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Sisters

The three sisters arrived on Mercury.

They searched for the Infinite Forest, and through it, a path to their people’s salvation: a simulated future where they were free from the Cabal.

Instead, they found something else.

“Small disturbances,” said oldest Ozletc, the wisest. “Little currents in this timeline. Can you see them, sister?”

“I can taste them,” said second-born Tazaroc, the hungriest of her sisters. “I can feel the edges.”

Third-born Niruul, the quietest among them, reached her hand out to test the air. “As can I,” said she. “And something else. The source is disguised. The technology is Human, but refined. Surprisingly so.”

“Disable it,” said Tazaroc, who was impatient. “It is leaking. I wish to see the leak.”

Niruul fluttered her fingers across the sleeve of her suit. She worked for one day and one night, though the passage of time was hidden by Mercury’s perpetual blinding light. All the while, she could feel the restless impatience of her sisters.

❖❖❖

A strange device shimmered into existence around them. They looked up the length of an enormous, golden spire.

“It whispers,” said Tazaroc.

“Then block your ears,” said Ozletc. “Do you see the potential in this?”

“Chaos,” said Niruul.

“No,” said Ozletc. “Opportunity. See how it tugs at the fabric of our time? Can you see the seams?”

The seams were sewn tightly shut, but a skilled hand could find them. A skilled hand could rip every stitch. All three sisters could feel it.

“It will take time to activate,” said Niruul. “Someone has protected it from meddling.”

“We will have time,” said Ozletc. “We will open the past and change the course of Ghaul’s fate. Anticipate his mistakes. Undercut his advisors.”

“Why?” said Tazaroc.

“Because he could be swayed to our purposes,” said Ozletc. “He was a fool, but he could be puppeteered. Led to a more advantageous downfall.”

“But why not go back further?” said Tazaroc, eager. “To dash the whelp’s skull in the pit, before he crawls out onto a throne?”

“Risky,” said Niruul, shaking her head. “Why not tear into the future instead, and make our attack where the Guardians cannot predict it?”

“Predictions are not their strength,” said Tazaroc.

“And yet they have built this,” snapped Niruul.

“Sisters,” Ozletc said. “We needn’t argue. This device will let us walk through future and past both. And so we will cut the most advantageous path, whatever it may be.”

❖❖❖

For hours and days and weeks, the sisters labored over the machine. While her sisters defended her from the Vex, Niruul bent the device to their purposes and, with the force of their combined will, made it whir to life.

Around them, time split along its seams. Windows into other worlds, Mercury’s true past and future, opened before them. The device stood at the center of all of it, an anchor point. And all along the fault lines of time, where the past and present and future met, Vex were ripped in half, sliced through by a knife of pure temporal energy. 

They surveyed their new kingdom: a past, present, and future open to their manipulation.

“It is so clear,” said Niruul, reverent. “An unobstructed glimpse into what was and what will be.”

“Not the troubled ramblings of a mad thing, like the OXA,” said Tazaroc.

They shared the feeling of unbounded possibility, and tasted the potential for success, and then for failure. Together, they drank the feelings in and steeled themselves against them.

“The past and future are at our fingertips, sisters,” said Ozletc. “Let us see what prospects they hold.”


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