The instant after I willed myself away from Torus, I found myself on the surface of Ta Hendo once more. The sun was shining down on me, and I found myself observing an unusual scene.
I was still unseen, having just returned to the world I was temporarily calling my own, and the first scene I had had the chance to witness was a meeting of powerful beings. I watched as Ravanthan studied Solaria, the name the Solarian spirit had chosen for herself studied Spartina's new form.
Spartina was giving Ravanthan and Solaria the traditional Terran salute as her greeting to them. Her first was raised to her chest and pressing against it, to signify her stone-like toughness. She was greeting both of them demurely, as Solaria's status as a spirit, and Ravanthan's status as a spirit queen, both made them formidable opponents and not creatures someone should upset lightly.
"I extend my most sincere and humble greetings to you two spirits. Allow me to be the first to welcome you into Terran territory." Spartina told the two spirits meekly. Even as powerful as Spartina was she knew better than to try and get into a fight with either spirit.
Spartina's new form was that of an incredibly beautiful human woman with remarkable red hair that flowed down to her back and bright blue eyes. She had attractive proportions, consisting of a wide waist, long legs, a healthy chest, and the sort of behind that begged to be touched. She looked incredibly youthful, perhaps as young as her daughter's actual age.
Spartina was dressed in the sort of roboes that her people's noblewomen wore. In her new form they clung tightly to her body and helped show it off though I knew that wasn't her intention. She wasn't the only person who looked exceptionally attractive in that particular trio either.
Ravanthan wore a dress made from the feathers of ravens, who were her holiest animals. She was also currently in a surprisingly human form, with none of her previous bird-based features visible to the naked, human eye, though I knew at a glance that her dress was actually her wings. In her fully human form she was fairly tan, had long black hair, and hid much of her body behind its intricate design.
Solaria was a tall woman standing over two and a half meters tall and dressed in a bright, blue outfit. Her outfit covered her chest, part of her legs, and part of her arms, and left the rest of her body unexposed. That said, she was invincible as long as I protected her so what she wore didn't matter very much. She had long, blonde, curly hair, a bright smile on her face, and the body of a trained, powerful, and feared warrior who had spent much of her life outdoors and under a constantly beating sun.
I cleared my throat and showed myself, and as I did all eyes turned to face me. At the moment I was in my warrior form, that of a fairly tall warrior who stood over two and a half meter tall and wore light armor that covered my legs but didn't cover my torso or chest. I was a vision of masculinity and handsomeness, and I grinned as the three women turned to acknowledge me.
The three women were visions of beauty, but I was a vision of raw and powerful sexual desire. When their eyes fell upon my form I felt their bodies react to me and my proximity in powerfully sexual ways. My grin turned into a smirk, and I considered making a comment about their reactions but instead I opted to politely nod to the women and speak.
"Good afternoon everyone. It is pleasant to see that the three of you have already met." I told the three women, as I ceased my smirking and instead softened my smile and plastered an innocent look onto to my face.
"The days to come promise to be filled with excitement but knowing that you are here allows me to relax regarding the safety of this community." I told the women. I was, rather unsurprisingly, lying to them. I didn't need them to feel secure when it came to the safety of the community, but I actually did like having them nearby. They were tremendously beautiful women and I could definitely appreciate their feminine characteristics.
I began to exude a few subtle auras all at once and I also activated a power I had only gained when I ascended to my current status as a nascent-overgod and a master of countless domains and subdomains: I began to utilize the powers of a "masculinity deity".
The trio of women quietly studied the god who had brought them together. There was a gentle smile on his face, but he was a being of impossible, reality-altering power, and he was also an actively ambitious and perpetually moving creature. At the moment he seemed quite calm, but all three of the women had the ability to sense the immense power he was radiating.
Althos was, in their eyes and at this particular moment, a deity of raw, masculine power. He was a creature who embodied the stereotypical ideas associated with masculinity, such as boundless pride, indomitable sexuality, and immense power, even at the best of times but now he was basically radiating those things.
The three women were all powerful, unique, and remarkable women who had different relationships with the deity in front of them. One of them, the youngest woman here, was a creation of the god who was very possibly on par with the oldest woman here, and she loved her creator. At first she had only loved her creator as a creator, but now she felt a strange and powerful desire for him, in other, more carnal ways.
The woman whose age was in the middle of the ages of the three women was a worshiper of the deity of power, ambition, and sexuality. He was her hero, a warrior who had appeared out of the blue and who had done impossible deeds for her, such as giving her her long-sought after revenge, helping her transcend beyond her past limits as a human being, and even as she discovered mere minutes ago; resurrecting her father.
To her, he was the embodiment of power and of fate, and as she stared at him in his current form she began to feel he was the deity of other, significantly less metaphorical and abstract things. She took in the pheromones he was radiating and had to work to keep herself from smiling.
Ravanthan watched Althos carefully, but even she wasn't immune to the effects of his choice to appear before them as a deity of masculinity. At the moment the courageous warrior and ambitious leader was carefully, willfully, radiating pheromones which served to awaken those around him to his status as a symbol of masculinity and as an embodiment of the concepts tied to masculinity.
Ravanthan, herself a full higher-being and thus Althos's only peer, keenly felt the powers of the deity. She felt his every glance and the power of his body in every step he took. He was a true god of pleasure, sex, and sexuality, and as such when he wanted to, or even unconsciously, he could be an impossibly attractive being who could attract virtually anyone. At the moment, much to Ravanthan's annoyance, that was how he was manifesting and she was keenly aware of that simple fact.
Of all of the women, Ravanthan had the most complex view of Althos. She knew that he was her personal savior, but she also knew that he was a powerful being who couldn't be trusted. He had defeated Akamal in an instant using a very strange, perhaps even eldritch ability, and no one else had ever even done damage to the voodoo vestige that Althos bested in all of the days that Ravanthan had been trapped and enslaved by her enemy, but he was also a prominent deity and emperor who she had learned was the head of a powerful intergalactic governmental organization.
Althos himself was simply toying with the three women and shortly after he began to exude the pheromones that wafted off of him he began to focus his attentions elsewhere. The universe was still reacting and adjusting to the deicide he had performed and so he was not rushing things, but he was slowly expanding his reach across the universe and getting his claws into the newest territories to become his.
Althos tended to vary his attitude towards people depending on where they came from. The people he was the most tyrannical towards were either devils or pain-bringers and he had acquired near total control over the devilish home dimension of Infernius, and he had acquired total power over Zenith, the home dimension of pain-bringers.
Althos turned the immense power of his mind to Infernius and allowed himself to mentally wander the strange dimension. He eagerly began to explore the dimension in its fullness, and as he did he took his time to afflict the entire populace with a brand new synergistic power of his: "Worship inducement". Althos had stolen so much and become such a powerful deity that he could now force creatures to worship him.
His mind surged through Infernius, eagerly spying on devils in their natural habitats and as he did he forcibly converted them into his worshipers.He explored the various and eerie layers of Infernius.
The second layer was a vast graveyard, an "eternal graveyard" for devils who had truly been slain and thus would not just regenerate in Infernius a few days, weeks, months, or even years after seemingly being "slain". As he explored this layer he made plans to utilize it later on, since he was a master of death and could fully resurrect even supposedly "destroyed" devils. This layer had housed the vestige whose artifact was the shadow scythe that Althos knew he would one day slay Morehammer with.
The third layer was a vast city, where most infernal politics took place. It was a "perfect" city, at least as envisioned by the oldest devils to have ever existed. Althos quite liked it, and decided to make it the current capital of Infernius, and he installed an illusion of himself in the city's grand palace as the emperor of devilkind.
The fourth layer was a marshalling ground for Infernius's armies. Althos studied this place, and would spend several days exploring it fully, while resurrecting all of Infernius's fallen soldiers, even ones destroyed in the distant past. As the deity freely displayed his mastery over life and death he came to be worshipped sincerely and naturally by the soldiers who dwelled in this layer. They whole-heartedly devoted themselves to expanding Althos's power and the respect, fear, and admiration mortals felt towards Infernius.
The fifth layer was a vast prison, one larger than any other prison in this particular universe. Until the moment that Althos began to explore it it had been populated exclusively by devils who were the wardens, and various sorts of prisoners. Althos, in exploring it, put a change to how it was staffed. He carefully selected pain-bringers, who didn't need to be converted to his worship, to reinforce the vast prison complex. He diligently used his peace-based powers to prevent any fights from breaking out, as the new wardens arrived to reinforce the existing guards.
The sixth layer of Infernius was a truly enormous temple, where the faiths devoted to Althos could be practiced safely even during the time when the temple was run by a vestige. These faiths primarily included the Tyrant's Hand and the Order of the Heated Blade. This layer was one enormous temple, so incredibly vast that multiple cities were located inside of it.
The seventh layer was enormous, underground ocean. Cities were built on islands here and one such city was ruled by the pyro-pope, a devote, fanatical, war-devil who worshiped Althos and was himself the head of one sect of the Order of the Heated Blade. This specific city had long had a natural portal to Zenith located inside of it, and pain-bringers frequently traveled to and from the city.
The eighth layer was one truly enormous laboratory. It was populated by strange devils, ones such as verminlords who were enormous insects and were some of the great scholars of devil-kind. Here they performed strange and sinister experiments on all sorts of victims and they took to the worship of Althos very easily. After all, Althos eagerly allowed them to perform their profane experiments, so long as they recorded their results and allowed Althonite angels to make copies of their findings.
Althos also encouraged them to connect with Mi-Gos, the eldritch scientists who as a race had begun to revere Althos for his fascination with knowledge and his permissiveness regarding truly foul experiments. Members of both races began to freely trade information, and within days would be traveling freely to and from each other's homelands.
Althos refused to explore or even enter the final layer of Infernius until the day came that it was time for him to confront the Dark Saint. Even without the tremendous boost to his knowledge that he had received from the mass deicide that he had performed he knew that the second he entered the final layer of Infernius he would catch the unholy eyes of the Dark Saint, the founder and creator of Infernius. He wasn't yet prepared for that clash, as that was an overgod's vestige, a being he knew he couldn't win against with tricks.
When a few days had passed, both the Terran colony and Infernius would begin to change. The knowledge that I had begun to set off a wave of transformational changes to both places brought a smile to my face.
That said I wasn't fully done changing things. Even as people from Spartina's colony of Terrans began to pour into our shared home, and as we began to notice less hostility from the Atlani, I was preparing myself for the greatest waves of changes yet. Changes that involved me fully utilizing my powers over life and death, my true, terrifying mastery of both.