Age of Ember
Odrian, Sarah and Victor were instructed to go to an 7-foot touch screen display around the right corner of the auditorium, alongside 15 other students. They were escorted by the same student that had initially guided them in the auditorium.
"Follow me this way," Her tone was far more inviting this time around. “By the way, I'm one of the school representatives. My name is Rina."
Odrian was walking not too far behind her and couldn't help but notice her short stature and brown hair in half a bun to one side. Victor placed his hand on Odrian’s shoulder and leaned into him to speak softly as Sarah was close by. Odrian had an idea of what Victor would say.
"Here's your chance... Girl one, I'm praying for ya."
Sarah heard most of what he had said. She knew the type that Odrian liked and the short one wasn’t it. Feeling compelled she chimed in with her own input:
"She's not even his type."
“And? Who cares? He needs to work on his confidence a bit more around the ladies.”
“I suppose that’s a good point.”
Victor was adamant to see Odrian become more comfortable in talking to the opposite sex, for all his confidence in everything else he came absolutely flat when it came to approaching women. It was a conundrum no one close to him quite understood. Although Odrian didn’t really feel like talking to Rina, he knew his friend meant well. He felt the pressure from Sarah and Victor and decided talk to Rina to see how things would go.
Already feeling nervous, his hands were balled up in a fist. He tried to maintain his composure as he calmed his mind to make sure he had a good game plan. Alright, let’s get it, he thought to himself. Some small talk should do it, right? I'll go for the kill, this should work.
"How long have you been a school representative?” wondering to himself whether or not that was the best ice breaker.
Rina smirks and responds polietly
"Long enough for me to say that I'm not interested," Rina was forthcoming with her response, although her smirk was apparent about her amusement of what Odrian was trying to do. "I did that my first year and gained nothing from that experience so trust me, I'm ok. Thank you!"
Rina quickly placed her hand over her mouth realizing she likely hurt a new student’s feelings.
"I didn't mean to sound so brash, I apologize"
Odrian fell back into the safe space that was Victor and Sara’s company. He couldn’t utter a word after such a blunt rejection. He realized that the students around them were commenting amongst themselves about his failed venture. The voices around Odrian had said the following:
"He never had a chance."
"She’s so cold."
"He had some weak game goin’ on there."
"Pfft, she needs a real man in her life, like me!"
Victor had made a mental note of everything that was said about Odrian and also the people that said it. Sarah felt bad about her brother being talked about in such a harsh way, as if they hadn’t been rejected before. She rested her head on his shoulder as they walked together.
"You were way too good for her anyways." She said reassuringly.
"Yo, that was definitely not apart of the plan. My bad bro. "
Her comforting words almost brought Odrian back into a more neutral state of mind but it just wasn't enough. It seemed as though his luck was pretty bad when it came to talking to women. Was his performance not enough? He wasn’t impressive enough to make a mark. This flub was a highlight to what people thought of him in that moment and people were already making jokes. Yet behind the trio was a student who had also passed the entrance exam who spoke under her breath.
"I thought he was pretty amazing."
She started thinking about how she could get him to notice her eventually and win him over. She was a very beautiful girl but lacked confidence just as Odrian did. They shared that same trait. After walking a short distance they finally arrived at the tall screen. The representative gave them some clear instructions before proceeding any further.
"Please step up, one at a time."
In order from front to back each student walked up one by one, allowing the screen to register them as new students and issued identification cards. It also scanned their measurements inside of a circular scanner for the uniforms. After the last student was scanned the school representative looked at each new student in the eyes and waved:
"Enjoy the rest of the day! I look forward to seeing you all!"
Excited about passing they wait on Landon to get out of class at 18am. which would leave them a whole 18 hours to relax and celebrate before training. They decided to walk around the school grounds as they waited.
Meanwhile the 5 were gathering in the Angel Realm to meet with Angelo after he requested a meeting. Inside of this heavenly room everything was pure white and gold from the traditional markings on the walls to the grooves on the table. Lazarus was the last one to appear as they were seated at a large celestial round table. All the other angels guarding the room; in and outside of the room left through the massive silver engraved door behind them.
"Shall we get started?" Angelo asked, rather rhetorically as he sized up everyone else.
Lazarus didn’t the tone in which he had spoken. Angelo had an undeniable aie of authority that not all could ignore. Arguably Lazarus found this as a cause for constant tension. Being a direct voice to God, Angelo felt as though even they were beneath him. However, he had recognized their abilities, which commanded his respect. Lazarus wanted to ease the atmosphere.
"No food or drinks? My, the hospitality of you angels."
Everyone glanced over at him again, much like the last time 21 years ago. Lazarus quickly broke the dead air.
"Uh, alright. I get it. Let’s start!"
"Why have you requested us?” Zion was eager to know. “I have some things to tend to today.”
Angelo brings up a hologram of the multiverse in the middle of the table. there was only two orbs floating around on this display.
"GOD has spoken."
Everyone immediately knew what had to be done but this was all under general assumptions. Assori felt the need to be the first to speak.
"It's time that we destroy the last dimension in the multiverse outsides our own?"
Without any delay, excuses came from everyone as to why they couldn't do it this final time.
"I did the last 2," Lazarus reminded.
"I did the one before that" They all paused realizing Dominus spoke for the first time in ages. He was clearly displeased to the idea of carrying out the task.
“I’ll be honest, I’ve forgotten how you sounded like,” Assori commented.
"I didn't know the demon king had one of those," Lazarus egged on.
Assori blushed, unsure of what her reason was. She realized she had no reason not to carry out the task but it was such a day where everyone seem to procrastinate this edict. Zion continued bring up her engagements, although Angelo didn’t really care to hear it as he sat and listened in an apparent annoyance.
"Alright,” Zion admitted. “So, someone has challenged me for my spot today, Angelo. A matter of fact, one from your race."
“Really, that’s rather amusing.” Angelo was unamused.
"Grrr… Lazarus has destroyed the last 2, right? And Dominus, the one before that. And I did the one before that.”
“I can’t remember a time where we’ve really debated over something like this.” Lazarus was rather mum by the whole thing. Again, everyone couldn’t help but look at the unassuming character.
With that said, it’s either of your turns... we have all destroyed more dimensions than you two as well."
Squabbling on like politicians, everyone continued to argue for quite some time until everyone fell decided on Angelo and Assori by a rigorous process of elimination. Zion was quite a fierce debater when it came to things she really didn’t want to do. Angelo saw the inevitability of the outcome and was further displeased by the conclusion.
"Silence! Assori and I will duel for it! Whomever loses must take on the task!"
"Can we duel there?" Assori wanted to be as destructive as possible.
"Yes, we can. It won’t be necessary to hold back. The damage done won't be of any significance."
"i'll be watching this fight" Lazarus immediately forgot everything he had to do. Observing a duel between 2 members of the 5 was nothing to pass up on.
"Hell, me too," Zion joined Lazarus, which she hardly ever does. The challengers seemed to be but a minor footnote to her days events somehow. “Those schmucks can wait, this is more important.”
Dominus nodded his head in agreement.
“You mean to tell me, this fight has more importance than whatever matters you were tending to?” Angelo was legitimately baffled, although his expression betrayed his disbelief.
“Yes,” The observers said in synch.
“Well, this is just… odd.”
"I won't lose to you this time, father," Assori spoke with utter confidence. Angelo didn’t seem to be moved by her conviction.
Dominus recalled how Assori fought and felt that it was necessary to give her advice. Although she was the strongest of the 5, in terms of raw physical power, she never tried to evade anything being hurdled her direction.
"I implore you to dodge."
Zion was disappointed that Dominus wouldn't just sit back and watch.
"A son of mine shaming another warrior’s style and honor?"
Assori understood but dismissed Dominus’s rather practical advice. Fighting for as long as she has she wasn't going to hold back under anyone’s discretion.
"No need to worry about me, I'm more than capable of fighting... Sometimes you gotta take what the world throws at you.”
"Let us begin." Angelo found Assori’s answer rather refreshing.
Angelo felt slightly anxious to carry on with the duel. He was never able to spend any time with Assori in the past 20 plus years. Anxiousness turned into excitement about this moment as he wondered how much stronger she gotten since the last time. He teleported himself and Assori, to the second to last dimension in the multiverse. A magical halo went around both of their bodies, from toes to the top of their heads. It descended downwards erasing their bodies, one piece at a time. Then they were reconstructed in the middle of space.
Zion, Lazarus and Dominus observed them through a holographic display on the roundtable. They were zoomed in on the action. Lazarus stared Dominus down with a sinister grin, Dominus couldn’t help but notice his unsettling gaze. Dominus was uncomfortable wit the prospect of the fight that was about to unfold.
"Would you like to place a bet?"
“What do you have to offer me that would be of any value?” Dominus was intrigued by Lazarus’s sudden wager as more often than not, Lazarus was up to something.
Lazarus began to laugh manically and uncontrollably. It was unsettling to listen to.
"I can’t say I wasn’t expecting that response. So, what do you have in mind?"
“Are you not the one that has challenged me? I have nothing I need from you. You probably need something from me however.”
“Oh, Dominus, you certainly take things for granted. Why not take a dance with blind chance? What’s a small wager to one of the most power beings in the universe?”
Dominus was the cruelest of them as he carried out his attacks without holding back. He had destroyed, he had conquered, he had gambled with death time and time again only to emerge victorious. Lazarus was the most deceptive and cunning, if there was something he absolutely wanted he got it by all means. He’d play to the tune of the other if it meant securing something he desired. To that extent, he had no shame. With a mix of ego and gambit, they would be more than glad to throw everything to chance. Perhaps these were the most dangerous of the 5 if they really wanted to carry out their own schemes.
"I'll bet every vampire I've personally infected." Lazarus was first to place his chips, so to speak. Of course Dominus pondered on what he could offer as Lazarus sat waiting patiently. All a while, Zion shook her head to the wager.
I can always make more, Lazarus thought to himself. Lazarus was able to create vampires in 2 ways. By personally infecting them he would bite into the victim but instead of draining the body of blood. By doing this the victim becomes his faithful follower doing anything he wishes. The 2nd way is a willful infection of the victim. This process involves Lazarus cutting himself and giving the other person a vial of his blood. As a result, this victim becomes a living part vampire but not tied down to Lazarus. They acquire most of the powers of a vampire; Depending on that individual results may vary. However, Lazarus rarely ever used this method as he wasn't trusting enough of others. The amount of live vampires amongst his ranks are small, only 15 existed. Dominance being the man he was thought of something comparable. He had forgotten that Lazarus could infect people unwillingly to meet the demands of the bet. He had imagined that he’d offer the free-willed vampires. Demons were a low but powerful class of beings that cared very little for ethics. They often looked at Angels with utter disgust. Dominus didn’t feel any sort of attachment toward the people he reigned over, admittedly he didn’t care about the lives of his people. They were but a means to an end.
"Fine.” After ruminating in what he felt like offering, Dominus finally spoke. “I'll wager my 10 of my strongest demons. Will that be enough to satisfy your bet?"
"Oh? That will suffice."
Lazarus really wanted to get under Dominus’ skin. The bet meant very little to Lazarus as it more about the thrill associated with the bet. He was quite aware that Dominus and Assori had feelings for one another. He was also aware that the current event had upset him and wanted to piss him off further.
"The deals on and I bet on Assori."
Perhaps Dominus should have stated who he would bet on but he was caught up on what was expendable at the moment. Angered by what had just transpired he tapped his index finger on the table. Lazarus had the widest smirk that Dominus had ever seen.
"I'll wager on Angelo"
Zion couldn’t fathom how these men acted, more so with Lazarus’s manipulation. As a warrior she valued the lives of her people far more, regardless of her position. She glared over at her son, who couldn’t look her in the eyes.
"Betting the lives of your own people? That’s how you treat your people as if they were castaways? That’s far too reckless for my taste.”
Neither cared to respond to her passionate disagreement. She relaxed herself, but she was equally upset at the fact Lazarus had pushed for a bet only to anger Dominus. She sighed as she turned toward the screen with them, she said in a displeased manner:
“Well, it's about to begin…"