Two Hearts One Beat – Chapter 170


Side A – Yasgrid

Yasgrid hadn’t expected Kyra to let herself open up. She’d planned to ask Endings for its side of the story regardless, but knew that her recounting of Endings words would count for little. There wasn’t much reason for the Fate Dancer’s to trust her as it was, especially given that she was actively rejecting the conclusions of the people their culture claimed to be their wisest leaders. If they hadn’t hated her before for what she’d done to Denar, Yasgrid was pretty sure that protecting Denar from their purging wrath would do the trick.

And yet, inside the hall of Ending’s mindspace, there Kyra stood.

“This isn’t an Inner Glade, is it?” Kyra asked, turning with careful deliberation to take in the crystal cathedral they were standing inside.

“No,” Endings said. “This is the Bearer’s Chamber. You are not the Bearer though.”

Yasgrid felt Endings power gathering. Kyra was a thing out of place. That wasn’t good. Endings core purpose was to help preserve the gods’ grand design.

“She’s here by invitation,” she said and felt Endings testing her.

It was a new sensation. On everything else so far they’d been in accord, but this was where their paths diverged.

Except that wasn’t how their relationship worked.

Yasgrid wasn’t Endings partner. She was its Bearer. It got to choose her, but she got to choose where they went and how it was used.

And this was her choice.

The sense of Endings’ power receded, and Yasgrid had an image of past confrontations between the Bearer and Endings which ended poorly for everyone involved.

“You have a question,” Endings said. It didn’t need to ask but it was willing to offer permission for Yasgird to make her inquiry.

“Do you know what the Fate Dancers say of you?” Yasgrid asked. 

She hadn’t let go of Kyra’s hand yet, not even in the purely mental realm they were in. She wasn’t willing to take the chance that they’d to lose the path as they neared its last steps.

“That is not part of my remit,” Endings said.

“Their tales say that you killed their founder.” Yasgrid wasn’t surprised by Endings ignorance on the Fate Dancers. They were probably the one group Endings was unlikely to ever meet in the course of its duties.

Except that it had at some point.

And it had slain them.

Or had it? That could have been something the Bearer at the time had done. Endings lack of a response to the statement was a choice Yasgrid couldn’t make heads or tails of.

Was it silent because it was guilty? Because it was searching whatever it had that passed for memories? Or was it unconcerned with anything outside it’s assigned domain?

“They were trying to complete the work the Elvan gods left unfinished,” Yasgrid said. “Would you have killed them for that?”

Yasgrid glanced over at Kyra, whose face was cast in a grim rictus and though expecting an attack not from any direction but from every direction.

“Yes,” Endings said. “That would be sufficient cause for summary justice to be rendered.”

Side B – Nia

Nia didn’t want a war. After what she’d been through, she wasn’t sure she was even up for a playful scuffle. Fortunately, the look of horror that crept across her face was one Osdora caught and understood.

“Oh don’t worry,” she said. “We won that too.”

Nia shook her head.

“We did what? I was only out for a week, right? How did we have time to win a war?” Nia asked, looking back and forth between Margrada and Osdora, neither of whom seemed particularly concerned with the notion.

“It wasn’t much of a war,” Margrada said, a tiny smug smile touching her lips, the uncertainty her words left open a dram of payback for the week of uncertainty Nia had subjected her to.

“How do you have ‘not much of a war’?” Nia asked. There’d never been a war in the Darkwood in her lifetime, but she’d been schooled in the battles of ancient times and the ones that raged in far off lands. War, from what she understood tended to leave fields of dead and rivers flowing with blood.

“There was some confusion after the battle,” Osdora said. “We’d won. Everyone knew that. Your, whatever that was, left people wondering if we could call it a proper Battle of the Bands though. So we called it a war instead. Or, I guess, we declared war and then allowed them to offer a conditional surrender.”

“What was the condition?” Nia asked, beginning to fathom how things had gone and filing it into the ‘Stonelings Are Weirdos’ draw in the back of her mind.

“First that we didn’t have to pay for the damage to the stage,” Margrada said. “You left footprints in the stone.”

“Oh,” Nia said, finding it hard to believe that any of that had been real.

“The second condition was that they had to pick up the tab for the after party,” Osdora said. “And we got to steal their doctor.”

“You bargained for Doctor Prash?” Nia asked.

“It was his idea,” Margrada said. “He was pretty sure the town wasn’t going to be all that safe for him for a while. I think he’s officially a Frost Harbor citizen now, isn’t he?”

“Technically he’s a free agent at the moment,” Osdora said. “We’ll fix that up when we get him back though and can have the proper forms filled out.”

“Why did he need to do that though?” Nia asked.

“The people you tangled with? They’re in league with the Watch,” Osdora said. “The Shale Shard Shatter Band were good losers, but the Shale Shard Watch could make life miserable for anyone who stayed behind once we left.”

“They’re not going to be a problem for the Shatter Band then?” Nia asked.

“Oh, they probably will be,” Osdora said. “I think whatever good will there was between the two evaporated after they saw what happened at the Battle. That’s for them to work out though. They’re not going to be a problem for us going forward.”

“It sounds like we got what we wanted then?” Nia asked.

“Pretty much,” Osdora said. “Oh, and there’s no charges against you,” she added. “That was something I insisted on.”

“Charges for what?” Nia asked.

“Violating the stage,” Osdora said, “And breaking their drumming.”

Nia’s eyes went wide.

“Oh no! I didn’t meant to break a Shatter Drum!” She thought of Horgi and Grash and how they would justifiably murder her if she’d broken a practice drum much less something as precious as a working Shatter drum.

“Don’t worry,” Osdora said. “You didn’t break their drum. You broke their drumming. Those people you confronted? They’re never going to drum again.”