Universes exist within the cosmos of time and space--living and existing within the confines of reality, creation, and… reformation.
Yes, universes can never be destroyed… but they can leak, change... become something different... something more… or something less.
And these universes… they constantly change.
But not always.
Sometimes the laws of the universe… the physics… they come together and create something extraordinary.
They can create life.
But life alone is worthless, merely surviving until death.
Only when life disobeys the laws… tapping into an energy… a power which may be present… or not.
Only then do we see the creation of something truly amazing.
Something that we termed...the soul.
Yes, a soul, one of the few things present in any universe that can survive the test of time.
One of the few things that can bend reality… that can bend physics… changing the universe to suit the needs of an individual.
And this is where our story begins… within a universe devoid of energy… of life… except for a single powerful soul… the soul of a God.
On a floating rock, surrounded by tiny stones sits a circular table. A wooden table, perfectly trimmed, painted a sleek ivory red.
Around the table are six chairs, five empty, while a man sits upon one of them. Short hair, a black and ruby suit, with a very tall yet skinny top hat resting perfectly still on his head.
His expression is one of brooding, waiting for the specified second, the millisecond for the prepared time.
A time to open the portals so that his ‘coworkers’ may enter his domain. A domain which had been his prison for an almost overwhelming amount of time.
With a deep shuddering breath, the man gazes around, watching the rocks… asteroids in size, orbit his position.
He lifts his gloved hand, moving it in front of him, middle finger touching his thumb.
A sound, not of reality, but of the shuddering of the man's soul resounds as it quickly expands, consuming six asteroids, ripping them apart at both a molecular and spiritual level.
And just as quickly, his soul recrompresses.
The energy he had created beckons to his call, converging quickly around the table, taking an invisible flight behind the chairs.
The energy morphs, vibrates, retracts, extends, combines… changing and unchanging into something... usable.
The walls of reality between one world and this one bend behind the chairs. Reality rips apart as portals open a few meters behind each empty chair.
Five beings enter, their gait both confident and wary, eyes scanning the other five gods as they head for their seats.
The portals close, energy becoming dormant… awaiting the man's call once again.
My red, gloved hand slowly moves down to the table, resting it atop my other.
I don a welcoming smile on my face as I watch the other gods look around themselves, staring into the depths of my former prison… five souls quivering in confusion, fear, curiosity, anger…
Well, Kumiho's always angry, especially now that she had found where her people had been taken.
As one, the gods walk forward, pulling out a chair and taking a seat.
All eyes turn to Laverna- the goddess of thieves as she stands back up. Covered from head to toe in black garb, she reaches under the cushion of her seat and lifts up a whoopee cushion, the source of the sound.
With unbridled will, my face takes on a neutral expression as her emerald green eyes turn to me.
Ignoring the boring eyes directed at me, I look to the other gods.
The reactions to my little prank are quite diverse.
Coyote- a North American god of mischief is snickering from his seat, clearly enjoying the abnormal start to the meeting.
Anansi- an African god of trickery is smiling calmly at me as a small pet spider crawls along his dark bare chest.
I should get him a spiderman shirt.
Hermes- a Greek god of transport jitters in his seat, unaccustomed to sitting down for any length of time. His head swivels quickly, constantly looking around.
He reminds me of a toddler on a sugar rush.
And finally there is Kumiho, a Korean fox goddess. Part fox, part human. She glares threatening at me, not at all amused with my little prank on her lover Laverna.
Yes, we gods are a weird bunch…
“Loki, stop with these incessant games of yours and tell me why you have called this meeting,” Kumiho exclaims loudly, her nine tails spreading out in annoyance.
I bet those tails must be extremely soft.
Nodding at Kumiho and Laverna who finally takes her seat, I spread out my arms, ”This place, as I am sure you all are curious about, used to be my prison. A place completely devoid of life and energy. Both of which are required for a god to survive.”
I shake my head, my smile faltering. “I lived here for so long… abandoned by my former family.”
The other gods look at me, curious about who I actually am… If only they knew the truth.
“Vengeance.” Anansi voices.
“Heh… no. Vengeance does not motivate me. It is a factor though. But no,” I look to the other gods, making sure that I have their attention. ”I am a god of chaos… of controlled chaos. My job is to create change… because without change, life will eventually become meaningless.”
“I create evil to fight good and vice versa.”
“And right now… the world has spiraled so deeply in a direction that the word good has been bastardised.”
My hands tighten into fists as I remember what the world had become. Slavery, torture, corruption… I turn to Hermes, a god who travels the world… including the underworld. Someone who truly understands the plight of souls and the harm that is being done.
“And that is why I will summon a true Hero.”
“A hero!” - Coyote
“How?” - Kumiho
“They will never allow it.” - Anansi
I sit silent, watching their emotions as they show disbelief in my words. Hermes stays silent, already knowing my plan. Laverna doesn't talk much anyways.
“Allow me to explain,” I say quickly as they start to stand up and leave.
“Odin and Zeus have agreed to have a hero summoning at the same time.”
All eyes turn to me as I watch them silently sit back down.
It is no wonder that they are so afraid of summoning a hero. The most powerful gods Zeus and Odin, leaders of Olympus and Asgard respectively, rule with an iron fist. Neither god allows the summoning of heroes without their express permission.
And this is all because heroes are beings whose growth capability would give any god an incredible amount of power. Possibly enough power to usurp the current leading gods.
“Yes, Odin and Zeus have agreed to summon a hero within the year. They have agreed not to disable each other’s portals… fortunately for us, both gods plan to summon many heroes and not just only one.”
Their facial expressions quickly widen. Understanding dawns upon them as they realize that both gods have lied to each other, attempting to screw the other over.
“This may become a goddamn war!” Anansi voices from his seat, fear stricken on his face for the first time.
A war between the leaders of two pantheons would result in chaos and destruction. Kingdoms would quickly fall, innocents would die... gods would cease to exist.
“Do not worry Anansi, an open war will not happen. Neither Odin nor Zeus would be willing to go to war. Their power would inadvertently weaken in the aftermath as their most powerful followers will lose their lives. Neither god will make a move in fear of being replaced.” I explain to the others, Anansi relaxing back down on his seat.
Anansi’s followers reside within the borders between Olympus and Asgard. A war between these two pantheons may very well cause the death of his people… and his existence.
“Hehehehe, so you want to summon a hero with multiple avatars.” Coyote exclaims, ”You want us all to put our mark on one person. I like the plan, but it will never work.”
“The flea-bitten mutt is right. The moment a hero is summoned, all of the gods will be notified and powerful assassins will be sent.” Kumiho voices out loud, ignoring the angry stare from Coyote.
Wolves and Foxes have never had a good relationship. And I can't blame them. They have warred so much in the past, and old grudges do not get forgotten easily… especially not if you are a god.
Nodding at the two as they give each other death glares, I turn to Laverna, the most important person to my plan.
“Laverna here has a secret.” I point. ”Her mark, the mark of thieves, has a unique interaction with summoned heroes. When placed upon them during the summoning, the gods of the world will not be notified. Nobody will know of our hero, and this will allow him to grow.”
All eyes turn to Laverna, including Kumiho’s, none having known about such an amazing ability. Which is good, as that means no gods will believe a hero summoning had happened.
“Him? You have a hero picked out already?” Anansi asks.
I nod “Yes, many heroes will be summoned, but most of those heroes will be average at best. But the hero I plan to summon is significantly more capable than the trash they expect.”
I get up off my seat and start to walk around the tables, eyes all on me.
“When a summoning is prepared, the summoner implements criteria, opening portals and sucking souls that match that criteria. The souls can be from any world, with any background, but they will never truly be powerful. The most powerful heroes are those that you cannot forcibly summon,” I stop my stroll next to Hermes, watching the confused expressions on their faces.
The ability to travel from one world to another is a skill that only the most powerful and oldest gods contain… a god like myself.
“I promise you this, the hero will be very capable, and his growth will be truly exceptional.” I look down at Hermes, gesturing him to continue.
“Y-y-yes,” he Squeaks/fidgets, grabbing a bag and putting it on the table.
With a trembling arm, he shoves his hand into the small bag, his hand sucked into a pocket dimension. Within a moment, Hermes grabs something and pulls it out.
Gasps can be heard as they all stare at what is revealed.
A dark purple smog sits squarely upon Hermes’ hand, the ethereal light pulsing with enormous energy and potential. When a soul is summoned, a body must be created using the essence of a god. The stronger the god, the stronger the body, and thus, the stronger the hero.
I grab the god core from Hermes’ outstretched hand, its potential pulsing within my grasp. “This is a core from the god Hades, brother of Zeus.”
Eyes widen in shock as they focus on the core in my hand, disbelieving that Hades, a god of the underworld and equivalent to the strength of Zeus and Odin would part with something so valuable.
I look to the five gods, scanning them from left to right. ”Will you join me?” I ask, already knowing the answer.
Laverna nods silently, her reasoning unclear, but a favor that I will owe.
“I will join you,” Anansi calls out, knowing that without action his people will cease to exist.
“Same here,” Coyote calls out, the opportunity to finally free his people from oppression is much too enticing.
“I-I-I-I w-will join,” Hermes says with a stutter. One of the few gods who understands that the world needs change. That the current pantheon is toxic both to the gods themselves and the residents.
Kumiho looks to Laverna, her lover and one true friend, quickly getting a nod in return. The fox turns her head to me, tails flowing in the air in indecision. With a huff, she folds her arms, ”Loki, what is in it for me? What do I get from this?”
With a nod, I walk back to my seat, the ball of smoky energy still resting on the palm of my hand.
“The first thing that our hero will do is free your people from captivity Kumiho.”
Her eyebrow lifts up, ”Oh… and how is a newly summoned hero supposed to enter a place where none have returned alive?”
“Ahhh Kumiho, you wound me. I have already planned that out, so do not worry. Trust me and all will be fine.”
Indecision blankets her face, both clouded by hope and logic. Painful memories resurfacing of promises made empty. The only reason she does not refuse is Laverna… her lover and the only person to save her in her time of need.
She bites her Lip. ”Loki, I will place my mark upon this hero of yours, but my blessing will only be given if my people are freed. I cannot risk giving what power I have for something I fear is but an empty promise.”
“That is acceptable,” I answer back, knowing that the mark alone is a sign of trust, something many gods would refuse to give freely without great compensation.
With a sigh, I lay back into my seat, smiling at the other gods, the easy process complete. With a bit of will, the smog of energy disappears from my hand, replaced with five golden premade parchments. The papers fly out and stop directly in front of each god.
“A contract, so that you are bound by your promises and none will go against their word.”
“How did you know I would only give a mark?” Kumiho asks flabbergasted as she reads the premade contracts made for each god. Contracts made far before this meeting.
I clasp my hands together, watching as gods read, finding that each and every contract had been tailored specifically to them.
“I am a god of chaos, predicting the future is something that comes naturally to me. Otherwise, chaos could destroy the world. Believe in me, and this world will change.”
With one last look, the other gods send their own energy into the contract, tethering their soul to mine. Once the contracts are complete, the papers disappear.
“Now then, I must prepare for the summoning.”
My soul shudders, five portals opening once more behind the gods, breaking reality with ease.
The gods stand and wave goodbye. They walk through the portal, four leaving back to their homes. Laverna stops before her portal and turns to me.
She lifts up her hand, the whoopee cushion firmly grasped in her small fingers.
She walks through the portal.
All of the gods have left. I pause for a second.
The portals close… Silence.
“Finally,” I smile viciously, shuddering with ecstasy.
My soul expands, ripping apart the asteroids around me. The chairs and table disintegrate instantly as reality breaks casually around me.
I laugh uncontrollably, my mind barely holding together… billions of years of agony...so close.
“Oh father,” I shudder in excitement.
“I will have my vengeance!”
“MY SWEET SWEET VENGEANCE!”
The entire universe shudders as I flick my hand, the smog of energy shows up.
My soul casually rips the pathetic energy to smithereens.
With but the tiniest trickle of will, I mentally grab hold of the pieces and compress while pouring my overflowing amount of energy into it.
Within a minute, a completely black sphere twenty times my size floats around me, bending reality as I do.
“MUCH BETTER,” I say, watching my creation vibrate with sheer power.
“Now, for the hero.”
The entire universe implodes around me as I step through a portal.