Path of the Gods, Chapter 4

Julie L.

***After a brutal, yet unseen, attack on Yana that nearly killed her, she decided to just sleep it off and go to work on time, to the shock and consternation of Ebbe, Donal, and Kit. Kit does not know what to make of being able to see and hear Donal and Ebbe, yet Yana cannot, and none know why Yana can only feel what is happening, but not see, when she saw the flames weeks back.***

In stunned silence, they left Yana sleeping despite all that had ripped her apart, and walked into the living area. Knowing she was aware of much not typically allotted to Mortals, Kit remained quiet, and sat in a darkened corner. According to the books of the Oracles and Teachers, Ebbe’s wrath was not something to tempt. A sideways glance around showed Emme was not present. Kit wasn’t sure if that was a good thing, or not.
“Donal, you must stop swearing at your shelf. It will not do more than it’s allowed, no matter how creative your curses are,” Ebbe said, pulling up his pad and shelf, seemingly searching randomly.
 A stream of ancient obscenities, muttered under the breath but still audible, wafted into Ebbe’s ear. “I am fairly certain I said something about your colorful vocabulary, did I not?” Ebbe said.
“Some of my elements are missing, as are several of my weapons,” Donal bit back. A raised eyebrow was the only response. With a sigh, and swallowing his anger, he continued. “I saw what you were doing, realized I stumbled across something similar not long ago, and went to pull up the elements I used then. And half of the ones I needed are missing from my shelf.”
With a shrug, he added, “I thought I should check my weapon calling too, and five are gone.” He looked pointedly at Ebbe. “You know I keep close track of my weapons, and how fast I can call them, even if Emme is always after me about my shelf organization.”
“Or lack thereof,” Ebbe countered. Motioning toward Donal, the shelf was floated over to him. Doing a quick inventory, he answered, “It looks as if your outburst in the Concilium has cost you dearly.” He frowned. “While that’s not out of the ordinary, they have removed some elements and mixes I made for you specifically. They should not have been able to touch those.” He held his hand up to stop Donal’s rightfully angry retort. “I will speak to them. It’s most likely an oversight by an overzealous lower god with something to prove to a higher god.”
Kit was doing her best to remember what she was overhearing, so she could tell Yana later, but... no writings and no Oracles or Teachers had ever mentioned shelves or weapons or a... Concilium?
Waving Donal to sit across from Kit, Ebbe said. “You two... Donal, practice and try to figure out why you could touch Yana previously, but cannot now. That is not something any god or goddess can take away. All in Deisos, or the Hereafter, can touch any Mortal, should they so choose. You are to wait here until I return from the Concilium.” He paused. “If Yana does choose to go into work, Kit, go as normal, but try to keep close. Donal, set up your guardians to surround them both. Something... odd is occurring.”
Without a look back, and a flick of a finger, a portal opened and Ebbe disappeared through it.
Kit and Donal simply sat and stared at each other.
* * * *
Stepping out of the portal, a breath outside the eternally tall and intimidating Concilium doors, Ebbe finished his note to Emme. Pinching his fingers together, he sent it through their personal communication element mix. He did not trust his observations would be taken well if others read it first. Shifting his head to side slightly, an old Mortal habit, no longer needed, to release stress, he steeled himself and walked through the doors.
“Your Cycle companion just left, were you looking for her?” The “voice” of the gods asked. Though artificial, Ebbe swore he heard a sneer in the question.
“Ahili,” Ebbe said shortly, “not a simple companion. And where she is, is none of your concern.” He was growing impatient with having the voice speak first, more so since the revelation was not part of the Concilium’s consciousness, but an artificial creation.
“How dare you...” the voice began.
“Keep your words to yourself before you find yourself in pieces,” Ebbe bit out.
“Is that any way to show respect to us?” a goddess asked. Ebbe watched as she walked up the dais and sat down. Most of the Concilium was not present.  Better odds. “Perhaps not,” Ebbe said, his tone did not match the words. “I came to ask, directly, why so much of Donal’s element shelf was taken, including elements and mixes bestowed by Emme directly, and since when does the Concilium retract weapons after one has shown mastery?”
The goddess did not immediately answer, and Ebbe saw his person being sized up... for something. Sitting back slightly in her chair, all she said was, “It will be returned upon a show of true penitence.”
“Excuse me?” Ebbe spat before he could catch the words.
She sat forward. “You heard me, Cycle God. His disobedience was above the pale, therefore, his punishment remains. As is allowed by the Laws of Progression.”
Ebbe exploded. “Show me where, in any Law given me pertaining to my Cycle, in which you can remove My gifts from any within My lineage?”
“I will do no such thing! You are not high enough to even make that request, pleasantly, let alone screaming about it,” she answered, her words melting in disdain.
“Not high enough?!” Ebbe thundered. “Not high enough to see the Laws about MY Cycle...” Mid-word, he found himself yanked sideways, his shoulder nearly removing from his bonecage.
Stumbling over upturned roots and loose dirt, he found himself in his private gardens. “How did this happen?” he muttered to himself, kicking at the debris.
“Really, that is what is first out of your mouth?” Emme scolded. She held her hand up to halt whatever rationale was going to come out. “I made the mess.”
Ebbe stopped kicking, slowly turning toward her. After a pause, “I take it you went before the Concilium for some purpose related to Donal, or Yana, and it went well.”
“Sarcasm does not suit this purpose, though it’s accurate.” Taking a deep breath, she continued, “I heard the commotion and screams related to Yana’s attack, and I discovered the real source. I went to confront those responsible.” She stopped short, folding her arms. Waiting.
The statement sank like a mountain dropping into the deep.
“The Concilium?”
She shook her head, still refusing to speak. As mistimed a thought it was, Donal was right, when angered, the sparks emanating from Emme’s person matched the fire of her hair.
“Get that smirk off your face about my unfortunate coloring issues,” she chided.
“I am always amazed at what you can read on me, when no one else can,” he remarked.
She snorted, “That’s only because they fear you for your size so none really look at your face. Everything is written there, if they dared look.”
“Not the entire Concilium, but one, or a small contingent,” Ebbe answered her unspoken question. She nodded. “And you know which?” Silence. “Ah. Interesting. Did you get my message?”
“I did, but all elements are suspect. I am glad you remembered the code from our Mortal lives and used that, but still, that in and of itself is easy to find.”
“True, but if all are suspect, we don’t have many options,” he said, pulling forth his shelf and pad. Flicking a few items into oblivion, he spoke an ancient word she didn’t know, and a handful of new elements settled into place on the shelf. Tapping the pad, he nodded. “The Concilium took weapons from Donal, and several elements and mixes you made specifically for him.”
It was his turn to hold up his hand before she could explode. “That is why I was in the Chambers, arguing, when you yanked me here. They expect true penitence from him for the return of his items, and refused to answer where and what Laws allowed any to do this inside our Cycle. If any can do this and not get caught by the Laws and punished, we are in danger, not just Yana or Donal.”
As he had been talking, Emme was calling a portal. Both stepped through, darkness swirling behind them.
* * * *
“...and as it happens, like clicks on our time pieces, the two moons’ pull will be at their height from midday through midnight. Be careful in the deep waters and on the shore.”
Yana never had been able to understand why there were so many dumb Mortals on the planet, that the announcers always felt a need to remind the world of routine natural dangers. Trying to not be obvious about the pain in her sides, she tenderly leaned to each side, testing and stretching their limits. The ribs in her bonecage protested, three sharp stabs across them made her stop trying.
Glancing at her timepiece, she stood cautiously, grabbed her bag, and headed outside to hope that the light would make her aching form feel better while she ate. Finding a nice spot, she sat.
“You know, Kit, I do realize I shouldn’t be exasperated that you’re coming to check on me, but I don’t know what’s going on, and I really just want to go back to normal, be my boring-no-one-lives-at-home-anymore self.”
Kit nervously sat next to her, digging out a weird looking green... something... and began to chew, it. Noticing Yana’s face, she said, “This is only during midday. It’s as icky as it looks, but I did a lot of mixing of balms to come up with what worked.” Looking at Yana’s meat and dairy, she added, “I could go through the books for you and make a blend for you.”
“Uh, no thanks. Knowing my luck it will look and taste worse, besides, aren’t balms supposed to be used on the outside, not eaten?” Yana asked with a smirk.
Kit looked at the goop, in surprise, and was about to answer, but Yana noticed her sitting up straighter, trying in vain to hide it.
“What?” Yana asked, taking a quick glance around and seeing nothing.
“They’re. Here.” Kit hissed, eyes wide. “Both of them. Ebbe AND Emme,” Kit whispered low enough that Yana almost missed it.
Yana did not see anyone anywhere close by. Kit looked left, “Oh, and that other one.”
Donal sighed, “My name is Donal.” Kit repeated his words.
“Huh. That’s an interesting name. It’s the same as the Oracle who lived just as this age began,” Yana said absentmindedly.
“What do you mean, that was you?” Kit said, somehow sitting up straighter. “Being dishonest, even when you’re dead, carries consequences.”
Yana was wiping her hands off, but decided to mention, “The beginning of the age had no images because that wasn’t a widespread practice in the poorer, outside the city areas.”
“So?” Kit asked.“So, how do you know that who you are seeing is not the same male? We don’t know what he looked like, he could very well be telling the truth,” Yana answered.
Donal’s grin couldn’t be seen by her, but he hoped she could sense it. “Even in this form, she’s brilliant.”
“Don’t be smug,” Emme cautioned. “Who she has become here had nothing to do with your direct actions in her life.”
“Maybe not, but it means she listened and read enough to understand and believe,” Donal began.
“There are more important things to discuss at the moment,” Ebbe broke in. He paused, waiting indulgently as Kit scrambled to tell Yana who had said what. He continued once she’d taken a deep breath.
“There are... issues... which need resolving, and Yana will need to assist us. If one looks closely, inside the books which still exist, of all the ages of Oracles and
Teachers, there are hints about a being coming into power and existence, one who sets all of the Path straight,” he paused again, letting Kit catch up.
“What’s wrong on the Path?” Yana and Kit asked simultaneously.
Ebbe hesitated a breath long enough for Emme to step in, “We don’t know, but the flames in your hand when you went to The Sites was the marker spoken of since before the Path began.”
“But, I’m Mortal,” Yana protested, numb to implications she didn’t quite believe. One odd occurrence shouldn’t mean so much, should it?
“Yes, to be honest, it never occurred to any of us, that such an... obligation and power was at all possible for a Mortal,” Emme answered.
Kit was tripping over her words. This was immense. She looked at Yana, who was gathering her wrappings and shoving them into her bag.
“I need to get back to work,” Yana said, not looking up.
“But...” everyone said in staggered tones.
She looked at Kit, then vaguely around. “Even if this is true, and I have a lot of doubts about the significance of one weird event, I have a job. I have to pay for things, I have to live a Mortal life because it’s not like I have unlimited accounts.” She didn’t look back, opened the door to the offices and went in.
After a pause, Donal quipped, “Well, that went well, didn’t it?” earning a glare from Ebbe, an exasperated sigh from Emme, and a wide eyed question from Kit. With a shrug and a nod that brought his army forward, he followed Yana in. “It’s got to get better than this,” he muttered to himself.