Dinner finally arrived—cold, but it was food. After we microwaved our service plates—we didn’t get the fancy plates they use in the restaurants—we settled into my little ‘home away from home’.
“So tell me about this place.”
“Woalds were said to be the keepers of the world. The… realm. Th-th-there are at least a dozen different realms layered around each other. We c-c-can travel to them, well, some of us can, through realm bending keys. I’ve seen some before. Theo has them. They look like… paint balls. You squash one and it will open a hole in a particular realm barrier, long enough for you to step through.”
“Sounds cool.” Coty leaned forward conspiratorially. “Where can I get one? I can chuck dear old dad through one and then all will be peachy. And we can go home.”
I didn’t tell her that if Theo said she and her sisters weren’t going home, she most likely never was.
We had enough negative things to focus on, after all.
And it would just upset her.
“They are… n-n-not without problems,” I warned instead. “They can open anywhere in the realm. And…they are only temporary. If you don’t have a way back through or lose your l-l-location, you will be lost forever. And some realms have slavers—who will take any Dardaptoan female as a pet. We have lost… far too many…of our females this way. Theo’s mother’s twin, my own mother’s younger sister—we don’t know if Lupoiux killed her, or if slavers took her to another realm.”
“I’m sorry. That… sucks.”
“It does. So… many of the other Kinds hunt us. Know our weaknesses. Since our goddess had been held captive for so many thousands of years—she could not act to save us. They hunted us…still hunt our females…for sport. But they fear our males. We have some of the strongest warriors of all the Kinds, Coty. We just…number so few now that it doesn’t really matter.”
“So all this paranormal immortality baloney is just… baloney? Vampires aren’t the strongest creatures out there? Then who is, and where can I hire one to act as a bodyguard?”
“D-d-demons are supposed to be strong. Some of the more ancient ones are more powerful, stronger than our own warriors. And… and… there are the Laquazzeana.”
“Laquazzeana. They are beings that are like the Titans in human mythology. They are rumored to have created the worlds—the realms. And all the Kinds in them. Although, our Kind was created by the goddess Kennera. I’m not sure how that worked. Laquazzeana are powerful, but if you get too many together in one place for too long, they are rumored to go mad.”
“And they created these worlds? So where are they now? Just walking among us wearing Goth clothes? Or are they going around in Armani? I mean, if I lived that long, I’d have found tons of ways to make money.”
“Father Time. Mother Nature. They are rumored to be Laquazzeana.”
“So, where did they come from? I mean, if everything has a genesis, what is theirs?”
That was an answer I didn’t have. I told her that. Then something occurred to me. A memory. From when I was a young girl, just starting with Theo. “Although, once… Theo told me… some are born. Like the Fates, who the Nellana Druids follow so closely. Others… are formed through suffering and sorrow so strong it destroys their souls, but… their souls just keep going on.”
“So who controls these things when they get out of… control? Or go mad?”
“I d-d-don’t know that, either. But Theo… Theo often says… there must always be checks and balances. Lightness to dark. An answer to every question. Especially when it pertains to the Laquazzeana.”
Coty shivered. There was a look of fear in her eyes that matched what I felt, too. “Then I hope I never meet one of them. Especially alone.”
I covered her hand with both of mine. “I don’t think we need to worry about that. They are so rare… most that even know of the myth of them don’t even believe they ex-ex-exist at all. And we… most likely will never encounter one in our entire lifetime.”
“I probably won’t—considering my rather short lifetime, compared to yours—but… what would you even do if you did?”
I just shook my head.
I could barely handle meeting a Lupoiux occasionally.
There was no way I’d ever be equipped to deal with a Laquazzeana.