Chapter Seventeen: Divisions

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Meridia stared at the figure in front of her.

It was slight, barely measuring beyond her waist, and the face seemed to imply that the figure was no more than a mere child, even though she suspected the Madness had lived countless eons. They seemed almost no threat at all… Almost as if the Madness truly was just a simple, young girl.

"Life doesn't end with death." The girl laughed, "It doesn't even truly end with the afterlife. The world is… More complicated that you can even comprehend."

Meridia frowned, "You won't find friends here, Madness, if you keep this up."

"I am not your friend." She growled angrily, her eyes flashing, and the world seemed to move in response, the ground shaking, cracking, as distant mountains seemed to disappear in clouds of dust, and the ground around them withered and died.

Meridia felt her heart leap, as she saw the crackle of magick from the figure. It wasn't like the gods, and could use magick, but that… That had only been uncontrolled magick, caused by too much power, and far too much anger to contain.

"Then what are you?" Meridia insisted, and the girl smiled softly, "Nothing. Nothing and everything."

"Truth." Another voice spoke, and everyone glanced over at a young boy, smiling insanely, and he shrugged, "She is all, and is not all, at all."

"Hean." The Madness growled, "Shut up. You are just going to confuse people. And yourself."

Tairsa spoke timidly, "I thought you died."

Meridia's eyes widened as her eyes shot back to the Madness, "This is Bethia?"

"I was… Once…" The Madness spoke sadly, and it shrugged, "Now… Now I'm nothing. Just another betrayer to the rest of reality. Someone searching for answers. I set out to stop the Necromancer. He's now stopped… Until the end of time, or magick. Then he will be free, and absolutely no one will ever be able to stop him."

E'lin moved up behind Meridia, "Whoever controls this… Bethia… Controls the war. Changes the fates."

Meridia winced, "Why are you telling me this, human?"

"I am not human." He said tersely, "I can fight dragons. Use magick. I'm more Fae than you."

Bethia looked at the crowd sadly, "What's coming… Is going to change… Everything… There's only one last threat, to all of reality… And that, is F'OUL SHUF'A D'AED… After that… Maybe we can start rebuilding."

And then… Chaos errupted as E'lin streaked forward, knife in hand.


Bethia rolled her eyes and a sword appeared in her hand, flipping the knife out of E'lin's hand, as she stepped forward, tripping him, and pushed the blade hard against his throat, "If everyone thinks I'm damned hard to kill, E'lin… Try kidnapping me. Just try it, once more, and I will bring the world down around you."

E'lin swallowed, confused, and Bethia laughed, "Meridia's a bit busy. With her skirt on fire."

She stood back and shrugged her shoulders, and all the Fae froze in place, their limbs ignoring the signals of their minds. Bethia cracked her neck and waved a hand, releasing Meridia and E'lin. The Ice Queen glared at Bethia and the fire vanished in a bout of steam.

Bethia looked from one to the other and burst out laughing, "Love born in the fires of common hatred. How cute!"

E'lin immediately tensed, as if he could take her again, but Meridia rolled her eyes, "She knows our future, idiot. She is the Madness. There is no power alive that could match her."

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