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the angels sing

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"Alatus," He hears, but he does not. His master lays by his side, head severed off and lolled; Alatus cannot bring himself to care.

He drops, his elbows hitting the ground. Alatus bows in front of the unknown voice, his spear clattering to the ground next to him. Gravity pulls at his vision and threatens to send him spiralling down, but he forces his eyes up to peer blearily at the god standing before him.

And that's what they are, aren't they? A god --- an archon carved of molten, golden flesh, skin backlit by the sun --- their voice not distinguishable as that of a human's, so otherworldly that it would be strange for this god-creature to utter another word of such human language. Alatus does not understand where this creature is from, or why they are standing on this warzone, body not speckled by a drop of blood.

Immediately, Alatus yearns to serve this master; they are strong, and radiant, and so much more than his master could ever wish to be. This creature could take him down, a measly maggot slave, who was bound to a cruel god, bound to damnation, bound to lose, but not if ---

The god bends a knee. They are even more ethereal up close. Alatus cannot tell if the god has taken the form of a man or a woman, but it matters little --- Alatus' chest fills with an anticipation he has not experienced for the past thousand years.

"You will serve me well," The god says, not unkindly. They are detached, speaking with both grandeur and emptiness in their voice, reverberating through Alatus' head. He knows he does not have a choice, but it feels like a promise.

"My name is Morax." The god tilts their head. "Yours will be Xiao. Come, the war will be over soon." But Xiao does not know which war the god refers to.

He is tired. And he knows the god is, as well. Yet there is still much to do before any semblance of order is restored, and so with shaking hands Xiao retrieves his spear --- he heaves himself off the ground, and trudges away from the bloodied remains of his previous master.

He feels the weight on his shoulders lighten, just a little.