“The threads of destiny hold great dangers to those that would peer ahead to see the cloth they weave.
“Few are truly prepared to see its shape.”“The Lexum Aeternas”, author unknown
There was a thunderous crash as the throne room doors were thrown open, heralding the entrance of the muscle-bound figure. Clad in grey robes, he marched forward with purpose, electric eyes set deep into his wizened face, framed by windswept hair and beard.
“Well?!” cried the Stormbearer, addressing the assembled group and the three-eyed woman on the throne. “For what have you brought me here, Fatemistress? I am no hound to be beckoned to your heel!” His voice was loud and booming, reverberating around the throne room in great peals as he regarded the figures stood before him. His eyes passed over the flame-haired hulk and the regal knight, coming to rest on a scaled woman, met by her piercing yellow gaze, her hair wet and glistening as it clung to her face, a few strands of seaweed caught in amongst it. The echoes of his voice decayed as the pair looked at one another, before Alteus spoke in a quieter tone. “What is she doing here?”
“I was beckoned to heel much as you were, husband,” replied the Wavemother, a smile curling at the corners of her pale blue lips. The pair continued to stare at one another before Alteus spoke once more.
“I see the Sunbringer is nowhere to be found. Have you grown tired of your little suitor, hmm?”
Orissa raised an eyebrow. “He was not invited.”
“And a good thing, too, else I should have wrung the poor fool’s neck!”
Light flared in the room as Atarr’s fiery hair blazed brighter. “Enough!” he bellowed. “Might we be in each other’s company once without the pair of you behaving like children?!” The tall, shirtless figure crossed his arms, his hair and beard shedding dancing light throughout the room.
Orissa turned her head from Alteus’s gaze to look disapprovingly at Atarr. “The pair of us?!”
“You provoke him,” said Belarius on her left, the fair-haired knight crossing one arm over the other to place his hand on his one pauldron-less shoulder.
“If she had merely—” began Alteus.
“Enough,” said Atarr. A grimace was wrought upon his face.
Alteus inhaled through his nose, then exhaled slowly. “Fine,” he said, his eyes crackling with thunder and sparks. He turned once more to face the woman on the throne, silent since his arrival. “Well?! What is this all about?!”
The woman remained silent, the eye in the centre of her forehead the only of her three open.
“Our host has said relatively little since our arrival,” said Belarius.
Alteus shook his head. “I’ve better things to be doing than stand around all day to wait for her to issue some cryptic omen or half-truth! Let us be quick about it!”
“Patience,” said Atarr.
“Patience was never a strength of his,” interjected Orissa. Alteus shot her a glare but said nothing.
“The matter concerns our mortal champions,” said Belarius in an attempt to defuse tensions. “That is all Lady Xera has yet said.”
“Our mortal champions?!” said Alteus. “Last I checked I was the only one inspiring a champion, and you three were merely engendering nuisances for him and I.”
“Nuisance is an unusual way to describe those that recovered your temple after your last champion claimed it from you,” said Orissa.
“Your pirate stole from me!”
“You cannot steal what is already stolen, husband.”
“Enough,” said Atarr and Belarius in unison. Husband and wife were cowed into silence.
“I tire of this,” said Alteus after a moment, “I haven’t time to waste standing around making small talk. Xera! Why have you brought us here? We are all present. Speak!”
“There is one more,” said the woman on the throne, two of her three eyes still closed. Her blonde hair hung in long flowing tresses around her face.
The other gods looked at one another. “One more?” asked Belarius. “Lady Xera, we are all present and accounted for.”
“Sorry to keep you all waiting…” called a voice from the doorway. The assembled gods turned to face the tall double doors, where the silhouette of an elven figure could be seen leaning suggestively against the frame. She stepped forward into the light, revealing pale grey skin and a face with four eyes, each one with two overlapping irises. Her sheer silk dress left little to the imagination. “I got a little lost on the way here,” she said with a fanged smile.
“I’ve never been invited up before…”