Book 1: The Fall of the Mountain God

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Interlude 4: Visit from the Gods and Goddesses

After the storytelling, everyone decided to rest early. More challenges await on the next day of the hike, so they all agreed to get the rest they need. Soon enough each of them in their tents was fast asleep. Ricka turned off her fairy lights and soon, the place was filled with darkness, fog, silence, and occasional sounds from passing night creatures.

It was around midnight when a hooded figure showed up. the figure soon went to the blue tent where Basti was sleeping and stood there for a moment, just watching the tent. After a few minutes, another hooded figure appeared surprising the first one.

“Look who’s here, the God of Seasons, Mapulon you’re here too,” said the just arrived hooded figure.

“Yes, I am here Dian Masalanta. I guess we both have the same intent, to watch over our budding kids. Mine’s got a version of my flute, he has not realized its full potential yet” Mapulon answered to the goddess of lovers who proceeded towards the pink tent near the entrance of the camping spot.

“My daughter has a rifle, and she can control anyone, just anyone with the use of those bullets. Now I’m wondering why we have not awakened our offsprings for so long. It’s interesting to see all these potential, the power that goes with our god blood”, Dian replied.

Soon, two hooded figures appear simultaneously, no longer surprising Dian and Mapulon. The two other gods who came to visit were Dumangan and Abba.

“So as expected, you can’t wait for your kids to reach this spot where I opened for you gods and goddess for a view of them who are, as expected tired of the ordeals they have for the day,” It was Abba. “They’re doing fine so far and according to Idianale since Dumakulem is really not dead, with the strengths these kids have, we might have hope to find the missing mountain god and hopefully soon. It's a pity though that we can't tell them yet of their new roles. No divine intervention unless they finish the ordeals laid out for them." He continued.

"They should be happy with the less of a burden that can be taken from one of them if they can help in finding Dumakulem. It is with fascination though, that humans, when driven off a corner with no choice, learn how to survive and thrive. Just the other day, these kids were all frightened, now look at them sleeping soundly." said Mapulon, from where he stood, a patch of grass started to form.

"Well if they fail to get one of the markings from the mountains and we fail to find Dumakulem, one of them will be hailed as the new mountain god," replied Abba. "I feel a great turmoil that we have to place such load on their young shoulders but the order of things, older than anyone of us, prevents us from getting the marks directly from the mountains. Gods and goddesses always need champions to help them and long ago we learned that no one plays the role better but our own children with humans." The supreme God continued as the rest of the gods agreed in silence. They all knew the battles fought and died for by halfgods on their behalf for the past centuries.

Dumangan suddenly broke the silence. “My daughter is tainted, she bears the black vine and was just helped by a warding spell of an engkanto.” Dumangan, the god of harvest said.

“Let me take a look,” Abba said. He closed his eyes and soon, from Chris’ grey tent was a black thread moving towards where Abba stood. Soon the thread coiled into a black ball hovering on top of Abba’s left hand. “So it has started then, but there will be more I believe, the first day is the easiest and the second day is what I’m concerned about. Dumangan, your daughter is now safe, she’s wise, stopping the black plant from fully corrupting her. I guess without the help of the engkanto, she might have cut her arm or foot but thankfully she had avoided the loss of her body parts permanently, such a brave girl carrying a dangerous scythe” Abba commented.

“That you, your Almighty. She is quick-witted and I’m glad they were able to rescue her in time or else Sitan might have had her,” Dumangan said as he bowed.

“No big deal, they’re not supposed to encounter this sort of evil from Sitan and since we can’t change it anymore, this is the best that I can do,” Abba said. “So I guess you’re all here to check the winning brood, hmmm the most interesting part, Sitan’s daughter, I don’t sense any threat from her so you should all just stop telling me over and over about excluding her from the choice. She has a fighting chance like the rest of them”

“I guess Aman Sinaya will not be here after all,” Mapulon commented. “She might have found it too uncomfortable to be with you Abba. Centuries never erased her bitterness because of the existence of the archipelago that got created after your fight. The archipelago serves as a constant reminder of her defeat."

“That was too long ago but that goddess does bear grudge against me, unfortunately. I hope our kids will not carry the ill will,” Abba chuckled. “This is it for me and should be for you all too, let’s leave the young ones to sleep, get the rest that they need. Wish them their safety.”

The other gods bowed to Abba and soon, each of them disappeared.

In the dark, several creatures of night retreated to their abodes after watching the visiting gods and goddess except for one, a black hound which just appeared after the gods disappeared. The scurrying creatures might have been scared of it too, the reason why they left the place. The hound was three feet tall, with glowing red eyes and long fangs protruding out of its mouth. Its eyes were focused on the black tent.

Soon joined him was a goddess wearing an emerald tube dress reaching her bare ankles. Her black hair was crowned with an assortment of shells and a gold starfish. Her brown complexion was flawless and her face though young, showed hard intensity. The hound looked at the goddess whose focus was among one of the tents.

“So you did not join the gathering”, The goddess said.

“So did you”, the hound answered.

“I heard what your brewing, those black seeds to corrupt these young ones. You really hope to succeed with the combined powers of these halfgods.” The goddess answered.

“Aman Sinaya, you underestimate me. If that’s all that I aim for I should have not gone through the lengths I took. Your son lies there in one of those tents, you feel your blood pulsing through his veins? Enough to carry your will, hidden from the sight of the other gods and goddesses.” The hound said. “This is not the end of what I aim, join me, just like what I already told you several times, with your power over the sea we can topple down the sky realms.” The hound said.

“And as I have stressed before, I will not take sides Sitan. Not beside your cunningness and Abba’s absurdity.” With that, the goddess disappeared leaving the hound alone. The hound sniffed the fresh air on top of the mountains and looked at the starry sky up above. It took one last look at the tent and soon disappeared with the night.

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