Interlude 2: What the Gods and Goddesses Discovered
“Does Abba know about this?” Apolaki asked. Knowing that his Dumakulem is alive changes everything. The kids can no longer take the mountain god's place and instead work on helping save him. As Idianale said, the kids are his hope.
“Yes he does, and the force that holds Dumakulem hostage according to Abba is beyond his reach but if the kids successfully gain the mark from the mountain the marks that they'll get will become a compass that will help point to where Dumakulem is. The powers of the mountains are greatly connected to his but of course, the mountains will only speak directly to Dumakulem or to the new mountain god, even Abba can’t make them talk. If one of the kids gets the marks from the five mountains, the mountains will cooperate” Idianale answered. With the discovery that his son is alive, every minute she worries too much. If Abba can’t detect the power which binds Dumakulem, that means wherever the mountain god is, he's being kept in a place by someone with nefarious plans. Abba also said that they could be using Dumakulem’s power as a source of something sinister. They only have one in mind, the ever cunning Sitan. After the attack on the ritual grounds, their suspicion was sealed.
“Tala said Sitan spoke through one of his dark seeds and said he’d like to take his daughter. We could have used her, instead of sending her off with the rests.” Anitun suggested. She still can’t bear the fact that Sitan’s awakened daughter walks freely.
“I thought we had already discussed that you should not speak ill about any of the newly awakened ones, much more the daughter of Sitan. She has Sitan's powers but she seems like a good kid or else she should not be among the chosen ones hiking the length of Pulag”. Idianale said with a stronger voice now, showing her contempt for what Anitun had said. “Since they are within the divine space where no gods and goddesses can reach them except of course for those with their life force laced around the place necessary for the challenges, let’s just hope that all of them reach the peak.” She then remembered the discussion among the gods and goddesses just this morning about the black seeds scattered all over the mountain.
“The seeds as what we discovered from the one Amihan brought, feed off from the half-god’s power. It turns into a plant when no half-god is present around and when a half-god shows up, the vines it creates will automatically gravitate and try to enter the half-god. No half-god can defeat the black plants as long as one of them stands near the plant as their presence is expected to feed the plant with the strength to survive their powers. What more is that the half-gods are more in peril now since the ritual is incomplete but we still hope that the first challenges will be enough to strengthen all of them,” Lakapati, the goddess of cultivated land said. She’s sitting beside Idianale. Her dark and long hair covered her bare chest. She’s wearing nothing but a brown sari and was barefooted. “Abba made it that no one can break into the defenses of the divine paths within the mountain but these black seeds are imbued with power no one has seen before.”
“We gods and goddesses had been idle for so long. Basking in the peace that we have found for centuries not knowing that our enemy is preparing to overtake us. But we’re powerful together and Sitan knew that he can never defeat us with only a few powerful allies beside him. Some minor sky-deities had left their sky palaces to join him but it isn't enough to topple down the sky realm. He will not dare to march here with the little force he got and we know better to start an unnecessary war. If the kids all get the five marks from five mountains they should help point out where Dumakulem is and by then, we can make our move.” Abba said as others nodded. His words are absolute.
“Pulag should awaken soon, as the kids complete challenges, the shackles which lull him to sleep should one by one break. And when he wakes up and gives his mark to them, he’ll go back to an eternal slumber with the shackles control passed to them all. The difference is in the intensity of the mark passed on. The more damage a half-god creates towards the giant, the more power their mark will get.” Mapulon, the god of seasons said. Half of his face is covered with a wooden mask. He has glowing tattoos from his shoulders to his elbows in ancient Alibata script. His dark hair is cropped short and he’s wearing a golden collar paired with gold cuffs and anklets. He’s also bare-chested and his pants are the color of dried leaves.
“My daughter is well equipped too. With her rifle, she can enslave Pulag easily but that's if she manages to find a vulnerable point. Giant skin is touch and even bullets can bounce off.” It was Dian Masalanta, the always beautiful goddess of lovers. She’s wearing a gold dress wrapped tight around her curvy body.
“Now, before each of starts to make a bet towards your sons and daughters, you can all go for now. Soon we’ll reconvene. The Archipelago is peaceful right now and each of us can continue with our duties towards humankind”, Abba commanded. It’s a pity that the new generation seemed to have forgotten the gods and goddesses who shaped the archipelago but that does not stop them from meddling and protecting human lives.
Idianale looked at Apolaki who, upon learning the truth about Dumakulem, got restless. The god of the sun and warriors is a good friend of the mountain god no wonder he has much involvement in the issue concerning the disappearance of the mountain god.
“Apolaki, I know what you’re planning to do but I urge you to wait and trust the kids. You should not make unnecessary moves that will anger Abba. ” Idianale said sensing that the sun god looked as if he's planning to storm on Sitan's dwelling.
Apolaki did not answer as he teleported out of the divine space, leaving Anitun and Idianale behind.
“I wish Abba decided for us to just go straight and break the underworld. I will be on the frontlines for sure” Anitun said.
“Of course, you will be. But that’s now how things work. For centuries we have protected the peace and we will hold that peace for as long as we can and if we have ways that will not require bloodshed and calamities.” Idinale answered. A war between the gods and goddesses, although unseen, brought about calamities to the humans. That’s also the main reason why the mountains have to be shackled, they are giants that should not roam the archipelago or else cause destruction and deaths.
“How’s Anagolay holding off?” Anitun asked. Anagolay the goddess of lost things is Dumakulem’s wife. The news of her husband’s death at first made her isolate herself on her tower where she summoned endless lost things, and people, hoping deep down that she will summon her husband back. When Anitun last saw her, she summoned an egg of a Minokawa, an almost extinct dragon-like bird that once roamed the archipelago.
"Still on her tower, not letting anyone stop her from summoning long-forgotten creatures and things. Just this morning she summoned Lam-ang's missing bone, which she immediately returned back to the forgotten abyss." Idianale answered. Lam-ang was one of the awakened half-gods of the old times who possessed the power of Gods. He was also granted magical pets who resurrected him using his bones. But soon the half-god accepted death but there were rumors of his kins trying to resurrect him but just missing a bone which prevent them from resurrecting the half-god.
"She should stop soon, only the mountains can summon their god back. She needs to rest", Anitun said. Surprisingly she's fond of her brother's wife.
"We did try to stop her, Dumangan and I but her anguish, that I understand, and if by doing what she can comfort her now, let's just let her be. Soon she'll find the strength to leave her tower." Idianale replied. Just like humans, gods are also a ball of emotion who feels the grief of losing a loved one.
Anitun nodded in agreement to what Idianale said and without saying goodbye, she left the divine space, leaving wisps of wind.
Idianale sighed. They have no choice but to wait and hopefully the kids will be successful to get the mark from Pulag and not pulled into the darkness by the black plants
Soon Idianale followed Anitun, leaving the divine space and seeking the comfort of her palace.