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From the Ashes

D. Heikes


Prologue

            The energy of the universe swirled around the being, coalescing into a valley with woods surrounding a wooden house.  His realm could be anything he chose, forming to his will.  For most of his guests he allowed them a paradise of the life they had once led, most not even realizing they now dwelt in his realm.

            A flash occurred in the darkness outside of the farmhouse, one of the occupants coming out moments later to investigate.  His muscular arms bare, long blond hair tied back in a ponytail.  He moved into the darkness, where he met the source of the light that had garnered his attention.

            The woman was tall, wearing an ornate golden breastplate, skirt made of leather leaves, her bronze hair falling about her face.  A crackling white aura of power surrounded her form.  The man dropped to his knee before her.

            The pair conversed shortly, a look of shock coming and going from the man’s face, before he nodded and looked back towards the house.  The woman raised a hand, the aura around her surrounded the man, growing and moving until it became a tornado of energy.  The vortex snapped brightly in the night, then disappeared.

            The being watched as the woman walked away, then moved as swirling energy to fall in step behind her.

            “You play a dangerous game, Sister,” the being said, his voice like crackling dry twigs.

            The woman frowned, but never slowed her pace.         

            “Tis mine to play, Hades.  Beside, the child be more important in the future of things to be risked so to these events.”

            “Heh,” Hades scoffed.  “You care for these mortals too much, Huntress.”

            Walking apace, Artemis spared a sidelong glance at the God of the Underworld.  He was well over six feet tall, and skeletally thin.  As always he wore a black tuxedo with tails, white shirt, and bow tie.  He carried a black walking cane topped with a silver pommel, and wore a black top hat perched at a jaunty angle on his gaunt head.  His eyes glowed an empty black, bottomless and final.

            “And thou carest not enough,” Artemis scolded.  “Without them, I think we wouldst not exist.”

            “Heh,” Hades scoffed again.  They walked along in silence until Hades continued, “And if your champion cannot handle the power this time?  What then, wise one?  There will be none who can stop him.”

            “There is one,” Artemis replied.

            “Aye, one of mine,” Hades smiled.  “And I think I shall keep this one.”

            Artemis stopped and stared with a squinted eye at the Lord of the Underworld.  “I will have them come for him…if need be.”

            Hades frowned.  This was his realm, how dare even his sister tell him who would and would not remain with him.

            “Coming and taking are two different things.  I let you have this one to be…nice.  I will keep what is mine.  Do you know how many millions I can raise, how many fallen warriors I have at mine hand?  Send who you will.  Know they will fail.”

            Hades left the area with a small imploding rush of air.

            Artemis stood alone, then whispered quietly to no one. 

            “They will come, but I pray they shall not be needed.”









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