The Path of the Gods, Finale!

Julie L.

***With Yana and her anger forming a ball of elements, she summons Ebbe and Emme’s star, telling him to hide them, with Donal and the Guardian are standing next to them. Still in a hallway, feet away from where their map says The Laws are, Ebbe and Emme have no idea all that Yana has been up to.***

Lead-weighted arms drooping toward the ground, Yana’s anger spiked. Glancing at Kit, a standing version of being curled up in a ball, Yana pulled her arms and hands closer, condensing the moon weight’s worth of energy into a smaller area. And smaller. And smaller. Gritting her teeth against the load and pain, “Get down!” she said through a clenched jaw.
While still manipulating, her mind raced through the memories of pain and attacks from the last several moon cycles. “I. Have. Had. Enough! Of. This!” she yelled, clapping her hands together, then throwing her arms wide. The blood racing through her head from a release of pressure blocked most of Kit’s screams. In the wake of the power, neither saw Donal and the Guardian disappear into the explosions and whirlwinds. * * * *
As the ground beneath them evaporated, Ebbe grabbed for Emme – but missed.
Twirling uncontrollably through swirling blacks, Ebbe could hear her screaming for him, but he could not see her. Extensions of light whipped toward him, recognizing Olbok’s arms, he reached out and caught hold. Knowing their star would never abandon them, he found Emme, folded himself around her, and hoped the star was more in control of their fall than it seemed.
Hitting hard, flat on his back, he pulled Emme tighter to him, refusing to let go, knowing the force of the landing would have them bouncing. Colliding into other bodies was not expected, causing Emme to tumble out of his arms. A flash streaked past him, and he knew Olbok was slowing her, keeping her safe.
Hitting a... something... face first, other impacts shoved him further into the unforgiving surface. A wheezing groan told him Donal was one impact, and the immediate illumination of the area told him the other impact was the Guardian. Pushing back from the wall, rolling Donal over, Ebbe looked for Emme.
Shaky and disheveled, but standing, she stared up through a star size tear in the plane.
Standing, though his legs were not cooperating fully, he followed her astonished gaze and saw... “Olbok, are you... sideways?”
“I think he’s more inside out,” Donal said, hobbling to Ebbe’s side.
“I do not feel well.” The star’s deep intonation was a near whisper.
Pulling her element shelf out, Emme frowned. “I... everything’s missing!”
Donal, Ebbe, and the Guardian pulled theirs forward, finding the same.
“What in cold ochu did she do?” Donal muttered, trying several different sigils and signs to bring something, anything, forward. He couldn’t even pull a food knife, let alone a sword.
“She who?” Ebbe asked.
“Yana, wait... Yana!” Donal screamed, running toward the breach. Terror coursed through him. If they were all this helpless, Yana was defenseless from the Demons and Corrupt. Without their elements and abilities...
The Guardian pulled Donal to the ground, pinning him face down. “If we have no shelves, no elements, no weapons, then we have no portals!” he shouted. “Explain to us how running headlong into spacetime will aid her, and not simply vaporize you!”
Going limp so he would be released, Donal slowly stood and couldn’t help himself, “That’s the most emotion from you I’ve ever seen.” He bent backward, avoiding the angry swipe. “Wow, two in one day!”
“Enough, Donal, though you are right,” Ebbe said, placing a calming hand on the Guardian’s shoulder. “Now, explain about Yana.”
Taking a deep breath while glaring at Donal, the Guardian spoke evenly. “While at her place, she became… upset.”
“That’s not even close,” Donal said. “She’s had it with the pain, the not hearing, having to rely on a near child for communication. She summoned Olbok...”
“What?!” Ebbe and Emme said together.
“How did she know about him?” Emme said, recovering her senses first.
“She didn’t,” Donal said with a shrug. “She didn’t believe us when we told her she’d summoned a star, a sentient one at that. I saw it on her face. Then… it changed.”
“What changed?” Ebbe asked.
“Her face. As if... knowledge hit.” Donal paused, trying to find the words. “It’s like... when we’re struggling through a problem, we walk away to clear our minds, and then the answer simply... hits. That look. I don’t know what she actually knows, but she knew precisely what to do and just,” he held his hands up, kneading and manipulating the emptiness, “she just did it.”
Looking around at the scorched devastation, Ebbe pondered the meaning. The still glowing embers were a variety of colors, some from ancient space. Walking to what seemed to be the middle area, he turned in a circle, slowly taking it all in.
Emme was stroking one of Olbok’s limp arms, using his own internal elements in an attempt to flip him outside in, make him whole. Donal was picking through the embers, trying to capture rogue elements and use them to build a portal. The Guardian was staring… at a fixed point of absolutely nothing.
Looking up then down through the plane, a sight-gift given only to Cycle Gods, he sucked a breath in. “Hereafter,” he whispered.
“What?” Emme asked.
“We are in the Hereafter, or what’s left of it,” Ebbe said, pointing out markings, buildings, domes, passages...
“Yana did all this?” Emme asked.
“Yes. And we need to talk to her immediately. As far as I understand it, the Leveler is not capable of devastation, destruction, or death for the sheer pleasure of it. The nearly unlimited power given is for a purpose, and if this is what is left of the plane of the Hereafter,” Ebbe trailed off.
“Then it needed to be destroyed,” Donal finished, saying what Ebbe would not.
* * * *
“I still don’t hear anything. Like at all. From anyone. It’s been days,” Kit said, staring out as Yana drove them home. Moons ago, after the first attack, they’d learned their domiciles were not far apart, and since the pain and needing an interpreter had become a necessity, Yana had taken to driving Kit.
With a sigh, Yana said, “At this point, I wouldn’t really care. I was fine without all this happening to me, but your healing abilities are just not enough. Using Mortal tomes to remedy Demon and Corrupt attacks aren’t exactly why they were written. It’s not as if either of us has access to the libraries in the Hereafter. I just want the pain to end,” she whispered, flinching as a bolt of pain shot down her leg. She rubbed her eyes to stay awake long enough to get home, just around the bend.
Walking in the door and tossing her items without looking, Yana knew Kit was following. She’d taken to crashing in her living area.
Two days.
Of pain. Attacks. Complete silence.
Several zings had hit, and she had followed every idea that had come to her. Though, she didn’t know precisely what she was doing, she simply kept the thought, idea, and intention at the forefront, held her hands out and then threw whatever it was that grew there once it felt... done.
Nothing any different from what she’d been doing for several moon cycles, almost a full rotation at this point. Get attacked, get a zing, get an idea, pull it apart, expand it, hold the hands out, and toss.
Rinse. Repeat.
Seeing Kit sitting dejectedly made her feel bad. “If the pain had stopped, the silence wouldn’t bother me at all,” Yana said. Holding up her hand to stop the flood of words, she continued, “I have a life I can barely get through because of all this Leveler thing. I thought that huge ball would be it. Done. But it’s not. Not if I am still getting hurt,” she paused as yet another zing showed up.
Rolling her fingers together, imagining wadding up a small piece of cloth into a ball, she pulled her arm from one side to the other, like drawing a line.
“Here, hold onto this,” Yana said, refusing to look at the empty space. She could feel something there, but couldn’t see it. Yet another irritation.
Kit eyed the glowing moonlight colored strands weaving themselves through Yana’s hand. Not seeing Demons or Corrupt, she stood up and plucked them from her.
The cacophony rattling her being almost made her drop them, so she wrapped them around her fist.
“Stop it!” she yelled at nothing. Placing her hands on the sides of her head, she shook it. Looking at Yana through teary eyes, she muttered, “I have them. They want to know how you did that.”
Yana shrugged. “The same as I always do, I just think it, and it happens.”
Kit tilted her head, concentration covering her face. She nodded several times before speaking. “You destroyed the Hereafter, and everyone’s element shelves and weapons disappeared,” she began.
“I did what?” Yana shouted, worry for her Progression because of destroying the entire Hereafter had never entered her thoughts.
“Wait, wait, they said it has to be a good thing...”
“How so?!”
“Stop talking, I’m trying to listen,” Kit snapped. At Yana’s glare, she continued softly, “Sorry, but they’re all yelling at me, too. Like, I think everyone who’s still alive in the Hereafter is yelling. I’m trying to listen to Ebbe or Emme or the Guardian only, and it’s really hard.” Taking a deep breath, she said, “Ebbe is going to shut everyone else out. They need your help. First, though, can you please put the star right side in... what?” she paused. “Oh, whatever you did turned Olbok inside out. Ew.”
* * * *
The now healed Olbok picked them up and placed them in the midst of what used to be the Concilium Chambers. The rubble was too scorched to be certain. “Kit, ask Yana to map the Laws and the other Guardian, and toss it to me,” Ebbe asked. An orb exploded, then sat, bobbling up and down placidly, a hand span from his face. Gently tapping on it, they frantically dug through the debris at Ebbe’s feet.
“Oh, my,” Emme whispered in reverence. Carefully, she lifted the pulsing light, glowing in purity and authority. Cradling it in her hands, she whispered, “All the Laws, in their pure form. This is nothing like what was shown.”
Rising from behind the shattered dais, half of the gods and goddesses of the Concilium formed a semi-circle around them. Scowling, they pulled forward hidden and forbidden elements and began combining them which would create certain death and infinite suffering, pulling the Void into the body it would be aimed at.
Angling sideways into a warrior’s stance, Ebbe held his hand down to his side, and visualized the weapon and elements needed to offset what he could see them making. Failing to hide his shock, he hefted the blade. From behind him, a whoop of glee, followed by a low, malicious chuckle told him Donal had discovered the same thing.
Yana had been right all this time.
The elements listened to thoughts and intentions. It was all that mattered.
Willing battle gear onto his body, Ebbe thundered, “You have perverted the Laws of Progression! You have hidden the Laws behind lies. You have  corrupted the Incorrupt, tainted the planes of the Hereafter with evil, used that which you forbade to all others!” Lifting the weapon high, he thrust it down, stabbing deep into the ground near his feet, which shattered, cracking like frozen water.
Leaning against the hilt nonchalantly, he said, “I’d like you to meet Yana. My child, the Leveler of Prophecy.”
A new divide inside spacetime rose from the crack, lightning from shattered planes sparking the torn edges. In the vastness of the Void, a luminescent being floated.
Sidling up to Ebbe, Donal whispered, “Does she see any of this?”
“Not really,” Ebbe whispered back. “Kit described what was happening – the Concilium, the forbidden coming to light, and what you see her as now is what she has envisioned.”
Frightened, the remaining Concilium threw all they had at Yana’s floating form. It passed through, making no marks. Emme was violently mouthing instructions to Kit, throwing ball after ball of intentional elements, knowing full well that everything thrown had passed through her lighted form, but had hit Yana. Hard.
Losing their bravado, the gods and goddesses melted from beings of light, the Highers on the Path, the Elders, and reformed into pure evil, visages and forms more twisted than Demons.
* * * *
Writhing on the floor, tears streaming, Yana heard Kit talking but couldn’t listen. Whatever had been thrown had broken so many bones. Every muscle had exploded, her intestines yanked from her. She curled into a ball on her side, furiously trying to slow her breathing, swallow the agony. The hated zing hit, she took two deep inhales, let each out. Unable to unclench her fist from the pain, she willed to her a looped rope, and tugged.
Letting that go, she felt Kit rolling her over. Now on her back, breathing shallow through lungs that were closing, listening to Kit’s description of what was happening, she brought the ropes back. Many of them. Tied them to beings on the other end, and yanked. Lightheaded from lack of air, sparks and darkness filled her vision.

* * * *
The Concilium, all dark gods and Demons gathered elements from planes and times Ebbe had never heard of, spaces that shouldn’t have existed. Yana’s form was flickering. A horrified Emme pulled forward a life size holo of the damage done to her, throwing healing at her, physically holding her pieces together with her fingers.
Donal and the Guardian stood on either side of him, blocking Emme from view, weapons drawn, balls of deadly elements dancing around their hands. “Yana, NOW!” Ebbe yelled, hoping she was well enough for Kit to get through. Or her “zings”, which he now understood to be the element of Absolute Truth, talking to their Queen, the Leveler.
Lightning flashed, and another body rolled across the ground, jumping up to face off against the Concilium. His tousled and bruised appearance and fragmented clothing could not hide the illumination emanating from his being.
“Looks like I showed up for the fun part,” he quipped.
“Cold ochu on a pole, could you be any more identical?” Donal asked in wonder. Dirt and rags aside, he could see no difference between the Guardians.
Before anyone could answer, tendrils whipped from Yana’s still flickering form, curled around the dark gods and Demons, rendering them to dust, then yanked the flakes into the Void. With a sweep of her arm, Yana’s form gave permission for the elements of the Void to feast.
* * * *
Groaning herself awake, Yana refused move. A calming, gentle touch of fingers stroked through her hair. Hoping it never went away, she cracked an eye open. Not expecting to see Kit sitting on the far side of the room, she had the energy to only raise her eyebrows.
“I guess that’s as good as it gets,” Kit said with a grin. “You’ve been out for a rise and a half. “Donal is stroking your hair. Weird that you can’t see him still, but at least you can feel him. He’s got a huge smile. They say to tell you we won. You pulled all the evil ones into the Void, letting the dark elements eat them. Seriously, you mean, really eat them?” Kit shuddered.
“Ugh, and you also found and pulled the other Guardian to them, just in time too. He was almost fed to the Void himself. Yuck, really, that’s kind of messed up,” Kit said. “The map you gave them, they’re using to rebuild everything in the Hereafter, the way it’s supposed to be, with conscientious thought and intention, paired with knowledge and where one is on the Path. They have the Laws now too.”
Reaching up, hoping to feel a hand, but, nothing again, Yana relaxed as the fingers massaged deeper, but still gently. “Something is better than nothing,” she whispered. Being pain free, and feeling an Incorrupt’s tender touch was worlds above where she’d been. Feeling a form climb onto the bed and curling around her, arms tight yet soft, Yana drifted to a painless sleep.
Glancing over his shoulder at Ebbe, Emme, and both Guardians, Donal said, “You can all leave now, I’ve got her.”