Verse V: Goddess of Fortune

Reid looked up at the mountain looming in front of him. Mount Iyla. The top of this great mountain held riches that he’d only dreamed of and never thought possible. He didn’t know if the tales about Mount Iyla were true but he had to try. His family could use the riches stored at the top of this mountain. Reid started climbing. It was an easy and quicker climb then he would have imagined. There were footholds and handholds dug into the side of it. When he pulled himself up onto the flat plateau at the top and stood, he froze at the sight before him. The stories had not done this place justice. Reid moved into the middle of the flat, smooth area, stepping over piles of jewels, gold, silver and everything imaginable. There was a cleared space in the middle of the treasure and Reid stood there gawking at it all. He didn’t even know where to start.

Goddess_Fortune_ChaseHenson.jpg

“Human,” a soft, lilting voice said from behind, causing him to turn quickly.

He stared at the tall, beautiful woman who stood at the edge of the ledge that would lead him back down to the ground below. Reid didn’t think she was a human woman as he stared at her smooth and unblemished teal skin, dark brown eyes, and glossy, shoulder length brunette hair. She wore a brown leather cloth around her waist and golden, spiral garments covered her areolas and nothing else. Gold, decorative bangles adorned her upper arm and forearm. Reid’s eyes ran down her strong, lean body and he wondered if he should fear for his life especially since she held a wicked weapon in her left hand. A snowy white owl with eyes the same color as the woman herself hovered by her side. A pendent hung around its neck, swaying as it flapped its wings to stay afloat. Reid watched as it finally settled on a high ledge to his left.

“Why have you come to Mount Iyla and climbed to my lair?” she asked, her melodic voice making him forget the weapon she held and her strange bird.

“I came for all of this,” Reid answered truthfully. “My family is struggling and just one piece of what you have would help us.”

The woman— or should he say goddess? —studied him for a long time. He tried not to fidget under her intense scrutiny.

“Very well,” she finally stated. “I will allow you to take one thing of your choosing. I do not mind what it is you decide on. It can be as big or small as you want it to be. It can be gold, a diamond, a pearl or whatever you desire. But it must only be one piece, human.”
Reid did not understand why she was confining him to only taking one of her treasures. This mountaintop was filled with every type of jewel and gold and silver imaginable. She did not need all of this and she should have offered him more than one piece. Reid turned away from her and scanned the riches in front of him. He walked to a pile directly in his line of sight and picked up a chunk of gold the size of his fist. An emerald that would fit in the palm of his hand rested right beside it and he could not resist. He picked it up when he picked up the gold and slipped it into his pocket. He turned back to the goddess who was watching him with a cool expression on her beautiful face. She’s moved away from the edge so that he can make his way back down the to the ground.

She stood by her owl and when he walked past her, she attacked him. She slammed him onto the ground hard, the treasure dug painfully under his back as she loomed over him, seeming larger than when she stood at the edge of the plateau. He got a closer look at the odd-looking dagger in her hand that came to a dangerous point that would allow her to stab it into his skull without any resistance. She held it near his eye and held him down. The decorative base glowed green as the sun hit the emerald at the right angle. The owl fluttered around their heads, its eyes glowing blue and the pendant swinging wildly around its neck.

“I was willing to let you take a piece of my riches when that is not something I do very often,” she said, still in her soft, lilting voice. “You betrayed my generosity with your greed. All you humans are the same.”

Her eyes started glowing a molten golden color. He started to panic as his right foot melted away. No. His body was dissolving into gold, adding to the pile on the mountaintop. He watched in horror as the lower half of his body flowed onto the pile of gold by the edge that could lead him back down and away from this nightmare.

__________________________

Reid jerked awake, sitting up in bed. The dark room offered no comfort as he touched his legs, making sure they were still there. It took far too long for his breathing and frantic heart to return to normal. It was just a dream, he kept chanting to himself. He decided that he needed a drink and there was no way he was going back to sleep. He climbed out of bed and after a trip to the bathroom, made his way to his study. The Old God’s Text sat on his desk. After making himself a scotch with ice he walked over to the text and opened it to a random passage. He skimmed the page he’d turned to and his blood turned cold.

“Traveler,” Iyla, the Goddess of Fortune, said in a soft, lilting voice.

Iyla’s teal skin was smooth and unblemished, her dark brown eyes flashed, and her glossy shoulder-length hair swayed gently in the breeze. She wore a brown leather cloth around her waist and golden, spiral garments covered her areolas and nothing else. Gold, decorative bangles adorned her upper arm and forearm. The human looked fearful as he gazed at the beauty in front of him.

“Why have you come to Mount Iyla and climbed to my lair?”

The glass of scotch slipped from his fingers, hitting the edge of the glass, before resting on the plush carpet. The scotch soaked into the light material but Reid did not pay any attention to it. He’d dreamed about something he’d never read before. He’d dreamed exact words that a goddess and some random man had said to one another. He finished the short passage and his world seemed to be dissolving like his limbs had in his dream.

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

Sisters_Creation_ChaseHenson.jpg

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.

__________________________

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