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Champions of Serenity :Gathering the Circle

By Diana Jefford All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Blurb

“It’s time. Before the sun sets this night, it will happen.” Shægnek said triumphantly. The others gathered even more closely to the window that opened onto that other world and the first half of the circle. They had been watching for several days now and had tried to figure out who would be playing which role in the game. Now, they would have the answers they sought. “Chaos, I hope that I am not interrupting. But as it is almost time, I thought we should all be together for this moment.” The melodic voice of Serenity filled the library. As the others turned, they found the rest of the family ranged behind the bright Goddess of Sandeenai. “You are most welcome, Serenity. Please, join us. This group is most enlightening.” Chaos made room for his sister to stand next to him and watch as the events were set in motion.

Prologue

“I, Shægnek, goddess of Fate and Whimsy have a tale for you. It is odd, how the passage of time means very little . . . until you run out of it. We, the children of the Great Creator, were there at the beginning and saw The Prophecy being written in the spilled blood of Serenity. When the Great Creator set into motion the game that would change two worlds, I was there. We heard Chaos laugh at the very prophecy that would be his downfall and I began to write.

“Actually, I enjoyed this game very much and loved adding my little touches, however minor. And I loved the cast; they played into my hands better than any I could have chosen. It was so kind of Serenity and Chaos to give them to me. But, they really didn’t give them to me, and my part was rather small. However, it is the small parts, which are the most critical.”

Chaos stood over the goddess of fates and whimsy as she wrote. Chaos was a handsome god, with brass skin and green-gold eyes. His body was lean and supple and his face was that of a young hero. He loved the colors red and purple and wore only those two colors in combinations he knew made others wince. He would have winced as well, for they were not pleasing to the eye, but it helped keep his control over his specialty; chaos. His scowl deepened as he watched one of the goddesses which aligned herself with him write. There was nothing more he hated than being played the fool and that is exactly how he was being painted. He picked up the ink bottle and casually spilt it across the scroll she was working on. She laughed at the display of Chaos’ displeasure as she faded to the planes of the gods.

Pacing, Chaos decided it was time draw the first card of his hand. He called in the Keeper of Souls and demanded to see what was left of one Dreybrenic Greshinea. The Keeper bowed low and silent to his god and master, and then went to do his bidding.

Chaos returned to his home and dropped his robe to the floor, moving to recline on a dais filled with silken cushions. A serving woman came and knelt before him, offering him a tray with a crystal goblet and a chilled bottle of wine. A bowl of grapes and a plate of sliced cheeses were also served on the tray.

Sampling the wine and cheese, Chaos glanced up as the Keeper of Souls drug the broken shell of a man in and dropped him on the floor below the dais. Once, Dreybrenic had been a minor magic user in the service of Chaos. But he had gotten sloppy and made a mistake that had cost Chaos the loss of his worshipers in Trinthalas. For this, Dreybrenic had been given a thousand years torment in the dungeons of Chaos.

Dreybrenic trembled and fell to the ground, groveling before Chaos, begging for a second chance. Chaos folded his arms and watched a moment, and then a slow, frightening smile grew on his lips.

“Dreybrenic, I am going to give you Sandeenai. All you have to do is stop a prophecy. Even as we speak, I can feel my sister, Serenity, beginning to gather those who would be her heroes. You will stop them. There are others, from another world. You will stop them as well and I will give you the key. If you do this, Sandeenai is yours. If you fail me . . . ,” Chaos let the words and threat hang in the heavy air of his home.

“I will do as you bid, my Master. I will stop those who would raise against you, my Master. I pledge my life to this quest for you, my Master.” Dreybrenic groveled more and Chaos allowed the pitiable worm to kiss his feet.

Then, without warning, Dreybrenic screamed and writhed in pain. His broken face and body transformed into a tall, straight, physically desirable man with black eyes and hair and pale skin. His new body was filled with stolen power and his new mind was filled with the words of The Prophecy and the key needed to stop it. When the screaming stopped, the old Dreybrenic Greshinea no longer existed. In his place was a man whose evil was equaled by none. He had a taste and hunger for stolen power. He had the cunning of greed and malice racing through his veins. His black eyes glittered and he again fell down and worshiped Chaos, pledging his life and beyond to the god.

Chaos was pleased with Dreybrenic and gave him leave to enter into the physical plane of Sandeenai. Dreybrenic would have to find his own way to the underworld plane of the Demons and the ethereal plane of the Dryad, Faerie, Sylph, and Naiad. He watched from his throne as Dreybrenic gathered a few loyal minions and began to build his army and realm of terror. Chaos nodded his approval when Dreybrenic hunted the Wer from their home in the Trevos Mountains and renamed their ancient stronghold from Tatuan Keep to Hades. With Dreybrenic well on his way to conquering Sandeenai, Chaos turned his attention to his half of the promise. He opened the tiny window to that other world, the world where the other eight heroes would be coming from.

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