“They’re praying for rain again.” Nadia was standing over a glass topped table, watching the mortals flood into the grove in droves. “You should see some of the things they are offering. This guy brought you a cow. I mean, we frown upon sacrifice so I guess she can always graze there.”
“I don’t care.” Ramora said flatly. Sadness ebbed in her words. “You know if I send them storms, he’s just going to send them drought or…well you remember what happened to that island. I don’t want another volcano incident.”
“Look, you two have got to stop this. What have the mortals ever done to you?”
“Nothing. If I help, he is just going to push back. Can’t you and Alex fix this?” Ramora gestured in the air implying that she was talking about the heatwave that was causing the current drought and crop shortage.
“We are doing everything we can, but you two need to grow up and help us. We can’t do it just the two of us. There is a reason there are four majors you know.”
Ramora hung her head. She knew what Nadia was saying was true, but she couldn’t just tell him to knock it off. They were still bound, but they hadn’t seen together for centuries. Beside that, she was the reason the past few centuries had been the worst recorded in history for the mortals. She wasn’t the kind of person to fight back like that. It’s what he wanted and she knew that. She was stubborn. Nadia glanced at her over her shoulder watching her trace her fingers over the leather cuff that covered the soul mark underneath.
“Oh no. No, no, no.” Nadia said taking on a motherly tone. “Don’t you dare do that.”
“Don’t do what?” Ramora mumbled guiltily.
“Don’t blame yourself for this.”
“But it’s my fault. The mortals are suffering because of me and my stubbornness.”
“No, this is not your fault. It takes two, well in this case four, to mess things up for the mortals.”
Ramora shrugged pathetically. She was done crying about it, at least she wanted to be. Even so, Nadia was right, she couldn’t keep punishing the mortals because the two of them were upset still. Upset over what, she couldn’t even remember anymore. “Fine.” Ramora said finally. “If you guys can try to hang onto as much of it as possible, I’ll send out a pretty strong storm. Try to get the mortals as much water as possible in case of retaliation.”
“You got it.” Nadia smiled brightly. “Let me make sure Alex knows.”
Ramora nodded as Nadia called up a whirlwind around her and disappeared from sight. Ramora sat alone amongst Nadia’s things sipping honeyed wine from a crystal goblet. The glass on the table that Nadia used as a looking glass into the mortal realm was alive with a cacophony of prayers and the occasional moo of the cow that Ramora had already begun subconsciously referring to as Claudia.
Quietly she drained her glass and wandered over to the noisy portal to the world below. Ramora held the goblet over the table, muttering something in an ancient language. Lightning crackled in her hair causing a few rebellious strands to stand on end. Wind passed around her, telling her that Nadia had joined her in the incantation. Her eyes began to come alive as the storm manifested inside of her and the goblet in her hands began to crack.
The image in the glass grew darker as the clouds began to move in. Ramora turned her gaze to the mortals as they turned their faces to the sky. A hush fell over the crowd as the clouds continued to blot out the sun. The mortals stared, what looked like, straight at her as if watching her work her magic over them. Ramora’s lips continued to move of their own accord. Muttered words falling from her mouth as she summoned a storm she hadn’t had to use in nearly three millennia.
Crystal shards began to fall away from the goblet as it began to rise up out of her hands. The shards fell toward the glass, turning into water droplets that disappeared through the surface as they came into contact with it. The wind around Ramora grew more intense, whipping her hair around her face fiercely. Her words became more powerful with each breath, echoing through the howling wind and ringing out in the room around her. With one final word, the goblet shattered into thousands of rain drops falling through the looking glass and the sky opened up in response sending a cascade of droplets down onto the mortals below.
The grove erupted in delighted cheers. Mortals danced, swinging one another around rejoicing in the gift that had been given to them. Lightning split through the sky lighting up the celebrating people and the grove in an ominous purple light. The shock of lightning sent the mortals scattering for the cover of their homes, realizing the intensity of the storm and Ramora furrowed her brow worried that she may have overdone it just a bit.
“What are you doing?” The words were meant to sound angry, but instead they were weary and annoyed. Ramora turned around unfazed at Baymore having appeared out of thin air.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” She replied sounding just as run down herself. “I’m ending this.”
“Ending what exactly?” Baymore asked with false ignorance.
“Enough, Baymore. I’m done with this.”
“Done with what? There isn’t anything going on.”
“Don’t play dumb with me. I can’t keep fighting with you like this over something neither one of us remembers.”
“I’m not fighting you. We’re not fighting.”
“Baymore, please. I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting. We are actively killing the mortals.”
“You mean you are? Miss ‘drown the world with my sorrow.'”
She cut him off quickly with a short clipped, “Volcano.”
“Look I know you still love me.” His words were unintentionally harsh as he vocalized something she didn’t want to admit.
“So do you.” She shot back. He cringed, trying to make it appear as a look of disgust and failing miserably.
“That’s not…no I…” He stumbled over his words before finally sighing, simply asking, “How did you know?”
“The same way you knew.” Ramora removed the cuff from her arm flashing him the piece of his own soul. “We couldn’t pretend even if we wanted to, because having that bit of each other means we would always know it was a lie.”
“We have to pretend. You know what our option is otherwise.” He looked at her, his eyes portraying genuine concern.
“Yes, I do.”
“But we can’t do that.”
The question hung in the silence as they stared at each other. Baymore couldn’t tell if she was serious or not, but if she wasn’t being serious then this was one very cruel joke. Ramora stood arms crossed over her chest dourly and the storm matched her mood.
“Ramora, come on. You’re going to drown them at this rate.”
“You know I can’t control that so much.” she replied. “And if it hadn’t been for your blazing heat and the drought that followed, they wouldn’t need this much. I’ll stop before the rivers flood, that was my plan.”
“It was all pretty petty, wasn’t it?”
“Yes it was. Baymore, you know I love you,” Ramora sighed, “but I can’t do this anymore.”
“I know, but you know we can’t.”
“Why? Because I might die?”
“Then what do we do?” She shouted back at him. She was tired of having this same conversation over and over again.
“I don’t know.”
“I’m so tired of fighting. I’m tired of knowing that we still care and not being able to move on because we will always be reminded of it as long as we are bound.”
“I am too, but that doesn’t mean I want to risk losing you forever.” He said softly.
“I don’t want that either. We know it could go either way if it does happen at all.” She replied thinking. “We’re not even sure death is a guarantee.”
“Can we at least try to find out if there is another way first?” He was grasping at straws trying to delay the inevitable. Either way he was sure it would come back to this conversation in the end and he wasn’t ready to deal with that yet.
“Fine.” she agreed solemnly. “But, unless there is another way, a fool proof way to separate safely, we break the bond the only way we know how.
“Alright.” Baymore agreed hoping that they would be able to find a way out that wouldn’t result in either of them having to forfeit their life in exchange.
“Shit,” Alex said softly, “It finally happened.”
“And not totally how I thought, well rather, saw.” Nadia replied strolling over to a chair and sinking into the cushions. “I was expecting more yelling. Do you think they know we were watching?”
“Probably not.” Alex said sitting down across from her. He poured her a glass of red wine from a decanter one of his vines had brought over to him. “However, they’re going to find out eventually.”
“I suppose we’ll have to tell them.” She said taking the glass from him. She raised the glass to her lips taking a sip of the sweet liquid.
“We’re going to help them.”
It hadn’t been a question, but Nadia nodded anyway. She was busy trying to think of a way for their friends to get out of, what they had always thought was, an eternally binding contract. Ramora and Baymore’s words had raised a curious thought in her. We’re not even sure death is a guarantee. She mulled the words over in her head. That wasn’t totally true. When they had consulted the immortal who had broken the bond they had said they were the lucky one out of the two of them seeing as they were still around.
But the mortals leave. They do it all the time…
“Oh my…” Alex and Nadia whispered in perplexed realization.
“Did you just come to the same conclusion I did?” Nadia asked pulling them fully out of their thoughts.
“Maybe.” He replied staring through her analyzing his thoughts again. He blinked directing his attention back to Nadia. “Do you think?”
“It’s worth a shot.”
“Mortals though?” Alex asked as if not believing it himself. “Would it work?”
“There’s only one way to find out.”