The professor was quite angered with the decision of the council, which, honestly, did not surprise me. He was never fond of guests and never took a liking the idea of someone dwelling in his Athenaeum, despite it being one of the more popular sources of knowledge to many practitioners of the mystical and the unknown.
The professor dwelled in the less popular sectors of the Athenaeum. Despite the professor’s whereabouts, he always knew who entered, who was about to come, and who was exiting. His instinct fully knew what books where handled and the manner in which they were handled. He knew every detail of the Athenaeum of Myriad, even the individuals’ current whereabouts within it.
“Where to Griffin?” Amalia asked as the professor distastefully looked up at both her and the other two that were standing directly behind. Slouched in his chair, with his ceremonial robe lazily draped over his same old long coat and dirt-brown vest, the professor gloomily answered.
“Up on the mountain, as usual...”
The professor then shifted his gaze down to the table, with arrogance and cold heartedness. “And did you get the cylinders?”
“I gave them to Erik, he went up and put it in the cellar,” Amalia answered, whilst the professor kept on playing with his marble buttons.
“We will wait for you outside.”
Amalia tapped his shoulder as she left. She had one of those smiles which burn into your memory like a branding iron, seductively leading you into a sense of confusion and perplexity.
As she removed her ceremonial robe, she revealed leather armor with many weapons hanging from it. I was curious as to her profession, so, I asked the professor,
“What is she? “
“A huntress, young Augustine.”
The professor angrily rose out of his chair. “A bloody huntress.”
As we were heading out of this spatial perplexity, I inquired of the professor once more what all the commotion was about.
“Are you going to tell me what this was all about, or will it stay as an enigma till the time is right?” I asked the professor with a dash of sarcasm.
“Arrogance will not help you get anywhere in life, young Augustine, but persistence will, so I shall tell you, not because of your childlike ego, but because of your annoyingly abrasive persistence”.
As we exited the place through the iron doors, the professor used me, and the explanation, as an excuse to altogether ignore Amalia, Rahil and Bartholomew.
“You see, young Augustine, long ago there was no wall. No wall existed between the anomalous and the realm of non-anomalous. We lived all together in unison, but you see, there ensued a long battle between the first of the gods.
“What kind of fight?” I inquired.
“I don’t feel like explaining, but one of them was banished into the abyss. We shall call it Rahon. Well, the banished one made a deal with the gods allowing him to create a race of his own as a gift of peace. The caveat was that the race would be mortal and have the restriction of time. This infuriated the gods. The banished one took his revenge, but unfortunately the gods could not, so they in turn persecuted the race which they had created with the banished one. This race we call the human race.
During his tangent, the professor bought some peanuts from the local people.
“After some time, the humans got weary of the gods and proceeded to breed a master race; a race of incorruptible humans without sickness or weakness. They bred the god killers, giving them weapons, which were cast and sharpened by the banished one himself. One of these weapons was the dagger of Athelios.”
“The one you now have?”
“Yes, now stop interrupting me and let me finish. You see, after the god killers extinguished almost all the gods. Furthermore, they decided also to rid themselves of all weapons. They believed that the more they used the weapons, the more it fueled their thirst for bloodshed, and so, gave back the weapons to the banished one, except for Athelios. He was the only one who kept it, all to himself. You want some?”
The professor offered me the peanuts.
“I’m not hungry,” I replied.
“Wasn’t going to give you them anyways,” he snatched the bag closer to himself and continued.
“Well, after years went by, the humans felt threatened. Their paranoia grew as a result of the surviving gods, and the powerful entities which roamed the earth, and so, with no god killing artifacts in their possession, they decided to create a barrier. Taking the most skilled and powerful welders, and a few practitioners of the arcane, creating a door; a door in which they trapped all the souls which bared anomalous properties, except one, the god who held the door shut. You see, young Augustine, all the enchanted chains in the universe could not hold back millions of anomalous souls. Someone had to hold the gates shut. One thing could be said about the gods and that was that they were selfish, especially Ekog. He would do anything to stay in the outer realm, and not be trapped with the rest of the souls, so, he remained behind, holding the door shut. This god along with the chains, hold back the anomalous souls to this day, but their banging and knocking creates cracks; cracks through which they can affect the outer realm. How hard your soul fights, also depends on how much you can affect the outer realm. Our job, as sentinels is to keep the gates shut, and never to let anyone out.”
The professor sarcastically smiled as he finished of his speech.
“Ok, but what does the dagger have to do with all of this?” I inquired.
“What does the dagger do, young Augustine?” the professor counter inquired.
I thought for a second, and finally understood. “It kills gods”. I answered.
“Ah, yes”, the professor countered, wait here and let me find for you a cookie.”
“What about the Velkagon fellow?” I continued.
The professor stood silent for a moment, before uttering.
“Velkagon was an elder one. He had this obsession with immortality, and made a deal with a goddess, to give him a body of nature every time his would rot. The elders in his village did not really take this act to heart, and exiled him, he in return killed them all and became the king of Lavina.”
The professor halted and gazed at the ground, and with a pale face, continued.
“After the pharaohs act, he was a staple of escape for all the entities. A sort of idol to look up to. He made this deal with Ekog, that he would bring him a lock stronger than any god. He promised him he would bring him this lock and release his eternal torture. Of course, Ekog took this deal, with a pledge. Telling him that he would release only half of Velkagons soul, releasing the rest when he would bring him the lock.”
“And?” I uttered with immense intrigue.
“Well, such a lock does not exist. His goal was to find the dagger-“
“To kill the god?” I quaveringly interrupted.
“Something like that, yes. Well, we banished him many seasons ago, but it seems as though he’s back. Interesting.” the professor answered as I tried to fathom this newly acquired knowledge.
I tried to somehow connect it to myself, and my peculiar predicament.
“So, am I one of them? One of the anomalies?” I asked the professor with a somewhat pensive tone.
The professor looked down and did not want to answer. He seemed hesitant and in some manner even frightened.
I decided not to proceed, since from past experience. I knew that these conversations lead to an impasse.
As the professor and I were talking, Amalia, Rahil, and Bartholomew followed behind and stared at the professor in an abnormal way. They bickered amongst themselves until Rahil finally asked.
“Who are you speaking to Griffin of England?”
The professors’ face changed; it was face of perplexity. He quickly turned around as it occurred to him.
“Oh, well, I am talking to my apprentice!”-he answered.
“Is this apprentice of yours real or just a figment of your imagination?” Bartholomew sarcastically inquired the professor.
“Ah, humorous Bartholomew. Have the sandstorms perhaps metaled with your eyes?” The professor sneeringly asked.
“Well, if they metaled with mine, then surely, they metaled with the other’s eyes as well.” Bartholomew calmly stated.
“My God have your senses become dormant.” The professor replied in a mocking tone. “My loving companion had, by accident, ate an herb of Gorumion, and now is invisible!”
I did not understand why the professor had lied about my predicament, but went along with it, knowing his capabilities of assessing certain situations.
“Is he mute too?” Rahil asked in a more aggressive manner.
“Well, he’s a bit shy, ironic for his predicament”.
The professor then started to laugh. Rahil and Bartholomew also began to laugh a bit nervously. Amalia, however did not seem to care, as she kept on walking.
The professor successfully deflected the judging intrusiveness of Bartholomew and Rahil, skillfully easing the situation with humor.
“We should hurry, it is getting dark.” Amalia uttered as she began to climb the wooden steps up the mountain.
The rest of the crew followed in the wake of Amalia, as I halted to take one last glimpse of the captivating little town. ---
---I shall admit it. I had, to an extent, abandoned this quest, for it had brought more pain than joy, more sorrow than delight, and more destruction than perpetuation. I may seem selfish, and self-centered, in truth I am far from that, for this odyssey I can no longer endure. I was resigned to wander until the soles of my feet did erode and I finally long for thirst and bread.
This tropical forest seemed like a fine beginning, for it had no human being whose attention I would desire. The birds singing their songs and the creatures which bonded in harmony with nature were enough to bring me delight.