Verse III: Priestess of Shadow

After Thurston and the other two board members left with a thinly veiled threat that he must attend the meeting in the morning, Reid decided to take a break from reading the ancient text. He was lucky Thurston hadn’t taken the book with him once he’d taken his leave. Something about the whole exchange left Reid feeling uneasy and he wondered what other purposes did the university have to seek out the text. From the board members eagerness and the glint in all of their eyes when they saw the book, Reid realized this is what they had been searching for all along. But why hadn’t they told him? It was never specified what they were after when he was sent to a site so he never knew what to look for. Reid shook his head in exasperation. University politics were not his game and he would not be sucked into them.

He went back to his office to grab a notebook and pencils. He needed to clear his head and prepare himself for whatever awaited him when he went to the university tomorrow. Reid took his supplies out onto his patio, sinking down into one of the chairs. The rain had just started, adding a musical background to his task. The weather was cool and even though sprays off the water hit his bare legs, he did not mind it much. Reid opened his notebook and found a blank sheet. He hovered his pencil over the paper, looking out at the intensifying storm in front of him before finally pressing his pencil to the paper and marring the pristine white surface with a soft black line.

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The man fell to his knees holding up the staff he was told would defeat the evil being who’d caused so much chaos and destruction among his people. She never even opened her eyes or lost the serene look on her face as the man raged at her.

 

Chaaya knew very well the crimes the human man accused her of. The ones that all humans wanted to blame on her. She was sure that whatever went wrong in the human realm was blamed on her or some other god who they had just happened to learn the name or existence of. Chaaya’s thoughts drifted to her time in the human realm.

 

Chaaya had her own reasons for agreeing to help Xanthe and her sisters build a portal into the human realm. She’d been interested in that realm for as long as she can remember and wanted to be able to interact with humans and learn more about them. Her ability to blend into the shadows allowed her to hear things she probably wasn’t supposed to hear and it made everyone want her as an ally and never as an enemy. As soon as she was able to use the portal to step into the human realm, she did so without a backwards glance at the sisters. She traveled far away from the portal set near an ocean to a place with many humans. She kept herself cloaked in shadows as she came upon an arguing couple. As soon as she was close to them, she thought they should stop arguing and just talk civilly to one another. She was surprised when that was exactly what they did. Chaaya moved on, walking deeper into the town. She walked into a building and found many people there. Two people—women—where speaking animatedly to one another with broad smiles on their faces and wild hand gestures between them. This time she decided to test her abilities and effects on humans again. She projected the thought that the two women were angry with one another. The women immediately turned on one another and started arguing so loudly and aggressively that others had to break them up.

 

Chaaya was drawn out of her musings by the man still screaming at her. She knew the havoc she wrecked with her abilities but the human realm was already in tatters and in chaos long before she showed up. The reason for the sisters needing a portal into their realm was to because they were destroying the planet and killing one another. She did not help but she also was not the cause of all that was wrong with his realm. Chaaya finally opened her eyes and stared down at the insignificant worm in front of her. He was only trying to protect his world and probably a family and friends but he was in her realm, threatening her. She had to wonder how he even gained access through the portal and should look into the sisters. Chaaya’s gaze fixed on the man. She would not tolerate this kind insolence. She was a god and he was nothing. Her purple skin seemed to glow in the unearthly smoke and lights of this realm as she raised her hand and a single wisp of shadow pierced the man’s heart like a dagger.

-Entry from The Old God’s Text

 

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Reid jolted awake, the clap of thunder reverberating through him. He took in his surroundings. He was outside. He’d fallen asleep outside. He took in a deep breath and slowly released it. His eyes fell on the sketchbook on his lap. The Priestess of Shadow, Chaaya, stared back up at him.

He wasn’t sure if his rendition was anything like what the priestess had actually looked like but for some reason she was on his mind when he’d started even though he hadn’t consciously decided to draw her. Reid shook his head, looking around him and seeing that the rain had finally let up but it was pitch dark outside. His stomach growled reminding him he needed something to eat and he needed to try to get some rest before having to go to the meeting in the morning. After taking one last look at the sketch of Chaaya, Reid closed the sketch book and tucked it under his arm as he stood and walked inside his dark home.

 

Art by: Chase Henson

Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell

teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com

Verse II: Divine Ingress

 

 

Reid—the Archaeologist—pulled out his rare find and placed it gently on his desk in his office. He’d only just returned but still had not given a report to his superiors. He would do that as soon as he was finished translating the text. Today he would continue reading through the book and trying to learn and discover all he could about the old Gods. He flipped through the pages carefully so as to not rip any of them. He stopped when he came to one titled “Divine Ingress.”

 

"Once again the three sisters had become bored and tired of watching their human creations. They desired to interact with them and provide them guidance. The sisters felt that the humans were not treating their creation with the proper respect and they needed to be in the human realm to help them with treating their world right. The sisters figured that they needed a portal and a way to break through the shadows that currently separated their world from the human realm. The three of them pondered over the idea for years. One day Xanthe—the yellow sister—returned from an extended trip to a place the other two were unaware of and proclaimed that she had found the solution to their problem. The Priestess of Shadows had agreed to help them for free reign to use the portal in exchanged. The sisters quickly agreed to Chaaya’s terms and the arduous task of building a portal began. Chaaya opened the shadows so they could step through. Azora, Cerise, and Xanthe labored for many years creating a doorway between their realm and the human realm. They were able to find a thick, dark wood that they shaped into the portal and infused with their combined powers and the priestess shadow’s as well so that it would not rot or be affected by the elements. They created their portal in the ocean and were able to control the waters to create a pathway to the door. Everlasting bowls of fire were set along the path to provide light for wayward—and welcomed—travelers. The skull of a mythical animal with golden horns hung over the portal, blessing it. Once they were done, they were ready to roam the human realm and Chaaya followed, doing whatever she wanted to do."

 

Reid sat back. Now he knew firsthand how the old Gods had gotten into the human realm and caused so much havoc. He wondered what would have happened if they had never found a way in. How different would things have been. The doorbell chimed before there was a loud knock on the front door. Reid sighed but lifted himself out of his chair and made his way to the front doors. He didn’t bother asking who it was or looking through the peephole before pulling it open.

“Reid,” Thurston Alastair, the head of his department, said.

“Thurston,” Reid replied.

Reid noticed that two members of the board were with Thurston as he stepped aside to let them in. He led them from the front entryway directly into the spacious living room with multiple sliding doors and overhead windows which let in plenty of light not that there was any to let in today. It was a cloudy and gray day that promised to provide plenty of rain to stave off the possible drought. Reid worked on turning on the lights as his guests made themselves comfortable. He asked if they wanted any refreshments but they declined. Reid sat in a chair that faced away from the windows.

“Why didn’t you come to the university today, Reid?” Thurston asked.

“I was busy with my discovery and translating it,” Reid answered.

“I specifically asked you to be in the meeting this morning, Reid. It is important that you allow us all to know what you’ve found.”

Reid wondered why it was that important. Once he’d gone through the book and made his translations, it would be more valuable to them. He would rather work than sit in a stuffy meeting where nothing of consequence would be said. Reid knew better than to say this however.

“Of course, Thurston. I do apologize for this oversight on my part. I will be sure to attend any meeting that is requested of me.”

That seemed to mollify the head of the department as he relaxed into his chair that was directly across from Reid. Thurston asked to see the book and the other two people—a man in his early sixties and a young woman who looked to be in her mid-twenties—nodded in agreement. Reid complied to their request and stood to retrieve the book, ignoring the sense of apprehension that washed over him.

 

Art by: Chase Henson

Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell

teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com

 

Verse I: Sisters of Creation

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The archaeologist stood back as a few of his students worked to unearth what looked like a dust covered box. He'd been tasked with—and provided funds—finding evidence that the old Gods had truly walked among men at one time. There have been small things found but they could be explained away. The archaeologist was determined to find something concrete and give definitive evidence. He'd been working on this for a long time; his superiors were losing patience with him after so many years of failures. This was his last chance and he’d only gotten it because one of his students had rich parents who were on the board and had been able to convince the others to move forward with funding.

"Professor Hollis," a female student said, pulling him from his musings.

He focused on the group of five students and saw that they had been able to get the box free. He motioned for them to bring it up to where he was standing. He moved away to the tent that'd been set up at the dig site and would provide some reprieve from the sun. Two of his students carefully carried the three-foot-long box to a table under the tent. The archaeologist blew dust from the top and wiped away the rest, as best as he could, with his hand. He saw that the lid was decorative with creatures he's only seen in books of fairy tales. His heart kicked up in his chest and his hand shook imperceptibly as he reached for the latch. He didn't know what to expect or what he'd find.

A cloth-bound bundle lay within the box with some other objects strewn about. Some long decayed and unrecognizable. The archeologist lifted the bundle delicately out of the box. One of his students moved it out of his way as he sat the bundle down on the scarred wooden table. His students seemed to be holding their breaths as he carefully removed the old, brown cloth from around the bundle revealing a leather-bound book. The archeologist opened it and saw that it was written in an old language he was well-versed in. He needed to get this book back to his tent and start translating it immediately. Without acknowledging his students, he hurried away. They were used to eccentricities and shrugged to themselves.

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The archeologist bent over the book, reveling over a story he was reading about three ancient sisters who seemed to have created life itself according to the pages in front of him.

 

Three sisters sat manipulating the forces they could control. The red god swirled anger, death, and jealousy together creating something unrecognizable. The yellow god weaved intelligence, wisdom, and progress in and out of each other and the blue god sat with beauty, life, and love blended together in the palm of her hands. It is presumed a conversation was had before the blue god suggested that they create something that would provide them entertainment when they were bored. Xanthe, the yellow sister, grabbed a nearby streaking comet and used it to sew the thread of knowledge into it before passing it to Cerise who added lust, death, and war. Cerise passed their combined forces to Azora, the most powerful of the three, who took what they’d shaped to bring it all together by adding life and beauty. The deafening boom and shaking did not even make the sisters flinch as the foundation of the cosmos cracked and exploded in all directions, leaving only glowing dust that became known as the sun and stars and a single blue gem that became known as earth. The sisters looked at their creation in awe, none of them speaking.

 

The archeologist sat back and took off his glasses. He rubbed his eyes before pinching the bridge of his nose. Finally, he remembered to look at the small clock that sat on the table by his bedside and saw that it was after four in the morning. Although he did not want to, he knew he needed to get some sleep and tackle some more of the translation tomorrow. He had a feeling this was what his superiors had been searching for; this book could hold the answers they all sought.

 

Art by: Chase Henson
Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell
teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com