The Shattered Girl

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Divine Intervention: Two

The waves were breaking on the sharp black rocks reaching out of the dark waters, foaming violently as the wind beat them together. As far as the eye could reach, there was nothing but tumult and primordial chaos, but for the eye of the storm. A small plain, an island with no features, waves sweeping over the surface, turning it muddy and unsteady.

The Earth sat on a rock, her skin covered in mud, her clothes rags of earth and bark and leaves, her dark curls woven with leaves, crowned with a wreath of wheat sheaves and branches and flowers. Her jewellery of gold was adorned with jewels in every colour of the rainbow – deep blues, lively greens, warm reds and yellows, dark purples, and clear crystals, and all shades between them every colour of magic imaginable.

The Wind was whispering through her curls, made her look up when the next of the four arrived. In a whirl of silver and green silk, shimmering like lightning and rain, the young man with silver curls appeared on the island, his skirts billowing around his hips, his bare chest seemed to sometimes disintegrate into thin air, just as his hair and his smile. His skin was painted with silver, as were his lips, and his eyes were framed dark as stormclouds. He smiled at her and bowed a little in greeting, she simply nodded back.

Another wave came crashing over the island before either of them could speak, and as it passed, the third had appeared. The Water’s form was that of an older man, white his beard, bald his head, his robes those of a scholar, fine blue velvet and silver ornaments. He nodded in greeting, then opened up his foldable chair and sat down, legs crossed and a book resting on his knees. His hands resting on the leather-bound cover were wrinkled and bony, his skin covered in discoloured birthmarks, and on every finger rings were sparkling, all silver with stones in shades of blue. He straightened his glasses.

“Well, this is illustrious, isn’t it?” he asked.

“It’s been a long time,” the Wind said with a nod.

“We’re not complete yet,” the Earth reminded them.

“The Flame is not coming. She’s gone for good,” the Water said, his voice low and bored as his bony fingers drummed on the cover of the book. He glanced up, from the Earth to the Wind, scolding them. “As we all should be.”

“We can’t leave them now. Not with what the Mother is doing…” the Earth protested.

“We have to, that was the rule. We set it, we all agreed to it, we can’t be the ones breaking it,” the Wind reminded her.

“If we leave, there will be no one left to stop her. We are her equal, we have that power. But them, our people, they don’t have that kind of power. Not anymore.”

“Ekumesh’s book is still out there, someone will find it, assemble it, and use it for its ancient purpose. The world will be fine without us. There will be new ones coming in time, just as there were others before us,” the Water said, his voice calm and collected as always, a little indifferent. His gaze returned to the book in his lap.

“By then, it will be too late! If we don’t stop the Mother now, there will be no world left to save. We’re dooming our people, the people we have sworn to protect,” the Earth insisted. The water shook his head.

“It is no longer our concern, D’aear. Our time has come, we always knew it would. This is as it should be. The new House will rise and the Mother will fall. We all know it. I feel it in the waters, Gh’whint feels it in the air, you have felt it in the dirt beneath your toes, and Rhi’fel saw it in the fires of war. The time has come, and we have given this world everything we could. Now it is up to them. There is nothing left for us to do here.”

“You’re wrong. No offense, old man, but you’re wrong. They don’t understand yet, they still have so much to learn, they need guidance…” the Earth whispered, her fists trembling as they dug into the fabric of her dress. She saw the water move in the corner of her eyes, like a wave, his physical body briefly disintegrated into a liquid state until he rematerialized next to her in the foaming waves, his cool hands on hers to relax those fists.

“You will come to accept, child. You will come to accept that our part in this story is over.”

She crossed her arms, turning away from him.

“Someday, maybe.”

The three of them remained in silence longer than before, and then eventually, the Wind sighed.

“Well, if we all agree that it’s time to leave, excuse me while I make final preparations,” he said and dissipated like dust. The Water remained at her side a moment longer, his old, cool hand still on her arm.

“Child…”

“I’ll be fine,” she replied without looking at him. And then, he, too disintegrated into a wave, the water splashing past her as he melted back into the stormy ocean. She remained, alone, sitting on her small rock. Until the figure in black appeared, her robes billowing in the wind, long black curls surrounding her face like a dark halo. The earth rose to her feet and came closer as the figure approached.

“Did I miss them?”

“You know well you did,” the Earth replied with a brow raised. She had no doubt Death had been watching them, staying hidden until Wind and Water were gone. Death smirked and her gaze wandered over the desolate, chaotic islands they once called home.

“Many died in the fall of Dracoraeion…” Death whispered.

“We have to stop her, you know that. Gh’law is insisting on ceremony, but you know we can’t let her continue this madness. She has to lay down her crown, like we all have. If there is one she will listen to, it’s you,” the Earth insisted. Death glanced back at her with a weak laugh.

“She’s your mother too, you know?”

The Earth shook her head slowly.

“You have always been her favourite.”

“Right. That’s why she banished me to the Beyond,” Death huffed, arms crossed over her chest.

“And made you its Queen,” the Earth reminded. Death stayed silent for a long time, gazing past her sister, then shook her head.

“One survived.”

The Earth raised her brows in surprise.

“A dragon?”

Death nodded.

“One of the Elder. Eraiyo Drakyrioth.”

“The Archdragon…”

“House Drakyrioth have been our equal for centuries. As long as he is alive, the Mother will not succeed. If he falls… so will Arcaria,” Death explained, then turned towards her sister with a smirk. “So we better make sure he doesn’t fall.”

The Earth nodded slowly.

“Do what you must.”

Death bowed her head a little, before she twisted into a cloud of smoke, dissipating as quickly and unspectacularly as she had arrived. The Earth stayed behind alone.
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