To Face the Ugly Deed
There is something wonderful in facing something you know will be a challenge, and your victory will resolve your troubles. There were dragons both around the home of my Grandfather Terish and my Aunt Debbish. Simply going out and fighting one was possible, but in the end you would not remove the threat of great beasts. Being sent against one particular dragon that had prepared for a challenge was not only something to brag about in the accomplishment, but your victory would bring you fame when you came back with proof of the problem the monster had caused being resolved.
Demons were worse than dragons, as there usually was no way to remove them. At best you would give a person or a community a temporary peace. To remove demons one would have to remove evil, and that was something I knew no one at the table of Fergush would be able to claim.
I again looked around the remnants of where the bird people had taken up residence. I had no doubt they were from other worlds. Why they had been allowed to settle on this one I could not say. All I could say was that I had eradicated the top of the ladder of those who would descend to plague Nebard’s community. For them I could claim to have resolved their troubles. However, the fact that demons were behind this corruption let me know that I had to do more. To assure that the community of bird people would not be restored, I needed to face and kill demons.
Hearing Makinor come up to me stating my name had me turn just enough to acknowledge him before speaking. “I am going to tell you this. Nebard can certainly listen, but it is possible that you can understand something about what I am saying, Makinor.”
“That’s fine, Jelnaya. I’m listening.”
“I have an Aunt Neselle. She is the wife of my father’s young brother. Uncle Althery is really a good man, but Aunt Neselle is better. On her world there are divine creatures that bother those living there. You can kill them. I have. It is because of them that I have the drahaberd. You however really don’t kill them. They simply return to the divine realm and wait for their next chance. I however chased one into the divine realms intending to remove it once and for all. I was stopped.”
“Are you staying that we can go no further, Jelnaya?”
I chuckled before saying, “Oh, no. The situation on Aunt Neselle’s world and this situation are completely different. Berbishet is a bother, is still a bother, but he fills a place in Aunt Neselle’s world. What is happening here does not fill a place, and is operating beyond its own world. I am telling you that I am not going to stop until I know the threat no longer exists, Makinor.”
The sounds of the other man approaching could be heard with his voice letting it be known that he had heard. “You already warned me, Jelnaya. I’m ready.”
Makinor said, “Wait. You’re going after the demons?”
I said, “Yes, Makinor. That is the source of the evil.”
“You mean into Hell?”
“I mean into the place where they came from. They have overstepped their bounds, and they cannot be rewarded for that. You would have me kill murderers, well what those demons did was worse than murder.”
Nebard said, “What was done to Eashae and the other ladies were wrong. Enticing people to kill in order to become wolves, horses, and these bird people were worse than wrong. We stop this, Makinor.”
“Opening the portal required more work than most, as it was not a normal passage to another reality. What I had the minor demon reveal was its route to its home. What I would open would be a passage to a divine realm, although the section no one truly wanted to visit or be condemned to.”
“Wait,” Makinor said. “Jelnaya, that is not somewhere we should be.”
“This is not somewhere we should be. It however is someplace we must be.”
Nebard said, “Yes. We don’t just shut it down, but remove the threat. No more Privileged. While there will be communities threatened, let us return them to just being bothered by the normal disruptions of their lives.”
Makinor came to face me while saying, “I’ll wait here, Jelnaya. This isn’t for me.”
“Of course,” I replied. “You know your place with Onathia. I was the one called.”
“It’s not that. I just…”
Nebard moved to slap Makinor on the back while saying, “Come on. You have been with Jelnaya up to now.”
I said, “I’m not going to force you, Makinor.”
Nebard however stated, “Jelnaya needs us, Makinor. We cannot allow her to fall into despair.”
The Champion of Onathia simply said, “Despair?”
“There’s no love there, Makinor.”
“I have no doubt that Jelnaya will accomplish her mission. I can assure you that she will not fall into despair.”
“No. I will assure that she does not fall into despair. I will also return to hold my head high. Onathia can honor you as she will, but I will stand before Quafrey feeling that I have earned some of her honor.”
There was a moment of Makinor standing erect, then he said, “I was not expecting this at the start. Jelnaya, is it worth it?”
I replied, “For me, I am sure it will be. For you, I cannot say what you are looking forward to with Onathia.”
Nebard said, “For me, I will be remembered. Quafrey called me, and it seems I am the first to have this honor, but I want to prove her correct. I want to set the standard for others. I am not going to have my status as a divine champion reduced to just a place of special favor, but one of conviction and dedication of service.”
“At a minimum, Makinor.”
There was a period of silence while the Champion of Onathia looked at me, then he finally said, “You’re right, Jelnaya. It will take a special man to claim you.” He then drew his weapon before saying, “That’s it. I’m in. I’ve waited too long for a special lady to claim me. Well, I really have not been special enough. It’s time for me to step up to the level that the lady I want will seek me out.”
Seeing both men prepared, I went back to working the steps to open the portal. This time there were no interruptions. Instead of a disruption in the fabric between realities, even divisions of reality, what happened was a grand avatar, basically a powerful angel appeared. It was about four times our height appearing as a large bird person, although a lot better designed than the bird people we fought. The head had a beak. The wings worked by a separate pair of appendages than the arms holding a grand ax. There was a basic set of ornate armor over its body. I signaled the men to hold as I stepped up while gaining my drahaberd and holding it high.
“I will if I must,” I said, “but I would rather not.”
The being replied, “I have the power of the rulers of the existence behind me, so your attacks will be futile.”
“I believe not. Doors go both ways. If that demon can come this way, we can go after it.”
“It was invited.”
“It was summoned! It was brought here by people not even from this place. I can show you from where. It however went further than this place, and you cannot claim any invitation to those places. I however can claim a personal invite by one of the goddesses from a world affected by that demon.”
Nebard calmly clarified, “My world. My people.”
Makinor softly asked, “Jelnaya, did you just say this being lied?”
I replied, “I can lie. Fergush is not a god of deception, but sometimes a strategy depends on a little misdirection. For all we know, the god responsible for this one before us is a god of lies.”
I did not turn, but kept my focus on the one preventing my advance. I however did check my peripheral vision to see the two men turn to something that appeared behind us. Neither went into action or appeared scared, so I kept my focus on the one I wanted to remove while I heard another voice behind me.
“Yes, Angel. Tell Heclidy that he is not properly representing himself.”
The one before me actually switched its gaze to the one behind me, and from the direction of its eyes I assumed the one behind was large as well. “We were assured protection.”
“As the lady said, they are here as proper agents. I cannot give you protection from those who are deserving of protection.”
I watched as the avian form of the one before me suddenly sprouted a multitude of eyes. They first appeared as welts on its body, but then feathers separated to reveal the white sores to have corneas of red and brown. I did not see the eyes focus on anything, but moved around almost aimlessly before fading from the body of the angel.
It then said, “What if I grant that the demon Ascrennith will be punished?”
“No!” I declared. “You have already shown yourself to be one who will twist the truth. Also, what it perpetrated we cannot allow to happen again.”
“You cannot prevent that.”
“Maybe time will prove us wrong, but until then we will sleep better.”
“What if I gave you a solemn promise?”
I yelled, “I KNOW WHAT MALEVOLENCE IS! I faced the God Terdeskollit. Not only did I grow up hearing stories, but I faced Him. You, your god, can exist as you will, but I will demand –“
“You have no right to – Terdeskollit? You have no – girl, what is your name?”
From behind me came the answer, “Jelnaya Minella Dozzrine, Champion of Fergush. This one here,” I had to assume the one behind made the identification in some manner, “is Nebard of Veclarn, Champion of Quafrey. I don’t know the other one.”
I said, “He is Makinor, Champion of Onathia. Quafrey is a goddess of love, so when she came looking for me she was met by the goddess of love of Sennapre. She sent her champion, Makinor, to gain my aid.”
The bird-like angel stepped back through the portal with it closing. Feeling things would go my way, I turned to the one behind me. I saw a great tree, some type of large-leafed plant with great white flowers. While I had to admit it seemed to support us, and knew something of us, I still wondered about it. Accepting that I should wait before attempting to open the portal again, I curtsied intending to ask about the one that had appeared.
It said, “I am not going to explain, Jelnaya, but there are matters that had me learn of you. Further, what you did here, including your words to your two companions, were very well thought out. You earned my respect.”
I again curtsied while saying, “And you, mine.” I then sensed something behind me, and said, “I believe there is a fight coming.”
“One you requested, and the one you deserve to have.”
And the final fight begins.