Elyon - Gods among us
The clouds began to move faster, and the mountains beneath Epona, Sol, and Mithras started trembling. The air became heavy, and an overwhelming heat began to suffocate the gods.
—That immense power is coming from Tania!— Epona exclaimed in surprise. Mithras and Sol were in shock.
—These kids are too powerful— Mithras said with a surprised expression.
—When I saw them, I never thought they would reach such levels— the Persian god continued.
—That's why our La... Lady Athena had so much trust in them— Sol responded.
—But... something isn't right. She always knows how to control her power very well, so as not to waste her energy like this. Something is happening to her— Epona said with concern.
—Don't worry, Epona— Mithras said with excitement. —With that immense power she possesses, no one will be able to defeat her, I'm sure of it—
—Yes... but, don't you feel like ti... time is moving faster than... usual?— Sol asked as he observed the movement of the clouds and the sun.
—You're right, Tania is raising her level too much, and this dimension is responding to the average time of all of us— Epona said, worried.
—She knows what she's doing, Epona. Trust your friend— Mithras said as he placed his right hand on the goddess's shoulder.
With a still saddened expression, Epona nodded.
The gods continued flying over the mountains. Since the dimensional barrier was so close to the peaks, flying in that region was challenging, and they couldn't see the Areopagus clearly. They had to traverse mountain after mountain.
The group of mountains they were flying over was completely covered in snow, despite the planet Mars having little moisture. Some of those mountains were volcanoes, and some began to emit smoke due to the power Tania was unleashing on the other side of the planet.
—This isn't good. The smoke will obstruct our vision— Epona said.
—No problem, I've got it— Sol said excitedly. He placed his hands on his chest, forming his arms in a cross shape, and said: —In die plenae luci—
Immediately, the smoke from the volcanoes dissipated, and everything became clear as if it were a sunny day.
—Wow, what a useful ability— Epona said, surprised to see that the environment had changed drastically despite the apocalyptic chaos caused by Tania.
—I can create a small reality where the sun always shines. It also helps boost my fighting powers— Sol proudly explained.
—Incredible, you didn't stutter— Epona responded, amazed.
—It... it's because when I'm very... very excited, I speak... speak well— the blond god replied, embarrassed.
Everyone burst into laughter when suddenly they felt two immense energies approaching them from behind.
—Epona!— Mithras exclaimed firmly. —Remember when we told you we would be useful for the mission?— the Persian god continued to say.
—What do you mean, Mithras? — Epona asked the Celtic goddess.
—I want you to keep going, and no matter what happens, don't turn back or go back — Mithras replied with a somber expression.
—I can't! — Epona shouted. —I came here to save a friend, and I won't allow two of you to die because of him—
Mithras stared at Epona with an angry gaze.
—I'm not asking you, I'm ordering you as your superior and as your teacher, albeit briefly. Keep going and reach the Areopagus. That's an order! — he shouted.
—I don't care, I'll stay! — Epona responded angrily.
—Do you... do you know how much you're of...offending us, Epona? — Sol asked, annoyed, while Epona defiantly looked at both of them.
—Do you know the last thing I said to Anpiel? 'For me, don't come back' That's what I said— Epona replied, sobbing, her eyes filled with tears.
—I don't want to lose anyone again! — the goddess continued shouting.
—We won't die, it's a promise — Mithras responded with a smile.
—They're stronger than Al-Qaum — Epona said in a pessimistic tone.
—We know that — Mithras replied, still smiling.
—And you couldn't even... — Epona began to speak, but Mithras interrupted her sharply.
—Epona! — he said. —Do you think Athena cares about the lives of the Malakim Ares killed? Do you think she cares about our lives?
Epona looked at him with surprise and uncertainty.
—That bitch is a cold and manipulative monster. She feels nothing for the people who die by her side. She sent us to die in this shit just to please all of you, her new toys. Don't you realize that the power you possess is far superior to that of all of us here? You have a future with her, unlike us, who are disposable. Countless Malakim have died like garbage under her orders, and she has never felt anything. Absolutely nothing. Did you believe her act? We came here to die, so that you can become part of the group, so that you can gain her trust — Mithras shouted furiously.
Epona was left speechless.
—Ou... our job is to make sure you don't die and reach Ares — Sol replied.
—I'm not like her, I never trusted her. I care about you, whether you're weak or strong. Please, let me fight alongside you! Please! — Epona shouted with tears in her eyes.
But Mithras and Sol turned their backs on her.
—Leaders must acknowledge that their soldiers will die. It's the cruelty of life. But we won't die, Epona; we want to follow you and protect you. We're not doing it for Orniskem, we're doing it for you, our inspiration — Mithras responded.
—If anyone can defeat Ares and his strongest Keres, it's you — Sol added.
—Guys... — Epona sobbed.
—Anpiel is waiting, princess — Mithras said, turning to look at her with a smile. The smile of a man ready to sacrifice his life.
—Thank you for everything, E... Epona — Sol said to the goddess.
Epona closed her eyes and turned around. —Don't die, please. Don't break my soul any more than it already is — the goddess replied, tears streaming down her face, and she left.
At that moment, the two Keres of Ares appeared before Mithras and Sol. They flew over and stopped in front of them. It was the ninth Keres, Zalmoxis, and the eighth Keres, Shaushka.
Zalmoxis wore a large white and red robe with long sleeves. His hands were adorned with elaborate bronze gloves. His head was covered with a curious orange hat, with a pointed tip resembling a hook. In his right hand, he wielded a gigantic double-edged axe that appeared even larger than the god himself.
Shaushka, on the other hand, sported a massive conical helmet. She had a golden and red armor composed of plates that covered her chest and extended into a skirt. Underneath the protection, she wore a red dress. Like Zalmoxis, she also carried an axe in her right hand, although not as large.
—We are the Keres Zalmoxis and Shaushka. We have no interest in your lives; we've come for the girl— Zalmoxis commented to the gods of Orniskem.
—If you don't interfere, we will spare your lives and allow you to retreat— added Shaushka, directing her words to Mithras and Sol.
But the gods of Orniskem blocked their path even further.
—I believe they are underestimating us, don't you think, Sol?— Mithras said to the blond god, keeping his gaze fixed on their opponents.
—They know nothing about our s...strength— Sol responded, equally focused on their adversaries.
—Very well. Zalmoxis, remove them from our way— Shaushka commanded.
—Why should I obey your orders?— Zalmoxis asked irritably.
—I am eight and you are nine, I am stronger than you— replied the Hittite goddess angrily.
—Mock us all you want, but I think you're ignoring something important— Mithras said as he unsheathed his knife, which filled with light and transformed into a radiant sword.
—I am the god of oaths; I swore to return alive, and I will fulfill that promise— added Mithras with a defiant look.
—Nonsense, your word holds no value here— Zalmoxis said as he raised his gigantic axe to cleave both gods in half.
Then Mithras closed his eyes and whispered: —Rashnu—
Zalmoxis, without waiting for the god to finish his incantation, cleaved him in half at the waist. In that moment, the Thracian god realized that it was he who had been split in half, as if the attack had been reflected.
—What the hell just happened?— Shaushka exclaimed in surprise.
—Justice, or Rashnu, is quite intriguing, don't you think?... Zalmoxis, isn't that right?— Mithras said, floating in mid-air, observing the Tracian Nephilim suffering.
—Every civilization has a different concept of justice, but the ones who believe they are more in the right way can attribute themselves to being just men. At this moment, my sense of justice surpasses yours, and for that reason, your attacks will not harm me, because you know you are not fighting for a just cause, but rather for mere caprice— the god continued.
—That's true, I don't consider it fair to confront someone weaker than myself. But don't you dare challenge my faith in my great lord Ares— Zalmoxis shouted as balls of will-o'-wisps accumulated around him and were drawn to his axe.
Zalmoxis raised his mighty axe, now engulfed in a pale blue fire, and shouted with all his might:
—But now I have no doubts about obeying the orders of the great Ares. Balas Rhomphaia!—
However, before he could strike, a flaming carriage pulled by several horses of fire crashed into him, sending him flying far away.
—Sol Invictus— Sol said, raising his right hand with his index finger pointing to where the carriage had moved. The vehicle disappeared immediately.
At that moment, Zalmoxis saw Mithras lunging towards him with his raised sword of light, ready to strike. The Thracian god attempted to block the attack with his axe, but at that moment, Mithras shouted: —Sraosha—.
The Persian god struck Zalmoxis' weapon. As if it had a will of its own, the axe slipped from its owner's hands and embedded itself in his side.
—Obedience, or Sraosha, is also a great virtue, Zalmoxis. Even inanimate objects must obey a figure of authority, the one who represents the honor of oaths— Mithras explained as Zalmoxis pulled the axe out of his side.
—Well, I can't believe you're having trouble. Do you want me to help you, Zalmoxis?— Shaushka said.
—Mind your own business, witch— the Nephilim replied, rising to his feet once again and igniting his axe with will-o'-wisps.
—Solaris crepitus!— Sol shouted, and a shower of fireballs rained down and struck Zalmoxis. He tried to defend himself with his axe once again, but Mithras appeared behind him, grabbed him by the hair, pulling his head back, and simultaneously pierced the Thracian god's side with his sword.
Then, Mithras brought his mouth close to Zalmoxis' ear and whispered in a low voice:
At that moment, a dog, a snake, a raven, and a scorpion appeared alongside the Thracian god and began to bite him. Grains of wheat sprouted from his wound while blood poured out profusely.
—I learned this technique from the Romans; it will kill you slowly— Mithras said almost as a sigh to the dying god, whose eyes still expressed surprise that someone weaker than him was inflicting so much harm.
—This bull will die soon. We need to build a pyre to sacrifice it— Mithras shouted to Sol, who nodded in agreement.
Sol raised his hands to the sky, palms open, and a fireball began to form within them.
—Solis sactis!— Sol shouted as he prepared to launch the enormous fireball at Zalmoxis, who was helpless. The animals that had appeared had paralyzed him, and the loss of blood was causing him to gradually lose consciousness.
But at that moment, Sol was attacked from behind by a massive beam of energy. When Mithras saw Sol fall unconscious towards the mountains, he realized his mistake. Shaushka stood with her raised axe, and wings had sprouted from her back.
—You shouldn't ignore me. Do you know that I could have gone after the girl while you were playing with Zalmoxis?— the Hittite goddess asked, smiling.
—The great Ares had no interest in her, but after seeing her fight against Al-Qaum, he can't let her wander in his territories— the goddess added.
—If you move any further, I'll kill this guy right now," Mithras said angrily, tightening his grip on Zalmoxis.
—And why would I care?— the goddess asked, smiling as she began to move her axe in a circular motion.
The blade of the axe detached from the handle like a chain, and the goddess launched an attack with the weapon, driving the blade into Mithras' back. Upon impact, the god released Zalmoxis, who still had Mithras' sword embedded in his belly.
—You're a disgrace, Zalmoxis. A pathetic Nephilim. Look at you, defeated by these children— the goddess said as she reattached her axe.
Zalmoxis ripped Mithras' sword out of his stomach, and it transformed back into a knife. The god angrily threw it towards the mountains.
—I won't underestimate this guy again— he said to Shaushka.
Mithras began to grow nervous.
—Sol, I hope you're still alive. But I must fight these individuals and keep my promise— he thought.
Filled with fear, Mithras lunged at Zalmoxis, shouting: —Rashnu!—
The Persian god used this technique to reflect any attack Zalmoxis made. However, the Thracian Nephilim shouted: —Zuras Skalme!—
The will-o'-wisps around Zalmoxis took the form of energy balls and exploded upon contact with Mithras' body.
—Didn't you say it yourself? Using that technique, it is the sense of justice that prevails. My devotion to my lord Ares surpasses your sense of justice, now that you have doubts— Zalmoxis said as he prepared more will-o'-wisps.
Mithras tried to defend himself from Zalmoxis' constant attacks, but he couldn't do much.
—You need to get closer to perform your techniques, don't you?— Zalmoxis laughed.
—Now, you won't even be able to take a step forward. You're finished— the Thracian god concluded.
—I am Mithras, the god of oaths, and Mithras always keeps his promises!— the Persian god shouted as he was surrounded by a golden serpent-like energy. A blinding light enveloped him.
When the light dissipated, Mithras stood completely naked with a bizarre and grotesque appearance. His face had taken on the grotesque form of a lion, four wings had sprouted from his back, his hands held two golden keys, and he was enveloped in a serpent of energy. Furthermore, Mithras emitted an enormous amount of dark energy from his body. The god had lost the ability to speak, and it seemed that his consciousness was also affected.
—He's a repulsive monster— Shaushka said in disgust.
—He is Arimanius— Zalmoxis said, staring intently at the beast.
—In the Mysteries of Mithras, the highest rank that can be achieved is that of a lion, and basically, Mithras is showing us his greatest power, the highest rank he can reach— the Thracian god explained.
—Oh, this is getting interesting— said the Hittite goddess as she once again spun her axe.
Mithras, using his two keys, summoned a dimensional door, from which a massive stone emerged when opened. From the stone, a naked and radiant Mithras began to materialize. The sight was strange and bizarre, with the sky shimmering with golden hues and images of men crowned with suns surrounding them. They all seemed to be praying with pupil-less eyes.
The Mithras emerging from the stone became filled with light, and at that moment, the lion-shaped Mithras roared. His dark energy merged with the light energy emanating from the stone.
—Wait, a clash of light and shadow. It's too unstable and dangerous!— Zalmoxis shouted, but it was too late.
The two energies battled each other, attempting to integrate without success, causing a massive explosion that destroyed everything in its vicinity.
Epona felt the tremendous shockwave of energy but had sworn not to look back. —Mithras, I trust you— she thought and continued flying.
However, Shaushka had managed to halt Mithras' immensely powerful attack with her right palm. It had suffered some burns, but it was not significant damage.
—You're a dangerous individual, I must admit— the goddess said as she prepared to attack again with her axe.
But at that moment, she saw Mithras losing his transformation, having exhausted almost all of his manna. The god remained floating in the air with the little manna he had left, observing both gods unharmed by his most powerful attack.
—They're monsters— he thought. —Now, only a miracle can save me to fulfill my promise—
Zalmoxis and Shaushka both raised their axes to strike Mithras, who closed his eyes.
—Too bad you were on the wrong side, lad— Zalmoxis said.
The two gods attacked Mithras at high speed, crescent-shaped energies emanating from their massive axes. But just when Mithras believed he was about to die, nothing happened. Then the god opened his eyes and couldn't believe what he saw in front of him. Two figures had appeared to stop the attacks.
The first was a woman with a misaligned golden Corinthian hoplite helmet on her head. Her brown hair floated in the air. Her chest was covered with a tunic made of red and green snakes, with a horrific gorgon head screaming on the front. She also wore golden armor, a brownish-red tunic wrapping her body, and bronze sandals.
The second person was a man wearing a complete helmet in the shape of a white falcon's head, along with a long conical crown in white and red. He had golden armor adorned with Egyptian motifs and two white wings. He wore a white and red skirt and carried two golden sandals and wrist guards. A small golden staff peeked out from his right hand.
Of course, Mithras recognized them. They were Athena and Horus.
—Masters, you've finally come— Mithras said with a weak voice.
—Apologies for the delay, Mithras. We had to resolve a matter first— Athena said.
—I can't sense the energy of my disciples, those wretches— Horus said, annoyed.
—Well, well, well, if it isn't Athena and Horus in person. What are you doing here?— Shaushka asked. But Athena and Horus completely ignored her.
—Leave that girl to me— Athena said.
—Very well, I'll take care of the bearded guy— Horus replied.
—So, do you think you're going to defeat us, did you hear that, Zalmo...— the Hittite goddess said, but she was suddenly interrupted completely.
Both Athena and Horus had pierced through the bodies of both gods, leaving a gigantic hole in them. The gods lost consciousness and fell towards the mountains.
—You did a great job, Mithras; now rest, we'll take care of the rest— Athena said, smiling at the Persian god.