"Hurry, hurry! We need to meet up with them before the Greater Gods convene this afternoon!" The grinning Demigod barked as he pulled his friend along behind him.
"Alright, I know... where exactly are we going?" The girl said.
"To the Oasis of Rebirth! The only Demis that go there often enough to actually have a chance of overhearing are War acolytes, and they won't care." He said.
She sprinted a little to catch up with her companion, moving to match his stride. The Aegis was infinitely large, and it could easily take hours to even find something remotely familiar to oneself. As it was only a vast expanse of empty space, even the servants who had spent several eternities working there could easily found themselves lost.
However, the young man guided his friend with certainty. As they jogged along, the space seemed to become more constrained, and they could see numerous floating marble doors that seemed to be hinged on the space itself.
He slowed slightly, his eyes darting left to right as he counted the uneven doors. His mouth moved silently, and his companion watched with amusement.
"Two thousand, one hundred and twenty. The Oasis... we're here." He said.
He pulled her through the open door, and they found themselves in another empty space. Although this one seemed to be more of a room than an infinite area.
Populated by only two others, a man and a woman, the place seemed rather quiet. The two who were already there were sat on marble benches, facing a small fountain that was spraying water a few inches into the air, where it splashed back down into the base, bubbling.
"Hey you two! Hope you haven't been waiting too long!" The young man shouted, waving to them as they turned.
"Oh! Drakain! Where the hell've you been?" The sitting man asked.
"Sorry, sorry! I had to track down Feiid here to ask her to join us!" Drakain laughed.
"I see... so you managed to procure the Demigoddess of Lust for our efforts." The woman said.
"Yep... since one of us here is a little new, why don't we do introductions?" Drakain asked.
"Sure! I'll go first! The name's Heiruu, I'm an acolyte of the Goddess of War, Tektarii. I serve as the Demigod of Blacksmithing, and was the fourth created." Heiruu beamed at his own words.
Standing at a towering seven feet, he had to crane his neck downward to look the others in the eye. He had tar black hair that was neatly trimmed, and a thick beard of the same color. Pale skin and thin lips carved out a rather masculine face. His beady brown eyes seemed inquisitive and observant, and his muscular form looked as though he could crush a person with ease despite it not being his purpose. Clad in a white undershirt and thick, khaki colored pants beneath a brown forge apron, he certainly looked as though a War Goddess built him.
The woman adjacent him stood, the hem of her thick black robe drifting only an inch from the floor.
"Greetings, my name is Illyndra, acolyte to the God of Wisdom. I am the Demigoddess of Arcane Knowledge, Urtenn, and was created last." She said.
The short woman stood from her seat. With most of her body clad in a long black robe, it was difficult to see much of her. What WAS visible was her thin ovular glasses and bright pink eyes. Thin strands of mint green hair fell over the lining of her hooded robe. Her brown, rounded face carried little emotion, and her eyes shifted constantly, reacting to each and every reflection from the water in the fountain. She swayed back in forth as the others looked her over, more interested in occupying her time with needless motion.
"Alright! All three of you know me... but I guess it's only fair that I do the same, eh? I'm Drakain, Acolyte of the Goddess of Destruction, Yra. I'm the Demigod of Fire, and the first created by my Goddess." Drakain said proudly.
Being only about five and a half feet in height, his stature was hardly intimidating. His pale face was more angular and masculine than Heiruu's, surprisingly, and was topped with locks of soft, brown hair. He had ruby red eyes, which glowed with an intensity that seemed to match a man whose literal existence gave birth to fire. He was wearing a dark crimson dress robe that was common amongst the worshippers of Yra.
Feiid, came forth last.
"Hello all, as Drakain said, my name is Feiid. I'm an acolyte of the God of Desire, Motroln and am the Demigoddess of Lust. The third created." Feiid said.
She stood a head above Drakain, putting her at about six feet even. She had glistening platinum blonde hair that flowed down into curls around her ankles. She was sporting a rather revealing set of silk dancer's garments, with the top dyed a deep purple, and the bottom a stark white. Her blue eyes were focused solely on Drakain, and her skin seemed to be trying to shift in color to match his own.
As she turned away from him and honed in on Illyndra, her skin tanned deeply, shifting to match the other woman's tone.
"You can change skin color on demand, eh? I can see how that would be useful." Heiruu said.
"I had to learn how to do this, but I practiced so much over the millennia that it sort of happens without me really meaning for it to." She explained.
"Still, it's an interesting ability, although it may be dangerous if we're ever to fall under investigation." Illyndra noted.
"Well, the intention of keeping these meetings and our work between us is to ensure that we DON'T fall under investigation." Drakain responded.
"Indeed, speaking of meetings... I have an idea for a good place for us to conduct our work." Heiruu said.
Feiid had finally clued into what the other three had been talking about.
"So we're really going to do it? We're really going to try and usurp the Greater Gods?" She asked.
"Of course! I've been feeling the desire for something unknown for a long time now... and now that I know what this feeling is... I intend on satisfying it." Drakain said.
"I as well have felt the call of ascendancy." Illyndra agreed.
"Me too... I only hope that this is the best path to achieving this desire." Heiruu noted.
"Wow... I never thought that I'd be able to find anyone who wanted to do this too... so... where exactly did you have in mind for a meeting place for us down below?" Feiid asked.
"There's a mountain that will serve as a place where the God of Knowledge will be unable to spy on us." Heiruu explained. "With some time, we'll have a nice, safe base of operations."
They quickly sussed out a few more details, before Feiid found another question that she felt was of utmost importance.
"So... not to be a source of negativity... but how are we going to face the Greater Gods? They have the same powers as we do... do we have any advantage in this fight?" She asked.
"We do... we have magic." Illyndra said.
"Mag...ic? I'm unfamiliar with the concept." Feiid said.
"Magic is a power created by the humans that allows them to tap into deep wells of life energy and turn it into a weapon of untold magnitude." Illyndra said. "There's a lot more to it than that... but I suppose you'll understand it a bit better after I give you a primer."
"Very well... can you all tell me how you know each other? I've heard of both of you... but... I'm not sure how you two know Drakain." Feiid asked.
"Well, Drakain is THE Demigod of Fire... so I use him to get a really good burn on my Forge... there's really nothing like a fire straight from the source!" Heiruu said. "He and I have been good friends for many millennia at this point."
Drakain nodded in agreement with his statement. Illyndra began to explain, herself.
"Drakain can create an incredibly useful element called Alchemical Fire... it burns forever unless tampered with, and it's really helpful to have a steady supply of it." She said. "As for how we became friends... he showed a surprising amount of interest in my experiments... I found that refreshing... he's a wonderful partner for conversation." She said.
"What about you two? I can't imagine a reason that you two could have had to get to know one another." Heiruu asked.
"You didn't know?" Illyndra asked. "They were lovers."
Heiruu gaped at the two of them, his gaze jerking back and forth from one to the other.
"You... were sleeping together?" He asked.
They nodded in unison.
"We started working together, using our abilities to help one another spread our versions of worship to the humans below... we were... incensed by the humans and their proclivity to, well, copulate next to their fireplaces... and decided to try it ourselves." Drakain said.
"Wow... bedding a Demigoddess... and the Demigoddess of Lust at that! Who'd have thought?" Heiruu laughed.
"They were a surprising development, that's for certain. Couplings between the Demis is uncommon, and they usually don't last long... these two were different though... stayed together for almost a millennia." Illyndra said. "It was quite an incredible sight."
"So... if it's not a sore issue... why'd your two end things?" Heiruu pressed.
"Well, Yra made me a jealous man... and Feiid sort of needs to entice humans to do her duties correctly... I had a problem with that, and decided it would be best for us to split up." Drakain explained.
Feiid wrapped her arms around his neck, her breasts pressed against the back of his head.
"It was a shame... that's for sure... but after I had a few years to get over it... I could see the wisdom in his choice... doesn't stop me from wanting him back in my bed from time to time." Feiid giggled, squeezing him a little tighter.
The conversation would have continued, but a squeal of joy robbed the group of its focus.
A tall, dark-skinned woman clad in a crimson dress robe similar to Drakain's rushed into the room, throwing herself at Drakain, knocking Feiid away. With the size difference between them, he nearly toppled over.
"Oh! My dearest Drakain! It has been far to long since you've come to this place!" She said, cupping his head in her arms.
"Goddess Yra! I didn't realize you were here! I thought you'd be at the meeting with the other Greater Gods!" He stammered.
"Well... there IS a meeting... but I'd much rather take a moment to dote on my favorite acolyte." She smiled.
She pulled away from him, turning to face him after moving a few paces.
She stood at more than six feet, nearly closing in on seven. Despite not being a Goddess whose aspect had anything to do with aesthetics, she was easily as beautiful as Feiid, if not more so. Her skin was a dusky brown, and it radiated with a heat that was not so different from Drakain, although the others could feel a few other different types of auras from her. She had glossy black hair that coiled down her back. The raiment that she had wrapped around herself was also quite familiar when seen beside Drakain's choice of clothing.
"Speaking of doting." She began.
She tucked her hand into the neckline of her dress. When she removed it, she had a small, blue gemstone, attached to a tiny, silver chain.
"Another one, Goddess? I don't think I've done anything to deserve this." Drakain said.
"My dear... humans are still entirely dependent on your fire, and it's been nearly four hundred thousand years since you taught them how to use it. I think that your continued success warrants a reward." She said.
She took his hand, pressing the gem into his palm.
"As always, my Boon can be used to grant you a single wish at any time, although this time I'll be adding a caveat." She said.
Her voice had an edge to it, but it seemed to be one of disappointment rather than anger.
"Every single time I've given you a Boon... you've used it in a way that benefits ME more than you... and as sweet as your devotion to me is... it also hurts me slightly that you wouldn't take the hint and use it for yourself. So... with this Boon, I will refuse any wish that benefits me." She said.
Drakain looked away from her, rubbing his thumb along the stone.
"Are you... upset with me, Goddess?" He asked.
The victorious look she had been sporting shattered, replaced with a look of abject horror. She threw herself around him again, clutching him against her like a mother attempting to calm a crying child.
"No! I... I could NEVER be upset with you!" She whispered.
The others watched the strange exchange, curious as to why this Goddess was so gentle and loving when theirs could be so callous, and in Heiruu's case, violent.
She answered them, even if she hadn't meant to.
"When I made you... I made a mistake... rather than creating you to serve me in the world below, I made you with the idea that you would be a sort of... well... I made you with the intention of showering you with love and adoration... I didn't make the same mistake with your sisters... but my desire to dote on you remains... and I don't have the will to deny it." She laughed.
Drakain had been entranced by her words, nodding his head as he listened. He stepped back, dropping onto a knee, and bowing his head.
"Goddess... I will do as you ask, it may be a while before I come to you with a wish... but I will have one someday I'm sure." He said.
With that, the Goddess left them alone once again.
"You could have asked her to step down." Feiid noted.
"I believe it is best that he refrained." Illyndra said. "Making such a request would have been bold, and would have tipped the other Greater Gods off to our plan."
Heiruu watched his friend for a moment, before clapping his hand on his shoulder.
"Hey... could you... really kill her if it came to it? If not... you can back out... I wouldn't think any less of you." He said.
Slowly, Drakain's flustered face regained its confidence.
"I can do it... if I can't convince her to step down peacefully... I'd rather she not suffer." Drakain said.
He looked upwards to the white infinity above him.
"Illy... I have an idea I'd like to talk to you about... think you could spare some time for me once we're down below?" He asked.
Illyndra turned to him, her nose pointed downward in distinct protest of the nickname that Drakain had used. But, as she considered his words, her visage softened considerably.
"Of course... I'm interested in seeing what exactly is on your mind." She said.
Heiruu and Feiid remained behind to gather a few things. After ensuring that Feiid knew where she'd need to go, the four separated.
Drakain and Illyndra descended to the world below. Illyndra pressed him to tell her more about his idea, but he refused. His mind was only focused on one thing, and as their feet touched solid ground, he reaffirmed his desire to feed the flame that had bloomed within him so long ago.
He desired Godhood... he desired Ascendancy.