Chapter 66

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"You must act," Somnazu said, the muscles of his back tightening. "Before She exerts Her full influence on the witch."

Wenyanga clasped their hands behind their back. "Who is She?"

"It is no matter to you, do as I say."

"Yeah, that's the final condition of our arrangement," Wenyanga said, all humility burned out of their voice. "No more dreams, no more instruction. If you want an heir, you give me free fucking reign to give you one as I see fit. And if the Earthwitch refuses me, she refuses me. But we start here."

"Presume you are my equal one more time," Somnazu began.

"Here I am, presuming."

Somnazu wheeled, his eyes glowing pure white like twin stars, the rift a scar in the blackness behind him. His white teeth showed in his rictus. "You are my tool."

"A master does not bargain with their tools. I am Wenyanga, and I will not step a foot back into the Deadwater until I am sure my life is mine again. You have seconds to decide how you take that."

They expected Somnazu to go silent or to kill them, they didn't expect an instant answer. "You are on the border of making an enemy of an immortal. But keep your edge of the contract and I will keep mine. Free reign is yours."

"And you will have an heir worthy of your throne."

And the deal was done.

"Now," Wenyanga said, shoulders relaxing. "Who is She?"

"Just as the Deadwater is dominated by divine artists and divine beasts, two types of immortals can live in the Chaos." Somnazu turned back towards the rift, notably taking a step to the side. "Voidgods and... a more primordial force. We call them Titans, gods older than gods. The youngest of them is named--"

"Deadwater."

"That is the name we gave Her. An insult, perhaps, to assert that we rule the Chaos. She has a proper name. Qamata."

"I've never heard it."

"Nor will you anywhere but here. She is not like you or I, with hands to grab and eyes to warn, but her soul is larger than civilisation and her stoneiris blots out the sun. Do not use that name while you walk on Her back. Her attention alone will kill you, and it will be an accident. If you have more questions, I will not answer."

"I have what I need." Wenyanga cupped the floating ball of honey in one palm and began walking towards the rift. "I am ready to return."

Somnazu watched them until they stood shoulder to shoulder with him.

"You would really risk death with me over your pride?" he asked.

"Respectfully, I don't value my pride any more than I value yours."

"Then what do you value? What do you possibly weigh more heavily than life?"

Wenyanga closed their heart hand, and the honey disappeared into their palm. "Autonomy."

"Such freedom only exists at my level of power. You will do well to remember that."

"It's wherever you dig for it. Goodbye, Voidgod Somnazu."

And like that, the rift swallowed Wenyanga, and the Chaos disappeared behind them.

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