I’m not sure what happened next. But I was one a beach of razor sharp shale, standing naked on the darkened shore, there was no light to speak of, but I could see perfectly well. But that wasn’t the first thing I’d noticed; my body was different, I had breasts and… you get the picture.
The howling wind spiralled around me, it carried whispers of alien words, to my ears. I could feel it moving away and knew where it went. I followed the eldritch murmur, the blades cut into my feet but I ignored it. Leaving the shore behind, I was drawn and I walked the barren hills up until I reached a stone slabbed look out. A lone altar stood in the middle of it. I climbed the steps and saw what laid beyond the hill.
I was on a small island in a sea of black oily darkness. On the horizon, I could see an iron tower built on the carcass of something I could not grasp. I could feel the tower beacon to me, telling me to come to it. On the altar, butterflies gathered, coalescing into a being, a figure draped in a dark robe.
“The stench of the sun and moon grow stronger.” It said, it’s voice coming from everywhere at the same time. “Their influence slowly dragging you toward oblivion.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“They were the firsts of many, the primordial celestials, but it was not enough, so they would be the only.” It said. It melted back into butterflies and reformed behind me. “Helios, Selene, Sol, Luna, Huitzilopochtli, Coyolxauhqui, Diana. So many names, but they remain the same. Words are like pathogens, they spread, multiply and become stronger the more they are uttered. Names are the same, stronger, bonded to a single being. Tell us sweetling, have you ever felt like you were being called when nobody was speaking? Names have a power, when spoken they stir something… Sometimes thing terrible that should remain untouched. So they would, the names were cast aside.
Now they were the Unconquered Sun and the White Goddess, Dominion and Predation, these feelings and urges you feel in your spine are their gift. So they could cast out their siblings they created monsters; the stealers of essence, those who change by the moon grace and those that would fall into the pit.
Are you beginning to understand, sweetling?” It touched my face’s skin and I felt it as if it came from every side at the same time.
“I don’t know. What is this place?”
“You were never meant to crawl on only three. Three dimensions like animals, you were meant for more. But in the days before the before before the before you were truly whole, rulers in your own right. But dark days were coming, thus the Harlot made a plan, her own kin she doomed so she could survive.
She was the first that would be the ascendants, like the others, many names were given, but she was always the original harlot, the lady beyond the pale who tempt you into knowing what should not be with promises of power, teaching reality pathogens to those willing to play into her schemes. When the brothers built the tower, she was there, she answered their wishes and once again broke the world.
There were four times; A time of greatness, a time of fear, a time of brilliance and now a time of loss.
Do you begin to understand? You were left hollow, vulnerable to the powers beyond, amputated of your ethereal organs, leaving a void that would be filled to make nightmares true for a war in the heavens.
But this world misses you. It seep through the cracks of reality at three in the morning where a time now lost once existed. Most never come in contact but a few do, taking it within them, rejuvenating the atrophied ethereal organs within them. You call them magicians, sorcerers, witches, adepts, avatars. They dream of things lost on these desolate shores of a dying world.
But everything has it’s price.
This world seeks balance, a new life, order. Words become binding, oaths are sacred to the empty shells that remains here, they will trust you, empower you, work for you, but dare not betray your covenant with these powers. For once the spirit within awaken one becomes a beacon to the things that would prey on them, they flock to it, like moths to a flame.
Of course, they are not the only one who beckon to you; The Ruler in his pit, once firstborn of the sun but cast out, now conspire with it’s siblings for freedom and so does the Dreamer, lost in the sleep of death, who reaches out to those ruled by passion. Ascendants they are. But there are things older than them on these shores relics of the age of fear, nightmares made real, a gift of the Harlot upon your species...”
I wasn’t sure I understood what he wanted to say, but I had a feeling it was important. The Ruler and his siblings I figured were demons, the dreamer’s chosen must have been fae… The last were bogeymen.
Before he could continue speaking, the world started shaking, taken over by a loud rumbling. “Something deep is stirring up, your time on this world is coming to an end. We will see you again, Sweetling. Know that something hungry stirs beneath your city…”
I was shaking, sweating on the floor of the club. Dark liquid poured out of every orifice of my body. It pooled down on the ground next to me and I saw it sizzle, evaporating away into oblivion.
“What the hell just happened?” I asked, still lying on the ground and in shock. “It’s all a blur.”
“It will come back to you slowly. Right now you’re still traumatized by the experience of perceiving the world in more than three dimensions of space. It will get easier, but it will always been a harrowing experience.” Grigori explained. “We are simply too damaged to do it easily.”
“Why would I ever want to subject myself to that?”
“Because the most powerful pacts you could seal lies buried in that world, starved from essence and waiting for someone to help them. Not mere ghosts or even bogeyman, but beings of legend. But this does not mean they will be friendly toward you, they will want to eat you alive to satisfy their hunger. But just as we are, they are bound by the Covenant. They must abide by their oaths.”
The Covenant had a lot of different promise that came pre-installed in it. One was respecting neutral grounds like Alessa’ beach and Fortress Island. One always had to accept a surrender if they agreed to be bound and if you invited someone into your home or sanctum, they would not attack you and you would not do harm to them and you would do your best not to involve the uninitiated into the supernatural world. Breaking any of these rules or any oath you’d taken upon yourself would make you forsworn. On one hand you were no longer bound by any oaths, on the other, you could never again make any, you couldn’t bind spirits or be protected by the laws of engagement.
“I need to go.” I said. I was getting dizzy and nauseated, from the experience, the loud electronica not helping.
“Of course. I’ll be here when you need me again. In body at least, so long as you keep respecting the laws of hospitality while within the confine my sanctum.”
“Naturally.” I said. I stumbled around more than walked and left the place. The Bouncer shot me a concerned look but I kept going. I was starving and more than that, I was having craving so badly. I found a cab and asked him to bring me home.
I don’t remember the drive home so much, just a haze. I’d spent several hours inside the club and what had happened was just as tiring as the combat I’d had with bogeymen and the shifters. When I reached home, I took the elevator up and smelled cooking, sweet delicious food…
I walked inside and found Kaleb at the stove.
“Oh great timing.” He said, hugging me. “Wow, you look like hell. Are you alright, kitten?”
“Tired and very very famished.” I grumbled, clinging to him.
“I guess it’s good I made something… I just hope you don’t mind that I invited someone over.”
“Who did you invite?” I asked, my face still squashed against his shirt.
“Well…” He began but didn’t finish. Someone walked in from the bedroom, their shoes loud on the hardwood floor.
It was my mom. And here I was hoping for a relaxing evening...