A very undignified sound parts my lips. I think it is called a whimper. Every piece of my body feels as if it is being torn apart. My head feels as if Hephaestus has taken up residence and is pounding at my brain in a hard, steady rhythm. The sound resonates through my very soul, sending messages of agony to every part of me. Even my hair hurts and seems to vibrate with every slam of the hammer. I think I should smite him. Wait…I don’t think that is Hephaestus or his hammer. I think that might be my heartbeat. What has happened? Have I been captured and now I am being tortured? What being could capture me? I think I might be dying…can I die? I am sure I would end up in Tartarus. That would suck. Hades would probably put me to work. Ugh…he would be the worst boss. Oh, flaming balls of Kronos. What is happening to me?

I attempt to open my eyes, but it feels as if someone has added weights to my eyelids and I give up the effort. I try to shift my position and groan with the movement. I flop to my back and collapse there, panting. Yes, I am pretty sure I am dying. It is the only explanation. I stay very still, trying to remember what happened and where I am. Working to think past the pain, the pain that makes no sense. I am a Primordial. I do not feel physical pain past the momentary shock of it. Maybe Hermes snuck in and poisoned me…or maybe Loki. He is a trickster God, too. I don’t know him, but he was pretty hot in that movie. Or was that Thor…oh, fornicating fiends…my head…my teeth. I think I got ran over by a truck. A big truck. Ok..ok…I am going to open my eyes. I am the Primordial Goddess of Revenge, Vengeance, Justice and Retribution. I can open my damn eyes. I force them to obey and the light pierces them like a million tiny daggers, setting off another round of agony through my skull. I slam them shut again and lie there in misery. Maybe…maybe I am a vampire. Maybe someone bit me last night at Eros’ party and now I am a vampire. I carefully run my tongue over my teeth, but no, no fangs. Huh. I don’t think I can become a vampire any more than I can die. Not dead, not the undead.

I sprawl on the bed, oh Great Darkness, what was in that bottle of brew? I probably shouldn’t beseech the Great Darkness, that is akin to praying to my mother, and nothing good comes from that.  Thinking of Nyx reminds me, I reach out, trying to contact Thanatos. Maybe he can come and end this agony for me, after all he is the God of Death. But as I attempt to utilize my power, a bolt of fiery pain races through my nervous system. Another whimper parts my lips and a weight shifts next to me in response to the small sound. I freeze as I feel the brush of fur against my skin. Oh no, no, no, please, please, great Chaos. Do not tell me I brought something home and slept with it. That could be disastrous, especially if it has fur! That is something Zeus would do! I would never live this down. The weight next to me shifts again and I feel a paw and then another. A warm weight settles on my chest. The unmistakable gaze of a predator focuses on me, and I go still and quiet. A soft velvety something slides against my cheek and I make a herculean effort, prying my eyelids open a fraction. Glaring out from beneath the veil of heavy dark lashes, my eyes cross to meet those of crystalline blue, so clear they remind me of the heart of an iceberg. I watch in fascinated disbelief as the dark blur of a small furry face comes closer and a damp nose boops against my own. I blink at the creature, its weight greater than what you would expect for its apparent size. It resembles a cat, except for the wings flared out around it and hovering over both of us. Black iridescent feathers create a canopy above our heads, blocking out the light from the windows. A memory surfaces from the chaos of my mind. A dark cat sitting on a path of green. The fluorescence of its eyes in the dark of the night. The vulnerable fear that I sensed in its thoughts as I approached, and then the jolt of connection. I remember reeling with the impact of the mind to mind contact, nearly losing my footing as the pure young voice filled my head, “I am Ky’Elli. I am not where I am supposed to be, but you are who I should be with. You were lost and I got lost and found you.” 

The memory is interrupted by a low piercing wail of a cry that rattles the windows and makes me groan in agony. I wrap my hand around the face in front of me, clamping the jaw shut with my palm. Staring at the unblinking blue eyes through my fingers, I take a steadying breath and nearly growl out the words in a low hoarse voice, “Don’t. Do. That.”  I fight through the pain searching to see if there is a connection to this creature, finding a new but odd, almost visible line that links me to this being. The blue twisted with black, the two threads twined about each other. I pluck at it tentatively and watch as the creature’s eyes dilate and focus intently on mine.

“Can you hear me, or did I imagine last night?” I send the thought along the knotted bond, watching for a reaction.

The creature’s whiskers twitch, tickling at my hand and fingers. “I do not think we were dreaming, Kiri. I was lost and you were lost, but then we found each other, now we are Kirir. I am very, very hungry. You slept a long time. Can we eat now?”  This little being didn’t quite look like a house cat, more like a baby tiger or jaguar, still rounded and delicate but with the promise of great strength, and then of course, there was the wings. Her face still caught in my hand, I focus on the feathers above. In the light filtering through the filaments, gradients of blues, greens, and purples that would make a peacock proud, shine with an unearthly glow. This is something new to me, and that meant this was something rare and probably not of this world.

Where did you come from?  What are you? What is Kiri?”

She lets out another low humming keen. “I am Ky’Elli. I was lost and you found me. We are together, we are Kirir and I am very hungry!” Her small form vibrates and light blooms in long flowing lines over her body, glowing from beneath the silky black fur. Her eyes flash, tinged with red and insatiable hunger seeps into my consciousness. Distress begins to emanate from her and my heart rate quickens in response. 

I slip my hand from her face, running my palm over her head, reflexively seeking to soothe the little beast. “Ok, ok. You are ok. We will get you some food.” I carefully sit up, holding her gently. “Pull in your wings, mikros.” I hiss out a breath, closing my eyes as the world spins and the light attacks me again. I reopen them to look down as Ky’Elli copies the sound of my pain, showing off a set of impressive snowy white teeth, the double set of canines intimidating even as small as she is.  Well, looks like she is a carnivore. I should be glad she didn’t eat me in my sleep. I set her on the floor and push myself into a standing position, swaying a bit as I try to keep the world from tipping. Ky’Elli waddles forward, her wings held high and her steps faltering as she tries to keep her balance, as if she is unused to their weight or, as if she is very young. Putting my questions on hold until I get her fed, we both stumble our way to the kitchen.

I search the fridge and find nothing suitable. Opening the freezer, I pull out two steaks.  I set them on the counter and unwrap them. At my feet Ky’Elli nearly bounces in place like an annoyed badger, hunger rolling off of her in waves. I place the meat into the microwave to thaw it just a bit. When Ky’Elli sees the door close on her food, she lets out another high shrill protest, somewhere between a pissed off cat, a large bird of prey and a banshee.  It is piercing enough that it makes the glass rattle and the windows shake. Stars, she could bring down the whole building with that scream. I hope this place is somewhat sound proof and I wonder absently what the policy is on pets in the Olympus Building. My head nearly explodes as she turns her cry towards me, along our bond she wails in despair and desperation, “I need it!  I need food!” The lines over her body forming themselves into ancient runes. The air around her shimmers with flecks of blue, like small fireflies. Smoky ribbons of magic waft from fur and feathers. 

I grab the meat from the microwave and drop it before her. She attacks it with fervor, claws exploding from her small feet as she bites through the frozen hardness with no resistance. Small monster noises emanate from her throat as she hurriedly consumes the first large steak and starts on the second. I pull out bacon and some chicken legs, getting them quickly into the microwave to try and get ahead of her. The chicken comes out just as she finishes up and I put a piece on a plate before her. She crunches through bone and chews happily, her eyes small slits as she huffs quietly in contentment.

I start a pot of coffee and put the bacon in to cook for myself, the smells and familiar rituals help to ground me. I drink a glass of water and my mind clears a bit more, last night looming large in my thoughts. I lean against the counter and watch Ky’Elli eat, concern filling me at what I might have done.

The ring of the doorbell has me cringing and heading in that direction. I touch on Ky’Elli’s mind and find her absorbed in her meal. Opening the door, I lean against the wall and sigh. The man in front of me looks deliciously rumpled, his chest bare, and a bottle in one hand as he lounges in the doorway. “Dion…to what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Nem! I heard a racket up here and thought that maybe you had brought the party home! I must have missed the invitation, so I came up to grace you with my presence.” Dionysus, filled with joie de vivre and always ready with a quick devastating smile, seems happy and on top of the world. My powers tell me differently, but that is not my story to tell.

“No, Dion. I had quite enough partying last night and I am still feeling the effects.” 

He looks me over with a raised brow, “Are you sure?  I heard the most unusual…” he trails off and his jaw drops open in shock. Ky’Elli slips around the door and looks up at him with softly glowing blue eyes, her belly so full it nearly drags on the ground and her beautiful wings held out for balance.  She studies him carefully and yawns, displaying the mass of razor sharp teeth, before plopping her butt down next to my bare foot.

Dion points at her and looks back at me. “What is that?” 

I shrug and give a bemused smile. “That is Ky’Elli.”

Nemesis (Aisling MacKay)
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