A lone deity floats in space above a planet, malice carved into his face as he watches another deity fly across the surface of the planet below. Cracking his knuckles, he contemplated his revenge aloud.
“One-day Xarius, I will return and rip your soul from your body.”
Distracted by his hatred, the floating deity failed to notice another creeping up behind him.
“Well, what do we have here, Anodyne?” The newcomer said as he laid his hand on Andoyne’s shoulder. Anodyne jumped as he turned to see a familiar face.
“In the name of Ompti. Don’t sneak up on me like that, Sylum. I’m busy.”
Sylum floated below Anodyne, forging a small chunk of land beneath their feet.
“Come stand; I hate floating in space. It makes me uncomfortable.”
Anodyne slowly lowered to the new-found land beneath his feet, gently lowering himself; he stood upon the land below him as he continued to stare. Sylum stepped forward and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Anodyne, looking down at the planet below.
“So, who is that?”
“Xarius. He is a long story and an impossibility that I do not understand. To top it all off, he is the most powerful deity I have had the displeasure of crossing paths with.”
Sylum grinned, drawing swords from thin air; he lowered himself into an aggressive stance.
“Need me to take him out for you?”
“I meant what I said; he is far beyond you. Not even with the help of the others could we take him down.”
Sylum’s poise fell as he turned to Anodyne.
“What do you mean, the others? Did you call others here today?”
Finally breaking his concentration, Anodyne turned to face Sylum.
“My planet has been stolen by a deity that could kill me by just thinking about it. Do you think I was going to sit around and wait for him to leave?”
Turning away from the planet, Anodyne watched a crackling purple energy appear in space.
“No, I went, and I found some help.”
Raising an eyebrow, Sylum turned his head to see the newcomers.
A fur-covered hand passed through the crackling thunder, quickly followed by another. A face started to appear, horned, masked, and wide-eyed. Dropping their head into full view, long brown hair started to float in the vacuum of space. Their fur-covered torso made a full appearance, but there was no sign of legs as the upper body started to float down to the small island Sylum made. With another crackle, a second half that would fit the newcomer stepped through and followed the same descent. The crackling energy dissipated as the legs stood on land, the torso following the same path, rested above them.
Sylum grinned, running his hand between the torso and legs of the masked newcomer.
“Sylum quit it. This is a friend of mine. Sure, this is Sylum; he was the second deity I met in this endless Eternaverse. Fortunately, he liked me enough not to kill me.”
Retracting his hand from in-between Vure, Sylum presented it for a handshake. Vure’s eyes darted between Anodyne and Sylum’s hand. Reluctantly they met with Sylum’s hand. Locking his grip, Sylum spun and tossed the top half of Vure from the island. As he did, he laughed with a snide chuckle.
“I am impressed you have managed to alter your form, but this split body is going to get you killed.”
Sylum continued to laugh as the top half of Vure disappeared in the blink of an eye. He tried to turn back to the legs, but his jaw was struck with an incredible force. Nearly losing his footing, he managed to look back up at Vure as they re-orientated their top half above their legs.
“Vure can blink either of their halves to the other. It has actually been quite useful in more than a few situations before.”
Sylum was not paying attention; his eyes had lit up with a flame.
“No one fucking hits me and gets away with it.”
Sylum turned to Vure, shifting his stance, he readied to strike, hoping to win the fight with fear before he had to act. Vure did nothing; they stood still, all their emotions hidden by the mask. Sylum moved forward to strike with all his might, but right before he thought he was going to make contact, his fist stopped suddenly. He could feel a hand holding his, but he could not see anyone.
“Come on out, Light; punching Sylum was funny, but I have a lot to catch you all up on.”
A grinning, pale face with darkened eye sockets emerged from the space in between Sylum and Vure. Her head was adorned with a golden veil that illuminated her golden eyes. With one hand, she let go of Sylum’s fist; with the other, she blew a kiss. Sylum recoiled as the image of Light shook his nerve.
“I was the one that hit you, just a light tap. But if you raise a hand to Vure again, I will lay you to waste.”
Sylum watched, confused, as Light’s eyes changed from golden to green. Her stance changed as they did. Not understanding, he stood down. Crossing his arms, he looked back to Anodyne.
“If you three have finished, I would like to direct your attention to Xarius, known by those on Hollow as the risen deity or the deity of hope.”
Anodyne turned and gestured to Hollow. Everyone looked down and watched as Xarius drastically changed the landscape of the planet. The seas were tamed, and the beasts that lurked within were slain. The temperamental weather changed to four mild seasons, and the miserable Holites were all given a smile as Xarius flew by, repairing their broken world.
“As you can see, this imposter has taken my planet, and I am powerless to take it back. Even with the help of you three, we could not take it back.” Anodyne turned his attention to Light.
“Well, actually, we could if Light could control her eyes.”
Sylum played with his hand as he felt for broken bones.
“No way am I going to rely on a skitzo god for a battle. But that is beside the point; why gather us if we can’t do anything to take back Hollow for you?”
Light pointed to Sylum. “The ape has a point; why are we here?”
Anodyne grinned, stretching his arms forward. He cracked his knuckles.
“Let me show you what we are going to do.”
Circling his arms at full extension, Anodyne brought them back together in front of himself, clapping. A sphere passed through everyone and surrounded the island they all stood on. Space outside the bubble started to blur and shift into strange colors. A reverberating electrical sound surrounded the sphere, getting louder and louder as they went. The swirling, colored blurs started to fade, and they found themselves above the different planets. The sphere faded, and Anodyne began to speak.
“When my planet was taken from me, I did everything to get it back. I fought till my body failed me. I went into the expanse of the Eternaverse, looking for a way to get back at Xarius. But everything was a dead end. Everything except one. I found that worship from a planet leads to a great increase in power. Before you is my second planet. This is Dolor.”
Everyone looked down at the planet below them. They peered down to the surface of the green planet, watching as those who occupied it drew swords and shields. Powerful magics coursing through the veins of others.
Light looked to Anodyne.
“It is a fantasy world? This was always my preferred planet; it was going to be the first planet I built.”
“I always loved fantasy worlds. They always felt so alive, so limited. Never lasting long before the age of machines kills the soul of the planet and drains the magic. Leaving nothing but man residing upon an empty shell of a planet racing the clock of death.”
Everyone turned to Vure as they finished speaking and stood looking around at everyone staring at them.
“How about we don’t all look at me. Let’s all look at Anodyne as he tells us why he made a new planet.”
“How about how you made a new planet? I thought you couldn’t create sentient life?” Sylum added.
“Thank you, Sylum, for bringing attention to my shortcomings. No, I can’t create individual sentient life. But I can create a planet in full motion. This universe is only weeks old but to them. They have thousands of years of history; they have no idea they were made so recently.”
Light looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”
Anodyne sighed. “There are two main ways of making planets, taking time and hand-crafting everything from scratch. Or by focusing and spawning a planet into existence that is fully developed with life already on it. The latter requires less skill but is much quicker.”
“I fail to see what you are saying; they both sound like the same thing to me.” Light said cautiously.
“You need to stop viewing planets as something that requires skill to create. Alternatively, you can look at it as if you have been given a spell that allows a planet to be spawned into existence. All of its landmarks and overall tech level of the planet are created at random by the spell.”
“I think I understand now.” Light said as she scratched at her head in uncertainty.
“I thought this universe felt cold.” Sylum watched as ice would form on his skin and melt away.
“I guess the stars have not warmed up this universe yet.” Sylum continued
“Not yet, but they will. As for your question Vure, I have created a new world to allow us all to be worshipped on. We shall become the highest seated deities in a pantheon populated with lesser deities. We shall harvest this praise and become stronger than Xarius ever thought possible.”
Anodyne’s eyes lit up blue as his arms raised by his sides, his voice now echoing around the other three.
“This time, I imprison him in my hell; I will ensure a thousand eternities go by before he tries to escape a second time.”
Fire erupted around the island as Anodyne began to yell.
“I will boil his blood and flay his skin eternally. Before I finally extract his soul and store it as a reminder that only strength allows us deities to advance in this Eternaverse. An Eternaverse that he is not strong enough to live in.
The flames calmed, and Anodyne returned to the island. Sylum grinned at the sight of Anodyne lifting from the ground.
“It has been a while since I have seen your spiritual state. Are you finally coming back to your former glory?”
Hands shaking, Anodyne grinned.
“I forgot what it felt like; Xarius may very well be the thing that pushes me back to who I need to be to defeat him.”
“May I interject?” Vure said, raising their hand slightly.
Everyone turned to them as they waited for them to speak up.
“As you know, Anodyne, Light, and I are not the most experienced gods. We are very young and have yet to even create our own planets. Let alone explore the Eternaverse or our spiritual forms. I can’t speak for light, but I don’t actually know what these terms mean.”
Sylum and Anodyne chuckled. Anodyne looked to Sylum; Sylum raised his hands in protest and gestured for Anodyne to continue.
“I forget how young you two are sometimes; it is fine. The Eternaverse is the term we use for the seemingly endless expanse of dimensions and universes that exist. I can create my own multiverse, leave it, then visit another’s. We can then both leave ours and explore the universe that holds these multiverses. The stepping stones continue upwards to more universes that hold clusters of smaller ones. Unfortunately, anyone who explores the upper areas can’t talk about it; it is physically impossible.”
Anodyne turned to Sylum.
“Above the multiverse container is mmph.”
Sylums lips melted together, creating a full seal over his mouth. Muffling all speech coming from him.
“Hmm, you seem smarter, Sylum. Did you read a book?” Light said patronizingly.
Sylum ripped his lips apart, leaving nothing but torn skin in their place.
“Maybe just the foreword.” Light added.
The skin slowly returned to his normal lips, and Anodyne continued.
“As for the spirit form, it is part of being a deity. As far as I know, we have three states. The first is our natural state, what we look like normally. Most will look like their most dominant mortal past life. Except for those like you, Vure, those who learn the skill to alter the natural state. You then have the spirit form; in this form, your mind focuses on a task at hand and will do everything in your power to complete it. These forms can be extremely powerful or knowledgeable. Then there is the true form, your body alters to reflect your soul, and you shall be consumed by power and emotion. I have seen a few deities enter this state during combat; it is truly terrifying.”
“What do you mean “past mortal life”?” Light said, furrowing her brow.
“Well fuck me, you two must be young!” Sylum said in pure shock.
“There is a god named Ompti; calling him a god may be a little bit insulting to his power as his existence sparked the first universe into being. However, he is the sole reason life exists. We do not know much, but we do know that he created life to evolve. We all started out as the simplest of life forms, then through reincarnation after each death, we progressed to the next stage of life. Cell, viruses, amoeba, fish, lizards, mammals, apes, and many more. Before typically ending as a human or other humanoid. Once we have lived a hundred years as humans or other species of similar tier intelligence, through one life or reincarnation, we are re-born as gods. While we all do our own thing, we all eventually follow the breadcrumb trail that Ompti has left for us to follow. The tasks and challenges get harder the further we get.”
“That is incredible.” Vure said softly.
“Yeah, Sylum can actually form sentences.”
Sylum did not react; he just stood back, smug.
“I thought you were a threat to me; there is no way someone as young as you could ever hurt me. Say what you want, child. This is survival of the powerful and wise, and if you lack basic information about Ompti, I doubt you could threaten me.”
Light narrowed her eyes, and flexing her fist, she stepped forward. Punching with all her might, she collided with Sylum’s broad chest. Sylum looked down into her green eyes.
“Looks like that first punch was a one-off.”
Light chuckled nervously as she retracted her bruised fist.
“You’re lucky the other one did not come out, big guy.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
Light just grinned as she stepped back away from Sylum.
“You’ll figure it out someday.”
Sylum turned to Anodyne with confusion in his eyes.
“Don’t look at me; I barely know this version of Light. She is a mystery to me; all I know is her eyes change color, and her abilities change with them.”
“What do you mean “this version of Light”?”
“I will get to that once I have taken you to the next location.”
Anodyne spun his hands once again and clapped, the sphere encapsulated the group, and they moved into a new universe. As the sphere collapsed around them, a large spacecraft passed overhead, tearing its way towards the large space station positioned above the new planet.
“This one is named Bellude. As you can see, these people are a little more advanced. They have killed their planet’s soul and won the race against the clock of death… as you might say, Vure.”
Vure gave a little smile as they received recognition from Anodyne.
“We get it; you need all of us to be present in these worlds to gain faith. Next, we all move against Xarius. Now tell me, what do you mean by this version of Light?”
Anodyne sighed as he tried to form the correct words in his mind.
“We have all met before…In a past life. In our past lives.”
Everyone looked to one another for some form of confirmation, but no one had any more knowledge than the next.
Vure was the only one able to articulate anything in response.
“How do you know?”
Anodyne grinned wide and spread his arms, clapping once again. The sphere appeared around them once more. This time it brought a thickness far beyond that which the others had seen previously. This time as the orb started to cause the colors of space around them to distort, it also shook the land they stood on violently. Everyone struggled to stay on the chunk of land that Sylum had made, the violent travel shaking them, bringing them to their knees.
“The ride can be a little bumpy for a location such as this! Once you realize where we are, you’re going to be in utter disbelief.”
The land started to crack as their travels progressed. Anodyne laughed as the others started to slip.
“You may think you are invincible as a deity, but I have killed many, and so has this sphere.”
Sylum’s foot glanced the edge of their protective sphere, instantly retracting it as he felt his toes being obliterated from existence. Teeth grinding together, Sylum clawed his way further into the center of the island. Helping Light and Vure as he watched them begin to slip back. All three of them huddled, lying prone on the ground as Anodyne stood above them. He cheered out into the void around them as they tore their way through space and time.
Eventually the shaking started to lessen, the cracks on their island faded and they were brought to a clam stand still.
“You can open your eyes; we have arrived.”
The sun of the universe rose behind the planet in question, blinding the group from its glory. The dappled rays of the nearby yellow sun slowly faded from view, allowing a blue sphere of a planet to appear before everyone. Sylum merely stood dumbstruck at the sight of the planet.
“Welcome to Earth, welcome to the world that once housed us as mortals.”
The light slowly came through her trance, dizzy, struggling to stand, but Vure remained knelt, screaming as their body started to glow lightly. Light started to panic as she stumbled to Vure, cradling them. They looked up to Anodyne and Sylum.
“Please, what is wrong with Vure?”
“The same thing that happened to you; it can be a brutal process for some. Consider yourself lucky; Anodyne nearly burnt out his first universe regaining his memories.”
Light felt the energies from Vure dissipating and she relaxed. Staring through Vure’s masked eyes, Light watched as her memories as a human strolled across them.
“I-I remember being human.” Light started to shake. “Oh god, so many emotions. I don’t know how to feel.”
Light started to cry, her tears dropping onto Vure’s mask, brightening the dull colors that were covered in dust. Vure reached a hand upwards, holding Light’s face.
“No wonder we found each other, considering the memories we have shared on Earth.”
The two held each other as they felt every emotion of their past human lives flow through them. Their embrace tightened further through their life spans they got.
“Anodyne,” Sylum said, leaning in towards his ear. “How long do you think it will take before they realize that everything is chance? Not some deep connection of love or whatever they think this is.”
“I don’t know, but is it wrong to let them be delusional?”
Sylum leaned away from Anodyne.
“I never said it was, just curious to your estimation.”
Anodyne stared with jealousy as Light and Vure showed a connection that Anodyne never understood. Not in his mortal years and not now that he has reached extreme power as a deity.
“Come, we will have time to be emotional later. I need to show you our old home.”
Anodyne turned away from the two embraced on the ground. He stared down at Earth and moved into its atmosphere.
“I know Vure and I have undergone a rather jarring experience, but this place feels… wrong.”
“It should; we nearly have the ability to alter memories from here.”
“Nearly?” Sylum said with a stain of concern on his voice.
Anodyne did not utter a word; he flew everyone down to the planet’s surface. They all watched as both they and the landmass they stood on phased through the planet as if it did not exist.
“We are out of sync with this world. We can’t be seen or alter anything. But we can observe.”
“If we can only watch, why bother? We have nothing to gain from this.” Sylum said as he attempted to grasp at a trash bag floating in the wind. His hand passed through, leaving a chill which clung to his bones.
“Because I believe that I have a way to interact with this world, allowing me to alter my past life. Undoing that which needs to be undone. Righting wrong, directing him as he stumbles his way through life.”
Vure smiled through the tears that dripped off the bottom of their mask.
“So you wish to make his life better? There is a soft side to you.”
“Wait for it.” Light said as she, too, looked at Anodyne.
“Make better? I guess in a sense, but not in this life. My theory is that the strength I have as a deity comes from the mental strife I went through as a human. As a lot of my abilities seem to be rooted heavily in memories I have of dark times during my last human life.”
Anodyne had flown them above himself in human form, walking down the road with his headphones on.
“So I do intend to make his life better, Vure, just not this part of it. I will find a way to alter this world, and when I do, I will mentally test my past life to its limits. Then when he is nearly broken, I will allow him to die. But until then, he shall be my plaything till I can be certain that I have caused enough mental damage to increase my strength now.”
Although wearing a mask, Light could feel Vure’s facial expression change as Anodyne spoke. Even Sylum looked down, feeling as if Vure’s face was contorting with disgust.
“Hey, Anodyne, I appreciate you sharing your plans with me and these two. But I do feel like you should understand the morals of those around you before fully elaborating in the future.”
“If someone has an issue with how I am handling this situation, I would happily hear their grievance. I can’t guarantee it will change anything, but the cries of the morally conscious never fail to amuse me.”
Anodyne glared down at Vure, locking eyes, ensuring they understood what was happening and who was leading this venture.
“I can help on the other planets. But I will not help you torture yourself into power.”
Grinning ear to ear Anodyne lurched forward, putting his face millimeters from Vure’s.
“Please don’t stop there; tell me how my morals have left me. Or even better, tell me you doubt that I ever had morals to begin with. That one is my personal favorite.”
A long silent pause filled the air. “Well, nothing more to say Vure?”
“I know you have morals, I saw them when you were Nick on Earth, and I know that they are buried deep inside you. Struggling to come up.”
“Ohh, I changed my mind. Deep down, I am good; that is my new favorite. Hate to break it to you, kiddo. There is no deep down, just what you are on the surface. If I had morals hidden somewhere, they wouldn’t allow me to do the things I have done during my short existence in this vast Eternaverse.”
Vure whispered to Light before standing. They opened another arcing portal of violent energies and passed through. Closing it behind them.
“Vure meant what they said. They are going to one of the other planets to start their worship gathering. But they also said they are never returning here or doing anything that contributes to what you are doing here. They aren’t happy with you, Anodyne.” Light said with disdain in her voice.
“Understand this; I genuinely have affection towards you two in such a way that I see you as family. But Vure and you have to understand something. I have lived more centuries than Nick has lived seconds. You begin to view time differently once you are a deity; time may seem slow now. But the years fly by, and you will begin to forget those morals as the centuries roll by.”
“I believe you, but it would not hurt to let us have them while we do. It seems like you envy us for having these views…” Light tried to continue her point but found Anodyne interrupting her.
“Don’t assume such nonsense. There is only one thing in existence that I am envious of. And it currently occupies my greatest creation. But that will change; I will change it. Even if I have to burn the minds of all of those that live on Earth. I will obtain the power I need to reclaim Hollow, and once I do, I can resume my simple and un-envious life.”
“I feel like you have some things to work through, but you can do it without me.” The light turned away from Anodyne and Sylum. “I will help you with the other worlds, but I draw the line here.”
Light slowly faded from vision, as did her life force. Once Sylum was sure that Light was gone, he turned to Earth and began to speak calmly.
“Well, how do we get to your past life?” Looking over his shoulder back at Anodyne, he spoke with excitement. “How do we break your human mind?”