Transform the Host
Tabithus returned to Ironton with the emperor laying across his saddle. He was welcomed safely through the gates by General Fausto, whose bulldog face was covered in the fresh blood of victory over the Imagians. The general, along with a contingent of Cassocks, escorted the dark servant beneath a canyon of towering buildings made of oxidized steel until they reached the Provincial Temple. After dismounting his steed, Tabithus carried Nico’s limp body in his arms as he ascended the temple steps and into the cavernous entrance.
The dark servant proceeded down a long passageway and came to a sudden halt when he reached what appeared to be a dead end. He then stood the emperor up beside him with an arm around the waste and slammed the elevator’s doors shut. The sealed elevator rocketed up through the center of Provincial Temple, past it deft-defying spires and parapets, and into the firmament above.
When he reached the top floor, Tabithus lifted the emperor back into his arms and proceeded forth into the hexagonal chamber exposed to the outside elements. He continued his ascent up the floating staircase until he entered into the thirteen-point crown that capped the top of the temple. The gold-plated points of the crown arched outwards and was encircled by a ring of fire. Bodies of dead Cassocks were strewn about. Kiaran and the Imagians had slain them to thwart the blood sacrifice and to save Damyen of Knightenvow and King Hanan. But for all the hard-earned efforts they were unable to save the Theorian King. Upon retreat, Hanan was left shackled to the four corners of the iron-hewn altar, starring semi-consciously up at the waning full moon.
The dark servant carried the emperor over the dead bodies, climbed the steps of the dais, and heaved the emperor’s body onto the altar. There, Nico’s head rested in the nook of the king’s chained arm. His all-white ceremonial military fatigue was covered in soot and the infamous wolf face emblazoned on his leather breastplate was torn open with blood still seeping through. Had he only stayed behind to finish the ritual he may had never had to worry about his mortality ever again. However, it was Nico’s false sense of invincibility within the divine spirit that has cost him everything. Now, his extra tight curls had fully relaxed upon the paleness of his striking features—indicating he was only moments away from certain death.
Seeing that King Hanan was incapable of escape, Tabithus pulled out a key from within his sleeveless cassock and unlocked the chains that kept the king tethered to the four corners of the altar. He then wrestled Hanan from underneath the emperor so that two of them rested lifelessly beside each other. Upon examination, it became quite certain that he could not re-perform all the time-consuming rituals to complete the ceremony. This meant he could jeopardize the divine spirit’s plans but he had no other choice. The blood sacrifice needed to be performed at once!
Tabithus rolled his serpent eyes into the back of his skull, lifted his scrawny arms up to the full moon, and began chanting in an ancient tongure beneath his leather mask. Upon re-sanctifying the altar and cleansing the two men of impurities, the dark servant conjured:
From the four corner's of the world,
I call upon the divine spirit,
To sanctify this ritual,
And make himself,
All of the sudden, gusts of wind threatened the clear night sky as a grave darkness formalized in the eye of the blood moon overhead. The tumultuous cyclone descended from the heavens until it drew to halt directly above the crown. The terrifying phenomenon eventually dissipated into a floating, opaque cloud while Tabithus implored through verse:
I implore thee,
Through the Divine Spirit's
Unceasing power of fear,
I offer you,
This sacrificial offering,
To put an end to,
This Bloodline King,
Descendant of the Almighty,
Heir of your enemy.
Lord Nico Donyan,
Has failed you,
In his quest,
To attain the third,
Level of enlightenment,
Let his body, still,
Fulfill your Will.
Let one’s life be offered,
To transform the host,
Into the Divine Spirit’s
It is now time,
For Raul to Incarnate,
Drawing to a close,
The` Blood Moon Sacrifice.
Tabithus eyes rolled forward and immediately they locked onto the Theorian King. He flipped open Hanan’s emerald colored robes and stabbed him through the chest with his razor-sharp talons! With a sinister cackle, he removed the king’s beating heart and held it up to thundering cloud for a blessing. The dark servant carried it around to the side of the altar, propped up Nico’s head, and force-fed him the active organ. The hapless emperor unconsciously choked upon the raw meat until the blood seeped down his throat, triggering his exacerbated spirit to be released from the confounds of his mortal body.
Immediately, Nico’s soul was throttled into the Spiritual Plains—fully conscious of the world around him. There, he was able to transverse the ley lines with complete access to the akashic records of time—but completely unaware of his death. His spirit had encircled the world until it had at last entered into the Northern Vales via the aurora borealis. There, he crossed over white-capped mountain peaks, glacier-made lakes, and a forest of dense evergreens. The tree line eventually dissipated into rectangular-shaped farmlands that led him directly to Knightenvow.
This quaint-forgotten town, which was named to honor the brave farmers that were knighted upon winning the very first battle to unite Valoria, was littered with tiny buildings that stretched over winding streets. Above the fog were stacks of billowing chimneys that were all pointing towards the local temple at its epicenter. However, beneath the fog the entire town had been completely purged by the Strigoli. There was no door left unopened save for the gates of the temple that had been boarded up. Inside, Liviu’s and Kiaran’s family had joined the priest and several dozen parishioners in prayer—whilst thinking of their two distant sons. The same could be said for Hara and Beta, and their son, Juvyen and wife, Cvelbara. They had decided to remain holed up in their villa on the outskirts of town, using the power of prayer to protect their property from any Strigoli that dared set foot past their perimeter. But what they will all eventually come to realize is that they must accept this new occupation in order to survive, and they will have to abide by the divine spirit and his new covenant of laws or die.
Nico was spirited south across the plains until he came to a ridge overlooking Siviu—the Capital of Valoria. His glorious city of white plastered homes and violet-ceramic tiled roofs was again up in flames. The first time it was due to the dueling factions that were enraged by Nico’s ascension to the throne, but now the people were united in trying to over throw the crown while the emperor remained absent. They could no longer allow the Citizen’s Brigade to go around, terrorizing the city, without any accountability. And since the citizens outnumbered the soldiers that were not sent off to Rodania or Roznovia they decided to storm the palace on top of the hill with the help of the Imagians. There was nothing Lord Regent, Siranos could do but cower around inside. There—he cursed his name having any importance—especially in the face of death.
The Lord Regent paced around in his dirtied white robes with gem-encrusted armbands, and his thin gold crown rested on top of his matted hair. To his relief the palace was completely fortified but as night drew on the citizen’s still remained—determined to put an end to Nico’s reign once and for all. A battering-ram was eventually brought to the front doors of the temple and just as the doors were about to cave inward the Senator began to hear to distant cries! Someone must have called for reinforcements, but who?
Out of the surrounding forest came the Strigoli. They came storming through the streets of the capitol and tearing down anyone that dared resist. The population was caught off guard and were completely unaware that this foe was immortal. They found their strength in numbers become quickly annihilated, sending harrowing cries being heard throughout the city. By the time the Imagians had cracked open the doors of the palace they immediately raced in to shelter from the coming onslaught. Eventually, the Strigoli murdered every person as they ascended the hill and broke through the sealed doors and into the palace atrium. Under the cover of darkness they slaughtered every last person that was pure of heart until they had the senator cornered. The Strigoli then forcefully escorted Siranos under the eye of the dome and made him take his rightful seat on the throne while terrorized with fear. There a legion of Strigoli took up defense until the capital was completely purged of any dissenter. It became readily apparent that the divine spirit was serious about controlling the world and the Strigoli were there to enslave the people under raul’s new doctrine.
The holy emperor was spirited away once again to witness the extent of the divine spirit’s victories on the night of the blood moon. These victories were spread all throughout Valoria with the exception of two hard fought battles that were lost by mortal men. Sorcerer, Brannstrom was defeated even with the help of the divine spirit’s demonic army and the ancient tome’s mystical powers could not be located. And while Nico’s Valorian army quashed the Imagian uprising in Ironton, Rodania, the holy emperor let his hubris get the best of him by fleeing the blood sacrifice to seek out a person vendetta. But even with the divine spirit on his side nothing could protect him from his own arrogance—leaving him starring down at Cheveyo’s axe lodged into his ribcage.
This sudden revelation of his imminent demise shattered his access to the akashic records and sent him into spiraling vortex within the Spiritual Plains until it spit him out a cold hard surface within the nothingness. The emperor climbed to his feet to find himself dressed in freshly cleaned, ceremonial garb. His extra tight curls rested upon his browline as he examined the ultraviolet blood pulsing through the veins in his forearm. Nico then patted his body to check for the wounds that he had incurred until he exposed his chest to reveal he was unscathed by Cheveyo’s deafening blow.
Just then emperor suddenly felt a brisk wind followed by immense presence wading closely behind. Immediately, Nico spun around and went to defend himself with his short swords only to realize he did not have them on his person. Instead, he faltered backward and onto his knees when Raul the Divine revealed himself in all his magnificence. The fallen one was a perfect embodiment of the divine and it was revealed by his towering size and perfect anatomy. His skin was of pure marble and his eyes glistened with fire. His silky black hair rested upon royal robes of crimson, illuminating his all, impenetrable presence.
“My Lord, I have failed you.”
“It is expected. You are human.”
“You had warned me about her trickery, and still I fell for it.”
“Worry not, your vessel will live on.”
“Thank you, my Lord. Thank you.”
“I am not certain you quite understand what the third-level of spiritual enlightenment actually means?”
“Help me understand?”
“It means that my spirit shall embody your mortal body whereas your soul shall remain left here in the Spiritual Plains for all eternity.”
“My, Lord! Please, I beg of you. Let me return so that I can fulfill your mission.”
“Only I have what it takes to achieve world domination.”
In that moment, the opaque floor crystalized into glass, revealing Nico’s body lying on the altar directly below them. When the emperor realized that his spirit was truly untethered from his body he trembled with the terrifying thought of never being united with it again.
“Please, my Lord! Please!”
“Your work here is finished.
“But my work is not.”
Suddenly, Raul and Nico turned round to discover the only other soul imprisoned within the spiritual plains—Allessandra of Areiscelle. She wore a shimmering white gown with golden armbands. Her long black hair rested upon her shoulders and the lower back of her slender frame. Her bright blue eyes and delicate features radiated eternal life—a fear that he found greater to the divine spirit.
“I see that you finally found your way around the Spiritual Plains. And to think, had you chosen to remain a maiden and died a martyr, you could have spent the rest of eternity wandering the heavens. But you died in sin, giving me just the right opportunity, to imprison you in this empty void.
“Indeed! But it was through my sin that the Almighty has directed me to lead his campaign to smite all evil from his land in order to clear my name—starting with you!”
“Not unless I annihilate your soul from all of existence! Now, die!”
Raul charged the princess with such speed that he dissolved into a ravaging cyclone around her. Hurriedly, Allessandra wrapped herself within her swaddling robes as the sheer power of fear forced collapsed around her with such immense pressure that she was contained with the fetal position. The pressure continued to swirl around her with greater intensity until gravity had compressed her spirit to the size of a pearl.
The swarm of evil was too immeasurable against Allessandra’ passionate resolve that Nico found himself drawn to her faint twinkling of uncreated of light. He then stepped forward in his white-shimmering armor, and said, “Is there not another way to contain her?”
“She must be destroyed.”
“Not unless she can save me.”
The holy emperor found his exit through competing forces of good and evil that he raced forth and leaped into ravaging storm. His spiritual body dissolved instantly into cyclone and thus, causing the storm to become erratic and unstable. It became so unstable that storm began to loose its gravitational hold and forcing the storm to shoot up into the sky. And when the storm had broken the horizontal plain it was pierced by sunlight, giving Allessandra’s the ability for her hardened shell to crack and bursting the divine spirit’s storm across the sky and sending the remnants of what survived the bursting uncreatled light back to earth.
The spirits of Raul and Nico were cascaded back to earth in two completely different locations until they were exhaled in by two unsuspecting hosts. Immediately, Nico’s sat up on the altar gasping for re-newed breath, at the same time that Iefan had awoken amongst a pile of dead bodies. The prince, who failed to join the Theorite Brotherhood, crawled a good distance away until the decaying stench caused him to throw up chunks of heart.
The two men rose to their feet with a stark grin—one knowing that he survived and the other knowing what he has become—the long awaited, farewell to the blood moon sacrifice.