Chapter Prologue : Prologue

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 173

 

(NOTE: THIS IS THE FIFTH BOOK IN THE TFR SERIES, READING BEFORE FINISHING BOOKS 1-4 IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED!)

 

 

 

Amid a vast meadow-like plane, half of which had white grass while the other half was blackened, there was a large temple. Similar to a gothic cathedral, its six tall walls formed a large hexagonal room. Each side was black with one circular window of red, gold, and violet stained glass. Diminished gold trim lined the edges, coated in complex writings and designed with gothic scrolls when meeting a corner. The ground's color depended on how the light hit it, varying from red, violet,  emerald, and black. The ceiling was like a six-sided pyramid, made completely from thin glass that revealed a barren sky. To complete the area, a square well was at the center of the ground. It was made from black metal, with four wolf statuettes at each corner, and the inside was filled with hazy ethereal-blue aura.

Four figures were gathered in this temple. One stood at least six feet in height, taking on the form of an old wolf with a rotted dark pelt and glowing orange eyes. The second figure was like a grim reaper from classic depictions; his form is hidden beneath tattered dark robes, horns and goat-like ears protrude from his hood, and his hands were skeletal with just a few tiny patches of blackened skin hanging on. The third was like a monster, nearly eight feet tall, with two sets of twisted black horns, tattered black skin and rotten flesh, and a spaded tail. Finally, the fourth stood over twelve feet in height, and he was a dragon with tattered wings. His skeleton showed through several breaks in his rotted skin, his horns were black, and his eyes were green and glowing.

The reaper-like creature spoke first, in a very raspy voice. 

"Another one has fallen."

The dragon's voice was harsh like fire. "Unfortunate news, indeed."

As the wolf paced back and forth, he growled with a very gruff voice, punctuated with snarls. "Damn it all! This cannot continue."

The monster, or demon's, aberrant grey eyes land on his own hand, which was so decayed that it could fall off at any moment. As he muttered, his voice was dark and hellish.

"At least their corruption, regardless of its mystery, was fast and painless."

"That doesn't matter now," the wolf growled. "Shall gods and goddesses continue this nonsense, the world will be thrown into total anarchy, and over half the inhabitants will turn into monsters! Those mortal species won't help either, with their pitiful tyranny."

"The question is 'why,'" the monster insisted. "Why do they do this? It is the most dishonorable thing any creator can do. In the process of destroying themselves, they destroy their own people. No matter how successful they may be."

The dragon remarks, "Indeed. Too many of them are undeserving of this fate. Not to die or fade away, but to be forever banished from their proper afterlife, left in broken reality to face mutation and the sting of betrayal from the very ones they worship."

The demon glared down. "How many, Communicator? How many races lost to the hand of their own gods?"

"I am unsure, Dealer," the reaper responded. "I only know that it has easily succeeded thirty, by now."

"At least it is primarily among the small tribes," the dragon remarked. "Nobody in reality, or even the spirit world has uncovered them. Should a larger elven or ghoul race fade, the panic among other peoples would surely worsen."

"Regardless, this is nothing good!" The wolf snaps. "How many more of these lesser people before a-"

Suddenly, the aura within the well flared bright and high. The veins on all of the creatures illuminated lightly, and their rotted figures just barely healed. This broke their attention quickly. 

Mildly confused, the dragon stretched his long neck forth, peering deeply into the aura. It continued to churn and spiral within the black well. There didn't appear to be anything reasonable to take from it, but even so, the dragon began to see a message.

"It seems our spirit-walker has slain one of the corrupted gods," the dragon explained. "She contained its celestial remanence and has made it an offering to us. She must know of our wounds." His eyes narrowed. "Should we warn her of the latest corrupt god, though?"

"It won't kill itself, will it?" The wolf spat.

"No," said the reaper. "But let it be, for now."

"I agree," the demon spoke. "Let us give her a break. Destroying these beasts is no easy task, and she clearly went out of her way to give us this fuel."

The dragon dipped its head, repositioning itself. "Motion carried."

The wolf looked irate. "And the prophecy? Are we still delaying that?"

"It is true that we cannot hide it much longer," the reaper agreed. "The first and second of the signs have already been shown."

"It is concerning," the dragon muttered. As he sighed, smoke flared from his nostrils.

"We have guided the hybrid to her proper place," said the reaper. "She grows stronger by the day. Hopefully, she will soon uncover the solution we have hoped for. If her power and place, or even the second sign, have no significance to the completion of this foreseeing, we will have nothing to provide the leaders. I fear that will bring only the worst for our remaining people." 

"With only three signs left, that could be very soon," the wolf muttered. "It has been too long, already. The third sign will appear soon enough, regardless of any effort to delay it, and the time between each one after will only shorten. We must warn them now, before the next is revealed."

The reaper solemnly explained, "You know I cannot contact the spirit-walker, Punisher. I have already tried. The Hysteric is blocking me; he likely knows about our attempts, and wants to prevent them from hearing anything. The beast has much power, and breaking through takes too much effort. By the time I get through, it could be too late."

"It's also risky," the demon said. "They're faced with dark times, already, and a message like this will spark panic. Not only will they think less rationally, but the Hysteric will be fueled by the chaos."

"What about the hybrid?" The dragon suggested.

"I can no longer speak to her," says the reaper. "For one, you all know that it is frowned upon for gods to confront anyone but their chosen translator. Even sending visions to the girl was pushing unspoken limits. Secondly, look at us. We no longer have any strength to spare. With corruption spreading like a disease, and faith dropping by the day, I could risk the last of my divinity trying to reach the girl. Not to mention, she does not trust me, and I doubt she will take anything seriously."

"Perhaps..." The dragon paused. "We use vast amounts of energy trying to reach people with little or no faith, and it is an unspoken rule to share our findings with anyone but the spirit-walker. Although, that doesn't quite apply to spirits, does it?"

"You insist we speak through another spirit?" The reaper suggested. "That is unorthodox and frowned upon, using them as pawns. They have done too much of our bidding in reality, and have devoted their eternal faith to us. Disturbing their long awaited afterlife, over a mission intended for the living, is cruel."

The demon sighed, "I must disagree with letting that stop us. Change may be necessary, if we wish to pull through these hard times. So long as we do not make the ultimate sacrifice like these other gods are, it should work."

The wolf snorted angrily. "You fools! If none of us can get past the Hysteric in time, then a mere spirit surely wouldn't!"

"Hold your tongue, Punisher!" The reaper snapped. "Did you not hear our previous suggestion? We will use the hybrid; she has very little mental restraint, and faith will have no impact on an average spirit. And several of the other Zyreans are incapable of comprehending this in a favorable way." He grunted, crossing his arms. "Our leader has no trust in us, and his beta is even more closed-minded."

"We can't use just anyone to relay our messages, either," the dragon remarked. "To avoid disturbing our good warriors, and ensuring they work faster, we should choose someone outside Afterworld. Someone in a non-governed realm, with a weak connection to it."

A moment of silence came between the four. The demon tapped his horn as he thought, the wolf paced, and the reaper looked deeply into the well. The dragon gazed upward, toward the night sky. Doing so actually gave him an idea. Naturally, the dragon knew that if his idea was put in place, it would have its own risks. But it also went beyond their previously-discussed standards.

"My brothers," the dragon spoke, "I believe I know who to summon."

"Who is it you think of?" The reaper inquired.

"Someone living in a non-governed realm," the dragon explained. "Someone able to move quickly and be discrete. Strictly speaking, someone like the Raven's Bane."

That made everyone stop. The reaper's glowing white eyes reflected surprise, and the demon looked suspicious. The wolf growled and shot the dragon a sharp glare.

"We cannot," the demon hastily argued. "The Raven's Bane; if we wish to avoid risks, that is someone we mustn't even consider."

"That little weasel is a deceiver!" The wolf snaps. "It died dishonorably, broke our codes, conspired with an enemy, and, in death, went into hiding like a coward! The beast cannot be trusted again!"

"Think, you fools!" The dragon retorted, flames flaring at his nostrils. "The Raven's Bane has ethereal magic, enough so that it may receive the message of the latest sign from us. Not to mention, its weak connection to the Eternal Realm allows it to move much faster and undetected."

"Calm yourself," the reaper spoke warily. "I, for one, must agree with you. It seems that the positive aspects of this scenario hardly outweigh the bad. Provided that isolation has not damaged the bane's loyalty too badly, then it should be able to fill the position well."

"I still disagree," the wolf growls. "Leave the beast and find someone else."

The reaper sighed, "You may know this already, but I always did think the punishment for the Raven's Bane was a bit harsh. It broke our codes and acted cowardly, but reality's threats had a larger role in pushing her there. Knowing what was getting involved within the time before its death, perhaps we should've taken its position more into consideration."

The wolf grunted dismissively. "I see the punishment fit. Your sympathy was the only thing keeping it from the pits of Oblivion."

"Enough," the dragon spoke sharply. "That doesn't matter, now. A greater danger is at play, and as stated, we only have so much time before its restraints begin to break. More concerningly is the prophecy waiting at its end. You saw the horror for yourselves; one full of darkness, decay, and grim endings."

He looked down, eyes illuminating almost radioactively.

"Only three signs left until new chaos emerges, the very horror that we have been fearing since the gods began to fall and the hybrid appeared. If our people are not ready to face it, it could just as easily claim them all."

 


Submitted: July 14, 2018

© Copyright 2020 Raven Akuma. All rights reserved.

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