Chapter 1

The cold valley was lit by the light of the sky’s countless stars. The pale crescent moon glowed. Chilled winds flowed. Grasses swayed. There was a low silence of the soft wind coming and going as the night breathed.

A dim point of ember near the valley's earthen floor appeared, expanded into a glowing orb, and then shot up as a ray to pierce the lonely clouds above. Dozens of masked figures appeared from bursts of light. Each fell downward around the mother ray as it sheared apart into outward flowing waves, and then faded into glowing dust which gently lifted upward toward the heavens.

"At last I have been found." An old man said. He stood on a high hill above the windswept grassland valley below. He had fiery white eyes, a god's face, bald head, dimly shimmering white skin, and a sharp grey beard. He wore silver stitched robes of blue and was surrounded under the star and moonlight by a menagerie of silent guardian statues.

In a moment, the elder cast from his fist a signal light up into the sky of the valley below. The bolt illuminated the distant lands around him, and revealed those who had arrived for him.

“Come! Face me!” The old man gave a mighty laugh as he held his arms outward with fists clenched. He threw down his robe, only to be left wearing a silver loincloth. He was ancient, but his form was still perfect. His proud voice could be heard in deep booms all past the valley's far reaches.

The men from the portal ran through the valley and leaped up high to land onto the courtyard all around the elder.

One of the men began to speak, but before he could make more than a faint sound the elder turned to face him. With impossible speed, the elder blinked across the courtyard and landed his fist into the first trespasser, who exploded into an outward burst of godkin blood. The old man grinned wide as the red-hot, soul-rich mist clung to his face and ran downward in streaks. It glowed like lava.

“Which of you is my betrayer?” The elder yelled with wild eyes as he shook a blood stained, steaming fist. “I killed each of them. Those you sought before. My brothers and sisters. The seer told me. Your designs are known. But not you. Who is it. Tell me now.”

More men stepped forward. With a crackling of the air, and fists delivered by the elder, each was turned to smoldering vapor. The men of godblood exploded one after the other in quick succession. The elder's speed and strength far outmatched all of them. Their soul-infused blood ghosts lingered in the air and gravitated slowly toward the elder as the moments passed.

“Worthless.” The elder said in clenched, maddening disgust. “But I know there is one. I know. I know. Do not pretend. This is the time.”

A final man stepped forward from what shadow there was. He wore a mask, and his body was shrouded in dark fog.

The elder went to attack the man, but found his fist only met air.

The man appeared at the elder’s side, and took off his mask. His face glowed with blue light, and his eyes shined the same as the elder.

The elder turned and looked. “Agnye.” He said with a flat but strong voice.

“I did not wish for this, father.” Agnye said. “You forced me.”

The elder sighed, and for a moment released his guard. He felt betrayal. He knew that this was the moment he had been shown. Of the true destiny where light met dark. “Much must still happen. Without me there. Too much to prepare for.”

There was a flash of light, and with it, a glowing phantom spear tip burst through the middle of the elder’s chest.

“Your reign is over, old god. It’s our time now. Accept it.” A woman said as she too faded into visibility, and then withdrew her spear from the elder's back.

The elder clutched his chest and turned with pain toward the woman. She wore golden gilded armor. Her hair was long and alive, her skin was of deep red, her eyes sparked with vengeful light.

“Lysan.” He said quietly as if to remember the name. He could only think of her as a child. Someone he wanted to protect and keep safe from the beyond. Not like this.

The elder flinched. Glowing, molten ichor of his own poured out of his wound. He fell forward with hands down onto the stone of the courtyard, which began to melt from the heat of his palms. “Do you know what is coming.” The elder asked.

“We do,” Agnye said as he thrust a glowing, hidden sword, coated with the breath of death, down into the elder god’s heart, and then released the handle of the blade. “I’ve seen the many paths, and I know what had to be done. I must win the coming war. So give me what is mine by birthright.”

The elder was still for a moment and then began to quietly laugh. His body radiated the heat of an inferno. “Not you, no. It can't be. Not any of you,” he said. "But what fortune. That this is the true moment."

There was a stillness, and then, with a magnificent thunderclap, the elder released his wrath, which shattered the deathly sword’s blade, and sent a powerful shock-wave for countless horizons into the distance. All of the surrounding godkin were ripped apart with the deafening might of the elder’s forceful rage. The guardian statues each were obliterated into evaporated nothingness.

The elder’s body ascended upward into the air. He burned white hot. The winds around him had formed into a hurricane tempest, which churned with the lingering, thunderous power of all of the accumulated energy of the dead gods. The grounds of the valley began to uplift in chunks into the air all around. With the finality of the elder’s immortality, his body imploded limb by limb until his bright essence had formed into a radiant ball of energy, which then, with its sundered implosion, exploded out into shards of soul. Each soared up into the sky and flew far away with a streak of willful rage. Each sought newly born humanity to become one with.

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