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The Blood God's Wake - An Elderspace Tale

Updated on July 28, 2012

Following The Iron World and then The Chosen Few


THE BLOOD GOD’S WAKE

By J.M Barnes




For ages untold the sixth side of the square shaped world of Ceaneada had been locked in the frozen embrace of winter. Colossal glaciers grounded and shifted against one another while a fierce biting wind tore at the bare tundra, denying the hardiest of lichen even a foothold on the compacted ice. No life existed other than a few beasts of legend who had been sleeping, imprisoned or both for unknowable ages. The sentient creatures of the world had learned to avoid the place whenever possible.


There was good hunting on the other sides of the six sided world. There was no reason to go to the frozen end. Therefore when the burning red bird of prey plunged into the ice in a fiery mushroom there were no witnesses. Some would venture that since it had not been noticed it must not have occurred at all. Interesting logic, for fools.


The resulting tidal wave of icy water started where the Blood God spiraled ever deeper into the ocean. Just barely his falling form had missed a chain of islands which would have surely erupted in volcanic retribution for the insult. Instead his fiery form gave light to the darkest parts of Ceaneada.


The depths were no barrier and they barely served to slow his descent. Upon striking the surface of the ocean he melted through the packed silt and earth to the very core of the world. Magma poured through and the ocean floor suddenly bubbled upward in a massive diameter. At first it began to sink back down as if to settle but then the entire ocean floor exploded, everywhere. The entire sixth side of the world erupted in a cataclysmic explosion. There were no witnesses as the Blood red Bird of prey reared up in the sky once more, as if basking in the destruction, and soared toward the stars once more.


The resulting earthquakes felt all across the world caused a panic never before seen. The prophecy had come to pass. It would take days for the four allied people to regain contact with one another and by that time things would have already begun to change. For instance the lizard folk suffered the greatest blow of all. Their elegantly carved grottos and caverns collapsed upon those wealthy enough to live in them. The earthquakes alone killed the entire ruling caste of the lizard kind, leaving the poor and warrior classes to pick up the pieces.


The Driveen recognized the searing red comet for what it was immediately and cast out their king in response. Somehow their religious minds found it prudent to enact the prophecy rather than wait for a reason to banish the king. Ever dutiful and loyal to his people it is said the king accepted this judgment stoically and had resigned to live out his life alongside the elves and humans of the world.


Meanwhile the humans and elves have suffered many terrible catastrophes since the earthquakes. Many of their cities have literally fallen with half their population buried beneath rubble and the other half searching for them. It is said the lizard kings had often warned the humans and elves about building too high toward the sun. They had been ignored to the detriment of all.


While the sentient life of Ceaneada languished in woe and suffered uncounted losses something else entirely was happening to the rest of the world. The Blood God had gone and melted the icecap in its wake. For the first time in more than fifty thousand years the Tree of Life was freed from its frozen bonds. Like a goddess on nature it instantly sprouted and bloomed, spread its seeds and began the cycle again. Every form of plant life known and more began to spring spontaneously from this ceaseless barrage. So high was the mighty tree that the seeds spread across the face of the sixth side of the world in less than a week. The cold had lost its grip entirely and a new land was born. Here and there the great beasts of old began to awaken and find themselves confounded by their surroundings. With nothing to strike out at other than unnaturally swift growing plant life they simply crashed about with reckless abandon.



Lyr’Mar verse 2



To the cube world where life springs anew,


There will be great evil and only the righteous will know what to do.


From the snow and ice to the fiery sun,


Where the Blood God awaits, your true test has begun.



The prophet and his comrades had returned to life as mortal creatures once more. It would perhaps be the final time and many planned to relish the experience. Besides the prophet and Bassonix, the feline man patiently weaving the starter to a spell blanket as he walked the entire Righteous Pack had been restored to life.


Rook had a head like a yellow mastiff and the muscled figure of a near seven foot monk with deadly ability. He looked around with appreciation for the burgeoning fauna while suspiciously searching the shadows for enemies. Standing behind him was Talumyr Cavernmark, a half giant of the Bloodchill Mountains. In battle the warrior psionically augmented his fighting ability in order to take down the most aberrant foe. He was a man who had made hunting nightmares a pastime. With him was his constant companion, the tall and gangly Gith, Dhok. With psionic abilities equaled by none he was perhaps the most subtly dangerous of the entire Pack though without others to take the brunt of combat he would be sorely pressed to succeed on his own. Between himself and Talumyr there was no end to their potential for destruction.


Following after, while carefully studying a treatise on the arcane workings of casting as many destructive and deadly spells as fast as possible, an elven mage paid no heed to the view going on around him. Wildlife he had seen before but he’d finally gotten to the good part where the old mage explains how he’d managed to slay the legendary beast with a single flurry of all of his spells in one blast. The pack had picked up many friends along the way, this good elf the most recent affiliation.


Walking proudly behind the elf, ever wary of his surroundings although completely concealed beneath a full suit of exquisitely carved plate armor was Isaac. Said to be able to charm entire villages with his words alone it is also said that when he deigns to reveal his features Queens line up to offer him their kingdoms. If wit and charm were a weapon this pure, kind and noble paladin would be the deadliest man of all. Still, his massive two handed blade, literally glowing from the many runes carved upon its surface, made him a contender for that title just the same.


With Isaac was a being of sentient positive energy who had become legend in Mahasarpa as a living sunbeam sent to the mortal realm in the name of the mighty sun god. His only deity was light and his blessings were bountiful and his compassion boundless. Even more fearsome was his wrath though and only fools dared invoke his ire. Deadly with armor and weapons as well as divine magic Malcolm was a force unto himself.


In their previous lives these men had been known as heroes, saviors and deliverers! Their world and the people who knew them were gone now but the All Mother’s Lyr’Mar would decide their fates. If they failed they would simply move on to the afterworld and Righteous Pack would be forgotten. If they succeed they will become gods subservient to none, answering only to Gaea. Such had been their many deeds. Members of their party had been lost along the way, some still mourned others forgotten. They could hear the crashing of timber and creaking of trunks. There was no mistaking the sound of a rampaging beast. They moved forward eagerly, clutching their weapons in readiness.


At the front of the procession Bassonix put away his tools and sniffed the air. He smiled as he said, “Tell me, Rook. What do you smell?”


Rook characteristically cocked his head to the side. “I smell fire and burning wood and sap…”


Bass nodded. “As I thought. We have come seeking a great evil and it is nearby.”


Rook darted ahead so quickly no one saw him move. He was the epitome of his monastery’s form and technique, perfectly fluid in motion without wasting a single movement. Yards ahead he stopped where he could yet be seen amid the tall weeds and young trees. The tallest tree was still just over a sapling in size but the sound of something much bigger breaking resounded to their ears.


When they came to the crest of the green hill they looked to the distance toward the vast, outstretching limbs of the Tree of Life. Its trunk was so huge an entire city could occupy the same area. It reached higher than the air itself and its distant top was free of leaves but not buds. Its limbs reached in all four directions, shadowing the land for a hundred miles in diameter. Then they looked downward.


A massive battle between colossal beasts was in progress and the land for miles was being torn and cracked from the strain.


“I believe there are three beasts, each fighting for supremacy.” The prophet called out. A wide smile upon his dusky skinned face.


Talumyr spat toward the ground and replied, “Four. There is one attacking from below ground.” Just then a geyser of earth announced the fourth combatant.



^ ^ ^


The Blood God approached the sun with wide sweeps of his fiery wings. His own light was dimmed and made invisible against the orange and red background. He was unseen as he swooped in on the floating blue energy creatures which basked in the radiation of the sun. They were not completely mindless but nor were they anything close to sentient. They had never been hunted before and they truly never even died. Change is an unstoppable product of inevitability.


Soundless in his predation the Blood God used his massive wings to separate the blue baskers into neatly sliced halves. Their lives ended painlessly. Their passing only noticed by Gaea alone they were, however, not a pointless species.


T’Quietus was a massive sun but comparatively cool in temperature. Mortals throughout the dual system had simply believed it was waning and perhaps in another billion years it might lose its flame altogether. They were wrong. The blue baskers had been created by the long unseen elder gods of Elderspace to quell the fury of the sun. Without them the star would return to its original strength and gradually incinerate each and every planetary body in its system. The Blood God had regained knowledge most ancient since slaying his undead counterpart. Now rejoined he was at his full power and recollection. He would herald his return to the universe by slaying his enemies in one fell act. All of Kole would writhe in the flames and he would prey upon the remnants of his foes at his leisure. Even the many gods and pantheons would be powerless to stop him thanks to the All Mother’s edict. Since she had taken the mantle of All Goddess of Elderspace Gaea had made several edicts the divine were forced to follow. One of them included personal involvement. He knew that champions of the Gods were the only response allowed for now and he had seen one of those off back at the Great Root.


The sun was covered with baskers and they bred at a whim as the need arose. His task would not be an easy one but as a deity he certainly would not tire and as lord of murder and bloodletting he could never shirk from his actions. He could only roar and as his body changed to become like that of a flaming Kraken. With eight giant arms he reached out and squeezed the life out of more of the benign creatures. It was truly child’s play.


When he heard the tiny voice call out, “You are a coward and a pale shadow of the vampire god!” He jerked his head around in search of its source. He sensed the opening in reality and knew the speaker was using a spell to talk to him safely.


“Who dares?” The Blood God asked menacingly.


“We are the Righteous Pack and we have come to slay you.” The voice replied.


Immediately the Blood God sensed where these beings were hiding. They were beyond the Sun’s corona, beyond the searing heat of its rays. They were a pitifully safe distance away in fact and he lost his respect for them even as he approached their position. They seemed to be standing on a plot of land which appeared to have been ripped right out of the ground. Atop it a pristine temple of light was constructed and reflected the chaotic lights of T’Quietus. The party of heroes awaited him upon its surface. They were small in comparison to his vastness and though they were mighty for mortals they lacked the capacity as such to truly slay a god of any kind, let alone one in his magnificent state of being. They surely knew not what they confronted but they would learn. Oh, they would learn.


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