Lalui, year 11
A ship arrived at the northernmost islands. It was only willpower that kept the vessel floating, and when it brushed against the shore whatever spell held it together vanished. Its inhabitants were greatly reduced from storms and disease, they were six. One the second night they had met with the locals and now they were two.
Ananth brought Lalui to the strand and demanded to know why it had been allowed.
A group of ytte had taken what remained of the seamen and offered the bodies to the birds. She overheard one say this was to ensure they were dead. A raiding group hunted the remaining two.
“Why are there celor here?” Ananth barked. “The seas are meant to be impassable.” In death, Ananth was reverting to her younger appearance, from before her feathers were torn from her, before her capture and torture by the beastkin celor that had apparently been sealed away from here.
The ytte were still recovering from the years before the continent rift. They had been thralls, mostly, like the humans that tended Lalui’s shrine, the birdlike ytte were establishing their own culture after their history had been forcibly erased. A few beastmen on a boat, no matter how weak, terrified them.
All of the ytte were disciples of Ananth, while no human was. Lalui’s disciples were spread across all species and races across the world, and she’d assumed the same for the others too. They were nearly homogenous; tall, wiry, with blue feathered hair, scaled talons for hands, wings at the elbows. The men and women looked alike.
It must be nice to have an attachment like Ananth’s. Lalui had watched her home island for a while but never felt connected. She’d swam with seals but it had never felt as it did in life.
No ties, drifting, forever.
“I will deal with the results of your inadequacies. You will ensure this doesn’t happen again.” Ananth said.
Lalui took Ananth’s hand. It wasn’t her failure. None of them knew what they were doing. The exalts had been chosen in life for their skill at magic, but now they were tending the entire world with no guidance or advice on how to do so. Lalui had mostly slept and drank ale and watched the dirt crackle. Twelve had died once and met Fate.
Twelve had died twice and been exalted. They would face this as twelve.