Two Hearts One Beat – Chapter 136


Side A – Yasgrid

Yasgrid had heard people scream in pain, scream in fear, and scream in surprise. What she heard coming from the Fate Dancer’s encampment was none of those, in part because she couldn’t be sure what was screaming could be counted as a person.

“Bearer,” one of the Fate Dancer guards said, the word either the only name he was concerned with giving Yasgrid or the worst insult he could spit at her.

“What is the noise,” Marianne said, putting the same disdain four words that the Fate Dancer had put into one.

“Not your concern,” the guard said, not looking away from Yasgrid.

“Probably not,” Marianne said. “We’re here to speaking to Dancer Varial.”

“He’s busy,” the other guard said.

“Convenient,” Marianne said. “We’ll return at a more opportune time then. Tell him to be sure to have an explanation for the events of last night by then.”

As far as Yasgrid knew, Marianne had no particular authority to order the Fate Dancers with, nor the ability to hold their leader accountable for anything he or they might have done. She knew that but, from Marianne’s demeanor and confidence, she no longer believed it. 

Either Marianne intended to borrow someone else’s authority, or she had plans to make the head Fate Dancer regret crossing her, or she was bluffing completely but somehow still that confident that when push came to shove she could arrange for the leverage she needed. 

In the brief time Yadgrid had known Marianne, any of those seemed possible, and Yasgrid was almost willing to let events play out according to Marianne’s plan.

Except for the screaming.

What was screaming was not a person, and it never had been.

But Yasgrid still knew she had to help it.

Marianne began to turn away as Yasgrid stepped forward. The guards blinked in momentary surprise, but closed ranks to bar Yasgrid’s passage.

“You are not welcome here, Bearer,” the first guard said.

“That’s a problem,” Yasgrid said. “You have a Trouble in there which you can’t control.”

“That is not your concern,” the guard said. “We are handling it.”

“Not properly,” Yasgrid said and stepped forward.

Both of the guards drew their daggers and held them pressed close to Yasgrid’s chest.

“If you could deal with a Trouble in the stage that one in is, there wouldn’t be any screaming,” Yasgrid said, unconcerned about the blades pointed at her. It wasn’t going to come to fight. Or, more precisely, it wasn’t going to come to a fight she would lose.

“We don’t need the help of a destroyer like you,” the first guard said. “Our mystics can handle this.”

“The Trouble is in one of your own,” Yasgrid said. She could hear the blended voices in the scream. One the definition of rage, the other burning up within that anger.

“How do you know that?” the second guard asked.

“Who exactly do you think I am?” Yasgrid asked, turning to him with light in all the colors of the rainbow filling her eyes!

Side B – Nia

Three on one odds were never good. Sizing up the three in question, Nia decided that “not good” was selling the situation short.

“So are we going to go for any banter, or get right down to it?” she asked, paying attention to the one who’s landed behind by listening to his approach while she fixed the two ahead of her with the most unconcerned expression she could muster.

“Get down to what little Frosty?” the one in the lead said. 

Even living in the body of a Stoneling, Nia hadn’t lost her sense of how tall they all were. Her familiarity with Yasgrid’s body though did allow her to appreciate just how damn tall the woman in front of her was. It was like they’d had the raw materials for another half of a Stoneling when they made her and decided the throw the extra into the mix to see what the results would be.

“See, it’s the ‘little Frosty’ bit that gives you away,” Nia said. The Stoneling behind her was a few seconds away from being able to grab her but seemed to have paused, maybe waiting for the banter to finish?

“Maybe we’re fans of the sadness that is the Frosty Shatter Band,” the giant said. “What makes you think we’re not looking for an autograph?”

“You know what autographs are? Wow, I did not know Shardies were that smart,” Nia said. “Can you read them too?”

After the, in hindsight, phenomenally bad choice of heading off on her own, Nia knew she needed to exercise the wisdom Naosha had gifted her to make vastly better choices if she intended to make it to the inne in anything near the correct number of pieces.

Antagonizing her attackers was roughly as far from exercising that wisdom as she could get, but after hanging around with Horgi, Grash and the others, her inner-Roady agreed with the decision.

There are times when bad things are coming no matter what you do. Sometimes they’re your fault, sometimes you could have done something to avoid them, and sometimes they’re completely unfair. Maybe the next time you can do something different, but in the moment where you have to confront an painful fate, all you can do is chose what face you’re going to meet it with. 

“Aww, this one thinks she’s cute,” the giant said.

“You know, I do,” Nia said. It didn’t feel like vanity since she was praising Yasgrid rather than herself, at least in some sense.

“Shame that’s not going to last another five minutes,” the one behind the giant said. She was smaller than the giant, but roughly as wide as two Yasgrid’s put together. Nia envied the bicep she saw on the woman but wasn’t not looking forward to the work it would do.

“Three of you and it’s going to take you five minutes to put the first bruise on me?” Nia said. “I didn’t believe the Roadies, but I guess you do grow ‘em weak here.”

That was the end of the banter session.