[When Love Dies] Chapter 1 Part 1

 

Maybe I landed on Uhj’dke 3 again?

It was possible. The decorations were very similar to what I’ve seen there before, and it wouldn’t be the first time I’d landed on another planet by mistake. Being God does not make one an expert on directions, surprisingly enough.

This can’t be right.

I looked around in dismay at the room I had just finished materializing in. The walls were a bright dayglo pink — which was bad enough on its own — but paired with the rest of the room was just horrifying. Yellow bookshelves lined one wall, a purple couch and loveseat set dominated most of the floor space, and where the hell did they find curtains that ugly? I had to take a minute to just be glad that the hardwood flooring had been left alone by whatever mad interior designer my servants had hired while I was away dealing with the upstarts on Kinnar.

Maybe I landed on Uhj’dke 3 again?

It was possible. The decorations were very similar to what I’ve seen there before, and it wouldn’t be the first time I’d landed on another planet by mistake. Being God does not make one an expert on directions, surprisingly enough.

I did a quick mental questioning of my surroundings — dammit. Not Uhj’dke 3. I was definitely on Earth, and this was, indeed, my home. Which left me with only one other explanation. I closed my eyes and counted to ten before expanding my senses throughout the house, looking for my servants. I found my Relic in a garden through a nearby door, and a cat sunning itself on the front porch. Other than that, the house was empty.

I wasn’t entirely surprised. Joy and Kindness had their own jobs to do. I could’ve called them to me, but there wasn’t much point to it. They would feel my presence soon enough and return when they were able to. In the meantime, I retreated from the terrifyingly colored room and headed to the garden I had found earlier. It was a long trip from Kinnar back to Earth, and I needed to recover some of my strength.

I stepped outside, and breathed a sigh of relief. A yellow sun against a blue sky, I can handle. The room I had left behind? No. Just…no. I shook off the image and stepped onto the grass, feeling a flood of energy wash over me. Falling to my knees, I closed my eyes and turned my face to the sun, giving myself up to the rising tide.

“Is she okay?”

“Yes, Joy. It’s just a trance. Be patient; she’s almost done now.”

I blinked back into awareness to see a plain faced woman sitting on a bench a couple feet away from me, her long blonde hair pulled back in a simple updo. She was watching something behind me, grey eyes amused. Curled up in her lap was the cat I had sensed earlier.

Patience, in all her glory. Well, in soft denim pants and a long sleeved sweater, actually, but this was as close to “glory” as I’ve ever seen her get.

Her gaze shifted to me and she smiled. “Welcome back, My Lord.”

Behind me, I heard the patter of running feet and then Joy came into view, pixie face alight with — well, joy. I didn’t even have time to brace myself before she pounced, flinging her arms around my neck and tumbling us both backwards into the grass.

“M’lord, M’lord, You’re back!”

I laughed — it’s hard not to when Joy has you in her hold — and returned the hug.

“Yes, Joy, I’m back. Did you have fun decorating while I was gone?” I arched an eyebrow at Patience over Joy’s head. She just shrugged and gave me a small smile.

“You were gone a long time, My Lord,” she explained, grey eyes serene. “She missed you. I figured You wouldn’t mind, as long as I kept her away from Your chambers.”

“She let me decorate your doors, too!” Joy wiggled out of my hold, and leapt to her feet, dragging me up with her. “Come see!”

Not like you’re giving me much choice, I thought with amusement. Behind us, I heard Patience gently shoo the cat off of her lap, following us as Joy pulled me along until we reached a set of doors covered in…were those rhinestones? I looked closer and tried not to groan at my luck.

Sequins.

Thousands of them. And they were glued to the door to my chambers. The gold sequins covered the bottom half of the door, giving way to a lighter blue and then a dark blue at the top. Silver sequins broke up the dark blue here and there. I was trying to think of something nice to say when something caught my eye.

Looking closer, I saw that the silver pieces in the top part were mirrored in the lighter blue section at the bottom. I took a few steps back and had to catch my breath. My dear Joy had created an image of the night sky over the ocean. From the gold sands of the beach to the light of the the stars reflecting off of the water.

“Do You like it, M’Lord?” Joy glanced at me, looking, for the first time in literally, forever, less than joyful.

Uncertainty was clear on her perpetually young face, and there were shadows under her blue eyes. Patience came to stand behind her, hands on the child’s shoulders as if bracing the girl for a blow.

What the hell?

Kneeling down, I reached out to Joy, pulling her into my arms. “You did wonderful, dear one. I love it.” I hugged her and pressed a kiss to her dark hair. “It was very kin-”

“I think Our Lord could use some rest for now, Joy,” Patience cut in, placing her hands on the young girl’s shoulders again, and drawing her back a couple steps. “And you have chores to get done before visitation. Go on, now.” She gave Joy a little push.

The other girl pouted, but disappeared. As soon as she was gone, Patience pushed open the doors to my chambers, leading me into the first room.

I took in the earthy tones of the curtains and rugs and breathed a sigh of relief. True to her word, this room showed no traces of Joy’s “creative” touch. A forest green rug covered most of the wood floor. Two large brown cushions sat off to the side next to a pair of floor-to-ceiling windows draped with curtains the same color as the rug. In one corner was a set of shelves. In the other, a freestanding mirror.

Patience motioned me towards the mirror.

Oh no.

“Do I have two heads again?” I hated having to ask, but materialization is tricky. Each time I’ve done it, I’ve ended up looking completely different than before. One of the last times I was on Earth, I had not only reappeared as two bodies connected, but also accidently created a small group of humans formed in my image. I fixed the mix-up as soon as I has realized what I had done, but enough of the other humans had seen what happened and the story soon spread. Thankfully, by the time written language had developed, Aristophanes was the only one to remember the tale and he was taken too much as a comic to be believed, even by Socrates.

“Only one head this time, My Lord,” Patience was quick to assure me. “It is just — You look much different than last time.” She gestured at the looking glass.

I sighed, and stripped off the long robes I was wearing. Patience took them, disappearing through a side door as I stepped forward to catch my first glimpse of my new face.

Reddish-gold hair fell past my shoulders in soft curls, framing an oval face and eyes the same color as fresh grown grass. Lips were a pale pink. Nose was a little shorter than I would’ve preferred, but nothing I couldn’t work with. I tilted my face one way, then the other. I bared my teeth at myself, checking them next. Not bad, I decided, with a smile. Oh look, a dimple! Very nice. A little lip paint and kohl around the eyes and I wouldn’t be stunning, per se, but definitely on the fair side of ‘pleasing.’

I moved my gaze lower. I was female this time around, apparently; long legged, slim, but not toned — I would have to fix that manually — and skin color somewhere between porcelain and honey.

I was just glad that enough had changed while I was gone that I would no longer need to have a male escort wherever I went. The past had some of the loveliest gowns, but the rules were such a bother.

I heard the sound of water running and Patience soon returned to shoo me into another room, this one boasting an old-fashioned claw foot bathtub. I sank into the warm water with a moan.

“Before you start your meditations, My Lord,” Patience pulled my hair over the edge of the tub, and began brushing it out, “there is something you should know.”

I was tempted to ignore her — along with the energy, the garden had given me a wealth of information. I had over a thousand years of knowledge all buzzing around in my head, and meditation would help me to organize and make sense of it. And I was still stinging over the way Patience had reacted about the door. She knows I would never harm Joy, so what-

“It’s about Kindness, My Lord.”

“Ah. Let me guess, Joy and Kindness had a spat again, and Kindness isn’t talking to Joy anymore?” I waved a hand. “Nothing new there. They are siblings.” I shrugged. “Give them some time. They’ll get over it.”

“Kindness is…unwell, My Lord.”

I frowned. As a rule, gods and goddesses don’t get sick. “She caught a cold?”

“No, My Lord.”

“Then what is it?”

I felt Patience’s hands rest on my shoulder, and had a flashback to when she had done the same with Joy. It wasn’t protection — it was support.

“She’s dying, My Lord.”

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