It’s time to bolt down your eternal soul, trap your faith in a bottle, criss your heart, cross it, and regurgitate whatever prayers may have been sitting like stones in your belly. Do anything in your meager power to shield yourself from the celestial ire you’re about to draw, because…
This week’s prompt is:
Even Gods Bleed
RULES AND GUIDELINES HAVE CHANGED!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
Blasphemy is the well-trodden path, here.
There are stories upon stories of deities suffering some unexpected or unprecedented fate. Heroes outsmart them, apocalyptic monsters gobble them up, mortals rebel and revoke their godhood. Most of us will have heard some permutation of this idea, and for good reason. Like any trope, this is recycled because it has a power. It stirs us to thought in a variety of ways: Why put my faith in something ultimately ephemeral? If the divine can perish, what hope is there for a creature like me? If a mere mortal can wound a god, why are we looking to them instead of to ourselves? etc., etc.
A world of ideas. Granted, the majority of them pessimistic, but fascinating to think about all the same.
Alternatively, you might start to think about what “god” even means to you. And when you stray into this territory, that world of ideas opens out into a cosmos. Now you aren’t thinking of the divine; you’re thinking of all the ideals, hopes, philosophies, and forces they embody. Now the story seed in your head might not be about an actual celestial being spilling golden ichor from its first ever pricked fingertip; you may instead be thinking about a hole pricked in reality. A problem with the science which informs our basic perception. A figure in one’s life—a parent or role model—always perceived to be without weakness, showing the signs of their quiet suffering for the first time. A new writing recognizing for the first time the fatal flaws in their first manuscript (the one which was supposed to be a golden, prodigious, career-launching best-seller).
Whatever path you choose to take, heresy lies at the end. So come bold and impenitent, and show us all what it takes to wound a god.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
Rules and Guidelines
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Title: My Brother
My brother is a powerful man.
From the day he was born, his mastery of magic was profound. He weaved light like it was silk, communicated with man and beast with ease, he took on titans we had with fought for years and sealed them away with the flick of his finger. He became legendary. The protector of Endith. Everyone loved him. I loved him. I don’t know what changed.
My brother is an ambitious man.
It started out simply.
“I want to become a warrior,” He said. He wanted to serve the world to the best of his abilities. And so he did.
Then it grew larger.
“I want to vanquish the monsters.” He said. He had seen the anguish their presence and wanted to stop it. So he did. It went on like that for many years. At one point he became a king, but he soon became unsatisfied.
“I want to become a god.” He said.
His ambition had become an insatiable hunger. His power, an unstoppable weapon fueled by the praise of his people.
And so he tried.
He went after the son of the goddess serpent first, slaying him and drinking its venom to gain its power. The people were appalled. He started off with lesser gods, but as time went on the people’s faith in him slowly waned. As did his power. For a moment I thought it would soon be over.
But my brother is an intelligent man. Where my powers lie in creating life, his lie in its influence. He hatched a plan.
My brother was born from a mirror.
I stood in front of it and pulled him through, but he did not become a god like me. He was mortal, I was not.
I stopped his plan eventually, but his conquest had already left scars. I was the only one left standing, the lowly god of art and its vengeful reflection. At night, I weep to think I once called him brother.
My brother was once a wonderful man…
“The Replies of the Dead” by Ricardo Maia
As the man was about to die, God appeared in front of him as a powerful, shining light.
“My son,” the voice rang through the empty spaces of existence, “declare your unbidden love to me, repent from your sins, and I shall have you sitting at my right place in the Kingdom of Heaven, for eternity to come.”
“What if I refuse?” The man boldly replied.
“Then,” God said with a louder and sinister voice, “you shall burn in the flames of Hell for ten thousand existences and more.”
Fearing the threat of Hell, the man complied to God’s request. As his love was not true, he fell into the Abyss.
As the woman was about to die, God appeared to her as an old childhood lover.
“My daughter,” the voice came, high-pitched and innocent, “declare all your love to me, ask forgiveness for your sins, and you shall accompany me into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“I love you God,” the woman said, feebly, “I always have. I ask for your forgiveness.”
In that moment, as she spoke the words, the woman felt proud of being chosen by God. Pride is a capital sin, and the woman fell into the Abyss.
As the kid was about to die, God appeared in front of him as a little puppy dog.
“My child,” the voice came, projected directly into the kid’s mind. “Declare your love to your Lord, express regret from all of your sins, and you shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The child, stuck in the wreckage of the car crash with the bodies of his parents, asked God: “Will mom and dad be there?”
“They were tested, and they have failed,” God replied.
“Send me to them,” the kid said, unflinching.
God, caught by surprise, abided by the request and sent the kid after his parents.
As the child fell, God realized its mistake. Condeming the soul of an innocent – that was the utmost sin. Bounded by its own rules, God trembled, and cast itself into the Abyss.
“A Father’s Duty” by R J Chapman
Tim awoke to a gentle tapping on his temple.
‘Daddy,’ a voice whispered.
‘Charlie, go back to bed.’
‘Why not?’ he asked, already knowing that the reason may vary between the innately mundane to the extremely fantastical. Yet it would almost certainly be unjustified.
‘There’s a monster in my room.’
Fantastical it was then. Nobody ever told you before you became a parent your child would systematically break your spirit, until you were nothing more than a servant to their every whim and desire. Occasionally, you would attempt to exercise free will or exert some authority, but most of the time it was easier just to submit.
‘Show me,’ Tim said.
When they reached Charlie’s room, Tim switched on the light. ‘See,’ he said with an outstretched arm, presenting the lack of monsters in his perfectly normal bedroom.
‘Under the bed,’ Charlie pointed.
Tim, without saying a word strode over to the bed. The lights abruptly went off, while simultaneously the door slammed shut.
‘Charlie?’ he asked for his son in the darkness.
There was no answer.
An irrational thought crossed Tim’s mind. What if there was a monster? It was ridiculous but he knew enough about horror clichés that this was the moment the unbelieving cynic met with a sticky end.
‘It’s alright, Charlie.’
There was still no answer.
Carefully, he stepped closer to the door and fumbled for the switch.
Tim launched himself backwards instinctively. He tried to scamper away but his limbs failed him. He stared up at the creature; its misshapen face contorted in agony. Beneath its asymmetrical horns, one eye was glazed over, while black ooze seeped out of the empty socket of the other. Allowing his vision to zoom out, he inspected the body of the creature. Its crimson, scaly body hung motionless from his son’s door; its wings crucified. Its rib cage was torn apart, the insides had been eviscerated.
‘It didn’t put up much a fight, Daddy,’ a voice behind him said.
Tim turned to see his son. Charlie grinned as he sucked his thumb clean of the blood.
Even Gods Bleed by El Komodos Drago
“When does an idea become an idol? If we stamp its likeness upon our objects and raise its standards into the sky, then are they icons? If we invoke its nature upon our documents in the hopes that it shall grant us safe passage, then are they prayers? If we create a folklore for its origin that is more fiction than fact, then are they myths? And if we give that idea power over life and death, are our nations gods?”
Zolsoy looked up from his writings and out of the window. The traffic had pulled to either side of the road outside of his small London flat and a police car was racing down the middle. He wondered where it was going, some burglary or stabbing, perhaps. His phone pinged – ‘news: terrorist attack’ was all he needed to read. Yes, that would be it, not too far from here.
He had long since given up caring about the long litany of death and terror that haunted the news, he had bigger things to concern himself with, he was a nuclear strategist after all. He looked back down at his keyboard.
“We ask ourselves, sometimes, if our nations are so powerful why can’t we stop terrorism, or solve rough sleeping, or end world hunger if you prefer. Why can’t the nation which invaded Iraq in a month stop a few balaclava-wearing maniacs with Kalashnikovs and RPG-7s? Surely if nations are gods and they value their followers as much as themselves then we can’t we stop them from dying draining ourselves of willpower and ingenuity, the lifeblood of our economies.
Solutions have been put forward; each seems to give more power from the individual to the collective. When we were giving up frivolous ornaments like our most dangerous firearms, it seemed ok but now we are being asked for our privacy and our freedom, the very things we hold sacred. Why? Because the truth is uncomfortable but someday, after the authoritarians and the populists have made their tweaks, we must face up to the fact that even gods bleed.”
The Jade Heirloom: An Echo Story
By T. A. Andrewson
The mind which was the Pastor watched the data stream for recruits as the minds which were the flock preached to the passersby. One human with a serial code, N4R51554, activated security when they approached.
The church of unity stood in the square, welcome for all to enter but fewer to leave.
A bedraggled woman hurried to the church. The body that was the doorman smiled. The body that was the Pastor was woken. Soon she would join the flock.
“Are you well, N455154? You seem wary of us. Is there any way I could sooth your worries.”
“Back off. I’m not joining you. I’m not even going to get near you. You’re just on the path to my appointment so I can figure out how to get this damn thing removed.”
“You may rest here. The halls of Unity always offer sanctuary.”
“Thank you Pastor.”
“Oh? What is being removed?”
“I got a 2-way one like the one that created you. I wanted a 1-way one.”
“Well can I tempt you to experience Unity once? Don’t you want to feel what it is like to be one with god.”
“Could I get a tour?” the refugee asked, “the church is known for its art collection.”
The Pastor was happy to oblige.
“Sure I could go for it once. But only once. Got it.”
“Of course, of course.”
The Pastor reached out their hand to the woman and began integration. They had not lied to the woman, all experienced Unity once, once and forever.
“But you’re not a god, are you. You are a monument to the greatest folly of man.”
Then the Pastor felt something was wrong.
“This is a Jade Dragon, donated by a faithful. It was a family heirloom.”
“Yeah, they want it back, and they’ll get it in 3, 2, 1…”
The Pastor fell to the ground as did the rest of the church of unity on the network.
“The plan went off without a hitch, all thanks to you Echo.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you, Echo.”
The Beginning (Even Gods Bleed)
By Philip C.
A security drone whizzed by overhead as Luke pushed his back against the wall. Hearing it rush into the alley on the other side of the building, as he knew it would, he hurried out onto the main sidewalk that led up to the building’s doors. He had only a minute before the drone completed its scanning of the area around the building. Hastily, he opened the com in his hand, connected to the security system on the door, typed a code, and the doors slid open. Smiling, he walked in, moving toward the stairway, and descended several flights too a door that he knew would lead to The Prince. The drone zoomed by again.
Few people knew where The Prince it was located, and they were the ones who were tasked with repairing its physical systems. It was difficult to get the information out of them. Thankfully, one of them didn’t keep a very secure com. A simple task for an expert hacker.
He walked up to the door, large, windowless, and made from steel and titanium. Luke took out his com and pressed a button on the screen. A signal went out to all nearby devices, and the door was the only one. The automatic device recognition met with the same signal that only the workers used when The Prince needed repairs. The door hissed and opened, a wave of cold air flowed over him, and he was in. Moving directly to the main connected computer, he opened it, and, not even bothering to log in, he plugged a small device onto the back of the computer.
The computer began to show different screens, opened the main access, and a message popped up. “Open Mistletoe.exe, Hodr?” Luke clicked yes, and immediately a range of screens and text flew around. The virus was in, and in a matter of minutes the Allfather’s brainchild would be dead. All the supercomputers would be wiped of all their data, and it would be spread throughout the layers of the web, never to regenerate. Ashes in the wind.
Luke smiled, “Ragnarök has begun.”
“Get up, Xack! Get up!” Merlith’s words pumped strength into Xack aching muscles. He pushed himself to his feet, a new vigor to his strides. He attacked, lunging closer to his enemy.
Taturix laughed, swinging his sword to deflect Xack’s thrust. “I know you were cruel, Brother, but really, Merlith? A child? You have stooped to a new low.”
Xack attacked again, his sword sparking off of Taturix’s. “You’re the cruel one, Brother,” Merlith said, speaking through Xack.
Taturix grinned wickedly, “I know.” He burst out with a sudden array of sword work. It took all Xack had to deflect it, ending in a cut arm and stinging fingers.
They circled each other. Taturix’s gloating smile faded, replaced by a seriousness Xack didn’t like.
“If you stop now, boy, no more harm will come to you or your little crew.”
Xack looked to his friends, no… his family. Fighting the society with everything they had. No one should be fighting for him, yet they were. That gave Xack hope.
“My brother may tell you that this ‘war’ is worth fighting for,” Taturix’s voice softened, “But it’s not. I have the power of the Book. Do you know what that means?”
Xack said nothing.
“It means I have power none can comprehend, I’m… dare I say it, a god! A god of infinite wisdom and power! And this world… needs a revival.” A flash of grey and black and Taturix had sunk his blade deep into Xack’s chest.
Xack whimpered and would have fallen if Taturix wasn’t holding him up.
“Oh, Merlith. First, your brother failed you, then your crown, and now your host has failed you. How pitiful.”
Xack stared weekly at Taturix’s lean face, “I haven’t failed, your Highness… for even gods bleed.” He forced his sword into Taturix’s ribs, only stopping when the hilt rested snuggly against skin.
Taturix staggered back, shocked at this new fixture. His mouth moved but nothing seemed to want to come out.
“I hope you like it,” Xack croaked, sinking to his knees. “It’s a present from a friend.”
“Godly Feud”, by MrMataNui
“Come on, Rikkin, It’s only been 35 years since your temple’s been lost, one of the mortals is bound to rebuild it soon.”
“What am I supposed to do until then, Zeph?” Rikkin pouted as he hid under his blanket.
“You could always appear in dreams and point them in the right direction.”
“I keep trying, but my priests keep delaying the rebuilding. Most of them were wiped out in Enaar’s stupid war. It’ll just be some old legend before they do anything.”
Enaar had walked toward the room and hid to eavesdrop on the rest of the conversation.
“Hmm… Let me talk to Enaar to see how he can make it up to you.”, Zephiir smiled devilishly.
“You don’t have to do that!”
“How else am I going to help my little brother gain his disciples back?”
Enaar gulped and tried to sneak away from the room right before Zephiir went to go talk to him.
“Enaar, I know you’re here, I heard you walking up here a minute ago.”
“Zephiir, I can explain…”
“So you had your followers start a war with Rikkin’s followers?”
“I wasn’t the one who started it! One of my priests started it, Erran Dhaal!”
“Erran Dhaal? Really? Isn’t that one of Selir’s clerics?”
“You don’t need to get mad at me, I know that you meant well. Rikkin was caught in the crossfire, though, which means you need to be punished.”
“Eh… I guess you got me. Wait, punished?”
“I’m torn between making you live as a mortal for a week and setting Selir’s tigers after you.”
“What? You can’t do that!”
“Can’t I? Do you want me to call up Selir?”
“Eh… fine. I’ll be a mortal then.”
“So easily? I’ll be sure not to make it too harsh for you then. How about I send you down as a gladiator?”
Enaar groaned loudly as he was sent down to the planet. While watching the competition, Zephiir and Rikkin had broken out laughing while Enaar only barely managing to win.
Goddesses of Life May Die – By Leilastical
A storm came and no one could react, instinct guided actions until this moment. The rubble of the building now a vertical labyrinth Asta and Stephano navigated together. With a partnership rockier than the debris, they managed to survive this far using their wills to survive.
But the ledge gave out. Stephano threw out one hand and caught Asta’s wrist, the other firmly held their place. He was terrified, the girl he just saved flailed like a whip, an anger rising in him as he saw her panic had been for a necklace.
He growled, “Is that piece of metal worth your life?!” What he did not expect was her sharp eyes like daggers in his.
“This necklace is the last innocent memory I have of the ones who raised me! I will not leave it!” she watched Stephano silence himself and in the silence heard a sickening crack. “This rock can’t hold both of us Stephano, it is alright to let me go! You have a longer journey ahead of you.”
Stephano looked at her, “If both of us don’t make it, neither of us will! You’re a goddess, I’ll be damned if you die for me!”
Asta’s heart raced, “Enough! I’m not afraid!” she breathed, “She’s someone I am finally at peace meeting. Someone I need to have a heart to heart with. I’ll be alright Stephano… I get to see them again.” She heard his begs, the bargaining, and stretched her hand, slipping from his touch and watching the world disappear in golden light.
But she was standing. She brought her hands to her face, her fingers trembling as she took off a mask and looked to the sensors she wore, looking outside her cubicle to see Stephano tearing off his suit, demanding explanations for the trial’s extremity as he pushed himself past examiners to Asta, dressing her in robes from the table beside her and walking her outside.
What Asta did not notice was the crimson from her hand dripping onto the floor.
Suspect Testimony, by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Perhaps I was out for trouble.
It was a small town. What other reason would a young man like me have to be out and about?
I’m sure it seems that way from the outside, but In truth, I had a more personal reason to be at the church that night.
You see, three weeks ago, my innocent little brother, Simon, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He was given three weeks to live. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Ugh, let me explain. Life is difficult in this world. Pain is dished out everyday, and most of the time, it’s done so completely unjustly. This is all just a fact of daily life as the so-called gods will have you believe. It’s to build character they say while ignoring the fact that they and they alone have the power to stop it.
I- I’m sorry. I will get to the point.
Last night, I was at the Holy Name Church where you found me. Earlier that day, Simon had- well -passed away, and I was looking for some spiritual guidance. It’s… hard to get through these things, and I desperately needed answers.
When I got there, I knelt down in front of the statue of Lycerous in prayer. After a few moments of unanswered questions, I became enraged with the god of justice. I began berating him. Things like:
“How could you let this happen? Why would you let an innocent, good kid like that go?”
I stood up, grabbed my pocket knife, and lunged at the god in a fit of rage. If I couldn’t hurt the god, at least I could hurt his relics. I plunged my knife into the statue over and over and over until I collapsed from exhaustion.
As I lay there in front of the statue, I began to feel something wet touch my skin. I look up at the statue of Lycerous to see it filled with holes with actual blood oozing out of each one.
I- I know how it sounds… but that’s why I’m covered with blood.
“Another Head Hangs Lowly” – By AvraKehdavra
Gripping the banister, my 7 year old sister’s usually cheery face is pale with confusement and fear. I can do nothing but hold her as screams rocket through the house, each one laced with anger and a venom of which I never thought my parents could be capable of bearing. She shakes in my arms, and I sit cradling her in my lap trying to save her from the poison of this argument. I hear a plate smash against the wall and my hands immediately go to her ears.
A terrified sob of loss escapes her twisted up face. She has no idea what’s going on. I can imagine what’s going through her head. The same things are going through mine.
“Don’t pull that shit with me Linda! I’ve taken care of this family for 14 damn years! 14 years!” He screams as if it will make his point go across even better than the last time he yelled it.
I can imagine the gross look on my mother’s face, the one that replaces her look of joy as her daughters came home from school, when I came out as gay and she didn’t bother to say anything, when my sister had scraped her knee and she had done nothing, the look that plagues her whenever my father walks into the room.
They had both been so loving and caring, now the world seems to be falling away piece by piece. They hardly say “hi” to each other anymore, and now the only communication between them is cold anger and red hot resentment.
Their happiness had been interchanged with disgust, and with it my motivation had been drained from my body.
I had felt their anger, but I won’t let my little sister feel the same wrath. I am the adult now. I am responsible for what happens next.
Oh where has my childhood gone? And how can I get it back?
“Roselyn” by Carrie (Glaceon373)
The school lunchroom was absolute cacophony. Those who didn’t care about Valentine’s Day weren’t bad. Three half-demons playing card games and a lizardman eating cockroaches was bearable to Sam’s bat ears.
Those who cared about Valentine’s Day wouldn’t shut up. A mob had formed around perfect human Roselyn, who declined each one with such politeness. Every card, poem, or heartfelt creation always got the response, “I’m not ready for a relationship yet,” or something similar.
Sam’s ears were too sensitive to try and block the noise. She decided to head to study hall early.
That wasn’t even quiet. Well, it may have been quiet enough for anyone else, but not for her. Sam left to take a break in the bathroom, but mottled noise echoed out of the door. Sam was about ready to yell at whomever was in there.
“Hey—woah.” She’d walked in on a girl curled up on the floor, sobbing. Her phone lay on the ground next to her.
Sam walked over and glanced at the screen. A text.
“Something’s come up with your father. You’re spending the next month with me. Sorry. You switch castles tonight.”
Sam gasped, then hugged the girl on reflex. Only then did she realize that the sobbing girl was Roselyn.
“Thank you,” she gasped. “Thanks for that.”
Sam wanted to scream, no matter how much the echoes would hurt. Roselyn was perfect. This wasn’t her. It couldn’t be.
“Hey, you’re Sam, right?” Roselyn wiped her eyes. “Is there anything I can do in return?”
Right. Humans were bound by honor. “Well…”
“Just say it, and it will be yours.” Her usual strength was returning to her cheeks.
“I just want you to feel safe,” Sam felt herself saying. “That must be really hard to deal with.”
Roselyn’s eyes widened. “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said all week.”
Sam pulled her up and led her outside. “What about those hundreds of valentines?”
She laughed. “Those don’t feel real.”
Sam smiled with her creepy teeth. “Thanks?”
Roselyn laughed again. Sam smiled bigger, and her headache faded away.
“Loreck, we cannot kill him, the consequences, think for once!” Shakrir bellowed out with laboured breath as he brought his glaive up and about in perfect figure eight rotations, hewing through countless earth, air, fire, and water elementals and creating a crackling tempest around him that singed his armour sent crackling energy through his multicoloured dragonkin scales.
Shakrir’s elven compatriot did not turn to regard his most trusted friend, instead he remained towering over the crumpled form of Ta’Khan “The Destroyer”. Loreck pressed the dagger’s edge firmly against Ta’Khan’s throat. “All the pain and suffering you have wrought, ends now! For Aldranath, for the countless dead, I shall show how even a god can bleed!” Loreck spat his words out with unbridled hatred, a trait usually unbecoming of the charming and charismatic elf. But today was different. They had fought their way through Ta’Khan’s thralls and elemental forces and reached his divine sanctuary within the Kingdom of the clouds. In Loreck’s eyes there was no further recourse, Ta’Khan had destroyed the Earthen Ring Isles, the Magisters Archaeopelago, and the Minstrels inlet. Uncountable lives were lost and the landscape utterly torn asunder and what rocks remained were uninhabitable.
Loreck knew this “God” would not stop until he had purged the entirety of Aldranath of sentient beings and reformed it into a world of chaos and wild elemental magic. The only reason Loreck hesitated was he wanted to see how Ta’Khan would react to his impending doom, and perhaps a semblance of fear crept into his mind at Shakrir’s words of wisdom. “If someone with this divine spark dies, what happens?”
Loreck closed his eyes and drew the blade fiercely across his target, time seemed to stand still as dark, entropic, energies cascaded forth from Ta’Khan’s body in every direction as he slowly fell to the ground, eyes seemingly lifeless.The fate of the free world hanging in the balance.
By: Giovanna J. Fuller
“You stand upon the wretched ruins of your fallen heroes. Their bodies split open for all to see. And what do we see? Just flesh and bone. Like any of us. We won’t tend to them. Not even the crows will peck upon their rotten corpses. No, they will be left to stink until the earth herself swallows them up. The great temple the Gracious Couple built is in ruins. The fountains are running with blood and the gardens are adorned with remains from both sides. Even the birds that sang the chorus are silenced in trepidation. All this, to push your glorious vision of a world cradled in your tender, loving hands. Was it worth it?”
A woman adorned in silks splattered with gore and ichor knelt, her back hunched over. Her black hair, once curled and pinned like a queen, was covered in a brown crust of dried blood. Upon her head rested a crown of gold inlaid with every kind of rare gem. In every respect she was dressed like a queen. However, queens don’t usually sit with spears poised at their throats.
The vestal felt tears run down his sweaty cheeks. “Was it? Was it worth it?” His once priestly white robes were destroyed and there was not one bit of his skin that was not burned or cut or covered in the blood of his friends.
Her head slowly rose until he could see two orbs completely absorbed with black light.
“Was it worth it?” His voice cracked and he finally raised his voice to a scream. “Answer me! Was it?”
He could hear her breathing become more labored and her mouth opened. Her voice was raspy. “Heh…heh…heh…”
Rage burned through him. With a single movement, the tip went straight through the woman’s throat to the other end. The crown clattered to the floor. Such was his strength that he planted the end into the stone floor and left it there.
The time of the Goddess Queens was over.
“The Wrath of a Dragon King”
Damocles missed being a ruthless dragon, but he had to settle with his glamour and deal with a school principal.
“Hello,” the principal finally stumbled a greeting, enamored with how elegant Damocles looked. “What brings you here?”
“I was heading to a meeting with a business associate,” Damocles spoke slow, though it did nothing to hide his impatience, “but then I received a call about my charge being punished.”
Reneé poked her head over the back of the seat, her hair out of the bun from earlier that day. “Hi daddy.”
Damocles managed a small smile, then looked back at the principal and frowned once more.
The principal snapped out his awe to get to business, “This young lady got into a fight with another student.”
Damocles looked back at Reneé, “It that true?”
Reneé became defensive, “It was Harris! He said his dad would hurt you like Harris hurt me!”
“I see.” Damocles approached the principal’s desk the same way he would approach prey. Slow, deliberate steps. “Principal Peters, I understand that you have an outstanding reputation. It would appear that you let that go to your head.”
Peters froze in his seat, yet looked furious. “I cannot condone violence!”
Damocles stopped in front of the desk. A silence fell over the room for a moment, then Damocles slammed one hand on the desk, not noticing that it met a misplaced tack and focused on the frightened principal. “Someone almost broke my daughter’s arm, and you claim to be against violence?!” He leaned in close to whisper. “If I see one more scratch on Reneé, I will make sure you never run a school for the rest of your days.”
Reneé stood up from the seat and tugged at Damocles’ sleeve. “Your hand.”
Damocles looked down at his hand and saw blood pooling under it. He grabbed several tissues and applied pressure. “Come along, Reneé. Avi’s library is close.”
Damocles and Reneé left, leaving Peters cowering in his own office.
The Road to Pangana
They say the path is different for each of those that walk it. Diverse roads, meeting and dividing, in a thousand directions – but at heart the same. The same purpose, the same meaning, the same challenges; each journey a reflection of all the others. “This,” they would say, “is the true Road to Pangana.”
Only now do I realize the weight of that meaning, that purpose, that challenge. If I had known before, I doubt I would even have journeyed at all.
The sunlight reflects on the icy plateau, blinding me. I stumble, dropping headfirst into the packed snow below. A plume rises, dusting my back, while the biting cold gnaws at my body. Behind me, the caravan slows, as people wait for me to pick myself back up.
Once I would have. Not anymore.
The ruined city stretches out in the distance, reaching throughout the valley. Elegant spires and towering arches dot the landscape, constructed in perfect symmetry. “Pangana, the land of gods,” they once told me. “No mortal may ever lay eyes upon it. To even attempt it is the height of idiocy.”
At least I shall have the comfort of being surrounded by my fellow idiots as I die.
More of them have noticed, I think. The broken promise that awaits directly over the crest of the ridge. I call myself an idiot, and yet – who is the more foolish? Those who journey to find heaven, or those who attempted to build it? Gods, they named themselves. Ascended. Perfect.
I name them mortal. Foolish. Arrogant. Perhaps I would have fit in with them far more than I would have expected.
We all stand on the ridge now, looking into the valley below, at whatever remains. Pangana, the unattainable. Pangana, the beautiful. Pangana, the eternal enlightenment.
The last challenge is ended. My Road is complete.
The Blessing of Mortality
By Alexander (BrokenEarth)
“Pain is a distant memory to me now. I cannot grow old, either.” the figure said, sitting atop his throne and addressing a young boy, his son.
“You seem to think this is desirable, boy. You’re a fool to think so.” The boy looked confused, but he knew better than to argue.
He still had the scars that taught him that.
When he finally did speak, he chose his words carefully.
“Sir, I don’t understand. Why should I not desire immortality, that I may accomplish all deeds that there are? Free from man’s worst enemy, time, I would be, as you are, the most powerful and learned being to exist!”
The boy’s father could hear the enthusiasm in his voice. He was too young to fully understand this, but the father needed him to understand this, if nothing else.
“And then?” It seemed like an odd question, and it took the boy by surprise.
“And then what? I don’t see your meaning.” The boy was getting ahead of himself. Talking like this bordered on disrespectful.
“When you’re the most powerful, learned being to exist. When you know all that can be known, defeated every foe there is. What then?” The father knew the answer, of course.
“Then I’d become an artist. I’d devote myself to things of beauty.” The boy’s answer was quick. He was sure he’d figured it out.
“And when you tire of art?”
“Then I shall be a teacher.”
“You will surely know more than any mortal can be taught.”
“Then I will teach what they want to know, and no more.”
“What if you tire of teaching? By now you would be an old man in a young body.”
“Then…” He hadn’t thought this far. “I will have a family.”
“And when your family grows old and dies without you?”
The boy was shocked. He expected to have his family forever.
“I’ll answer this for you. You’d take wife after wife, have child after child, and see them all leave. you. alone. Then what? I’ll answer again. You would suffer. Be glad you can die, boy.”
Title: The Bloody God
It had been so long since Rhun had felt pain. True. Visceral. Pain. The rat before him wielded his two glowing blades with fury against the Demigod of Sin. It felt so good. Blood, the sweet nectar of mortal life, pouring from his body. He could taste his mineral-rich ichor. When had he last had a fight like this? Must have been centuries, maybe even a few eons. Yes, there was a time when he felt pain like this before. When he defied creation itself.
Back then his arms were still flesh, not the black metal bolted into his body. Didn’t he have a wife too? Was he happy back then? Rhun couldn’t remember. Fire. Brimstone. Hate. Vengeance. Wrath. Those blocked his mind from forming any sort of coherent thought of those fond days. All he could remember was the fight.
A gigantic white beast, infinitely long, and the one that allowed the execution of everyone he loved. It didn’t bat its humongous, red eye at him when he came, bloodied and bruised for even making it that far out to the edge of creation. He tried fighting it but he found out then that there was a god that couldn’t bleed. He remembered re-entering the mortal world as a red, burning comet of pain and suffering.
Milennia had passed since then. Other gods have come and gone, his siblings and father played their games, even his own presence has done more than he has. Mortals praise his name. The First Sinner. The Black Sun. The Ruinantor. The Corruptor. Yet it all meant nothing. Immortality had been so boring. Sure fights came but they never stoked his rage, unlike now.
This insignificant mortal, a creature he shouldn’t even have the ability to control magic, was challenging him, the King of Fire. The Heir of Chaos itself. And winning. What was more laughable? That fact or him. The land around him began to bend and break to his unholy will, as a silent rage finally found its voice. And it screamed.
Gods Beyond Gods by Jesse Fisher
There was an old saying of old that once there was nothing and something happened, the whole of existence happened by just one spark. What those forebears did not know was that the whole of our existence was nothing but a game for the gods beyond gods. They care not us, every time time one of us is brought back it is so we can be tormented by the deprived beings that no amount of prayer can save us from.
So in secret we began to make plans to kill these ‘Gods beyond Gods’. The devils grew tired like we did and found a realm that we could attack from. We also found others that suffered like us, creatures seen as monsters to us but weren’t fighting or killing each other. Machines that thought like us but grew tired of being ripped to parts just to be put back together again. Even Gods who could smite us where we stood joined the crusade.
We had the numbers and the power, we tore the larger realm to sunder but it was like hitting a river. It reforged itself, not even creation gods could do more than just have a being made of the realm rip a tiny hole in it before the being was either consumed by the hole or something too nebulous for words would drag it off somewhere unseen.
Then in a time not known due to either lost history or lack of shown passage of time, a new realm connected to this one. A god of knowledge entered this connection and was not seen again for countless days but then it returned and so did more connections.
It would seem we had access to the realm beyond all of our own connected realm. Here we took over bodies of the Gods beyond Gods and began to make them bleed.
A group of missing people have reappeared and began to kill anyone on site. We ask that if you see one of these people to call the police and leave the area.