War of the Blood Gods #14
Written by Grim, Edited
WAR OF THE BLOOD GODS
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Chapter 15: Aftermath
Peter woke up with his head in the Goddesses’ lap. He blinked at brightness of the noonday sun and started to try and get up.
"Lay still, young one. You need to rest for awhile."
"I think… I think I’m ok." Then the memories of the night before came rushing back. "OH MY GOD! That thing! Where is it? We’ve got to get away!" He tore from the Goddesses’ grasp and jumped to his feet, head whipping this way and that, trying to find the Elder Demon. Unable to locate the beast, Peter started to sprint for the trees that were still standing. A hand grabbed him by the back of the neck and lifted him off his feet.
"I TOLD you that you needed to rest. The Demon has been defeated. It is dead. You can stop running, now."
Peter’s feet continued to move, but soon slowed to a stop. He had grabbed the hand that held him aloft to ease the pressure on his neck. He tried to look around. The Goddess set him back on his feet, and after assuring herself that he wouldn’t run, let go of his neck. "What… What happened?"
"What do you remember last?"
"I had… shot the arrow that the Great Spirit had given me. Then I got my knife out. Because that beast was coming for me. I had hurt it, but not killed it."
"Then some guy yelled behind me and threw something at the beast which hit my arrow."
"He threw the hammer of Thor, Mjollnir."
"Ok. The hammer hit my arrow and the beast stopped… Then I remember the sun starting to shine again. I think I went to sleep or something."
"I think your human body fainted after the stress of what you went through. Here, let me cleanse your spirit for you."
"Uhhh, I donno…"
"I’ve already healed your physical injuries…"
Peter looked down at his hands and body. He didn’t see any marks and he felt… not sore or hurt… but healthy. In fact, he hadn’t felt this good in a long time."
"Come to me. I will heal your soul as I’ve healed your body."
Understanding the sincerity and honesty behind her words, Peter walked over and got down on his knees in front of the Goddess. Her hands, which she had placed gently on his head, began to glow. Peter’s mind began to clear. After a few seconds, he opened his eyes and looked at the Goddess. Taking her hands away, she whispered, "Now you see the gods for what they truly are…"
"But… but… but I thought… Now I see… you’ve opened my mind for me."
"No. ‘Twas not I who opened your mind. Your mind has been opened of it’s own accord. Now, please rest. There are many more that are still in pain. I must tend them, as well."
"Thank… Thank you, sister."
The Goddess wandered around the ruins left by the defeat of the Elder Demon, helping those that she could. Saying a blessing for those already gone.
Peter sat for awhile, watching her work. Studying her. It seemed so easy. The healing that she was doing. Glancing to the side, Peter saw the private laying there in an exhausted slumber. Peter got up and went to the private and with one last studying look at the Goddess, placed his hand aside the private’s head. Then he let the good inside himself, the freedom, flow from him to the private. He noticed that his hands were glowing. Not as brightly at the Goddesses’ were but they were glowing, none the less. He looked at the Goddess, and heard a thought inside his head, "…Now you start to understand…"
The private’s head rolled from side to side as he struggled toward consciousness. He eyes slowly opened and he looked up at Peter. "Since… Since you’re still here, young one, I think we must have killed that thing."
"Yes, we did. Now we have to help those who fell in battle."
"I… I see. It’s like my mind is more open now…’
"I know. But we do have to hurry a little…"
"Feel the Earth… No, not just the dirt here! Feel the whole Earth…"
The private’s eyes closed and he nodded. Opening his eyes, he got to his feet. "I CAN feel her. She’s happy about us… But she also wants to take out the trash! Come, let’s help some of these guys."
Peter, the private, and the Goddess walked around the battlefield helping those that could be helped. They were joined by those first helped. Soon, all that could, were standing at the far edge of the battlefield. The private pulled the watch out of his pocket and looked at the time. The he looked at his arm. The runes were gone! But the musculature was still there. And he could feel the call of the hammer he had thrown the night before. Holding up his right hand, he strengthened the bond. The hammer came flying out of the pit in the center of the battlefield and landed in his hand. "Guess that means that I’m Thor, now", he said to himself. Then his watch started to chime the noon bells. The private looked at the sun, which was directly overhead and back at the pit. Remembering that his watch was off a few chimes, he stared intensely at the pit. The ground started to shake. Then everyone heard a far off rumbling. Then a geyser of molten lava shot out of the pit, propelling a midnight black mass ahead of it.
Peter recognized the mass as the Elder Demon, but far, far smaller than from the night before. He watched as the lava shot up into the sky, and the Demon was propelled toward the sun. His eyes adjusted, and he watched as the spot traveled through space. Soon he lost interest and turned to see who else was there. He noticed that the Egyptian God Atum-Re continued to watch the spot; and he held his hand out, palm up, as if waiting for something to be placed in it. The he noticed a large bear ambling toward him. The Great Spirit! Peter ran over and stood in front of the bear, which sat back on his haunches, regarding the boy. "Great Spirit, We did it! We killed the beast. Me and Standing…" this brought back the memory of the passing of Standing Wolf from the night before. Peter’s look of triumph faded into a look of despair. The Great Spirit stood on his hind legs and towered over Peter. The Bear growled low, directly at Peter.
"What?" Peter’s head snapped up and he stared at the bear. "What? Uncle? Standing Wolf? You’re now the Great Spirit? How? What? I don’t understand."
The Great Spirit growled again.
"How can I understand? It’s like you’re talking to me. I can understand the growling"
Then the Great Spirit spoke directly to his mind. "There are many things for you to understand now, Peter Walkingsparrow."
Atum-Re looked down at his palm. A black speck appeared in it. He slowly closed his hand and crushed the speck with a satisfied look on his face.
Most of the lava splashed away, but there was left a column more than mile high that marked the next phase in humanity.
Epilogue: The Fate of Humanity
The Private sat under one of the large trees that had adjoined the battlefield. He chatted easily with the reporter who hovered off the ground while the noonday sun shone down. "I still find it hard to believe that we were responsible for it. All of it."
"We weren’t responsible for the Elder Demon, but we were for all the Gods, Goddesses and demons. The Elder God came from a time before the earth had cooled.
"And he was the source of all evil?"
"Not really. He just fed on our evil thoughts and deeds. And stored the energy up. And also used it to keep humanity from evolving."
"Because we were grounded with bad thoughts about ourselves and others; our minds couldn’t see all the possibilities inherent inside ourselves."
"Right. But, we also created the Gods and Goddesses with our prayers and good thoughts. That’s why they had to ‘die’ as well."
"I think I understand, now. For us, as humans, to evolve, we had to purge the evil from the world. I mean from ourselves. But, for everything to balance, the good had to go as well."
"Kinda", the reporter explained. "The evil came from before the worlds was born. It was the cause of all the fears and doubts in our ancestors. We created the Gods and Goddesses to counteract the evil. Later, after we came to understand our world through science and philosophy, the evil changed from ‘fear of the unknown‘, to distrust of our fellow man, and doubts about ourselves. Mix in all sorts of discriminations as well and we provided the Elder God with plenty to feed on."
"Then, when we killed the beast, we were really killing the evil within ourselves?"
"Yes. And when we didn’t have the evil within us, we no longer needed the Gods to protect us."
"And now… it’s been two weeks since that happened… And look at how far we’ve come! No more racial hatred. No more gender or age bias. No more sneaking, lying, or cheating one another. Despite our differences, we recognize each other as beings of worth. And that’s not even mentioning the abilities we’ve developed!"
"I’ll say! Unhindered by worries, doubts and fears, our mind has expanded to use all it’s abilities… Telekinesis, teleportation, weather control, matter rearranging. We’ve become immortal… The stuff we used to attribute to the Gods!"
"Another reason we don’t need Gods anymore… We’ve become Gods ourselves!"
"Yep! But it was pretty neat to find out who the gods really were!"
"I know it! They were humans who had somehow managed to remove the evil from themselves and evolve to the next plain. Or they were people who had died in peace, therefore having the evil removed from them. Once on the next plain, they could travel and explore the universe, but some stayed and assumed the identities of our divine. And to know that now we can travel with them…"
"They say that’s there are more Elder Gods… out there. And the evolved are trying to help other beings grow to fight the influence of the Elders."
"I know. But there seems to be a cosmic force that prevents too much outside interference. Almost as if there is one, true God who watches over the universe. And he wants each of us to grow to our true potential before we start running wild!"
"Heh. And the people and ‘gods’ that really did died two weeks ago, do go to stay with him."
"I know. To wait. To wait for the start of the next universe", the private said with a solemn tone.
"But now we don’t have to go to him until WE’RE ready. And I’m not ready by a long shot! There’s lots of exploring I want to do before I decide to rest. My wife and I have been practicing our time travel, would you like to see merry olde England with us?"
"No. I don’t think so. Since finding out the death isn’t the end of everything, there’s some old friends I’m going to look up."
"Ok. I’ll talk to you later. Bye!" The reporter stood up in mid air and winked out as he teleported back to be with his wife."
The private pulled Mjollnir out from behind his back, stood up and held the war-hammer up to the sky. There was a single crack on lightning, then Odin appeared in front of the private. The private whispered, "Dad, I’ve missed you…"
~ Fin ~
An acknowledgement/endnote page…
I would like to use this space to thank everyone who’s encouraged me with this story. Starting with Marcelo, for the story idea and the encouragement to continue. Anomaly for repeatedly recommending the story on the message board. Hark the Herald for comparing me to published authors/storytellers and suggesting that I submit the story (That idea; actually the thought of the success of that idea; kept me awake for a couple of nights.) Dylan, who pestered me repeatedly for the next chapter, and for story ideas and editing help. Marvelite for additional editing and for taking the time put this story on the ‘net. And to everyone else who encouraged me and read the story; I know I’m forgetting a lot of people.
I hope you enjoyed it!
War of the Blood Gods is dedicated to my father, David, who passed away in January; and never got a chance to read my tale.
Grim – Don Brundage
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