The Shattered Girl

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Divine Intervention: Three

Fallen leafs turned to murky brown under her feet, and weeds she brushed with the hem of her skirts withered on contact. Death left a trail in the woods as she searched, until her feet touched the burning, green words. She stepped back, looked down and with her fingertips traced the ancient writing.

So this was it? Her gaze fell on the town below, small and insignificant it seemed, but that spell betrayed it. There was something more powerful and more dangerous in this town than even Death herself. A power they feared, but now it was quite possibly the only power great enough to do what had to be done.

She stepped over the borders of the magic and made her way down the road. The town was sleeping, peaceful and unsuspecting. Her path was laid out before her, she was listening for its whispers, the quiet, luring call of the ancient book.

Yet when she reached the gates of the library, her steps froze. Her body not her own any longer, held in place, still as a statue. Only her eyes moved, darting around in search for the source of that power.

“You should not have come here.”

Death saw the movement in her periphery. White, billowing robes, long white hair spilling out of a crown that was so intricate and full of little details, like a small culture of chimes and gears and little buildings all of its own. The woman came closer, until Death could feel her breath by her ears. “I know what you seek,” she whispered.

Death’s jaw was clenched. The Mother had come herself. She wanted to respond, but was not allowed. The Mother stepped away, walked in front of her in slow, deliberate steps. She was striding, rather than walking, her hands folded behind her back, her from tall and proud, the white dress dragging behind her, losing itself in mist. “I have felt it too. The call of the book. The power that once brought down the greatest power of this planet.”

The Mother turned to her, and Death wanted to shout, wanted to demand explanation, but she could not. The Mother smiled. “But I sense you wish to use it for a different purpose. I cannot let you take it. This power must remain concealed, hidden away. Even our enemy wanted for it to never be discovered again. We should keep it that way, don’t you think?”

Death grumbled, rolled her eyes. “Ah, forgive me.”

A wink of fine, pale hands, and Death felt the knot in her throat release. She drew a sharp breath.

“Stop this. It’s not too late.”

The Mother turned away from her again. She stood in silence for a long moment, something melancholic surrounding her form.

“Can’t you see? I am doing this to protect us. Our legacy. Our people.”

“I can see. I understand. But this is not the way. The new House will preserve our legacy, if we let them,” Death gritted her teeth. “Mother… please…”

“I have made my choice,” the Mother turned to her with a sad smile on pale lips. “You have shown me centuries ago that, in the end, you would turn on me. I am sorry, child. But if you do not stand with me, you stand against me.”

The mother raised her hand, brushing her cold fingertips over Death’s cheek. She could feel the pull of power, draining her, devouring her. And she dematerialised in a heartbeat. She found herself back in darkness, breath ragged, clutching a hand to her chest. Still so powerful. Still the most powerful of them all. The Mother would not be defeated, even if they were all at their strongest, undivided. But they were weak, all of them. The book was the last resort, and she would never let them get it.

There had to be another way. She knew it was a terrible thought, but she would need to sacrifice someone, distract the Mother, and claim the book for herself. This was a game. The world was the playing field, its people the pawns, and the Mother had established the rules a long time ago. Maybe it was time to play by them.

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