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“Another boy!” The Guardian stomped his feet. The rolling thunder was drowned out by the crying. He placed the boy in the hands of Gronk, who wrapped the child in cloth.

Commander Gronk, as big as he was dumb, wiped his bloodstained hands on his own white cloak, painting red streaks across it. “Wot a waste of a good cloak,” he grunted.

And while they fought over dirtying another cloak, the mother faded in and out of consciousness. She lay there. Her eyes swollen shut. In a haze, watching flashes from the past mix with the future. Her son. Death was greeting her, yet she smiled that her child wasn’t a girl.

“Oh Divine!” The Guardian smiled devilishly. “Look! There’s another!”

“Wot?” Gronk climbed over him, as another baby’s head emerged.

“Another?” Dres said. “Never heard of two coming out at once.”

Pressure swelled up behind her eyes; the possibility of a girl made her lips tremble and stomach sink. Horrific thoughts appeared, imagining her daughter going through what she had endured. She saw their greasy hands wrap around her body. Her heart tied into a knot.

When she blinked, a tear slipped out, freezing to her face. She curled her mouth shut to prevent it from forming into a sob. And screamed again as they pulled another child out of her womb.

This child seemed different—quiet, not wailing or shedding a single tear.

The Guardian held him in his hands, squinting his eyes curiously. “You’re an odd boy. Never seen one so tiny and dark, and not a crier. Mer. Put them in one of the empty igloos.”

The pressure was lifted. She felt weightless, as if her soul had already drifted off to a better place. With her remaining strength, she opened her eyes just enough to witness her two sons. “A miracle.” She uttered.

Her cold body turned colder still, eyes closed gracefully. She had a serene, natural beauty with a locked smiled on her face. It was as if she had finally found her peace. And her freedom.

It was a miracle indeed. Though she felt as if her life was insignificant, the Gods would argue quite the opposite. It wasn’t just any miracle. It was the miracle. The greatest Time had ever seen. For in that moment, she had given birth to Destrou, the boy who never lived.

He would mark the first change in the Circle of Time. This was destiny. And hope. Hope for a future beyond the last tick of time, before the Big Bang resets it. Maybe now it’d be different. Because maybe now . . . the Last Great War could finally be won.

To be continued
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