Epilogue

The two figures before her were gods.

Layak knew that without having to probe out with her new powers. Which she'd begun to understand in no small measure since she began her walk. A short eternity was time enough to learn a thing or two.

The male god looked surprisingly young. His brown hair stuck up after the style of so many youth Layak had seen from her former world. He wore a self-assured smirk, too. He could've been many of the boys Layak knew in younger days. Perhaps he was as new to this power as she was.

The goddess, however, had ancient eyes. And though her features were that of a woman barely into her twenties, Layak knew better. She was definitely the senior of the two, a fact attested to by her more conservative choice of…robes? White clothing that certainly looked like robes. The male god looked more like the kind that would spelunk caves. Like Layak once had.

"Hello Aeon," said the male. "Welcome to Eternity."

Layak bit her lip. There was that name again. Why did it keep coming to the front of her mind? And how did he know it?

He laughed. "Yeah, that's new, isn't it? It's called an Agnomen. It's a new name you received when you Ascended. It bears some characteristic of your deity status. Let's see…Renounces Aeon Erratum. Interesting. Sounds like you denied the status quo to get here."

Layak folded her arms. "My name is…" Her voice caught. She couldn't bring herself to say the words.

"It's all right," said the male. "I more or less just went through the same thing. It's hard giving up your birth name. You can call me Wist. That's short for Wistful Driven Narrows. And this is South."

Layak—Aeon—looked to the woman. The ancient one. "South?"

She smiled. "Not as impressive, is it?"

Aeon shook her head. The name came back to her again with full force. Renounces Aeon Erratum. She couldn't deny it.

"Who are you?" she managed. She felt suddenly alone and vulnerable before these two. "Why are you here?"

"We're here for you," said South. "I've seen the trail of pain you walked to come this far. You needn't wander alone any longer."

"That's the short version," said Wist. "The long version is much simpler. We need your help."

Aeon took a step back. "My help? I'm nobody."

"Au contraire! You not only Ascended, but you controlled a temperamental power that for so long wreaked havoc in your former Sphere. That's no small achievement. And you have something no one else does: us! Your new friends!"

Aeon tugged at her arm, looking out into the endless void. "How many like us are there out here?"

"More than you'd think," said South. "And not all of them are as benevolent as you."

"There's a third of our number not with us presently," said Wist. "He's off seeing to affairs in another Sphere. But we desperately need a third member to round things out. A bit of Wrath got set loose out here, and, well…seeing as how you're in the business of striking down dark gods, we thought maybe you'd be interested in putting down another."

Aeon folded her arms. "How can I trust you?"

"The same way you learn to trust anyone," said South. "Walk with us. Learn with us. And see if we bring good or ill with us." She extended a welcoming hand.

Aeon—it would be hard forgetting her mortal name—reached out and touched it. There was warmth there. And light. Beyonds, but she wanted to trust her. She hadn't known goodness like this before.

"You said your name is South?"

She nodded, a twinkle in her aquamarine eyes. "That's right. It's a pleasure to meet you, Renouncer."