Forget Us, Please

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I stand upon alpine pedestals, observing the fingers of a golden dawn sneak around the edges of silver cumuli, blanketing the land with bright yellow. I watch the wind caress the verdant canopy of far-flung forests, rustling them into discordant hissing. The dust on the ground swirls in response to zephyrs which have journeyed far and fast. I see, in living colour, the multi-hued smells of apparently fragrant flowers, and watch with painful clarity the raiding of the honey-suckles by adventurous bees.

All these, and more, I see.

I control the path of healing, and direct the rains when prompted. I have the winds of a hundred lands leashed to my little finger, to ration them as I see fit. The secret of fertility is in my hand.

All these, and more, I can do.

Yet, I have never felt the wind on my formless shoulders, or the light of dawn on my face. I have never inhaled a gust of air, felt the turbulence of moving water against my form or recoiled from the heat of a smoking fire. As I stand upon the snow capped heights of antiquated mountains, I am but a void with awareness; the chill does not reach me, and the snow does not melt into rivulets beneath my feet as under the feet of man. I understand feeling as something recalled from the mist of memory, but I do not partake in its experience.
I am all, and I am not.

My eternity is a terrible prison, and my purpose was already defeated before my origin.

When the world was young, men hungered after things which did not fill the stomach, or satiate the loin.  They coveted what their eyes could not see and their feet could not breach. They looked toward the stars. From the longing and desires of innumerable hearts, I was called forth and hallowed. Though they worship me and decry my name at every turn, I shall never be greater or stronger than them.

I shall never experience passion, or know the entropy of human conflict. I shall never feel the desperation of hunger or lose myself in the menagerie of quotidian life.

I am doomed, with countless others like me who abide in lands of eternal winter or endless summers, to serve the whims of our ‘lowly’ masters as we struggle hopelessly against an unwanted existence. We will never near the cries of children, or feel the responsibility of love.

Gods, they call us, but we are only the fusion of a hundred hopes, the answer to unspoken cries, the ethereal evidence of chimerical fancies, the synergy of human desire. Through the eons we persist, transformed in step with the evolving philosophy of our makers, never again to abide in the nothingness which was there before us, never again to be happy in the stupor of oblivion, forever chained to this world because we are remembered.

Now, if only men would forget.

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Qooqk

The shaman’s eyes roved over the view. The high winds at this elevation buffeted him, whipping his loose red robe behind him. He smelled the water which meandered through the red earth below, and heard the screams of playing children as they splashed in its coolness and swallowed its power.
     The rock on which he huddled was cold beneath his bare feet, and the forest behind him was abuzz with the cacophony of nature. He liked to come here often, this outcropping in front of the forest which lined the cliff overlooking stream and settlement. Verdant vegetation towered above the rocks and hanging trees gave the place a utopic feel. It was breathtaking from this point.
   He fixed his gaze on the settlement in the distance. Some of the men were outside their tents while the women were preparing the evening meal,as evidenced by the growing number of fires. He even fancied he could smell the spices borne by the wind from the cauldrons which hung over the controlled fires. He felt rather than saw the men and women gazing surreptitiously at the sky, wishing away the darkness and its accompanying terror.

   The settlement was beside the stream, so water was not a problem. The forest which grew around had ample supply of game. The valley was a beautiful place for his people, after all those years of aimless walking in the wilderness. But he didn’t like the place. None of them did.
    As he fought for ever-eluding inner peace at this height, he also grappled with hate. Oh, how he loathed the dark-skinned people from the desert who made a game of the lives of his people. Their exodus had not been without bloodshed, and now the dark-skinned, horse-riding demons would usurp the land of his ancestry and eat the products of the good land.
    Peace, he ministered to himself
    But through the eyes of childhood, he still saw his father’s shocked eyes as the old shaman stood at the door of the tent,looking inwards. The shock in his noble and wildly painted face as his old wrinkled hands crept upward from his side until it encountered the point of the black arrow lodged in his chest. The arrow which had silenced him as he called for his young boy. He never even deigned look down to see the bringer of his death, even as the blood trickled down the sides of his mouth.
    A screaming child brought the shaman out of his reverie.  He examined the azure firmament above him without moving his head. No moon tonight. He thought he heard the howl of a wolf, and a slight fear gripped him. He stared farther away from the settlements, at the forest of trees which lines the great valley and through which the long river snaked to emerge in yet unexplored places. Places which had lain unexplored even though they were just less than half a day’s journey hence. The blue thin wall of light was there; the invisible boundary which defined the extent of his people’s imprisonment.

    When the night came, a deathly silence settled over the settlement. The children caught on to the pervading apprehensiveness of their parents. The furtiveness was maddening. The fires outside had died after the thousands of the extant Agashi people had eaten their fill. The doors to the mud huts were locked, and families were huddled in the corner. The moonless dusk outside held the smell of horror and the coming terror.
The Shaman did not sleep,swallowed as he was in helplessness. Most in the village never did on these moonless nights. But there was a rampart in his mind, a small fortress which nursed a secret hope which he didn’t even allow to come to his consciousness for fear of discovery.
    A tremble which announced the arrival of Qooqk began. It was the sixtieth hunt in the seventeen years of their pseudo-slavery. The demon had mastered the ways of terror,and announced his presence with maleficent spectacles. Two months before, during a moonless night, it was the wild hissing of a hundred snakes which washed over the camp before the destroyer came.
    The shaman was not so afraid of the demon itself as for his people. He was the spiritual leader of the remnant of the once great tribe of hunters, and he could do nothing to come to their aid. He should be out there, but he was in his small hut, locked in with his young wife who barely suppressed her whimpers of fear. The heat inside the darkness irrupted.
The tremble aside ceased, and a faint thumping could be heard. Everyone knew what the sound was. The padded feet of the demon disturbed the sands as it went around the huts choosing its victim. Or victims.
    It sounded far away from the centre of the village,but that was just part of the game, an illusion to be broken by its sudden manifestation. It loved the element of surprise, the taunts, keeping its unwilling slaves guessing which of them would become its sacrifice.
   The howl of a wolf echoed from a great distance. All illusion, the shaman knew. The sweating began.
    The first howls had come on that full-moon many years ago shortly after they had arrived here, when the shaman had begun his ministrations as a child, for he was a precocious one. The men had jumped in joyful agitation, most ready to seek out the strange howling animal. Armed with Iron spears, arrows, and cerated hunting knives fashioned from black ivory, they sprang towards the forest, their experienced feet making as little noise as possible.
     By dawn, they found the wall. Scarcely any moonlight filtered through the think canopy ,and so they did not see the hedge with their eyes at first. Belom, the head-hunter had leapt straight into it. The small thudding sound as his head slammed into nothing was heard, and for a moment, there was a blue wall standing in front of them.
     The others who lived afterwards described the sight; the leashes of lightning which embraced him from his point of contact with the wall, lifting the leader slowly as his screams and the aroma of burning flesh filled the air while they stood in utter shock and awe. Sorcery was not a strange art to the Agashi,but this was more awesome, and tinged with great evil.
     The wall was never to disappear. The message was all too clear; no one was to advance beyond the ethereal hedge. The first hunt of the howling demon had begun on the very next moonless night.
  
     The shaman heard the scream. It hadn’t begun yet. The scream only identified the victim. Before anyone around him would be the wiser, the chosen, uncontrollable in his madness, would open the door to his abode, inviting the demon inside for a feast of blood;  that was how it happened in the last four huntings. Before that, it just materialized in the darkness of the hut among the huddled group and ripped them all to shreds. Sometimes it spared other people present. The shaman despised it for this sadism, allowing those present to watch the slaughter of their loved ones.
    He didn’t care to see the demon, his bloodline was versed in magic, and ancestral memories of myriad devils were in his blood. He heard a door open, silence, then the screams of multiple voices. A roar rose above them, a round of heavy footfalls amid the screaming…and silence.
   The young woman huddled in the corner of the shaman’s hut allowed her voice to rise in a muffled shriek.
     The whole settlement knew when the hunt ended. The sounds of the night gradually filled the stone silence that accompanied the demon’s arrival, as though even the owls and cricket resumed their noise with trepidation.
     The shaman felt heavy. In the beginning, he had stayed outside his hut in the nights of the hunting, eager to offer himself up as sacrifice, but Qooqk had avoided him. His bloodlines had produced five generations of Shaman’s before him, and he knew the demon could not waste its time unravelling the inherited wards which naturally protected him. He had seen the demon before. Still, the night-black,blurry mass of writhing fur which left a trail of thick smoke was a sight he did not care to remember.
    But he now had a wife to cater for, and that had evolved his daring into protectiveness.
     He stayed awake, arms around his wife until he heard the first loud wails announcing the victims.

      Seven days later, Amik, the shaman of the agashi started from sleep. He cocked his head in the darkness,as though listening for something. Apparently satisfied, he shuffled to his feet from beside his sleeping wife, and exited the hut. The moon was gibbous and bright, and the sounds of the night were reassuring.
    He moved silently through the row of huts near his until he reached the large clearing which contained the village square. At the centre was a large smothering bonfire. The children had been playing around a roaring fire the evening before, having blissfully forgotten the recent  annihilation of a family. Amik touched his bosom while he stood before the warm glow of the dying fire as he paid yet another respect to his dead friends, Kur, and his pregnant wife.
     The shaman untied the small pouch at his waist while an owl hooted somewhere in the distance, dipped his hand inside and brought it up again. It was filled with a light blue dust. He spoke into the powder and threw it into the dying embers. The finely ground leaves of the Abuli tree was a very potent fuel. The flames leapt with new energy.
     He heard a sound behind him, but he didn’t turn. He was intent on concentrating on this conjuration. He felt his familiars drift away from him in fear, as the spirits divined his true purpose on this moonlit night.
  Dekira, the shaman’s wife, watched her husband from the edge of the square. She considered that his destiny had been overshadowed by the coming of the demon. He only consulted with familiars whereas his father,according to lore, had dealt with much more. He was losing respect in the eyes of the tribe, though none could blame him for their captivity. As the years crawled by, the angst against the demon and their supposed shaman increased. He was a good judge, and a bad protector. But Dekira knew by the movement of her husband’s body that he was now undertaking a task of great daring. She had heard him moan in his sleep these past few moons. She had listened with a sinking feeling at the blasphemous things he had muttered against Qooqk.
     She watched him. He raised his hands and spoke into the fire. He brought out more dust from another pouch. When it hit the fire, the flames turned blood-red and seemed to roar audibly. A small breeze arose, and with it a strange smell. She heard footsteps and turned around. More of the people, roused from sleep, were leaving their huts now. Gathering far around the square.
     The shaman was lost to the world now. His eyes closed, he conjured an image of Selgar behind his lids. He had met the elephant god sometime during the last few moon on one of his astral excursions. In the valley of white ivory on the star called Dra, Selga ruled as king over a mighty and prosperous population of fantastic beings. He had entreated his help in ridding the Agashi of the malevolent Qooqk, for none of his familiars wanted anything to do with the god.
     He had had to go to far because he feared that Qooqk might be dogging his steps. Selga had acquiesced to his entreaty for aid, and at a damning price. He had waited for these past few moons for the signal that would enable him begin the summons, and as he woke in the dead of this night, he knew it was time.
    A howl could be heard in the distance. The shaman spoke the two secret names of Qooqk, inviting him to a feast. He uttered the secret appellation of Selgar, and summoned him to war. Soon, a shrill sound rent the air. The people gathered at a distance around the fire looked about in fear,but the Shaman knew it as the trumpet of the ivory-tusked elephant deity.
    The shaman’s forehead broke out in a sweat. The coolness of the night seemed to flee from him. He heard whispers, his ears suddenly catching every sound. He looked into the flames.
    Framed in the dancing flames of the red fire was the wolverine face of Qooqk.
      His wife gasped at the image. She knew what it was. She turned her face away at the horror in the flames. The destroyer which had slain so many of her friends.
      The shaman continued his spirited ramblings. The moon was gibbous tonight,so the demon would not feed. He was very aware of the gusto with which the demon would avenge this activity if it failed. He had staked his life on it and was absolutely terrified of the possibility of failure.
     There was the sound of mighty footfalls from the jungle now. The ground actually trembled. The shaman stopped speaking, his strength drained. His nerves tingled with energy. He felt his wife and everybody else. He felt more like a spirit than a man. His eyes was trained on the fire.
     The footfalls sounded near, as though some mighty giant was approaching…a pause, then he had the impression of the feet leaping of the ground, and the conviction that their owner had leapt into the fire,though the flames barely evinced it . Thunder rumbled above.
     There was a roar from the fire. It stretched high into the air, the height of four men. At the very crown of the flames he saw Qooqk and the one known as Selgar. They were small, their flaming bodies lacking substance, but he knew it was merely symbolic of the deities. The two flaming figures joined battle at the top of the flames. The elephant using mighty limbs to pummel the wolf lower in the flames while the canine of the demon tore across the elephant.
   The village looked on, spellbound as two deities grappled in the flames of shifting hue. The roars and trumpets erupted from the flames.  The battle seemed to take an eternity, a vision of flaming figures and writhing tongues of fire. When the first golden threads of dawn stretched across the blue sky, the fire rose almost into the sky. The bottom of the flame left the ground slightly, revealing the hot ash beneath.
    A full fiery elephant figure seemed to leap off the top of the wild fire. The head of the wolf could be seen following, about to disengage. Selgar suddenly fell back into the battlefield of fire, seemingly crushing the flaming version of Qooqk. The apparent force carried the two figures to the bottom of the fire, sending out a small shockwave and completely extinguishing the flame as they hit the ground. The roar from Qooqk was suddenly cut off. Dust rose and enclosed the prone shaman.  The villagers gasped in fearful amazement, awed by the force of the last scene.

     A chattering began, during which Dekira feared for her husband. The dust seemed to glow as the dawn quickly approached. As it settled, the source of the glow was now visible. The elephant alone, stood in the centre of the dust cloud. It was made entirely of gentle flames. There was no indication of the presence of Qooqk. Dekira and the others gathered instinctively thought of the translucent blue wall which surrounded the village within half a day’s journey. She yet feared to hope that the absence of Qooqk translated into the abolition of their terror. It was too much to hope for, for its veracity may usher them into a life of freedom from fear, a life which she had been too young to remember.

    The Shaman felt the hedge disappear, far away as it was. He lifted his face and slowly got onto his knees, very aware of the presence in front of him. He raised his pale eyes to the elephant. His mind seemed to expand, his limits broken by the absence of the constraining wall of Qooqk. His knowledge increased, evincing unexpected details.
    A shame, thought Amik, I shall never revel in it. Even now the elephant was undergoing a transforming. Moments later, the figure of a flaming man stood in front of Amik, hand outstretched. The fiery form stood somehow unsure,as though the battle it had won was now taking its toll. It was a most uncanny sight; one the Agashi would never forget.
 
   Dekira watched her husband rise unsteadily to his feet. She longed to go embrace him, but she was held back by the flaming figure in front of him. Why was the victor still there? She didnt have time to contemplate a reasonable conclusion,shocked as she became, as the flaming figure thrust a hand into the Shaman’s chest. She heard her husband groan painfully.  His body seemed to light up from within as gasps erupted from the gathered Agashi. A female voice even shrieked. Dekira looked on,petrified, as the glow in his body seemed to coalesce at his chest.
    She understood the scene all too quickly.
    A life for a life, the shaman thought through his pain. His magically enhanced soul for the destruction of Qooqk. It was more than he could have hoped for. He felt the life ebb from him, the myriad strands of consciousness congregating in his chest…in the hand of the flaming figure in front of him.
    As his vision blurred into yellow dots, he thought of the children he would never have, and the child he would never see. The child whose life he had just detected within his wife. An heir she didn’t yet know that she carried.
        Then came the part which would be told and retold with despair for generations to come. An audible ubiquitous sound,reminiscent of whispers, began sweeping through the village. The words gained weight in moments, until they resounded in a heavy cadence. The pronunciations struck terror into the heart of every man and woman. Along with the scene which was unveiled before them.
    The flaming figure in front of the shaman  suddenly reduced in intensity. From its chest, a curved point shot out. The fiery point moved upwards, patently slicing the figure of Selgar in two until it escaped from the top of the head. The villagers watched the destruction of Selgar in the light of that accursed morning. The two halves of the figure fell away to reveal the hulking form of Qooqk within. The demon was an abominable melange of spear-like jaws and writhing fur. Smoke seemed to form around him. The soul of the dead shaman hung suspended in the air now, and the wolf snatched it up into its mouth. The ubiquitous whispers stopped, and Qooqk spoke, his terrible jaws clenching and unclenching.
    ‘How attainable is it that mortal man would bring about the extinction of Qooqk Amineth, the deity of the forgotten peoples of unremembered isles. Qooqk, who in the beginning of days, established the moon of the dusk, and who shall quench it with blood when the end approaches. Qooqk is forever”

   With that last, the beast sprang into the cold morning air, toward the petrified wife of the shaman amidst the wild screams of the now fleeing Agashi.

——-

Sorry for any ridiculous typos 😥 typed the whole thing on my phone. Thanks for stopping by,really. I dinor know it reached 3k words, honest ( ._.)

Please share if u like. Thanks.

Ekwe out.

Creator

At the most inopportune time in the ages to come, the candent and relentless albedo of the sun shall find itself burdened with the weight of infinite ages by-gone, and wan to a sanguine orb.

In the days before this supernal aberration, Man would have already fought his last great war, and retrogressed the development of his kind through the attendant destruction by settling once again into primeval cultures and roaming the war-torn plains and atomically leveled cities of the earth, having become inundated and partially invulnerable to the radiation. Then in the course of countable seasons the sun would be observed to dim swiftly to a red dull orb and cast a purple radiance across the earth. The earth, and all that is illumined by the sun in the darkness of the infinite void shall attain a mien of gloom beneath the purple radiance, and the very souls of men shall weep for the loss. No more shall the sun be the muse for some romantic poet, or its illumination power the solar panels of the great cities. Its rising from the east which in saner times was an emotive event will become a torturous parody of the old days, and will lift no hearts or trodden soul by its impotent and lacklustre display. Much knowledge would be lost and primal instinct would hold much sway in the demeanour and dealing of man.

Men shall move about in uncertainty and speculate in mournful susurration of a time when the red glow which cast its melancholic rays shall find itself extinguished for all time. The progeny of these men would hear about a yellow sun as in a mythic lore, and stare with hungry souls at the orb which hangs balefully beyond the purple clouds. The moon of the twilight shall be brighter than the sun at noon, and the stars shall shine will dazzling brilliance in the absence of a more glorious celestial body.

In that irreligious and verdigris-eaten world of broken steel and twisted copper, of irradiated concrete, shattered glass, and thatched settlements, the fruit of the field will be sparse, ill-grown, inadequate and a pallid tone would be propagated on the flesh of man. The long-curtailed primal instincts would rush to the fore as though atoning for the ages of repression, and many a man would find sustenance in the raw flesh of another before he submits to slumber. Then men shall resort, as like through the countless ages, to creating deities and issuing lamentations mingled with entreaties for their salvation.

The creator would hearken, and undertake a journey to the sun to achieve repairs and restore it to its old glory, that men may show gratefulness by returning to his adoration. Now the creator had not deemed it expedient to use his power and skill since the first creation at the beginning, except for the achieving of minor wonders among mankind in the days when the lore of him was told abroad, and men bowed to the earth at the mention of his name. He shall find upon reaching the sun that he is as much helpless in reversing its death as the men which cry out to him, for it would not hearken to his command to burn yellow, or yield to his creative devices. As though taking stock of himself for the first time since the beginning, he shall notice for the first time the trailing silver beard which adorn his chin and sweep the ground he treads. He shall look with rising alarm at his mottled hands and feel the beginning of a certain weakness in his appendages. He will also begin to perceive a slight waning in the intensity of his glory. Then a fear shall grip him as it dawns on him  that as the universe is drawing to an interminable close, so is he. He will realize for the first time, how much of himself he had put into the work of creation, and how wrong he was to mistake his great longevity for immortality. He cannot now even remember his beginnings, for it is mired in an epoch so far gone that it seems to have been lost in the infinite oblivion of the great ether. He will recall with sudden alarm that the universe was before him, and that he simply created all within it. the untouchable darkness of the cosmos was before him, and now light must die; For the darkness was here first, and will remain forever. Standing in front of the dying sun, he shall weep in mourning at this calamitous state of things, and turning resolutely about him, head towards the earth.

On the ancient olympian heights of Greece shall thunder and lightning and fire coalize in a brilliant display announcing the coming of majesty, and men shall see from all over the earth and tremble as they run to the hills and into the dead forests, fearful of the baleful scene and incurious to its demystification. The creator shall appear and call them to him, and they shall come at his feet. And while his beards and robes billow in the wind, he will relate to them his impotency in trying to reverse the ominous trend of the celestial cycle and how close to the end he has found himself to be. The people of that unfortunate world shall find themselves stricken with a loss of hope. The creator shall then invite them into his cave on the great mountain; and seated in his purple robes which majesty the pale sun will fail to diminish, tell them of the things that have passed, of other ages, and of great men. He shall tell them about the vanity of the philosophy of an eternity, and the foolishness of an eternity after the grave. In the aeonian rocks of Olympia, his audience shall attend solemnly and listen to his final oration while the world outside the igneous mountain grows reddish gray as it gallops towards a silent annihilation. One after the other, men shall fall into eternal sleep while he speaks, and he shall keep speaking until the last lung has stopped its throbbing dance. When all is silent save the frothy waves which crash into the Grecian peninsula, he shall lay supine upon the flat rock on which he sits and ordain it for a catafalque. As he makes preparation to sleep forever, dark blotches shall appear in the vermillion pallor of the sun. Like a lantern which flares up brightly before its fuel runs out finally, the sun shall assume its former candent glory for a few moments, and swiftly, like a forest fire which has been deprived of air, go out. In the cave which is only lit by his ebbing effulgence, he shall close his eyes and dissipate into the universe which had made him so.

The moon, the earth, the spinning rings of detritus and ice which surround Saturn, the mighty moons of Jupiter, the brilliant stars and a thousand other celestial bodies which occupy the bleak ether…all these things shall be still in that day. And when at last the crashing seas have become stationary and the raging winds have lost their momentum, there shall be a great cacophony as all created things dissipate into the nothingness from whence they were fashioned.

After a time which cannot the conjectured, there shall be a song broadcast in the infinite oblivion, and a rumbling sound shall take precedence. A brightness shall ensue at one end of it, and from its nucleus another would emerge; one who would be called creator. And the first thing he would do would be to create the celestial bodies and, in the fullness of time, forget that the universe was here before him.

**

Well, you have read it.

Ekwe.

Pantheon V – Alaklet

Silence!

Entropy!!

By the strength of my will, I fashion you

Let him who is begotten of me come forth

Come forth, Amun!!

…and my son, Amun, was called forth from the silence that pervaded at the beginning.

He was to stay beside me while I fashioned the realities, to spend eternity revelling in the work of our hands and taking in the sight which our minds would bring forth. We would move unfettered throughout reality. I was pleased because I had found one to make discourse with.

As a consequence of creation, there existed little patterns of light that represented all things and which stretched into the immeasurable distance. These entities represented all that was and all that could be. I looked into the Pattern at the very beginning, and saw the possibility of Amun’s rebellion. But it was only a possibility. Why would he rebel?

I was away when Amun stole my chattels; some of the distilled essences I had made for myself to ease my work of creation, and disappeared. My fury was unbridled at this insolence. When peace had returned to me, the universes were suddenly too vast a place to seek him out. He had hid himself from me, and it took much passing of time for me to find a probable reality he could be in; a reality I did not create. I settled on the Sun System. After many years of contemplation, I discovered the earth. It was at this location I felt the strongest bond, but it was not to Amun.

The beast Apep was wrought of pure evil. She could only have come forth as the anti-result of something Amun must have created with my instruments. Apep was surely the opposite of Amun. Evidently, He had not mastered the art of creation and this beast had resulted from his ill-thought dabbling. I realized his motivation, Worship. In this Universe, the creation worshipped Amun as creator. Worship did not please me and Amun must have come to the understanding that I would never have sanctioned his craving for it. Worship is a shackle that requires presence. It was not in concert with my purpose of freely moving through and observing creation with my son.

Amun could not be felt, but I was certain he was nearby. I could not interfere directly without revealing myself so I waited. Somewhere, somehow, the infinite probabilities would bring my purpose to bear. My patience would never wear out.

Then Ra stole my elixir, one of the many gifts I had placed in different realities for those who could find them.

A sentient being of interest who had evolved in a Universe close to my current station, I looked into Ra’s Pattern and observed strength of will and cunning that was unmatched in his entire world, Asco. But I saw a loyalty to his Emperor that bordered on worship, a shackle. So I sowed the seed of rebellion into his heart and gave him the elixir as an incentive.

***

Upon his consumption of my Elixir, I cast him into Amun’s Universe and right into the world I had chosen. He would be an alien there, albeit a mighty one. He should come to Amun’s attention and force him to reveal himself. He must answer for his crimes against his Maker.

I met with the soul of the one called Isis and surreptitiously passed her visions of the things that I wanted to come to pass. She would guide Ra, for she had the the right motivation.

Thus were the pieces set. I could only hope for a favourable outcome. The Pattern was obscure to me, for nothing in this universe was of my making.

Ra’s thirst for power played perfectly into my designs and revealed to me things which were erstwhile unknown; the Apep was important in revealing my prodigal son. My interest was aroused when Set, the one who prided himself as a being of Chaos, sacrificed his existence for the release of the Apep. Grown weary of immortality? What did that mean? I considered the vagaries of the universes. Emperor Asu-Raneh lusted after my elixir, and this Set who had been created immortal had tired of it. Spectacular.

Then the Apep came forth from the underworld, and for the first time in half a million of earth-years, I felt my son, Amun. He had been asleep all this while. He had made himself two spawns, which were to him what he had been to me. I observed them battle the beast for a time, contemplating the weakling he had become, before my patience reached an end.

I decided to reveal myself.

***

I stood in their midst, regarding them as they persisted in suspended animation. The Apep was truly a magnificent sight. Ra had only just destroyed Osiris. I knew what I wanted to do. Isis had sensed me, my little vision had left her susceptible to my essence.

Nut and Geb, creations of Amun. I took them back, dissolving their matter back into me, the true creator. The Apep had served its purpose, and was in fact blight on creation. I do not like unplanned consequences. I took her out too, dissolving her into the winds with a thought. She would have no part of me.

I held unto Amun. I knew he could see me but he was in the presence of Alaklet, and was therefore trapped and powerless. I regarded him with fury for a while and then held unto him. We were going back to the Beginning. I would deal with him in my abode. Then I had a sudden inspiration, and reached also for the one called Ra.

***

In the Nothing, a weakened Amun protested vehemently against my actions. He tried to assert his right as an independent parsonage worthy of worship if he so desired. I considered him sternly. His end had been decided the moment he hid himself from me deliberately. I watched him speak dishonourably of my name. When he was done, I rose from my settlement and took him to another reality. There, I stripped his name from him by calling it back unto myself. I made him nameless, a nothing. Then I took his being even as he realized his end and instigated servile pleas for leniency, and crushed it between two suns. Trapped between their almost infinite masses, he would know suffering for a time before his matter dissolved with great spectacle into the Universe. He had been a creation of Power, so this Universe would be sacrificed for the purpose of his destruction. I never honoured Amun with the sound of my voice.

Then I remembered Ra.

***

The one who is called Alaklet focused on me and I felt more insignificant than a grain of sand in the Wa Adi. He was one of infinitely greater Majesty than my former master Asu-Raneh and more power than a thousand Amuns. I had watched Amun grovel before him. I do not know why it has pleasured him to bring me here or let me see the awesome suffering of Amun. In the… Nothing where we were, I moved backwards in terror. He is the owner of the Elixir I had first stolen for the purposes of my Master. Alaklet.

Then he spoke to me. A comforting ballad.

“I have seen you, Ra. You were limited by your mortality, and by your cunning have now surpassed the boundaries of the immortality I gave you. I seek neither worship, nor glory, but a son. A son to contemplate all things with. You have been my champion all this time, albeit without your consent; Now, Will you be my son?”

Then Alaklet reached into my mind and showed me. He widened my understanding of his request. I saw the past, the present and future. I understood the…Pattern.

I was not worthy to stay in his presence. What was the sun compared to one who had used two suns to torture Amun, supposed creator? I saw what was in store for me.

“Yes…Lord!” I did not even recognise my own ululation.

“You will return to the earth, where you have earned your right of Worship, though it is not within my purpose. Know this, for a time I will let you dominate all within your range, but when my time is accomplished, I shall come for you to bring you back unto myself so that we may set off according to the purpose for which I have adopted you”

Alaklet had given me a chance to be both ruler and God.

Then he touched me and exalted my form. He expanded my mind and then opened it to the secrets of the Universe. When all was done, he anointed me with another name, the symbol of my sonship. When it was set upon me, excellent majesty became my portion, and I revelled in it.

I, Lord of the suns, Amun-Ra.

 

**

HAha. I bet you didn’t see Alaklet coming. FYI.. the final name of Ra in mythology is Amun-Ra

Thanks you for reading. It has been amazing journey. We appreciate your inputs, your comments, tweets and most flatteringly, your DMs regarding your fascination with this series. I want to thank @edgothboy for being an awesome project partner. His knowledge of Egyptian mythology was valuable in the writing of this series. Regardless of who wrote what chapter, considerable level of thought was contributed by the other.

Yes, we know the story is not perfect. We had some complaints about the length, but this is as short as we could make it without making it seem convoluted. Thanks for your persistence, your “washings”, your subs on twitter (thank God for the Search function), your relentless hammering about writing a book(which one person said he would pay 15k for *faints) and your love.

On a personal note, I want to thank all the fans of this blog. I know what I write is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who find the ride pleasurable, I can’t thank you enough. You all make it magical for me.

Oh yeah, the holy insect get a mention. He made me start reading my stories countless times before I post. Big thanks to him. You guys may have no idea how irritating it is for grammatical errors to be continually pointed out by an insect -_- his saltiness and unspoken love is appreciated.

It has been a good year for writing. Well, it has been the only year for writing, for meJ.

And so this blog closes for the holidays. if you are a new visitor, I invite you to go through my previous stories. You may find something to pass the time with.

You should catch me on @hl_blue’s blog later when I write about my year.

Merry Christmas

*cues xmas love song as blog fades out of picture

Ekwe.

Pantheon IV – Conquest & Consolidation

The Arabian Desert, East of the Nile.  Al Ahmar

Tumble weed suddenly rolls past a desert side-winder; frightening the snake and making it slide its curved body smoothly into the sand. The air is hot, boiled by the harsh sun. Suddenly, clouds begin to gather. In moments, the sunny desert turns dark as early night, and the foreign rumble of thunder scares the baffled desert animals into their fiery hot holes. Sand dunes begin to heave as though the earth has a heartbeat. An unnatural coldness eliminates the haze of the torrid desert air and from the darkest part of the stormy clouds, Nut, born of the sky, emerges.

A sand dune explodes, raising brown sand into the sky. The second one, He of the Earth, comes forth. Geb.

Suddenly a comet lands in the nearby sand dune. Amun, the Elder, has arrived.

The mortals of Egypt, West of the Nile, feel the tremors. They know their gods have come. Wards against evil are redrawn in freshly spilled blood. Doors are locked shut. The palace shuts down. The incense censers cease to pour forth smoke and the adulations in the temples dry up as Egypt falls to silence. Even the god-king dare not stretch his neck to the desert.

The three elder gods are the points of a pyramid, the primeval sigil of power. It has been aeons since they found company with one another; that age when they bound the beast Apep, before submitting themselves into sleep, having handed the earth over to their spawn, their pantheon. Now, they have awakened again for the same purpose.

“She comes”, Amun intones, his voice inseparable from the rumble of thunder. His body crackles with lightning. His robes are calm, though the desert is pummelled by harsh winds. Amun, creator.

For a moment, the sounds of lightning and thunder cease. Impossible silence reigns as the universe welcomes another powerful being. Lightning crackles while performing a picturesque dance over an area of sand within the coverage of the gods, and the grains begin to move in a fluid whirl, like water. The three do not waste time waiting for the serpentine form of Apep to manifest. Apep was never to be underestimated. They hurry towards the troubled sea of sand, hands and eyes glowing with power.

As they converge on the troubled spot, Apep with a mighty cry of fury shoots out, head first. Her many eyeballs ablaze with fire from the rage of her age-long imprisonment. She thrashes, her gargantuan head darting in all direction, searching. Then she sees him, Amun, the orchestrator of her torment and her burning rage crystallizes into icy hate. She lunges at him.

*

Osiris, Lord of the Sun Palace.

Ra, the stranger from another place, had not come to pay him obeisance. He had not even revealed himself in any apparent way since his coming. Had Osiris not being attentive to the Sun and it’s workings, he would not have known that it had bound itself to the yet unseen stranger. Now it is all revealed. Apep has been released and Anubis had renounced his sonship to be re-united with the bloodythirsty Wepawet, his war Aspect. Set is no more…and this ursuper, Ra (they say he is a glorified Hawk) has cast a challenge. The battle field is on the Nubian Desert, that desolate plain outside his realm of influence. His displeasure at his authority being challenged is so great, it has taken the soul of the pharaoh’s queen to satiate him.

He regards his loyal ones; Nephthys, Sobek, Sekhmet and Horus his son, by Isis.

“Prepare for glory”, he says, as he climbs down his throne of luminescent gold. He regards his hands as he brings it up. They are glowing, manifesting his rage. He strides solemnly in his magnificent armour till he reaches the edge of the floating circular palace, and looks down upon the earth, his ovoid eyes taking in the view he desired. The scene below grated on his senses. True power was at work down there.

He had only just learned of the release of Apep. The elders had come down to put the beast back into its pit, but the damage had already been done. Osiris could no longer draw on the strength of the Elders as Lord of the Palace, for they had broken their sleep. Ra was a sly dog. He had known this. Had Isis told him? Now he would face this Ra with his own strength. Osiris was not perturbed in the least, but this would have been much easier if the Apep had not been released. Very well then…

He lifted his face rudely to the Sun and gave a hostile cry as he ‘fell’ to the desert below.

His cohorts followed suit.

*

Apep, the mighty serpent rushed towards Amun, and only just missed ramming her monstrous head into his form because he moved sideways in a flash. The force of her head on the sand caused a minor tremor. Nut and Geb took advantage of this momentary confusion from the blow and shot towards her head, both arriving in tandem and dealing a powerful blow each. The serpent raised her head suddenly and Nut and Geb were sent flying through the air as her muscular tail swiped them from behind. Amun called down lightning and struck her shiny length. She didn’t even cry out.

“I have spent the ages of my isolation preparing myself for this. Do you think your tricks of light can slay me? Curse you Amun; I shall feed on your essence this day!”

Fire jumped from her mouth and struck at Amun. He raised an invisible shield, so that he was still standing when the flames quickly burned out.

“Shush, serpent! Your revealing is not to my purpose. You go back to your origin this day”

By a sleight of his hand, tongues of fire fell from the agitated dark skies and rained upon the serpent. She burrowed savagely into the dune to escape the stings, and Amun; the first Elder caused the sand to cough her back out and watched as she was thrown into the air. Apep would not be overcome. From her dark protruding scales materialised a torrent of fiery spikes. They fell quickly to the ground, their piercing heat melting the desert sand into rough glass and causing her adversaries to shield themselves. This distraction extinguished Amun’s firestorm.

Then she did something she had never done before. Perhaps it was her anger that caused it.

As she fell back to the ground, she reduced drastically in size and slithered faster than a Egyptian Asp toward the surprised Amun, wrapped her scaly length about his lower parts and flung him at the nearest entity, Geb. It happened so fast. Apep was already on the move again, but Nut drew to herself the air between the particles of desert sand beneath the dragon causing the desert floor to collapse like weakened granite slabs from the quarries of Thebes. This slowed her down, giving the other two fallen gods time to collect themselves them and shoot balls of power at her. They both hit her square on her serpentine head, stunning her.

***

Halfway through his fall, an upwards-surging ball of white heat hit Osiris in the face, forcing his form to rebound upwards into the sky for a while before he righted himself and regained balance. He instantly materialised his sword and raised it just in time to parry a powerful blow from Ra’s as Ra appeared above him and struck. They stood apart now, floating on the air currents.

“It is you who challenges me? Your destruction shall serve as a deterrent to all who would defy my Lordship”, Osiris hissed

“This day, as long as the Sun burns, you will fall by the hand of Ra”, his adversary countered

And so they battled. Time was not to be wasted.

The cohorts of Osiris were caught off guard for a moment as they continued their fall. Osiris had begun his battle. Theirs would soon begin.

They landed powerfully on their feet on the soft desert, causing a minor sandstorm, and barely had time to reconnoitre their surrounding before Anubis in his war aspect, Wepawet the armoured ,two-metre tall Wolf-Jackal, threw himself at  Sobek of the Crocodiles and Entertainer of War. The others did not pay mind. This was the way of the celestials. One to exclusively match another in battle

Selket, the Mistress of Scorpions, suddenly lifted herself from beneath the sands and joined battle with Nephthys, the fire-breathing goddess of Lamentation and death.

The Leonine-faced Sekhmet materialised in full battle armour, silently challenging Horus the deity of the Day.

The War of the gods began.

***

The stunning of Apep was a decisive move. It so appeared that the three gods had surrounded Apep. Each shot chains of lightning around the throat of the giant slithering abomination, seeking to strangle her to a subdued state. Apep had already anticipated this, for this was how they had bound her before. She did the only thing she knew would save her; instead of trying to attack all three at the same in a fit of blind determination, she went for one. Geb.

She pulled powerfully on the ethereal chains of the other two gods as she headed for Geb, while spitting a fireball at him. Geb quickly levitated, holding on to his chains. Apep roared in rage. The other two gods began pulling down on their hands, causing the chains of lightning to wrestle down Apep’s head violently on the ground, raising a sea of sand. They succeeded, and Apep was further weakened by a blow to the head.

Ra battled Osiris in the skies above while their minions made war on the ground. Lightning flashed amidst the clanging of swords in the heavens as both tussled for the throne. Osiris did not give way to Ra’s onslaught. Frogs leapt forth from the Nile and water turned to blood as the two deities resisted each other. The skies over Egypt darkened and the air turned icy whenever Osiris had the advantage.

Osiris had a mastery of the sword which was not competently rivalled by Ra, but what the latter lacked in skills, he made up for in speed. His reflexes were the only thing that kept him from falling before Osiris, as they flashed across the desert sky with swords clanging violently and producing streaks of blue lightning. There was never enough time for Ra to use his abilities for Osiris held him captive within the realm of duelling.

After what seemed like an eternity of striking and parrying wildly, there was a miscalculation and Ra overreached with a thrust of his sword, and he was struck powerfully on side of his face with the flat of Osiris’ blade. The powerful stunning blow threw him far from the immediate presence of Osiris. His adversary was strong, Immensely strong. Little wonder he was Lord of the palace. Osiris took advantage of Ra’s weakness and headed straight, determined to make one last strike to subdue the fool that challenged him to battle.

In those few moments, Ra called upon the power of the sun. It was the only opportunity that had opened to use his powers. He suddenly had an inspiration. As Osiris drove the tip of his sword into the apparently weakened figure of Ra, the unexpected happened.

Ra burst into tiny spheres of light. Osiris, totally unprepared for this, couldn’t stop his movement and ended with within the tiny thousands of sphere. He suddenly felt vulnerable and made to shoot himself out of the presence of Ra.

“You shall not defy Ra”, the voice came from everywhere at once, a split-second before each sphere exploded mightily. This was Ra replicating what happened continually on the surface of the Sun.

At this moment, when Ra’s victory was being accomplished and Apep the serpent was slightly weakened, reality froze and all existence went into suspended animation.

Evening.

Isis waited at the vacant Umm Bissila Mines on the barren plains of the Arabian Desert. It had been five days since the decisive battle and the Sun Palace was now filled with subjects but no king. They had called a temporary truce after the disappearances. The tension was still palpable, especially between Nephthys and Isis, but no one was ready to break into battle when an end was not foreseeable. Horus had refrained from laying claim to the throne, for Anubis had called Osiris father before him and would fight him to the death. The fact that he had regained his powerful War aspect wasn’t lost on the falcon-head Horus. They would wait for the return of the one who would be their King.

She didn’t know what exactly she was waiting for at this location, but she believed it had something to do with the disappearances. She had felt the tug to come here and just wait. She had been standing on the same spot for two days.

 Ra, Amun and his spawn had not been found after the battle. The others knew something had happened, but no one remembered exactly when the personalities left the fray. One moment they were there, and the next they were gone.

It began raining in the desert. She waited apprehensively. This strange occurrence could only mean the time for the unexpected was at hand.

The space north of her position shimmered unnaturally, a loud rustling sound, blinding light…and Ra tumbled head-first from empty space into her presence. She was startled.

She started toward him, but he was on his feet before she could reach out to help him.

“Lord Ra!”

Ra stood straight. There was something different about his visage. She felt a power about him that was not present before. He smelt of the sun…and something else, something more powerful.

He looked at her solemnly and a light smile played across his features. His ovoid eyes had a strange blue hue to them, almost faux illumination. He lowered his eyelids halfway as he spoke.

“Isis, consort” Isis started at the sound of his voice. It was now gentle, yet commanding, the sound of one who was sure he would be obeyed. This Ra was evolved.

“You shall not bow to me as Ra”

Then he that was known as Ra told her his new name. It was welcomed with lightning and thunder. The desert winds howled at its pronunciation.

And Isis fell before her god.

——————————–

Thanks for reading. the finale comes up on Sunday at 9am 🙂

Pantheon II – Foresight and Repercussions

 

The unforgiving winds sweep little lines of sand along the massive dunes of the Wadi. Swaddled in lush robes the color of papryus reeds, a lone figure sits alone, oblivious to the biting cold, her footsteps reaching out into the distance and circumventing the treacherous pits dug by the embalmers along the salt lakes. The embers of her fire have smoldered into ashes but she does not bother to stir them to life for her mind wanders elsewhere, the cold cannot bother her. As the moon begins to relinquish its Lordship over the sky to the Sun, she uncovers her head and loosens the knots in her hair which have held clouds at bay. The hour is come, to lift the veil between worlds and peer through the sands of time.

 Isis digs painted hands into the shifting earth, burying them to the wrists and begins to chant in the forgotten tongue of Amun, calling to the Earth; coaxing it to awaken, binding it to her will. The earth shifts and ripples as a desert serpent slithers out of its burrow. It warily raises a sentient head and spreads its magnificent hood. She offers her wrist, as though in penance. A swift strike and deadly venom is injected into her veins. She stumbles as the poison taints her blood; her head swims and her ordered thoughts meld into a kaleidoscope of colors and images. Her grip on the present is loosened and her mind wanders as her hips sway and her hands wave in complicated patterns, complementing music only she hears. Slowly her robes fall away, revealing unblemished alabaster skin as she mimics the dance of the dead. She staggers and slumps into a naked sweaty heap as her breath slows and her serpentine spirit guide crawls onto her belly to guard her vulnerable human form. Her mind’s eye is opened to the secrets hidden in the heavens and the pattern of time set into the stars.

 Flashing images. Snatches of sound. Overpowering smells that settle for a second are mysteriously swept away… The revolting feel of vermin crawling against the skin. The metallic taste of freshly spilled blood… The smell of bedchamber sweat. The weight of a throne headdress. Betrayal. A stranger from the stars. Reawakened ancients. Death. Power. Seduction. Usurping. Set. Anubis. Ammit. Darkening of the skies. Deception. NOW!!!

 She awakens with a start and espies a growing cloud of blackness hurtling to the barren lands east of where she lay.

It has begun.

Isis snatches up the serpent, which has already begun to slither away and bites into its scaly neck, spits out a chunk of its throat. She dips a finger into the blood and draws sigils on the expanse of skin above the swell of her breasts. The monkey for guile, the desert hawk for speed and the wild cat for strength. Flinging aside the  serpent’s bloodied corpse, she breaks into a sprint  to the top of the tallest dune from which she dives into the air and transfigures into her avian aspect, soaring into the skies as the ball of blackness crashes into the desert plain in a maelstrom of sand and rain.

———————————————————–

Padding through the funeral mounds in the Valley of the Kings, He Who is Atop the Mound surveys his domain and rage wells in him. His elongated snout sniffs the disturbed earth, following the smell of rot and decay, the fragrance of his domain. Where are the lavish feasts in his honor? Where is the reveling with wine and dancing maidens? He is only remembered when there is sorrow and Death. The coward Osiris banished him here, away from the Sun palace, where his presence would grate on Isis, his beloved consort and remind her of her lord’s wandering eye. He feels the geasa that binds the Ammit to this realm and him to it. In his Jackal form he senses the creature trolling the depths of Du’at, the Underworld.. and sometimes the rumblings of something much older and infinitely more malevolent.

A procession of mourners make their way to a freshly dug mound, the professional wailers raising their mournful voices to Nephthys, the treasonous adulteress who bore him. Isis was the one who put him to breast, took him as her own, till the birth of Horus, her heir. Anubis scoffs, in this form it comes out as a cautionary bark. Even in this realm, their prayers are offered to someone else. The group is stopped suddenly when one of them notices a small spot of darkness in the twilight sky, growing like a blot of blood on a sacrificial shroud. Anubis raises his head and yelps when he realizes the enormity of what is happening. What was this? A rogue being powerful enough to cross between worlds? His feral eyes trace the path of the being, it will touch the Earth at the banks of the Nile, south of his mounds, in the realm of the belligerent war general Sobek, god of the Nile. Hesitation grips him. What if it is one of the ancients or worse, a hidden manifestation of the Apep? Could he strike against something of such unbridled power and hope to survive? The mass grows larger, blocking out the rising sun. The mourners stand rooted to the spot, mesmerized by the spectacle, their dead forgotten.  It is decided in a heartbeat. He shall take the risk and surpass his title. The ground begins to tremble beneath his paws; the being’s descent is almost over. How shall he get to the Nile? It’s a three cycle run at his fastest, not enough if his is to be the first pair of eyes the being sees. A journey through the Du’at is to be his only path. But a door? There are no passages out, it is after all a mound and the Ka is not always sedate in death. The blood of innocents? A paltry sacrifice for his selfless act.

The five foot tall Jackal pounces on the entranced throng and swipes at them with wicked claws. It massacres them, disemboweling and tearing off limbs till it is drenched in skim and guts and the offering of life-blood has muddied the earth. Using the souls of the freshly slain as a conduit, a door is opened to the afterlife.

**

The Jackal appeared in a puddle of flesh blood and bones. He shook himself, getting rid of the flecks of gore matting his fur. He took a moment to study his recently appointed seat of power. The hall of the dead never looked better, no matter how long he stayed in the overworld. There was an ornate obsidian throne with a throng of souls milling around in front of it. Dead souls waiting for the lord of the underworld to weigh their hearts and mete judgment. The jackal growled, drawing the attention of the supplicants. He padded to the throne, smirking to himself at the way they all fell away from him. Lying at the foot of the throne sat a beast that dwarfed the jackal ; Its hind legs were leathery and trunk like, its fore legs tawny and muscular with a golden mane where its head met its shoulders. Its massive crocodilian head rested on its paws, both eyes shut and its mouth wide open as if waiting for a hapless soul to float in. The Jackal began to shift, its skin flowed as it rose up on its hind legs and grew in height until he assumed his true form. His head and limbs still resembled those of a jackal but he was humanoid in stature, with skin as dark as the fertile soils of the Nile valley. He wore a white and ash kilt and sported a headdress and cuirass of the finest gold with strips of obsidian worked into them along with golden circlets bearing hieroglyphs on his muscular arms.

‘Rise, Ammit! Wake from your slumber, we have prey to seek.’ he said to the beast. It slowly shut its mouth and pulled open an eyelid to reveal a serpentine eye seething with malevolence.

A deep female voice resonated in his head

‘Where have you been? I grow hungry and am in the mood to devour a thousand hearts.’

Anubis glared at the beast and brought his hand up to the front of his face, slowly closing his claws in a fist and squeezing.

Ammit leapt to her feet and bellowed in pain, shaking the whole hall and causing the gathered souls to flutter around in apprehension.

She growled murderously. “Forget not, bastard cur, that this is my realm and you are an unwelcome sojourner. Your father may have fettered me to your whims but I will free myself and feast on your flesh and gnaw on your bones.”

Anubis grinned, unmoved by the Ammit’s threat.

“Now that I have your attention; come! We must travel quickly if we wish to intercept my quarry before any other.”

He turned and walked towards one of the swirling amorphous masses of impenetrable darkness that hedged the throne room and served as its walls.

He brandished his Was Scepter and began inscribing sigils on the blackness, each symbol flaring brightly and sinking into the wall as he wrote a door into existence, imposing his will on the very fabric of  Du’at, The Hall of Truth. A section of the wall in front of him shimmered and grew still, simply looking like the entrance to a particularly dark room.

Ammit came up to him, the difference in height between her fore and hind legs giving her an uneven lumbering gait. He unclasped one of the circlets on his arms and attached it to one of her front legs, whispering an incantation. It slowly faded away from sight along with its twin on his arm. He stepped into the darkness.

***

The chamber looked like an grandiosely designed throne room. The walls and pillars were all gold-leafed, a scattering of pillows and duvets padding the far end of the room. It was approximately the size of two burial chambers joined together. Fire danced in braziers hanging at intervals along the wall, phantom flames that burnt on nothing and produced no smoke.

The air was rife with the scents of sunlight and sex. Two figures lay entwined on the pillows; bodies heaving, skins slick with evidence of their exertion.

A cloud of darkness materialized in the middle of the room, the flames danced, agitated by the new power building in the room. A dark figure stepped out of the tear in reality accompanied by a beast that measured up to his chest and looked like three animals cruelly torn apart and random parts grotesquely rearranged and sewn together.

From the nest of pillows rose a figure, his body muscled like a human with burnt skin gleaming with a bronze luster. His head was avian and a cold intelligence shone out of beady eyes. The light around him coalesced and twisted till he was wrapped in a cloak of the purest sunlight.

Anubis sniffed at the air and he cocked his head to the side, confused at what he sensed. Shaking his head, he approached the alien figure that seemed to glow with power.

‘I had hoped to be the first to find you, making haste since I saw the signs of your arrival.’

He materialized his armour as he approached the standing figure. golden vambraces on his forearms and razor tipped gauntlets on his hands, hieroglyphs proclaiming him as Lord of the Afterlife floated across the surface of the pieces of armour.

‘It seems you have already been welcomed, though not the welcome I would have thought.’ Anubis continued as he took in Isis, sprawled on the pillows.

She simply looked on impassively although her eyes shone briefly at the open disgust in his voice. She was unused to being disrespected, no less by a lesser god unable to conjure a human face, something even lowly sphinxes managed.

The golden figure stepped out of the pillows a leaf shaped blade in his hand.

“Quell your words young god, events greater than you unfold. Come let us see if you are worthy to bow in my presence.”

Anubis growled deep in his throat, he stretched his hand out to the side and his weapon materialized; a staff with a crescent shaped blade mounted atop of it. He whirled it over his head and charged with a battle roar.

Sparks erupted as blade struck blade, Ra turned to his side avoiding a thrust at his side. Anubis danced on his feet, deftly blocking blow after blow with the shaft of his weapon. Their weapons locked and the two immortals stood eye to eye, each one refusing to back down. Ra whispered a power laden word in a harsh clicking tongue and his blade pulsed, hitting Anubis squarely with a burst of celestial energy.

Anubis landed in a crouch, his weapon clutched in his right hand and his left hand over the spot where the bolt had struck him. He tried to stand but his muscles spasmed and failed him.

Ra looked over his shoulder at the figure that still reclined.

“I must say, if this is all he has to offer then I am very disappointed.”

Isis rose and walked gracefully across the room until she stood behind Ra. Her hands slithered into the folds of his robe and caressed his firm abdomen.

‘An oversight my Lord, he does not battle with you at full strength… He is but a diminished version of himself.’

“What riddle do you speak?” Ra intoned, his avian eyes darting round the prone form of Anubis. “I sense no injuries on him, although something seems to be interfering with his might.”

Isis seemed to contemplate something before she stepped around Ra, staring intently at Anubis.

‘Swear fealty to the Lord of the sky and giver of life Sihk’Eihyul-Ra, and I shall return Wepawet to you. You shall be restored to your full power and unshackled from that beast.’

Anubis looked up sharply at the mention of his war aspect. If Wepawet was returned to him he would be able to challenge Horus and take his rightful place as god of war. He had no interest if someone decided to usurp his self-righteous father. Isis had called this being Lord. That had to count for something. Perhaps he should tread with care.

‘If truly you cause Isis to restore Wepawet to me, I shall bow to you as lord of the sky and giver of life, I shall be your champion. My faculties, fangs and my blade shall not know rest until you are lord of the Sun Palace.’

Isis brought a fist up to her mouth and blew into it, power surged through the room and she opened her fist again, revealing a clear crystal with a pool of darkness in its center. The howls of a tortured wolf could be heard from the crystal, echoes from a long hidden place.

She walked up to where Anubis knelt and offered the crystal to him.

He snatched the crystal from her and stared intently into its depths, drawn in by the subtle mesmer Isis had woven into it. There would be no turning back from this. If he took back his war aspect, it would destroy the terms of allegiance to his father and enter open rebellion against him.

Taking his eyes away from the power crystal, he looked at his father’s wife with a question in his gaze

 WHY?

She locked eyes with him and opened a psychic bond; letting some of her memories bleed through. Guilt, jealousy, anger, revenge. So it was true, he had heard whispers of Nephthys’ continuing trysts with Osiris and disregarded it as gossip. If Isis knew, then Osiris must have turned his favors away from her. It all made sense now, Isis with the musk of another strange god wrapped around her like a shroud. The goddess of magic and foreknowledge had turned her back on the throne, the end had already begun.

‘Very well, let us plunge the pantheon into chaos.’ Anubis smiled as he shattered the crystal against his cuirass.

Ra cawed appreciatively.

———————————————–

The next Installment comes up on Wednesday at 9am 🙂

Pantheon I – Transfiguration

When the remnant tumbled through the portal back into their native world, they did so in terror, so that they had neither the  courage nor presence of mind to start the lengthy process that would manually seal the tear in reality. This also meant that the Ayune, the Guardian and object of their terror,  followed them through.

The portal opened onto the snow-covered peak of Mount Ahrtis where the clouds held congress and decided upon the seasons. It had been three years now and they had forgotten. One of them died instantly from the shock of the cold and another fell down paralysed. The leader went straight to the edge of the flat peak where a natural wear on the rock would help him slide his huge frame a few metres lower. Anything to get away from the cold.  And the Guardian. In the battle that had ensued at the other side of the portal, he has lost his source of magic, the Amulet of Khronus. This would have been the perfect place to call forth lightning, for it was not an element of the world from which they escaped.

His soldiers followed. He had already begun his slide when the roar of the arriving Ayune pierced through the howling mountain-top winds, immediately accompanied by the screams of his men. He swivelled his avian head and caught a glimpse of flashing teeth, lashing tentacles and flightless wings upon three metres of muscles and bones before he slid completely out of view. He was far from a coward, but he had the prize of their quest and therefore his life was indispensable. He had a higher duty to his Emperor, Asu-Raneh.

By the time Ayune -drenched in the blood of the scores he had already slain in the Cavern of Everlast – realized it had lost its psychic bond to the object it had guarded for centuries the commander had shifted his concealment spell on the hide which swaddled his quarry. Its senses latched onto the fleeing commander storeys below it and gave a cry of frustration from its terrible mouth, blasting hot air into the cold and causing instant mist. It moved swiftly through the phalanx of men who defiantly blocked its path and made for the incline the commander had used in escaping. It was a being of heat and fire, from the universe of Ar. The thick snow melted rapidly under its searing claws and heated breath. It slipped on rapidly melting water at the precipice and hurtled forward and downwards uncontrollably, barely missing the descending commander before its tumbling descent was suddenly halted by jutting rock from the cliff face.

**

The three appeared over the top of the sand dune, running. Their limbs went forth powerfully, defying the heavy desert winds and granting them excellent speed. Their preened bodies were slick with sweat and dust that was foreign to the simmering desert that was bathed by the red light of the Sun. Their defiance of nature’s woes was evident in their audacity; wearing fitted suits of brushed steel mined from the fallen stars. The weight of each suit was equal to the weight of the wearer, though they ran on as if they had on garments of sheet cotton. Fresh battering adorned the suit. Despite their less than inspiring encounter with the Guardian, these were no mere mortals. They didn’t even stop when they got to the top of the sand dunes. No time to take in the view of the sprawling structure in the far distance.

The Palace guards were, of course, the first to espy the running figures as their dark forms streaked down the sands in the simmering desert heat. Their alert telescopic eyes identified the dark armour of the runners, and a messenger was sent with great urgency to notify the king. One gate-keeper wondered why only three returned now whereas twenty and four had departed from the palace three cycles before.

The three Sakuteri soon bridged the distance and reached the gate before coming to a brisk halt. The custom was not forgotten. The leader first handed his payload to the one directly behind him and solemnly removed his heavy armour first. His dark chest glistened with sweat underneath, sweat which ran into what seemed like heat injuries caused by the closeness of the iron to his body in the intense desert heat. As he removed his intricately patterned gauntlet, he did it carefully so as not to trouble the long freshly scabbed gash that ran from his biceps to just before the forearm where the length of the magnificently embossed metal glove ended. Whatever has caused the gash had also caused noticeable damage to the gauntlet as a deep scratch could be seen as though continuing the flesh wound along the gauntlet. He lifted his helmet to reveal his avian head, heavily slick with sweat. His hard beady eyes stared coldly at the laser wall in front of him and his great black beak open slightly, savouring the rush of dusty desert wind into his mouth. The thin laser defence, backed by powerful Ma-jeek, would detect all who passed through it with malevolent magic. The punishment was Death by the scorching of the Beak. A fatal process which was so gruesome, hardened rebels wept like hatchlings and begged for crucifixion instead.

He stood naked before the wall of laser light that went from one edge of the small pedestrian gate to the other, save for a sheer covering of grey sheet cotton that went around his middle. He recovered the bundle from his comrade as they too finished undressed themselves. It was wrapped in what seemed like dried Asconian flesh. Six guards were gathered at the other side, large hands on swords of super-dense cohrure  steel, one could never be too sure when it came to the Sakuteri. The commander passed through the thin wall of laser without much ceremony with his payload. His two soldiers followed suit.

The Palace stood in the distance, a kilometre-long monstrosity wrought of Bronze ore. Every inch of the curvy edifice was covered with ancient runes. The Palace, housing hundreds of chambers had been constructed by Arkenat II using the labour of the captured Hissenian slaves; compelling their greatest magicians to make esoteric wards for its protection. It was also rumoured that the god-king buried the magicians underneath the palace moments after the spells were perfected to make the secret absolute. This was in the time of the Air Wars when tempers were short and Asconian life was worthless.

They passed by the big royal air transports of Emperor Asu-Raneh III of the Ruscan empire of the world of Asco. Palace workers stole glances at their leathery skin and hurried off to continue their tasks. Laxity was not tolerated within the palace walls. When they approached the mighty ornate doors of the palace, they paused, raised their powerful beaks to the heavens and softly intoned the Salutation of Kings according to custom, their solemn voices a perfect mimicry of the midnight warbler.

He who beholds the Sun; He who chastens the moon

May they that spite you be burned with water

May they who love you behold your presence

The thick doors swung open noiselessly, revealing an extravagant hall pulsing with light from no discernable source. The guards stepped aside for the almost nude group as they walked in reverently. The Hall of Eternity was chilly despite the blazing red sun outside. Its blistering heat had no purchase there. Pillars of upward flowing water were visible everywhere interspersed with sculpted columns, powered by the blood of the slain magicians. The hall was filled with the sound of rushing water colliding with the rune-engraved ceiling. The opulence did not distract the three people who moved quickly and meaningfully.

Emperor Asu-Raneh III watched them approach, his hard black eyes on the bundle the leader bore. His upper beak was coated with a veneer of pure gold so that it reflected the ambient lighting brilliantly and gave him a semi-divine quality. Between his eyes rested the symbol of his Lordship; a thumb-sized piece of Injurin diamond of the highest quality of which the song griots sang odes and composed complicated ululations. It was supposedly bestowed on the progenitor A’Eyahkum Vnais Natrahk (The One Who Came Before The Egg)  by some extinct personal deity. Within the diamond was preserved forever, a pinch of blue sand that pulsed with the deity’s essence. His royal apparel lacquered with lapis lazuli glimmered in the light of the hall. He stood expectantly in a manner that was nothing less than majestic while the visitors reached the pool of burning silver which surrounded his throne. Beyond the pool of Silver on either side of the emperor were two granite statues of his ancestors. The commander glanced at the two statues briefly. The other two Sakuteri fell to their knees in reverence, while the leader did so with his arms outstretched, presenting the bundle.

“King of kings, He to whom the kings of Asco  pay tribute, May the Ruscan Empire resonate eternally with the glory of thy rule”, he began, “Your servants have sought out the hidden things  for three cycles in search of the Elixir of Alaklet, Purveyor of light and Bestower of immortality. Twenty and one of us have been lost to this odyssey, but only the pleasure and goal of our Lord the King is supreme. Behold the object your fathers sought but did not find. Now, your Imperial Majesty shall be exalted to godhood, for the gods have deemed you fit to swell their ranks. The glory is yours”

He laid the bundle on the artfully patterned floor and unwrapped it to reveal an ovoid object that was mostly featureless. It was twice the size of a Yakhu’s egg, appeared to be made of fine gold and was much heavier than it appeared. At the top was a circular groove. The area within the circumference of the groove was raised slightly above the surface of the object. It gave the impression of being depressible. The Elixir of Immortality was rumoured to be contained within its hollows.

Emperor Asu-Raneh III cooed to show his barely restrained pleasure, his oversized pupils contracted into tiny points as his telescopic sight examined the object closely. He walked down the solid gold steps that led from this Throne and over the boiling moat to the cool metal floor and stood before his minion. He solemnly reached for the vessel in the Commander’s hand.

It all happened in the dividing of a second…

The two soldiers on either side of the commander suddenly stood and, before their Emperor could employ his quick reflexes, buried their fists into his thick neck. This effectively dislodged his windpipe, making his beady eyes pop.  With the same motion, their other hands reached into their now wide-open beaks and drew out regurgitated shu’al daggers, the favoured weapon of defectors. These quickly replaced their fists in the emperor’s neck. No sound was made. Perfect.

His corpse fell backwards unto the steps.

By now, the statues on either side of the pool had come to life, their dark grey colour giving way to life –like hues, their cold hearts beating once more to protect their scion, but the commander was unfazed. No sooner had the statue on the left come to life than did the Commander launch it into the pool of silver by way of a powerful flying kick. The other two soldiers were not so lucky. The first soldier to reach the other statue didn’t push it hard enough with his kick, so the thing lashed out with its spear and impaled him. The other soldiers finished the task with another flying kick and succeeded in throwing it into the moat. It was the timing that mattered. Even the granite bodyguards were not immune to a fiery annihilation by the magic of the tainted waterfalls.

The commander still held on tightly unto the prize he had erstwhile presented to his Emperor.

Now, your Imperial Majesty shall be exalted to godhood…he knew for a fact that the elixir would only work its magic on anointed rulers. He was not a king. Yet.

He reached for the fallen king, while his subordinate stood at attention nearby, dug a talon into the Emperor’s skull and pried the inset diamond from between his milky vacant eyes. He ascended the steps, jumping over the Emperor’s body and sat on the throne while he set the diamond between his eyes. The sand within glowed. He was a soldier of the highest quality, as the previous emperor had been. It was his ilk that was worthy of Lordship.

The giant door opened and the palace guards halted in surprise at the scene playing out before them.

The commander raised the artefact and pressed the top knob with his thumb. The object burst into flames. Panic made his hands tremble, but he held on tightly, determined to lose an arm if necessary. The flames engulfed his arm but it was cold and didn’t seem to hurt him. Was it a test? In a few more moments, instead of the “egg”, he held a vial of transparent glass. The blue liquid could be seen inside. The commander opened his beak, threw his head back and downed the liquid.

Agony.

His scream reverberated within the hall supernaturally, causing the palace to tremble slightly. A beam of light shot forth from his ovoid eyes and his facial orifices. Immediately a sense of perfection dawned on him. Everything seemed clearer and more understandable. He could suddenly understand the fear and confusion the observing palace guards were facing and the pain his subordinate was feeling as the glory of his transfiguration consumed the fool. Ah. Power. The pain was gone now, and in its place was an infinite awareness. He could feel his very being transfigured into what he could only describe as “solid light”. The words came out of his mouth involuntarily and his voice filled the hall, light yet authoritative and reeking exceedingly of divinity.

“I am Ra, and I am your god!”

Then something unexpected happened.

He vanished in a vision of blinding light and rumbling noise.

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Next installment comes up on monday 🙂