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"The Ancient Children vol.1"

There was an Isolated God that introduced himself as the ‘true Creator’ to mortals in Urisar and promised them riches and salvation for only one, tiny little favor: that they abandon their beliefs in false gods and worship only him—the Overlord, the Creator of All. At first, the other gods in the Divine Realms weren’t worried. This had been attempted many times before, and it nearly always failed. But then again, none of those gods were like Abbaddon the Swallower. When the other gods weren’t looking, Abbaddon simply opened his mouth and swallowed them whole and absorbed their powers. It didn’t take too long for him to completely absorb and digest the god of Invulnerability—in fact, that was the second god he went after. Thus the people of Urisar were blessed by Abbaddon’s presence and it was he who taught them the secrets of weaving magic and metal to achieve complex machinery.

There was only one deity that survived the swallowing, and that was because she was visiting Atlona and she brought Aura, the first Ancient Child with her, entrusted by the Creator himself. She was Brigit, the goddess of fire and fertility. It was her turn to hold the little girl, then five years old and have her blessed in the Temple of Hidden Miracles. In a fit of rage at the thought of missing such a minor goddess, Abbaddon leapt from the Golden Throne and attempted to swallow Brigit as she was feeding Aura ambrosia and applying nectar onto her skin. In her surprise, fire erupted from Brigit’s palms and the child, covered in flammable nectar, started to burn. As Brigit was being devoured, she used her powers to split Aura in half and out of her ashes, two twin girls were born. Despite having the Creator’s favor running through their veins instead of blood, the twin girls were quickly taken by the chief priestesses of the temple and swathed in soft, green cloth. To Abbaddon, the children were not deities—they had the merest fraction of what he was used to devouring—and after extracting a promise that Atlona would praise him instead of Brigit, left and went back to the Golden Throne.

Out of fear for the Swallower, chief priestess Dahud-Aheys took one of the little girls, leaving chief priestess Catalina to care for the remaining twin and the few women that would rather die than praise the immoral and haughty Abbaddon. To fool the god, they stripped the temple of its’ greenery and hung yew berries and burned rose-oil, for Abbaddon had a fondness for the color pink. They changed all their sacred prayers and chants in his name, but retained the essence of the goddess Brigit, hoping for an answer, that all was not lost. Catalina and her followers knew that Brigit had not been completely digested when a shower of anemone, her sacred flower fell upon the temple courtyard the next day.

Dahud-Aheys used the underground labyrinth that connected Atlona to Osias, the city of Angels, thinking that Abbaddon couldn’t touch her or the child in such a place where white magick was practiced. There, she passed the child to the Head Seraphim Ellspeth and disappeared into the night. The Head Seraphim took the child and named her Titalia. Titalia was to be brought to the Silent Towers and educated on white magick. Dahud-Aheys visited Titalia every now and then in secret, commenting about how that half of the Ancient Child seemed to be gathering the rays of the sun itself into her magick. While at first Titalia had dizzy spells and was unused to being in such a high altitude (for it was the Creator’s favor that ran through her veins instead of human blood) she began to embroider spell-circles onto her own clothes to counteract the dizziness. Thirteen years later, before Dahud-Aheys died, she appeared before Titalia and told the girl of the true circumstances of her birth, and why her hair was the lightest shade of flaxen and her eyes the palest blue. After the story Titalia was presented a white hood with the symbol of the eight-rayed sun. 

"Never forget your roots, child," Dahud-Aheys whispered before she left the Silent Towers and never returned. Titalia was puzzled. She was one-half of an Ancient Child--and somewhere in the regions of Atlona lay her twin sister. She was eighteen when she decided to gain Head Seraphim Ellspeth's favor to leave the Silent Towers and visit Atlona. Wearing her hood, she used the same underground labyrinth and found herself in the Gray Region - for Catalina and her followers were forced to retreat underground as King Richard of Urisar bested Queen Amarra of Atlona and conquered the region. His first order was that all that worshipped Brigit would be killed for blasphemy and it was with a heavy heart that the citizens of Atlona relinquished the agricultural beauty of their country and made way for the mechanical ingenuity that Urisar developed with the aid of Abbaddon's Forbidden Arts.

Determined to find her sister, Titalia searched the deepest woodlands of Atlona until she found a small village of men and women that refused to go into the city (in fear that the Urisarian guards would persecute them) and instead preferred a life that was as natural as possible. To preserve their bodies, they ate fish and poultry when it was necessary to eat animals and the rest of the time, they fed on vegetables, nuts and berries. It was here, in the village of Thymm that Titalia found a magister named Vanessa. Titalia could hardly believe what she saw - it was a girl that looked exactly like her, except her clothing was as dark, and Titalia's was white. On her head was a black hood with the symbol of a silver crescent moon. 

During her stay, Titalia noticed that Vanessa's hair was tucked tightly into her hood and that Vanessa had the tendency to disappear for hours after the rest of the village had gone to bed. One evening, Titalia followed Vanessa and saw the girl waist-deep in a pool of water, with the moon shining. In silence, Titalia watched as Vanessa removed the black hood she always wore and saw that her hair was dark. Dark hair with deep purple eyes. It was like staring into a dark mirror of herself. 

"Why do you not show your hair?" Titalia asked softly as she came out of her hiding place. Vanessa held a hand to her heart and replied, "The people fear for my life. I am the village priestess and yet my hair isn't gold, my eyes aren't blue...but the priestess that raised me swore that when I was born, it was. It started getting darker ever since..." she trailed off there, and Titalia couldn't help feeling nervous. Did this priestess, the other half of an Ancient Child fall into Abbaddon's temptations? 

"...since I was being trained by my masters." Vanessa went on to describe how she kept getting instructions from voices she heard in this pool, how there were three of them and they sounded like gods and men put together. They approached her in dreams, whenever she was alone and when she washed her hair in the pool. The village priestess was usually flaxen-haired and blue-eyed, the apprentice chosen before the Chief Priestess grew too old to teach the new acolyte about customs and prayers, and ancient rites.

"When my hair started turning dark, I had to keep it hidden or find a way to lighten it...this village believes that I have been consorting with demons; only 'angels' may know the true secrets of the goddess Brigit and the Creator. They let me stay as a favor to the Chief Priestess - I don't know what could have happened if my darling hadn't intervened..." 

"Who is your darling?" Titalia asked. "I am." a male voice answered. He looked strong, with eyes that knew too much and revealed too little. His hair was so blonde it was almost white - even Titalia's hair looked dark in comparison. He introduced himself as a fellow visitor to the village, although he had chosen to stay until he was sure that Vanessa was safe from harm. He reached out a hand towards the girl in the pool and handed her a necklace. She took it and dipped it into the water and held it up towards the moonlight. The necklace had the image of a crescent moon and in the middle was an amethyst shaped like a thunderbolt. "Are you ready, Vanessa?" 

"I am, sweetheart." Unfamiliar words were uttered and Titalia could only stare as the necklace sparkled and shone, levitated from Vanessa's hands and broke - releasing black smoke that formed the image of a tall, slender man with long purple hair. He bowed his head slightly towards Titalia and Vanessa curtsied to the man, and he helped her out of the pool. The blonde-haired visitors seemed almost forgotten.

It wasn't until Titalia returned to her bed that she recalled the old fable of a man with long purple hair - who bested the sorcerer on top of the Tower of Babel. It was a popular tale in Osias and she even recalled his name. "Beelzebub. The Demon Lord." Her twin sister had indeed been in the presence of demons, and yet her heart urged Titalia not to invoke any of the prayers Ellspeth taught her. 

For the first time in eighteen years of living, Titalia had no idea what to think, or do. She couldn't bear the thought of killing the dark mirror to her light - not so soon. The very next day, Vanessa approached Titalia and thanked the other girl for keeping her secret. "Thank you, dear sister." Titalia could feel her heart swell with warmth and she stayed in Thymm longer than expected - the elder twin taught Vanessa all the things that the villagers could never know, all the things she learned living in the Silent Towers, in the City of Angels and promised to come back when she had time. 

That was the last Vanessa ever saw Titalia again. The evening Titalia left through the underground labyrinth, Vanessa and her darling disappeared from Thymm, and a dark-cloaked Druidess slit the throat of King Richard IV, and civil war between the believers of Brigit and Abbaddon broke out. News that the believers of Brigit had formed a contract with demons to defeat Abbaddon's forces spread like wildfire, in order to take back their rightful lands. The most alarming news was that three tall, utterly beautiful and devastating men had appeared for the briefest moment during the fight, men that were strong and powerful - and on the side of demons.

Titalia thought of Vanessa and the slender, purple-haired demon lord, and felt very worried for her younger sister. Titalia thought of Vanessa and the slender, purple-haired demon lord, and felt very worried for her younger sister. If Head Seraphim Ellspeth called war upon the heretics, she had to face her own sister, her Other Half in battle. “Creator, give me strength.” She murmured, head in her hands as she sat in the Silent Towers, awaiting the Head Seraphim’s decision.


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