The Bladesongs of Boethra

Author: Modun-Ra
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By Modun-Ra, the Hidden Voice

The Bladesongs of Boethra, Volume II

Then she saw the flames that licked at the Lattice, blood red and raging fire. It was Boethra who saw them first.

A star shot from the heavens, becoming every color of the sun as it dove, and a crystalline figure swept by Boethra on prismatic wings.

Boethra sliced down at it, but even her practiced hand fell short. Time seemed to slow, and the fallen angel that stood behind her grinned knowingly. Merid-Nunda.

A gout of fire erupted to her right. There she laid eyes upon her sibling Merrunz for the first time in eternity. The blood of a god dripped from his axe, and his fanged smile belied the story of a kinslayer. He slammed his axe against the Lattice, and though nothing before this had ever done so, the Lattice shook and cracked under its weight.

Boethra thought of dashing toward her brother then, but time was moving so slowly. Before she could move, she saw blue flames dancing on the horizon. Their sudden light made Merrunz but a shadow, and there it was that Boethra first laid eyes upon Dagon.

But behind him stepped a Demon King, striding through the blue flames with the severed head of a god in his hands, attached atop a rod of bone. It was Lorkhaj who had shown them the secrets of dark fire, and Boethra knew Molagh used it now to taunt her.

As is her nature, she could do nothing but accept the challenge. Boethra forgot her role as the guardian of the Lattice. She saw Dagon break through. She even saw the Rainbow Angel slip in behind him. But Molagh was there, taunting and laughing, and telling her that Lorkhaj died for her.

Boethra drew her sword, and then she made a sign with her free hand that summoned many other weapons to hover at her side. She considered her myriad movements but chose only one. To Molagh, it was as though she simply disappeared before his eyes.

Boethra appeared above the Demon King and sent forth her ephemeral blades like rain. Then, as the sister-hawk flies, she lunged down at Molagh and pierced him with her sword. The dead-god-head ate most of the blades, but the one Boethra wielded was the only one she needed, and that had already found the flesh of her enemy.

Molagh thrashed and roared, but so deeply embedded was the blade that he could not shake free of Boethra, even after dropping his rod of bone.

Then Boethra summoned all her might and slammed the Demon King upon the Lattice, its moonlight fire searing burns upon his visage. As she held him there, Boethra ignored his screams and looked upon the battlefield below. The Crossing seemed small from up here.

Dagon's many new arms were ensnared by a sibling with many more. Mafala had bound Merrunz in an inescapable web, and now she was devouring the knowledge he gained during his time in the Great Darkness.

Merid-Nunda bore down on Azurah, seeming to be a being of multitudes, glass shards that could form a body as quickly as they separated. The Rainbow Angel did not attack her sister as a typical foe but swirled around her as cutting light and blinding fervor. Most would have succumbed, but Azurah was a master of light herself, even those beyond the visible, and she held the Shining One at bay.

Then Boethra saw Noctra. And for the first time in eternity the Warrior felt worry. She had not realized it before, but the battle she had fought with Noctra had imprinted a truth in the Warrior's mind. Boethra considered the nature of Namiira, and she wondered if Noctra would have been born without their conflict. She looked upon what could only be called a daughter, and she felt protective of a spirit she had once sought to destroy.

Azurah then proved herself a master of dark as well, and soon the whole of Merid-Nunda was swept into a void-cage and drained of all her colors. Only in the dissolution of these fragments did Azurah realize that Merid-Nunda had separated herself into two.

Whole upon the Crossing behind, the remaining fragments of Merid made an angelic form and laid hands upon the Aether Prism.

The Bladesongs of Boethra, Volume III

Blinded by light, Boethra felt Molagh vanish beneath her. Through memory alone she felt for the crack in the Lattice that Dagon had made.

Slipping into the Lattice, she could feel the presence of Azurah and Noctra. Mafala and Dagon were gone. There was another presence, too, but it was all around and felt like searing heat. Merid-Nunda still stood.

Boethra reached Azurah's side at the same time as Noctra. The sister-daughter-mothers embraced one another and knew they needed to say nothing about the burning light that bore down upon them. Each felt its scorching gaze, and each knew what it meant if they were to look upon it.

And Azurah said, "All right, little one. You earned the key. But I told you what would happen if you use it. Be sure you want to leave all you have behind."

And Boethra said, "What is this you speak, sister? Noctra has trained under my blade. She has proven loyalty. What is it you ask of her with this key?"

And Noctra said, "Boethra, Mother-Master, I have learned all I can from you. I have heeded Mafala's words. Now I learn from Azurah, she that slew Vaarmina, and she whom Namiira fears only. I take with me your lessons, and now I take those new."

"With this key I can at last say I am not Namiira. I am Noctra, and I will shelter you in darkness."

Then Noctra took the key and pierced her own breast. It sank into her like a dagger, and then she turned the key. Her very form became as shadow and cloth, a cloak of darkness billowing around the sisters.

As the cloak spread, her form grew mighty, taller than all the rest, and it went on to blend itself with the night.

And then did darkness shroud the Aether Prism long enough for Azurah and Boethra to reach Merid-Nunda.

They tore Merid-Nunda from the Prism, though shards of her remained behind, and they cast her down along the Crossing.

Merid-Nunda rose, wiping golden blood from her lips. She glanced around and saw that Dagon and Molagh were both gone, but there was no sign as to where. Behind her sang the Varliance Gate, a doorway that led to so many possible futures for her.

But before Merid could plot a course, Boethra strode forth with such speed as to not be counted in time. She had grown used to the red shift that altered time, and now Boethra was able to dance just as fast as the light that bent the waves.

In doing so, the precise cuts of Boethra divided Merid-Nunda unto all the shades and hues of light she embodied, all the mirror-pieces that forged her into being.

There Azurah saw her chance. She gathered up the mirror-pieces and threw them beyond the Crossing into the Void. But Azurah knew she could not leave it thus, so she bent the light just so that Merid-Nunda reflected upon her own colors and became trapped within them.

And when Boethra at last sheathed her blade, the Crossing was safe and the Lattice secure. She knew the Rainbow Angel would return one day, and she made a promise to Azurah that she would be ready once again when that time came to be.

Azurah asked her sister Boethra whether she remembered how many times they had already fought this battle, but Boethra replied with a simple shake of her head. She rested a palm upon the hilt of her blade and smiled.

"Does it matter?"

The Bladesongs of Boethra, Volume V

And then although Boethra did not wish to leave the battle upon the sands where her chosen at last clashed with Orkha's own, she saw the blue star in the sky and the look in Khenarthi's eyes and took her sibling's hand.

Then it was she found herself atop the tower. There were magicians there who shouted in Monkey Truth, and it was then that Boethra felt doubt for the first time in eternity. The sorcerer apes spoke lies in a way that made them true, and as she heard the words Boethra saw new runes form in front of her eyes that she could not deny, and there again she felt something akin to fear.

Boethra remembered Akha exiling her to the Many Paths and yet these new words said that Akha was never there, nor was Alkosh, nor Alkhan, nor any Children of Akha, nor any of the lands that he seeded and brought unto his kingdom. And in this chaos Boethra began to wonder if she was the Daughter of Blades at all, or if it had all been one long dream of someone she never knew.

But Boethra was the Warrior, and so she steeled herself and drew her hidden sword. Khenarthi took heart at the sight. She smiled and spread her wings, promising to reach Azurah so that her children might remember the untime to come.

And Boethra calculated the cuts she would need to not only destroy the magiapes, but also moves so precise that she might even undo the words they had said.

However, having traveled the Many Paths of Fate during her exile, Boethra saw the wisdom in going beyond the words to the result of their denial. And through their own new words she knew as lies, she found a tunnel that led to the fate they sought. Boethra leapt into this possibility with blade in hand.

Boethra opened her eyes to many spinning wheels surrounded by fire. Twelve in total they were, but she dodged each with the precision of her practiced art. Beyond she saw warring serpents, and in their conflict she recognized the truth within the lies of the Imga's dance.

One was a flame-feathered serpent, brilliant and pure, with crystal scales and a head like that of a hunting bird, its eyes sharp and clear, its mane an argument against all the Mannish impurity of all the known worlds.

There to meet it was a serpent of the blackest scales, and all the Void seemed to come with it, so much that one would think the feathered could never stand against it, and yet it did. And this serpent's eyes burned red as blood, and its scales moved and shifted with new ideas that were born and died as soon as they appeared. Despite this chaos, its mane was white and gentle, and in it Boethra saw a fleeting chance for peace along the Wheels.

She did not agree with what the magiapes sought, but she saw an opportunity arise from their lies that she could not ignore.

Having no time to think on her choice, nor time to question why she must bear this burden, Boethra of the Infinite Blades set forth in a streak that mortals who remembered the untime would later call the Division of Heaven.

Through fractured firmament she flew, summoning to her all the blades she had named to her side. And just as the beak of the feathered serpent found purchase between black scales, Boethra was there to pierce its bright eye with more than words.

And as her many blades encircled the false-hawk-mouth, Boethra landed upon the head of the shadow snake and touched her palm to its scales. Memories of things past and visions of things yet seen scorched her mind, but more prominent than anything was her love for Lorkhaj and the feeling of his claw upon her cheek.

A dark flame surrounded Boethra, and upon her form appeared ebony mail, and in her free hand a black blade, and upon her head a mask of war, and upon her shoulders a shroud of death. And though Lorkhaj had loved many, some perhaps before her, in that moment Boethra felt his love within and around her, and she knew that it was as true and as great as that he had held for any other spirit of any known world.

Then did the Warrior brandish her blades and raise her head high. And the shadow flame billowed around her and swam along the edges of her being. She looked upon the hawk that was a serpent, and she saw it for what it was and what it brought, and she recited the Will Against Rule.

Then she dashed forward, cutting concepts at strange angles, and soon after the world began to spin again in proper time.

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