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Book 2

Twilight Kingdoms of Thanonal

Katalina, Goddess of the Pit

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"Who is the hero, who is the villain? Not every hero is a savior, and not every lost soul seeks redemption. Life is a journey, with ups and downs even for the gods. New gods are created or born, and old gods are forgotten or forced to flee. Every piece on the board can be manipulated. Even the hand moving the pieces may be moved by another hand. Whispers in dreams become a reality as the world crumbles around the actors in the play. These dreams or nightmares can guide those who understand the hidden meanings behind the shadowed veil. Those who understand the choice can shape what is to come and make what has been seen into their reality" - Jerilith

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First Chapter

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Resurrection

“Resurrection gives my life meaning, direction, and the opportunity to start over, no matter what my circumstances are.” - The Great Unknown.

The Void

Darkness, swirling gases, red flashes of light, like small dots that dance in the distance. These lights flash and flare for a moment, and they are gone as quickly as they spawn.

My entire field of vision is red, like looking into clouds or thick fog. My body, my soul, no, I have neither; it’s my existence. I am incohesive, my grace scattered among the stars, the universe, and the bloodline I created so long ago. How long has it been since I had a cohesive thought? A day, a year, a hundred years, or a thousand years or more. I feel something stirring, like a memory, somebody remembers me? I am tired; maybe I will just go back to sleep for another eon.

Another spike in my grace, my awareness rises, stronger this time. Lightning begins to flash and erupt. Like a storm, the darkness that makes my being begins to light up, turning into a raging sphere of red light among the dark boiling clouds.

No, this is something else, a type of conjunction, a design I put together a long time ago. Another chance has come to walk again. I am thought, I am energy, I have no form. There I feel it. I remember what I need to do. I have done this before. I muster all the grace I have remaining. I push towards a point of light, headlong into the circling storm. My thoughts control my energy, more grace. My thoughts become more organized. I am an orb of red light blazing in the storm-filled void and dancing with divine energy,

Somebody has called me. I find the source path. I push into that portion of reality that is the weakest to me. Energy crackles around my shapeless form, and the walls of that reality bulk against my presence as I push harder.

I push through the barrier and emerge in a temple someplace. Outside this temple, the world announces my presence as a storm erupts, causing wind and rain to pour down. I see priests in brown and red robes of some unknown faith.

I am now floating above a young woman in a blue dress who has been chained to a black altar. Ornate gold chains and locks bind her wrists and ankles; she is being sacrificed. The priests do not see me. I am sure some might feel my presence, but yet they continue. The priests doing the chanting are not praying to me. This is hardly unexpected. I have been forgotten long ago. I am but a legend, and when my name is called, it is used incorrectly.

I can not make out who they are or what gods they are chanting to. My connection is not strong enough yet. The priest is holding a golden dagger, his chanting grows louder, and he is ready to plant the ceremonial blade hilt deep into her chest. The dagger will cut directly into her heart. Her wrists and ankles have already been sliced, revealing the arteries and veins; the crying silver-haired woman is bleeding out. The blood is mine; this young one on the altar who is bleeding out is one of my descendants; she is part of my long tainted bloodline. Her blood spills as fast as her heart will pump it, and with my fleeting grace, I push myself further into this reality and the silver-haired young woman on the altar. The first bleeding is what called me here to this place, this temple of death.

I feel my life thread begins to bind to hers. Her reality is beginning to become mine and mine hers. My celestial senses fill the air around this child now that I have a temporary connection to this Realm. I read the altar she bleeds on. The stones tell me that this is one of Bhuul’s temples. Her name is Andrea Wellington, and she has just become a sacrifice. The fools, the ritual is to one of the new gods, Bhuul, a fertility sacrifice? I hear her last thoughts, Now my brother and mother’s lives will be spared.

The priest thrusts the golden dagger deep into her chest. The blade pierces effortlessly through her ribcage and into her heart. Something happens; a release of magic floods into her body from the dagger. The magical release creates a bone-cracking crunch as her rib cage collapses around her heart and the collapsing bone begins to crush the already damaged organ. She lets out one more final blood-curdling scream. She gasps in pain as blood bubbles out of her mouth, and her blue eyes widen. She strains against the shackles, her arms and legs punch and kick. Her hands form into fists, and her toes curl. Her heart shutters with one final thud, in a moment she will be dead. The last essence of life still clings to her dying shell.

The connection is made. I feel more grace; it floods from the dagger. The blood and grace merge; after all, it is my blood. In the bleeding moments of her final light, Andrea sees two red glowing eyes; she hears me, sees me. I use my celestial awareness, which tells me facts about people, places, and events. Soon I will be too weak to use my awareness in this manner. I get a history of events from the last few hours, interesting.

I speak to her; she alone can hear me. “Do you wish to die, to become one of Bhuuls slave wives in the afterlife and be reborn as a mindless zealot who only follows Bhuul? The very same God who has his priests lie to you. You know this priest is lying, but you allowed yourself to accept the lie. The priest has no intention to honor this deal. He sacrificed your life so he can be guaranteed to have another son!”

Tears streaked down Andrea’s pale face, weakly she responds in the dying light, “I don’t want to die...”

I respond, my voice in a steady supporting tone, “All you have to do is accept me, be my hand, you will survive, say my name, @#$&+&$#@.” To be honest, her body is part of my very own essence; it would be easy for me just to hop in and take over. Still, the illusion of choice is important, even if she said No. I would still avenge this, though the vessel would deteriorate rapidly without her consent, then I would go back to the eternal slumber. If she says yes, then I will be more able to create a permanent harmony with this vessel.

As darkness surrounds us, in a moment, this will be all over. I will sleep, or I will awaken. I am growing tired as well. My grace is fading. I see her lips move. Her answer is coming.

Andrea weakly says in a whisper with her last breath, “@.#.& + &.$.#.@ ...”

She said yes, she called my name. I fully merge with my new hand. My new avatar is born. Something is different and odd about her; this hand is full of stored grace, her body can not handle the power she holds. Why does she hold this much grace? How did I not detect her power when I sensed her?

Then the room exploded with a red light, the priest holding the golden dagger looked down at the glowing red woman on the altar. A pink translucent symbol of a chained fist appeared over her head, then shifted to that of a red circled hand. Small bloody wounds began rupturing all over Andrea’s body, red rays of light projected through the tears of flesh. Her body was quickly being consumed by the red firelight.

The temple surrounding the black altar began to hum and vibrate; the sound of chains could be heard rattling in the walls, ceilings, and floors. Loose items danced around, responding to the intense harmonic vibrations. Candle holders danced off of shelves, spilling the hot wax onto the stone floors. The sound grew louder and louder, deafening the temple-filled worshipers. The gathered followers began to stampede in fear to the exits. Many of the followers could only clutch their bleeding ears while falling to the floor, only to be trampled by the fleeing worshipers.

I greedily consume the grace stored from this new Hand, I am starving. Grace is what I am, I am power incarnate. I am a god. I would not be so hungry, had I been praised, worshiped for an eternity of time. I will consume what I can and leave her enough to survive. I will rebuild her body into a new form.

Andrea’s flesh unraveled, shredding skin and organs before the horrified priest. Andrea’s eyes flared open, radiating the same crimson red light, and she screamed one last time. The inhuman hollow echoey-sounding voice produced sent chills among the assembled worshipers. Her body raises off of the altar only the four ceremonial binding chains straining outwards to hold the body to the sacrificial altar.

Something is wrong and should not be, more grace is flooding into the vessel, changing the design I intended. An outside presence, but who?

Then like a cable snapping, the silver and gold chains break. The vibrations stop, and a wave of red crimson energy wash’s over the temple, centering on the black altar.

The explosion rolls outwards, engulfing the nearby robed priests. Their robes burned away as the flesh melts away like hot wax, spraying backward against the blackened walls. The remaining followers in the pews burned as well. The fire was hot enough to turn these victims to ash almost instantly. Weakened by the vibrations and the explosion inside the hallowed walls, the Cathedral of Bhuul collapses in a blazing inferno.

I feel my celestial awareness extending into my new vessel. As a god, I can have many avatars. There is something off about this new Hand, something different than my previous Hands of the past. Before I can fully analyze the changes of this vessel, I feel another disruption of my grace, another connection being made, another avatar being formed and my remaining grace used to create this new body; all this is too soon. My attention is being drawn elsewhere. I am still too weak to focus on more than one problem at a time. I will have to leave my new Hand to her fate, for the time being, just to focus on this new disturbance in my being.

Did I protect my children? What kind of God was I? I know I was not the pure of heart, far from it. In this world, now the choice is your child, light or dark. What kind of God will you be?

I give her one last command, RUN! KA’AZALIN! RUN!