Temple of Mil-ike
As she stepped inside the room, the bronze double doors behind her shut with a rusty creaking sound. The room is pitch black, Kate’s infernal eyes adjust very well to pitch black by lighting up with a soft red glow. Her infernal sight allows her to see in when no light is available by providing her own. In the past, this effect scared some of the native home bogglings when she was out at night. She turns her head, panning left and right, studying the sparsely decorated room.
The room’s center is a marble table, maybe an altar with the same octahedron symbol with the balanced scales. The room had rows of empty square wooden cube shelves stacked from floor to ceiling. Resting opposite the bronze doors on a marble pedestal, a bronze helmet, looking identical to the one Gul the Watcher wears. Kate approached the altar; as she walked across the room, she reached out her hand and traced the stone edge with her index finger.
The altar brightened with a soft light. A small spherical gem six inches in diameter lifted itself out of the altar and hovered before her. Symbols of law circled the sphere in a circular orbit of eight rings extending a foot or so from the sphere. Kate felt a presence, a power; she had read about this creature, god or tool. She lowered herself to her knees and bowed her head, “You are one of the Council of Eight, the Soul Stone of Law, Mil-ike.”
Mil-ike pulsed his rock-steady voice, “Rise Katalina, Goddess of the Hidden Veil, you came here out of curiosity, and now maybe I can some answers to questions you have.”
Kate stood up and looks at one of the creators of her world. “Why am I here? What am I suppose to do? These men and women look at me as some sort of savior. I don’t have answers for them.”
Mil-ike moved closer down to her eye level, “You are being tested, as is the crew of the Chimera. As you know, the gods we created have ignored their duties and brought chaos to our world for too long. We are reading ourselves to intervene and rebalance the scales. What have you learned with your experiences with the crew of the Chimera.”
Kate thought for a moment, “They are all Blooded with an insane amount of stored grace. They all work well as a team. Each has different traits, skills, and personalities. Their leader Shaitar plans on asking you for help now that he can enter the Temple of Ascension in Durith. He had originally wanted me to ask the Council of Eight for help against the Gods of the Spire.”
Mil-ike waited for her to complete. “Do you know why you were taken from your parents to be raised away from the other gods?”
“Uncle Jeri told me that it was to protect me from Voloth’s wraith.”
Mil-ike flashed, and his voice grew hushed almost to a whisper, “Yes, the Skyweaver had left a prophecy that a child of Balithzar of the Iron Mountains and the Queen of the Shadowed Veil would bring death to the Gods of the Spire. We wanted you to have a different perspective from the other gods we care for; this experience could not be done if you had sworn allegiance to the Throne of the Spire. We wanted you to see the suffering the old gods have brought to the world.”
She thought, “I have read and only experienced very little outside my home valley; the people fear the gods. The gods only serve themselves, and they do not protect or support the souls they care for.”
Mil-ike flashed again, “Can I count on you to guide the souls on their journey through life? Help them when you can? Would you willing serve the Council of Eight?”
She paused; she felt a trap in a contract or promise; Uncle Jeri taught her never to make a deal quickly. “Can I think on this for a while?”
Mil-ike paused for a moment the flashed his answer, “Yes, you have until you enter the Temple of Ascension. At that time, you will give all of us your answer.”
She nodded, feeling a rush of her power; her eyes brightened for just a moment. She paused for a moment before continuing her questions. “You have plans for Shaitar’s crew, want to tell me? I am a god, after all.”
Mil-ike flashed in his solid voice, “Not as of yet, you don’t serve the Council of Eight directly. Our plans can still fall apart if you slip your tongue to your new friends. I do have one request that you can do, and I want you to ensure as many of Shaitar’s Blooded crew succeed in entering the Temple of Ascension.”
She nodded, “I will do that.” At that moment, her power fully returned. Her eyes glowed with the blazed with the crimson red color. “What is going on? I feel my power rising and falling ever since I came to this city. Will you give me a straight answer?” The power faded just as quickly as she continued to speak to Mil-Ike.
Mil-ike moved around and floated in front of the bronze helmet of Gul the Watcher. “The reason the gods don’t come here all that often is because of the power of Guil the Watcher. Any promise a god made has to be honored when they make it here in this city. You can only use your full power when upholding the promise. Such as the man you promised to punish; if he broke his promise, you would have to proceed to punish him. If you don’t, Gul, the Watcher will decide on some sort of punishment for you.”
Kate gulped; she had made that threat as just a point of intimidation to keep him in line, “I see. So I just made a promise to ensure that the Crew of the Chimera makes it to the Durith.”
Mil-ike hovered again above the altar.
Kate raised her hand, pointing her index finger up, “One more question, why is Maverick not Blooded?”
Mil-ike lowered himself down again, “Simple he did not need to be. Your souls are linked, even before your bonding experience. He is your soulmate; your souls have been reincarnated on many different worlds, in different forms for thousands of years. We looked for centuries to find a unique pair of souls that could complement each other so nicely. The Skyweaver did not tell us exactly why we needed you two, but he told us you would need him. It took years to grow the young man and guide him to the valley where you lived so he could meet you again.”
Katalina still had a questioning look on her face, “I don’t remember any of my past lives?”
Mil-ike bobbed upwards to the ceiling, slowly circling, “No, maybe as a fragmented memory, but you would have recalled such experience as a simple dream, if any. When one reincarnates, it is a whole new life, a new experience. You two always found each other in the past lives, like two halves of the same soul wanting to be together. The bond is unbreakable, but if by some reason his soul is destroyed, the bond will break.”
Kate nodded, then her mouth twisted into a thin smile, “You would not happen to have a list of the god’s strengths and weaknesses? Something I can study up on?” Another game Uncle Jeri taught her, get as much information as you can on someone before you have to fight. She did this a few times before, once she had gotten ahold of the plans he used to build the battle golems she had to train with. She discovered a flaw in his design and exploited a weak spot in the golem’s armor, allowing her to bring the metal men down quickly.
The room’s empty shelf boxes burned a bright red, and scrolls materialized into the slots. Kate nodded and replied, “Thank you.”
Mil-ike lowered himself back down into the table and disappeared through the marble exterior, leaving the symbol glowing as the room once again faded into darkness.
Kate quickly started to collect the forty-some scrolls scattered throughout the room. She heard his voice one last time, “Take a look into the bear.”
Kate looked a bit puzzled; the bear?