A few years previous to the Prologue…
Xeron sat on the edge one of her father’s fountains, even though he was the God of war he had a great love for beauty and so had vast gardens of sculptures, fountains, meadows and streams. Looking in to the water, with just a thought, her divine heritage allowed her to view the mortal realm, the material plane.
Xeron watched a woman at work, a barbarian woman, she was a Queen of the Tribe of the White Tiger settlement from the frozen Northern reaches of Nath`atarya. The Barbarian woman held herself well, beauty still being prominent even though she had seen over forty harsh winters on the tundra. Xeron watched as she commanded young powerful warriors at least three times her weight. The demi-goddess smiled, for she had seen this so many times before and yet the fiery spirit of this woman still impressed her.
Xeron often watched this lady. Her father, Boagh, said her name was Bethine; he told her the barbarian woman was her mortal mother, and this heritage Xeron could not contest, for if anyone was to see Xeron they would swear they were looking upon the soft features of a younger Bethine. The tall strong and slender figure; the razor sharp jaw line; the hard eyes; the long, thick, red hair; the most striking difference between the women was a mark of Xeron’s heritage, the symbol of Boagh, a hammer shaped birthmark forever branded on her right arm. Bethine was an offering to Boagh before the tribe had been attacked by a small army of giants from the neighbouring region of Orgoth. Nine months later Xeron was born, but only two weeks after her birth an avatar of Boagh’s came to claim Xeron, for she had to live out her days on the Pantheon.
Life on the Pantheon suited Xeron fine, she had always felt a twinge for power and that was what living amongst the Gods afforded her. From here she could watch and easily control events happening in the material world.
She changing the vision in the pool with a small effort of will to a human settlement she knew to be Murlock. The young goddess liked to play games in this village, she moved objects around and even coerced animals to cause havoc. Today she chose to find her entertainment in the stables; using her divine powers she entered the mind of a horse and started to entice it to neigh, buck and break free of its bonds. The horse’s mind was no match for the divine intervention and began its work as Xeron’s puppet.
She watched, delighted through her scrying pool as the horse kicked one of the walls of the stable down and sent villagers scattering. She was smiling as she looked down on the village that was unprepared for the attack, suddenly her smile faded
She found herself part-lay on a flat surface staring at nothing but white. The perplexed Goddess looked up and seen her father, he was sat at the flat white surface, she eventually deduced to be an immense table. Xeron looked up and realised she had been summoned to the great hall known to her as Pamaeth.
Boagh stood over forty feet tall in his natural form, an overwhelming sight of muscle and power he wore a weather beaten face, looking much like his barbarian worshippers, wild brown hair added to the effect. The God of War’s features could be that of a forty year old man, but his eyes betrayed the rest of his face, beaming power and wisdom far beyond that of any mortal.
Boagh looked down on his daughter with a mixture of anger and sadness in his eyes, he always had a soft spot for her.
“Why did you summon me father?” Xeron asked daring to add a hint of anger in to her voice; he had disturbed her fun after all…
“Xeron, it was not only I who called you here today,” He said in an indescribably soft yet booming voice as he swept one of his great arms outwards to indicate the other divine beings sat at the table in the great hall.
Xeron looked around the room for the first time, and slowly it began to dawn on her that she was in trouble.
“Good day Xeron,” Said Pyelli bowing his head slightly.
Xeron couldn’t help but stare at the being sat opposite her father at the great table, he was the highest of the Gods of Nath`atarya, creator of all, he stood no higher than Boagh and had the look of a wizened old man with long flowing white hair and beard. But he had a presence about him of absolute power, displaying without question that even if the other great Gods present today all rebelled, he’d only have to blink and they would be no more.
Xeron had never seen Pyelli before but had always been told stories; she felt a compulsion to fall to her knees and bow, a compulsion which she swiftly obeyed, but never managed a reply to Pyelli’s greeting. He just smiled kindly.
“My daughter,” Spoke Boagh in his booming soft voice, she spun around to her father, enjoying the distraction from Pyelli’s power, “We have all been watching you for many years now, the way you act and abuse your powers,” He looked around the room. Xeron followed her father’s gaze, she recognised many of the beings present: Phileus, the God of knowledge; he stood a little over thirty feet in his natural form, and adopted the bipedal form of a human that most of the Gods preferred. He had short brown hair, but was bald on the top of his head and sported a neatly shaven goatee. Xeron never liked this man, she saw him as a know-it-all.
Next to Phileus sat the Goddess of the Elements, Ih`Hili, she was a very powerful divine being, she stood nearly as tall as Boagh but had a beautiful lithe body, taking on a form closer to an elf than a human, she smiled softly upon Xeron. Xeron hated her for that, smug bitch she thought. Ih`Hili’s smile hardened. Xeron often forgot that thoughts were not private amongst such powerful beings.
Harrom sat next to Ih`Hili, he was a short and stout God taking the form of his much beloved dwarves, his head only just emerged over the table but Xeron knew that below the table line sat a body of iron and muscle, with strength that may even out match her father’s. She feared and respected this being; he gazed at Xeron neutrally, he didn’t look happy about the deeds she had committed but at the same time he didn’t look overly pleased to have to be there anyway.
She missed out Pyelli with her gaze and skipped past to the being on his other side; Ele`Phae, the Goddess of magic. She was the master of the weave, controlling and destroying all non-divine magic not sapped from the darkness. She looked evilly upon Xeron, she was not a forgiving being, Ele`Phae also took on the lithe form of the elves, a beautiful body practically humming with power, as if something amazing might burst forth from her torso and fly away at any moment. She had a slight blue hue to her body and white hair that seemed to sway to a wind of its own. Trying not to lock gazes with this powerful being Xeron’s attention moved on to a much softer face.
Vemora’s, the Goddess of luck. She looked worriedly at the convicted demi-God; Xeron took this as a bad sign. The worried look didn’t suit Vemora’s soft features, she appeared to be a timid, young, beautiful, blonde, human female; but looks are often known to be deceiving. Vemora was anything but timid when it came to protecting the people of the material plane, she was constantly at war with the demonic beings of the lower planes who always did their best to make the people’s lives a living hell. Vemora works and weaves her powers in an attempt to change people’s luck. Xeron didn’t think that even this Goddess’ luck could do much for her here, but Vemora bowed her head as their eyes met and forced a smile.
There was an empty seat next to Vemora, Xeron found this odd and couldn’t recall who might not be in attendance this day, thinking nothing more of it she moved on.
The last being Xeron’s eyes met was the most beautiful being in all of creation, Elysia, the Goddess of love and beauty, it is said that a thousand scholars writing for a thousand years would never come close to describing the beauty of Elysia. The utter indescribable beauty of this being would make any male babble senselessly as much as in the presence of Pyelli himself, even divine beings have to try hard to resist her charm. Elysia smiled that sickly sweet false smile that Xeron wished she could just cut away and throw to the demonic beings of the lower planes; she made a mental note not to think about that right now.
The doomed Demi-Goddess turned back to her father and asked in her sweetest daddy’s girl voice she could muster, “What’s wrong father?”
“Ahem,” A sound from the other side of the table interupted, Xeron knew it to be Pyelli, she slowly turned around and fought the urge to kneel but failed; she looked up at the general area of his eyebrows, not wanting to look in to his eyes.
“May I?” Asked Pyelli with a smile. “If you don’t mind, Boagh.”
“Erm, of course, my Lord,”
“Okay then. Xeron, as Boagh stated we have all been observing you after becoming aware you were breaking the laws of the Pantheon, and the only reason this meeting hasn’t been called earlier is because of the urgings of your father,” Pyelli quickly glanced up at Boagh who pretended to look interested in a bare patch of white wall just over Pyelli’s left shoulder. “The actions we have seen you commit have been grave and unforgivable. We have seen numerous accounts of you toying with the well-being of mortals simply for your own amusement often ending in many deaths or at least great problems to the economy of the area.”
Xeron just kept staring at his eyebrows as she fought her body, trying to make it stand, at least have some dignity. She wanted to shout out, protest and defend herself but she just didn’t have the will. She was in the wrong, she was out matched and she knew it, all she could do was sit and wait for the verdict.
“We cannot allow you to carry on living on this plane, so we are here today to decide on what to do with you,” Pyelli continued, unconcerned with her discomfort.
“Should we not just kill her? Get rid of the problem out right?” Said Ele`Phae impassively.
“I will not have my daughter killed!” Bellowed Boagh standing up, slamming his fist on the table, sending his chair flying back and Xeron bouncing in the air to land hard on her knees again.
“Sit down Boagh, It’s merely an option I’m exploring,” Purred Ele`Phae, enjoying the fact she had wound the brute up.
A small, barely audible chuckle came from the corner of the room behind Boagh. All of the eyes in the room turned to view this corner; a voice and physical form emerged from the emptiness, “Guys, you crack me up! HA!” Theatrically wiping tears from his eyes and picking up Boagh’s chair, he pushed it gracefully in to the back of the towering Gods legs, forcing him to collapse heavily in to the seat with a humph. The God known as Sephrys stood back and looked at Boagh, “Take a seat,”
“You’re late Sephrys,” Pyelli calmly stated.
“Late? For this? Never! I’ve been here all along old chap, you don’t look too comfortable little darling.” He gazed down at Xeron with his overly confident smile.
Xeron had heard of this God too, unmistakeably the God of thieves, she often wondered why such a God would be a member of the Pantheon. Sephrys had a lithe athletic form and the facial features as sharp as an assassin’s knife; his attire was typical swashbuckler, the high boots, the wide-brimmed hat, the leather armour, all black, likely armed to the teeth but not a weapon in sight. His eyes seem to observe everything but look at nothing in particular and under his carefully trimmed moustache gleamed his perfect teeth. Xeron stared silently at him with a hint of wonder in her visage, for her father often said, behind that small physique and cocky attitude lay a perfect calculating mind and a master of weapons like no other.
“Lost for words princess? Aw, she’s so cute, why can’t we keep her?” Sephrys carried on after Xeron’s silence.
“That’s enough Sephrys, and I want this to be the last time you use your stealth abilities to spy on anything within our Pantheon,” Pyelli asked Sephrys in a calm polite voice unsuited for a command.
Taking a quick glance Elysia’s way he smiled wryly “Anything my lord?”
“Anything,” replied Pyelli.
“Okay,” Sephrys submitted, giving Pyelli a smile, enjoying the mind games.
“Oh, Sephrys?” Pyelli asked locking eyes once more with the smiling God, “You don’t happen to have any weapons on you in Pamaeth do you?”
“No my lord, of course not,” He replied with a smile once again, “I think attention has been on me long enough now, can we concentrate back on the pretty little demi-God?”
“Hm,” Pyelli mused raising an eyebrow, “If you say so,”
For moments more the great hall was silent, Xeron gazed jaw open at this new comer, this Sephrys, how could he act so towards Pyelli? The confidence, the attitude, she felt she had a rebellious streak, but this was a whole different road, utter defiance of an ultimate being, yet he remains a contributing and law abiding member of the Pantheon. The previous events baffled Xeron and almost made her forget about her situation. Almost.
“Well getting back to the matter, I must say I agree with Boagh, death is not the solution to this,” Replied Phileus.
“Agreed,” came a few more calls from around the table.
Xeron thought she may have miss-judged the little God, he wasn’t so bad after all.
“What shall we do with the disobedient little rat-mortal?” Questioned Ele`Phae.
“Quiet!” Shouted Pyelli, “We all know you have had disagreements with Boagh about his daughter, but you cannot allow this to cloud your judgement!” Pyelli commanded without even looking at Ele`Phae, the force in the voice was enough to set her back in her chair.
“Well,” Vemora said, “If she cannot live here, then maybe in another realm, where she won’t be so powerful or have complete control over whoever she wishes?”
“You mean banish me?!” Xeron spewed out without thinking, she quickly shut her mouth and looked at her knees, feeling like a helpless child.
“That sounds reasonable,” Agreed Pyelli, ignoring Xeron’s protest “What are your thoughts Boagh?”
“I have to agree, but to where?” He replied.
“Well,” Pondered Phileus out-loud, “We don’t have the power to bind anyone to the lesser planes in this manner, and anything above the material plane would still give her power over the mortals, so, it will have to be the mortal realm.”
“Well, I believe there is a more efficient way of dealing with our little problem,” Sephrys grinned at the Demi-Goddess, “but I suppose it would make interesting viewing, our evil little demi-God walking on the material plane with our clever little creations,”
“I’m not evil!” Xeron shouted up at the God of Thieves, he just given her a sympathetic smile in return.
“We are not looking for something interesting here, we are looking for a solution Sephrys, do you have anything useful to add to the discussion?” Pyelli was quick to answer Sephrys’ waffling.
“Who cares what this idiot thinks?” Ela`Phae screamed in outrage, Sephrys just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
“Well… Maybe we allow her to live down there, let her true colours shine through. If anything it’ll be a test for our mortals, can the world deal with an unbalance of this proportion and still land on its feet? Would you yourself not be interested in knowing this? Have our mortals got the capability to survive should we one day not be here to watch over them?” Phileus interjected.
“Hm,” Pyelli nodded, “Does anybody object?”
The attendees in Pamaeth fell silent.
“Then it is agreed,” Pyelli said, looking down on Xeron, “Young Xeron, your path from here on has been decided, you will walk in the realm of the mortals whom you have tortured for so long, I hope that you will learn lessons that will one day correct your ways whilst living out your new life. If not I hope that you find that mortals can be tricky beings to deal with when you are not sat in the safety of the Pantheon. You have a whole new world ahead of you Xeron and I hope you explore it wisely. We will observe you, and should things get terribly out of hand, do not doubt, we will intervene. Boagh, would you like to do the honours?”
“Yes my Lord,” Boagh looked away from Pyelli slowly, as if it was hard to look his daughter in the eyes, Xeron was certain she seen a tear roll down his weathered cheek, it stung her somewhere deep in her chest; she wasn’t sure why but she has never regretted what she had done more than now. “I’m sorry Xeron, I will watch over you for eternity, my eyes will never leave you, I love you, my daughter, good bye,”
A flash of light engulfed the Demi-Goddess, it didn’t hurt btu she could feel it draining her, the final image of her father was burned in to her eyes; but slowly the image of a God of war brought to tears faded from her sight.
* * * * *
Xeron awoke lay in an animal skin hut, she felt dis-orientated, more vulnerable somehow. There was a woman asleep on a chair near the foot of her bed; she recognised her as Bethine, her mortal mother. She gave her a slight kick, the woman stirred and after waking slightly jumped up.
“You’re awake!” She said through a beaming smile, “My Daughter your home and safe!”
“So it wasn’t a dream? I’m really banished to the mortal realm? How could father allow that?”
“Dear? Are you ok? You’re with me now; he has given you back to me! Thank the Gods! You are a Princess you know, a Princess of the powerful Tribe of the Snow Tiger. We have much to discuss! I still can’t believe you’re here! Years I have prayed to Boagh to meet my daughter and years I have received only replies saying he would never let you go,” Bethine excitedly greeted her daughter home.
“Much to discuss? Pfft, no we don’t, look lady, I am a grown woman now, you haven’t been there all my life and you are mother to me only in the sense you brought me in to this God forsaken world, although, technically me being here makes it slightly less God forsaken. But anyway, thanks for the care and everything but I’m no princess of some snow treading barbarians, good luck to you.”
Xeron attempted to sit up but the room spun around her and she fell right back to her bed.
“Don’t be like that, I tried, really! You need some rest, I’ll fetch you some water.”
Bethine hurried out of the tent. Xeron thought this to be her chance, so she sat up, slower this time, still feeling a bit dizzy; this time she managed to extract herself from her bed and put on the clothes she found folded over the back of a crudely made chair. After dressing herself, which she found strangely difficult, she peered out of the tent; there were two guards stood either side of the door. Xeron thought there to be no problem and so attempted to exit the tent.
One of the guards placed his hand firmly infront of her, “We were asked to keep you in this tent for now young Princess,” The other guard turned round to face her squarely. They were both large humans by any standards, both easily taller than Xeron’s six foot and much wider, their basic animal skin clothes showing off much of their muscular frames. One appeared a lot younger than the other but they looked related, maybe father and son. Each had blonde wavy hair; just one was a slightly lighter hue.
“I’m just looking for my mother,” Xeron lied as she carried on walking straight in to the strong man’s hand.
“We cannot allow that, I’m sorry, we have our orders.”
Xeron tested his strength by pushing lightly against his palm; she smiled and grabbed his wrist with her right hand, “You do not have to allow it brute,” With a quick flick of her arm she had the barbarian on his knees with his hand behind his back.
“Father!” The younger of the two shouted as he made a move towards Xeron. With a thought and a moments concentration she looked at the young man and he froze in his steps.
“Hm, well they still work… Sorry mother,” With an effortless kick she sent the older man sprawling and walked away from her tent in to the tundra leaving the two men bruised but alive.
“Now, big wide world of mortals, let’s see what you have to offer.”
End of Chapter