An excerpt from the journal of a very dramatic Simon Bloom
The Rippling Earth crumbles beneath Anatolius’ sword. The last of The Forces of Athos for us to meet with the shortest rapport. The dust and smoke rise above the diamond slide and though rocks cover the hall that was once The Rippling Earth’s cage, I can see the pebbles that hold his soul take their last trip down that slide. Everyone celebrates a much needed victory after our defeat at the hands of Nox, but I don’t have time to celebrate. I rush over to the pebbles and scoop them up before The Planesbeing can enter. I died for what feels like the second time in my life and I’m not going to accept any regrets, even if that means taking advantage of The Planesbeing.
He appears in the room through one of his own portals. “Thank you, children of Athos…Simon what are you doing?”
“Getting insurance.” I say as I drop the pebbles into my bag of holding. The Planesbeing rips through the air right next to me. “The deal was kill The Rippling Earth, I don’t have to hand his soul over to you.”
“What would you do with his soul, Simon Bloom?”
I’m sure I could do a lot with his soul; the Storm gave me power, The Planesbeing gave me portals, who knows what advantage The Rippling Earth could give me. But I don’t say that, strength isn’t what I want.
“The question is, what would you do with your brothers’ souls…Planesy?” I say dragging out the pet-name The Rippling Earth gave his brother. I want to see him wince, just once.
“I did promise my reasons to you, this is only fair. After I took the presence of The Oncoming Storm from you Simon, his Herald, where his soul lay dormant, and after I take The Rippling Earth’s soul from his stones…I will ascend.”
Longing draped over the surface of his face for a fraction of a second; maybe I imagined it. Maybe I wanted to see emotion on that mug of his so bad that I shaped his face in my mind and saw only what I wanted. “I don’t care about your ascension, and I don’t care about Big Stormy’s soul, which you took from me without asking.”
“Are you not grateful that I saved your body, Simon Bloom?”
“Well yeah sure, bu-” I said, interrupted.
“Then the soul of The Oncoming Storm is a fair trade.”
That sick bastard. I grit my teeth and get to the point. “I want insurance, Planesbeing. You can have the Storm’s soul, but the soul of the Rippling Earth will cost you.” My faithful grin returns to me. “I’d say one soul of The Forces of Athos should cost you one favor. I want one favor from you asked at anytime.”
“I have conditions: your favor cannot involve calling for me to fight any of the children of Athos, that includes Nox, and that your favor will not put my life at risk.”
A glance is all I need from the rest of the party, we were never going to use his power to help us fight, but having a safe exit back here in a pinch was worth giving the Planesbeing what he wanted. I offered my hand to The Planesbeing.
“Deal.” I said, our hands met and I could feel the agreement legitimized within me. I fished out The Rippling Earth’s pebbles and handed them to The Planesbeing. The second he touched those pebbles a change surged through him. Still the offputting silhouette of the Planesbeing, textured by a purple expanse of what I can only describe as a violet night sky, but now storm clouds raged from his body. Cracks of lightning ripping through the cosmos. Crags of stone and earth protruded from his shadowy figure, once a two dimensional visage now revealed its complexity with shadows and inconsistencies. And where his plain mug once existed, where I once believed to see longing, a mask awakened onto his face. Muscles contorted as his lips, nose, eyes, and brow found belonging and individuality.
“Thank you, Simon.” he said as a cacophony of emotions swam through his face. Not a single one of them was longing. “I am no longer The Planesbeing, now I am Lord Primordial!” he shook his face, “I am The Planesbeing.” He shook his mask, “I am not the Planesbeing.” He shook his face one more time. “I have never been able to do that before.”
“Do what?” Uruhua asked
“Lie.” Said the Lord Primordial.
A realization came onto me. If he is no longer The Plansebeing, is the agreement still legitimate? Did I just release him by giving him exactly what he wanted? “Do we still have a deal, LORD PRIMORDIAL!” I tried to hold in my worry. Lord Primordial turned to me, his mask looked hurt.
“Of course Simon, I have no intention of breaking our trust.” He said. I sighed. He can’t seem to control his emotions enough to lie to me, at least not yet.
“Hmph, good, but I’m not going to sit around calling you Lord Primordial all the time. From now on I’ll call you LP.” My comment didn’t seem to bother him at all. Maybe he even enjoyed the nickname. This definitely wasn’t the same being we freed from the storm’s prison and I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.
We moved on from the presence of LP, we had more important things to discuss. Anatolius informed us about Nekolaj being alive and his presence at The First Dungeon. Our old training ground created for the demigods to be a dungeon which would change every time someone entered it. The difficulty of the monsters, traps, and bosses would alter accordingly to the strength of those inside. After the destruction of Sysitar I forgot about it. All those hours of training there, testing ourselves to be Athos’ chosen child was just waste. But now that seemed like our destination.
“Might I interject? I know of two portals to the Heavens. One exists in the First Dungeon and the other is at the center of Sysitar, but I can feel a great power guarding it.” LP said.
“What’s that going to cost us?” Asked Uruhua?
Again LP looked hurt. “Nothing, Uruhua. I wish to see this through as much as I can. It doesn’t benefit me for Nox’s plan’s to come to fruition. I’m on your side.” His sincerity is off putting. We chose the First Dungeon. If the power guarding the other portal to the Heavens was Nox then we wanted to avoid him at all costs. LP opened a portal not far from the First Dungeon’s steps. No cost, no deals or favors, he took us there out of his own desires. His freedom was certainly helpful, but who knows how it would change the world.
“So LP, what now? What are your plans for freedom?” I asked him. He made eye contact, too much eye contact. He smiled widely, too widely. This was definitely more unsettling.
“I will create my own universe, my own plane. It will be in my glory and for no one else. And most importantly it will be because I desire it.” He said as a portal ripped around him and snapped shut like a bolt of lightning. The sound of thunder rang through the Realm of Athos or so it seemed from where we stood. “He gets that from the Storm.” I said. No one laughed, but I snickered about it to myself all the way up the steps to the First Dungeon.
Sysitar looked no different then when we last visited a few hours ago, but it had been over 3000 years since we all stood in front of the First Dungeon. The door and dark gray walls built into the side of mountain shrouded in shadow looked unaged. A pair of tattered banners held perfectly still on either side of the door; Nox’s symbol, the eclipse was adorned into the fabric. A momento from before from before the destruction of Sysitar or the Pixie race, before the War of Failed Succession and the Second Age, and before the Eclipse that ravaged that age.
Once Nox was our brother; the best of us, chosen by Athos. The world cheered for him while we sat jealously to the sidelines. Now we are the only ones capable of pulling him back from the edge of the victory he has sought over 3000 years. Vinsanthius The Shimmering Blade 1st Child of Athos, Vondal Kildrak The Shield of Athos 44th Child of Athos, Valenae The Siren 91st Child of Athos, Oberon The Light of Athos 110th Child of Athos, Uruhua The Heartbleeder 146th Child of Athos, Anatolius The Azure Inferno 66th Child of Athos, and I, Simon Bloom The Labyrinth 19th Child of Athos, Demigod Pirate, The Prisoner in the Library, The Herald of the Storm, and the Storm that Walks are all that stands between Nox’s desires and the Realm of Athos.
We walked into the First Dungeon without a word to each other. Nekolaj and Behemoth: Kid mode had been waiting for us. Nekolaj grinned menacingly, “See you at the end.” he said. Before we knew it he ad Behemoth: Kid mode had already started running out of the massive chamber the Dungeon had created. Before we could chase after them the temperature dropped and the elaborate illusions of the First Dungeon grew out of nothingness.
“Go, don’t let them get away! I get the feeling this room will be easy for me.” Anatolius said as his flames rose. The brutal heat he gave off was a comfort as the temperature continued to drop and snow formed on the dungeon floor. Vinsanthius, Valenae, and Vondal knew he meant them and they ran after Nekolaj. The Dungeon’s first challenge roared into existence before 4 Demigods who were going to save the world.