. banished .

The first letter had arrived too soon. Honestly, he had no idea what had possessed that foolish demi-god to think that Septha would want to hear from him ever, let alone right after he’d been banished.

The white envelope sat on his throne quietly, obviously not realizing that it was committing high treason to the Throne of Chaos by being in that throne at all. He could easily imagine that the Phoenix had done that on purpose, a spiteful method of irritating the already foul mood of the freshly christened Dark One. He stormed over to his throne, glowering at the paper and willing it to burst into flames, but it didn’t. It remained there, innocently reflecting light from the orbs of bluish fire that lit his halls when they felt like it.

Septha reached out with one of his dust-colored hands, half-expecting the thing to violently transform into the Phoenix, who would undoubtedly have a handful of scathing jokes at the ready. He placed a hand on the paper and shuddered, ripping back his hand with a snarl as he felt the coils of patience and quiet running up his arm, the smallest sprinkle of Order trying to force itself against him. A strangely clever ploy for a witless defect such as the Phoenix.

The letter was less white now, taking on a grayer hue instead. The little bit of magic that must’ve been attached to it was surely gone now that he’d touched the thing. He swatted the letter out of his seat and fell against the throne, grinding his teeth together and glaring all the hatred in his being into the unopened letter at the foot of his throne.

He wouldn’t read it. Ever.

Somehow, despite the ever-changing nature of his House of Chaos, the stupid thing wouldn’t move. It wouldn’t change. It wouldn’t be taken by the breezes that occasionally flitted pointlessly through the halls. It wouldn’t soak up the waters that seemed to drip from the ceiling in order to match Septha’s downhill change of moods. He had, at one point, tried to call a thunderstorm, and somehow called to himself a raging fire shortly followed by a tsunami. The letter remained. He left it there. It was like a inanimate piece of blasphemy that he’d been gifted by the Phoenix, and quite frankly, it’s presence was driving him mad.

My Lord,

It has not been long since we were separated, and already my heart of hearts yearns for you. It is a deep ache that I do not wish to become accustomed to. I pray to the very one who cast me away each night, and I truly hope that those prayers reach you.

I miss you. I miss you the same way a suffocating human would miss air; I miss you the same way a beached fish would miss water. I am not whole, and I can feel that huge gap in my being like the absence of a limb. I wish that you would tell me you feel the same. I wish you might return my words with the same quality of love I receive from the humans around me. However, despite how it breaks me to say so, I know I could not expect you to feel the same as I do.

I am empty and I feel as though I decay with every breath I take. The knowledge that you loathe me as though I were a deformity is a wound that festers and bleeds me dry.

Please, reconsider your decision. I beg you.

The quality of agony seared into the parchment of that letter was as clear as the inked words themselves. Septha stared at it as though it were the ugliest thing he had ever seen. That the would-be God had the intestinal fortitude to opt for begging was beyond him. It must have been the fault of his defective origins.

A moment came upon him where he felt guilt. Genuine, unmistakeable guilt. The little halfling was in a state of impossible pain because of his decision. Whether he had been right or not, he had hurt that young being. Even though all of his misfortune had come to pass because that thing he’d spit out was so uncommonly imperfect, there was a part of him – the part that still had the values of a God with a place in the world – that felt sorry for the Phoenix.

It was a sympathy that he would have ordinarily reserved for his people, in those occasions when they suffered, as humans often did for periods of time.

His scorched black nails dug into the paper as a burning rage swelled within him. This was mockery, all of it. That he should feel sorry for a wretched thing who had stolen his place in the world was blasphemy all by itself. The bird prayed? Very well, then. The banished God of Chaos would hear those prayers. He would answer them; that creature had wanted him to reply, hadn’t it?

He listened, digging his nails into the metal-like wood of his throne as he searched out the one voice in all the cosmos that would be sending a prayer to him, the banished Dark One.

I miss you, I miss you, I miss you. I miss you so much, I cannot bear it.” He couldn’t help the twist in his chest, the sudden stab of hurt that he felt to hear those words. It only fueled his anger, until he was a trembling mass of darkness and swirling fury, “Please, please, take me back. Please… I want to come home…”

He jerked forward, rising to stand in his throne room, his form swelling with untamed anger. The ground around him trembled and then stilled, shifting and swaying and changing as his chaos poured out into the room around him, angry and unbidden. His eyes glimmered, switching around a broad spectrum of colors and shades, before settling on a color not far from that of congealed blood.

He felt like he would explode with the forces of chaos that filled him, and finally his voice burst forth, the sound of it reminiscent of a crashing tidal wave as it seemingly poured out of every part of his body, out of the walls around him, echoing in that expansive vortex he had been forced into and crushing the sound of those pitiful prayers.



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