The angel danced, and Emonael watched wistfully, her mind drifting to the dance that had occurred so long ago. Not long compared to her own lifetime, perhaps, but quite long enough.
“She’s beautiful.” Damiya whispered after a minute, the elf’s voice rich and calm, yet also almost as wistful as Emonael felt. “And she looks so happy.”
The angel was Marin, and Emonael couldn’t disagree with either point. Marin was still recognizable in the angel’s features, but it was like someone had simply taken her old teacher and made her into something more. She had red hair, the delicate-looking fingers, the pointed ears of an elf, and the bright green eyes that were so vivid in Emonael’s memory. Not that she entirely agreed with Damiya. The warm smile Marin had given Emonael when she finished the codices had been happier, in her opinion. Now she was wearing the flowing robes of one of Balvess’s followers, her wings spreading so she could dance mid-flight.
“She is beautiful. And if it weren’t for the fact she barely remembers anything of her life, I’d be seriously considering how to steal her away.” Emonael agreed at last, letting out a heavy sigh. “Even if that would get me rather thoroughly on a god’s bad side.”
“I don’t know, you’re getting more and more powerful, My Lady.” Damiya replied, a smile playing across her lips. “With as difficult as it’s becoming to summon you, I think it won’t be too long before you take that step into becoming a goddess yourself. I doubt I’ll be capable of calling you into the world at that point.”
“Flatterer. You always know just what to say.” Emonael said, warmth and affection rushing through her as she reached out and plucked the near-invisible orb from the air, causing the illusion of Marin dancing to wink out of existence.
Instead of being surrounded by the exquisite garden and dancing grounds of a deity, the two of them were in a large, well-appointed room. Fine tapestries and carpets lined the walls and floor, which would keep the chamber warmer, as would the fire crackling in the hearth. That slightly concerned Emonael, as her gaze drifted to Damiya, who was relaxing on a divan.
Damiya had changed over the years, and largely for the better. No longer was she the nervous young woman who hadn’t been sure she could make it that far as a mage. No, under Emonael’s tutoring, Damiya was one of the most powerful Archmagi in the world… not that many others knew that. They thought the confident mage was merely a powerful High Mage, an assumption Damiya and Emonael encouraged. She’s also adjusted the color of her hair so it was a rich honey-blonde, and she wore a dress rather than the robes that were becoming traditional for magi. No, Emonael’s concern was because Damiya was getting older, and it was cool outside, though not even winter.
Seeming to sense her gaze, Damiya looked at Emonael, arching an eyebrow curiously. “Yes, My Lady? Is there something wrong with me flattering you? You usually like it.”
“Of course not. I was just thinking about wrapping a shawl over your shoulders.” Emonael replied, hiding her concern effortlessly as she grinned. “We aren’t getting any younger, after all.”
“True enough, though some of us are beginning to feel our age more than others. It must be nice to have an immortal body. I never really understood Marin’s complaints about the cold until recently.” Damiya admitted, sitting up slowly, and winced. “Still, I’ve made the preparations you’ve asked for. Are you sure that it’s time?”
“Immortality has its perks, yes.” Emonael replied with a self-satisfied smile. “You’ll have one of your own once you pass on, though I’d prefer it if you held off for as long as possible, hm?”
“Oh, I intend to. I want to spoil my great-grandchildren at least a little more. Perhaps even their children.” Damiya told her in amusement, but that sent another pang of regret through Emonael. Even elves didn’t live that long, and after seven centuries… well, Damiya might not last as long as Emonael had hoped.
“I can’t blame you, though I don’t quite understand the impulse. I don’t have children.” Emonael replied with a sniff.
“Sure you do.” Damiya said, her smile widening. “All of your followers may as be children, as far as you’re concerned. And aside from Marin, you’re the first person to utilize her research.”
“Perhaps so.” Emonael conceded, deciding that it wasn’t worth arguing, then changed the subject back to Damiya’s question. “As to whether it’s time… yes, it is. Tethlyn is almost gone from public consciousness, and only one of two families want to reform it. Not that they could, with how their lands were absorbed by their neighbors. No, this is the perfect time, so that I can eliminate it before documents become too numerous.”
“Fair enough.” Damiya agreed, inclining her head as she stood, wincing slightly as she did so, then gestured to a door in the back. “The ritual circle is this way. What will the spell do, anyway?”
“At its most basic level, it manipulates chance. Scribes will mis-transcribe Tethlyn’s name, as well as those of its rulers. Water droplets will blur and destroy the words on the page, carved tablets will crack, bookworms will consume that part of the page… seemingly by accident, over the course of a century every single mention of them will be destroyed. Perhaps others will try to write more down, but those will join the ones that came before.” Emonael explained, relaxing a little as she followed Damiya into the next room. The room was much plainer than the previous one, with a broad, intricate chalk circle around it, along with tarnished and rusted relics sitting on the floor around the circle. Each were from Tethlyn or the house of its long-dead rulers. “Within a few centuries, I expect people will have forgotten, or come up with other names for the land. I don’t care, as long as their legacy is gone.”
Damiya nodded, folding her hands as she looked over the circle, then admitted. “I don’t disagree. My anger has grown less potent over the years, but I don’t see the harm, either. Besides, I’ve helped you for this long… what’s one more spell? Even if I have no idea how to cast it.”
Emonael laughed, taking a quick step forward and pulled Damiya into an embrace, kissing the Archmage long and deep. Damiya seemed startled for half a heartbeat, then melted into it, hugging Emonael tightly, and the warmth of their bodies mingled for a few seconds before Emonael pulled away.
“You surprised me.” Damiya said, a hint of red in her cheeks. “I was beginning to think that I was too old for you.”
“Not possible. I may not love you, in the sense that you loved your husband, but I care for you deeply, and that will never change.” Emonael told Damiya bluntly, a smile teasing across her lips. “Besides, I’m much older than you. That immortality helps, hm?”
“You’re a flatterer too.” Damiya said, clearing her throat as she turned to the circle. “So… now what? Do you need me to do anything?”
“No, of course not. I’ll take care of this, then we can have a nice celebratory dinner.” Emonael told her, smiling warmly. “With this, my vengeance will be complete. Mostly.”
“Yes, My Lady.” Damiya agreed, bowing her head.
Emonael stepped into the circle, and as she did so she put the crystal away at last, trying to focus on what she was doing now.
Her vengeance might be almost over, but it was not the end of the road. No, she had a lot of research ahead of her if she was going to find how to restore memories to a soul that had perished. And a longer road still to recover what she had lost.
No matter what, Emonael would never give up on Marin.