Chapter 2:

The two goddesses

Elyon - Gods among us


Silence

In the darkness, the boy dreamed of his past: a seven-year-old child, naked and crying on a beach, is found by a woman who raises him as her own and calls him Rodrigo.

Rodrigo grows up, but the children fear him for his strength, so his mother asks her adopted son to try to control it. Suddenly, all these memories fade away, and Rodrigo tries to reach for them, but he can't, they're gone forever...

And again, silence...

In the distance, the voice of a woman is heard, different from the voice of the girl who found Rodrigo in the palace.

—I don't know, Tania. I think he's quite handsome— the mysterious female voice said.

—Is that all you notice, Ana — replied the familiar voice of the woman Rodrigo found.

—Hey, look, it seems like he's waking up—.

Rodrigo slowly began to open his eyes and blurry saw a pair of beautiful blue eyes. As his vision cleared, he could see the face of a gorgeous girl with long black hair and fair skin adorned with freckles. The girl smiled as she gazed intently at Rodrigo.

—Hello, hello, welcome to the land of the living, boy. How are you feeling?— the girl with blue eyes asked as Rodrigo lay in bed, and his vision was gradually returning.

Quickly, Rodrigo attempted to touch his right arm, and to his surprise, it was still there, despite being certain that he had lost it.

—My arm, my arm, is it still here? — he asked.

—Hey, calm down. You're fine, nothing happened to you— the black-haired girl responded with a soothing voice.

—Stop flirting with him, Ana. Remember, he's our prisoner— replied the girl Rodrigo had seen before.

The lad could finally get a clearer glimpse of the mysterious woman as she was no longer wearing her veil. She had a tanned skin and fiery red curly hair, a shapely figure, and ample bosom. Her face bore tattoos of symbols commonly seen among the Berbers, leading Rodrigo to assume that she was a native of the vast Sahara Desert.

—Very well— said the red-haired girl as she approached Rodrigo. —If you tell me your name and whom you're working for, we won't harm you, agreed? —

The young man lowered his head and replied:

—My name is Rodrigo, and I don't work for anyone. Almanzor invaded my city while I was traveling with a merchant caravan and killed my mother. I just wanted revenge—.

Quickly, he looked up and asked them:

—You don't work for him?—.

The redhead woman grew impatient and replied:

—Stop playing dumb, boy—

But Rodrigo's face remained anxious.

—It's the truth, I swear! — the lad responded as he tried to sit up on the bed.

The black-haired girl looked into his eyes and then turned to the Berber girl.

—As strange as it may seem, I believe he's telling the truth. I think he must be a Nephilim who never knew his real parents— she said, while the redhead girl looked up at the ceiling in uncertainty.

—Are there still gods in this day and age who continue to sleep with humans? You must be joking, right?— replied the Berber woman.

Rodrigo stared intently at the girls.

The woman with black hair and blue eyes had very fair skin, even whiter than the blonde people he had once known from the Kingdom of the Franks. She had several freckles on her face and shoulders. Although her hair appeared black, when the sunlight hit it, it had a color he had never seen before: slightly purple with pinkish tones at the ends. She wore a long green dress with a kind of corset on her abdomen. It was a fashion style he had never seen before. Around her neck, she wore a necklace with a greenish stone, which had a spiral design engraved on it. It wasn't a symbol Rodrigo was familiar with.

On the other hand, the Berber girl wore a blue blouse and slightly grayish pants. On her neck, there was an elaborately crafted golden necklace that didn't seem Spanish or Arabic. It looked more like the remnants found in the south of Spain, where people unearthed treasures from a people they called "Punic," although the existence of such people seemed more like legend than reality. The girl also had her lips painted black. Her amber eyes were beautiful, but they seemed filled with anger.

The woman with blue eyes turned to Rodrigo.

—Was that mother of yours your real mother? Did you happen to meet your father by chance? — the woman asked.

—No— Rodrigo responded as he looked sadly down at his lap. —My mother found me as a child on a beach and adopted me. I don't know my real parents, and I have no memory of what happened before that. That's why my mother was the only family I had. —

The freckled girl smiled at him and then turned to the redhead one.

—I don't sense any lies in that. It's certainly not common to see gods still having relationships with humans nowadays, but he could very well have been conceived in such a way and later survived a shipwreck. Don't worry, Tania, I don't think this happened under your jurisdiction— she said.

—Okay, okay, I believe you— the Berber girl responded. —After all, your eyes were so filled with anger that I started to doubt if you were a divine being—.

Rodrigo felt like they were speaking in riddles, and his head was spinning. He then asked:

—Excuse me, I don't understand anything you're saying. Are you witches, perhaps? —

The girl with black hair chuckled discreetly.

—No— she replied with a smile, —but I think we need to fill you in on everything. My name is Ana, and that grumpy girl with salamander-like hair is Tania—.

—Shut up, Crow face!— Tania retorted, and both girls laughed as they continued their banter.

But then Rodrigo interrupted:

—What are you, then? And... what am I? Do you know?—. He was intrigued, as he had always noticed that he had more strength and speed than other people, but his mother had always forced him to hide his powers, though he knew deep down that he was different.

Ana smiled at him and said:

—Well, we are goddesses—.

The words made Rodrigo's face twist with uncertainty.

—Perhaps you haven't heard of me because I'm from Ireland, but the cat girl over there is a deity worshipped by the ancient Phoenicians— Ana continued to explain.

Tania cut her off abruptly by saying:

—I don't think you should give away so much information about me, Crow face— which led to another argument between the two girls.

—If you're goddesses, why didn't you save my people?— Rodrigo asked. —Or are you demons? Because I know there is only one God, our Lord Jesus Christ. What are you?— he questioned further.

Tania put her hand on her face, muttering:

—This will be more difficult than I thought—-

Meanwhile, Ana extended her hand.

—Touch my hand— she said.

Nervously, Rodrigo touched it.

—You see? There's nothing wrong with me. I haven't come to devour your soul or anything like that, so don't be afraid. I'm not a monster or anything like that— the woman with dark hair reassured him.

Ana's smile calmed Rodrigo, and the warmth of her hand made him feel a little more relieved. The blind hatred that had consumed him was starting to fade away slowly.

Tania then said to Rodrigo:

—I don't think we can give you all the information at once, but I believe you believe in angels, right? Angels, according to your belief, cannot intervene in the world no matter how twisted the consequences. In our case, it's the same: We can only observe—.

Tania then approached Rodrigo and touched his chest with her index finger.

—Within this heart of yours, divine blood circulates. That's why you were different; that's why your arm remains by your side even though I tore it off. Such a wound on an ordinary human would have caused their death— she explained. —And because of that divine blood coursing through your body, you are also forbidden to intervene in the human world, because you possess so much power that you could shape the course of history and the development of humanity—.

—Me, a god? What madness!— Rodrigo thought at that moment.

—If you don't believe it, listen closely to the words you're saying. It's not Spanish or Galician, is it? — Ana interrogated Rodrigo.

At that moment, Rodrigo realized that indeed, he hadn't been speaking Galician. In fact, it seemed he had been using this language since he first saw Tania. But how did he know how to speak it and understand it?

—Divine language. Every being with a trace of deity's blood has the instinctual ability to speak or understand it— Tania replied. —Do you need more proof?— the red-haired girl continued to ask.

—It must be some kind of magic or witchcraft— Rodrigo thought again, but he tried to push those thoughts aside for now.

Rodrigo remembered that many people from his village had been taken as slaves, and he sighed. The young man then looked at Tania with a worried expression.

—Before anything else, I would like to talk about the situation of my people. I know that Almanzor captures women and children as slaves. I know that the children are castrated to be made eunuchs, and the women are given as prostitutes or wives in harems for powerful men—.

Rodrigo stared intently at Tania.

—Please, let me save the children at least. They don't deserve this— he said.

Tania had a flicker in her gaze.

—No... no... we can't let you do that, Rodrigo— she said.

Quickly, Tania looked away from him, continuing to speak:

—I'm sorry, I know it's very hard for you to detach from this human world, but... I can't let you continue exposing yourself—.

Ana also looked at Rodrigo.

—I know it hurts, Rodrigo, but it's forbidden. You don't want Tania to be punished for such actions, do you?—.

Rodrigo kept insisting even more:

—I worked as a bodyguard in caravans, I learned to hide my power and fight like a human. I swear I won't use any of my powers, I'll conceal everything... please, let me fight one last time as a human!—.

Tania looked highly agitated and remained silent for a while.

—Fine, I'll accompany you to make sure you don't draw too much attention— she said.

Ana looked at Tania with a surprised expression.

—Tania, do you...?— she started to say, but the red-haired woman nodded.

—Don't worry, Ana. Wait for us here. It's normal for him to want to fulfill his last whim as a human. After all, I've never heard of a case like his in my life, and we can't force him to make such an extreme decision and abandon everything—.

Ana smiled at Tania and nodded. She stood up and released Rodrigo's hand, which he had been tightly gripping while venting his frustrations.

Rodrigo began to get up from the bed and looked around. He started to investigate the place where he was. For a moment, he thought it might be a cell, but upon closer inspection, it seemed like the room of an inn.

He found himself in a large straw bed, and the room was quite spacious. There was a small table in front with plates of food, indicating that the girls, or angels in Rodrigo's mind, had been eating. The room was illuminated by the rays of sunlight streaming in through an open window. The room had a very faint and delicate perfume scent. If it was indeed an inn room, the girls must have had money because it seemed like quite an expensive inn. Additionally, there was a set of clean clothes next to the young man.

—Do you want something to eat before you go, Rui? — Ana asked with a smile.

At that moment, Ana stared at Rodrigo, blushing with her mouth open.

—Sorry, Rodrigo, but can I call you Rui? — she asked.

—Rui? — Rodrigo asked, confused.

—You're from the eastern part of Spain, right? I thought that's what they call Roderick, I mean, Rodrigo... sorry, I'm all mixed up; I didn't mean to seem too familiar— the black-haired girl apologized, still embarrassed.

—I don't mind— Rodrigo replied.

—Well, Rui, we have delicious lentils and freshly baked bread... well, it's been three hours since it came out of the oven, but it's still good— Ana tried to continue the previous conversation.

—No, I'm in a hurry— Rodrigo responded, while his stomach growled.

—Oh, come on, have a little. My brute of a friend made you lose a lot of energy, and you're going to need it— Ana replied.

"Alright, but let's not take too long," Rodrigo agreed.

Tania and Ana served the food as they had said, lentils and bread, along with a glass of wine. For some reason, Rodrigo felt a certain joy when he ate these foods, a joy that he felt had been extinguished in an explosion of hatred. He had to save the children from slavery, and he had to give his mother and friends from Coimbra a Christian burial.

—They're good, aren't they? — Ana asked. —Tania made them; even though she may seem like a monstrous beast, she can cook very well— a comment that quickly made Tania blush.

—Darn it, Ana. At least I'm more useful than you. If it were up to you, we'd be eating raw animal meat because you don't even know how to start a fire— Tania responded mockingly.

Once again, the girls were arguing, and Rodrigo remembered the times when he would eat at his mother's house with his friends, and how they would argue in the same way. In that moment, he felt the urge to cry.

Upon seeing him crying, Ana quickly approached him and hugged him.

—It's okay— she said, —we're here for you—.

Tania watched from the small kitchen with a look of melancholy in her eyes.

Syed Al Wasee
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