Chapter 5:

Cernunnos

Elyon - Gods among us


Rodrigo and Ana stood face to face in the underground part of the cave. Tania had sat down to watch them train.

—The first thing we'll do is distort this dimension, Rui— Ana said as she rummaged through her pocket inside her clothes, pulling out a small white spark.

—Distort what?— Rodrigo asked.

—We'll create a fighting field to prevent causing damage to the surroundings. I'll create a new dimension where only gods can exist, and humans will simply freeze. Time won't flow inside in the human world, but it will here— explained Ana.

Rodrigo still didn't understand anything.

—Don't worry, you'll remember soon— Tania replied.

Ana released the spark onto the ground, and quickly, like a shockwave, the entire space was covered in a bluish-gray color. Rodrigo quickly recalled what had happened when he tried to kill Almanzor.

—This is a new dimension, Rui. Every time I use one of these 'Pocket Dimensions,' we can fight inside without any issues. And don't hold back, the walls of this dimension are indestructible— Ana mentioned, raising her arms.

—Incredible— Rodrigo said in astonishment.

—When the training is over, I can remove the alternate dimension. But as you can see, these little things can easily serve as prisons for divine beings— Ana continued explaining, as Rodrigo observed dark feathers appearing from the goddess's left arm.

The dark feathers began to spin in the form of a small whirlwind and took the shape of a sword, which Ana quickly grasped with her left hand.

—And this is my ability, Rui. Dark matter— Ana said as she swung her sword, cutting through the air slightly.

—I can create anything I think of with this ability, but I prefer to use it to create weapons—

Ana moved her hand, gripping the sword, and made a horizontal arc. Suddenly, a wide variety of weapons appeared behind her: swords, spears, bows, knives, and more. And then, the weapons disappeared, leaving behind small dark feathers that dissipated into the air.

—We gods are defined by the elements we were born with. Mine is darkness, and Tania's is fire— Ana said, continuing to play with her sword.

—Well, I was born under the elements of water— Tania mentioned, —but I was never content with it, so I decided to train to use fire. That means, even if you're born with one element, it doesn't mean you can't use another—

—The first thing we need is for you to manifest your element— Ana said, pointing at Rodrigo with her sword.

—That divine blood within your body, inherited from one of your parents, should give you the elemental affinity you need to move on to the next lesson—

—Manifest your divine energy now— Tania said. —Like when you were furious attacking the Moors— the fire goddess added.

—Alright— Rodrigo nodded.

He began to exert himself, clenching his fists and slightly bending his legs. His brown hair started to stand on end, and a trail of light began to spin around his feet as dust and rocks lifted into the air. Rodrigo's eyes took on a brighter shade of green, and his body started to emit a trail of white light.

Rodrigo let out a shout, and a huge cloud of dust expanded around him.

—I'm ready— he said, looking defiantly.

Ana, who was fanning her hand to remove the dust, said, —Well, we also need to fine-tune the amount of energy you spend— as she continued to cough.

—Alright, can you generate energy now?" Ana asked after controlling her cough.

—Energy?— Rodrigo asked, still confused.

—Yes, like this— Ana said, creating a kind of blue fire with her right hand and then making it disappear.

—The energy you generate will manifest what type of element you use— she mentioned.

Rodrigo tried to generate energy with his right hand, but nothing happened. As he increased his strength, he felt the earth trembling, rocks began to float, and the ground cracked. His trail of light expanded violently.

—No, no, Rui, calm down— Ana said. —You need to generate your energy by calming your mind—

Rodrigo decreased his destructive power and tried to focus on his hand, but since nothing was happening, he unconsciously started to raise his strength again, and the earthquakes began anew.

—Calm down, Rodrigo!— Tania exclaimed.

—No, Rui. That won't get you anywhere— Ana said calmly, trying to calm down the young apprentice's anger.

—Calm your mind, your heart. Feel as if you are part of the sea, nature, the air. Take a deep breath and relax your senses—

Rodrigo tried again, but he couldn't do it. Once again, his frustration led him to excite his internal energy and cause new tremors.

—You're a lost cause— Tania said, annoyed.

—Don't say that, Tania. Give him time, and you'll see that he can do it— Ana said, making her sword disappear.

Ana approached Rodrigo and placed both hands on his shoulders.

—You've been through a lot, and I know there's a lot of pain and anger in your heart. I can feel the rage you're holding against the Moors, against Al-Mansur. But you need to put your mind in order first— she said.

—I can't, I can't!— Rodrigo shouted in anger, and his energy expanded even more, causing lightning to crackle around him.

—I want to kill him! That damn Almanzor!—

—Forgive me, Rui— Ana said, looking into Rodrigo's tear-filled eyes.

—Forgive me and Tania for stopping you in your revenge— she continued.

—Forgive yourself for not being able to defend your mother. It wasn't your fault— Ana continued with a soothing voice.

—And I know it will be impossible for you to forgive your enemies, but you have to try to accept it. It's difficult, I know, but if you continue to carry that hatred in your heart, it will destroy you from within. We believe in you—

Rodrigo lowered his power and fell exhausted to the ground. Ana also knelt down, continuing to touch his shoulders.

—You're really good at these things. I would have beaten him to a pulp— Tania said bored, resting her head on her left hand.

Rodrigo was calmer now, breathing more steadily.

—Are you feeling better?— Ana asked.

Rodrigo nodded.

Ana then stood up and offered her hand to help Rodrigo up. He took her hand and got to his feet.

—We're going to have to do some meditation exercises— Ana said.

—Today, I want you to do an exercise called 'Cernunnos.' You'll sit with your legs crossed in a C shape and your arms raised in a V shape, while you exclusively think about everything happening around you: the air, the waves of the sea, the birds, the sounds of nature. If those negative thoughts invade your heart, refocus on what's happening around you until those ideas dissipate—

Ana assumed the pose to demonstrate it to Rodrigo.

—How long should I do it?— Rodrigo asked.

—Do it all day, and let's see what happens tomorrow— Ana replied. With a hand gesture, she destroyed the alternate dimension, and the bright spark appeared again, which she immediately took and put in her pocket. The damage caused by Rodrigo's tremors on the ground had disappeared.

—Let's see if your tree-hugging pagan techniques work— Tania said sarcastically.

Ana and Rodrigo left the cave and headed towards a cliff overlooking the sea. Rodrigo assumed the pose, and Ana helped him do it correctly. Once in the position, Ana told him that she would see him again tomorrow at the same time.

The view of the sea was beautiful. Some reefs could be seen in the distance, making it clear that ships couldn't pass through that area. Additionally, it was located behind the cave, preventing the people from the village from observing that place. The heat was overwhelming, although a slight cool breeze blew, providing some relief. The salty smell of the sea filled the air, and seagulls could be seen flying around.

Rodrigo meditated, but his mind wandered, and his arms became numb. Still, he didn't give up and continued. He listened to the wind, the birds, the waves. Whenever thoughts of anger and hatred started to terrorize him, he refocused on the waves and the wind.

—You give great speeches— Tania said to Ana as they each took a glass of wine.

—I just repeated the words of my teacher— Ana replied, taking a sip from her glass.

—Ironic, isn't it? That I talk about forgiveness and leaving hatred behind when it's the only driving force that has moved me so far— Ana said, lowering her gaze with sadness.

Tania put her arm on Ana's back and patted her.

—I understand you perfectly, Ana— she said.

The next day, Ana woke up at eight in the morning, and even though she was still half asleep, she went to see Rodrigo. But she was surprised to see him floating in the air and emanating a divine energy in his body, yet it wasn't aggressive but peaceful to the extent that birds were approaching him. Fortunately, he was behind the cave and not visible to any villagers.

—Incredible, in less than twenty-four hours— Ana said.

Tania came out of the cave and looked at him, amazed.

Ana called out to Rodrigo, and he opened his eyes, losing his concentration and falling abruptly to the ground.

—Good morning, Ana. I heard your steps from afar; in fact, I would say I felt your steps and your energy, and also Tania's energy still inside the cave— Rodrigo said with a smile.

—That was amazing, Rui. I knew you would do it— Ana said with a smile.

After having breakfast, they descended back to the bottom of the cave, and Ana activated the pocket dimension again.

—All right, Rui. I want you to relax as you were earlier— Ana said.

Rodrigo nodded.

The young apprentice relaxed his mind, and an aura of energy enveloped him, but it was not violent, but calming. Then, he began to levitate slightly.

—Perfect— Ana said. —Now, concentrate that sensation in your hand—

Rodrigo opened his right hand, and a sphere of white energy formed.

—It's a Venus— Tania said, observing them again.

—No doubt about it— Ana nodded.

Rodrigo made the sphere disappear and once again set his feet on the ground.

—A Venus?— he asked.

—Yes— Ana replied. —The gods are classified into eight groups according to our elements:

Sun, like Tania, can control fire.

Saturn, like me, can control darkness.

Venus, like you, can control sacred elements and telekinesis.

Moon controls water and cold.

Mercury controls air.

Earth controls life and the internal energy of planets and stars.

Mars specializes in combat techniques and metal control.

And finally, the most powerful ones, Jupiter, controls light and thunder— explained Ana.

—According to legends, Elyon is a Jupiter. Imagine how powerful they must be— Tania said with a smile.

—However, there are gods who can control more than one element or possess abilities that don't belong to any of these groups. They are usually among the most powerful among us— Ana said.

—Incredible— Rodrigo responded excitedly.

—Alright, now we can move on to phase two: Combat— Ana said with a smile as she recreated her sword with her dark energy.

Syed Al Wasee
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