The three oldest sisters—Ozletc, Tazaroc, and Niruul—gathered around Amtec, the youngest. They spoke in harmonizing tones, each voice the pluck of a different string on the same instrument.

“You know our purpose,” said Ozletc. “This crumbled timeline…”

“Will let us right the wrongs of Ghaul the Abdicated,” said Tazaroc. “And thus see our people…”

“Reborn,” said Niruul. “Loosed from our fetters.”

“I know your purpose,” said Amtec, who was the most beloved. She trembled in their massive presence. The three oldest sisters had begun the process of joining, known only to them through ancient texts of the mind, never accomplished in recent memory. It was a permanent metaconcert; an unbreakable bond of self-dissolution. Already their minds had begun to merge, and Amtec could see them being drawn closer, as if by some magnetic force in their bones.

“Then you know,” said Ozletc.

“The consequences of our failure,” said Niruul.

Amtec nodded. Her eye darted from sister to sister, now both more foreign and more familiar, as each sister was each other sister, somehow, combined.

“Together, we are stronger,” said Tazaroc.

“Than any threat that may challenge us,” said Ozletc. “But should we fail…”

“Unlikely though it is,” said Tazaroc.

“You must succeed where we could not,” said Ozletc. “And so, you will join with us…”

“In mind,” said Niruul.

“But not in body,” said Tazaroc.

Already, Amtec could feel the power of their minds—their mind—settle against the edges of her own like a heavy, flat stone.

“And so our failure,” said Niruul.

“Will be your failure,” said Ozletc.

“And our revenge,” said Tazaroc.

“Will be your revenge,” said Ozletc.

Amtec had hoped since the beginning to join her sister in mind and body on the battlefield of time. She had thought, today, they would ask. But she knew that if she felt it too keenly, they would taste her disappointment, and she craved their love.

“I understand,” she said, and she vowed to see that any threat that would harm her sisters would be annihilated so thoroughly that it would be wiped from living memory.

Desperate Times

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