Sunday, September 11, 2016

Tenet ran as fast as he could toward the Usher of Death

Tenet ran as fast as he could toward the Usher of Death.

Thanatos beat his wings like peals of thunder, and he drew in the fruit to his center. His other hands gestured in various signs, while their eyes glowered with danger and warning. The "Betrayer" ignored these, though he stumbled as if buffeted by gales and whiplashes. Sicol gleamed with a pale light as Tenet strode forcefully forward.

Wisps of dirt spun up and became half-formed people. Gaps in the spinning grit became shadowy eyes and mouths. Voices slashed out and their words cut like blades across Tenet's tunic and skin.

"Found your courage in the Pit, Oath-breaker?" accused a fiery female.

"Do you repay my hospitality by defiling both my home and my resting place?" an islander railed in stilted Arabic.

"How dishonorable you have become since you failed me, Mage-slayer," Wei Zhi growled.

A grit-figure grew horns, drew a katana, and raised the weapon to slice Tenet in half. Before Tenet could react, a long blade ripped through the creature's chest. The shadowy samurai shattered and flew into the dust storm. Rhad' nodded to Tenet through the dissipated attacker and swung out against another two phantoms that grew in Wei Zhi's place.

Tenet saw holes open in some other figures as black darts passed through them. A channel opened for him to press his attack and he dove into the eye of the raging winds.

Thanatos drifted over the still waters of the Styx and menaced at his assailant. "You have secured their names in the Ledger, Betrayer, and a visit to the Throne for yourself this day."

Tenet stopped at the shoreline and panted. Molten blood streaked from various gashes and scrapes, singing his tattered tunic. He dared to gaze into Thanatos' eyes, and immediately felt as though he tumbled down an endless abyss. He simultaneously felt he walked a corridor in a smoky labyrinth, from which their was no hope of escape or dawn. He heard familiar voices, crying out for help but just out of reach.

"Walk or run, you are Lost, and Lost you will for ever be, Exile," Thanatos pronounced.

Tenet listened past the Scribe's harrowing thunder to the roar of the wind. In desperation, he drew deep on the Power that kindled in all of his kind. Then, with the last of his might he channeled the Force of Creation into Sicol and threw it at his enemy.

Tenet cried out as he did so, "He has made us competent ministers of a new covenant--not of the Writ but of the Wind. For the Writ kills, but the One-Who-Is-Wind gives life...and the Wind of Heaven rushed over the waters."

The blade spun and flashed over the waters, as the cycling winds shifted to rush behind it. Sicol split both the Book's spine and the fruit to the core. The raging winds lifted the unbound pages. At that moment, an amphora smashed against the Book's skin-cover. A blue flame ate greedily and splintered into many tongues as the pages scattered. Those that fell to the churning Styx spread the inferno. The grey waters hissed at the sacred flames' transforming touch.

Thanatos shrieked, which sounded like a mountain splitting in two. His many hands clutched at stray pages and pieces of the fruit. Yet, the inflamed Wind tore him and bore him rapidly away. The pages that survived billowed in opposite directions as the gale fragmented toward all the cardinal points and lessened.

Tenet slumped onto the strand of slate. Giovanni rushed forward and gripped his shoulder. The Exile's silver-and-black eyes peered up at the priest's worried face. Tenet muttered, "I will be fine. I just need to rest."

Giovanni answered, "The grave may be no place to rest, especially when we have burnt Death's dark Book and kindled his River."

"If only it were his," Rhad' replied solemnly. "We have upset more than Thanatos, and we have far to go."

Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, Tenet, Giovanni, Roksana (c) Brannon Hollingsworth


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