Two Hearts One Beat – Chapter 118


Side A – Yasgrid

The problem with forbidden knowledge was that using it meant revealing you knew something you weren’t supposed to, but circumstances seemed to conspire to make it the only tool that could solve the problem before you.

“And how will you End the Fate Dancers?” Naosha asked, her calm and composure unaffected by already knowing the answer to her question.

“When we’re done there won’t be any Troubles left in the Darkwood,” Kayelle said, giving voice to her vow openly for the first time.

“This was what the two of you vowed before Endings?” Naosha asked, a mild tone of curiosity playing in her voice, as though her daughters had chosen to include yellow flowers on the dinner table rather than pink ones.

“This is my vow alone,” Kayelle said. “My sister is not bound by my declaration. She made her own vow and can end her quest on her own terms.”

Meaning, “Nia” could be rescued from the road to self-destruction which Kayelle had doomed herself to walk down.

Yasgrid had to fight back a laugh, a move which Naosha was keenly aware of. For all her powers of perception though, Naosha couldn’t guess that neither was her younger daughter in danger nor was Yasgrid’s own vow any less extreme than Kayelle’s, despite being far more focused and limited in scope.

“Others have made similar vows,” Naosha said, omitting the admonishment that no one had yet made good on such a declaration.

“Yes they have,” Kayelle agreed. She offered no defense for her choice because there really wasn’t one. Any reason she provided would fail to reasonable at all. 

“I cannot speak for them but I do not believe the Fate Dancers will look favorably upon this course of action,” Naosha said. “They will see it as a destabilizing effort which is likely to end with the creation of greater Troubles they will be required to combat for the balance of the year.”

“That’s why they’ll be interested in speaking to us,” Yasgrid said. “They’ll want to yell for a while and then try to talk us out of it. Maybe demand we cast aside Endings so that the extra Troubles can be limited as much as possible.”

Failing that, the Fate Dancers could always try to kill Kayelle, and potentially Yasgrid as well, but Yasgrid wasn’t concerned with that. She and Kayelle were the Bearers. The Fate Dancers might hate the Bearer but there was a reason they didn’t interfere with Ending’s selection process or the Bearer’s actions afterwards.

“You believe their words will fail to reach you and yet you would still meet with them?” Naosha asked. It was a rebuke, though Yasgrid had to strain to hear it as such. Naosha expected better from her daughters than wasting people’s time. The idea that her daughters might be able to sway the Fate Dancers to their cause was too preposterous to even factor into Naosha’s thinking, especially since it would first require that they persuade her of their plans merits and she was more convinced every second that being chosen by Endings had let loose some childish madness in both of her offspring.

“Oh, we’re willing to listen to their words,” Yasgrid said. “And if they can propose a viable path to accomplishing Kayelle’s vow, we’ll be completely onboard with it.”

“So your acceptance is predicated upon the impossible?” Naosha asked. 

Yasgrid could see that she was deeply angered but still her pleasant mask never slipped.

“It’s not impossible,” Kayelle said. “The Bearer and the Fate Dancers have never worked in concert before.”

“And more importantly the Bearers have never been us,” Yasgrid said.

“And you are special?”

“Of course we are,” Yasgrid said.

“We’re your daughters,” Kayelle said.

Side B – Nia

Nia wanted to hide. She’d done a lot of foolish things since she swapped bodies with Yasgrid. Enough that she’d grown to understand the feel and shape of them. She’d never been to a Roady party but as soon as she’d received the invite she knew accepting would be a bad idea. Just as certainly though she’d known that she really didn’t have a choice.

Either she could go to the Roadies, or the Roadies would come to her.

She was a temporary celebrity and they were fans. Of a sort.

“I’m going to die aren’t I?” she said, knowing that predicting her own doom wasn’t going to do anything to prevent it.

“We all are,” Osdora said. She’d come back after everyone else was done screaming at Nia for her idiocy with the Shatter Drum. Nia had assumed the second visit was for Osdora to renew her earlier harrang but was surprised instead to find Osdora in a quiet, contemplative mood.

“I mean going to this party with the Horgi and Grash tonight is a bad idea,” Nia said.

“The worst,” Osdora agreed. “Pretty rare chance too though.”

“Why is that?” Nia asked.

“Why is what? They’re Roadies. Why would they party with drummers?”

“Because we’re all on this trip together?”

Osdora laughed and clapped Nia on the back.

“You really have forgotten a lot haven’t you?” she asked. “Don’t you remember all the stories I told you about the road trips I went on? The Roadies aren’t here for us. They’re here for the drums. We’re an unfortunate accessory at best.”

“But…we play the drums? Without us, the drums don’t do anything. Without drummers they don’t have a purpose.”

Osdora laughed again, even harder. By the time she stopped she was wiping tears from her eyes.

“You be sure to tell them that,” she said. “Please. I gotta see the look on their faces tomorrow.”

Nia could imagine exactly what kind of reaction a group of rabid fans would have to someone calling their fandom pointless. Given that awful alcohol would be involved as well, the results couldn’t be anything but awful too. 

“Do you hate me so much?” Nia asked.

“Oh no darling, I still love ya from the bottom of my cold black heart,” Osdora said. “Sometimes to be a good mother thought you need to know when to give your baby a chance to get their face punched in all on her own. Especially if it’ll make a great story later on.”