Morgyn was the last to set out from Windenburg Keep. Neither they nor William could risk being seen with everyone else. It might tip Omar off.
They pretended to be unimpressed, but the new God of Death was actually quite bright. She grasped the politics of godhood, or at least, she had a keen understanding of reality TV which really was the same thing. How clever the Fates must think themselves to have invented so inane a pastime to covertly train B’Ollithiranon’s replacement.
Perhaps Morgyn could make something of her after all. Of course, they’d have to sever her attachment to The Owl and find some way to get rid of Phobos. The two carrying on with some ill-fated relationship gave them Solis/Transmutation vibes and Morgyn didn’t like it at all.
Strolling away from the castle, they nearly jumped out of their skin when Phobos appeared in their path. There was no fanfare. One minute: nothing, the next minute, there he was. The effect was unnerving.
Morgyn wrestled their expression into something resembling indignance. “If this is about manipulating Anastasia into burning your house down, then—”
“Come now, former Sage. This is not about anything so small,” he chided.
Suddenly, Phobos was standing inches away from them. “A threat radiates from you, and I cannot abide it. I find your commitment to family lacking. Your attitude towards Alice—discourteous, and your plans for The Owl—unsatisfactory.”
His gaze made Morgyn’s skin feel like it was being flayed open. “You of all people should understand the purpose of a weapon!” they hissed.
“Careful, Untamed Magic. Gwendolyn is my child, and I have been known to lose my temper.”
Morgyn scanned the area for a safe exit. “William will be sorely disappointed if you harm me. He cares for me; we are seeing each other.”
Phobos merely smiled.
“A-Alice needs me,” they said, trying a different tact. “I pledged myself to her. You mistake my intentions, Phobos; I plan to stop the God War from destroying this world, end the threat before it even starts. If you don’t want The Owl to be used as a weapon, then you are tying my hands!”
“No?” Their breath burst in and out. “No to what? You want Omar and his ilk to lay waste to everyone and everything Alice loves?”
“It’s very loud,” Phobos observed as if Morgyn had not spoken.
“Your heart beating—the song of your fear. It’s loud.”
Unconsciously, they clutched at their chest. “My…my heart?”
“From the very first time a heart ever beat wildly in panic, it was me,” he mused, “Writing a song for myself.”
If Phobos knew how deranged that sounded, he didn’t show it. Morgyn tripped and fell backward, “I haven’t done anything! I haven’t…I’m only trying to help. T-trying to find solutions! You cannot fault me for that.” They scrambled to find some angle that would appeal to the monster. “I don’t fault you either. You are preoccupied with this child, but I won’t think you a monster for letting her go. I know your true nature, and—”
“Would you like to know something curious?” Phobos interrupted, his tone amused. “Phobos is not a name; it’s what I am. I don’t retain myself when I gain new forms. I simply,”—he gestured at his body—”Become.”
Morgyn scooted back as he stalked forward.
“So Vladislaus and Fear are one in the same thing. All of Phobos’s powers…”
A crackling sound drew Morgyn attention, followed by a loud rumble. Climbing to their knees, they turned to watch the entirety of Windenburg Keep crumble to the ground.
“And all of Vladislaus’s…preoccupations.”
Morgyn thought they understood what B’Ollithiranon forged in the depths of the Underworld, but now they realized they were wrong. “What are you?” they breathed.
Phobos didn’t answer. Instead, he reached down and pulled them to their feet. “You are quite talented,” he hummed, brushing off their jacket, “Ruthless, cunning, knowledgeable. The God of Death could have no better advisor.”
“Advisor?” Morgyn was dumbfounded. “Y-you just threatened me. And now you want me to stay and help?” The change in Phobos’s moods gave them whiplash. Morgyn didn’t know whether to brace themselves or breathe a sigh of relief.
“I only wanted to make sure we understood each other. And now, I’m satisfied that we do.” He turned and began walking towards the hillside, whistling a jaunty tune. “Oh, and Morgyn?” he crooned.
The former Sage of Untamed Magic wiped a bead of sweat from their upper lip. “Yes?”
“The same collective terror that Windenburg Keep would fall permeates all the worlds. Should you betray us, my love for Aurelius would not stop me. You think you want to know what I am, Untamed Magic, but I assure you, you do not.”