The Path of the Gods, Chapter 5

Julie L.
York

***Ebbe and Emme’s realizations that all is not well in the Hereafter are almost as concerning as Yana’s apparent lack of interest in what is happening to her. Though she understands the teachings and concepts that are being mentioned, not being able to see or hear anything going on around her is not helping her belief. The pain is real, but will Kit’s insistence of who she can see and talk to be enough?***

Kit hung back, unsure what to do, as Donal and a literal army followed Yana into the building, walking through the walls. Glancing down at her very unappetizing green goop she hadn’t finished, it made her a bit queasy simply looking at it. With a sigh, she headed toward the doors, dropping it into the nearest cycle bin.
“Kit?”
She froze, mid-step. She hadn’t noticed Ebbe and Emme were still lingering, right next to her.
Emme slide in front of her. “Dear child, do make your eyes smaller than plates. You are the only one who can see me, and right now, it is noticeable that you are staring at nothing, with fear written all over your visage,” she said lightly, trying not to scare her more than she was.
“Sorry,” Kit mumbled.
“Don’t apologize for what is difficult to control. It has been some time, but I do remember my Mortal years, and how hard it was for me to hide anything from anyone,” Emme said.
“You, you were Mortal?” Kit stammered. “Wait, duh, yeah, I know, you were. The Path starts way back, goes to here, and then to where you both are. And being perfect gods, of course you’d remember this time,” she rambled.
“Not all in the Hereafter choose to remember,” Ebbe said.
“Really?” she asked in amazement. “Why not?” She slapped a hand over her mouth.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said, “what you asked is reasonable, given the information I stated. I do not punish Mortals for asking me rational questions.” He hesitated for the briefest moments. “As you are a part of this, though an unaccounted part, I will answer what you ask, on one condition.”
“What?”
“All that I say to you, you must tell Yana, whether or not she wants to hear it, and whether or not she chooses to believe it,” he said. “She cannot hear anyone in the Hereafter, though she was slated to have that gift. She cannot see anyone either...”
“Something else she should have had?” Kit asked before he could finish.
He paused, and stared directly at her. “I said you could ask questions, I said nothing about interrupting me.” His slight flinch as Emme slugged his arm had him softening his tone. “In the future, please do allow me to finish my words, fair enough?” He continued at Kit’s frantic nod, ignoring her saucered eyes. “Yes, she was supposed to be able to see, when necessary. And I find that with all that’s occurred, her lack of sight and hearing is an acute loss. You will have to act as her eyes, ears, and interpreter, repeating all so she is not left unknowing.”
“Now, I do believe your midday time is over, you need to return before you get into trouble,” Emme said, turning Kit by the shoulders and aiming her overwhelmed mind and body toward the doors.
Watching as Kit woodenly walked away, Emme commented, “If she breaks, we are all doomed to live out the worst scripts given in any history or writings.” She pushed her hair back, lifting it off her shoulders, then running her fingers across the front of her head. “In all the studying we did about the Leveler, all the knowing of any of us Cycle God Pairs... not once do I remember reading or hearing the possibility of such a handcuffed and bound mortal as being the one,”
“Neither do I, but it does not matter much at the moment, does it?” Ebbe responded, flicking his wrist and calling up a portal. “It is what it is, and though it’s our Cycle and our children and lineage, it seems we are supremely unprepared.”
“That is an understatement,” Emme retorted, walking into the portal ahead of him. “With the elements not functioning properly, portals landing everyone in the wrong place, shelves and weapons being taken for no cause,” she looked back, worry coloring her instead of anger, “I wonder if we are not being undermined or subverted.”
With that unsettling thought as his last on the Mortal realm, Ebbe followed her through, hoping that the Library would yield some answers.
* * * *
Trying to do her job, while ignoring Kit’s walk-by’s every ten clicks or so, was increasingly impossible. It didn’t help that Kit’s head and eyes never left Yana’s head while she passed the doorway. Not that she could see Kit. She could feel her.
Close to slamming the door shut in Kit’s face, or yelling at her, Yana swallowed her anger so she wouldn’t snap at the person on the other end of the ringing tele.
“Hey, Ama, it looks like I won’t be able to come home after all,” her datter, Cyndi said.
Suppressing a sigh of relief, Yana answered her. “Why not?”
“My job shifted my hours, and because I am the newest, I can’t really put up a fight about it,” she explained. “I wanted some time off, and to be able to be home and relax.”
“Plenty of time to do that when I work, and the entire place would be yours during the day,” Yana said with a grin. “Any idea when you may be able to do the trip home?”
“Not really, but I’m hoping that something will line up with your free time during the high season. Maybe I can get you out of the house and to the water this time,” Cyndi teased.
About to answer, Yana sucked in a breath from an impact to her mid-section. Knowing nothing was in  front of her save her desk, she knew it hadn’t reached out and punched her. The pounding in her ears was drowning out her daughter’s voice, and the edges of her vision was greying.
“Ama?”
Taking a slow, deep breath to avoid any pain coming through her words, she answered, “Yeah. I’m here. Hit my toe on the desk.” She silently cursed the slight quaver when she spoke.
“Ouch. Well, take care of it, maybe take your ugly clogs off and check it out,” Cyndi said, concern in her tone.
“I will, call soon,” Yana said. Putting the tele down she doubled over, arms wrapped tightly around herself. Carefully placing her hand to just where her bone-cage and ribs ended, she felt yet another... lump... forming, moving. Pushing harder on the area, she found she could move it slightly. Wanting to get it away from the bones, so they wouldn’t break, she manipulated it, aiming down and toward the middle.
Instead of getting better, her movements seemed to... irritate it.
Growing and becoming heavier by the breath, she felt the weight pulling her to the ground.
Refusing to go down, she forced herself to stay sitting upright in her chair, holding the sides of her desk, fingers taloned around the edges. Willing herself to remain conscious, she unclasped a hand, sliding it toward the tele, and hit Kit’s digits.
Before Kit could say anything, Yana bit out between clenched teeth, “Here. Now.” Knowing she had to come from the other side of the building, Yana decided to bite her lip, take a few deep breaths, and stand up. Going to sit in her vehicle sounded like the best idea. That way she could cry out, or scream, and no one would hear it.
Grabbing her bag, Yana carefully dabbed under her eyes, trying to rid the tears without smearing anything, or making her eyes red enough to be noticed. Grasping the handle, taking one last deep breath, she opened the door and headed out. Looking slightly down, so no one witnessed the agony that must be written across her face, Yana walked stiffly, but noticed it was taking longer to get to the doors than normal.
The presence and heat on her side, instead of seeing or hearing, let her know that Kit was walking in step with her. Not quite suppressing a pain laced smirk while envisioning Kit’s near panicked face as they walked, she focused on placing her feet firmly on the ground. Every step caused needles to explode from the mass.
Finally at the vehicle, she collapsed in, with Kit slamming the door behind her and scrambling around to the other side. Yana tipped to her side, curling up in the front. Kit clambered into the back.
Leaning over the seat, Kit said frantically, “The Guardian let me know that they’re on their way.”
“Who is on their way?” Yana bit out.
“Um, I’m not sure. It didn’t specify, but I’d assume that one guy will be back, the tall one,” Kit. “I don’t want to presume that Ebbe or Emme will always be around. The planet is pretty big, and there are a lot of us on it, not including the Corrupt, Incorrupt, Demons...” she rambled, then paused. “They have a lot to keep track of and take care of.”
“Technically, child, the Guardian is a he,” Ebbe’s voice said from the side and behind her.
Kit watched in fear as the vehicle, no, the entire lot disappeared and turned into a vast room, stuffed bottom to top with machines... moving machines. Floating around were balls, well, some were balls, some changed shape, some were see through and some were solid. She shook her head, struggling tremendously to find the words to explain to Yana what she was seeing.
A still curled up Yana could barely make sense of what Kit was trying to explain, but that something she knew to never ignore, zinged in her head.
Shaking her head, she whispered, “No, that’s not right.”
“What?” Ebbe, Kit, and Emme, who had just walked from a portal asked in unison.
Taking some shallow breaths before one long, deep one, Yana repeated. “What was said about the Guardian, it’s not right.”
Caught off guard, and anger rising at the gall of a Mortal to correct him, Ebbe bit out, “Which part, that he is a he? I assure you, he is most definitely a he.”
She shook her head again. Taking another deep breath, ribs hurting from the heavy mass still moving and shooting needles, she said, “That there’s only one Guardian. There’s not. There are two. Or there are supposed to be two.”
“Wait a click, and back up a bit,” Emme said, rolling her wrist to have Ebbe fill her in on what she had missed before she walked in. Apparently, not much. Staring directly at Yana, knowing she couldn’t see her, she asked, “How do you know this?”
“Wait, what?” Kit squeaked, forgetting to let Yana know what had been said. “You mean she’s right?” At Emme’s nod, Kit repeated the information before continuing, “Then why did Ebbe say he, that’s just one, if there’s more than one?”
Yana answered, “Because one of them... disappeared. Or something like that. He didn’t get lost, he just,” wafting her hands up, “poof.”
“How do you know this?” Ebbe asked, taking a seat next to the table Yana was currently curled up on. Waiting for Kit to talk was excruciatingly time consuming.
Biting short a cry as she shrugged, she took several quick breaths before slowing down, pushing the pain with it. Or hoping to. “I don’t know how I know, I just know. And I know I’m right.” She paused, raising a hand to a particular spot on the back of her head, she said, “This right here. I know it here. And it’s never wrong.” Shaking from the pain, she managed a shrug again.
“By the way, while we’ve been talking, there are other... beings, and those floaty, globby things... they’ve been, well, working on you, I guess,” Kit interjected. She knew there was more that needed to be said, but she didn’t want Yana to believe nothing was being done to heal her.
“The floaty, globby things, as you call them, are artifical intelligences, elemental ones,” Emme said indulgently. Seeing Kit’s next question written all over her face, she continued. “We are slightly more  advanced than the Mortal realm, our artificial beings are not limited to machines, but can resemble us, be like our forms, or be those globs. Elemental ones can change shape to align with their programming and directions, as well as best utilize the elements given to them to complete their tasks.”
“Wow,” was all Kit could say.
Even through her suffering, Yana had to agree with that.
“Now, back to the issue at hand, information about the Guardians is not known outside our small Leadership Group, those who help Cycle God Pairs, like Ebbe and I, run the Cycle, assisting everyone on the Path,” Emme explained. She knew she was coming close to divulging secrets Mortals should not know, but glancing at Yana’s... mass... only the Leveler would be able to withstand such evil-doing in a Mortal form. Seeing her agony stung, but confirmed what she and Ebbe knew and had been trying to get the Concilium to understand.
“On the Path, being in charge of a Cycle is not necessary to ascend, it’s one of the options. However, all have to be a part of a Leadership Group in some way, to learn enough,” Emme paused, intending to continue, but...
“That’s not true,” Yana wheezed. The mass had been beating against her bone-cage and spine, taking her breath away.
“Which part?” Ebbe bit out again. Tired of losing to the mass within Yana, he waved his shelf into being, pulled a sharp cutter and several elements, sliced through her skin, swirled the elements together, and with a word, sent them racing into the reddish brown ooze. He noted that Kit hid her eyes from the flash of power and light, but Yana did not react to any of it.
“Whatever you just did, took about a hundred or so weights off my chest,” Yana said, taking a long deep breath.
With a raised eyebrow, Ebbe asked, “You felt nothing of that?”
She shook her head, after Kit translated.
“The more that occurs, the more she is becoming the Leveler,” Emme whispered, making sure Kit did not hear. Ebbe nodded in agreement, sending more whirling elements into Yana.
“The part that’s not true, actually, parts. More than one thing isn’t right,” Yana said, breathing evenly. “A lot of people, beings, whatever, know about your lack of two Guardians... is that always normal? Two?” After Kit said yes, Yana continued, “well, that isn’t something we’re taught. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since the Guardian is always in the background anyway, quietly poking at us for good and bad behavior.” She paused. “Not only do a lot of beings know one is missing, but no, not every god or goddess has to be a part of... leaders? Whatever you called it, no, they don’t.”
“Yes, they do,” Ebbe said, ire gaining again, “according to the Laws...”
“Which aren’t laws, but rules upon rules, rules upon laws, sometimes, but often are made up out of nothing,” Yana said with a shrug, not being able to see Ebbe and Emme stumble to some stools.
Shutting down the vocal communication between their plane and the Mortals, Emme called for their star, and for Donal. Mortals liked to talk about ground shaking, but that saying was not anywhere in the vicinity of the devastating knowledge Yana seemed to possess. Sending their star and Donal on a mission to try and, once again, locate the other Guardian, Emme leaned over Yana, “Do you know where the Laws are kept?”
Ebbe stared in shock. With a wave of her hand, Emme said, “What? If she doesn’t know, no harm done.”
“No, how should I know?” Yana countered.
Ebbe picked up, “You know things you shouldn’t, feel pain, but not like you should, why not that?” He paused. “For us, we have a shelf and use our hands and words to command the elements, try that.”
“I don’t have a shelf, but sure, I’ll wave my hand,” Yana said sarcastically. “This is ridiculous. I feel better, I need to go back to work”. She shrugged, waved a hand, thought about a library, or vault, or something a law would be kept in, and flicked her fingers. “Are we good now? I need to go back to work.”
Exiting the vehicle made the room disappear from Kit’s sight. Kit sat watching the reactions of a stunned Ebbe and Emme, who were staring at a blinking dot, located behind multiple layers of security, artificial elemental levels, and drenched in hidden codes that should have rendered it invisible. And was not the location they had always been told.
The Laws were in the wrong chamber.