“This melancholy bodes ill for your people, Nera.” The goddess closest in years to Kennera sat upon the lavish cushions of Kennera’s favorite settee. Nelciana was dark in ways that Kennera was fair, but the goddess of family held a loving and loyal nature. “Your days here are waning, you must have your strength if you are to grow your people in strength again.”
“That is impossible. I have little strength left.” Should she tell her? Nelciana was her best friend, the one to whom she’d poured out her sorrows almost daily for three thousand years. “I give it all to them.”
Nelciana’s face paled. “You are transferring? From this distance? Nera…it is little wonder you look so…frail.”
“What choice do I have? I have so few of my people left and they have such need of me. What else can I give them behind these stone walls?”
“Yet you have not fed in three millennia! You will die if you continue.”
“Better I die providing something to my people, than slaughtered at Eiophon’s hands.” Kennera was prepared for what she must do. How could she not be? She’d had thousands of years to reconcile herself with what must be done. “When I do go…I chose you. I will give you what I have left, but I have one request…”
Horror was in the amethyst eyes of her friend. Nelciana knew what she was asking, Kinnera recognized her friend’s grief in the way her shoulders had stiffened, her hands had tightened on the satin pillow she held.
“You are not going to die. We will not let you.”
“Even if you try, I do not think you can stop it. I would rather be prepared, Nel. He has vowed it so many times over the last three millennia. If I go, I wish you to take the rest of my peoples. Provide for them as if they were your own. I know you can do it. My people and yours have lived together peacefully for all these years. I ask you…”
“Consider it done. But you must know the rest of us will not allow him to harm you.”
“The rest of you are not as powerful, even combined, as Eiophon. He is the strongest of us all. And the most beastly. He cares not for my people, only his and his vengeance.” Kennera walked to the sieve and looked down at her favorite tribe of Dardaptoans. The Dardanos tribe was her largest at fifteen thousand, but that was not why she loved them so. Rydere was so fierce, so determined to rule his tribe and protect them with all he had.
Where it someone like he she had fell in love with so long ago, the fate of all Dardaptoans would not be so grim.
Rydere held his Rajni, the once human Emily, against him as she slept. He had much on his mind, as he usually did.
Tonight it was the fact that his tribal home was overrun with Lupoiux wolves who claimed a relationship with his woman.
What would happen to those Dardaptoans who had mated with Lupoiux? There were not many, but some of her matches had gone awry.
She had fated all of her peoples on the day they were born. Their names were listed on a scroll, magically put there at the moment of birth. She would close her eyes and whisper the name that came to her. Sometimes those names were witch, most were Dardaptoan. Some were Lupoiux. Lupoiux–who, despite their allegiance to Eiophon–deserved love.
She did not control the love matches, she just channeled the ties to bind them together.
But what would happen to the half-Dardaptoan/half-Lupoiux children when Eiophon came for her? What would happen to those lovers who were of different Kinds? Would Eiophon kill them, too?