He awoke early the next morning. He turned his head and saw that Julia was still asleep. He looked out of the window in her room, the sun was only just rising. He got up and grabbed his "shirt" and put it on then grabbed his hat and his bag and walked down stairs. David and Heather were already awake. She had prepared him breakfast as he would leave for work early in the morning. She smiled as she saw him and David turned and waved at him from his spot at the table.
"Do you want something to eat, Vidian?"
"If it doesn't bother you."
"I am offering, of course, sit down, I'll get you something, do you want coffee?"
"I would like that, thank you."
"Yeah, thank you for letting me sleep here."
"Even if we don't look so kind, we are, at least, most of us are."
"Wasn't the altar in the city?"
"Yes, but 100 years ago," David laughed, "Why?"
"Lord Orn told me that, I guess that time does go by fast for gods."
Julia walked into the room half asleep, "Look who isn't an early bird, good morning, dear," Heather smiled, "Sleep well?"
"Yeah, good morning, I did," She yawned, "Is there some breakfast left?"
"Of course, there should be enough for you," Heather said as Julia sat down.
"Today, you two will go to the Altar," David explained, "It is to the east, there is no real path, but Julia knows the way, she'll bring you there."
They were walking on the forest path, heading further west from the city. Julia was near paranoid as they walked checking every tree and jumping at every noise. Vidian looked ahead as his arms slowly grew blades on the bottom of his forearms. He knew that Goli wasn't a good character, he clear was a popular jerk who had nothing better to do than terrorize a poor girl, preventing her from going to the Altar of her people, he shook his head at the thought. A noise brought him back to reality. They were walled in by two large boulder. He looked ahead and saw Goli and some guys laughing with him. He walked towards them faster, making Julia seem even more scared than before. He didn't want to want to fight with the two boulders. Once they past them, Goli turned his head as one of his guys pointed them out. He was wielding a new sword, with three jagged teeth on the sharp part of the blade. He laughed as they walked towards him.
"Julia's got a boyfriend," He teased, making his friends laugh, "Going to the Altar? How much was it?"
"Hand it over."
"You are going to make us pay? Is this why you owed him money?" Julia nodded as Goli approached them, "Get out of my way."
"Big mouth? How about we kill you, human?" He spat at Vidian's feet, "Pay up!" Vidian slammed his palm into Goli's jaw, sending him crashing to the side of the path. He held his face, wincing in pain. All of them got up and drew their weapons. One of them was a pyro mage, he formed a ball of fire in his hands and looked at Vidian with a twisted, wicked smile. Vidian removed his hat, bag and top and handed them to Julia and then stood in front of her, revealing the bladed arms. He gestured for Julia to move back and she did. They walked towards him and slashed at him. He dodged the blades, striking the hands of the men with his bladed forearms, dropping their weapons. He drove his fist into one of the men's faces and blood spurt from his nose as he fell to the floor. He turned and slammed a now iron fist into one of the boy's stomach, bending him over as he crashed on the floor. He spun and drove his foot into the last boy's stomach and sent him flying back, slamming against a tree near the path. He turned to the pyro mage. They were standing a few meters away from one another. He was holding the ball of flames and staring at Vidian. Vidian rushed towards him as his arms turned back into human hands. The pyro mage hurled the flames at Vidian and flames engulfed him. Julia looked on in horror as Vidian was totally consumed by the flames. The flames dissipated and Vidian was standing there, his arms crossed in front of him. He began walking towards the pyro mage as he stood frozen in horror. A blade emerged from Vidian's arm and he lifted it up and brought it down. It stopped just in front of his eyes, a millimeter away from the pyro mage.
"Listen up, if I ever hear of you, messing with Julia, or picking on Julia again, I won't show mercy, and my blade won't stop until it goes right through you, understood?" The pyro mage fainted and he walked back over to Julia, putting his clothes on again and then they continued walking towards the Altar, "Fucking idiots, why don't you say anything, like, about them?"
"We live in a Celenstial city, there are more women than men," Julia explained, "1 for 6 nearly, so they have all the power, because they are rare compared to Celenstial, that's why, and you are the first to defy them, thank you," She hugged Vidian. He smiled and they continued to walk. The forest was thick, tall and green, with high plants and trees bordering the road, some of the giant roots broke the soil of the path and seemed to be placed to trip them as they walked, "Why do you need the blessing of the gods?"
"Lord Eternum told me so."
"But what for?"
"I don't know," He lied again, "Something he said would be arduous and painful, but I don't know what it is."
"Lord Eternum really told you to?"
"Yeah, he came to me and asked me to do so and then tell him once I was done, I really don't care what it is, it's Lord Eternum, there is no way I am turning it down."
"I guess, but your family?"
"What family? I don't have one, nor have I ever had one, that it's why I have no last name, I was just named Vidian and it stuck with me."
"You have no parents?"
"I was abandoned when I was a child, I grew up nearly alone, as a slave."
"Sorry I brought it up."
"Don't be," He smiled at her and they continued their walk in near complete silence. Julia didn't want to bring anything up that would upset him and he didn't have anything to tell her, "Did you see the scar on my back?"
"Which one?" She asked, "You have hundreds."
"The large one, under my left shoulder blade, did you see it?"
"Yes, why? What happened?"
"When I was a young boy, and when I was a young man, around 13 or 14, I lived as a servant, I was beat and whipped nearly every day that is why I have the scars, and the body."
"But what is important about that scar? Why that one? Why not the others?"
"That was my master's blade."
"What?! Did he try to kill you?"
"I killed him, but before his died, he jammed the blade in my back, it was a spike blade, hidden in his sleeve, it should've killed me, I should've died."
"But then what happened?"
"I didn't, I nearly passed out from my blood loss, but someone found me, and sealed my wound, I woke up later in the night, I was covered in blood and I couldn't move my left arm without pain, and that someone had sealed my wound."
"Do you know who saved you?"
"I think I do, but I am not sure about it."
"What do you mean you know him?"
"I said I remembered his face, it didn't strike me at first, but the scars on his back and his face, it made me remember, when he was a boy, I found him and saved his life, he was bleeding, over the body of a dead, older man, he had a circular wound on his back, I remember him, Vidian was the boy I saved."
"Are you sure? He didn't seem to remember you."
"He never saw me, he was unconscious when I tended to his wound, or at least, I think he never did, he didn't look too conscious when I saved him."
"We should be getting there soon, there, in the clearing," Vidian looked ahead, "Lady Structania's Altar," It was a large, white, marble temple that stood in the middle of a clearing in the forest. It overlooked the valley that housed its former city, Luminosada. It had a source flowing down from a small pond that lay in the stone of the temple. Outside of the temple, there were two large beings, two men, larger than humans or any race. One of them wore white, plate armor and held a large shield and a sheathed straight blade with a flat tip, sheathed around his belt. His helmet was rounded, smooth and covered most of his face, leaving a space around his eyes and the center of his face, minus his nose. He had golden eyes and looked down upon them as they approached the palace. The other had a black, plate armor, riddled with thorns that stuck out, jagged and un-patterned, he had a large upside down 'U' shield that had three huge, downwards claws on it, his shoulder plates housed two large, horn-like spikes. A large saw-like blade hung from his belt, his helmet covered his nose and the rest of his face was visible, riddled with scars, one streaking over his left eye, an eye that seemed blind. They approached the two massive figures as they walked to the front of the temple.
"This, Vidian, is Lord Fortfiiy, the God of Protection, and Lord Reignus, the God of Domain, they are brothers, godly brothers," She bowed her head and they did the save, "I, we are here to see Lady Structania," Julia called out, "I am Julia Dawn, and this is Vidian, we come from the city nearby, Luminosada."
"I recognized you, Julia," Reignus responded with a deep, grunting voice, "Lady Structania is present, what does your friend what?" He said pointing a massive, gauntleted finger at Vidian, "I've never seen him before."
"He is here to see Lady Structania."
"I think he can pass, he nothing, if not human," Fortfiiy spoke in a more greeting voice, "But be warned, do not cause trouble, we are the guards of this place, so watch your tongue and watch your limbs."
"Understood," Vidian said looked up at them, "Lord Reignus and Lord Fortfiiy."
"Head on in, the doors will open for you," The duo walked up the stairs and soon arrived in front of massive doors, wooden doors with steel bracing. They slowly opened and revealed a large, dim room. At the end of the room, an Altar, with a woman sitting in front of it, she was their size, unlike the two guards, she wore a laurel crown and wore a white toga. She rose as the doors closed, slowly walking down the steps of her raised altar to face them. She walked slowly towards them, she was only a little taller than him and had a golden necklace around her neck. Her hair was combed back, attached perfectly and nested the crown. She walked elegantly and slowly towards them. She smiled at Julia.
"Julia, it has been a long time," She began, "Who did you bring along? I don't think you have ever brought him here, nor told me about him."
"This, this is Vidian."
"Vidian? No last name? How bizarre, what are you here for?"
"I am here for your blessing, Lady Structania."
"My blessing?" She rose her eyebrows, "It isn't so simple you know."
"I know," He interrupted her, "I know that I need to complete your works."
"No, but why would I give it to you, not what you need to do, who are you to ask for my blessing, I can't just give it to any person because they completed my works, give me the or a reason for which you ask of my blessing," He reached under his top and revealed the golden amulet with Orn's blessing, "I assume that is where you would put my blessing gem," He nodded, "How did you get that?"
"Eternum, Lord Eternum."
"He gave you that?" She gave him a doubtful look, "Why would he give you that? His blessing to a simple, mortal human?"
"It is my quest."
"If you say so, I don't see lies in your eyes," She smiled at him and snapped her fingers. The doors opened once more and Fortfiiy and Reignus walked into the room. Two goddesses joined her, and a third god appeared next to Vidian. They were her five lesser gods, Fortfiiy, Reignus, Doncian, Sanctuaria and Jadia. Jadia, Sanctuaria and Doncian were Structania's height and Fortfiiy and Reignus towered over all of them. Structania whispered something in Julia's ear, something that he couldn't hear. She nodded and walked as the doors opened and she sat outside, leaving Vidian with the 6 gods. Structania pointed at Fortfiiy, "Fortfiiy will give you your first work, the work of protection," He nodded then heard a scream outside, Julia's voice, "Go see it for yourself," He took a few steps back, still looking at Structania, then ran towards the open doors.
He arrived outside. He saw nothing, then a massive figure appeared, holding a cage, containing Julia, a steel cage. A bubble formed around them, creating an arena. The creature placed the cage on the floor and drew a massive, double-edged axe. He realized what was going on, Structania had told Julia to go outside to be part of his work. He grit his teeth. He took of his bag, hat, and top and prepared himself to fight, throwing them towards the bubble arena's wall, they went right through it. He was surprised, but turned back to face the beast.
"This is a Dryitkany Deathlord, a long lost creature, that used to populate the Great Desert, thousands of years ago," Fortfiiy's voice broke the silence, "This is your first test, kill it, and protect Julia."
"Are you kidding me? Why did you put Julia in this?"
"Lady Structania's decision, these are her works for you, we just represent each one, and the Deathlord won't hesitate to kill, like they normally fight, to kill."
He turned one of his arms into a bowed arm and his other created arrows. He drew the bow and aimed it at the Deathlord, who was standing in front of the cage, guarding it. Its four eyes followed him as he aimed the bow. It suddenly broke into a charge and brought its axe down, shattering the ground and creating a tremor. He leapt out of the way and fired the arrow as he landed on the floor. It found its make in the creature's eye. The beast ripped the arrow out of its eye and blue blood began dripping from the eye. It roared revealing its scattered, curved and twisted teeth that littered its mouth. It pulled its axe and swung it over its head and tried to kill Vidian again. He dodged the lumbering beast and jumped onto its grounded axe. He drew another arrow and aimed at a second eye. The arrow soared and hit its eye, but bounced off like a flimsy stick. He hadn't seen the protection that it had covered its remaining eyes with after the first arrow. It swung the axe up from the ground and tried to head-butt him out of the air. He changed his arms into to dragon wings, like those Chippers beat to fly, and used them to glide out of the attack. He crashed onto the beast's back and change one of his arms into a curved, flat blade and jammed it under one of its scales. The beast thrashed around as it felt the blade enter it and caused Vidian to be flung around. The blade ripped out, bringing several large scales with it, opening a massive, bleeding wound. It roared in rage and its eyes glowed red, and a green ooze dripped from its mouth, burning the floor as it hit the floor. It spit a ball of the green ooze at Vidian. Vidian leapt out of the way and rolled to see the ground get scorched by the acid spit. He turned his arm back into a bow and created another arrow, this time with a rope to it and a large arrowhead that had four long hook-like ends. The beast spun its axe low to the ground, barely above Vidian as he ducked under it, revealing the wound on its back. He fired the arrow at the wound and it lodged itself inside the beast's soft, unprotected flesh. He held the rope and ran next to the creature's legs. He used his weight to swing on the rope around the creature's leg and tied the rope around the beast foot. He let go of the rope and met the toes of the beast as he was sent flying, crashing to the floor. The beast had kicked him with the same leg as the rope, ripping out the arrow. It let out a roar of pain and fell to one knee. Vidian slowly lifting himself from the floor. The beast was bleeding heavily and seemed weak as it rose, barely lifting its own axe. He turned one of his arms into a spike and the other stayed human. He got to his feet with shaky knees and waited for the beast's next attack. It slammed its axe onto the floor, missing Vidian. He jumped onto the axe and climbed onto the beast's arm and leapt onto its back. He drove his spike into the beast's head and it dived nearly entirely in the back of its head. The beast roared then fell, lifeless to the floor. He removed his arm and climbed off the beast and ran as fast as he could to Julia's cage, smashing the chain that held the door closed. He swung the door open and she jumped into his arms. He was breathing heavily as the beast disappeared along with the bubble and the cage. Fortfiiy walked forwards towards him and kneeled down.
"You have completed my work, you protected Julia, go back to Structania, she will give you your next task."
"You did the killing, I watched," Fortfiiy laughed, "Go, the doors will open for you," Vidian grabbed his top and hat and handed his bag to Julia as he walked back towards the temple doors.
He walked into the temple and was met by Structania, with only Jadia and Sanctuaria sitting together. He walked up to them as he slowly regained his breath. Structania turned her head as he walked near them, "You completed Fortfiiy's work?"
"Yes, Lady Structania."
"Very well, Jadia, it is your turn."
Jadia nodded and stood up and signaled for him to follow her, leading him to a staircase, that lead to a room beneath the temple, beneath the Altar. There was a small room, with a table and two chairs. The room was lit by a chandelier hanging above the table. She sat down and he sat down in front of her. They sat silently for a while as she scanned his face. She had emerald green hair and emerald green eyes. She had darkish skin and wore a white and green silk dress with a golden hair clip in her hair. She hesitated to begin talking and opened to begin, then stopped and thought again, she seemed shy to talk to him, maybe she never had talked to a mortal, most of the lesser gods weren't talked to directly, and clearly the only ones who spoke to people were Reignus and Fortfiiy, who guarded the temple. She began to blush a little, she seemed to be embarrassed from her nervousness.
"Um, I am Jadia, the goddess of Family."
"I know, Lady Jadia, I have heard of you before, I want to ask you a question."
"Why did I never have a family?"
"Oh, Vidian, that was a long time ago, I do not remember everything about families," She stammered at the question, "Where were you born?"
"You are," Her jaw dropped, "Vidian of the Great Desert, oh, I am sorry."
"What do you mean? I don't understand why you are sorry."
"Nothing," She was nearly crying, "How old are you?"
"I am 20."
"Okay, have you ever thought of having a family?"
"Yeah, of course, something I never had, so I wanted to have one but yeah, never worked out."
"That's too bad, why do you want Lady Structania's blessing?"
"It is my quest."
"A quest? What for?"
"I was told by Lord Eternum to gather the blessings of the gods and gather the people to complete a task that would save the world."
"Save the world?"
"The Death of the World."
"That thing? That we fought thousands of years ago?"
"Yes, I need to kill it."
"I think you are allowed to gain my work, it was to see your reason and to ask you something, but I never really did this before, like talk to someone, normally I stay hidden, I am shy."
"Is that why you are nicknamed the Shy Goddess?"
"Yes," She sighed and got up, "Follow me, you are going to do Reignus' work next, I don't know what it will be, only Lady Structania knows, but be ready."
"Thank you, Lady Jadia."
"Of course, of course, made you might not finish all of the works today, you might have to go back, it will be night soon."
"Okay, how do you know that?"
"I just do," She said as they walked back into the main room, "Lady Structania, maybe they should go back to Luminosada, it is nearly night."
"I know, Jadia, Julia was waiting for him, did he pass?"
"Yes, he is ready to move on to the next work."
"Tomorrow, you will come back with Julia to complete your works."
"Thank you, Lady Structania, I will do as you say."
"Thank you, Lady Structania, but can we go now, Vidian?"
"Yeah, let's go, I am tired as all hell."
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