‘Angels and Ministers of grace, defend us.’ Hamlet (I.iv.3).
‘One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive. –Friedrich Nietzsche
The dominion of The Dark God, or The Lost One as he was once known by his brethren, is a dark and powerful world on the very edge of everything known, hidden behind layers of thick shadows and complete nothingness it was the most secure location to ever exist. Not even the gods themselves could ever locate this sanctuary and for billions of years it had gone untouched by everyone, save one insane and demented being of supreme power. Here The Dark God consolidated his power and began to set his plan for total domination into motion, his jealous eyes locked always on the shining jewel of creation, Earth.
When he and his brethren created Earth he realized very early on that their plan for a powerful race to watch over had been extremely flawed, and the humans as they were called were nothing more than mere shadows of what he had envisioned. He had wanted to wipe the little blue planet from existence and start over from the beginning so he could craft something more substantial, but the three others like him didn’t agree with his assessment. They believed that something special had happened and what they had actually created was completely unique, and no matter how many times they tried to do it again they could never replicate the exact set of events that had led to this ‘humanity’ that had been instilled in their people. Free will and extreme intelligence was the defining trait of these humans they had created and the others wanted to protect that. And protect it they did.
The Dark God was not the strongest of them and he knew he could never defeat them in open combat, so he fled from the known universe and hid along the fringe looking back in with pure hatred. He saw these humans as nothing more than a plague on everything they had created and he felt that they needed to be eradicated before they would destroy everything they had strived to build. His isolation drove him crazy and he began to sow the seeds for humanities downfall. Over the course of nearly a trillion years hiding in the abyss, The Dark God created his own planet and an army of beings that he believed would replace the frail humans when the shadow of death swallowed them up. They needed a general to lead them into battle though so he quickly turned his attention towards one of his most prized possessions, Ares.
While all four of the gods had combined their strength and power to make the immortals, Ares was his brainchild and it made him sick to see his greatest creation being used by his enemies. The Dark God knew his brethren were racing across the universe they had created together in search of him so he took that time to whisper to Ares and begin to poison his mind with lies and hate. The process was slow because he did not want the immortal to become aware of whom he really was, his brothers and sisters had surely told him that he was considered an enemy now. But after twenty thousand years of whispering the time was finally ready, he would unleash his fury on the mortal world and finally have what he desired so very much; the perfect race of beings.
The horns of war howled over the face of his planet and using his considerable power The Dark God opened powerful gates that connected with Earth, ushering death incarnate on the unsuspecting planet. Everything had been going according to his plan and even Ares was now on his side, forcing the other immortals to hide rather than fight his forces and from his vantage point, The Dark God knew it would only be a matter of weeks before he had won. He had been a fool though and only in the final moments did he see that he was playing right into the hand of his younger sister and her ability to see the flow of destiny and time. Of course she would have known what he had been up to and she alone would have stayed behind to save their precious little planet.
Everything had been set in motion and there was no way to alter the outcome, he was doomed to lose this battle but he refused to lose the war. Seconds before his portals were closed down by his sister he called Ares to his side and was already formulating a new plan of attack. His sister had used all of her remaining power to close his gates and save her humans, and as she died he could feel her life ebb away as the universe grew a little dimmer. He shed no tears for her though and now that he knew she was out of the way for good he could already see his victory looming just over the horizon.
Nearly twelve thousand years later he had reopened his portals once more. With his armies numbers replenished and a more powerful general to lead them he unleashed his scourge across the surface of the planet for the second time, only this time he would accept nothing less than total victory. The mortals were putting up a valiant fight, but he had yet to unleash his full might against them. When that happened the world would finally crumble into nothingness as he wiped it from existence completely. It was only a matter of time now as his hellish minions poured through the gates, leaving behind the nightmarish planet they were created on and turning the once shining beacon of creation known as Earth into a smoldering wasteland. Nothing would survive his wrath, and even the two remaining gods who had gone off in search of him had disappeared and had never been seen again. He would be the one true god!
‘We can’t thank you enough for taking the gate,’ Commander Mitchell said proudly as he gazed upon the red portal before them for the first time in person. The older gentleman moved to pat James on the back but quickly thought better of it as he saw the look in the immortals eye.
‘It came at a price,’ James answered, his voice lacking any type of emotion. It had been twenty minutes since his daughter Gabriella walked through the exact portal he was standing in front of and James felt emotionally drained. He wouldn’t be surprised if he never felt another emotion for as long as he lived, which was a considerable amount of time.
Commander Mitchell looked back down the street where his men had gathered to make a defensive perimeter around the portal and spotted the bodies of two fallen immortals hidden beneath field blankets. Now the man did place a gentle hand on James’s back and moved a step closer, looking him in the eyes with a sad expression on his face.
‘Don’t worry about your fallen James, my men will treat them with the utmost care. Their sacrifice will not go unknown to the world. They gave their lives so others could live and to me there is no nobler act than that.’
James silently nodded as he looked back at the bodies of a brother and a daughter he had just lost and felt his heart seize up and miss a beat as sadness gripped him tightly. His wife Amy had refused to move away from Anna’s body and even now as she was crowded by dozens of soldiers who came to pay their respects she knelt beside her and held onto her limp hand.
This was a real tragedy for all the immortals but Amy had been hit by it the worst and she still had fresh tears running over her pale cheeks as she struggled to get a hold of her emotions. She had been the one to find Anna in the streets of New York over eighteen years ago and save her from certain death at the hands of a vicious demon. This had all been before Amy realized she was an immortal and it meant so much more to both her and Anna that she had stepped in to save her because there was the very real threat of dying on the street then. Now to see that same person you saved lying dead at your feet and knowing that no matter much power any of them had now nothing could have been done to stop it was a crushing weight on her shoulders.
James really hoped she would be able to pull through this tragedy but he really couldn’t spare the time to hold her hand through it the entire way. The world was still under siege and most of the United States of America had been decimated by the swelling demon ranks assaulting them. While other governments of the world had accepted the presence and help of the immortals with open arms, the Americans distrusted them and took every opportunity they got to try and kill them on sight. With not a single immortal on American soil their military forces had been overwhelmed in many of their major cities and according to Commander Mitchell their fighting force had fallen to below fifty percent.
No matter the risk they had to take the chance and try to step in and help out the beleaguered US military as soon as possible. If the whole of the United States were to fall the demons would gain a foothold in their world that they would never be able to get back so it was imperative something was done soon. The Canadian military were fresh off their own stunning victories in their cities and had sent word out that they were sending troops towards the border to help out, but James doubted it would be enough. Too many states had been completely overrun already and the Canadians might realize it is a lost cause and just start fortifying their borders instead of risking multiple defeats that would shatter their forces almost completely.
‘What’s next for your forces?’ James asked as he turned back to Commander Mitchell and found the man a little red around the eyes.
‘The bulk of my men will stay here and kill anything that comes out of this gate while the others head out into the countryside and hunt down the ones that got away. The Prime Minister wants the whole of this country back under our control by the end of the week.’
‘If you need anything more from us just contact the Canadians and they should be able to put you in contact with me.’
Commander Mitchell clasped onto his hand and gave it a good solid shake before taking a step back and giving the traditional English salute with his palm facing away from his face. Not really sure how to respond James just smiled and nodded before turning back towards the others who were standing around looking a little too restless.
None of them had experienced this kind of loss before and he could tell they were struggling with their emotions as the need for revenge was getting stronger inside. A few of them including Samantha, Lucy, and Francis kept looking towards the portal like they were contemplating if they should go in there after Gabriella. No one truly knew what to expect on the other side and that was enough for them to fear it, but after everything that had happened with Henry and Anna dying the fear was only a nagging sensation in the back of their minds at that moment.
‘Are we going in there?’ Michelle asked with a quiver in her voice.
James already knew the answer to that question but the minute it was asked his heart started to beat faster and his brain screamed at him to yell out that yes, they were in fact going in there to protect Gabriella, but that would do no good for anyone. Earth was still struggling against this renewed invasion and if they just all upped and left they probably wouldn’t have a home to come back to. Besides Gabriella was more than powerful enough to handle herself alone in there and they would only get in the way when it came down to it. Whatever power she had under her control was more then James could ever comprehend and it seemed like a simple flick of her wrist was all it would have really taken to kill Ares.
‘No,’ he finally managed to push out with some reluctance, ‘We have one hell of a mess to clean up here before we can even think about leaving.’
‘What about Gabriella?’ Lucy asked aggressively and James couldn’t help but notice the contempt in the young woman’s eyes. She had been closest to Anna among the immortals and James knew she was eager to help avenge her death.
‘I don’t think she really needs our help,’ Michael said softly, ‘A lot of us always knew she would be truly impressive when she gained her powers, but the level of strength she showed here today was beyond anything anyone could have dreamt of. If anyone stands a chance heading deep into the demons territory it would be her.’
‘You can’t really believe she will be alright in there?’ Samantha bellowed and the soldiers who had been milling around the broken streets looked towards them as the buildings around them shook. ‘She’s just a kid!’
‘We don’t have a choice Sam!’ James answered loudly as he struggled to get things back under control, ‘America is falling and if the demons aren’t stopped there then they will destroy this planet! Gabriella’s went in there to make sure we never had to go through something like this again, but if we don’t fix the shit that is happening right on our doorsteps then her effort will have been for nothing! This is why we exist! To protect this planet and the people who call it home!’
A ripple of discourse ran through the group and out of the corner of his eye James could see that even Amy was having a hard time swallowing his words, no matter how true they were. Samantha opened her mouth to dispute his claim but Francis quickly stepped in and silenced her with a wave of his hand. He walked over towards James who stood before all of them and flashed him a weak smile as he adjusted his glasses on his nose and turned towards everyone else.
‘He’s right guys. Eighteen years ago we were just children struggling to come to terms with what was happening to our world, some of us even being unfortunate enough to be stuck in a city that was under attack. Just like me I know every one of you felt the sense of duty when we learned what we would grow up to become. Back then we didn’t have the power to protect the ones who needed protection the most, but now we do and we would be no better than Ares if we just turned our back on them! Gabriella is doing what she has to for this to end and we must do the same!’
Francis’s words struck home with every immortal as they thought back to those hard times as children being forced to watch their homes being destroyed and people killed in front of them. When he, Amy, and Erin had located all the new immortals that James had been told would appear they finally sat them all down together and told them what their destiny was. He had never seen a group of people more eager to grow up and accept their fate knowing that with the power they would gain they could save billions of lives. He didn’t believe they had lost that feeling over the years, just that with the recent events their emotions had been almost too powerful for them to overcome and they started to slip as people kept dying around them.
‘I’m sorry James,’ Samantha apologized as she looked at her feet instead of him. Lucy quietly said she was sorry too and Francis walked over to his wife and pulled her into a passionate hug.
‘It’s alright. It’s just sometimes I forget that you are all so young and not really used to the stresses that come in these situations. During the last war there were times when I just wanted to give up so I can understand where your heads are at. But right now there are more important things out there than just us and we are the only ones who can do what needs to be done. I can’t tell you that we will all make it through this but we have to always remember that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’
‘Did you just seriously quote Star Trek?’ Michael snorted and James couldn’t help but smile at that. He didn’t even realize it when he said it, but he did feel the words made a lot of sense right now. What was one of their lives compared to the billions of frightened people on the planet right now?
Now that he had everyone back on board James gave them their orders and sent them on their way to strategic points along the Canadian/American border where they could do the most good and get real time information on what was really happening. To formulate a strong plan of attack to get the US back under human control they would need to know where the weak points were on the demons lines so they could exploit it. Michelle was the last one to teleport away with instructions to check on Janice before heading to Canada where James would meet her in a few moments since her partner was no longer with them.
Knowing that Amy wouldn’t be able to pull herself away from Anna’s body he slowly walked over to her and knelt down right beside her. With a soft sigh he laid his hand over hers and their adopted daughters and felt the mixing of warm and cold on his skin. Amy looked up at him and blinked a few tears away that were sticking to her long eyelashes. She tried to muster a sad smile but it came off as a grimace and she quickly looked away once more.
‘Is it time to go?’ she asked in a tone that was barely a whisper and James could feel his heart break in his chest.
‘Yes it is for me,’ he said softly and Amy flashed him a look of pure shock that said she was caught between a rock and a hard place, ‘I want you to stay here and watch over them while we are gone sweetie.’
‘I…I’m going with you!’
Shaking his head James pulled his wife into a tight hug as she cried into his golden chest plate, ‘You and I both know you can’t leave Anna right now so I want you to stay with her. Besides someone needs to be here for when Gabriella comes back through the portal.’
Amy tried to pull her head away from his chest but he quickly hushed her and gripped her more tightly. He knew what she was going to say but he couldn’t stand to hear it out loud right now. Even with all the power their daughter had she still had to worry about The Dark God who would surely be no push over and they both knew it would take a miracle for her to come back through that portal again.
James clung to Amy in silence for a few minutes but he knew the time was coming where he would have to leave her and go into battle once again. Very little information was coming out of America and James had no idea what to expect when he got there so in the back of his mind he knew there was always the chance that this could be the last time he would look into his wife’s eyes. With that thought weighing heavily on him he pulled Amy into a long and passionate kiss that erupted from deep within his heart, pouring all the passion he had in him for her into the kiss so she would know just how much he truly loved her. Even though Amy had been with him in two separate lives they hadn’t been together all that long and he would always regret that, but he was thankful for what he had been given. She was his Amy. His Aglea. His one.
It took less than a fraction of a second to travel through the portal from earth to the demons home world, but Gabriella could feel every molecule in her body get torn apart and then put back into place the very next instant. It was a strange sensation and one that she would never get used to even though she had travelled in this manner on multiple occasions. The dark magic of the portal was extremely powerful and always unnerved her as she felt herself being reconstructed. In less time than it took to bat an eyelash though she was on the other side.
She had expected to be attacked the instant she had appeared and had readied herself for it, but the second she felt her feet sink into the ash covered ground she found herself utterly alone under the heavy black clouds that flashed red with lightning. The air here was thick and full of smoke from the millions of massive fires that dotted the planet and the smell of sulphur stung at her sensitive nose as she took a deep breath and got her bearings. This planet with the epitome of hell and Gabriella often thought the many religions that believed in such a place could never fathom something this horrible actually existed.
For twelve long years she had found herself imprisoned on this vile planet and she had hated every moment of it. Even when her mind had been warped by Ares and the magic of The Dark God she had hated the idea of them turning Earth into another planet like this. Compared to this place Earth was a heavenly oasis and she couldn’t imagine anything ever improving upon pure perfection. Just being back here right now ran counter intuitive to everything her body and mind wanted and she had to fight the urge to turn around and go back through the portal. There were more important things that had to be done and looking down at her hands she spotted the flecks of dried golden blood on them, a grim reminder of why she had chosen to do this. As morbid as it was for her to have the Anna’s blood caked on her hands she couldn’t bear to wash it away; it was the only reminder she had that Anna had actually been real and not just some demented vision Ares was subjecting her too.
Clouds of smoke and dust swirled about her feet as Gabriella started to walk away from the portal and towards her final fate. The fact that there wasn’t a single demon within miles of her right now was starting to freak her out a bit and she wondered what was really going on. Was she walking into the middle of a trap or ambush right now? That thought made her smile a little bit internally as she almost welcomed such an event to happen so she could use her new power again. She had to be smart though; she was here for one reason only and she couldn’t get side tracked or delayed. Every living thing on Earth was counting on her right now and she refused to let them down again. She could feel the anticipation of what she was going to do in her bones as the culmination of her entire life’s purpose was coming to a boiling point. If she could do only one good thing in her life this would be it, and what a way to go out it would be.
As the never ending swirl of heavy black clouds overhead continued to crackle with crimson lightning Gabriella left the gate far behind her and pushed on ever forward. With every step she took that kicked up large clouds of ash she couldn’t help but shake the feeling that she was being watched the entire time, but whenever she looked over her shoulder all she could spy was the shrinking gateway already far behind her. She was dealing with an almost all powerful and omnipotent being so it didn’t really surprise her that every step she took was being watched, but the fact that nothing was being done to stop her was really starting to freak her out. She should have at least seen some sort of opposition by now.
This world was teeming with billions of blood thirsty demons ready to sink their massive claws and giant teeth into any flesh they could find. Countless times during her time here she had even seen these hideous creatures attack one another in all out brawls that only ended when one group or a single demon was left alive. It was their way of life. They were bred for only one thing and that was all they could think about, so it was only natural that they would kill whatever was in front of them if they were getting too bored or just wanted to have some fun. There were even a few ancient demons lurking around that were the top of the food chain and had been so for billions of years. She had never seen these apex predators but Ares had spoken of them a few times, mostly when he was boasting how the immortals could never stand against the full might of his armies. He had planned to unleash them in a last ditch effort for a victory and from everything Gabriella had heard about them she didn’t think the others could stand against them when it came down to it.
As if The Dark God was reading her thoughts about these terrifying creatures, which he very well could have been, Gabriella heard the unmistakable sound of gigantic wings beating through the air, coming closer and closer to her. A large hill blocked her view of whatever was rushing towards her and she quickly jumped up to the peak so she could gaze upon a massive valley on the other side that was cut in half by a massive river of flowing lava that tinged the entire area in an orange glow. At first she couldn’t see the beast that was making the horrible loud noise that still continued to come closer, but as her eyes looked towards the roiling black sky she saw something that turned her blood cold; a massive spiked tail cutting through the cloud cover.
She instantly knew what she was up against and even with her new found powers she felt fear. She wasn’t afraid that she would die because in fact she hoped that’s the way it ended; she was just afraid she would never get to do what she needed to. The dragons in their own rights were fearsome creatures that even the immortals had to fear, but they were just adolescent offspring compared to what they really could be. The dragons themselves were immortals and always continued to grow larger and stronger through time, but fortunately most were killed off before they reached a thousand years old by the others. They are extremely intelligent creatures and even have a language of their own, but they saw combat as a game and often warred with one another just for the fun of it. They had been one of The Dark Gods first creations when he settled on this world and only one of his original brood remained to this day; the one they called the Brood Mother.
Well over a billion years old the Brood Mother was the strongest and largest dragon to ever exist, and she herself made sure it stayed that way. When a dragon got close to being a thousand years old it was said that the Brood Mother would kill it herself so she never had to fear someone coming after her if they got too cocky. While this infuriated Ares he was powerless to do anything to stop it, it was their way and Gabriella figured that deep down even he feared this terrible beast and what it could do.
The tip of the massive tail lifted back up into the clouds and Gabriella lost sight of the exact location of the Brood Mother, having to rely on her sense of hearing to locate the massive beating wings as it circled thousands of feet above her. For something so massive it could fly extremely fast and even with her enhanced hearing it sounded like it was everywhere above her as it continued to hide in the dark clouds. In a flash the pitch black sky exploded in a red and orange haze as a second later a massive jet of fire and lava spewed out of the heavens towards her. Even from a few thousand feet away she could feel the intense heat on her skin and she knew she could never withstand an attack this powerful; if she tried to she would be incinerated in less than a second leaving nothing behind by a bubbling puddle of skin and bone.
Gathering a tiny amount of her power inside her chest she quickly teleported away from the hill she was standing on, looking back just in time to see the ground erupt under the onslaught of heat and power. Some of the dragons she had encountered and fought in the past as part of her training had only been able to maintain short bursts of their deadly fire breath and once they used it all up it took hours to create more, so she was more than surprised when the direction of the pillar of fire shifted and started to move towards her once again in a never ending torrent. She once again teleported away in time but found the direction of the attack had once again shifted and even made up some ground on her as it was only a few hundred feet away from her now.
She couldn’t keep teleporting around trying to avoid this attack, especially if it was never going to end. She had to find a way to get up to where it was flying around her and fight it head on or she would be stuck in an endless loop of running away for eternity. Making up her mind she quickly teleported away once more, making sure not to backtrack to where she had already been; she didn’t want to end up getting stuck in the lake of lava left behind by the attack. As soon as she reappeared she launched herself into the air using all the physical strength in her body. Pushing all that power into her legs she propelled herself at a velocity she had never attained before and in the blink of an eye her body was clearing the massive cloud cover the blanketed the entire planet.
With no sun to provide light for the planet Gabriella found herself swallowed up by an inky blackness without even any stars for her to stare at. Her immortal eyes quickly shifted to filter out the darkness surrounding her and everything turned a shade of light grey as she caught sight of movement off to her left. Spinning around she could make out the massive head of the beast burst through the clouds below her, easily a few hundred feet long and just as wide. Wings with a span of almost a thousand feet flapped through the clouds and came into view as the Brood Mother lifted her heavy body higher into the air, dark and intelligent eyes narrowing on her tiny frame hanging high above.
Gabriella had never seen any living thing so big before but she didn’t have time to look over every amazing detail of this one of a kind dragon as yet another torrent of flame and lava spewed towards her. Using her power she flew out of the way but hadn’t been quick enough as the intense heat seared the flesh on the right side of her body. She could feel it blister almost instantly and as she put more distance between herself and the jet of flames she glanced at her right arm and saw her black and charred skin start to already heal over as a new pale layer grew over it.
‘I’ve had enough of this!’ she growled to herself as the dragon turned its head back towards her once more and let loose another blast of lava and flames. Before it could get anywhere near her this time Gabriella teleported out of the way, landing directly on the Brood Mothers sprawling back. Its massive wings were buffeting the air so bad she could barely keep her feet beneath her as gale force winds threatened to send her flying.
She dug her heels into the massive car sized scales and summoned her weapon back into her hand, the feel of cool liquid metal on her skin like a refreshing shower as her body was made whole once more. She pictured in her mind a massive ten foot spear and the weapon moulded itself to her specifications in a fraction of a second before she plunged it through the steel like scales and deep into the monsters back. Too late she realized the sheer size of this dragon would only make her attack feel like a small pinprick and only enrage it as it let out another terrifying roar that assaulted Gabriella’s eardrums before spinning into a barrel roll.
Gabriella hadn’t been expecting this at all and she lost her hold on the dragon as everything was turned upside down. Her grip on her weapon was strong but it only served to pull it free of the dragon as she started to plummet to the ground far below them, hidden beneath the black clouds trembling with red lightning. Gabriella tried to stop herself from falling but one of the Brood Mothers massive winds slammed into her body as it beat furiously through the air and she was tossed aside. The contact had been powerful and Gabriella’s eyes started to go out of focus as she struggled the regain her breath as the wind tried to slow her fast descent. Gathering her wits about her, Gabriella finally managed to stop falling a few feet away from hitting the cloud barrier only to get struck by the massive three hundred foot long tail the dragon wielded.
This time Gabriella felt her eyes roll into the back of her head as she was temporarily knocked out from the blow and there was nothing she could do to slow her fall. She regained consciousness a few seconds before she smashed into the planet, the ground giving way under the powerful assault as she fell into it. Her landing had cut out a crater easily thirty feet deep and well over two hundred feet wide, massive chunks of broken ground being tossed into the air. She had fallen like this a few times before so it didn’t really hurt her but it did serve to disorient her in the cloud of debris and dust as she struggled to figure out what was up and which was down.
As her head was still spinning she could hear the air literally sizzle as the dragon once more let loose its most devastating weapon. In a fit of pure panic she held her weapon high above her head as she came to her knees and pictured a massive dome in her mind, feeling the spear transform into it a moment later. It was a smart move and a few seconds later she was proved right as she felt the shield soak up the intense heat. The strength of the attack was so powerful she felt her knees dig deeper into the broken ground beneath her as she struggled to keep her grip on the one thing that was keeping her alive, her shield.
Even though her weapon was made from an ancient material more powerful than anything the immortals were using or even what Ares had been given when he had been transformed into that monster, it was starting to crack under the intense heat and pressure from the attack. The heat was starting to push through the liquid like material as it started to turn from flowing silver to a colour of something that had just been taken out of a blacksmiths furnace. There was no way it could take much more of this and the dragon flying above her seemed to realize this as well as it continued its attack, leaving no room for her to try and escape. She could try to teleport but it was taking everything she had just to make her weapon keep its shape, so if she tried to focus on something else she would most certainly be incinerated before she could even picture where she wanted to appear. She was going to die here if she didn’t think of something quickly.
The decision of what to do was quickly taken from her though as she suddenly felt the pillar of fire pointed directly at her disappear and cool air wash over both her dome and her skin that had been starting to blister. Not sure what to make of it Gabriella changed her weapon into a giant sword and gazed out into the dark sky to see what had happened. She was shocked by what she saw though. The massive Brood Mother was now flying just below the cloud cover high above her but was being swarmed by thousands of smaller and faster dragons that were pelting her with large fire balls that only seemed to ricochet off her massive scales and do no harm at all.
Another smaller dragon broke off from the attack and screamed through the air towards her. For a moment Gabriella gripped her weapon in her hand, fearing another attack, but she quickly realized the dragon was showing no aggression towards her. Its tail was kept in a straight line behind it and its jaws were kept tightly closed as it landed fifty feet away and went into a kneeling position. As it looked at her with massive eyes and growled gently, it shook its left shoulder as if trying to tell her something that she just didn’t understand. Against her better judgement Gabriella started to move closer towards the hulking beast before it, keeping the tip of her sword pointed to the ground to show she also meant no harm but also keeping enough power in her limbs so if she needed to she could attack in a matter of seconds.
The dragon didn’t move a muscle as she approached and when she was only a few feet away it bent lower in its half bow and pointed its giant shoulder at her. ‘You want me to ride you?’ she asked in shock and the dragon simply nodded at her.
Was this really something she should be doing? She didn’t think she could trust the dragons on anything, especially with keeping her safe, but something seemed different here. With the combat raging high above them this dragon should be pumped, extremely excited to get back up into the fray as it was nothing more than a fun game for it to play; but this one was completely serious and even seemed to be a little afraid. Taking a deep breath Gabriella lifted her light frame onto the large back of the dragon and took hold of a couple of scales and held on for dear life as it launched itself high into the air, the large wings beating on either side of Gabriella.
The dragon flew almost as fast as she could and in a few seconds they were with the thousands of other dragons assaulting the Brood Mother who was flailing through the sky trying to strike at anything within her reach. The dragon Gabriella was riding let loose a massive fire ball that caught the brood mother right on the face, searing away the more sensitive scales as others began to target her there at the same time. Gabriella felt helpless just sitting on the back of the creature out of range from helping with the attack, but she figured the dragon had a plan for her and she would just have to wait and see what that was.
Blinded by the dazzling light from the thousands of fireballs the Brood Mother began to thrash even harder, taking out a few dragons with her massive tail and a couple more that strayed too close to her massive mouth that swallowed them whole. The dragons that remained flew under the Brood Mothers neck and launched themselves at her throat, thousands latching on with their massive claws and large mouths. Thick red blood began to pour out from the thousands of wounds as they continued to hold on and Gabriella had to use some of her own power to keep herself on her dragons back as she suddenly found herself at a ninety degree angle.
Seeing this as maybe her only opportunity to do something, Gabriella quickly leapt off her dragons back and flew up onto the Brood Mothers massive head that was thrashing back and forth. She quickly dug her heels between the small spaces in the scales and rode out the frantic bucking of the Brood Mother as she tried viciously to get the small insects off her throat. Sensing that she didn’t have much time Gabby quickly rushed forward until she was standing right behind the massive dark eyes of the ancient dragon and changed her weapon once more into a long spear. With all her strength she stabbed at the eye she was standing at and felt the squishy flesh give way under the attack until her hand was nearly touching the bleeding eye at the hilt of the spear. Closing her eyes quickly she pictured in her mind a forty foot spear and she felt the liquid like material of her weapon begin to shift as it pushed deeper and deeper into the Brood Mothers Skull.
With the combined attacks of her and the other dragons Gabriella could feel the life of the Brood mother start to slip away as her spear punctured the massive brain. The Brood Mothers massive wings stopped beating and her whole body relaxed as she started to fall out of the sky.
‘Shit!’ Gabriella swore as she realized the new predicament she was in. She quickly let go of her weapon and launched herself into the air as the Brood Mother plummeted and a second later smash into the ground below, cracking the planet almost in half under her weight.
Before she could even fully appreciate what they had just done a thousand dragons descended upon her, closing ranks on one another until she found herself almost completely encased by a wall of dragons on every side. She quickly regretted letting her weapon go because she knew that if she made any move to summon it again they would blow her out of the sky in a heartbeat.
Suddenly a single dragon appeared before her, flying up from below and facing away from her, looking out on the others that seemed ready to kill her right there. Gabriella couldn’t be sure but she was almost certain this was the same dragon that had given her a lift a few moments earlier and it almost looked like it was doing her another favour. It was screeching loudly at the others in a language she couldn’t hope to comprehend, but judging by the angry looks on the others it almost seemed like it was telling them not to attack her.
Close to four minutes of screeching, roaring, and belching flame passed and to her surprise the rest of the dragons began to fly away, disappearing in the distance. The one that had just saved her once again turned towards Gabriella and screeching something at her that almost sounded like a ‘You’re welcome’ before bowing it’s massive head and flying after the rest of its kind. Still half in shock at what had just happened Gabriella summoned her weapon back into her hand once more and gathered her bearings as she looked for the tell-tale signs of The Dark Gods location; massive forks of lightning that were constantly reaching up to the sky instead of down to the ground. Only feeling a little overheated Gabriella headed off in that direction, sure that nothing could touch her anymore.
Standing on the Canadian side of the Ambassador Bridge James looked out over the churning waters of the Detroit River and beyond. Through the haze of smoke he could make out The Motor City on the opposite bank and knew the city was burning from the inside out as the demons ravaged everything in their sight. Windsor, Ontario had been spared the blight of a Nexus Point during the initial attack but once the demons had burst forth from the gate in the heart of Detroit they set their sights on the city at the other end of the bridge and had wandered over it. The Canadian Military feared such an event might happen and had dispatched units to deal with whatever came their way, easily cutting down any demon stupid enough to pop its head up on the wrong side of the bridge, holding the city of Windsor tightly.
The demons in Detroit had cut down whatever military opposition the American Government had been able to throw at them and now were in complete control of the once proud city responsible for most of the American built cars on the road. The soldiers that had not been killed in the initial assault had fallen back to the river and along with the Canadians had secured a small patch of land at the mouth of the bridge on the other side and were holding on for dear life. Canadian Military Intelligence was starting to get antsy though now that the demons were starting to get ready to find a way over the river and onto their territory. The military had already destroyed the other bridges across the river and even collapsed the tunnel that linked the two cities, leaving the Ambassador Bridge alone for when they felt ready to move in and try to wrest control of Detroit from the enemy’s hands. The scattered bits of intelligence coming out of the city from military operatives said that time was quickly running out and their recommendation was to destroy the last remaining bridge before they too were overrun.
When James had first arrived and heard this recommendation he strongly told the military leaders that destroying their one and only link with Detroit would not slow down the demon advance on Canadian soil and would only serve to cut off their own attack plans. They needed to get a military presence in the city now or it would be lost forever, and from this location the demon armies could easily take over most of the Eastern United States with New York, Washington, and Chicago already under siege and unable to lend any of their military power.
Michelle stood just off to the side of where James was looking out over the frothy waters of the river and looked as if she was in deep concentration as she hadn’t said a single word to him since he had arrived. Losing Henry was still haunting her and James could understand, they had been very close together when they ascended and had been training partners from day one. They had been really close friends and James could understand that she wasn’t in the best place right now but he needed her at one hundred percent for the battles that were coming. He couldn’t afford to be looking over his shoulder every second to make sure she was okay.
‘It’s almost time,’ he said to her softly, not taking his eyes off the river in front of him. He could feel Michelle shift uneasily behind him as she took his words in and processed their meaning. She would be thrust back into another fight.
‘Are we going in with the military?’ she asked him.
‘If we want to take this city back then yes, we will have to go in with the military.’
‘Why don’t we just call the others and do it ourselves? We’re supposed to be protecting human lives, not willingly leading them into the most dangerous areas on the planet.’
Finally James turned to the small woman at his side and looked deep into her big eyes noticing the tears hidden at the edges. ‘There’s a fine line between helping humanity and doing all the work Michelle,’ he explained, ‘Unlike the last time humans have the means to fight back and actually win. This is their planet too and they are more than willing to do whatever it takes to gain control of it once more. For civilization to continue moving forward sometimes sacrifices need to be made and this is one of them. No one is ever alone when they are confronting their worst fears, they need but reach out and ask for help.’
‘So you’re saying we are offering them our help?’
‘No it’s the other way around. We are asking for their help today. There are a lot of battles that need to be won for the day to be ours and there are not enough of us to do it all on our own. We could concentrate our forces into a single city like we have been but that wouldn’t really get us anywhere. While we are focused on one area the demons are already swarming hundreds of others.’
Michelle turned back to the river and looked out over it thoughtfully while James watched her. The one thing he had and would always see as the first immortals downfall was their utter disregard for humanity. They were superior in absolutely every way to humans and living so detached from the world had clouded their judgement. Humans were not the weak animals that Ares saw them as. A single human on their own was scared and weak, but when they got together in large groups and gave themselves fully to a single objective there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish. Humanity as a whole was a truly terrifying entity and today they would prove that not only to the demons and The Dark God, but to themselves as well.
Ten minutes passed while James and Michelle looked out over the river in silence before a man in military garb walked up them, his black assault rifle slung over his shoulder and fully loaded. He stopped a few feet short of James and saluted before introducing himself.
‘Captain Ericson, Two PPCLI.’
‘What’s going on?’ James asked.
‘My commanding officers have taken your recommendation into consideration and have issued orders. We’re going across the bridge.’
‘That’s great news Captain. How long until we leave?’
At the mention of we instead of you Captain Ericson’s face lit up and quickly saluted once more before continuing. ‘Five minutes. We’re going to hit Detroit with everything we have and the LAVs are already getting ready to go. We have a dozen Sea King Helicopters going as well to place men behind the demons lines and try to clear a path out for the LAVs to get to the gate. This should be a lot easier now that you’re going in there with us.’
‘I wouldn’t get your hopes up captain,’ James sighed, ‘There’s still plenty of fight to go around and getting this city back is going to cost us all dearly. Keep your head down out there and tell your men the same.’
Captain Ericson saluted once more and then rushed back towards the forward operating base they had set up on the edge of the river, taking over most of an entire city block. A few minutes later the first Light Armoured Vehicles, or LAVs rolled out over the on ramp and started to cross the bridge slowly as close to thirty more followed behind. James and Michelle had decided to escort the Sea Kings in by air just in case they came across any dragons or other surprises. They would be the only protection the men squished into the large flying shoe boxes had.
As they soared over the wide river the air was filled with the noise of massive metal rotors chopping through the air at high speeds and James was reminded of a scene from a war movie he had watched nearly thirty years ago. In the movie the American Military had been fighting warlords in the streets of a dusty city instead of horrific demons on their own turf. The one scene that had always impressed him was when the two dozen or so Blackhawk helicopters had been flying over the city, the rotors cutting through thick clouds of black smoke meant to disorient them. As they soared over the streets of Detroit now it was almost like a mirror image, but this was no movie.
James and Michelle landed softly in a narrow and abandoned street flanked on all sides by large, half dilapidated buildings that had probably been that way before the demons had arrived again. Two large Sea Kings hovered over their heads and dropped long cords of rope as armed men and women repelled down to the ground before setting up a small perimeter in case anything tried to sneak up on them before everyone could even get out of the helicopters. The sounds of war could already be heard coming from the direction of the river behind them and James had to fight the urge to go and check up on the armoured vehicles. He had these people to watch over and they were in the very heart of the city now.
With the military leading they began to do street by street sweeps of the surrounding area while they were being relayed information on enemy troop movement from a helicopter that ran scouting runs high above them. With the military’s firepower and James and Michelle’s combat prowess they made quick work of the first few small packs they came across, leaving a trail of thick black blood in their wake as they pressed on through the torn up streets and half destroyed buildings. The concussive bangs in the distance marked the LAV convoy was moving steadily forward but James kept his focus on where they were right now. The amount of firepower the LAV Company had with them they would be able to take almost anything head on, and if they came across something that was beyond their abilities James had no doubt they would radio ahead to them and ask for assistance. The Canadian military didn’t have any problems relying on the immortals helping them out.
James held his swords over his head in an X-formation and blocked a demons attack just before the long and exceedingly sharp claws tore through his skull while Michelle leapt in from behind him and stabbed the demon in the face, twisting her sword to the left and tearing its head off from the jaw up. They had just gotten jumped as they passed a smoke filled alley and the sound of automatic gun fire rang through the streets as tiny shards of metal ripped into the mass of demons advancing on them. Hearing someone from behind him yell out to hit the deck James and Michelle hugged the wall and got down onto their knees a second before a rocket ripped through the small space and erupted into a massive fire ball that tossed demons flying in every direction.
‘I think we’re getting close!’ Michelle yelled out over the din of combat and James agreed. The demons numbers now seemed to be almost infinite as they continued to cut them down but found no end of them in sight. No longer were they just pouring out from the narrow alley where they had a choke point set up, but also coming over the shattered roofs and landing right in their midst.
The blood curdling screams of men been ripped apart filled James’s ears now as he turned back to see the bulk of the military under close quarters assault. As quickly as possible James rushed in with a blur of gold and started to slice, stab, and kick any demon in reach. There were just too many of them though and ten men and women had been killed already while the others tried to fall back to a safer position. Michelle maintained her position on the alley with a handful of soldiers as they tried desperately to stem the flow of demon reinforcements but James could tell they wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer at the rate people were falling. He had his hands full as it was right now as it was fighting a group of demons that were trying to flank them.
Just as James was beginning to think they were going to lose all the soldiers that had come with them the familiar sound of helicopters rotors chopping through the air could be heard on the other side of the buildings they had their backs to. A few seconds later the CH-146 Griffons crested over the buildings and unleashed their 7.62 mm Miniguns on the streets below, tearing into the demons caught in both the alley way and trying to climb over the roofs to flank them. The terrible high pitched whine of the brutal guns cut out all other sounds as thousands of empty shell casings rained down on them from above and all James could do was look on in awe as the helicopters cleared the way out for them. With Michelle leading and James protecting the rear the soldiers started to push their way forward as they were covered from the air. The Gryphons flew off in front of them, their guns still spitting bullets as they continued to pave the way for them on their assault towards the gate.
There was no more easy going for them and every inch they gained cost them in blood. The demons seemed to realize what they were up to and were throwing everything they had at them to prevent them from getting any closer to the gate. It was the same way across the entirety of the Canadian-American border as constant updates from the other groups were starting to filter in saying that they were meeting heavy resistance. James knew it was do or die time and the next hour would determine the fate of human kind and the planet earth once and for all. If they didn’t take those gates and start to reverse what the demons were doing everything would be lost and there would be no more getting it back.
Another rocket flew over James’s head as he cut down three demons at once with his golden swords, spilling their blood all over the already slick rubble strewn streets. They hadn’t stopped moving since they had been trapped by the alley and as they rounded another corner the thick smoke that had been obscuring their vision suddenly cleared as the massive waves of heat radiating from the portal burnt almost everything away. They had finally made it but it had been a mistake to openly round the corner, one they had been forced to make because of the hundreds of demons chasing them down from behind. Between them and the gate was a massive force of demons over a million strong that had been waiting to surprise them when they arrived. Being forced to run right out into the middle of the street the demons had spotted them quickly and were already closing in for the kill.
The second he realized the trap they had just run head first into James wanted to call on the other immortals for help but remembered that they were currently embroiled in their own conflicts elsewhere, leaving he and Michelle to tackle this one on their own. There was no way they could watch both their flanks in a fight of this size and the soldiers seemed to realize this as well because they turned their attention to the small force of demons hounding them from behind, giving James and Michelle time to deal with the bigger numbers.
‘This looks like fun,’ Michelle growled as she planted her feet for the initial wave and held her large sword above her head like Erin had taught her.
‘Just focus on staying alive!’ James ordered knowing that she still wasn’t fully over what Ares had done earlier, and if she was ever looking for a way to go out with a bang now would be that time. He needed her fully aware that was not an option though, if she fell then he certainly would too and the military that was already trapped in the cities limits would stand no chance. Detroit and all of the Eastern Seaboard would be lost. That was not going to happen!
The first wave hit them like a ton of bricks and James, who had his feet planted firmly, was actually pushed back several feet as he tried to throw the demons on him off. Swords, talons, claws, and gnashing teeth filled his vision as he and Michelle fought back with everything that had. They worked well enough as a team but there were times when they had to cover for each other as their fighting patterns and movements opened up vulnerable spots in their defence. They were both quick enough that it didn’t make that big of a difference but James couldn’t help but think about how much he missed Amy at this minute. They fought so well together in battle it was almost like they shared one mind and could easily anticipate what the other was going to do before they even did it.
The ground they stood on was more blood then carved up pavement now and was littered almost as far as the eye could see with dead demon bodies and severed limbs that James or Michelle had taken, refusing to give them back to their wailing owners who moved to the back of their ranks. Through the sound of the demons wailing at them and the sound of their weapons cleaving through bone James kept an ear open on the battle going on behind them just in case they were overrun. Fortunately their weapons were still thundering on and James could make out the frantic screaming of orders as the commanding officers changed their tactics on the fly.
Covered from head to toe in thick black blood and his weapons weighing a few more pounds now then they had been at the start of the fight James continued to hack and slash his way through the demons that were pressing in on them from every side. There were just too many though and he knew he couldn’t hold out much longer, they were going to need help fast or they would be crushed beneath the tidal wave of black flesh being thrust at them. Glancing over to Michelle who was protecting his left side he could see the toll the battle was taking on her and the lack of rest. With having to watch over Janice and fight in all these battles Michelle hadn’t been given a single minute to just recharge her strength and it was starting to show. Her attacks were getting sloppy and slower as she continued to push forward with him, trying to match his pace but failing as she started to lag behind.
James quickly jumped in front of her realizing she was at the limit of her physical strength and cut down anything that got close to either of them. Even the gun fire from behind them was starting to become sporadic and there were far fewer of the weapons actually still being used as men and women alike fell beneath the onslaught. They had fought hard and bravely but it was just too much from them and the end of their pain was quickly nearing. James only hoped that all their deaths would be quick and painless, but he doubted the demons had any sense of mercy.
As his own arms started to protest with each swing the very air around him exploded with a massive bang and a second later the demons in front of them were blown into tiny bits as a tank shell smashed into the ground just beneath their feet. James quickly grabbed a hold of Michelle and launched himself backwards, away from the demons that were still coming at them, and to safety. No sooner had they landed ten more explosions ripped apart the street and any demon unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity as M1 Abrams and LAVs poured forward in a long stretching line and began to open fire with their superior ordnance.
Whatever had been left of the American military presence inside the city had hooked up with the Canadians as they rode through and together they had pushed their way towards the gate, arriving at the very last moment to save them. Sea Kings, Apache Longbows, and Gryphons hovered over their head deploying hundreds of soldiers and opening fire on the demons below them with their impressive Gatling guns that cut the enemy to shreds as the military put on a show that James watched intently. This was more than he could ever have hoped for and he was impressed that man could rally so fiercely together like this.
Michelle started to get back to her feet and tried to move closer to the fighting as the soldiers openly engaged the demons in the streets only a few hundred feet away from the gate that was continuing to spawn them. ‘Stay put and rest,’ James whispered gently into her ear but she quickly shrugged him off.
‘We have to help them!’ she replied fiercely.
‘No we don’t Michelle. Just look at how well they are doing on their own.’
Michelle stopped trying to shake him off and watched the battle with all her attention as man clashed with pure evil head on. Constant gun fire tore through the rattled air and black blood sprayed into the air as hundreds of demons were cut down in seconds. The earth shaking thud of tanks firing ripped whole groups of demons apart while the helicopters high above laid down a never ending stream of bullets on the gate itself as they killed anything stupid enough to try and come out. Men and women all around them were dying but their loss had not been in vain as a renewed effort from the military continued to push the demons back to their gate until finally they were tossed back.
‘They actually did it!’ Michelle exclaimed.
The demons who had been pushed back continued to try and come back through the gate but the second they appeared they were cut down. The war was far from over but they had taken the first step to victory and the other immortals around the country were starting to report similar victories. James knew they would have to keep going from city to city until they had all been taken back, but with the military finding a new source for morale he knew it would only be a matter of time. Everything rested in Gabriella’s hands now.
Gabriella jumped high into the sky but let gravity pull her back down as she thrust her silvery sword into the ground, rupturing the very planet as a tidal wave rippled through the crust and outwards in every direction. The ground turned into a living weapon as it heaved outwards and killed every demon in a two mile radius around her, their bodies being buried under the massive onslaught. With every demon Gabriella killed she consumed their strength and continued to grow stronger and stronger. She didn’t even feel threatened when she happened upon a few billion demons that were protecting the inner most sanctum of The Dark Gods world. In a single devastating attack she slaughtered every single one of them and felt bolstered by the new strength filling her.
Not even bothering to walk over the bodies of her enemies Gabriella used her power to float ten feet over the ground towards her goal, the massive ten mile diameter hole that bored through to the very core of the planet. Millions of years ago The Dark God had hidden himself beneath the surface of his planet in fear of the other gods finding him and he had never left his little oasis since that time. Just being this close to it Gabriella could feel the gods tremendous power flowing over her like a strong wind and she had to squash the feeling of dread starting to build up in the back of her mind. This was what she had worked for. She would have her revenge finally.
Gabriella positioned herself directly over the center of the massive tunnel and stopped as she gathered her thoughts. She gripped her sword tightly in her hand and double checked her armour to make sure she didn’t leave any vital spots open. Everything seemed to be perfect but she still hesitated and she couldn’t figure out why. She wasn’t afraid of dying so that wasn’t it. She just knew though that she had to come out on top in this fight or everything her family was fighting for would be lost eventually. The sacrifice of all the immortals that had fallen before her would be in vain, especially Anna’s.
The image of Anna’s smiling face popped into her head at that moment and Gabriella had to stifle a sob that was threating to hit her. She couldn’t let the sacrifice Anna had made be for nothing. Anna deserved so much more than that and that is why she had come here in the first place; to make Anna proud of her. Gabriella knew she had hurt her badly in the past and she had to make it up to her.
‘This is for you Anna,’ she said softly as she looked up into the black clouds hoping that wherever she was Anna would be able to hear her one last time. ‘I’ll be with you soon my love.’
Taking a deep breath Gabriella let go of the power she was using to float high above the hole and started to fall into its depths. The wind howled back up at her in protest as she reached terminal velocity, all light from the surface lost in the deep vastness of the tunnel she was thrown into complete darkness as the power of The Dark God only grew stronger and stronger. It took her twenty minutes of free fall until she landed softly at the very center of the planet, an orange glow permeating the darkness from a massive lake of magma surrounding her.
Gabriella found herself standing on a small stone pathway that led through the lake of magma and towards a massive obsidian staircase on the other end. As she walked along the path, her sword held at the ready, the magma around her hissed and popped with each step and Gabriella wondered if it was sentient. She had the distinct feeling that if she made one wrong move the magma would actually reach out at her and try to drag her into it, burning her alive.
‘Come closer my dear,’ a soft almost feminine voice whispered from the top of the stairs Gabriella was nearing. She chose not to answer the voice as she started to make her way up the long stairway, the smooth obsidian beneath her feet almost like ice. ‘That’s right, almost there.’
A few seconds later Gabriella walked up the final stair and now found herself high up on a stone platform that hovered over the massive magma lake below her. On the other side of the platform was a massive black throne that looked to be made from the same material as the demons weapons, and sitting in the throne was the small form of what appeared to be a young child with dark black hair and big brown eyes. Gabriella could see through the disguise though and this was no little child; the power emanating from his small frame was more powerful than anything she had ever encountered before. She had thought Ares was the most powerful being to ever exist but next to this god he was as harmless as a bunny rabbit.
‘The prodigal child has returned,’ The Dark God smiled showing a row of perfectly lined up and pristine white teeth that almost looked fake, ‘I’m so happy to have you by my side.’
‘I’m not here to be your little pet!’ Gabriella spat, ‘I’m here to kill you!’
Without saying another word Gabriella rushed towards the god and thrust her sword out before her intending to impale the child like entity on the end of it. A foot in front of the god her weapon suddenly hit an invisible barrier and shattered on impact sending millions of liquid splinters flying through the air as The Dark God laughed manically at her feeble attempt. With a simple gesture of his hand Gabriella was hit with a strong force that sent her flying backwards towards the edge of the platform and almost off the ledge. She dug her feet into the ground as hard as she could and came to a screeching halt with her heels already half off.
‘Is that any way to treat your elders?’ the god laughed and got up from his throne, taking a few steps away from it and towards her. ‘I just want to have a friendly little chat and here you are being all mean!’
‘I WILL KILL YOU!’ Gabriella bellowed and concentrated all of her power deep into her chest just like she had done against Ares. Feeling the power resonate through her bones and build up to its climax she released it, aiming the entire blast directly at her enemy. The silver bubble struck The Dark God directly in the chest and sent him tumbling back a few feet but otherwise unharmed. Realizing her attack had been a failure she pulled her energy back into her body and panted from the exertion it had taken.
‘I must say that was stronger than I thought it would be,’ the child smiled as he picked himself up from the ground, ‘You’ve come a long way from that scared little girl who tried to take Ares on. I am very impressed.’
‘Just die already!’
With her weapon destroyed Gabriella rushed at the god with all the speed she possessed, hoping to catch him off guard and possibly toss him off the platform and into the magma far below them. It was a long shot but it was really the only option she had left at this point. The Dark God had seen the attack coming though and before Gabriella could even take two steps she felt her feet lift off the ground as the god used his considerable power to hold her in place, limiting all of her body’s movements like she was paralyzed from the neck down.
‘There, that’s much better don’t you think? Now we can talk like adults,’ the god said with a certain sense of entertainment, ‘I am very aware that you wish me dead but if you haven’t guessed by now it’s not really a possibility for you. Don’t get me wrong, you are stronger than you could ever imagine but you’re not quite up to my level if you know what I mean,’ he said gesturing to the predicament she found herself in now.
‘Why don’t you just kill me and get this over with already!’ Gabriella demanded but The Dark God just smiled sweetly at her like he had no idea what she was talking about. This child like façade was really starting to creep her out and she wished he would have chosen something a little less disturbing.
‘My dear girl I don’t want to kill you! I mean I will if you force me to but that’s not at all what I want. I want to make you a very generous offer to come back to my side and finish what Ares started.’
‘There is nothing you could give me that would make me do your dirty work!’ she growled but was once again met with a sweet and innocent smile.
‘Are you sure?’ The Dark God asked with a wink of his large eye, ‘Think about it my child. What’s the one thing you want more than your own life? I can give it to you!’
With that the god waved to his side and a shimmering golden light appeared that quickly grew stronger and brighter as it began to take a human form. It only took a few seconds for Gabriella’s life to get turned upside down once more as she felt fresh tears start to sting her eyes and wet her cheeks. Standing next to The Dark God was a live and breathing Anna, her eyes shimmering at the sight of her.
‘Gabby!’ Anna cried out and rushed towards her. Just before Anna wrapped her strong arms around Gabriella the power holding her in the air let go of her and she fell right into Anna, embracing her with everything she had.
‘How is this possible? I saw you die!’ Gabriella cried out as she buried her face in Anna’s warm shoulder.
‘I am a god my child, I can do whatever I wish.’ The Dark god explained and Gabriella had to use all her will power to pull herself out of the hug and face him, taking a defensive stance between Anna and this evil.
‘Why would you give her back?’
‘Consider it a gift for seeing things my way. All you have to do is finish what has already been started on earth and the two of you can go and find some cozy little planet on the edge of the universe where you can spend the rest of eternity in each other’s arms.’
Anna must have seen the twinkle of hope hiding in Gabriella’s eyes about this thought because she quickly pulled her so they were facing each other once more, her face hard and her eyes cold. ‘Don’t even think about it Gabby. He’s up to something; why else would he offer you such a deal? He’s afraid!’
‘Afraid?’ The Dark God laughed loudly, ‘I fear nothing you insolent little whelp! The Immortals created by the Four Gods were never given the power to kill their masters! Do you think us stupid?’
The Dark Gods words struck Gabriella right in the heart and she could feel any hope she had left start to flee her grasp as she remembered how easily this powerful entity had swatted her aside. Looking into Anna’s eyes though she found that she had not lost that hope and in fact she was grinning stupidly as her eyes lit up and captured Gabriella. Anna wrapped her arms once more around her and gently kissed her before moving her lips right to her ear.
‘You were never created by the gods Gabby. You can do this.’
‘I can’t lose you again Anna,’ Gabriella whispered back sadly knowing that this would probably kill everyone on the planet.
‘I know you can’t baby, but you have to do this. Don’t let me live knowing for the rest of eternity that I am just the last trick of a scared god. Don’t let me live knowing that we could have saved everyone we love.’
‘But nothing Gabby! You know how much I love you but you have to finish what you started. Do it for me, do it for your parents, and do it for every living creature in the universe.’
Gabriella’s conscience was at war with itself as she struggled to figure out what was the right thing to do here. She had been given a second chance with Anna and she couldn’t just throw that away could she? On the other side though if she were to be selfish then others would pay for her actions, could she allow that to happen? She was so torn about it all but as she gazed deep into Anna’s eyes she could see that her answer had always been there. Anna had been right, she was just a mere shadow The Dark God had thrown at her to try and dissuade her from attacking him. He was such a powerful being but she could feel his fear in the air. He was afraid of her because she had not been created by any god and as such could kill them if she wanted to.
‘I love you Anna,’ she whispered and kissed Anna hard on the lips before she could say it back.
‘You’ve made the wrong choice!’ The Dark God raged and Gabriella pulled herself away from Anna one last time. The child’s eyes had turned to pure red and a shadowy dark aura was surrounding his body as he tapped into his amazing powers, preparing to kill them both.
‘No you did when you made Ares spare my life!’ she roared and let go of all of the power she had been storing in her very core.
With every ounce of strength she had in her entire being she attacked The Dark God with her most powerful attack, the silver bubble of pure energy reaching out towards him. Once again it penetrated whatever invisible shield he encased his body with and sent him flying backwards through the air. Gabriella kept the attack going this time, not letting him get back up and retaliate. In a single swift movement Gabriella grabbed hold of the gold sword Anna had summoned and rocketed across the room at a speed faster than light, driving the weapon through The Dark Gods skull with all of her strength.
The instant the metal pierced his head his entire body was engulfed by the silver light surrounding both he and Gabriella. The young woman could feel as his body was absorbed by the attack and his blood curdling screams of rage lost in the torrent of noise produced from the attack. As she herself succumbed to her own attack, no longer being inside the protective bubble that surrounded the point of origin, Gabriella felt her own body start to dissolve in the warm light.
She would never know that the entire planet around them started to crumble in on itself or that Anna leapt into the silver bubble after her, losing herself in the devastating power. She would never know that the entirety of the unknown regions of space outside the Universe suddenly collapsed in on itself and imploded, leaving no trace that anything had been there at all. Lastly Gabriella would never know that the powers holding the portals open on Earth suddenly gave out and every single one of them closed forever.
One Month Later
Earth had been severely scarred by the Nexus Points and the demon invasion that almost engulfed all of creation, but only one month after the last gate closed it was finally starting to heal. Governments, cities, and citizens the world over had once and for all put aside their hatred, greed, and racism to rebuild what had been so easily taken from them. Everyone helped everyone to restore what had been lost and for the first time in history the world was no longer at war. For an entire month not a single person had died from anything other than natural causes.
The immortals that had fallen during the last invasion had been given military burials witnessed by every single person on the planet, whether they were one of the countless millions in attendance or in their homes watching on the newly restored television networks. Not a single person missed the event of a lifetime.
Anna, Erin, Henry, and Michael were entombed in a massive golden shrine in the heart of Berlin, Germany, the site of the first demon portal opening during the second attack and the new home of the United Nations, which no longer acted as a secondary program for the governments of the world and was now the seat for all power on the planet. The immortals that had survived had been on hand on that bright and sunny day to say one final goodbye to their brothers and sisters, their gleaming golden armour twinkling brightly in the sun. It had been a sad day but the first step on the road to a better world that accepted them as their saviours and citizens. No longer would the immortals be on the fringes of society, instead working with the United Nations and various military branches to help prevent another such attack happening. No one still knew how or why the gates had closed and many feared they would only open up once more.
James and Amy tried their best to stay out of the spotlight as the world made celebrities out of them all, preferring to live in their now quiet little house in Northern Canada. The small city they lived in all knew who they truly were but thankfully after the first couple of weeks left them to live their lives in peace. From time to time Janice would stop by to spend some time with them, but with her own sort of celebrity status she found it hard to find a time where she was left alone enough to just hang out with them. When the true story began to circulate of what had really happened Janice quickly found herself being tossed in with the immortals as a saviour, even though she really hadn’t done anything but get stabbed. It was making her life at school much harder.
One morning James sat down in the kitchen sipping on a cup of hot, steaming coffee reading the newspaper when Amy found him and sat down next to him, laying her soft hand over his and looking him deeply in the eyes. She usually came to him like this during the day and just watched him do whatever it was he was doing at the time almost like she was lost and looking for direction; she never usually said anything though. James could tell today that she definitely wanted to say something but couldn’t seem to find the words.
‘What’s on your mind babe?’ he asked gently, giving her hand a soft squeeze for reassurance.
‘What do you think happened out there?’ she asked him after a few minutes of choosing her words silently. There were a million different things she could possibly be asking about but James instantly knew she meant Gabriella and the portals closing.
‘The gates closed Amy,’ he replied softly, ‘and any demon that had been stuck on earth just dropped dead the instant it happened. I think it’s safe to assume that Gabriella won.’
‘Where is she then?’ Amy demanded sadly and James couldn’t help but flinch at the thought as well. He thought they both knew the answer but Amy was just having more trouble dealing with it than he was. That’s not to say that he wasn’t torn up about what had happened and losing his only biological child, because he was. He just knew that Gabby wouldn’t want them to be sad about it all the time, moping around like they were lost in the dark. She had given her life so others could live and an act like that should be celebrated, not mourned.
‘I’m sorry sweetie,’ he whispered and pulled his wife into a tight hug as she silently cried into his shoulder, her strong fingers digging into his skin.
They continued to hug each other as the morning was quickly lost in the afternoon and then that overtaken by the night. Amy continued to cry into his shoulder as neither of them moved a muscle. James wished he could take away all of her pain but there was nothing he could do about it. It killed him to see the person he loved more than his own life like this.
Unbeknownst to either Amy or James who quietly hugged each other inside their seemingly empty house they were being watched intently from just outside the kitchen window. Two figures swallowed up by the shadow of night looked on quietly as they held hands, both shedding tears of their own. They were witnessing a very primal and heart wrenching scene on the other side of the window but neither of them felt like intruders in that moment. They had been drawn back here by the love they held for the two people only a few feet away from them.
‘We should…’ one of the figures said quietly but was quickly cut off by the other.
‘I don’t think I can right now.’
‘The longer we wait the more pain they have to feel my love.’
‘I know,’ the other sighed softly and gripped the hand she was holding tighter, ‘I just think we need to figure out what happened to us first.’
‘We’ll do it whatever way you want Gabby, but we should do so quickly. I can’t stand to see mom crying so much.’
‘I can’t either Anna.’
With one last longing look both women moved closer together and in a brilliant flash of gold and silver light they disappeared to the far reaches of the universe in search for the only two beings in existence who could tell them what they had become. Gabriella hated to leave her parents in such a state but she just couldn’t face them yet without knowing what she truly was. She would come back though, that much was certain.
Note: I'd like to thank everyone who rated and comment on this series, it really kept my going when all I wanted to do was just leave it alone. For those of you wondering this is a reduced and similar version to an actual series of novels I am currently writing for publication. While the actual versions are not ready to be released just yet they will eventually.
I already have another story in mind to publish on this site so keep your eyes open for it.
Once more thank you to everyone and I hope you all enjoyed the journey.