Tears of an immortal hit the ground that day, and their plummet resounded across the heavens as one by one the Liaisons and demigods were vanquished by the millions, though their fate painless, traumatic and heartrending.
At the front of battle, the Monoliths raised their great hands and roared in victorious crusade as the last of the Divine Blades fell to puddles of their own immortal blood. The horrific demons howled their conquest loudly while the last few survivors succumbed. The way of an immortal, immune to time, illness, and blade, but at the blow of pure evil, even a god will surrender to the afterlife they themselves did herald.
Yet the end of the Monoliths was far from glorious. All at once, in a black shade, The Void inhaled the Monoliths and their blood lusting army in a single move. Thus is The Void, a place where a horrid soul can do no harm, only think of why they ended up in The Void and listen to the lament in their head as the agonizing centuries roll by in an utter mute. Slowly warping the mind and corrupting the wretch of a soul until the point of no return and to become physically unrecognizable. Just so was the fate of evil.
But one critical miscalculation left Devin the Mighty in a raging stupor.
With the damage dealt, and the passing of two weeks, the Monoliths already found a way to release demons out into the world and the heavens, causing untold damage from within The Void itself. Screaming his displeasure, Devin banished his council to The Void in a choir of sorrowful shrieking, but left a single councilor who proposed a solution.
“Th- Thank you, m- milord!” the shivering councilman choked out. “You could assign a remaining Liaison to organize the souls of The Void, but no one would possibly volunteer, you must ask of someone, trick them to the task.”
Devin sent a positively bloodcurdling glare to the councilor, disgusted, but thinking. “Are you positive this will work?” questioned Devin, quelled by his own decisions.
“Yes, you simply task a Liaison to keep the gates sealed, and gift them rank of demigod, it will give assurance their power goes uncorrupted!”
“So be it,” replied Devin. “This is the final chance of your already pressed luck. Should this too fail, I’ll make sure you are reunited with your fellow councilmen!”
Orrencis looked out the window from his temporary bed to find the puffy clouds of heavenly ground quite vacant. What was a thoroughfare is now a vacant spot in the heavens, an oddity if there ever was one, not a single god or otherwise roams. Small stands and blankets where other gods had set up trading spots remain, as if they all ran off without bothering to retrieve their goods. He scuttled his way from the emptied palace, finding a desolate world that when he shouted “hello,” no one would return his cry. He made way for the tower where Agorick resides with his precious orb of ӕthyr, stepping along the edge of the great shadow the spire cast down onto the clouds. The eerie hush wrought at him and discomfort spurred a biting fret that fuddled his mind. Where has everyone gone? he thought. Was there an evacuation? Of heaven . . . no, that cannot be possible. . . .
He pulled open the large doors and a burst of air hit his face from the orb at the end of the small fortress. The windows on the walls created spotlights in the darkness. Petrifying; the fact that no ӕthyr rivers flowed from the orb in the dark distance. Most worrisome still: no Guardians stand in attention. The creaking of the rafters far above echoed in the still hall, Orrencis stepped quietly towards the orb. A voice crept out from the shadows as he neared halfway. “A survivor, fortune is with you, it would seem,” said the glum god, misery bound to every word sung in a low tone.
“Agorick, your highness, what has happened? Why is it that I can find no one?” questioned Orrencis hastily.
“Annulment, Liaison, The Annulment happened. At sacrifice of the lowers and demigods, Devin had the Monoliths banished to The Void. A few may still linger, but the chances are very . . . slim.” Agorick swayed his head in loathing desolation. “There is a reason you still move with us in the heavens you know. Care to guess why?”
“Ah- I- I could not even propose a guess,” muttered Orrencis, mind clouded by an aching heart, tears held at bay to not shame himself before Agorick.
“Because, Orrencis, you came so close to the orb of ӕthyr,” said Agorick, his voice echoing through the empty hall and up the tower. “Did you know . . . a god becomes a god by touching that orb?” His head drifted off towards the orb and he continued to speak, “It is a rite only that strange artifact allows; no one can dictate what it does, whom it accepts, or why it does.” Agorick wiped tears from his eyes with his shawl. “I have a request, if you do not mind.”
“If it is something I can do, I shall,” Orrencis said quietly.
“You came so very near the orb without apprehension at our last meet some weeks ago. If you would, try and touch the orb, see if it will accept you, please, try, I need some good news.” Agorick wiped his eyes once more with his shawl and sniffled. “After Devin had all my Guardians and friends nullified, I do not believe I will be able to smile for some time. . . .” Agorick lifted a handful of his phoenix’s feathers and wept. Orrencis understood now, that phoenix from before was his befriended Guardian, with him through the millions of years he did reside in the tower.
Without hesitation, Orrencis moved forward, slowly crumpling under the strange pressure bathing his body in a tingling sensation. The orb began to produce the bands of ӕthyr again, flowing as they once did, though far weaker and more like trickles than a river. One step after another, he drew into the aura of blue energy. The humming infiltrated his head and turned his conscious to a blurred reality whose shapes were undefined and swirling as he could only focus on the orb in his view. His fingertips reached out to the strange sphere, looking of glass filled with eddying blue liquid writhing on its own. A strange heat permeated his hands; he grew fearful of a burn but continued. He leaned over the pit on tiptoes, trying to keep balance in a state of mind where one could not even hope to think straight. At near touch, a terrific shock snapped his hand back and he could only stagger as the orb shoved him away, repelling him with an odd force, just as a magnet can rebound the like other.
“A shame!” called Agorick. “And you came so close.” Agorick issued a brokenhearted sigh. “Given another hundred years, I’d bet my position as a god the orb would accept you. You are a friend of mine now, you know, if the orb of ӕthyr finds you near perfection, then I can only be humbled. You deserve respect like all us highers, you too shall soon be around our hallowed halls.”
A smile finally churned from the burning misery in Orrencis’ being. “Thank you, Agorick, I shall keep that in heart and mind always.” Orrencis took his leave, observing how the ribbons of ӕthyr faded away as he grew farther and farther from the orb.
At the foot of the steps awaited the silent mistress of serenity and peace, Etrionas in all her angelic beauty, though a sorrowing face turned her visage to that of pathetic.
“Liaison, if you will, another task is asked of you by Devin.” Her face remained distraught.
“Does something trouble you, my goddess?” Orrencis probed, concerned for the saddened woman.
“The recent turn of events is what brings me grief. Mind it not, please, follow me, Devin asks of you.”
“Of course, lead the way, lady Etrionas.”
Orrencis could not help but notice that ever since The Annulment, the rivers of ӕthyr stopped flowing completely; they blessed the palace of the gods no more. Orrencis and Etrionas arrived to a familiar scene, Devin sat in his chair before his glorious marble table, except not tall and proud, hands clasped and chin rested upon his knuckles. He bit his lower lip and his face seemed to sag, he looked up to Orrencis, looking near ready to cry.
“Orrencis, last among the few, I have but one more task I ask of you, a task on my behalf,” said Devin, dropping his gaze and staring intently at his table.
“Ask away, milord, no assignment is out of my grasp, let no fallacy make your mind think otherwise.”
“Then I shall ask aloud without hindrance. Orrencis, my faithful Liaison for nearly eight million years, will you venture into The Void and keep the Monoliths at bay? As we speak, demons pour forth from The Gates, only the hands of a soul sorter could be perfectly suited, when done, you shall be rewarded to stay amongst us as a true god.”
Orrencis’ face absolutely lit like lightning does crackle in the midnight sky. “It shall be done! Nothing less than bindings for eternity shall they be given! Let me to this world and you shall know peace once more, I swear this!”
Devin displayed a sad smile, a strange artifact. “Etrionas,” he gagged, “can you please lead him to The Gates?”
“At once,” was her solemn reply. She let her hands drift off to her sides and beckoned Orrencis with a gaze most chillingly alluring. Winds of ӕthyr wrapped around his body and the world blinded white, letting a new place wash into his eyes, whisked to present in a foggy blur. Before him raised a double door of deep cobalt metal, no less than two stories tall, marked with an immense insignia of some sort, familiar, yet hard to place. He let the moment pass when all plucks to the strings of his mind were mute and gave no note. Ancient runes and sigils covered the frame of the doors. “Are you ready to go forward?” Etrionas muttered, staring at the gates as if they spoke to her words most emotionally jarring.
“Yes, my goddess, open The Gates, I shall make Devin proud!” he chimed, giving no more regard to the obscure pictorials upon the door. At the will of the goddess the doors sprung to life, mechanisms of old slowly cranking with diligence and reliability, such was the technology of who the mortals call “the ancient ones”. Its heartbeat; the whirring and clanking of gears and the shifting of strange machinery, simply known as The Gates. From the darkness within, a pulse of air escaped the crevice and then inhaled, drawing in dust and webs, like the force a tornado exerts on those who wish to remain earthbound.
Lacking fear nor knowledge for what he faced, he stepped forward into the darkness and let a veil of black consume his body, he looked back to see the goddess staring with teary eyes. Yet before a flag could be waved, The Gates slowly crept sealed with a clank. . . .
But it was far from the last time that they would part open once more.