4. Mania

Delight awoke from a troubled sleep. She called out to Oizys, no one answered. She sensed her, but it only added to the confusion. Opening a portal, Delight crossed into Arkadia. What should have felt like home felt instead dim and distant. She found Oizys by the sundial, clasping silver pipes.

"Where did you get those?" Delight asked without needing to.

Oizys burst into to tears. The sky above them darkened as it never had. As it never should.

"I gave him those a long time ago, you know. Did he say why?"

"Something about you making him want to settle down," sobbed Oizys. "But that's not the kind of person he wants to be. He's leaving. He loves you."

"Funny way of showing it." Feeling weaker, she came to the question she was avoiding. "And what are you doing with it?"

"He showed me how to… channel… Ever since we went to her realm, I've been thinking about this. Your kind will never understand what it's like being mortal. The pain. And I can end that. You made me very happy, but I don't want to be afraid anymore. You can still stop me if you act now," she pleaded.

Delight could have, but could not find the will. It hurt too much.

Oizys nodded and turned to the spiral design. "Aponoia, I stand in the gallery holding your sigil. Will you come?"

The spiral grew and swirled, and Despair crossed. She looked menacingly at Oizys, who shrank away.

"Go back," said Delight, "she can't hurt you there."

"But she can hurt you here," said Despair. I'm not going to stand by while she takes over your realm and keeps you a husk in the corner."

"She's taken too much," said Delight, feeling faint. "Harming her will harm me as well. There are rules."

"I'm sure not betraying people you love is one of them." The woman in the black robe walked toward them, beautiful and sad. "Sorry I took so long, traffic was terrible."

"It is good to see you, sister," said Delight, "I wish it could have been in better circumstances."

"I'm afraid these are my usual circumstances, honey," said Death. She turned to Oizys. "Now, what are we to do about you?"

"Nothing," said Despair. "I won't put up a fight if the bitch agrees to leave Del."

Oizys nodded.

"How do you know things will work out?" asked Delight.

"I don't," said Despair. She smiled. "I have hope."

Death reached out her hand. Despair took it, and they disappeared into a burst of light.

In the afterglow, Oizys felt delight drain away from her. Pipes clattered to the ground and she wept for love lost. The screaming started when her skin faded into pasty white. Her body bulged grotesquely, ripping through her clothes. She felt the pressure of the silver ring against her finger. Willing it into hook shape, she plunged it into her cheek and found relief.


Six strangers came to the Necropolis.

"Our sister is dead", they said.


Del and Destruction watched as the sun retreated beyond the golden hills.

"It's okay," he said, holding her as she giggled uncontrollably. "Things are changing."

She knew it was true. And there was nothing she could do about it.

A/N: Actually, Despair was killed by a male 100,000 years ago, Delight ended in the dawn days of Earth.