Standing above his Brother’s eyes, hemorrhaged and blank. Black eyes. Like a shark’s eyes. Dead eyes. Slowly lifting his palm he recited calm words.
It is said/
That my mother bakes the softest bread/
That my heart could rise like yeast/
Yet here lay I/
Am I to die?/
Before I slay this beast?”
Then, Dancing from the darkness fire poured like molten sapphires upon the gently sleeping corpse. Slowly engulfed, Behemoth fizzled and disappeared.
Now rested, Simon turned inwards. Towards the power of True Radiance. What truths could it hold? More power? Concealed from us? The truest secret?
The diagram Anatolius drew certainly drew out its basest elements. Oberon’s inscription was crude, but functional. But, he thought, perhaps there is more… Twisting the curves. Adding iso-linear subscription curves and trans-functional lunar waveforms, this deep magic etched into the circle pulled from every text known and unknown. Theory and practice in active unison. Cracking each maze of complex algorithm, mapping the lines to web together the raw magics. This was True Radiance.
What more could be unlocked?
Broken from his daydream, Simon reared.
A shattering, as if a great structure of glass collapsed endlessly, sending pylons and domes hurling across stones into constantly diminutive eruptions of fragmented hail, echoed through the chamber.
“Like a barrier between worlds… sundered.” Simon said with shrunken eyes, made weary.
Anatolius looked to Simon, noticing his shaking hands, and asked then, “How do you know this.”
“Come now, It is my lot in life to pass through such things. Though this one is broken. It is an unwise passage to the other side. But I admire guile.”
“Not now.” Commanded Oberon. “Your hands, brother, what is it.”
“It is most beautiful. I think I’ve done it now. It’s the Wheel of things. True Radiance. It is no Anti-Spirit fuel. It is no magician’s oil. It is the essence of God. In the Al’Ryax, writings from an older age in Elandir, they spoke of power forming the Sun and the Moon and even revealing the nature of stars. They say the man who spoke these things to them was mere lunatic, poised by the Night where he lay to study this magic amongst the stars. For it was light that shone strongest in darkness. Eventually he became absorbed with the power. One night, his father found him sitting at the foot of the mountain motionless in trance. When his father tried to wake him he did not answer. For 74 days he sat cross legged and in the fashion of the dharmic Athoskarman-Ra, known then as Athos-on-the-Lotus to heathen outsiders of deep Asthurisse. I say this only because on the Lunar Apex of that evening he opened his eyes and mouth to speak and from him burned light which Rang the mountains and send rubble hurling across the steep slopes, bellowing, “Da.” Then the light faded and his skin fell to the ground in his place like a cloth robe, cast off.”
“Why is it you speak such legendary tails, such as one from so long ago?” Uruhua inquired, though she knew. Yet, it was Oberon who spoke,
“We know the risks. Now show us the wheel.”
Simon lifted a parchment sheet. On it lie the cycle of things etched in words beyond words. Contained in it was such beauty as to be horrified. Simon quickly withdrew it into his pocket.
“Shall we try?”
In the deep reaches of the final chamber lay the prize. The chest and beyond it, the door-without-handles. The exit. Once.
The crimson painted chest, lined with a foiled gold in the most ancient style. Rudimentary and cast in dense mudbrick. It showed only the scene that mattered in those days. The hopes of a throne and a crown to they who could exceed God. Such an empty dream.
With a swing of her pole arm, Uruhua shattered the chest. Overwhelmed by the scent, Anatolius began his count. 50,000 astral diamonds. The sum of empires. Again, truly empty.
“Let us go now, it is enough. Heaven could be in flames or worse and these diamonds will not help us to solve this.” Oberon had taken initiative and we agreed.
“Wait,” Simon had one last idea. “I want to Communicate with Golagorax here. Perhaps his soul is trapped as well. He then sat and began to meditate. After five minutes, Simon began to shout and then after another three or so, finally stood up.
Walking towards the Door-without-handles, Simon looks back and smiled.
“So, what’s the chance I go 0-2 here?”
The Gates to Heaven have no words. No soul who ascends even passes by them. They are an illusion of power and existence. Their construction unrivalled in the known world. All of the culture and the art of the world derived from the idea of one single thing. What is Heaven? The attempts and renovations and recreations and annihilations in the arts and life enacted on one object, one assumption. And none had ever even seen it.
In truth it is such as it is. No more or less golden. No more or less laden with gems and magics. No more or less blessed than the dirt upon which the almighty had trod. It is simply the Past, the Present, and Future made one and eternal. A door, no more, no less.
Before it stood the bare purple skin of the Athosiae Devarum, most elite among elite, pulsating with feint cosmic rushes of thought and life beneath. One bore a scimitar, shaped like the crescent moon before dark, another the rushes and trident to entangle before casting one through the clouds and into the abyss.
“THOSE OF THE EVIL STAIN! BE YEE TRUE IN THE FACE OF ATHOS-ON-HIGH?”
“Lay down arms!” Repulsed Oberon, glowing now more radiant perhaps? “We are those who seek light and the end of the Long night. We merely seek truth. Know you the way?”
Dropping the net, the Deva spoke, “I am Scarn, I bear the light. I knew you not in the days before, though now I see many of you are different. Stained as is Nemesis. Speak you the truth?”
“Yes, we did not choose this, it was thrust upon us. We seek to stop its spread and to restore the balance. We seek the truth.”
“Then it is so. Beyond, you will see the truth.”
Clanking open the palisades of gold shuttered and a great cloud of pure white dust gently swept over the floor. Clearing, the visions of once mammoth cathedrals and spires lay in siege. Beyond the Grand Entrance in the fields of Elysian reflections, there stood only death and fire.
“Take this. This ring, Oberon, will take you to the truth. Follow it and do what you believe to be the answer. The faith have faith not like one has water, but like one has thirst. It must be quenched. It is beyond our mere possession. Satiate yourself on the light, and it shall purify thyself. Recall that to thine own self you must be true. Go to him. Athos Be Praised.”
Within the Dom Athos, the plant undulated, slithering long vines between rows of pulpits and along the marbled walls. With a pulmonic rhythm, flowers bloomed and withdrew along the path towards the center. In the seat where once Athos had crowed the God of Everlasting Night and doomed us to such fate. Now, brought back by such a… creature?
“Its energy is perplexing. I can’t figure out what it is. There is light… and something else.” Simon proceeded closer.
“Allow me!” Uruhua placed her hand up to her head and –
“NO!” Simon was too late, a piercing screech like daggers split the room.
Though before recovering, another surprise was made evident. Above the creature, high in the covered Dome of Athos, once coated in the constant elucidation of the stars and the mysteries, was the final Urn. Equal in size and matter, again it would come to this. Again, there would be blood.
“I suppose we can do this. One last time.” Anatolius spoke and looked to his comrades. Aged and weary. None had volunteered who remained. It was the rag tag group from that warm Summer evening on the Conclave. Beneath the hardness and terror of the past years, beneath the impossible achievements and determination, they remained at the core, United.
“I think so.” Oberon smiled.
“Me too.” Uruhua prepared her spear.
“Always.” Simon said. Then he paused and looked ahead.
“It’s like your Eulogy to Behemoth. The Roots of the Earth are upside down.”