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The Past, The Present, And The Future As Well

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"And when the stars are right, the first will be last and the last will be first, and the sea will be as the land and the land will be as the sea, and enlightenment will come to the world."" 


"That is beautiful, Aquaria. You have been practicing your singing - and it shows." Tarva lit the last of their candles and asked, "What will happen to Jessie when that happens?


Aquaria blinked her eyes and said, "...I-I have wondered about that. The Surface is rarely spoken in the songs.


"But if you've wondered about it, you must have some ideas," said Tarva patiently as the black smoke, scented of the sea and the things that lived there, rose around the kneeling witch and the crouching Deep One. "She doesn't worship your gods - and I don't think she wants to.


"No, she follows her own ways." Aquaria stared down at the flickering flames around them, her great eyes letting her see them all without turning her neck. "There would be no point," she admitted. "She would never know their embrace. The gods do not love Surfacers." She didn't mind telling such things to Tarva, who knew perfectly well what waited for her after death. 


"But you do. Oh not like that," said Tarva, her lips curving slightly in a way Aquaria knew meant humor. "But you love Jessie.


"Yes," said Aquaria simply. "I do." She reached down with one hand and pinched out one of the half-dozen flames around them. "My people, when we are together, wherever we go, we are not alone. We see, we smell, those who are ours- and we always hear our songs. When my tribe was dead, it was very hard to be alone." She reached out and pinched out another flame. "When I came to the Surface, it was because anything was better than being alone. You understand." 


""Yes," breathed Tarva, in a voice so quiet only Aquaria could have heard. "I do.


"When I was taken from the place where I thought I would die, there were those who lifted me up - and Jessie was the one waiting for me. I was alone, and then when I was with her, I was no longer alone. She is not the only one who I love - but she is the greatest. You understand," she echoed. 


"Yes. Yes, I do." Tarva extinguished a candle herself, then another, until only two illuminated the ritual space. "If the stars are right while Jessie lives, she will die at the hands of your people - and go to a place where she will be alone. What would you do to save her?


"Anything," Aquaria croaked softly. "And you?




Tarva extinguished the last of the candles, and they crouched together in the darkness of the ritual room - and sang. 

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