Divine Interlude

The dark night sky was unmerciful to the war-worn travelers. After what seemed like endless hours of trudging through an icy river, the Phëläniciäns took their continued trek to land. The sounds of women and children bitterly weeping echoed through the thick black forest. 500 Wounded soldiers marched in formation with a dignified ceremonious demeanor. Byakko led his remaining dragons to form a protective air flank around them.

It came as a great surprise when they exited the forest and arrived upon the seaport town of Bäussëll to see that the city had not been exposed to the fallout from the siege of the neighboring kingdom. The villagers slept soundly in their warmly lit cottages, utterly unaware of the massive destruction that took place merely hundreds of miles away. A Phëläniciän Royal Officer named Künsey led the distraught party up a long hill towards the mayor’s house.

The lavishly huge manor rested atop a cliff, which overlooked both the town and the ocean. The mayor’s staff scrambled to quickly rouse his household at the insistence of Künsey. Mayor Cläuveous instantly sprang into action by having his staff attend to the immediate needs of the Phëläniciän refugees. Physicians were called to the manor, bakers were mandated to prepare a feast, and nuns were sent to the sanctuary to calm the young Phëläniciän children. None of this was an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence. On the contrary, Bäussëll had a respectable alliance and a long-standing treaty agreement with the kingdom of Phëläniciä .

~Ch. 14, Somewhere Beyond the Stars and Sea~

A Gem About Moï

For the most part, I am good at making decisions. I manage my affairs with a sound mind. However, there are legitimate moments when I cannot muster enough critical thinking skills to “land the bird.” Folks might not know or understand my lavish attraction to candy. I love all kinds, really. That’s why (a memory of my twenty-something-year-old self) a trip to a candy store haunts me to date.

I remember going in with feverish excitement and spirited determination. I wanted something, but wasn’t sure of what it was. I couldn’t decide how much I wanted or if I should mix it with something else. I panicked; my throat was dry and I felt hollow on the inside. A bead of sweat ran down my forehead, only to collide with a single tear drop. I ran out of the store without ever speaking to the clerk, let alone buying anything.

Today I went on a mini adventure. I almost regretted it as soon as I began because I felt like an outcast and I didn’t know what to buy. I’m glad I didn’t run away. That was a big step for me. I found some items that I liked and was confident in my choices. I thought the relief I felt when I sat back in my car was enormously satisfying, but when I shared my gifts with my family they made me feel like a Powerful Queen for having such good insight and taste.

Illuminated Reflection

I used to believe the sun and moon were lonely, like me. They both reside in a realm of isolation, like me. They both are continuously subjected to ridicule and praise, like me. The only difference is that they never wallow in despair from lack of gratification. They take pride in how they bring warmth and illumination to all near or far. They never despise their reflection because they know their worth. I aspire to be like the sun and moon.

Baptism of Chaos (p. 3)

They arrived upon a large bronzed metal circle plate that covered a hole in the ground. Malaykah and  six maidens retrieved sticks to wedge the circle up. Meikko used her mighty tail to nudge the plate away from the hole, which revealed an opening big enough to fit several bodies through. One-by-one, they each staggered down a stairway into a dim-lit tunnel. They walked for several miles until the cobblestone path led directly to a river. The river was waist-deep to the average human. Phëläniciän women and children variously ranged in height, so it was decided that the weakest and smallest would ride on top of Meikko’s back to get through the river.

Lady Rüvym and other ancient royal constituents climbed aboard after the children were settled. Sӧlitha wrestled to carry a small onyx-toned little girl, in order to petition for a spot on the dragon. The tot fiercely protested, obviously in favor of remaining with her mother and older siblings. Malaykah watched from behind as Sӧlitha abruptly shook the child, then slammed her down on the stone ledge of the tunnel. She turned around to meet Malaykah’s gaze, without so much as a gleam of remorse in her eyes.

The little girl stood passively braced up against the ledge with a thumb in her mouth. She watch Meikko trail away then began to wail. Malaykah pitied her for being put in such an undesirable situation. The child had been separated from her family when the river’s currents swept them far ahead within the traveling party. Malaykah steadied herself enough to snatch the child onto her hip. This time the girl did not protest, but instead wearily nestled her head on Malaykah’s breasts.

The passageway narrowed and the footpath steepened. Soon, those who walked found themselves swimming into deep water. The situation became direr when a series of loud explosions were heard from above. The tunnel rocked, causing the water to rise overhead. Malaykah quickly swam to the surface with the child clinging to her for dear life. Most of the riders safely clung to Meikko’s matted fur, and were able to resist falling off. Malaykah gave the toddler to Lady Rüvym for safe keeping so she could survey the area for anyone in need of assistance.

Suddenly, the pace of the current quickened. Malaykah held her breath and dove underwater to swim ahead. She gasped to see they were all headed towards the exit way of the tunnel, which led to a giant waterfall. There was nothing she could do to stop them. She yelled at the top of her lungs to warn them, “HOLD ON!”

The party plummeted out of the tunnel inside the rapids of the waterfall. It was at least a forty-foot plunge. The night sky was filled with more explosions that reminded Malaykah of the many Forth of July celebrations she’d participated in with her family back home. She clutched onto a falling she-wolf, who had long been a part of the king’s harem. Malaykah used her own body to shield the maiden as they crashed into the ocean.

When she awakened, she felt her body moving downstream in icy cold water. Her senses were dulled, but she knew she was being carried by someone and her right arm was stiffly numb. She looked up to see Alëxios’s determined face. He smiled down at her, then continued to stare off into the distance. She noticed the bloody gash just above his eyebrow. He’d obviously given the Tengu hell before joining the evacuation effort. Malaykah rested her head on his well-defined collarbone and watched Byakko and twelve other dragons tow the remaining survivors.

~Ch. 13, Somewhere Beyond the Stars and Sea~

Baptism of Chaos (cont.)

Malaykah froze in astonishment at the violent scene, which reminded her of something from out of a horror film. She tried desperately to process the melee. Since the castle grounds and city were all still fairly new to her, it was hard to decipher their precise location through the flaming smog. Breathing in the smoke made her lungs burn as if she’d swallowed a pitcher of acid. She was able to somewhat come to her senses, only after Lady Rüvym clutched her arm with throbbing force.

Meikko decided it was best not to fly so they would not crash into an unseen wall, pillar, or pole. Slowly, the trio trekked towards what was deemed the southern lane. They each stopped on several occasions to recover from slipping on bloody cobblestone. Suddenly, a thick liquid rained on them from the sky. Malaykah covered her mouth when she realized it was simply more blood.  

The surviving Phëläniciän citizens clamored about trying to sift the severely wound from the dead. Families hid beneath debris and broken boulders from the battered castle. Livestock and the entire market square had been burned to rubbish. A deathly-foul stench masked the multitude of sweet flower garden fragrances that once made Phëläniciä a coveted kingdom.

Alëxios managed to fight with divine alertness and unimaginable clarity. He sliced through the grounded Tengu with ease, as he knew Byakko and the other dragons tore the enhanced Tengu to shreds from up above. In his mind, he reminisced on the duels he had with his deceased father in the borderlands of the Gods. It was there that he learned build stamina and to control himself through visible and invisible elements. He proved himself to be a formidable threat to the Tengu clan who brazenly stormed his castle.

It was his nature as a God of War to relish the opportunity to crush opponents. The sound of his katana slicing through scores of bodies drowned out the noise of burning screams. He felt a euphoric rage surge his senses. The death toll on either side was of no consequence.

A giant Tengu emerged out of the crowd. He could have easily been one of General Torahgän’s offspring, being that he was well over eight feet tall. The over-sized mallet he twirled in his hand was twice the size of most of their weapons. Alëxios dodged each attempted blow, which infused the Tengu’s anger. At one point, their weapons locked mid-air for an unknown amount of time. The gridlock was broken when the Tengu’s arm slipped as he became weary. Alëxios bested him with the same leg sweep he performed on his father. Before the Tengu had a chance to recover, Alëxios cut a clean strike and beheaded him.

~Ch.13, Somewhere Beyond the Stars and Sea~

Baptism of Chaos

Lady Rüvym beamed with pride, as Byakko lent his enthusiasm that their king had finally found his match. Their sense of relief for the kingdom to enter into an era of wholeness was not lost on Alëxios or Malaykah. The unprecedented event for two deities to unite had not even been predicted in the ancient Mystic Scrolls.

Unfortunately, the blissful serenity abruptly came to a halt when the party caught a glimpse of a medium-sized green dragon fly nearby. They all quickly climbed a mountain side for a better view. The dragon immediately turned around and changed its course to engage with them. Malaykah tensed up as she allowed Lady Rüvym to rest against her shoulder.

Byakko lunged into the air to talk to the green dragon. “Meikko, what news have you at this hour?” he asked.

The green dragon reported without delay, “Father, the north wall has fallen and the palace is under siege. We have been overrun by the Tengu clan, who have undoubtedly employed the aid of dark arts to take to the sky.”

Both dragons landed before Alëxios and bowed in reverence. Lady Rüvym doubled over in horror. Byakko growled with rage, but tempered his wrath in front of the royal family. He looked at Malaykah’s puzzled expression, and thought best to confer with everyone present to avoid the waste of anymore time.

“My Queen, through unfathomable circumstance I would like to introduce Meikko. She is my daughter, eldest of my litter, and Captain of the dragon guard.”

Meikko bowed politely and looked at her father in disbelief, not fully aware that the king had just recently taken a bride. Alëxios cut the introduction short in an effort to get more details about the attack on the palace. He nodded his head for the younger dragon to continue their briefing. “What has happened?” he asked.

Meikko turned her attention to the king and began, “Hours after you took gravely ill, the footguards put all of their attention on the inquiry. Somehow a Tengu slipped inside the northern wall and found the underground entrance to the labyrinth leading to the courtyard. Once inside, a flare was lit to signal for the rest to scale the drawbridge and breach the gate. Before the first-responding sentry had a chance to retaliate, they were struck by a spray of arrows which fell from the sky.”

Alëxios clasped his hands over his face with grief. “They waited for the perfect opportunity to attack, as the entire kingdom focused on my recovery.”

Byakko interjected, “Do not place any blame on your perilous circumstance, my Lord. Clearly the Tengu devised this plan beyond the scope of your poisoning. That mock-battle we had hours before then was meant to serve as a distraction.”

“To which we all let our guards down, as they expected we would,” Alëxios countered.  

Lady Rüvym recovered from nearly fainting and pushed away from Malaykah’s arms. “We mustn’t dally any longer, or there will be no kingdom to return your bride to!” she instructed.

Alëxios looked at his grandmother and then Malaykah. A shadow of frustration and anxiety darkened his eyes. He knew that he could not leave them in the valley without protection, but also needed every able-bodied soldier to defend the palace. There was no safe place for them to hide. Ultimately, he decided they should all return to the palace at once. Though his concentration would be on reclaiming his territory, he put faith in Malaykah’s presence as a divine entity. Her task would be to assist Lady Rüvym with guiding the Phëläniciän citizens to the evacuation route.

With the assistance of the dragons, they all swiftly arrived at the border of the castle. The dreadful scene was almost too much too handle, as the city was engulfed in roaring flames. Byakko flared his nostrils while they descended in the courtyard. Bloodcurdling screams could be heard from every direction, and smoky flames obstructed the view for miles around.

After instructing Malaykah on where to look for the escape route, Alëxios gripped the hilt of his sword and charged into the fray of the battle. Byakko enlisted Meikko to guide the Queen and Lady Rüvym. “Tarry here no longer!” he said before joining alongside Alëxios.

~Ch. 13, Somewhere Beyond the Stars and Sea~

Dragon Faerie War God (cont.)

It was also known among the realm that fifteen eons ago, King D’Mѐtѐr planned to form an alliance with the Tengu clan. The Faerie King felt a crossed breed with the Tengu would produce the best offspring to help his campaign for realm dominance. The Faeries had magic, the Tengu had brawn, and they both could fly. An arrangement was made so that Orcäl, the Tengu King, would marry a royal heir of the Faerie kingdom. The problem arose when King D’Mѐtѐr could not deliver any offspring of his own. He enlisted the help of his brother, Odëign, who had a beautiful daughter. All talks of the alliance fell apart once it was discovered that she ran off and eloped with the king of Phëläniciä.

Alëxios scolded the Tengu Chief in an even-toned voice that thoroughly filled every space inside the cave. “ General Torahgän, in light of all that is at stake, bringing up ancient history is not the best measure to persuade me to side with you. For we are standing in the very place where the 2nd Epoch of Judgement was sentenced to your clan. Your impetuous king allowed the Faeries to deceive your kin multiple times, which caused ruin to your entire clan. Contrary to your thoughts, I am not so simple-minded to believe an alliance would result in triumph.”

General Torahgän shrugged his shoulders in disbelief. “Surely you can take mercy upon our misfortune. The Tengu clan are not prone to double-cross anyone under allegiance with us.”

Byakko had grown weary of the dialogue. He knew Alëxios was far more diplomatic than he. There was only one way he could think of to halt the proceeding, so he stood up on his four hindquarters which allowed him to tower 20 feet over the Tengu Chief. Alëxios nodded his head for Byakko to stand down. Without visible defiance, he obeyed the Phëläniciän king.     

Alëxios walked directly over to General Torahgän. His aura unleashed a ferocious intensity that made his presence petrifying. The asphalt became hot, and the smell of sulfur engulfed the cave. A thick fog rolled in. Suddenly, they stood together in pitch-black darkness. All that could be seen were cold emerald-colored eyes, which pierced through the Tengu Chief’s core.

Alëxios said sternly, “Do not mistake me for a fool. We both know you only sought me after you were spurned by King D’Mѐtѐr. You were willing to sell your pride to side with him, even after he framed your king for attempting to steal and kill the Moon’s children. Had the Ultimate Creator not intervened with judgment, I imagine you would be at war with the Faeries in this very moment.”

General Torahgän faltered to his knees in fury. He knew Alëxios was right. King Orcäl was duped into teaming with the Faeries on a quest to steal the Moon’s children and absorb their mighty power. The Moon was enraged and threatened to destroy the whole realm in retaliation. During the trial, King D’Mѐtѐr painted a picture that placed the blame solely on the Tengu clan. For the 2nd Epoch of Judgement, Chrëst sentenced the Tengu clan to a fiery death beneath the sea. Those who were allowed to survive served as reminders of the dreadful event. Their wings were scorched, and they could no longer take flight. Though they still had strength as warriors to rely on, they were at a disadvantage being land-bound.

Alëxios steadied his wrath enough to allow his terrifying aura to recede. He gripped General Torahgän by the shoulders to lift him in the air with ease. “General Torahgän, as my comrade stated earlier, it would behoove you to know your place. The Tengu clan’s insatiable appetite for dominance led to the destruction of your kingdom. No doubt, King D’Mѐtѐr’s insanity will be stopped. The Phëläniciäns do not need to form an alliance of any sort to do so. I am a God of War, and my army will crush him in due time.” He slammed General Torahgän on the cave floor and walked away.

~Ch.6, Somewhere Beyond the Stars and Sea~

In Truth

“There’s an influx of dialogue surrounding one’s identity. We’re often told not to derive our identity from the opinions of others.

In truth, that isn’t a realistic objective. From the time we are born, we rely on someone else to tell us and the rest of the world who we are. A name is selected. The birth certificate details a physical description.

We go through adolescence acquiring nicknames, pet names, and the like thereof. By the time we reach the middle of adulthood, we’ve spent half our lives believing who other people made us.

Liberty dictates that we have a choice in what we buy into. Some things can’t be changed, but if you allow yourself the power to believe else wise; you can change your whole world.

I am a descendant of the Goddess Oshun. Her divinity dwells within me. That is who I am and how I changed my world.”

-Malaykah, Somewhere Beyond the Stars and Sea-