Prologue: The Decision
100 022 years ago
Council of the Gods
“I do not agree with that plan.”
It was Volcanus who offered resistance to the last line of defence the sixteen gods had.
It did not shock the Keeper in the slightest, as she stood there, wondering why she was here and not out in the world, fighting for her people. Of course, her opinion did not matter in the face of her own goddess, Agnitia, who was positive that her proposal would be accepted – not that this instilled confidence in the Keeper, considering the recent choices made by the Goddess of Divination.
Chaos was rising, stretching his dominance across the realms, slaughtering millions, and the gods met in this chamber to discuss what they could do to preserve the realms from an unrelenting evil, an evil that was as ancient as they were. The Keeper knew why they were here; she was there for the same reason, but it felt futile, placing the hope of the realms against the egos of the gods.
The Keeper tensed when Agnitia turned to her, the goddess stealing pieces of her thoughts. The Keeper pretended not to notice, instead examining the round, concrete chamber, with no windows or doors for which to escape from. The ceiling was the only option, an opening that allowed the moonlight to drape over the room. A rim, which bordered the opening, marked the space under it with darkness. This was where the gods remained, wrapped in shadows as they plotted their next step.
“It is the only alternative, Volcanus,” Agnitia insisted, fighting for the plan she had put forward.
“No!” Volcanus objected, his body flaring as fire enveloped the flame god, as lava spilled from his mouth. “It is an ambiguous plan at best. And even if it was not, even if the plan succeeded, who is to say that Chaos will never return? Use your powers, Agnitia. Look into the future and tell us. As the Goddess of Divination, can you determine if he will reappear once we are gone?”
Agnitia sighed. “No. I cannot see that in the future. I am uncertain. My sight only stretches a certain distance through time. But I can assure you that my plan can accomplish our goals. And maybe that is all we need.”
“I agree with Volcanus,” Aquator added his judgement. It was a rare occurrence; the gods of Fire and Water agreeing. But when the entirety of existence lay in the balance, anything was possible.
“I will do it,” Aquator continued, “but we need to be certain our realms are defended when we are gone.”
Agnitia frowned. “I foresaw this concern.”
She then turned to the Keeper and nodded. The Keeper waved her hand, and four bright flashes erupted in the heart of the chamber. As they died out, four amulets stood in their place. Four golden chains attached to golden circles, each with clear gems inserted into them. The amulets that Agnitia had slaved over to perfect.
“What are these, Agnitia?” Tempus, the God of Time, was the one to speak.
“These are the Amulets of the Spirits,” Agnitia began. “We will hide these here, entombed in this chamber and imbued with our powers. They will possess a part of our spirits, so that if, or when the time arises, many years from now, they will be found and used to defend the realms from whatever force threatens them. Destiny will make certain of that. All who agree, say I.”
The silence that swamped the chamber was maddening. The gods were wordlessly deliberating what the right choice was. Most seemed hesitant. Others looked to other gods for assistance. Armas and Bella-Trix, the Gods of Defence and War, the youngest of the deities, focused on Agnitia, who they had followed many times before. Most gods looked to Luxia and Volcanus, the two oldest deities, for some hint of what they were planning to do. Umbra, the Goddess of Darkness, was the only one who faced forward, refusing to let her doubt show.
The Keeper stood in silence, watching the gods ponder their next move and could not help but be disheartened at how reluctant they were to decide. It was not that she wished for the gods to die, but what choice did they have? If they agreed to this plan, then there would be a chance that their realms would fall to an enemy in the future. However, if they did not act now, there would no longer be any realms to fall. The choice seemed simple; the village idiot could see it. But pride was a curious thing, and it took the gods a solid twenty minutes of painstaking silence to make the only decision that they could make, to choose between the only choice they had been given and absolute oblivion.
“I,” Volcanus spoke.
Aquator was next. “I.”
And so did Agnitia.
And as these four gods did, the twelve remaining gods did the same. It was resolved. With that, they raised their arms, releasing streams of energy that illuminated the entire room. It was brimming with colour – blue, red, purple, gold, green – and the streams of power, which danced around the chamber, looking for their target, could doubtlessly be detected by the soldiers miles away. In fact, if humans did not know of the grave severity of the meeting, they would assume that the gods were celebrating. But as the Keeper gazed upon their faces, as she saw into their eyes, she registered no semblance of joy, or hope, or relief. She saw dread, anger, pain, sadness, all the emotion brought on by war… by death. It was an expression she had become disturbingly familiar with.
Finally, after exploring the room, one-by-one the streams entered the four amulets. The bright glows died down, darkening the chamber once more, and it was done. The Amulets now held a piece of each god, a piece of the sixteen elements. Then they took off, ready to fight their final battle. And there, in the chamber, left on four pedestals, were the amulets which were meant for the future. Destined to be used by those worthy to activate them. Used to resist the forces of evil and preserve the realms. That was their purpose. The Keeper stepped up to the amulets, and while she knew that she would have to oversee those who wielded this power, she did not know how many guardians there would be. She did not know what challenges they would face.
She took one more look at what would be the hope of the new world and left.