The Beginning of the End
I slaughtered them all. Their dark blood ran down the palm of my scarred hands. My chest heaved violently bringing the sharp metallic tang of the smudged blood on my cheek, to the left corner of my mouth. I closed my eyes and stilled my heart to a calm rhythm. I breathed in. held my breath for a moment and eased out a long breath. I won. I let my eyes roam over to the bodies scattered around the battlefield. The darkness of Hades seemed a bit brighter with my victory. Even the scrappy rocks seemed to smile at me.
I owned it all now-the souls, the darkness, the power, death itself will kneel before me. I bent down, yanked out Hell Bringer out of my last opponent and with a subtle pulse of my magic, untwisted the thorny spear-points to clean it with the bottom of my tattered tunic. I glanced down at Damon’s face a bit longer. His beautiful face was still contorted with fear and disbelief. I should have made him grovel more before ending him. Maybe I’ll resurrect him to be one of my servants, but there will be plenty of time for that later. I was impatient to get to my crown. I rested the pitchfork on a cleaner spot of the ground, and I made quick work of my boots. The worn leather was molded to my feet with blood and sweat. My feet were still warmed from battle. I shouldn’t have let them dress me in so much leather, I would have survived in my jeans. I hopped on one foot wriggling the thick leather pants down my hips until I could rip it off my ankle. I ripped off the remaining bits of my armor and clothes using a blade stolen out of the hands of a nearby solider. Naked, with my Hell Bringer in my left hand, I strode purposefully to the other side of the battlefield.
Across the dusk-lighted barren landscape was a floating dais. Rough stone steps set a foot apart led to a simple platform. I climbed the fifty or so steps, feeling the loose gravel dig into soles of my feet. They couldn’t hurt me. Nothing would hurt me anymore. I reached the top and stepped onto platform. At the center, placed on a floating ruby pillow embroidered with gossamer threads of gold, sat a crown. My crown. If one could even call it such a commonly word. It looked as if a hurricane of thorny diamonds fused with a holly wreath. The berries were sparkling red garnet, the twisted branches gleamed liked the purest gold, and velvet green leaves sprouted between the diamond thorns. My fingers shook as I reached out to touch it. No- it would not refuse me. I retracted my hand, put my spear on the platform floor, and took a deep breath. In my mind I played every moment leading up to this. My mother’s body on the living room floor, my dad hanging on to life with machines in his hospital room, Kū . . . My heart ached at the visions. I opened my eyes and before I could think too deeply about approaching it, I grasped the crown with both hands.
Immediately, the diamond thorns dug into my palms and I cried out. “I, Adaes Igweze pledge myself to the crown! I pledge myself to the balance! I pledge myself to the fury, I pledge myself to the darkness! Until I decide my time is finished, unless my oath is broken, I hold this world with power, chaos is my dominion and my kingdom forever!” I screamed out as the thorns pierced through both of my hands, my blood turned into liquid gold before my eyes. I forced the crown on my head. The moment it touched my cornrows there was a beat of absolute quiet before unimaginable power rushed through me.
At first, I thought I was going to explode. It felt like every nerve ending was electrocuted- like lightning struck my body. But then, the tingles receded into tender sparks, like a lover’s kiss, intimately winding down my body. I threw my head back in ecstasy, gasping at the orgasm brought on by the golden power emanated from every part of my body. From my toes to my breast, my hands, and even my eyes, I felt invincible. My body floated above the dais as I became lost in my power. Minutes, maybe hours later, I touched down. My skin returned to caramel brown, but I felt the glow of power simmering underneath the surface of my skin. I wielded Hell Bringer as a giant sceptre. I banged the glowing orb at the bottom of it on the ground and felt the wave of my power ripple through to touch all the bodies on the battlefield. I didn’t have to yell, I simply spoke. “Rise.” In a thunderous response, hundreds of feet clamored to attention. They all answered my call.
I could definitely get used to this.