“Kylie, did you ever learn the story behind Pandora’s Box” he asked and he smiled, his eyes crinkling as he did. He was an older man, had to be in his fifties-sixties. Scars lined up his face and had one eye that he was completely blind in. His graying hair pulled away from a slowly balding area on his head.
“I do but what does the story of Pandora’s Box… have to do with me?” I asked, confused by the history question.
“Kylie, you will learn soon enough, that all things are connected, even you” he paused to clear his throat before continuing. “I am not sure how much of a history person exactly you are and whether or not you knew that Pandora’s Box was really a jar; there was a part of the story that you most likely didn’t know, since this part had been hidden and was not released to the public for a long time. But for history purposes, I like to refer to it as a jar, as it should be referred to. When she released the horrible plagues of the Earth, she had also released horrible creatures and monsters. Zeus expected the jar to be opened and that it would cause a huge disaster, in fact had planned and hoped for it, however, he did not expect it to escalate to such a high level as it had. He realized that this mess had to be corrected so he created an underworld and a Hell. The Underworld is so horrid, that most creatures prefer Hell. Ghouls roam the grounds and demons hide in the shadows. It was funny, one day when I was traveling in India, a man told me it was rumored that the Devil takes vacations there. Oh the rumors you hear with age” he chuckled, shaking his head.
“One night Zeus goes to the island of Pyreneus, a tiny Greek island that was known at the time to have the greatest group of soldiers, and tells them he will have a competition. Whoever wins the competition, Zeus would make them a God amongst Gods, and that the winner of this contest will be known as the greatest warrior of all time. Naturally, all the soldiers want to participate in such an event. And what Ms. Danes did you think happened on that brutal night?”
“I don’t know, I've never heard of this story” I said, waiting for the rest of the story. He stood up and walked towards me and reached out touching my forehead. Wind flowed past my ears, getting louder and louder, until my ears popped. It continued to get louder and then stopped with a halt. I opened my eyes and realized that now Winston and I stood on the shore of a beach. I looked around and saw five men, however only four of the five men stood in front of a cage. The cages held dark creatures with vicious pointed teeth similar to sharks teeth.
“Come along” he said and led the way towards the men on the beach. The gust of wind that came from the ocean blew by, cold and crisp. The moon hung close, the closest I have ever seen, hanging in the sky beautifully. The moon was so close moon light lit the beach enough to see without some other kind of light. The ocean ate quickly at the white beach sand and was close enough to my feet that it lapped cold water onto my sneakers and quickly soaking my socks. There was a dark thick forest behind the men. As we walked closer, a blue fire erupted from the sand. The demons in the cages screeched into the air at the sight of the blue fire.
“These soldiers went out and fought the demons and many of them died, it was a brutal slaughter. These soldiers only had experience fighting other men, other soldiers, not a demon life form released from Pandora’s jar, no men could have been prepared for what they were up against. The only men who survived the blood shed are the ones you see before you, Acacius, Erasmos, Herodes, and Lykos. They are all lined together in the ranks of who won. The winner of the competition, Acacius, brought back six demons. The soldier who came in second place, Erasmos, brought back four creatures. The man in third place, Herodes, brought back three demons and Lykos who came in last place brought back only one demon. Zeus created that fire for them to burn the wretched monsters and to send them to Hell.”
Each of the men led the cages toward the fire, burning both the cages and the demons inside. As soon as the cages were on top of the fire, the cages and the demons inside changed into ash flowing into the fire and to the nearby sand, floating with the wind breeze. The fire flashed green for only a moment, each time the fire burned the demon and the cages that held them before returning to being blue.
“Now men, it is time to crown the winner” a thunderous voice rang out and shook the ground. He walked towards the losing men and stood in front of them. The men said nothing but fear was written across their faces, they knew the dark fate that awaited them. “Lykos, you only slayed one creature, how pathetic” Zeus announced disgusted.
“When not in war, Lykos was a fisherman, Herodes was a sailor, Erasmos was a farmer, and Acacius was a blacksmith creating all the armor needed for war” Winston explained. Zeus grabbed a sword and slayed Lykos before the other men’s eyes. I gasped as Lykos fell to the ground, his blood covering the sand.
“Herodes, you only slayed three creatures, that is not much better than your fallen brother” he said before killing Herodes as well. I closed my eyes at the sight; the blood shed becoming too much.
“Erasmos, you did slay four demons, making you fall into second place, however you still failed” Zeus told, before killing him as well. I opened my eyes again, sure that the bloodshed was over.
“Acacius, you have won the competition and I thank you for your sacrifice and contribution to the creation of a real god” he said. Acacius looked confused until the moment Zeus killed him as well. Zeus struck the ground and all the blood from all four men swirled together until forming another person.
“The person you see before you is the first Wylor” Winston said gravely, looking at the slayed bodies before our eyes. “Zeus used the four men to create a mini god, gathering the strengths of the murdered men. The fisherman represented water, the sailor represented wind, the farmer represented earth, and the blacksmith represented fire. The fact we were created in the use of the four elements is why we live in the tree houses; we gather our strength in the natural way of life or from nature.” The sound of the wind reappeared popping my ears almost instantly. I closed my eyes, waiting for the wind to disappear; again, it disappeared with a sudden halt. I opened my eyes to view that we were back in the library.
“He slaughtered all of them, he knew, no, planned that they would all die on that night” I said and Winston nodded slowly. “What happened to the island, I'm sure there still had to be women, families of the soldiers” I stated and again Winston nodded.
“He destroyed the island, women, and children - any who inhabited it. History has a dark side to it, we have a dark beginning. A whole island of people died for just one perfect Wylor” he said slowly and I could feel the blood drain out of my face. I slumped into the chair, astounded and disgusted by the information I had just gained. I put my head in my hands leaning forward, propping my elbows on my knees. I felt nauseous, still picturing the murder of those men before my eyes, and the howl of the demons as they burned in the blue fire.
“Why would you show me that?” I asked angrily, horrified by what I had seen.
“It is something all Wylors see at least once in their life. It’s a history lesson Wylors learn, to know where they came from. That is also what you had asked, to know your origin” he defended casually, not surprised by my disgust.
Maybe I shouldn’t have asked to know where I came from. “Zeus promised that Acacius would become a God, is that we, Wylors, are?”
“Yes, they’re a kind of mini-god, close to being an actual God but not with so many powers. We were made in order to guard the Underworld and the destroyers of the creatures that escaped from Hell or the Underworld as well.”
“Can they escape Hell or the Underworld?” I asked, afraid of the answer, hoping it would be no.
“Yes it is possible and has happened many times before. Whenever, a creature or monster escapes from the Underworld, it is our mission to destroy it and send it back to Hell. Most creatures don’t die; it appears as if they do die however in most cases they usually just disappear into Hell. Sometimes they escape from Hell, and we just have to send them back. It is the way of Wylor life. There had been so many that had been released from the jar, that it was impossible to find each and every one. There are some that are still out to this day since Pandora’s jar was originally opened.
“Are all Wylors good or wanting to do this ‘mission’?” I asked and he shook his head no.
“Zeus created the Wylors too powerfully, and in our lifetime, it is possible to turn into a Ronelor, which is the evil version of us. In order to be a Ronelor, you could be born into it, or change in two ways… You change into it as adult naturally at the changing age, or you perform a ceremony so painful that it requires full dedication.
“By the time all this had been created, Pandora had grown old and already had had a child. Zeus made sure that the daughter became a Wylor, so it could be her responsibility to care for the cursed jar. A minor detail to the jar is that when opened it created a curse on Pandora that all of her descendants were all daughters, it is impossible for any of Pandora’s children to be a male. Since then, the jar has become more powerful and been protected by each descendent.
“So there is still someone who takes care of the jar now?” I asked curious of the answer.
“Yes, the current descendent, Myra, has become a Ronelor. As we grow more powerful and gain more Wylors; so have Ronelors... This is where you come in. Ronelors are trying to perform a ceremony that releases all the creatures and plagues of the Underworld and Hell, so they can have pure dominance of Earth. When Myra turned into a Ronelor, and she wanted to help in the fall of Earth so she gave the jar to the Ronelor ruler currently, in order to ensure her place and her dedication. He is trying to start this process. The jar’s location is currently unknown and Council is trying to find where the jar is” he finished his story and I sat for a moment absorbing all the information and knowledge I had just gained.
“A lot to take in?” he asked smiling gently. I just picked a loose string off of my jeans, wide eyed, and said nothing for a moment. He respected it and for a while we sat in silence.
“What are the reasons behind the marks on both Wylors and the buildings?” I asked and he turned back smiling again.
“Ah, you are observant. We are born with marks or runes to show that we are Wylors. They mean different things, show different powers, increase our powers. It just depends on our mark or rune. The ones on the buildings are there to protect the buildings, those in it, or just our whole land. Each one has a fireproof and a strength rune. Our buildings are impenetrable with the runes.” He rubbed his hand casually and suddenly a hidden rune appeared.
“Why do I not have any” I asked and looked at my plain, mark-less arms, frowning. “You believe I may be one of you since I found this place, I should have some correct?” I asked and he nodded.
“Only our kind can find or see us. Do you remember seeing a sewer and then closed your eyes and then you just so magically found us” he paused and I nodded. “Then you are one of us. You closed your eyes at that moment and opened your mind; your Wylor brain could not hide it from you if your mind was open. Now, as to the reason why you don’t have marks, we believe that you were placed a spell on to prevent you from knowing who you really are or from marks showing up. It’s in your skin, we just have to get a witch to break the spell” he explained.
“Before you ask, we are going to send you on a journey with those who live here to a witch, it may be dangerous, but you're in good hands.” He walked back to the desk to drink more tea.
“And those who live here, where would they be?”
“In the rec hall, its lunch time… Just do yourself a favor, and don’t eat anything Essie cooks. Trust me, you will regret it later” he nodded.
“Am I staying here or can I go home” I asked, unsure of whether or not that was an option.
“No you will be staying here, you cannot go home.” He snapped, for once angry with the question. I jumped back in shock for the sudden anger.
“We can stop there first, once we start our journey” a voice said from behind me. I turned to see a tall brunette boy standing there. He was built but not a body builder. He had runes on his neck and on his chest. He had a tan from being outside, probably worked on the tree houses recently. He had messy brown hair and deep blue eyes. He stood there casually, in scuffed jeans, a white shirt and a red flannel shirt above that. He may have appeared casual, but beneath anyone could see, he was a fighter, a warrior. His square jaw line moved forward, appearing to grind his teeth as he talked. He was mad at something but his intimidating demeanor made me hope it was not me. He had to be my age, maybe a little older. I continued to look at him, at the intimidating boy in front of me, and realized he was gorgeous. I could not keep my eyes off of him. Calm yourself, you do have a boyfriend. I shook my mind of the gorgeous boy standing there, and turned my eyes reluctantly.
“Fine, but it was your decision Reece” he nodded, frustrated, towards the door dismissing us without a word, his nice persona gone. We walked out the door in silence and started descending the stairs.
“Are you hungry” he asked, his voice was kind of deep and surprising.
“Yes” I muttered, avoiding his gaze.
“We have a mean stew cooking, should be done by the time we get there, but we better hurry before everyone eats it” he started descending faster, making it look so casual while I struggled keeping up.
“Who cooked it” I asked and he paused in his descent, and laughed, shaking his head.
“It wasn’t Essie, but its good Winston warned you. But if you must know, Cecilia made it” he responded. “She's an amazing cook” he continued.
“Oh okay, because I'm starving” I told, while my stomach growled, agreeing with my statement.
He held open the door to the first floor of the building we were in. Immediately, a group of strangers turned, and I swallowed, nervous. Alex walked over with two big bowls of soup and handed it to me.
We sat down at a nearby round table. “Come on, dig in” she said and waited. I sighed and did just that, with one spoonful of the soup, I had no regrets about coming here.