Side A – Yasgrid
Yasgrid stabbed the Fate Dancer and so the Fate Dancer stabbed her. Where Endings passed harmlessly through the Fate Dancer though, the Fate Dancer’s blade was every bit as damaging to Yasgrid as any other sharp piece of steel would have been.
Endings helped mitigate some of the damage, sending a shock down Yasgrid’s arm that twisted her chest away from the blade’s path. Yasgrid had been committed to driving the Trouble out of the Fate Dancer though and mass and momentum could only be argued with so much.
Yasgrid expected pain to explode across her side when the blade hit her, and when that didn’t come she cheered at having dodged the knife thrust entirely.
Then she saw the blood.
Adrenaline kept her on her feet and Endings spun her around to, slashing and redoubling her attacks against a pair of Troubles which seemed to move with one mind and the speed of a lightning bolt.
She twisted to ward off another Trouble and felt a hitch in her side check her movement.
Her block was too slow.
The Trouble landed an acidic hand on her shoulder and Yasgrid screamed, her cry cutting off too soon.
It hadn’t been the best plan.
It hadn’t even really been a good plan.
She’d known that.
It had been the best she could come up with though.
She was just about to call out to Nia, who was certainly feeling Yasgrid’s spike of distress, but that distress was cut short as strong hands lifted her up and away from the oncoming Troubles.
“I think you’ve held them here long enough,” the Fate Dancer, Kyra, said.
Nia wasn’t exceptionally tall for a Darkwoods elf, but Kyra was. Not quite Stoneling height, but Yasgrid had gotten used to judging things on an elven scale.
“No,” Yasgrid said as they swung higher. “I need to keep going. This is our best chance to…”
A wave of dizziness passed through her and her thoughts went a little fuzzy.
They were swinging?
Where was Kyra taking her? A part of Yasgrid was cheering that their destination seemed to be ‘away’, which was much better than where they’d been because anywhere was better than where they’d been.
“Don’t you worry, we’ve got this,” Kyra said. Not exactly kindly. More gruff? Like she was unhappy.
Yasgrid felt the bottom drop out of world and her thought tumbled down into a dark ocean before rising again as she felt herself being placed roughly at the base of a tree.
Something smelled awful, but Yasgrid fought to focus her eyes on Kyra’s face. She felt so weak but the searing pain on her shoulder was sufficient to hold back to the darkness which threatened to pull her under.
“This isn’t going to be fun, but sooner will be better than later,” Kyra said and stood up, drawing both her daggers again.
Yasgrid admired the blood stains on the one in Kyra’s right hand. It sparked in the moonlight.
Or she was seeing things.
Probably the latter.
Nobody had rainbow blood.
“What are you going to do?” she asked, several unpleasant ideas suggesting themselves immediately.
“Fix a mistake,” Kyra said as she drew the blades into a fighting stance.
Side B – Nia
Nia looked at the Shatter drum in front of Osdora. She couldn’t see how it could have torn apart two people who loved each other, but looking at how Osdora cradled it, Nia couldn’t see that it had.
“Gossma was the one who suggested the idea,” Osdora said. “She was just playing around, except she wasn’t and neither was I. Once the idea occurred to us – and let me assure you we weren’t genius’s, the same idea occurs to a ridiculous number of drummers – but once it occurred to us we couldn’t let it go.”
“You ran right out and found a drum?” Nia asked.
“Well, we found our clothes first,” Osdora said, smirking at the blanket Nia and Margrada were sharing. “But, yeah, we didn’t waste any time. Did a little burglary to get into the Shatter band’s backstage area, knocked out a couple of Roadies, and then we had our drum. It was…perfect. A warm, moonlight night. A beautiful partner. The whole world in front of us and our futures all ours to shape however we wanted.”
“And that changed when you hit the drum?” Margrada asked. “Did the Shatter Band punish you?”
“They never found out,” Osdora said. “The Roadies we KO’d could have told them but they got even on their own time. No, we hit the drum together and everything went exactly as we’d planned and hoped it would.”
“That doesn’t bad?” Nia said.
“It wasn’t,” Osdora said. “And it was. We were both good enough drummers by then we could handle the magic. We weren’t going to overwhelm each other, or let an unstable blast loose. We just took the moment to see everything about each other.”
“Was there some darkness waiting inside you? Or her?” Margrada asked.
“Of course,” Osdora said. “We’re all dark on the inside. But not how you’re thinking. You’re envisioning your rage, and your fear, and your selfishness as your ‘darkness’ but those things aren’t dark. They’re just a part of you. A part we often don’t like, but still something we need to acknowledge and own. The darkness inside us is where we keep the parts of us we’re not expressing. The desires we keep private, the thoughts we don’t express, the faces we choose not to show in whatever situation we’re in. Or the parts we choose only to share with a few in our lives, or just one person.”
“And you saw all that about each other?” Nia asked. “That sounds wonderful.”
“It was,” Osdora said. “For that moment. It was the most intense joining I’ve ever felt. Someone knew me, knew all of me, and they didn’t reject me, it was unbelievable.”
“What went wrong then?” Margrada asked.
“I was,” Osdora said. “But I didn’t see that until the beat faded away.”