“Wait, what?! Sister? You have a sister?” Dameon said, completely confused at what just happened.
“Well, all I’ve got to say is whoever that was, she got rid of the lost souls around us, at least. We seem to be safe now, for the moment anyway.” Jake was looking around at their surroundings, looking for more lost souls coming their way.
“Dude! What the fuck just happened? Who was that? Are you actually back now? Or you gonna fuck us now?” Dameon turned to Alaric and started to get into his face.
Alaric moved quicker than he ever had in the past. One moment he was standing there; the next moment, he was holding Dameon in the air by his neck, “If I’m going to fuck you, you’re going to know it, Daisy. Let’s just say, I’m not completely sure,” he put Dameon down. “But it appears that she is my sister. And it would appear that the experience I just had brings back some memories I wasn’t aware of, relieving amnesia I’ve been suffering from for millennia.”
“Holy shit! Really? Wait, are you saying you’re even older than we thought, Alaric?” Jake asked, stunned and staring at him.
“What?! Older? Weren’t we all from the beginning? I mean, Anglo and Demlo?” Dameon had utterly forgotten about the assault as he was genuinely concerned that the history he knew and that all Demlo believed in was, in fact, wrong or not the beginning of time as they had thought.
“My mind is still foggy, and things are still coming. That’s not our concern right now. Right now, we must get to The Pit and find Kimmy. After we get her, we can figure out my memories and how they fit into everything. By then, perhaps I’ll remember more as well.” Alaric said as he glanced around the area for the first time since the woman vanished and he returned from becoming one of the lost souls.
Nodding, Jake agreed, “Yes, that’s a good idea. We can discuss this later. I’m sure there’s a lot to figure out there.”
Dameon, still feeling the shock of his shattered reality with this news, “Uh… fuck… sure, whatever. I mean, my whole reality is a fucking lie, but whatever.”
Jake turned to him, sighing, “Dameon, dude, this isn’t just your reality, and it’s not broken. This is huge news to us all, I thought Alaric was the first, and I was part of the first created batch of Anglo. We’re the ones that became the mortal gods as we wanted to help them the most. It doesn’t surprise me that the Anglo being created wasn’t the beginning of time. It was just our beginning. We need to come to terms with that, which may take time, but we need to push that shit down now, save Kimmy, and deal with Bahlreq.”
Finally nodding and accepting what he heard, for now, at least, Dameon said, “Fine! I’ll shut up for now, but we need to talk about this. I’m still not ok with all of this.”
Nodding, “I can understand Dameon. However, that is the least of our worries. We’re in the middle of The Gate and must finish this trip.” He opened one hand towards Dameon and the other towards Jake, “Each of you, take my hands.”
Jake didn’t hesitate and grabbed the hand facing him as Dameon hesitated until Alaric shook his hand at him, and he finally grabbed it.
Alaric’s right brow rose, “Now, hold on. This might be rough.”
Jake and Daemon responded in unison, “What?!”
There was a vibrating feeling all over them as everyone was blinded by an intense white light that flashed instantly. Afterward, all three of them were standing on a rocky reddish black ground, screams could be heard all around, and in the distance, it echoed pain and torture. They somehow were in The Pit. Alaric somehow took them there instantly.
“What the fuck! I thought you said you couldn’t get us here, that we had to go through that place. We had to go through The Gate. There was no other way,” Daemon was obviously livid at this point, releasing Alaric’s hand immediately as he knew they were in The Pit, having been there plenty of times himself.
Jake stood there, releasing Alaric’s hand as well, but instead of anger, he was just in shock. Never having met anyone that could do anything like this and instantly travel to The Pit.
“Dameon, before that moment, I couldn’t. You may not believe me, but I’m not who or what I thought I was. I still don’t know what’s happening, but hopefully, more answers will come soon.” Alaric had turned to Dameon, trying to reason with him. “Do you really think I would have chanced our existences like that going through The Gate when I could’ve instantly gotten us here? Think about that, I’m the one that got touched, I’m the one that was gone, and I’d told you two to leave if that happened, which you didn’t. We’re in this together. No matter how much bullshit we’ve given one another over the centuries, this is bigger than us.”
Dameon started to walk away, then stopped. He bowed his head and sighed audibly, “As much as I hate to admit it, you’re right. I don’t know anything that can instantly travel between realms like that. So whatever that woman did must be awakening something in you. All I hope is that it’s not going to end up badly for us. But as much as you may have been an asshole to me, you’ve always been true to me and never really lied to me. I can’t fault you for that, Alaric. Let’s do this. Let’s get this girl you want to save, it’s important to you, and you asked for my help. I might as well do something good for a change.”
Jake looked shocked at the turn Dameon took, “Holy crap, man, that’s a big step. I’m proud of you.”
“Fuck off, Jake.” Dameon snapped back at Jake, “I didn’t ask you. I’m still a Demlo in the end. After this all, I’ll go back to my bar and end up being a piece of shit bartender in a crappy biker dive bar. So let’s get moving so I can feel better in the long run.”
“Ok, no more sweet moments. We’ve got some real work to do here. I can feel Bahlreq’s presence, and I feel that’s where Kimmy will be since his beef is with me, and he’s been using her to get to me.” Alaric rallied the other two to get back on the move. “If you have any advice or thoughts along the way on an easier way, let me know, Dameon.”
Nodding, Dameon responded, “Will do. At this point, I don’t think we can do much. As you can see, this place can be pure chaos so we may go unnoticed to Bahlreq anyway.”
Jake nodded and followed the other two as Alaric led them deeper into The Pit.
At the highest peak in The Pit sat an Obsidian Throne, the seat of The King of The Pit. Usually, Lucian would be seated on this throne; however, he had left some centuries ago, and no one in The Pit knew where he’d gone or what he went to do. There was a mighty struggle for power in The Pit after Lucian didn’t return in the first fifty years. One individual had won in a war of demons, and none who challenged his power had lived after. He was so ruthless he slew all those who vied for the throne’s power in the first place, just to be sure to set an example to the rest of The Pit of his power and tenacity, to set in motion the structure of his rule.
The jackal-headed god Anubis stood from the throne, looking toward Alaric and his crew’s arrival into The Pit, “what are you doing here, Alaric? What brings you and your friends to my domain?” He cocked his head and sneered slightly, “You best not be here to challenge for my throne.” Jumping down from the Obsidian Throne’s peak, he began, intending to intercept Alaric and his friends to find out why he was invading his realm.
The three men were making good time through The Pit; as far as they knew, nothing had been alerted to their presence. The environment was terrifying, however, monsters that stood as tall and taller than buildings walking through the blackish-red hills and mountains. Poor souls have been torn asunder, given a form of flesh for the sheer purpose of torture. Bodies hung from chains and hooks, while others were left in some form of skinning with muscle and sinew exposed. Some were even amputated, with the stumps exposed for various forms of torment. This was the very extreme definition of some hell. Bodies were left crying out on spikes, Demlo in various forms of decay or appearing much like the victims. However, they seemed to enjoy their appearance and the torment and horror it gave their victims.
“I had no clue this place was so horrific,” Alaric spat out in disgust, “I suppose these Demlo keep to The Pit then, and those with more acceptable appearances are allowed to traverse to the mortal realm.”
Nodding, Dameon responded, “Yeah, you nailed it pretty much. This is only one of the many realms of The Pit. There are various sides to it. You could say one for every type of personal hell. This is the most basic, honestly. That of torture of pain and the flesh. Those like us that come into The Pit are generally greeted with this version as it’s the most violent and has the most soldiers and Demlo to protect it. As you can see by the titans that exist in this realm.” He pointed to a grotesque titan with jagged spiked legs stepping over the three as they continued to walk.
Jake was mainly looking for any who may have noticed them. He had again taken his true form, that of Ares, holding his battle axe at the ready as well. “I’ve been to the Greecian version of hell, and it was very close to this, more fire and brimstone, but that could’ve been because of Hades. It was kind of his thing. My uncle was crazy, and I was sent once to give him a message, and he threw many of his minions at me; many were similar to this, but on a lesser scale, I would say. I’m glad these things don’t seem to care if we’re in their domain. I know my uncle’s minions swarmed me when I arrived.”
“Most of these are just existing, either experiments of Lucian’s or other various Demlo who exist here. They can think of some fucked up shit, as you can see. Most of them are just trying to see how horrific they can make things and see if they’ll still exist or just die, but of course, most of these things are immortal, so much to their dismay, they get to just exist in suffering, or be one dishing it out.” Dameon had started almost like a tour guide for The Pit.
Alaric had sensed something else, something of great power heading their way. Still, he hadn’t alerted the others of it, not wanting to alarm them, mainly because it seemed to be taking its time, however relatively close to them now and closing in, he felt it might be good to give them some kind of heads up so though wouldn’t be caught off guard. “So, something is heading our way. I’m not sure what, but it is something of great power, something even more powerful than you, Jake. I didn’t think a Demlo could be so powerful; however, if it’s some god-like yourself, maybe that is it. It doesn’t seem to be running at us, and it seems to be alone, so I’m hoping whatever it is, it’s not coming to kill us. Something about it does feel familiar as well.”
“What?! For fucks sake, you didn’t think to mention this sooner? I’m not supposed to be down here; for all we know, I’m the one they’re coming for.” Dameon said, concerned.
Gripping his axe tighter, Jake prepared for what might be coming, “Well, if that’s the case, whoever they are, if they want a fight, they’ll be in for a wild ride at least. I’ve got your back, Alaric, no matter what for Kimmy.”
Alaric nodded at Jake and looked to Dameon, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to let anything happen to you down here; you risked your existence by coming down here to help us. I know a lot of that was from my pushing, but in the end, it was always your choice, and we both know that. I respect what you’ve been through and that you still came along. There’s more to you than you give yourself credit for, Dameon.” Looking back to Jake, “Just don’t jump on whoever shows. We don’t know what their intentions are. They might just want to talk. It’s not Bahlreq. I know what his presence feels like. This is familiar, but I can’t pinpoint it.”
Dameon sighed and nodded, “Alright, but if shit goes down, I’m standing behind the two brick walls just in case.”
Jake nodded and chuckled, “I got you, man. Don’t worry; I know Alaric won’t let shit happen. We’re on a mission, and we need to save Kimmy.”
The three continued their journey as they moved through the terrain, making sure to miss the gaze of various Demlo on the ground; the titans that traversed around them seemed to just shamble the lands without care of what went on below them. Perhaps they were there just to terrify the mortal souls, which would do the job since nothing like them was known to mortals. Most of their religions didn’t even describe hell as The Pit. It was much more. However, some of the more ancient religions painted a very similar picture. They twisted and turned through the landscape as Alaric felt the being getting closer and closer until they finally turned a corner.
“Hello, Alaric. I’ve been expecting you.” In all his jackal-headed glory, Anubis stood twenty feet tall as he gazed down at the three who had entered his domain. “What and why did you come into my domain? Why have you invaded my realm? Is it for the Obsidian Throne? To overthrow me?”
Alaric rolled his eyes as he responded, “Anubis, I can’t remember the last time we met, but your presence is familiar. I’m guessing it hasn’t been recent, perhaps back in ancient Egypt, since I didn’t recognize the feeling until I saw you.”
Dameon used the size of Jake to hide behind him, not seeing that Anubis was focused on Alaric and not even interested in the other two with him. Jake positioned himself to best hide Dameon without being obvious and lowered his axe as it appeared the two wanted to talk. He didn’t want to cause any altercation due to his body language.
“Yes, it’s been some time, hasn’t it? So, is this how you come to try to vie for my throne?” Anubis poised in a cautious stance, ready for an attack.
Shaking his head, Alaric responded, “No, not at all. I don’t give a shit about your throne or whatever you have going on here unless you’re the one who sent Bahlreq to the mortal realm to be the bane of my existence?”
Anubis cocked his head to one side, “what?! Are you not here for me? The mighty firstborn of the Anglo didn’t come to The Pit to remove me from the Obsidian Throne?”
“Fuck no, I could care less about what you do down here. I’m here to save someone that Bahlreq took here from the mortal realm. He’s been harassing me, and I’m here to end it, whether it be me or him. One way or another, this ends today.” Alaric protested.
Anubis appeared shocked and took a step back, having worked himself up for a fight and had been let down actually. He knew that Alaric would have put up a fight for the ages. “Well, I can’t help but say I am a bit disappointed. I’m sure it would have been rather epic for us to do battle over the landscape of The Pit, but perhaps another time. I won’t interfere with your mission. Bahlreq has caused much division in the ranks of The Pit. He’s quite arrogant, and to be honest, I hope you are successful in ending him. It would actually kill a rebellion that’s been brewing by cutting off the head. I hoped I wouldn’t have to end the existence of so many Demlo; perhaps you’re my answer.” Anubis’ teeth gleaned at the three, appearing as if he was trying to give a smile with his jackal-type head.
Surprised by his response, Alaric responded, “Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but glad that my mission could be of help. Perhaps one day, we will have that epic battle you are wishing for. No one truly knows the future.”
“Well, don’t let me interrupt your mission Alaric. I give you good wishes on your travels and hope you succeed.” Nodding to the three and giving Dameon a wink actually, he then turned and bounded off back to the Obsidian Throne, feeling satisfied.
Dameon breathed a sigh of relief, “For fuck sake, that was close! Damn, Anubis has taken over The Pit? That’s not one I would’ve called at all, that is for sure.”
Jake nodded, “Yeah, and damn, I felt what you meant, Alaric. He is quite powerful. I mean, hell, I’m the god of war and have been around ages, even as long as him, but haven’t been a god nearly as long. If he’s taken The Pit under his rule, he must still have plenty of followers in the mortal realm feeding him power. That’s the only explanation for that feeling he was giving off.”
“Agreed. However, he didn’t impede us, and I feel our travels will also go much easier with his approval. And I see he didn’t mind that Dameon was with us, which is also good. Let’s get back on course and find Bahlreq, it sounds like he’s been recruiting an army for rebellion, and I’m hoping to avoid that and just have to deal with him, but we’ll see what happens. We’re getting close. I can feel him much stronger now, and he’ll be much stronger in his realm, so we need to tread carefully.” Alaric turned and moved on, leading the other two toward the presence of Bahlreq he was feeling.
They didn’t have to travel much longer before Alaric felt Bahlreq’s presence like an overwhelming stench. It permeated their area now like it was all around them. There were various Demlo around, from the colossal titans to the human-sized ones. They weren’t paying much attention to the three of them making their way toward the stench. Alaric started to find this odd that they weren’t being stopped. At this point, it wasn’t a matter of what Anubis had said or even done. Letting them get to Bahlreq untouched, this was beginning to feel more and more like a trap now. They were definitely in the Demlo’s territory, and any particular influence Anubis had done to help them on their journey left them a way back. For that matter, Alaric realized he couldn’t feel Anubis’ presence as Bahlreq’s was so overpowering now. This Demlo wasn’t just raising a rebellion. He was at the height of it and now was beginning to think killing Alaric was the first move of his show of power. To kill the firstborn, overthrow Anubis, and take rulership over The Pit. That had to be what he was planning.
“Alaric! Watch out!” Dameon shouted as he shoved Alaric to the side. It was like shoving a mountain. However, Alaric had been lost in his head and realized he was coming too, feeling off since his experience in The Gate and now this. Alaric’s weight was shifted just enough to avoid the danger Dameon had seen before him; however, due to Alaric’s size and strength.
“Dameon!” Jake shouted as he caught Dameon, who had bounced off Alaric and fallen to the ground. What appeared to be a giant Demlo ancient weapon, that of some kind of pike, had speared entirely through him.
The pike was jagged all over, including its long handle, coated in the blood of whoever had thrown the weapon. This empowered the weapon as it had bright red glowing runes spiraling down the entire shaft and points of the pike. The head was fashioned with two prongs sticking out, also glowing with runes. Dameon coughed up black blood and spat it out. “Don’t worry Jake, I… had a feeling I wasn’t going back… on this trip. I think I made it much further… cough than even I had thought I would. But this is a fitting end for cough me….” Dameon managed to choke out.
“What the fuck, man! No!” Alaric shouted, alarmed at what had just transpired. “This isn’t how anything was supposed to go. We were all supposed to make it back, even you! Why did you do that? I’m sure I could’ve taken that and survived.”He was genuinely concerned for Dameon for once, the Demlo who sacrificed himself to save Alaric.
Dameon smiled one last time, trying to say something, but only managed to spit up more black blood before his face and body went limp in Jake’s arms. His body exhaled the last bit of air it had retained as what life the Demlo had escaped in its finality.
“Well, well, well, Alaric, it looks like your first soldier fell already, you’ve already lost someone, and you won’t be far behind that pitiful excuse for a Demlo; he was a waste and why he was banished to the mortal realm. Now your death, however, I will savor greatly.” The bellowing voice of Bahlreq filled the air and drowned out all other sounds around them.
To be continued…
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