. We haven’t heard anything from her in a few days.” Lilliana fretted, pacing back and forth.
“Don’t worry about the girls. The Coincidences are with them, and my brother Sloth says Karma takes good care of his friends.” Destiny finally recognized the voice as Lust.
“Well that’s awfully sweet of Slothy to say, give him a hug for me next time you see him. And be sure to tell him ‘blue pineapple is taken care of.’ He’ll know what it means.” At this point everyone was so used to Karma being spontaneous that nobody was surprised by blue pineapple nor did they ask what he meant.
After Karma walked up to the humans and revealed himself the other five Infinities followed close behind. Felix untangled himself from Lust’s embrace and Liliana stopped pacing as the humans stared at them in shock. Lust merely smiled, he had sensed they were here. Karma smirked and walked right up to Liliana till they were nose to nose, and snapped his fingers to bring the humans back to earth.
Liliana blinked and smiled, pushing past Karma to hug Destiny. “I’m glad you all made it back safely. I take it you guys succeeded?”
Destiny hugged back eagerly, grateful for the familiar arms around her. “Glad to be back, I missed this place, I missed you guys. Yeah, it was success.”
“It’s a long story, might take a while if you are up for hearing it now.” Luck glanced out the window, seeing the moon high in the sky. It was already super late.
Liliana shared a look with her brother, smiles forming on both of their faces. “Well the shop is already closed so —”
“To the roof!” Felix exclaimed, throwing his fist into the air.
While Liliana and Felix ran to the coat hanger and put on their winter wear, Destiny sighed in contentment, feeling warm for the first time in ages. Everyone filtered outside and to the side of the shop, climbing up the cold rusty ladder.
They must have been prepared for a homecoming party. Last time Destiny had been up here there were only two chairs, now there were nine situated around the fire pit. Each one was equipped with a blanket that had been brought from the basement and a bag of snacks.
“Looks like you were expecting us Lili.” Destiny teased as she found a chair and lit the fire, for the humans benefit of course.
Liliana shrugged and took the chair next to the youngest Fate. “I had faith you would come back to us soon.”
Felix pouted and sat next to Lust. “The food was my idea. I want credit too!”
“Thank you Felix.” Destiny smiled at her friend and opened a bag of marshmallows, taking one and passing the rest around the circle.
“Oh candy! Gimme!” Karma made grabby hands at Fortune when she had the bag. She withheld for a moment, waiting for something. “Oh okay fine. Oh beautiful Fate, won’t you please allow me a taste of sugar? I would be ever so grateful.”
Fortune smirked and tossed him one. She had trained him well. She put her own marshmallow on a rod of metal and caught it on fire, waiting till the outside was burnt before blowing it out and popping it in her mouth.
Chance grabbed one as the bag came around and passed it on. “So Liliana, how’s the shop?”
“Business is the same as usual, a little slow due to the holidays. That’s fine though thanks to Fortune. We did get a new regular customer, though he never buys anything.” Liliana shot a suggestive look to her brother and Lust.
Demise smirked and threw her marshmallow at Felix’s face. “So tell us about the new boytoy.”
Felix blushed and hid his face in Lust’s chest while the Infinity pretended to be offended. “To quote Karma, don’t objectify me! I am a strong, independent Infinity who don’t need no human to complete me.”
Karma smiled and laughed, giving him an across the fire air five. “I see you remember my pep talk I gave you and Sloth from way back when. You could work on your grammar though, that wording was atrocious.”
Luck shook his head, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. “Well that’s a lie Lust. I have known you long enough to know you are lost without someone constantly by your side.”
Lust widened his eyes and placed his hands defiantly on his hips. “Thanks for selling me out. I needed that today, it’s been too long since someone threw me under a bus.”
Liliana shook her head at the boys teasing and took a pretzel from her bag. “Come on, it’s cold. Let’s get to the fun part now. Tell us the story.”
Karma jumped right in, telling perhaps too much detail. And of course he couldn’t sit still, so him acting everything out was entertaining to watch. Though everyone was offended when he tried to mimic their voices. Fortune didn’t sound that persnickety, Luck wasn’t that dull, Chance wasn’t that chivalrous, and Destiny most definitely didn’t sound like school teacher. Though he did get Demise’s deep raspy voice pretty much spot on. Occasionally the others would jump in to add a detail or two, but for the most part they were happy just watching their own personal play.
Karma, being the drama queen that he was, turned out to be the absolute best storyteller. Liliana, Felix, and even Lust were on the edge of their seats with anticipation as the tale came to an end.
“So did we win, who’s to say? Yes, we survived, we accomplished our task and completed the mission. My friends, we are heroes. Or we will take whatever title you think is befitting for us.” Ah, so now it was time to get all deep and philosophical.
Karma was good, no denying that. Perhaps a little too good with twisting the facts. He made it sound as though there was nothing wrong with their murderous path. He had painted them as the good guys and Ziarre as the bad, making them the obvious choice for the listeners to root for. But a bit of Destiny couldn’t help but feel as though it wasn’t just for their benefit. He said the exact things the six Infinities needed to hear so they didn’t feel like the villains.
“Woah. Sounds intense. Kinda wish I had gone after all.” Liliana thought out loud, not really intending for the others to hear.
Demise shot her a sad look, knowing fully well just how impossible that was. Sure, an Infinity could take a human anywhere in Ineôcâ, but they couldn’t go to any other dimension. If Liliana or Felix had gone along they would have missed out on half the adventure. “Some fantasies are best left inside one’s head. You can’t go to Òrìsà much less Crëwr.
Suddenly cheering was heard all through the streets, making it sound as though the whole town was awake. Liliana chuckled at the alarmed faces of the Infinities. “Don’t worry about it. It’s only midnight. Happy New Year’s everyone.”
Liliana hadn’t set out drinks, so the group walked around to everyone and high fived each other as they passed on the well wishes. Destiny didn’t even bother glancing at Lust and Felix, they could have a few moments to themselves. She tossed a marshmallow, hitting her target in the face.
“Wha — hey what was that for?” Chance laughed and popped the marshmallow in his mouth.
“I forgive you. For messing up my Test of Classification, I forgive you.” Destiny shrugged, elaborating when she saw his confused look.
Chance shook his head ever so slightly, a smile playing at his lips. “Glad to hear.”
Destiny fell silent and looked up to the sky. Conversation flowed easily from then on, there were enough of them for there to always be something new coming up every so often. For once Luck and Karma seemed to be getting along, though it could be just because Demise was keeping the boys at bay. Lust was curled up in his favorite human’s lap while talking to Liliana. Felix and Chance talked over them, occasionally changing from two conversations to one.
“I know what you are thinking.”
Destiny turned her head to the left to face Fortune. “Well you have been constantly in my head for the past thousand years. What else is new?”
Fortune giggled and leaned back, glancing up to the starry night. “You know that’s not what I meant. I wandered too, about the sky.”
It was the same as ever, stars shining brightly alongside the moon. A few clouds hovered over the moon, but they were thin enough that the light still shone through. Technically they had won, the dimensions were safe. But The Divine Provenance was gone, no more Creator of sky and order. Even after everything, the sky was still the sky.
“Do you think it will ever go away? Or will we always feel like this?” Destiny knew it had to be done, there was no other way. But Chance’s words still haunted her. They had become murderers instead of looking for a peaceful way. Ziarre did not live happily ever after.
Fortune sighed and shook her head, her golden curls bouncing around her delicate shoulders. “This was supposed to be my fight. I am the one supposed to feel guilt, me and me alone. You and Demise were never supposed to get involved. I think a part of us will always remember this and feel this way. But Karma said not to dwell in the past, I think that’s the only thing we can do right now.”
Not with the emotions please, Destiny never knew quite what to say. She mentally panicked for a moment before reaching out to grab her sister’s hand and give it a reassuring squeeze. “Like it or not but Demise and I are in this too, all of us, together. That’s what sisters are for. And we have friends in the Coincidence brothers. We will help each other through this.”
Fortune let out a shaky breath and squeezed the hand back before releasing it. “Thank you Destiny.”
Karma stood up and put his fingers in his mouth, ending everyone’s conversation with a loud whistle. He pointed to the sky, to a shooting star. “Star light, star bright, shooting star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.”
Luck finished with his own twist. “I wish I might, oh wait, that’s a satellite.”
Everyone laughed at Karma’s childishness and shook their head at Luck, but nobody was going to ruin this night. They all looked up to the sky and closed their eyes, silently wishing to themselves. Even Chance was participating.
I wish for another way. I wish for my sisters and friends to not be haunted by guilt. I wish for everyone I care about to be happy and move on. I wish for us to move past what happened with Ziarre.
When Destiny opened her eyes again time was all askew. Just like back in the shop with that important customer, only this time it affected everyone. A second lasted a lifetime. The cheering from the streets below all blurred into one long noise. The shooting star twinkled and seemed to change direction. Then everything was suddenly happening at normal speeds again.
“What now Luck? Why the Oh no?” Demise looked over to the blonde, concern laced in her dark brown eyes.
Luck pointed up, mimicking Karma’s action. “Looks like that piece of space debris is headed straight for us.”
And unfortunately like always, Luck appeared to be right. It was coming in their direction at an alarming speed. Growing bigger and brighter by the second, it was headed straight for the roof of Old Stuff. There was no way this was a coincidence.
Fortune and luck both stood up and walked to the cento of the roof. They had hardly spoken two words to each other since the beginning, so it was shocking to say the least that they seemed to be able to read each other’s minds now. The wordlessly reached out, grabbing each other’s hands as they stared unblinking at the star.
They were going to die. After all their efforts staying alive with the Azarze, it was all over. Sure, all the Infinities would be fine after their Abbaxa healed. But the humans stood no chance. Destiny hoped her sister knew what she was doing, her friends lives were on the line. Without meaning to she had grabbed Chance and Liliana’s hands for silent support.
Whatever Fortune and Luck were doing, working together seemed to work for them. At the last possible second the star shot to the side, hitting the ground on the left of the shop instead of the roof.
Karma’s green eyes were wide, like the rest of them he just saw his life flash before his eyes. Slowly he brought his hands together, becoming more erratic as he made a show of applauding the two blondes. “Brava. Now which of you brave souls are willing to risk everything to venture down there and check it out?”
The silence droned on as everyone looked back and forth between everyone on the roof. This was getting ridiculous. Destiny rolled her eyes and walked over to the ladder. “If It’s really that big a deal I’ll go. Seriously, you can take down a Creator but you can’t go down and look at a fallen star?”
“Des wait, I have a weird feeling about this…” Chance tried to stop her but it was too late. Her red head was already disappearing below the top of the roof.
Destiny walked around the shop to where the thing had fallen slowly. She took a moment to get her breathing under control. She was being irrational; it was just an accident that this thing came hurdling out of space merely a few hours after destroying Ziarre. But Destiny knew that was just wishful thinking.
Surprisingly there wasn’t all that much damage. A small crater in the dirt, but that could easily be fixed. The indent was only about a foot in diameter, much smaller than what it should have been. Now Destiny wasn’t an expert on space and science, but considering the height it came from and the speed it was traveling, there should have been much more destruction.
And of course right in the center of the crater was the whole reason for this entire mess. The Azarze. The same polished red wood, but other than that it seemed remade. It was a regular pipe now, no more flying ravens on the stem. The hole was just a hole, no longer a clover. Gone now were the boomerang on the stack of coins and the die on the hourglass. Now there was only one symbol engraved. The outline of a circle, with the middle part of the left side removed. On the inside top of the circle was an upside down cursive e. One the bottom a small point, like a mountain. The markings were different, but there was no doubt that it was the same Azarze.
With a shaking hand Destiny bent over to pick it up. It had done its job and had found its way back. Judging by the way the other Creators looked at it they had seen it before, and now they were meant to see it again. Well this was just perfect.
She couldn’t tell her friends, at least not right now. They had all been through enough together and deserved a break. She tucked the Azarze safely inside the case and hid it in her inside jacket pocket. Destiny no longer felt the magnetic pull gravitating her to the Azarze, and she hoped the others didn’t either. It would be easier to keep it hidden if it appeared to be just a regular pipe.
Destiny returned to the roof to find everyone doing their own thing. Talking, eating, Felix playing that game on his phone. When they noticed the youngest Fate had returned they all grew silent and stared at her.
Chance knew just how much she hated being the center of attention so he broke the silence for her. “What did you find?”
Destiny shrugged and reclaimed her seat. “Just usual space stuff. Thought it was a rock but it turned to dust when I kicked it. Guess Ziarre had to give us one last hurrah.”
Everyone seemed to accept this. They were in far too good a mood to let the night be ruined by some stupid comet. At least Destiny didn’t seem too suspicious. Slowly everyone returned to their previous actions. That is, until a loud beeping came from Felix’s phone seeing as he had forgotten to turn off the sound.
He held up his screen for everyone to see. He had finally won his game. The black line had eaten all the dots the game had to offer until it had taken up the entire screen. But in the end it ran into itself, so the game was over. Felix pouted at the realization. “Huh. Looks like even when you win, you lose.”
Destiny unconsciously felt the Azarze in her pocket, making sure it was still there. It had come back with a new symbol, that meant it had more work to be done. They had destroyed Ziarre. They had won the battle, but the war was yet to come. Let’s begin, shall we?
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