Four Times, Four Tales
~~~ Four Times, Four Tales ~~~
Being four short stories set in different time periods.
- Fall of a Titan -
“The drop-ship neared the planet’s surface. The five awaiting the landing looked out on the cloud cover. I was one of them, and as I beheld the parting clouds I made out a world of few settlements and many lands of grassy hills, rocky cliffs, and rugged mountains. Two moons and a planet with a large ring could be seen in the sky, for it was late afternoon, nearly nightfall. Michael was the leader of our expedition, with his amethyst armor and the perpetual scowl he wore as elegantly as his mane of black hair. His cruelty towards his enemies was legend. Gabriel was the kindest of the four beside myself, and her pleasant oval face shone with compassion. Her hair was the color of spun gold, and her ruby armor was delicate and beautiful to behold. Azrael was silent and aloof, her face unreadable. Her skin was as blue as the sea, and her long raven hair matched her black onyx armor perfectly. Lucifer, my sister, was the fourth member of our team. Her platinum blonde hair, emerald green eyes, and armor of gold were emblematic of her role as Divine Princess, although Gabriel and she were rivals for that title. She was passionate, ambitious, and could be filled with the greatest love or the maddest wrath. I adored her! What was I like in that life, in those days before the rise of man? My hair was gold, much like Gabriel’s, and my eyes were like sapphires. All blue, with no white in them. This was a trait of our race that our eyes were of one solid color. All five of us, on that ship, had such alien eyes. My armor was silver, inlaid with white pearls. I was beautiful. We all were, even Michael. Androgynous and perfect in every imaginable way! Some called us gods and goddesses, others called us angels… but on that day, we were death, coming to punish the wicked, on a planet I had never heard of before. It was a punitive mission. Gabriel held my hand, whilst Lucifer toyed with her sword. All of us had swords… long metal blades of varying materials, with hilts that hid a button which when pressed caused a current of electricity to shoot through the weapon and charge it like a modern day taser gun. The difference is that our blades were lethally charged. Gabriel smiled at me in a serene manner. Her job was to keep me calm and centered, ready for the battle to come. I was the chief of the Seven Archons, and though I had been in exile from the domain of my mother, the Divine Empress Sophia, I was still a god.
Even a god can know fear! I felt a knot in my stomach as the ship thumped on one of the grassy plains below. “We go on three!” Michael shouted. Though I was the eldest of the five, he was in command in his role as Divine Regent. A role he abused more often than not! “One… two… three!” and as the door slid open on the craft, we jumped out and prepared for combat. “This world is ruled by a renegade who seeks to break from the Divine Empire. One of the Titans… your people, Ariel.” That was all the briefing Michael gave me, and all he said to me on that day, when he called me by my angelic name rather than my true name. The Titans… the descendants of the Seven Archons! Part biological being and part machine, though outwardly humanoid in appearance. My subjects, who looked upon me as their god! The god who caused the war that broke our home world of Kobol. I was still trying to put the horrors of that war behind me, for it would not do with my current alliance with our ancient enemies, the Olympians… they whom the Seven Archangels ruled over with an iron fist. Michael was their supreme overlord. I cleared my head of all distractions and scanned the terrain before me. My body at the time was of Titan manufacture, a mere vessel for my spirit and soul. As such, it was partly mechanical and had certain… advantages. “I can see no sign of any foes here. Are you certain, Michael, that…” but before I could finish my words they appeared. Fanatical soldiers in white armor and white robes, carrying rifles they immediately fired upon seeing us! The renegades forced us to take cover behind some rocks, but Azrael had other ideas and ran as fast as lightning into the midst of the soldiers. Hacking, slicing, and slaying whilst the Angel of Death herself let out a shrill shriek: which was her typical battle cry. We made the most of this and charged. Our foes retreated up a path into the hills and mountains, as we gave chase.
We pushed them back to the walls of a great monastery built into the side of a granite cliff perched on a massive shelf of rock in the mountains. The path up to it was narrow and treacherous, bordered on both sides by rocky hills, the same sort which we had just traversed. Their armor was light, making them more mobile… so I shed my armor in favor of the silver jumpsuit I wore beneath it, with its’ puffy sleeves and bloomer-like pant legs. It was frilly, feminine, and beautiful. My race, though androgynous, favored a feminine beauty. Lucifer wore similar attire beneath her armor, hers golden in color. She made ready as I did, and together we ran ahead and sought a way into the fortress before us. The enemy had barricaded the main doors, but Lucifer spied a secondary servants’ entrance around the back. “Look, sister!” I declared as I noticed it was unguarded. “I think they want us to pay them a visit.” And without second thoughts, I stormed into the dark of the monastery, down the arched halls lit only by dim wall sconces. My vision adjusted itself to the gloom, and I could see the soldiers down a corridor that wound to the left. Their backs were turned, and when I fell upon them they were not expecting to meet the bite of my blade. Lucifer arrived to find me pursuing them into the very bowels of the ancient structure. Soon, I saw the leader of these men… the renegade Titan. In height, all Titans were no larger than any humanoid being, contrary to myth and legend. But this one was seven feet tall, wearing black hooded robes. “Xenus!” He shouted at me, calling me by a name more ancient than the one by which Michael knew me. I did not recognize him, however. “Join me, Xenus! Together we can avenge ourselves upon Michael and his Olympian lackeys.” But I replied: “Down that path, there is only war without end. Were you there, when Kobol was wiped nearly clean of life as the fires ravaged its’ surface? It was my jealousy and anger that birthed those flames! I shall not see them loosed again.” But the Titan was resolved. “Then die, my Archon!” And he signaled for his followers to fire upon me. Lucifer jumped forward and with uncanny speed she deflected their bullets with her sword. I saw only flashes of metal, and bullets hitting the floor. I heard only screams, as my sister slaughtered them almost to a man, the emerald fire of her eyes unleashing green flame that devoured flesh, blood, and souls.
I faced the Titan, who fought me with a long staff that held a metal ball on both ends. It too was charged with electricity, and when our weapons clashed together sparks shot out in all directions. “Submit to your Archon, or perish!” I demanded, but he only growled and continued to resist me. I struck at him, slashing his robe and his skin. He would have bled, had not the heat of my blade cauterized the wound as soon as it was inflicted. Lucifer saw our clash, and lent a portion of her emerald fire to me through our spiritual bond. My eyes now blazed with it, and I looked upon my foe with death in that gaze. He was consumed by the flames that shot out unto him, and his body bloated, burned, and cracked to the bone, exposing the wires, circuits, and other electronics that made up part of his being. Seeing his death, his men surrendered and soon Michael and the others arrived to round them up. Their fates would be cruel, but nothing they had not earned. The war was over, but still their kind sought to kindle old hatreds anew! I would encounter their like again.”
--- From the Chronicles of the Celestial Order
- In Remembrance of Mars -
Upon the bleak desolation, I walked, on my way to the great citadel where the Council of Five awaited my arrival. I wore billowing white pantaloons, and a black, sleeveless top. My sandaled feet trod upon broken stones, sand, and debris. My head was shaven in the Martian fashion, and to protect against the sun, I wore a black, hooded cloak. A great wooden staff aided me upon my way across that dry and inhospitable terrain. It was large and sturdy, but not unwieldy. I needed to speak with the Princess sent from the nearby world betwixt Jupiter and Mars. The daughter of the Dragon Queen herself! She and the Five Elemental Lords were holding a council to determine the course of action to take against rumors of Olympian aggression. As a member of the Titan race and the chief ruler of the Seven Archons, I had to attend this council at all costs, to give my people a voice in the events to come. But first, I needed to cross the desert and pass through the forest of the terrible Grahl, in order to reach the citadel that lay in a valley on the other side. It was a dangerous and perilous journey, but I had already from far. All the way from the underground city of Akal-Nergalia, the city of the Red Warriors. I traveled alone, because I was unafraid of the Grahl and had no other enemies who would dare my wrath. For I was the consort of the Princess, as well as the heir to the Dragon Queen’s throne and power. Even so, I felt uneasy about this trip.
The end of the desolation was before me, ere long, and I saw the massive trees of the forest rising up like phantoms from the reddish mists of the Martian morning’s soil. The wind blew across my face, and I set my will to the task at hand. The Grahl lived in those trees, and in the days when Mars still had water, trees, and life… in the days when still the Dragon Queen’s home planet existed, not yet blasted into asteroids… one did not travel through such a territory lightly. A party of hunters stood nearby, preparing their obsidian-tipped spears. They wore mostly leather harnesses and loincloths, and kept their hair wild and unkempt. Barbarians, to be certain, but not unfriendly to a stranger passing through their hunting grounds! “Are you here to aid us in hunting the Grahl, stranger?” they called out to me. I said: “No, I seek to journey to the citadel in the valley beyond the forest.” Then the hunters advised me: “Take Amber with you, then. She is the most skilled of us, and will protect you from the Grahl should they attack.” I agreed to this, and a tall muscular woman with a mane of flame-red hair came forward to lead me. “I am the one they call Amber. Follow me and I shall guide you on the safest path.” And so she and I made our way into the forest whilst the hunters continued to prepare for their upcoming hunt. The woods soon enveloped us, like a primeval place from before the dawn of time. Thick trunks, and wild roots and vines, were everywhere. The scent of moss was thick in the air, and I could hear birds and other animals, as well as insects buzzing. Golden shafts of sunlight beamed through the trees, and all was very beautiful, very ancient, and very serene. For several hours we walked on, and soon we began to hear a low growling sound that made us wary indeed.
Amber’s watchful eye spotted the beasts before I noticed they were there. Massive, ape-like things they were, with sharp claws, black eyes, and coats of black or white fur. They descended with great skill from their homes in the trees, and had a sudden desire to impede our progress, if not devour us if they could. Amber’s spear poked one in the eye, and I dropped my staff to draw my golden sword from its’ sheathe at my belt. I cut the arms off of one of the animals and moved to strike down the next, whilst Amber had slain several of their number. Her speed was cat-like, and mine could not match hers despite my training in various arts of a martial sort. Eventually, after suffering at our hands, the Grahl decided to call off their attack and retreat back into the trees. The horn of the hunters could be heard far off, and Amber suggested we hurry upon our way before her brothers and sisters stirred up more of the Grahl from their hidden places. Soon, we put this savage danger behind us and found the rough and overgrown path that led to Citadel Valley. The journey was pleasant, and often: Amber asked me about myself. I told her only that I was a general in the service of the Dragon Queen, and she talked with me about her life on the nearby steppes, with her kin. She was primitive and simple but I could not but admire her for her strength and sense of honor and loyalty. We became very close upon that journey, and before the day was out we had made it to the end of the forest. “I want to accompany you to the citadel.” She told me. And I accepted her companionship. She never asked me my name she simply had accepted me for me. “I would be happy to lead you there, since you guided me all the way to get here!” For: I had gone by longer, safer routes to there in the past.
We wound our way down and into Citadel Valley. The high orange cliffs that enclosed the valley rose up on both sides of the pass that led hither. It was a safe route and well protected. Side roads led into and out of the valley, and those were the paths I traveled long ago. Amber was starting to become very attached to me, and she put her free arm around my waist as walked, the spear in her other. “Tell me, general. Is your Princess beautiful?” and I tried to think of the Princess, but found myself distracted by thoughts of the mighty maiden I now traveled with. “She is very different from you.” I told Amber. “Pale skinned, not tanned as you are, with shaven head like mine and black makeup to enhance her beauty. She wears silks, and she walks with much dignity. Her voice is polite, but she can also be wanton and cruel when she desires something. I am her consort, but I do not know if I can give her the whole of my heart.” And Amber nodded, not really understanding fully, the ways of politics and civilization… I was happy she did not. It was nightfall when we finally reached the citadel. The moons were high in the starry sky, and I showed Amber the way into the magnificent edifice. Within, the council was meeting in the circular chambers reserved for such occasions. Tall marble pillars held up the domed ceiling with its’ top open to the sky. The moons were directed above us. The Princess addressed the gathering, whilst Amber and I approached the raised dais upon which she stood. “You have come, Lord Archon.” She said to me, imperious in her manner as always. “I could never fail you, my Princess.” I said to her. She seemed to take no notice of the woman whose arm was still about me. “Come, you and your companion are welcome in our hall! As always.” Thusly, I walked unto the dais to stand at the Princess’ side. Amber could not bring herself to approach, and stayed back below. Then, the great meeting began in earnest.
We would eventually mobilize against the Olympians, and we would be defeated by their terrible might. The Dragon Queen’s world would be destroyed, Mars would we wiped clean of all life, and other horrors would transpire outside the scope of this chronicle to relate. But that night, I lay in the arms of the Princess and for a brief time forgot about life’s hardships. I was neither male nor female, but I could be either gender when I wished. Such was the physiology of the Archons, that we were created androgynous. I know, for I created them in my very likeness. They were partly humanoid, and partly machine. Imperfect, compared to me. I lived, but I could not say if they truly lived, soul-endowed though they were. In remembrance of Mars, I pen this. So that you will know, you who live on Earth and wonder if life ever existed elsewhere in the universe! Life did, and those of us who lived on other worlds now walk on yours, as human as you.
- Feast of the Grail -
It had been a yearlong struggle to regain the realm, and twenty-eight days after that… the King of the North held a great feast in honor of the old gods. The floor of the great hall of his castle was marble, tiled in white and black squares. The hall was lined on both sides with great columns, and on both sides of the King’s throne there was a smaller column. To the left of his throne was a black column, and to the right of it a white column. All of this was in accordance to the traditions that his forefathers had laid down in their leather-bound tomes. Red curtains and draperies hung from the walls, and a massive table ran the length of this chamber, beginning at the entrance doors and ending just before the throne itself. The table was decked with every kind of delicacy the King could spare, and every kind of wine he could offer. Twenty-eight chairs lined the table, fourteen to the left of it and fourteen to the right of it. At the table were gathered countless lords and ladies of the realm, and as I walked into the chamber I could hear the pleasant strings of the lute player as she sang ballads of old, to regale this fair gathering with much levity and cheer. I wore a long green gown with pleated skirts, puffy sleeves, and golden trim. My head was adorned with a curly golden-haired wig, for my natural hair was short and ill suited to complement such fine clothing. A blood red sash gathered my gown at the waist, and at my throat I wore a black leather choker with sharp metal spikes and tiny cog wheel-like designs between each spike. My face was decorated with the finest makeup, and my lips with blood-red coloring that went well with the red blush upon my cheeks. I was the very picture of a noblewoman, though I had been born a man. I never had any use for the gender of my birth, and so I lived as they saw me: as a woman. The King’s gathering was open to all who dwelt in not only the realm, but in other realms far beyond its’ borders. And so, from a land to the east I did hail, though in the King of the North’s realm I had been born. My leather boots clapped upon the floor as I made my way to the head of the table, to sit at the final and twenty-eighth seat… on the left side. I reclined languorously, a slight smile playing.
Before long, a young blonde-haired girl wearing a white linen gown brought forth a golden chalice covered by a white cloth made from oriental silk. She sat the covered cup before me and smiled meekly as she stepped back from the table. The King announced that I was to uncover the cup only at the appointed time and not before. He said not why. I looked at the ornate silk cloth and noticed it was marked with a blood red cross upon its’ entire surface. Soon, a party of knights entered the hall and surrounded the King’s throne on all sides. The knights wore chain mail over which were white robes adorned with the same kinds of crosses the silk cloth had upon it. They smiled serenely at the gathering before them. Serenely, and silently! Ere the chiming of the sixth bell after noon, the guests had finished their repast and the King was growing bored. The girl who played the lute had taken a break to rest her voice from so much singing, and I sipped from a silver cup some fruit nectar that was imported from the land I had been living in now for some time ere I came to this feast. I was growing restless, and I so eyed the covered chalice and wondered what was so special about it, that I could not look upon it yet. The young girl then returned, and she whispered into my right ear: “The Prince wishes to speak with you.” And so I followed her from the table and out of the dining hall, to some stairs leads up into a high tower. Within a circular observation chamber, with windows that showed vistas of the entire surrounding countryside… the Prince stood and waved to me in greeting. I bowed, very humbly.
The young girl went back to her duties (for she was a servant) and I looked upon the beautiful, androgynous features of the Prince. It was no secret, that the Prince fancied himself to be as much of a maid as I did. He wore full and frilly trousers of golden silk that came to his ankles, and he sported a white lacy blouse. A gold woman’s cape was draped over his right shoulder, and it went well with his bright eyes and platinum blonde hair… which cascaded down his back in flowing tresses that would put even the Queen’s beauty to shame. “Come to me, Lady Ariel! Come to me, and let us whisper in the golden hues of the afternoon.” This he said unto me, almost singing each word with his lovely light voice. And we whispered, of so many deep and secretive things! I shared with him many of my life’s experiences, and he shared his with me. My heart went out to him, for we two were kindred in that we both had suffered much. We shared a kiss, at first a sweet and tender one, but soon it was fierce and passionate. “My Lady Lord…” he said to me after the kiss ended, “Now is the time for you to see what lies beneath the white silk.” And so, he took me by my left hand, his right wrapped snugly about my waist, and led me back downstairs to the dining hall, which had become a scene straight out of Hell itself. The floor was covered in blood, and the chairs were all overturned and broken in places. The people appeared to have slaughtered one another, and the knights too all lay dead. Only the King and the young servant girl remained. I gasped, but the Prince cautioned me not to fear. He led me to the girl, who brought the covered chalice before me. The King then commanded me to lift the cloth from it, and I did as he bade. The chalice was empty, and quite unremarkable. “This is the secret of the Holy Grail.” The girl said, her child’s voice saying it with the imperiousness of a queen. “I do not understand.” I said, and the Prince then brought out an emerald mounted on a silver circlet. He placed the circlet on the girl’s brow, and she said unto me: “This too, is the secret of the Holy Grail.” I still did not understand, and finally the King handed her the dagger he kept in his boot. The girl sliced her palm with the dagger, allowing her blood to flow and drop unto the floor. “I… am the Holy Grail.” She stated. “And this, is my Holy Blood.” She intoned. The Prince released his grasp on me and I knelt before the sacred child, overwhelmed. “Why are they all dead, my lady?” I asked of the child, and she replied: “Because so long as there is evil in human hearts, there will always be hatred, war, and death. But I can offer life eternal. Life to the wastes of your own eastern home, Lady Ariel of the Great Wastelands.” The Prince then added: “All you need do, is drink.” But I was terrified to sip the girl’s blood. Horrified, even!
Life returned to the Great Wastelands. The feast of the King of the North was over. The King had been a cripple before, but now he could walk. The Prince was free to do as he wished, so he and I went back to my home in each other’s company. The Holy Grail… the Holy Girl… decided to likewise accompany us, so that she might see the green plants and numerous flowers of many colors as they grew, as they did long ago. At her touch, the waters ran pure where they had been green with foulness. She cured all of the land, but she could not cure one thing: the hearts of the people. That is what I learned from the grisly end of the King’s feast: that humanity must learn to help itself. “I do this for the sake of all, but I cannot force people to change.” The girl explained to me as we walked along, past beautiful gardens, once twisted brambles filled only with dead or dying things. I nodded in understanding as the Prince did look at me lovingly. When she had done all that she felt compelled to do, the Holy Girl then bid us farewell as a company of angels came down to escort her heavenward. But her blood still flowed within me, having mingled with my own when I did reluctantly partake of it at the King’s behest.
- The Gauntlet of the Gods -
In the days of ancient Babylon, a legend was passed down since the days of the older empire that preceded it. According to the legend, a king of the first dynasty, the one that came down from the stars to rule as kings and queens over men, had ordered the building of a great ziggurat. So mighty was it that it seemed to tower over his kingdom and reach up to leer at the heavens themselves. Great gardens were created to enhance the beauty of the structure: and atop the highest steps was built a temple to the gods. The steps were manifold, and the king often sat in the temple to contemplate his loneliness. He felt quite distant from those who came not from the world he had lived on, ere he made the journey earthward. And so the Star King, as he became known, gave forth an order for all the most noble and brave heroes of the land to gather at the foot of the ziggurat. Once gathered thusly, the king met them and told them that they would all travel the steps to the top, and that they would fight great foes upon their way. Any who survived, would be made into gods… as the king was… and so the king would have others like unto himself and so be lonely and distant no more. The warriors, male and female, made their way up those perilous steps. Fierce opponents awaited them and were both man and beast in nature. Lions sprang forth with great savagery, and so the fight became one of brutal survival. The king was cruel in the design of these perils, and there were traps such as spikes and darts to deal with as well. In total, only three of the heroes who ventured unto this gauntlet actually made it to the top of the ziggurat. There, they met two horrible guardians who had the bodies of lions, the faces of men, and the wings of dragons. The guardians were on either side of the temple, and ere long only two heroes remains whilst the third fell. The guardians were no more. The two entered the temple and awaited the arrival of the king. Once inside, the king made them as he was, offering them the water of life and the fruit of immortality. So went the legend, that he made them his heirs. One woman and one man became one prince and one princess. So the line of the Star King was continued, for he had no living heirs to continue it otherwise. In time, the legend was forgotten, having been scribed into ancient tablets and then copied unto scrolls in later centuries by those who had not the knowledge of what really transpired.
In the medieval era, in the great city of Acre, a woman was purchasing a map from an old Saracen trader. “This map is said to lead to the remnants of a great and forgotten ziggurat from the days of Babylon.” The trader told her. The woman wore a pair of baggy breeches, black leather boots, and a red peasant blouse, which was belted at the waist with a black, studded belt. A simple brown cloak kept the sun from parching her skin, but the hood was drawn back for now and her long black hair rustled in the cool breeze of the marketplace. Her bright blue eyes regarded the trader with curiosity. She spoke with an obvious English accent. “I will purchase the map, but I want a guide to take me to the ziggurat. What say you, you seem to know something about it after all!” but the trader laughed at that, and he said: “Woman, if I go with you then who will be here to sell my wares? No, instead my son shall be your guide. Ali, come and hear what your father wants!” which set the deal in motion. Soon: the trader’s son Ali and the mysterious woman were embarked by camel across the desert. The map led them to an oasis first, where they camped for the night and filled their water skins anew. The desert heat had been merciless, but the chill of night was no less dangerous. Thusly, they started a fire and slept near it. “What do you know about the legend surrounding the ziggurat?” the woman asked Ali. His eagle-like features regarded her strangely for a moment, and he stroked his beard in deep contemplation. “How did you hear that there was a legend at all?” Ali inquired of her. “It was told to me by my father, who was seeking after it his whole life. He was a Crusader, a Knight of the Temple who fought for Jerusalem. He perished in battle, and I am carrying on his work to find the place the legend spoke of.” That is what she told him, and he replied: “Then you know more than I. All my father ever told me is that there is supposed to be a great and terrible secret within the walls of the ruined temple atop the ziggurat’s summit. A secret that claims men’s lives, if not their souls as well! Be wary.”
On the morrow, they continued to follow the landmarks pointed out on the map. Many times, they passed the bones of camels picked clean by scavengers. A very common sight in the deserts of the Middle East! But on occasion, the remains of men could be seen half-buried in the sand. Knights, Bedouins, nomads, and the occasional bandit had all met their ends in this region. “Why are there so many corpses here?” the woman asked. Ali explained: “It is because this is a region that is often traversed by people who sometimes are on opposite sides of various conflicts. They settle their differences in blood, and this is the result. The woman made the sign of the cross and prayed for the souls of the dead. Many days were they in the war-torn desolation before emerging into a series of hills, mountains, and high cliffs bordered on one side by wet marshlands. “The map says that the ziggurat lies within those marshes someplace.” Ali explained. The woman nodded, deep in some thought or another. Then, she realized: “We will need to tie the camels to some nearby trees before we enter the marshes. They will not go into that sort of terrain, I am certain.” Ali agreed, and once the camels were bound and left with some food and water the pair entered the soggy terrain. Ali’s long white robe was soon stained brown with mud and black with dirt. So hot was it in the marshes that he discarded his headscarf and tore strips from it first to wipe away his sweat. The woman seemed oblivious to the heat, but was clearly sweating profusely. Their breathing became more labored as they walked on, following that vague map.
Broken pieces of rubble from ancient buildings were the first signs that the ziggurat was near. The woman noticed it at last, the steps and pyramid-like shape poking up from the centuries of swampy, jungle-like vegetation. “There it is, the ziggurat of the old legend!” she exclaimed, and soon the pair hastened to its’ base. Ali was uncertain about ascending the steps, however. “They called this the Gauntlet of the Gods.” The woman said, remembering something from long ago. “How do you know that?” said her guide, and she replied: “I do not know. I am certain my father never mentioned such a detail to me. It is very strange.” But she soon shrugged it off and set her feet on the first few steps leading upwards. Suddenly, a nearby statue of a lion came to life and attacked Ali, who sliced at it with his curved sword. It went down with little effort, and the woman gasped at the suddenness of the struggle. Ali nodded to her, for her to continue, and so she climbed the steps. Along the way she saw other statues. Ali was behind her, eyeing the statues cautiously. Warriors and great beasts were carven in stone, and came alive to attack the two. This time, the woman drew her own blade, a long sword made from sharp Spanish steel. Ere long, she and Ali confronted all of the terrors the Gauntlet had to throw at them. They dodged the traps, as well, which sought their lives. Spikes and darts. Soon, they stood at the summit, where the temple lay. They saw the remains of the two guardians, now only bits of broken and shattered stone. Those came not to life, but remained silent. The king walked out to greet them, as alive and well: as he was thousands upon thousands of years before. He welcomed his reincarnated heirs home, and made them into gods, like he was.
Written by Kou_Indigo
(Kara Lucielle Pythiana)
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