The Woman strode forward elegantly, observing each of us in turn. She paused when she arrived at me. She smiled slightly as her eyes hit my own.
"You have at last arrived. Thank you."
"I don't desire gratitude, I want an explanation." I snapped back.
"As you deserve, as you all deserve."
She rose one slender hand into the air, reaching to my face. My mana began to coarse. She noticed sending her thoughts to mine;"be still, I require a catalyst for this."
Against my better judgment, I let her proceed. Her skin slid by my cheek with a liquid flow.
Then I was gone.
The world began to fade away, replaced by a white plane that erased every other colour. I was startled, and more than a little suspicious that she had thrown me into a trap. Then I heard a yelp from behind in a voice of Talia's. I turned and found all three of them standing right where they had been.
"What trickery is this?" Hopwil growled.
"Do not worry," came the reply from this woman,"I find doing this is far better than explaining."
Everyone seemed to hear her this time, Tariq deciding to ask a question.
"What is your name? I have no preference to call you 'girl'."
"I have very many names that different people have chosen. I quite like my first, Retheri."
"Retheri, what is your purpose for showing this?" I asked next.
"I shall tell you a story before this memory unfolds. Priest, your old scriptures mention Idenus, the one of good harvest?" She directed at Hopwil.
"Yes. But he was far more than that, long ago he supposedly laws in our world. He started the first cycles of the universe itself. He controlled it's flow in the beginning."
"Idenus once existed. My people lived in the Echo-zone long before any knew it as such. This was a much different land then. It was a fertile place, with wondrous mountain ranges and lush fields. Idenus watched us with great pride, one day seeing a little girl named tilling the fields. He watched her for a decade before descending as an eagle and telling her that he had fallen in love, and wanted her to come with him. She was so thrilled and bewildered that she of course said yes. He gave her eternal youth, wanting her never to decay like all the other things he had started. I am Retheri, wife to the god of fertility."
I think we all gasped at this. A revelation that seemed so unreasonable, and yet believable.
"What I will show you now is from the beginning of his downfall."
Suddenly, misty color began to flood back into the world around us. We were suspended, floating in a alien sky. Purple clouds drifted by, and I stared with awe. In the distance, I saw a chunk of land. This island, suspended by a long rock pillar that stretched down into the lands below, carried a plane of long silver grass. A gentle breeze betrayed three figures, one I could already tell was Retheri.
We seemed to drift towards the island(or it drifted towards us)and I could see clearly the other two. One was a huge man with grey hair, that I soon realized was a mane. This man was more lion than humanoid. His fierce blue eyes pierced into me, even as they were directed at the other more disturbing lifeform.
This one stood beside Retheri. He was bloated, his round face with an untrimmed beard and balding head. Soiled white robes were draped over his disgusting torso.
"Idenus stands beside me."
"How appalling. Idenus was known as a example of physical perfection in our texts." Hopwil growled.
"One he did not look like that, but as he began to misguide the power he wielded, he took on a new form."
The cat like leader stood strong, his teeth bared in a threatening manner.
"Idenus. How can you bare to look at yourself now?" He snarled.
"I don't enjoy such tones. What do you want of me?"
The lion raised his arms into the air, letting the wrappings coated with ancient writing run free.
"You have failed!"
"What did you say!" The obese god yelled.
"Look out upon those fields. What do you see? I see your stupidity! You accelerated the forces of the sun, providing harvests that fattened the people below! You held back the properties of water so it would flow to their crops and wells!"
"I only wanted them to succeed!" Retorted Idenus.
"Success? They are too lazy to go and till their fields. What more you have triggered a surge in the flow of energy, the tipping point has been passed, and now I have little choice but to do the unthinkable."
Retheri's eyes widened, and she ran past her husband to the lion, who now had an aura radiating from his hands.
"Please no! There must be some other way!" Her pleading got no where though.
"He has betrayed you all. Given you promise, and ret it run wild. If this is to continue then all of this world will run into disorder. So I must sweep the place of all that it once had."
With that, he swept his hands over the towns and orchards of this pre-echo-zone. The world began to choke. Storms ravaged the land, beastmen pillaged from the farther forests, and fires cleansed all life from each horizon.
"Pleh, no matter. I'll construct a better species next time."
Retheri turned to her husband with tears streaming down her face. She balled up one fist and struck against the god's pudgy face, then ran off through a portal that the lion had made.
"You are no longer a god, Idenus the Glutton. I have stripped you of such authority. Now, you will drift in the void."
With that, two formless shadow guards appeared from no-where and grabbed each of Idenus's arms. They drug him to the cliftside, and cast him away, leaving only his scream behind.
The world returned to me with a blink. The woman ahead of me was crying, and Talia approached her, holding her hand as she regained her composure.
"Idenus....he didn't die like they had hoped. He had been thrown into the space between worlds, a land known as the Bridge. He drifted, slowly regaining a bit of dark power. His madness and hunger drove him to begin doing whatever he could to find new power. When he finally drifted into a new world, he devoured whatever he could. Soon his appetite became able to support all manor of things. Magic and matter itself became but one more thing he could tear apart for his own strength. His army is one of greed and anguish that he has pulled from countless lands, soldiers born and raised with his madness inflected upon them."
This revelation was too much for me to handle. I wanted to sit down. Everyone else didn't seem to be taking it so well either.
"I fled, back to the graveyard of my people. Much later, crossworlders began to pull through, and I knew Idenus was somewhere out there. Wanting to destroy Thereafter."
She stood, motioning us to follow. We did so, and were led into a hollow room, illuminated by sparse white light strips on the floor. Something was in the center of this room though. A glowing stone.
"I desire one thing, a simple grave for me and my husband. I want you to guarantee that he never leaves that tomb when the time comes."
She handed me the stone, which I took cautiously. I realized it was an arrowhead when my hands touched it.