Scheming Goddesses (Quest)
Part 66 of Quest
Part 28 of A Quest Special Event
& Part 13 of Irene’s solo Quest: A Game of Death
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Daenara fled to the Gray Between Life and Death–a place of pathways and relative safety for those who weren’t mortal. She was god-born so this place held no danger for her. A gray scale forest twisted around the dirt path she trod. Wind stirred the upper branches but couldn’t penetrate the tangle above her head. This place had one rule which even she had to respect.
It had no light but that which visitors brought it. No fire would kindle in the perpetual dark of this place. No lumir stone would glow either here. In this place emotions created light–the good ones anyways. Darker emotions sank the place deeper into stygian gloom. So she gripped her courage with both hands, wrapped hope around it and held it like a brand before her.
Hope’s brand lit her path
in the gray wastes where mortals
vie for life or death.
Light blossomed around her revealing little of the maze that characterized this place. She stood on a side trail not one of those used by the recently deceased, which was good. Running into those lost souls meant a run-in with a psychopomp and that would lead to explanations and all kinds of delays. Much quicker if she just hopped on through to her destination without anyone knowing she passed through here.
She had no idea how to find the woman whose likeness she’d co-opted during her ill-fated visit inside Istan’s mind. That woman, name unknown, could be anywhere or nowhere. She could be long dead. No, not dead, his reaction was all wrong for that. No this woman was alive somewhere and bumbling about in ignorance–but not for long.
Daenara smiled. All she had to do was find this woman that so angered him and send her to deal with him. Then she’d be in the clear. The Nightmares would be returned to captivity and no one would know of her involvement. Then she could find out who had overshadowed her and make that person or persons pay.
First though, she had to find that woman. Calling up the brief glimpse of she’d gotten of her, Daenara fixed her likeness in her mind. A tallish woman with dark, unconfined hair, she was gowned in pastels and corseted in courage. Her carriage was erect and her gaze direct though flecked with sorcery’s guile. He picked a real winner there. No honey on that tongue, oh no, not that raw-boned broad. Whatever had had he seen in her?
Daenara shook that thought away. Istan was from the weird cousins side of the divine family. His taste in women confirmed it. Holding to her goal, Daenara lifted her foot and waited for the ground to shift before she set her sandal-clad foot down again.
One step sets her goal;
Two steps bridge the space between;
third step clinches it.
Daenara lunged at the dark haired woman–Irene–before she exited the portal.
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Irene regained her feet and coughed as she dragged in a lungful of dust kicked up by the blue eyed goddess and not one she knew. The wild blue eyes proclaimed her a daughter of that divine harlot and schemer, the Dreamer. The instant the woman’s form solidified, she launched herself at Irene but missed when the goddess of fate, Fay, intervened. The taller, more voluptuous dream goddess bounced off the petite Fay’s fiery aura and landed in a sprawl on the broken stonework.
“Not a nice way to greet your aunt and her friend,” Fay chided in a voice that dropped ten octaves to a dragon’s rumble. Smoke curled out of her ruby lips and a red glow bathed the staring dream goddess. Irene remained standing behind the irate goddess and her molten aura and resisted the urge to fan herself. The tempter in this rubble strewn chamber had risen with Fay’s anger to stifling.
“Forgive me Aunt Fay but your friend is needed elsewhere.”
Fay didn’t ask her niece to explain; she turned on her heel and stared off eastwards for a moment proving that she wasn’t omnipotent. Not that she’d ever claimed to be but proof of that point made Irene shiver. Fay was the most humanitarian of the old gods and the most empathetic towards mortals.
A fang dug into Fay’s lip until it retracted leaving neither blood nor wound. Her red eyes softened, banking her internal fires back to the cheery glow of a hearth on a winter eve. Her lips shaped a name. She passed a hand in front of her face, wiped a stray tear away.
Fate’s scales wobbled then,
poised between saved and fallen–
one soul on the brink.
Fay blew out a breath, shook her head to clear it. “Why did it have to be my favorite nephew?”
The Dream goddess stared, mouth agape, unable to form words.
The idea of a goddess of fate having favorites shocked her, but not Irene. No, the words ‘favorite nephew’ plunged worry’s knife through her heart and twisted it. Istan had favorite nephew status; it had to be him. Irene covered her face with her hands and folded.
Why else would Fay have helped her? To speed her quest up of course so she could get back to him. She shouldn’t have left him and for what? A fool’s errand? Where was he now? Could she even find him? The god-born could cloak themselves from mortal spell craft and that was the only kind she knew. She stared at Fay, her eyes beseeching her for help.
Fay caught her wrists and held her up. “Wait, before you make your choice, learn the situation.” Her red eyes strobed and in between the flashes, images writhed and solidified.
Choose friends in peril?
Choices wheel–choose love she scorned?
‘Tween friends, love’s her choice.
Irene shook her head. Her heart had already decided. Her one-time companions–Henneth, Chero, Anasril and the baby–were on their own. Istan needed her; his need throbbed in her chest like a second heart beat.
“Send me to him.”
The dream goddess pounced and the world grayed out. Irene fell for the second time in as many hours.
Irene’s story collides with Istan’s in Falling for You.
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