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Thursday, February 6, 2020

We Have Moved!

Hello everyone! We have moved to a new site. All the content here will stay but there will be no new content. Join us at Hi everyone. The new site is live!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Leak 1/6/20


I just want to start off and say thank you to everyone who viewed my short story. It became my most popular short story in just a few days and that says a lot for how long this blog has been active. I bet everyone is anxiously expecting some new content but I got some good and bad news

Bad news is that there will be no new content this week to maybe a few weeks. In fact there will be about one new post for the rest of the lifetime of this site. Why you ask?

Good news is I bought a new domain and am building a site in which the blog can flourish in the future. You read that correctly. There will be no new content on Blogspot but there will be on my new site. I am getting everything together and hopefully it will be up before any of you get tired of no new content. I would say its halfway done currently and can be up fairly soon if everything goes according to plan. 

I have been on Blogspot for about 9 years now. That is a very long time and it's time to try something new in this new decade. Overall I have had over 300,000 views and over 650 posts. Even though there will be no new content on Blogspot I will not delete the blog. The content will be here till Blogspot closes its doors even though I moved on. 

Heres to a thankful 9 years and a hope for 9 more years! Thank you for all the support and I will be talking to you soon!

Remember me 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

We Are Medina Lake

Edited by Stephanie Bachman

“I've got to be perfectly honest with you. If you had seen the things I have seen. Well… you would still be in disbelief. I know I have. The gift of foresight and knowing where I am now. The places I have been. The things I have done. It’s got to stop. You have to stop it."
"You have to die. Are you willing to accept your fate?" 
"What? No!"
"Then I will be the one to make it possible."
I jumped over the table that separated us, as the Vagabond took several steps back. Still in my old age I was flexible. I had reserved every inch of my strength for this moment the Vagabond was going to die. 
"This is the moment you have been waiting for," said the voice in my head that has been keeping me sane and safe for centuries. "The Vagabond is right in front of you, end it!" 
The Vagabond ran several feet away from me putting my couch in between me and it. I looked at it intently and it at me. 
"You're nothing. You know that? The pain and suffering you give the world. You are the one to do it and I have to stop it. It needs to be delayed."
"The things you’ve seen," said the Vagabond, "I believe it. I have seen them too! It’s too late, it’s already begun. The gears are already in motion. The Reckoning is already upon us!"
"She speaks lies. It has never had contact with Terium. It does not know of the suffering you speak of," said the voice.
I jumped over the couch and it knew it wasn’t getting out alive. It swatted at me as I attempted to choke its neck. I pushed it up against a chifforobe. It gasped for air and grabbed a ceramic pot that was on the table beside the chifforobe and hit me over the head. It stunned me for a second, but I was determined to end this. I used the weight I had and threw it on the ground, breaking a glass table being supported by a wood frame. The glass shattered and the wood splintered into many pieces. 
"This is it. You end today." 
As I put pressure on the Vagabonds neck it reached up to my face trying to push me away. It went for my eyes nearly scratching them. I put my neck as far back as I could and felt the adrenaline rush through my brain and down my spine and through my fingertips. I closed my eyes as I shivered with excitement. At that very moment I saw the Vagabond’s past. The things it had done. The places it created. It had already begun the Reckoning. It was too late, but it could continue to do damage if it continued to draw breath.
"Yes. This is the moment we have dreamed about. Let this action turn to fruition," said the voice. 
I opened my eyes and I lifted its neck as my grip grew stronger and I slammed its head against the floor a few times. Its arms went down from my face to my hands trying to break the grip I had on it. I closed my eyes to see its present. Its partner and the crimes they committed. There were many layers to the Vagabond and much I had not seen before. I had seen the events that would lead to our worlds demise but not its life. The layers continued to unfold as I continued to view everything about it. Where everything went wrong. I opened my eyes to see the Vagabond’s face turning from red to purple. It was almost done.
"It’s over. It’s done. The Vagabond will never see another face. It has been a long time coming and spending every minute with you was worth it," said the voice.
Strangling is a timely process. The television always makes it looks it takes a minute. It doesn’t. Death by strangulation takes many minutes and only if you apply the enough pressure to the throat’s airways. It was enough time for me to see everything the Vagabond had to offer. The past, present and future. I closed my eyes one more time. I had to see the future. I expected darkness and I was comforted to see that. There was nothing left after the Vagabond’s death. It’s final chapter was here.
A fraction of a fraction of a second passed and just about when I opened my eyes a wave of new visions came to me. The Vagabond’s future if it did not die. What I saw…I could not explain nor would I. The Vagabond’s future if it did not die right here was to the least, redeeming. I watched the Vagabond’s eyes roll back into its skull and I knew this was a mistake. 
I let go of the Vagabond’s neck. It gasped for air as I got off of it. I took a few steps back and used the handkerchief in my front pocket to wipe the sweat off my brow. It felt its neck surprised that it was still alive, then it sat up and looked at me confused.
"Your future. All the pain and suffering. All is forgotten." I said quietly. It looked at me relieved that this was not the end, but it wondered what I saw. "I cannot tell you your future. The timeline will not allow you knowing your potential. It is a secret that I will keep confidential till my last breath. It’s vital to the timeline."
"There’s a new voice. One that is talking about the countless futures that could happen. What is it?" She asked.
I reached for my mother’s trinket box to reveal a powder in the box. "I’ll show you. I’ll take you back. Back to the beginning." 

It was the first contact event. Never before had a man, woman, or child seen her, only heard. She in all her glory. She was something with the lack of a better word. She was something out of my dreams. At first, I thought I was dreaming. I swear I had seen her face before, and I had. I first thought it was before. You know, from before we came here. The afterlife. Arcadia. She told us stories of how we were created. How we all had a greater purpose. We do but that’s not the point. 
She came to me. I was in the library. Reading on some old text from people who claimed to have talked to her. This was at the time when she spoke on occasion. To the devoted. She was in all white. Flowing. Brightness greater than the sun. I couldn’t see her face, but I knew it was perfect. It was her. Lady Manticore. Our God. 
I was speechless. She did not speak at first. In fact, she never spoke. Not out of her mouth. She spoke to my mind. She appealed to what I knew about her. She appealed to what she knew about me. She had been watching. Knowing of my pursuits. Knowing of my knowledge of her. She knew everything about me back when everything was...simple. She spoke to me and me alone. I swear. She spoke to me in this language. This language that we take for granted. Godspeech. Some people have heard it before, but it has never been universal. Not like it is now. You people now never knew what it was like when some speak a different language as you. To hear but not understand. She invented the tongue among other things. She invented everything. 
"There is another continent. Far away from here. To the West. This continent full of new places and things and people. There is something that was left from the beginning of time. The Godsmetal. The very thing that makes you like a kindred spirit like me. It will shape you into what you were meant to be. The next step to evolution. The beginning and the end simultaneously. Be like gods."
She spoke in many voices. Many people at once and I understood. Like it was second nature. I tried to form the words to respond to her and I asked of the people. 
"Have the people in this land not heard your message? Why me? Why us on this other continent? Why now?"
"You have many questions and I understand. The people there have grown fearful of me. They misunderstand the Godsmetal and my intention. They do not understand that in order to take on such a blessing you must also take on a curse. There is no good without bad. There is no black without white. There is no sanity without madness."
"Will we grow mad then? Mad with power? Mad with unlimited possibilities? To be like a god. It sounds a bit much. Why give us this? Why give us this opportunity?"
"There is a plan. Many machinations are in motion and this is just a steppingstone in the great plan. We must start but make haste. The Demagogues also plan to set a seed. To be there first. You must get to the Godsmetal first."
"I am just a simple man." I said. "How do you expect me to speak to my peers and have them believe me? Many have claimed to have spoken to you, yet have no proof of what you said was not some wild hallucination and grandiose thinking? How can I convince my fellow man that I speak the truth?"
"Speak my language. Those who have heard my tongue know that it is Godspeech. Those who know my language will also know my message. The same message I have given you. My language is not easy, and you have become fluent within the hour. Speak and they will listen."
Within seconds she left me. I had not realized but when I was in her presence, all fear, all loathing had left my body. But instead of that void I had a nervous tick. A sort of after effect of her presence. I felt a crawling underneath my skin as if small creatures were trying to get out. The same tick others to have claimed to have felt. It doesn’t leave. It has never left. I knew then that I was in the presence of our God. 
The message was easy. Others had heard it and spoke of it in coming weeks. Lady Manticore had never shown her face until that day and it was not the last. Lady Manticore had several appearances. All telling of her teachings of love, to be wary of the Demagogues of the Otherside, and of the Godsmetal that lied just out of our reach. The people built boats in masses. People were anxious to be much like her. To speak like her. She was our everything. She was our God.
Soon everyone spoke her language. It became universal between every type of people on the planet no matter where you resided. She visited everyone who wished to speak with her, but she had a rule. An unforgivable action. Once you saw her, spoke to her even. You knew she existed but if you denied what she was, you would be condemned to the Otherside. To face eternal damnation for the rest of your existence? That was something never heard of. 
One of my first followers was Emma. She was the closest thing to me since my mother passed. She was a childhood friend and followed me no matter where I was. She and I had the same interests. She was a holy woman like I was a holy man. We spoke frequently about the many blessings of the Lady. Although I enjoyed her as a friend, we had some sort of connection that developed throughout the years. We weren’t intimate, not yet, but seeing the Lady had only strengthened our connection. 
Before Lady Manticore went out and became the God we all wanted and loved, she never really had anyone be condemned to the Otherside to be judged by the Demagogues. She was a God of love. At the time everyone was practically invincible. The Otherside was something else. Some plain beyond our existence of intense heat and fire and brimstone. Many have claimed to feel the plane slipping into our existence when speaking with a Demagogue. They keep the Otherside working. They do the torture. They make you wish you had changed your ways before you got here. 
Before people saw Lady Manticore, the only way to be claimed by the Otherside was to do a Demagogues bidding. They had no real meddling in our world, but they could talk to us. Tell us to do whatever they wanted us to do. Promise you with riches and anything you wish to take. Some don’t have the ability to say no. Then your tongue gets tied and all you can say is yes. If Lady Manticore was a God, then the Demagogues were as well. While Lady Manticore stood for the righteous, the Demagogues stood for the sinners. 
The Demagogues were powerful, but I wasn’t sure to what extent. They could force people to do their bidding, but I wasn’t sure if they could leave their plane. Souls trapped in the Otherside could corrupt a man’s soul. To replace it with their own. Lady Manticore can heal all evil, but she couldn’t heal the Demagogues. I guess that’s why they are condemned to remain in the Otherside. To guide souls that have too been too corrupted for Lady Manticore. 
The boats have been made. Many of the newfound church of Lady Manticore believed her truth. We wished to be much like her. To have unlimited possibilities. Lady Manticore set us off. I resided on the Arcadia. Named after our paradise. Fellow colleagues also settled on my boat, but my boat could only house so many. Others had to go their own ways. To join the other captains on their pursuits to be to the newfound land first. It was like a race. Who could be godly first? Surely, we didn’t expect the long journey along the way, but we were optimistic. Lady Manticore visited the boats every day. She would multiply provisions and heal all ailments. Our God was truly a woman of wonder. The mother of the world but things cannot be good at all times. 
Emma was on another boat than me. She became a figurehead much like me and she taught the people much like I did. We had grown to love each other more as we were apart, and I realized that I missed her like a man would of his wife. We were inseparable up unto this point and when we embrace once again, I might ask her to be a part of me like the first humans to walk the planet. 
One day on our journey to the new land, Lady Manticore was in the middle of a lesson. Teaching us of the types of people that resided on the continent already and then she stopped talking. She could feel something crawl up her skin. The grace that surrounded her dwindled. We were being surrounded by darkness. It was day forty-six. The Demagogues had found our ships and they wished to inflict harm. Lady Manticore left and I didn’t know where she went. Our God. She left us. Why would she do that? 
Tunnels of smoke came out of the ocean. There were several. All tunnels of which infected several people on each boat. The men, previously followers of Lady Manticore had been forced to follow the Demagogues. Their eyes had red halos around their irises. A true sign that someone’s soul had been corrupted by the Demagogues. I was pushed back behind my men. I was a major piece in Lady Manticore’s plan, and I was not to be harmed but one by one, my men were killed, corrupted, or thrown overboard. Soon nothing was between me and these daemons. A dark aura penetrated the light around them as the halos around their eyes glowed a blood red. Lady Manticore spoke to me, as if she was in my mind. I could hear her, but I knew others could not. 
"I am within you. Touch the corruption of the Demagogue and the corruption will wither." Looking down to my hands I wondered if these were holy hands. Hands to do God’s work and the holiness to follow would be her making. I was petrified I had my hands in front of me hoping that one of the men corrupted by a Demagogue would let me close enough to touch them. They all stood their distance. As I walked closer, they walked away but they still circled me leaving me surrounded by the presence of evil. 
They laughed and they taunted. Told me things that only I would know like my mother’s last words to me before she died from disease. They told me those last words were lies. They knew about my feelings for Emma. I had not spoken about her to anyone other than professionally in context of our religion. They tried to get a rise out of me, but I wasn’t quick to anger like most men my age. I was a holy man and not just a recent one like these others. I knew to turn the cheek and to not lash out in anger. Lady Manticore taught many teachings before she first showed her face and it all was on love. Love your neighbor. Love your children. Love your significant others but if someone threatens your family, your holy family with hate or death, you are well within your right to show the hate back. An eye for an eye. A lash for a lash. Equal punishment to the creature that brought hate into your home but not their families. Never their families. Only sinners are punished for their sins. One of the few times we holy men are allowed to do what we can to protect what is ours. Same for women and children of all walks of life. If one wishes to do harm to you, you too are enlisted in the Lady’s work. 
I wasn’t a fighter. I more or less kept to myself in the old world. If I was wronged, I let it slide. I was a pushover with no family to avenge. No woman has looked my way and saw my value, no other than Emma. Emma saw my potential and not until Lady Manticore appeared to me. I was just one of the many lunatics who have listened for her teachings but her glory! That glory that is brighter than the sun that feeds the crops and the minds of men. The sun’s flame could be extinguished, and her presence would be enough to keep the people living for a new dawn. A new place that we can call home. 
I tripped over a barrel that was full of barley or ale. I did not watch the placement of my feet but those corrupted by the Demagogues still watched cautiously. One touch would expel them from this place, but I longed to see Emma one last time before I passed. They would have to crawl out from the Otherside again which is no easy task I’m told. None of them got close enough to me. They were scared, and they should be. Our world was a much nicer place than the Otherside I’m told. They wished to continue to feel the sun on their faces. To breathe our pristine air. They did not belong here, and they knew it. 
"The Demagogues belong in their realm. Not the realm of men. This shouldn’t be explained." I yelled while keeping an eye on every creature that surrounded me. There were six of them and their faces mutated my fellow men’s faces. Making them into something they didn’t wish to become. Not in this life, not in another. One Demagogue infected man walked out from the crowd of the corrupted.
"Believe me. We are not the enemies. The Lady is." He said while pointing at me, knowing full well that her spirit resided within me at the very moment. "She tells you what you want to believe. Love, joy? There is no darkness without the light. We are here because Lady Manticore needs us here. She is the villain. She orchestrated everything. We will not bow to the Lady no more we will no longer cull the weak. Nobody will believe what we have told you, you will regrettably be the only survivor. The Lady controls our movements but not our words." It was strange. The voice of one of the Demagogue’s and the body language. It was much like my mother’s. They could have just been playing a trick on me, but something seemed vaguely familiar. Like a past life. Just then the pillars of smoke left the bodies out of every orifice they could. Burning out the eyes, mouth and ears. My men were dead, but what of Lady Manticore? She spoke to me softly. Knew that the Demagogue tampering with my mind would only make me distrust everything she has said and done. I knew that the Demagogue’s were liars, but I felt a truth in the speech that was spoken to me. A kernel of truth in an otherwise conversation of lies. I knew I was to continue on the path of the Lady but to what point? 
Lady Manticore asked if I was really taking their word seriously? I said I wasn’t, but I had to do some investigating. If I were to be untruthful to her would she know? To lie directly to the Lady, how would she know? She has made it clear to me that she was not omnipotent at all times. There were guises or filters that blocked her omnipotence in an area. Something that infected the air around us when a Demagogue was near. Some kind of stain that needed to be washed out. I examined the bodies of my fellow men. They were dead and a thick powder covered their orifices. Something the Demagogues left behind. I touched a little bit of it, and it rubbed off on my finger.
"The Demagogues come from a place that is full of volcanic ash. It covers their souls and they leave it behind. Anything from the Otherside can potentially block my sight, I know you loved these men, but they have to be thrown overboard or else my sight will be limited till we reach the new land."
"Why did the one Demagogue sound like my mother? Was that a trick?" I asked. The Lady was quiet for a minute and didn’t respond. "I will need help. Their remains are all over the deck. We will need more than just me to get all remnants of the Demagogues from off this ship." I said. Lady Manticore thought for a minute. Still not addressing my mother.
"The others must have seen the struggle. I’ll go tell them to send a skeleton crew." I felt Lady Manticore leave my presence and saw her glory on another boat many miles out. She wasn’t near me and if I was to get to the bottom of what the Demagogues meant, I had to begin to be untruthful and to do that, I needed this residue. 
I began to scrape off the residue on all the men and into a trinket box that my late mother had given me. I threw out the old trinkets out into the ocean, if anyone was to ask, I was to throw out my worldly possessions to become a godly man. It seemed fitting that I would do anything to see my mother once again. If that was what it was. To choose the Demagogues over the Lady? Emma would think that was blasphemy, but my mother was the most important woman in my life. Not Emma, Not Lady Manticore. My mother. I filled the box to the brim of this powder and there was much more all over the deck. She would never suspect me. We can just claim that there was too much powder on the boat. It got through the cracks. The ship must be dismantled once we hit land. 
I could now see the freighters coming my way. They were to send me men. Men that could sail this ship, cook the meals, keep everyone onboard fed. They were to send the best of their best. Even though I was the best thing for the people I did not have their interests best within me. Is it right to mistrust a God? Knowing that all creatures, even higher beings, have a motive. What was it?
The journey was long and rough. Lady Manticore prepared us for the travel but none of us expected the extent of finding the new land. It was across a massive ocean. With nothing between where we lived and where we will live. The Demagogues first attacked after a few weeks of sailing. It has now been near two months since we first left our homeland.
I’ve grown to know the new crew in great detail. There was John Smith. He was a navigator like the father before him. He has talked to Lady Manticore about intimate details on how far we must go. He brought along his wife and several children, but they resided on another freighter designed for carrying family members. Our freighter led the expedition as the others followed. Our freighter was designed with speed in mind rather than size. The bunks were tight even where I resided near the captain’s cabin. 
The captain of the ship was named William. I forget his last name because he insists that we remain on a first name basis. We meet every morning to discuss what will happen on landfall. He seems very optimistic regardless of the Demagogues or the native people who inhabit the new land. He was actually fairly new to being a captain. We never expected an attack from the Demagogue’s, so we didn’t have excess of captains. He had led only a few expeditions before this one and none of them were as important as the one he had now. None of the other captains were willing to give up the helm of their ships but we were fortunate enough to have William. He was young and driven and we will only succeed as long as he is in good health. 
I also got to know the cook of the ship. Mason was his name but all I know about him is that he was born in the same city as me. He doesn’t speak much but I think that’s why he gave such an impression to me. He cooks our local dishes just like my mother with such finesse that it would put her to shame, may the Lady calm her soul. He sometimes gives me an extra ration to keep me quiet about what I know about him—which isn’t much. He was a private man and I could only wish for the best for him once we land in this new land. 
Lady Manticore had made a point to meet with every woman, man, and child on the expedition so everyone knew about her glory. She doesn’t stick too long on our ship anymore. Probably out of fear about what she cannot see. If she resides on our ship, then she cannot see the dangers that are approaching. She tells us that we are nearly there. William doubts it. He finds it very hard to believe that there is any type of land that hasn’t been already settled by those who resided on the homeland. 
"How have we not known about it for so long? Why is the Lady mentioning it now?" He asks. I didn’t have an answer, but he suspects something just like I do. Facts are falling through the cracks and over time they will either be explained in detail or will make the crack a chasm. 
Emma came along to visit to comfort me one day. I spoke of my issues with the Lady, but she shrugged them off as if they were not important. She had a different agenda and I could tell she missed me as much as I had missed her. We were alone in the captain’s cabin. Talking about our past then she sprang up the question.
"Do you love me?" She asked while looking into my eyes. I looked away in astonishment knowing full well what would happen if I said yes but the Lady did not forbid it. In fact, she hinted it on numerous occasions as if this was supposed to happen. 
"Well…yes. We have known each other for so long and Emma?" I said while holding her hand. "I know the Lady has wished for this to happen so let’s do it." She smiled at me and I smiled back. There was no doubt that the Lady has posed such a task of her. To be a mother. And I was to be a father. 
Emma left that morning to teach the people about her findings on this boat. There are a lot of things that haven’t been explained but Lady Manticore mentions we are not ready to know the full extent of her godliness. I couldn’t imagine a world without a God telling you what is right and what is wrong. I couldn’t imagine a world in which our creation was in the unknown. To think of the tribulations of the meaning of life is only something I could imagine in a fairytale. We know for a fact about what happens after we die and where we go. To be uncertain, to me, is a fate worse than death and that’s why it pains me so to doubt our Lady. She will not give the intimate details about what’s to come, how we will live our lives, or what to expect. She tells us that it would ruin the experience of life, but I just see it as another crack. Doubting her and believing the Demagogue’s. I would be condemned to the Otherside if she knew and that’s why my mother’s trinket box full of ash doesn’t leave my side. 
I heard John yelling this morning he must have spotted something. I quickly got up out of my bunk and noticed that most of the people were already on deck. I got up to where the captain stood as he looked through his spyglass, a recent technology through the wisdom of Lady Manticore. He could see something and John, who was on top of the sails with his own spyglass definitely could see something. He squealed with excitement until the captain yelled at him stating he could now see it as well. John started coming down and the captain handed me the spyglass. 
"What is it captain?" 
"It’s William, you know that."
"If you want these boys to respect you, they need to acknowledge your position. Respectively. Captain."
"Right. What do you see?" 
"I see...ocean." 
"Beyond that. Look at the horizon where the sky and ocean meet." I looked harder and it looked like something, but I couldn’t tell what it was.
"Is that land?" I asked, simply using deductive reasoning. 
"Yes!" He laughed. "You see it?"
"Yes," I lied. "I’ll want to look again once we get closer."
"Oh, you will," he said. I looked behind us and it looked the other boats were further away than us. They probably couldn’t see this land. I motioned to one of the crew to sound the horn which would alert the other ships that we saw something. He did and seconds later we heard horns coming back. They received the message. The men on the boat were ecstatic and joyful that the long journey was just about over but something was off. Lady Manticore was nowhere on our boat, nor could we see her glory on the other boats. She was gone. She left us and there would only be one reason why that was so. I took the spyglass and ran it along the horizon. I could see her glory along the horizon much like a setting sun, but the sun was just rising. She was there on the land and before I could say anything to the captain, Lady Manticore appeared on the boat right in front of the spyglass nearly blinding me. I closed my eyes as I saw spots of amplified intense light that shone through my retinas. I was blind for the moment, but I was sure she would mend my wounds.
"There are wicked men on the beach." She said. I’m sure she pointed where, but I couldn’t see. "We need to sail up the coast. That’s where the Godsmetal is. We must get there. Before them. I felt a quick turn of the boat as I fell to my knees. 
"Do you think they saw us?" A crew member asked.
"They saw me on the beach, they know we are close. Keep your distance but keep the shoreline in view when you see a large opening in the land where a bay resides, go there. There will be a small island just outside the opening. The Godsmetal would be close. Wait for me there." Lady Manticore surely left because I could not feel her warm glow on my skin. A crew member then lifted me off the ground and put his fingers near my eyes as if he was looking into them.
"Can you see me?" He asked.
"No, I can’t see anything other than spots of light that engrained themselves into my brain." I said. He chuckled for a minute 
"I think you're blind. The color of your eyes, they are grey. Void of the color you once had. No worry though, I’m sure Lady Manticore can fix it. 
"She is our God." I said somewhat hesitantly.
"Yes. Yes, she is."
"I need to lay down," I said while feeling around for some type of indicator on where I was.
"Take him to my cabin." The captain said. "I’ll speak with him in a minute." I was led into the cabin and laid on his bed. I got some rest, but I wasn’t sure for how long. When the captain entered the room, I could hear the door creak louder than times in the past as if it was now amplified to my ears. 
"I think we got away." He said. "I’m not sure where this opening is but it might be a few days."
"You sure we got away?" I asked cautiously.
"There’s no doubt the wicked men are taking orders from the Demagogues and the Demagogues want the Godsmetal just as much as us but I don’t think they know where it was, just its general area and word of mouth, that’s why Lady Manticore has been so vague on its location. There's probably spies in our midst."
"Wouldn’t Lady Manticore know? How would she not know?" 
"I think her omnipotence is proximity based. She doesn’t really seem to know what happens until she is in a certain area. That’s why she keeps going between the ships, were outside of her range. The spy has most likely avoided her on the other ships and volunteered to be on this one since the ash."
"Would it be wise for us to go there then?"
"No, it wouldn't. That’s why some of us are switching boats. You, me, and William we already know nobody else was close enough to hear her. If the spy was one of us then it doesn’t matter what we do, the location would be found. We’re going to give the crew false orders and settle somewhere else and we will sail for the true location on another boat. Hopefully we can come up with a plan before anything bad happens. Just sit here and rest till nightfall. I’ll come and get you and help you on the dinghy." I could hear him about to leave the room, but I asked him a question as he just about opened the door. 
"Who do you think the spy is?"
"Uhh. The cook seems kind of sketchy. He won’t tell me his name. Why he’s here."
"His name’s Mason. He keeps to himself mostly he’s uh…what’s the word...an introvert."
"What does that mean."
"A type of person who prefers to keep to themselves and be alone. Lady Manticore called me that once after we took a crash course on her speaking, I forget the word. That’s where I picked up the word outside her teachings. Can’t teach every word I guess."
"True. She has so much more to teach us. But I think we all have a grasp on her speaking."
"I remembered the word. It’s language."
"Close enough." I laughed. He laughed too and left the room. I was left alone to my thoughts. Back to whether or not to trust my God or the Demagogues. I tried to weigh the pros and cons. 
"What are you thinking?" I heard somewhere in the room. I looked around trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. "You won’t see me. I’m not in the room. I’m far away from you." It sounded like the Lady, but she sounded in distress. 
"Can you heal me?" I asked. "I can’t see."
"I can but..."
"What’s wrong? What will happen?" I said trying to stay calm. If I could not see Emma or my soon-to-be-child I didn’t know what I was going to do. 
"I can but you will see much more than your hand in front of your face."
"What do you mean? Where are you?" I said while trying to figure out where she was in the room. She was everywhere but nowhere at the same time. As if her spirit was in the room but not her body. 
"I don’t feel your glory. Your warmth. Why have you left me in the dark?"
"That powder you have in your box in your pocket, what is it?" 
I stood up knowing I was found out. "I’m sorry. The Demagogue’s said those things. I mistrusted you. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to go this far!"
"You believed us?"
"Us? You’re not the Lady. You’re a Demagogue! I said while feeling around for some kind of weapon. 
"Calm." The voice turned to that of my mothers. "Better?"
"Yeah. Yeah I guess." I stammered. 
"That powder?"
"Yes. I scrapped it off the bodies. It keeps her omnipotence at bay."
"That’s a way of calling it. Yes."
"What about it?"
"That powder is similar to the Godsmetal. Where we’re from. It’s all over the place. We rub it all over our bodies. We can do things that nobody else can do."
"Like the Godsmetal!"
"Yes, like the Godsmetal but the Godsmetal has pros and cons."
"What kind of pros and cons? What will happen?" I sat back down. 
"It will give you ungodly amount of power at your fingertips yes. That is true. But great power does not come with faults. Lady Manticore wants you to eat it. It will reshape your body structure. Make you vibrate at a different signal it will change your potential to something much greater, but it will strike you down mentally. You will get the God Complex." My mother. She was now in the room with me. 
"What is the God Complex?"
"Medicine has not advanced far enough to know about mental disorders so this all will sound foreign. But your personality will change. You will see and feel and smell things that aren’t actually there. You will have delusions of grandeur along with paranoia. You will no longer be the holy man you have grown to become. The Godsmetal is addictive. Once you start. You can’t stop. It will change you physically and mentally. There will be no turning back."
"How is any of this good?" I asked. I could hear my mother’s breathing behind me. She struggled with every breath like she did before she passed. It was like she breathed the same air I breathed. In and out. 
"It’s not. Lady Manticore wants to start something that is much bigger than you and me."
"What do you mean?" I asked
"You’ll have to see for yourself. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. We aren’t the enemy. We are prisoners to her demand. Everything is much bigger than you or me. This will consume universes whole all for her personal gain." My mother was beginning to sound like the Demagogue’s from before. 
"What should I do? Can I stop her?"
"No. Play along. She has been at this much longer than us. She knows a lot, but she is not omnipotent. So, stop using that box to keep her away. She can’t use some of her powers with the powder and omnipotence isn’t any of them."
"So, she’s not a God?" I asked. 
"Oh. She is a God. Believe me she is. She is your God and you need to keep it that way but the things she tells you. There is motive. An endgame. And you are to set the first piece so the rest fall down. She’s playing you. But there’s nothing you can do to stop it."
"She’s crazy. She has some crazy goal in mind and what? Universe’s are at stake?"
"Does she have the God Complex?" I asked. There was silence. "Does she?"
"The God Complex is very common among Celestials."
"Celestials? What does that mean?"
"Your kind. You will become Celestials with the Godsmetal. Lady Manticore is also a Celestial but a different kind. There will be many kinds of Celestials and that’s all I can say."
“And you are?” I asked.
“The opposite. An Infernal.”
"So, she was once like us? Human?"
"No." The Demagogue laughed. "She was never human."
"Then what?"
"Something else. That’s all I can say."
"Why won’t you tell me?"
"You need to see it for yourself."
"And how do I do that? I can’t see." I said angrily. 
"The powder. It works similar to the Godsmetal. Put it on your eyes. The outside the lids. Not inside. Never inside. Put it there. You will see sight, but you will also see many other things that you normally wouldn’t see. Use it to your advantage. Don’t take the Godsmetal and do not tell about your new talents until people think you’ve taken the Godsmetal. Lie if you have to. Do not take the Godsmetal." It was soon real quiet in the room. 
"Does this powder have cons too?" There was no answer. I sighed about the cons I could face but if it meant seeing through Lady Manticore and through the truth. It was worth it. I slowly took out the box, but I heard the door open I quickly hid it and looked around using my ears, wondering if the person would announce themselves. 
"It’s time." It was the captain. 
"But the day has just started." I said in a chuckle. 
"It’s been several hours. Are you hungry? I thought I left food in here for you." He paused and made a sound of disgust. "Did you eat that?"
"Those—" He held back his gagging. "Those maggot filled apples. It looks like they’ve been there for years. What in the Otherside happened?"
"The Otherside happened." I said with a smile. "I’m not hungry. Let’s go." 
The captain helped me up even though it was not my legs that had the issue. He led me out of the cabin, and I could hear the roaring waves crash up against the bow of the boat, but we weren’t on the top of the boat but behind it from the captain’s balcony. I couldn’t remember if there was a ladder or something that would help me down, but the captain let out a little laugh. I’m sure he was scratching his head in the predicament we were in, but he soon spoke.
"You’re not going to like what I have to say, so you’re gonna have to trust me." I confirmed I heard him then felt a quick push, something I did not expect. I fell over the balcony heading toward the impending waves as I heard the waves come closer and closer. When I felt I was close enough I held my breath trusting my fellow man rather than trusting my survival instinct. I soon fell beneath the waves and for a minute all was quiet as the water surrounded me. It was a quick second, but I wondered if this was some attempt to kill me off. I had trust in the men who followed me but what would be the extent of my trust? I did not trust these men as much as the previous crew before the Demagogues killed them, but I had no close family and my friends were nothing more than associates and colleagues that believed in my teachings as a holy man. 
I thought for a minute if I ever really knew what trust meant. I tried to think of the best example, and I thought of Lady Manticore and how she trusted me to carry her message to the men that occupied the land in the surrounding areas of our continent. It was a lot of work, but she saw something in me, something that I had no idea in, but she trusted me none the less. Maybe she saw my inevitable planned betrayal in her way, and she knew even with the sting of the initial blow, she understood why I did such a thing. If she really knew about my future, then she would know that right? 
Soon enough I was pulled onto the dinghy and William tried talking to me making sure I was okay. It was a shock for sure, but it was nothing more than expected. I felt somehow, I was gaining the Lady’s insight. I confirmed I heard him and soon enough we were on our way to another boat after the captain jumped too. Something that was arranged without my knowledge, but I had trust in my fellow men, just like the Lady ad trust in me. If she really was this great and powerful God then this was something she did expect, she would know. I felt about coming clean to the men who accompanied me, and I did.
"I don’t trust the Lady." I said. I was sure it was a blow to the men, and it was quiet for a few seconds. I was sure they gave each other an interesting look to each other no longer believing me but it was the exact opposite reaction I heard from the reply. 
"You trust the Demagogues?" The captain asked.
"I don’t trust them either but there is a kernel of truth in their lies." I explained everything to them. The situation that killed my previous crew. The visit in the captain’s cabin. Every thought I had to mistrust her, and they understood. 
"So, what do you propose we do?" asked William. I wasn’t sure enough myself, but I had to believe in my gut and that was to use the Demagogues powder. I reached into my coat pocket and took out my mother’s trinket box. I shook it from side to side to see if the powder was compromised and surprisingly, it wasn’t. No water had leaked into the box, but I figured it had something to do with the contents of the box. I opened it and sat it down in front of me and put my middle and index finger in it then gently rubbed them onto my eyelids. 
For a minute nothing happened but that’s because there was nothing to see. In disappointment I closed the box thinking the powder was compromised but a rush of waves of thoughts and feelings and past occurrences came through my head. It was all so loud and I gripped my head feeling like my skull was being crushed. I let out a scream of anguish and I could feel the men touch me trying to figure out what the issue was, but I could not hear them, but I was hearing something.
"And if I agree to your proposal then my son would be safe?" It was my mother.
"Yes, for a time but like I said before, he is crucial for the awakening of the people. He will have many thoughts and feelings for and against this, but he will come around." It was Lady Manticore.
"Don’t tell him what happened to me. He would not approve." I could not see what was actually in front of me, but a scene began to come through my eyes in blotches of various colors. I could see my mother talking to the Lady in the family estate. The exact one I left behind to pursue the new land and the Godsmetal. I could see my mother’s room in vivid detail, and it seemed I was in the room with them as this deal was being brokered. Looking through my new eyes I could tell that this was in the past and I was viewing the scene as if it was some form of play and I was in the audience. Like in the present I could not see Lady Manticore’s face, but I knew she was smiling, and I could feel her gaze no longer on my mother but me. I could feel some sort of impending feelings that I did not understand or have the words for. I felt tormented by the bombarding thoughts and feelings and she spoke.
"He might not approve, but he would understand. I know it." The scene went away in blotches much like they appeared, and all was black again.
I was out for a while. I do not know for how long I was out but when I came to, I could see the sun and some texture rather than the black mass of nothingness that I settled with. I was in a new captain’s cabin. I was on another boat. I could see but that was not what surprised me the most. My mother had seen the Lady before she had her demise but now. I seemed to suspect that it was a lot less natural than I had previously thought. She stroke a deal with Lady Manticore but what was it? For a while I seemed to be running in circles trying to figure what she had that the Lady needed but it was the context of the dream that mattered. It wasn’t what she had but it was what I had. She was protecting me until I came of age and not just some child being swept away with a God. My mother told me. Just before she passed that I needed to live a holy life. To believe in the Lady and I did just that but somehow, I feel it was a way to groom me to what was coming. The storm. 
I tried to get up from the bed I was in. I could hear the old wood creak with every movement I made, and I got up to see my surroundings. Everything was some sort of blurry but close up I could see everything to the best of my ability. I reached around to touch the walls as I made my way to the sunlight that reflected through the stained-glass windows. Red and blue. Reflecting a scene that was most likely pivotal before this journey started. I got up close to the glass and touched it. The glass was warm from the sunlight. I had no interest in what the scene was depicting, I wanted to see the sun. I opened the doors to feel the sun on my face and I walked to the balcony of what was behind the boat. I heard a grunt and I could smell something like smoke back here and there was a passenger watching the sun much like me. 
"You feeling any better?" The man had some foreign accent in his speech, no doubt living further away from where I resided but Lady Manticore supposedly told the whole world of her appearance and the Godsmetal. She knew she wanted the whole world to know but there were only so many boats that we could prepare. Regardless of the many gifts that were across the sea, the world we once knew had to continue living and maintaining the society we left behind. If not, it would be total chaos. Those people took the bigger sacrifice than us. Who knows what else they will miss out on? I breathed in trying to get some fresh air but all I got was smoke. 
"What is that?" I said while coughing. 
"Oh this?" He was probably referring to the thing in his hand. "There isn’t a word for it in the Lady’s speech, at least not yet. You put it in your mouth and breathe it in, want to try?" I nodded no and turned to look at the waves below and the rising sun.
"And you are?" I asked 
"Miguel. I captain this ship. Sold everything I owned to buy this ship. I’m looking for a new life here in this new world." He said. 
"How far are we from the fleet?" I asked.
"Pretty far. I’ve been told what we are to do from your ships captain. We told the fleet to settle not too far away. We had some other scouts exploring the shoreline and they found an area that can inhabit a lot of people, no immediate threats. Hopefully the Demagogues don’t find them." I thought of the Demagogues and how I had to tell this new crew that I didn’t really trust in the Lady, but he budded in. "I don’t know who to trust either." He said. I looked at him and I could tell he was just as confused as I was. "The Lady taught us so much but if feels like she is leading us to a slaughter. The Demagogues seem to be an obvious evil but with everything you said about your interaction with them...I don’t know. Its real heavy. How are we to deny the God that seems very real? I don’t want to be condemned to the Otherside but it’s all figurative. No proof you know. How are we to know what the Otherside is? No one I know has been put there and if someone has seen it, they don’t talk of the infinite tortures. As far as we know it isn’t even a real place."
"Well…" I said while looking back to him. "All I know is that the Demagogues are covered with ash, some kind of special ash. It gives them their powers, I guess. It sort of blocks out Lady Manticore too." 
"What kind of powers?" 
"It seems like It’s context based. They told me to put it on my eyelids so I can see. I can kind of see but I can also see other things, like things that have happened." 
"How does that work?" He asked. I opened the box and applied it to my eyelids.
"I’m not sure. Let’s see…when I saw my mother, I touched her trinket box. So that would mean…hand me that thing you breathe in." I asked. He did and I sort of waved my hands trying to figure out exactly where it was. He touched my hand to help me and I saw his past, maybe his future. All at once. It sort of rushed past me as if I was moving at a high speed. 
He had struggled with faith. I couldn't understand the conversations because they were in a time before there was a universal language, but I could see he struggled. I could see him nearly killing himself but failing to complete the task. It left him scarred with several cuts and there were rope burns across his body as if he…whipped himself? It all happened so quick. I could see him now at a funeral. A young woman died that maybe he was married to. So much loss and mourning but Lady Manticore came to him in a time of need. She offered him reprieve. She saved him. I looked away in a figurative way. The waves of thoughts and feelings left me, and I was where I was at the back of the boat with him still trying to hand me his smoking object. 
"That’s enough." I said.
"What’s enough? You haven’t grabbed it yet?" 
"Your touch. Direct contact with your skin I saw your past, I think. Who did you lose?" I asked. He was quiet for a minute. 
"Raquel. We were recently married. She died of some infection. It’s hard to say. There isn’t a word for it." 
"And why do you hurt yourself?" It seemed all foreign to me. Why would someone put themselves through pain?
"I am sad…that she died. I sort of don’t feel anymore but when I do that to myself. I guess it’s something I can feel I’m so…so…"
"Numb is the word your looking for." 
"Numb. Yes. You know a lot. You’re very smart. There were men like you where I come from. We called them Medina’s in my tongue. You’re a Medina. A smart, sort of…"
"Hmmm. Yes, I think. You’re a holy man but you’re not devoted to one cause. If someone offers you facts against your belief you don’t shun the facts. You listen. There was a creature like that before…Lady Manticore taught about it once…anyway there need to be more people like you. People get in these…ruts. They believe the facts and don’t believe in anything else. I wish to be more like you, so if you wish to leave Lady Manticore, I will understand. I will follow." He puffed on his object some more and I just stood there in disbelief. 
"Blind loyalty? To me? You are acting like the very thing you wish to rid of. I can go my way and if you disagree you are entitled to that opinion. Lady Manticore has offered you salvation, if you’re happy, then stay happy. If I take another path, I can’t live with the fact that you followed me into the pit. Believe for yourself. Find the facts for yourself. And if you believe. You believe, not me."
"Yes. Very wise. Maybe I’m not a leader, a Medina. I guess we were cut from a different cloth, but I believe in your words. That’s something I believe. I will make my decision on my own through the words of the fellow Medina’s. Some might call you a heretic. You should look out. Everyone on the boat knows about your thoughts at the moment. Your crew mates told us. For now. We will keep your secret till we can make a decision for ourselves. He soon led me through the cabin and out onto the boat. He touched my clothes, seemed like the contact had to touch my skin. The people talked and I heard their complaints, their beliefs. No final decision was decided but they looked up to me as if I was the figurehead. I wasn’t but people acted like I was the best decision. 
A lot happened before we reached the bay. I talked to the men and women and children. We were out of sight of the other crew and I doubt Lady Manticore could pinpoint our boat. We talked about our beliefs. The Otherside. The deal my mother made as if I was meant to do this. To betray her. What was that deal about? I had to get to the bottom of it but that means I would have to dispose of this powder. I wasn’t going to do that. Everyone liked the word Medina. I was now their Medina. Some sort of religious philosopher. 
Several days had passed and we thought we found the bay. It was the first one we ran into and it seemed big enough. We started to head towards the bay and saw a bright light on a small island to the starboard of the boat. I commanded the freighter so bring up the sails and sure enough it was Lady Manticore. She teleported onto the boat and looked around to the crew. Then me. Before she looked at me, I tried to rub off the powder off my eyes and onto my sleeve. We did not grace her with smiles and warm hearts. Most of the people doubted in her. "Setting us to the slaughter" like Miguel said before. She could feel the discontent and see it on our faces. 
"Why did you lead the other freighters to another location?" She asked. "I told you all to be here."
"We suspected a Demagogue spy was on the boat, so we switched boats." I said. William and Mason nodded their heads in agreement. 
"Oh, I know. The crew mentioned you and two other men left in the night. Nowhere to be seen. Seems to me that you are the spy if there has to be one."
"Me?" I laughed. "I’m no spy. I’m just mistrusting the small details you spoon fed us."
"Spoon fed? Mistrust? Ughhh." She said while grasping her chest. It felt like she was playing a part in a play. She didn’t know what betrayal was but she had seen it." That hurts. I’ve told you to stay away from the Demagogues and what have you done? Directly disobeyed my will." It all seemed like an act. Her emotions were fake. Did she feel at all? 
"Why must I stay away from the Demagogues? They aren’t evil. They speak truths. More truths that you do. Truths that question your own authority."
"And you know why that is? They speak to you to appeal to your interests. They give you morsels of information to dissuade my spoon fills. They give you what you want. What you want to hear. This is their intention to separate every figurehead from me. They wanted this and you gave them what you wanted."
"What does my mother have to do with this? Why did you take her?" The crowd murmured in agreement.
"Your mother?" She acted like she barely knew her, but I could see through her body language. Lady Manticore was much like us humans. We were made in her image, involuntary and all. 
"He told us what he saw! You had some deal with his mother!" Said a woman in the crowd.
"You saw?" Lady Manticore asked. 
"Yes, the Demagogues spoke to me. They— "
"I know what they have done." She said disapprovingly. It was as if she saw this moment happen. She knew I would find out and it all felt like an act.
"You would know." I spat out. "So, what happens next? Tell me divine one." 
"There are countless futures. Many variations of the same situation. Different words. Different acts. They all end the same no matter what happens. The future is written, and it doesn’t matter what happens, the timeline will always correct itself. It’s something not even I have control of."
"You’re rambling. Tell me what happens." 
"Nothing happens. This betrayal was inevitable. I knew it would happen and your mother had to be a Demagogue or else the timeline would correct itself. You would have lost someone."
"With my mother gone I lost everyone. I am the last of my name. Something I was sure you saw."
"It was a possibility. No matter what happened you would have a loss. The powder. It gave you sight. Something I have as well. The powder will let you see the past, the present and the future. This is essential for the future. At the moment. The powder deals with context. You must touch something, smell something, anything involving your senses. You need to be limitless. You need to make the powder a part of you. It needs to rewrite your DNA. Become something. Limitless." 
"If I just needed the powder then why lead us here to the Godsmetal?"
"Here let me show you, leave the powder behind." She handed out her perfect hand. Much like a woman’s. I was afraid I would know her past and her origins if I touched her, but I remembered I wiped off the powder. I reluctantly handed my mother’s trinket box to the closest person and I soon touched her hand. I felt a rush of many feelings and none of them were good, but no emotion is good in excess. I expected an overwhelming peace when I touched her, but it was much the opposite.
Chaos. I felt it all around me and it tore apart my insides. For a second it felt unbearable. Something that I could not have the strength to hold within me. I felt like I thrashed around. Wishing to rid the disease. If this was godliness…I don’t know what I would do. She only touched me for a second, but it was many seconds too long. I began to understand that godliness. To be divine. It was impossible to comprehend. I thought godliness was peace. I was so wrong. The universe was full of chaos from what I understood. Nothing was predictable yet, it had a natural order.
Everything was unpredictable but the timeline always seemed to reposition itself regardless of the chaos. Somehow chaos had order and I slowly understood over the short journey. It seemed like peace and chaos were the same thing but different at the same time. It was hard to put into words. Being a God, you would expect. Good. Tangible light and dark. You could draw a line in the sand and say that side is salvation while the other side is damnation and the Lady would stand dead center. Our idea of a God is not what we think. Everything is a shade of grey. You would think God is good and the Demagogues are bad. Light versus darkness but they are both standing straight in the center and it’s the way they perceive themselves and the way they appear to us that makes us draw conclusions. 
The Lady taught us that the Demagogues were the enemy. It was in every lesson. Good surpasses evil every time. It was inevitable but in reality, they were the same thing. There is no being in the universe that is solely good or infinitely bad. That is a childhood fairytale and God is not an exception. We think we were made in her image yet; we just think body when we should have been thinking mind and body. We were already gods. We look like a god, we think like a god, we just don’t believe we are gods and that’s where the Godsmetal came in. The missing piece. The final crook to the crack. The other half.

She teleported me away and we were in a dark cavern, but her brilliance lit everything in my immediate vision. I could see a little more than I previously could, but my sight was not restored. I did not think it would come back in full, but it was something I came to terms within this short period of time. If I was to see everything, past present and future. I had to make a sacrifice and my actual sight was the real price I had to pay. I looked around and everything was moist, and the humidity was like a rainy day. 
"Where are we?" I asked 
"We're under the bay." She boomed as it reverberated throughout the cavern. "When the meteor hit, it made this cavern around it, then the water filled up everything above it, flooding the valley and creating the bay . The impact left all of this down here. Completely untouched from humans. I knew of this meteor and have tried getting the locals to use it. I made many promises to them, but they are very superstitious. They believe in the warnings of the Demagogues. That it makes you into something else."
"A monster," I stated. She was a little distant from me looking down into a chasm that went further down.
"Kind of." she said then waved for me to join her. I walked through the puddles and through the darkness to look deep down into some sort of abyss. The Lady snapped her right hand and a little bit of light or her brilliance was hovering over her fingertips she then pointed it down into the darkness and I could see something big down there in the center with a blackish red tinge. It was the meteor and it was halfway into the ground pointing out many spikes and other fragments littered the space down there. 
"This is the Godsmetal. It is a very special metal that is heavy duty but lightweight. This metal can be used for virtually anything, but it has a downside if not handled properly."
"I’ll spare you the science but—." 
"Yes, it’s a type of knowledge. Come, come!" She said while taking a step into the air. Crude steps made out of stones began to make a staircase as she walked down. "You use it for mathematics and astronomy and starting to for medicine. Science will evolve into many new subjects that you are not aware of. Your technology, your hammers and saws and looking glasses. This technology will become something much more complex throughout the years. Everyone will use this technology involving the Godsmetal and everything will advance quicker, people will complete things you can’t even comprehend right now."
"Right. Back to the downside." I said reluctantly following her. 
"Ah, yes back to the downside. Sparing the science behind it I can say everything reverberates at a frequency, a sound that you might not be able to hear. These frequencies are relatively normal on most objects but with the Godsmetal it reverberates at a frequency that can complicate the human mind." She said.
"How close?" as I took a few steps back on the stairs that lined the room around the meteor. I slipped a little bit with the little light in the room and the Lady snapped fingers making the little light above the meteor much brighter. 
Lady Manticore looked back at me "You're in the dead zone." There were many harsh shadows that tricked me that they were steps, but they weren’t. My vision was getting better and I could see the stairs a little better, but I still mistrusted her. 
"Well... I don’t feel any different." I said while getting up from the steps. 
"You’re being protected by my brilliance but I can’t be here all the time. I have a whole world to manage Demagogues to keep from attacking." She said while waving for me to continue down the steps. 
"What happens?" 
"The locals call it Cremora. The reverberations and some other factors of the Godsmetal change an average human into something else."
"Yeah but it can be fixed, we will have to worry about that later. The Cremora become animalistic. They become angry and can’t control their basic instincts. They become monsters and the cure is not kind. The metal will poison the minds and bodies of men. You can come into light contact for a very long time before turning Cremora but intense and close contact will change a man in minutes."
"So how do we get the metal? How do we use it without turning into a Cremora?" I asked.
"The Demagogues. The powder they have on and in them reverberate at a different frequency as well, but it negates the Godsmetal."
"I don’t think we can come up with that much powder and they don’t want us to be here, why is that? 
"Why?" Lady Manticore thought for a minute. 
"There’s something you’re not telling us. The Demagogues told me. The God Complex." I said. She winced at that information as she waited for me at the bottom of the steps. I couldn’t see her face wince, but her brilliance flickered like a candle in the wind. 
"Yes. About that. It’s something I would not wish on my worst enemies, but Godliness does come at a price. That is the price."
"It sounds debilitating." I said while reaching the bottom of the stairs. The meteor was a good distance away from us. Like the length of a city block.
"Well, it would be, for a normal person but you will be something greater than human. The side effects would be manageable. Getting the God Complex while still being human is similar to being a Cremora without any physical side effects, only mental. You can manage that as a…well you will have to decide what to call yourselves, you won’t be human, not anymore."
"A Celestial." I said quietly. As I followed her slowly to the meteor. 
"You will be a type of Celestial. There will be many Celestials many with different abilities that you will…you will see them someday. A long time from now, not anytime soon."
"Are Demagogues Celestial’s? They seem to have special abilities."
"The defining characteristic that makes a Celestial a Celestial is the God Complex and abilities. The Demagogues don’t have the God Complex, the Cremora don’t have powers. They are both separate halves that have not been connected. You need both to be a Celestial. They are what we call, Infernals."
"The Demagogue’s have powers, so what’s preventing us in doing what the Demagogues do? We will have the powers with no God Complex." My thoughts started to feel fuzzy as we got closer, but I was sure her brilliance would protect me, so I moved on. 
"The Demagogue’s powers are similar but not the same. Every Demagogue and their powers deal with context. The powder on your eyes give you vision, the powder on your feet and legs give you faster mobility, the powder—"
"What gives them the ability to turn into smoke and possess bodies?" 
"The smoke deals with context of their soul. They don’t have bodies, so they push their soul into a host." 
"If they don’t have bodies then how does the powder work in context to their bodies?" 
Some sort of creature in the midst of the meadow. Animalistic in nature like all creatures in nature. Ripping tearing, consuming flesh to feel whole again. 
I realized that I was writing a poem in my head. I wasn’t poetic, I led those around me to find their faith, yet it continued. 
"If they had bodies, they would have these powers, they don’t." The Lady said.
I was quiet for a minute. Thinking about my mother and how her soul was now some sort of creature that wasn’t my mother. "I saw my mother’s body. How did she have a body?" 
"Do you really want to know?" She asked. I thought of the existence of a soul and how hers was condemned to the Otherside. Would I want to know the damage? She was condemned to the Otherside. Never ending suffering. Constant torture. Why would she condemn herself to that to save me? A mother’s love was something I would never understand but she knew I would amount to many great things. I just didn’t know what that was. 
Greeting all the guests for the great feast. They are fat and plump, hungry for the next meal, they are the next meal.
"No. I guess not. How do we become these Celestials? What do we have to do to get the powers and how do we even get close enough to get these powers? 
"The Godsmetal. You eat it."
"Eat?!" I yelled. "If we get close to it, it turns us into creatures, and you want me to put that inside me?!" 
“The hunger. It resides in front of me and is reserved for one thing. Give me the Godsmetal and I will make you into something greater.” 
I realized that it turned from poetry to a voice. This voice was sinister. Wished to be unleashed. 
"Take a small amount and swallow it.” Said the Lady.  “The issue is the quantity. I’ve said it before. Little contact doesn’t impact you for a very long time. The meteor is an enormous amount. That’s how it works." 
"And the impossible task of getting close?" I asked
"Like I said, the Demagogues."
"What aren’t you telling me?" I pressured her. 
"She thinks she knows it all. She doesn’t. She knows as much as you and is leeching off your own insight. Feeding it back to you. Bite the hand that feeds you, fight your maker." The voice said.
"You have a few options. You need a Demagogue in the area so either kill some Demagogue and spread their powder around the site."
"How many Demagogues?"
"A lot." She said reluctantly.
"Not happening, I don’t even want to see what it takes to kill a Demagogue. What else?"
"Capture a Demagogue or get one who would be willing to work for you."
"And how does one capture smoke? Do I put them in a jar?" I said somewhat jokingly.
"No jar can contain a Demagogue." She said ignoring my joke. "Nothing can contain a Demagogue other than the Otherside." 
"She doesn’t even care about you. She only wishes to advance the timeline. You are a cog in the machine. Fight back. Deny her and take the Godsmetal for yourself." Said the voice.
"I don’t even know why you suggested it then." I said shrugging off the voice. I thought for a minute. "Would my mother be willing and—" 
"I'm going to stop you there. Your mother’s a Demagogue but a special one. If you have prolonged contact with her, she will kill you and everyone in the area. You’re better off condemning your friends into Cremora to get to the cave."
"And why can’t you just take us all down here and let us partake of this metal then leave?" 
"Believe it or not I have power, but the Godsmetal negates my kind of power." She said. We weren’t walking closer to the Godsmetal and I just noticed it. We were still a little ways away from it but like she said, it negated her power. 
"So, take us here, we’ll do the rest." 
"Once you take the Godsmetal, you got to keep taking it. You will either need to move it to an easier location or build a city around it and if you build a city, no one without abilities can enter the city or the surrounding areas. Not everyone is going to want to be like that once you tell them the side effects. It’s best to take the meteor and move it someplace remote so Cremora don’t spring up all the time." 
"Alright. Everything you suggested to get close is impossible. What else can we do?"
"There’s one other thing you can do." 
"And that is?"
"To become like a Demagogue. To reverberate at the frequency needed and give the people a reprieve. But you can’t reverberate at the frequency of an Infernal and the frequency of a Celestial, it will kill you." She said. 
"Interesting.” Said the voice. “If you become a Demagogue, you will be something more. Not a Celestial. You will never become a Celestial, but Demagogue’s have power. Life. Without being condemned to the Otherside you can do plenty without her." 
"Alright. So, we get someone who doesn’t wish to be a Celestial."
"It has to be you." 
"Wha…what if I don’t do it? How will the timeline reset itself?" 
"It will kill you and replace you with a Medina who is willing to sacrifice for the people." 
"You know about what that guy called me?"
"It sticks. Medina’s will help control the world in the future"
"And me?" I asked.
"She knows your future, but she will never tell it to you. If you know your future, you can diverge off the timeline but the timeline will not accept that." Said the voice.
"I get it." I said at a whisper. Lady Manticore looked in my direction and I could feel her gaze right on me. She knew I was experiencing something.
"Time is short. What you need to do is get near the meteor. Near the impact crater. You will see a fine white powder around it. You need to take it and eat it then hurry back to me." 
"I’m going to get the God Complex aren’t I? I am already hearing a voice." 
"You won’t get the whole God Complex but you will hear it. Until you pass it on to someone."
"It?" I asked. She knew exactly I was experiencing.
"It…plays a great part in the future. You will use it as a tool. It will help you." She said. The voice was quiet, no doubt interested in what it will become.
"It’s not a voice is it?" I asked.
"It’s not. It’s sentient. It will learn as you learn."
"It's a parasite." 
"I’m not a parasite." It said. "I will be much more than you will ever dream." 
"It’s…something else. I wish I could tell you, but I don’t know what it is." She said. I turned to look at the meteor. It towered over me even with the distance between us. Just a little bit away I could see the start of the powder. It glowed in the brilliance of Lady Manticore and her light that she put just above the meteor.
"How quick?" I asked when I looked back to her.
"Get there in a minute. Any longer than that then it will be too much. It will have irreparable damage. It will force the timeline to find someone new." She said. "Don’t screw up. You’re special."
I looked to the powder and it was half the length of a ship between me and it. I acted on impulse and ran to it suddenly. Lady Manticore’s brilliance grew brighter as I got further away. She started to project herself out as far as she could as I got closer to the powder all of a sudden, the light began to dwindle as I got closer to the meteor. I thought of everything that was going to happen. What would the people think about me being like a Demagogue? How could I look them in the eye and tell them of the Lady’s plan? I couldn’t. I was sure everything Lady Manticore told me was in confidence but how could she trust me? 
The aura around the meteor must have been expelling her power. I slid into the powder and took it in my hand quickly and when I turned around, I couldn’t see the Lady. I couldn’t see her light. Nothing to go off of. I started to run but I started to second guess myself. I stopped in my steps and looked at the fine powder in my hand. The darkness surrounded me, and it seemed like it was engulfing my soul. I was being corrupted and I knew what I had to do. I took the powder quickly with my hand above my head and tried to put the powder into my mouth. 
The taste was what you would expect. I nearly gagged on it but slowly I gulped it down and fainted. The darkness that surrounded me inevitably died down as I laid there motionless releasing my own aura and frequencies. It was enough to quell the Godsmetal and I could think. I looked around to see the Lady, but she was nowhere in the vicinity, but her small light was. How was I to get out of here? I looked all around the cavern and got close enough to the meteor to see the red nearly black speckled object. As I got my finger near it in an attempt to touch it the metal vibrated against itself making a klinky noise. Metal scraping metal. Swords clashing. It seemed I was something like a Demagogue but what was my power? All Demagogues had powers so what was mine?
"Foresight." The voice said to me. "I can see it. Close your eyes. The meteor. It is telling you where it came from.” 
I closed my eyes quickly and I saw the meteor flying through a dark abyss. No stars, no sky. Just some black nothingness but I could tell it was moving. It went out of the void and I could see it in a great sea of stars and nebulas. It was moving quickly. Passing planets and even bigger celestial bodies. Near missing several in a mass of chaos. I could see other meteors moving with this one, hitting several celestial bodies like a planet full of white clouds and thick atmosphere and I wondered if there were other places that this Godsmetal hit or if they were something else entirely. As the last few meteors moved through some gas, I could see objects on the meteors begin to move as if the meteors were alive, but it wasn’t like people but some kind of white moss. The moss covered the meteors making the object look very bright moving across the heavens as the passing light reflected off of it. I looked back to the gas and it was near a lush green planet and it seemed it was approaching it at a fast speed like it was attracted to it.
Some more meteors hit other celestial bodies until there was one left. The journey was long and perilous as it made several near misses until it soon reached our planet. It entered the atmosphere and the moss on the meteor set on fire making the whole meteor this big fireball.
Looking at the continent it was hitting I could see how big this continent was. We were just scratching the surface and this unknown land was just as big as the discovered land that we all knew. To know how big this place was astounding. How did we go so long without knowing what was on the other side of the ocean? It astounded me and as everything collided and the sea covering up the impact, I could see that this cavern I was in was made and this burning moss turned into the white ash that surrounded the meteor. Whatever I ate was this moss that was either obtained or activated by some celestial body. 
I opened my eyes to look around the cavern. I wondered if this moss was still around or if it all burned up in the planet’s atmosphere. It felt like I walked around the meteor, but no moss was to be seen. 
"This substance you ate. It’s not natural to the meteor. That’s why it negates the powers of the meteor."
"Makes sense." I said out loud quietly. "I guess that burnt moss only activates when it attaches to something biological. Alive if you will. There’s nothing living down here. Nothing to vibrate to negate the meteors frequency. I wonder what that moss was?"
"Something powerful enough to negate godly powers. It spread quickly over the meteor. Like it fed off the Godsmetal.” 
"Like a parasite?" I said somewhat jokingly. "And you are?"
"Not a parasite. Call me what you will. I learn fast. Never forget. I began somewhere far away from here much like that moss. I don’t know how I attached myself to the meteor, but I did. I lingered out there in the void until that meteor passed.” 
"The void...was that figurative for Arcadia? To somehow show me it came from the Lady?"
"Much darker than it’s been told."
"And you would know by?"
"I was able to scan your memories. Learn your language. Just in a matter of seconds."
"That’s something a—"
"No. I’m not a parasite." The voice said.
"Alright I get it." I looked around the cavern. "Figured out a way out?"
"You need to touch the Lady."
"To be a God. Something extraordinary. You could find out her past. Where she began. That’s when you can find out if you want to trust her."
"Perceptive." I said impressed. "She probably knew about you. That’s why she left." 
"Or she abandoned you."
"Or...she knew I would negate her powers. She couldn’t take me out of here anyway."
"Now you’re thinking like a scholar." 
"Now you’re not so foreboding. Coming out of your shell?"
"Knowledge is power."
"And power is...making you happy?"
"Your mother and the other Demagogues. They can teleport. Try to kill yourself."
"Are you insane!?"
"Try. Not succeed. The timeline won’t allow your death. That and your mother cares for you. She can save you."
"I guess." I said while scratching my head and looking to what to do. "There’s not like any objects to do anything.” 
"I was thinking something more sudden."
"Falling from a great distance," The voice said. I looked at the meteor and noticed it was rather quite rough and I could climb up it and jump off. I looked over to where I started, and the stairs were gone. Then I looked above the meteor. Lady Manticore’s light was still there but not as bright as it was when she was here. 
"You think if I touched that light, I would see something?" I asked. There was no response. "Right. Kill myself." 
I began the climb up the meteor using every little nook and cranny I could find to progress upwards. I wondered if this voice was any bit correct or if it was trying to kill me. If it was a parasite then killing its host would kill it so maybe this voice was something else with the lack of a better word. It attached to my mind when I got close to the meteor and Lady Manticore knew of the voice as if it had some part to play in the future. What could it be? 
I thought circles around myself as the climb grew more and more perilous. Lady Manticore wanted me to move the timeline forward and the Demagogues, well they warned everyone about partaking of the Godsmetal. Making them some kind of beast that had no reason. I couldn’t become like a god. Not anymore and if I was to continue how would the people follow me? A Medina who has the frequency of a Demagogue. How was I to explain that? Maybe I would tell them that I did partake of the Godsmetal and this was my power along with foresight? They would be none the wiser. We are not sure of the extent of the powers and I would be long gone. I needed a name for someone like me and a name for the people who become godly. I thought of all of the words that I learned and words that I would learn. I remembered one of the oldest stories she told us. One of her first sermons. She talked of people good in heart, she taught of the wholeness of her followers and how our kindred souls will lead us to Arcadia. 
Kindred. I liked that. The Demagogues believed we would become something nasty, something not worth saving. Maybe if we looked at ourselves and compared ourselves to how we were maybe there would be some humanity left within us. Taking out the bad and taking in the good. I wasn’t sure of all the repercussions of being a Kindred would be nor would I ever know but making sure that everyone remained human even though they were godly was the first if not the main concern in the future. I wanted to prove the Demagogues wrong, but I also wanted to prove Lady Manticore wrong. I was sitting on the fence. Right in the middle not wanting to pick a side. What was I? I wasn’t Kindred, nor was I human, not anymore. 
I was nearly at the top. It may have taken hours but one thing I did know. I was no longer the man I used to know. I was the middle ground. No longer a holy man but an Infernal. I was something else. I thought of all the tales and stories Lady Manticore told. There was a tale of some sort of creature. It did not align with Lady Manticore when it was created, nor did it align with the Demagogues. It wandered the corners of the planet to teach the people of blind conviction. You can believe what you want. You can believe in Lady Manticore but if she gave you a reason to not trust her then you were entitled to go a different way. Lady Manticore told us this story to help us understand that she was our God but if she ever did anything to make us doubt her then she would rather have followers who thought for themselves rather than blind conviction. She wants us to trust her. I never knew what happened to that creature. She lost sight of it and its been never been seen since. The Chimera. That’s what I was. 
I was at the top. I looked around the cavern to see how big this place was, and it was massive. This whole area was the impact to this massive meteor. A void beneath the ocean was where I resided and where I would continue to reside if I couldn’t get out. The light was just above my head, but it looked just out of my reach. Looking at it hurt my eyes because of its massive glory. It was a brightness like the sun but concentrated to a small area so it would not overpower the darkness in this cavern. I looked around to see the harsh shadows of stalagmites and stalactites and boulders that seemed to be near melted from the heat of the meteor colliding with the planet. I thought something could be lurking out there. Some kind of creature preying on the massive stockpile of Godsmetal. I shivered to the damp coldness of the cavern ready to jump. 
"This is it," I said aloud, "Tell my mother I love her." 
"Tell her yourself." I heard behind me. 
I turned to see my mother or what was left of her. She was mutated into what I would imagine a Demagogue to look like. Mutated like some kind of foul beast but she kept her womanly form. Her eyes were much like those I had seen before. They were her eyes. Blue like a summers sky but a red halo revolved around her iris like a setting sun. 
"Why does Lady Manticore need me?" I asked. My eyes started to tear up with joy knowing for a fact that she was here with me, she hadn’t left me yet. 
"I don’t know why but I had to make you doubt her, she fed me information that would make you go astray. She wanted you to make the decisions you made. This was all according to plan."
"And what do we do now? What is the plan when I get topside?"
"Who are you talking to?" asked the voice.
"That’s the thing," she said reluctantly, "I don’t know you’re here. I’ll never know. We aren’t a hive mind. That voice. It’s gambling with your life. I can see the receptors in your mind that you’re speaking to someone."
"What do you mean?" I asked. I was confused. 
"Nobody is there. You’re imagining it." said the voice. 
"You need to eat the metal. That’s how you get out. I. I turn into smoke. Fit through the cracks. I can’t take you with me."
"What are you seeing?" The voice asked again. 
"My mother. She’s telling me to eat the metal to get out." I said quietly. 
"Your mother isn’t here. It’s just you, me, and the darkness." 
"Eat the metal! Don’t you want to be a Kindred?" she said while walking closer to me. "You need to eat it!"
"This thing. It isn’t my mother."
"It’s the God Complex," said the voice, "You’re hallucinating."
I reached out my hand in an attempt to touch my mother. She took a few steps back as I took a few forward. With every step I made to advance touching her was a distinct counter reaction to prevent any type of contact. 
"Mom. Let me touch you. I need to know if you’re real," I said while holding back some tears. I was alone. My mind was slowly tearing itself apart in some attempt to kill me. 
"I can’t let you do that." She said while taking another step back. In the struggle of me trying to touch her she and I switched places. She was at the edge now. 
"And why not?" I asked. 
"Because I don't know you’re here. I will never know. I’m in the Otherside with the others. It’s going to be a while till I’m back." 
I jumped forward in attempt to touch her. Just a little touch. I didn’t know what to believe and I didn’t want to believe that I was alone down here. She turned to smoke the instant I made contact and I tripped over the edge making a long fall. I wasn’t too far out. Midway down I was able to grab a ledge and it nearly pulled my arm out of its socket. The sudden tug made me lose my grip and I slid down the rest of the way surprisingly safely with little bruises. 
I let out a big sigh knowing that no bone was broken but I was in pain. The light Lady Manticore left behind began to flicker as if it was losing power. I rolled onto my back to watch the light slowly go out over a period that felt timeless. 
"No one is here to save you," said the voice, " I had to be sure but I will keep you company. We will use the darkness for knowledge. I’ll show you how."
"What do I do?" I asked quietly. 
"Wait for the light to go out and I will show you."
I was at the bottom. Not only was I at the bottom of this bay and this cavern but I was at the bottom in every aspect of my life. I had no way out. Was I going to starve? Only time would tell. A few hours maybe passed. It was all just a drop in the bucket for how long I might be down here. The light flickered. 
I longed to be with Emma again. I wished to see her beaming face along with the people that had grown to love me. To eventually see my unborn child was all I could ask to do. With all the want and longing, the pain would be forgotten.  
How could this happen? How did my story end me up here? I was alone with this God Complex and a foreboding voice. I thought of how all my other lows couldn’t get any worse. I was a Medina. I led the people to a new continent. I talked to our God. The light flickered again. 
Closer and closer. Minute by minute. I was soon to be engulfed in darkness. I thought happy thoughts. How I longed to see the sun again. To see the people. To talk to someone other than myself. How did my path end up here? The light made a long flicker and dimmed. 
I was done. The suffering will be long and painful. The light—the light flickered one last time then phased out. 
I felt around looking for the meteor and laid up against it. I wished for so much more to happen in my life. The future was uncertain. The future was dark and grey. The future was hopeless. I closed my eyes and I got a wave of new visions from contact with the meteor. Everything was a wave of images with people taking the Godsmetal to getting powers. I saw people throw flames from their palms and people levitating. I saw a city in the sky and a great war. This was what was to come. This was the future and there was no stopping it. I kept my eyes closed as the waves of new inputs rushed through me. Visions upon visions. I did not know what to make out of it. The voice was quiet. No doubt analyzing this new information. 
The people would find the meteor. There was nothing fuzzy about that. It was whether I was going to live long enough to see another face. To be graced with Lady Manticore’s presence another time. To see my mother. 
Time passed. I felt parched and hungry, but waves and waves of visions kept coming. I practiced restraint as every single new situation passed through my brain and was analyzed by me and the voice. The visions wouldn’t stop. Seeing countless possibilities of what was to come. I saw myself doing things I would have never imagined but something felt off. This was not my life and seeing the things I was doing I couldn't comprehend that this was where I would go. I saw this foreign technology the Lady mentioned. This was where the world would end up? I felt I was missing something. 
"I have an idea," said the voice. 
I opened my eyes. "Yeah?" I asked. "Is it a way to get out?"
"No," the voice said quietly, "but if it works, we can find out when the people find us."
"What's your idea?"
"I know it's dark, but do you think you can find water?"
"I am pretty thirsty."
"I know you are but the odds of it being drinkable are slim."
"I guess you're right." I said while getting up. Even though it was dark I could see silhouettes of objects in the distance. I looked up and saw that Lady Manticore’s light was still there and it gave off a very dim light that of a dying flame. It was enough. 
I walked around the massive area listening for flowing or even dripping water. I was close. I navigated the darkness to find a pool of water relatively quickly. I smelled it. It didn't smell like saltwater. I thought long and hard if that was enough evidence to drink it. 
"Alright. Touch the water and close your eyes. You should see the water’s future."
"Good thinking." I cupped my hands together and scooped up some water into my hands. I closed my eyes carefully and waves of vision came to me. 
I saw the ships above us. I saw the crew settling on the nearby land. They started to build some type of device at the bay’s mouth. It was a dam. Lady Manticore parted the bay several times for long periods of time as the people built the dam. It was built quickly, and they started to drain it. I wasn't sure how long it would take for them to drain the bay, but it would be long. Everything fast forwarded. Wicked men attacked several times. All the Demagogues were expelled, at least I thought they were, but they still used hit and run tactics to weaken the people who longed to get me out. The attacks grew smaller and less often. Eventually they all stopped. The Demagogue threat eliminated in a quick stroke. That’s when more freighters moved in. More supplies to build and the dam was soon finished.
The bay was being drained slowly through technology Lady Manticore provided. For a God I thought she would be able to make the water just go away, but I knew the Lady. She wanted to make this a learning experience. She wanted the tool of men to prove fruitful through hard work. She supplemented the people by multiplying the available food and water. People were working around the clock trying to get to the bottom of the bay. On several occasions I saw the Lady teaching about the stars and the planets. Teaching the people about the Eternal Flame which created the universe. 
Slowly the bay was drained. I could see that the people placed the water further inland in hopes to fill the area once the Godsmetal was moved. Lady Manticore made it clear that once the Godsmetal was removed from the area they would make it whole once more. The bay played a major role in the local ecology and the entire Eastern seaboard of this area of the continent depended on the bay. If more people wanted to live here, then it was essential for the livelihood of the people. 
The people started digging. Just about right over the Godsmetal. They built around the solid ground in hopes to build this as some kind of holy site. As the people dug down, people also built around the hole placing new forms of architecture that I had not seen before. They wished to flood the area soon and they did slowly as they continued to dig down. I watched the moon and sun set many times and counted every time it did. I could see them reaching very near to me then. They made it. 
The cycles of the moon were many. A time so great I thought I would not survive. As they went down into the cavern using ropes and other new technology, I saw myself. Bracing myself with the sudden light. It has been a long time since I saw the light and I was happy. A beard was now over my face. I was skinny and bare boned. Nearly holding on and I wasn’t sure how I survived but I did. The time that needed to pass was a fairly long time. No human has never lived that long without food or water, but I guess I wasn’t really human anymore, was I? 
"This knowledge. I will teach you how to live in the darkness. You will not need to know how to eat or drink, but to learn." The voice said. "I lived in my corner of the universe for a very long time. I did not know where I began but it was not here. Something created me and I think that was to meet you and the life you have lived. I have gone through your memories many times. Reviewed every single aspect with fine detail. I have learned your Godspeech and the mannerisms of all life you have touched. You are a Medina and with this gift of foresight I can tell that you will be the first and most influential. You're a Chimera now and being a Chimera, you can set everything that you once knew about yourself aside. You will live for a long time. I can tell by your visions from the position of the stars. This immortality is a gift and some of these events will happen in a very long of time. Perseverance my friend. For the dawn of a new time is coming. Be steadfast and headstrong for the time will come in which you will part this world. It will be a road long traveled but it would not be in vain. You will meet new people, see new things and as the times change so will you. The darkness can teach you patience and knowledge. I am here. Your guide. I will teach you the ways that I have lived. Together we will forge a new world with numerous beginnings. We will be known as legion. We will be known as many." 
The craving pooled through my head. I wished for many things but for now I had to rest. I grew strong in the darkness and it was comforting. The sound of silence granted me a new form of life. I stayed near the Godsmetal. Reviewing every single vision much like the voice had. I will tell the people of these visions. Of the countless possibilities. Of the war to come. The end was nigh, and I could see an invasion of otherworldly forces. A Kindred I soon named the Vagabond would be responsible for this perilous future. I grew weary of every single second that would pass. Just waiting for the impending storm. 
I thought many times of how I could stop this war, but the Lady has mentioned many times that I could not stop the timeline, but I could delay it. The Vagabond. The cutthroat. It brings much suffering to the world. It needs to be stopped and that would be my end. To delay the timeline for another century or a hundred. The universe always corrects itself. My followers could not know that this was just a delay. They would lose hope knowing that the end could possibly be on our doorstep every day. They needed finality. If the timeline corrects itself then there would be a new Medina. A new Chimera. They will see the past. See what I did. They would know that this was only a delay as well, but it would be a new situation. A new crisis. The details are unknown to myself and are most likely only known to the Lady herself, but I could only delay the inevitable. The Chimera can only continue to delay the inevitable. Its time, we would soon fail. The time we inhabit this planet will be numerous. The voice said so himself. I had a long time to gauge the times. A long time to understand the people and maybe with experience, I could stop the inevitable. I will not know now. I will not know in a thousand years but maybe, if the timeline would allow it. I can help the people gain faith in the impossible. I can be their mentor. A true erudite. A saint. 
Through time. I gained more and more knowledge. I could hear the rumbling above me getting closer and closer. I longed to see a friendly face. To see the sun. The craving only grew more and more. I could not gauge time down here, but I could gauge the sounds of footsteps getting closer. The sound grew louder and louder. The silence was no longer silence and as the men and women toiled above me, I grew uneasy that the silence no longer could keep me company. I grew mad with the constant and incessant noise. I was going insane with the inevitability that there was a life waiting for me and it will be full of people and things. Unnecessary things. A luxury. It made me sick. I longed for the times I could use the silence as knowledge as the voice had taught me. I longed for silence and darkness and…
I saw a light. Right above me about a boat length at the ceiling of the cavern. It was time. Time to start the beginning of the end. My reckoning. My legacy. The never-ending cycle to fight the inevitable. A losing battle at the moment. I saw a few faces peeking through the hole. I forgot what a real face had looked like. The light of the midday sun shone right on my body. I covered my eyes and made a near hiss as I scrambled to go back in the darkness.
"I see him! Well, I saw him. Movement! He went into the darkness. Our Medina is alive much like the Lady had told us!" 
I rocked in the darkness knowing the cycle has begun. The first Kindred would be formed. The insanity would set in. It was a wild ride. The God Complex, the insanity. I felt someone touch my shoulder. They spoke my name. I had forgotten my name. It sounded foreign to me. 
"I…I am the Chimera now. Never call me that again." 
The people were confused by my mannerism. They hadn't thought about how life was for me. To live in my home. To manage my lifestyle. I missed it. More people climbed down and I could hear many people talking. They found it they said. The Godsmetal, not their long-lost Medina. I was an accessory. Some kind of furniture that inhabited the same room as the Godsmetal. Forgotten. They tried to remove me from the cavern. I had to stay. I had to remain in the vicinity or else they would turn Cremora. I tried explaining everything to them. About Lady Manticore. About the future. It all came out as broken sentences and stuttering. I had to get my thoughts together. 
"The Godmetal. Its frequency. It makes you go crazy. I have to remain near the Godmetal at all times. I am a different frequency. The Godsmetal—" I turned around to see people walking through the white powder. "Stop! The powder! The white powder must be relocated. Do not step in it. Get your shovels and put it in barrels! Not a single speck can be missing. I will know if you do not follow my word!"
"Okay, okay! Get out of that powder! Mister Chimera, the frequency, tell me about the frequency."
"The Godsmetal makes you go crazy when close. I vibrate at a different frequency; I was given many powers and that was one of them! That’s why I had to be down here!"
"Is he okay?" Asked a woman. She gasped after seeing my delicate body being crushed under a simple touch. "We need a nurse!"
"It gives terror," I said while shivering. The people put a blanket over me. "Terror...terror ter…ium. It should be called Terium not the Godsmetal! Thats what it does! It terrorizes the people! There is no cure!"
"He’s having a mental break." Said one of the people around me. He’s been down here too long."
Mason was in the crowd as everyone tried to figure out what was going on. It looked like he was devoted to the cause as he was covered with dirt and had a shovel in his hand. It looked like he was no longer cooking. He came up to me and it was good to see a friendly face. He touched me and tried to comfort me, and it did for a minute. I closed my eyes trying to relax, taking in everything that was happening and I saw his past. He lived in the city that I lived in and I could see he was familiar of me. I could see him talking to my mother from time to time and he seemed like a family friend. This was a long time ago. Way before my mother passed. I could see him at my mother’s funeral and talking to me when I was very young. It’s strange about how things bring people together. He arranged me to be taken care by some other family before they passed as well. Why did he go away?
I felt as if he knew something was up. He knew there was no body in the casket contrary to what everyone believed. It appeared as if he knew about the deal she made with Lady Manticore. He went away fairly soon after my mother’s death. Looks like he traveled the world. Went to locations I would never had dreamed of. He was looking for something, what was it? 
"You need to open your eyes. Look at me," said Mason. I did and I looked straight into his eyes to see much that I hadn’t seen before. "I’m sure you know much about me now. We need to talk when you are able. Get better. Get safe." 
I nodded in agreement and knowing someone else knew about this great conspiracy involving the Lady and my family. It was comforting knowing that there was someone else I could talk to. I could hear people asking how they were going to get me out of here. There were only ropes and I did not have the strength to climb out. They mentioned about setting up a medical tent down here. I agreed knowing full well that I couldn’t leave. I could hear the people talking about taking the Godmetal but some disagreed that if it truly was something that I had taken then they had to figure out the side effects before they took it as well. This was good. With the little bit of God Complex I had I dreaded the very thought that someone’s God Complex would be worse, and I haven’t even taken the metal. I had to explain to everyone that this was a serious decision and if they still decided to take the metal then there was nothing I could do. I knew that in order for the timeline to progress people had to take the Godsmetal but I needed to delay everything as long as I could. I could only delay, however, never stop. It will never end. The work will never be over.
Emma came to visit soon after I was found. It didn’t feel the same. Nothing felt the same. I felt hollow inside and lost and empty. I had finally seen her face, but it felt like a fall from grace, nothing made me glad anymore. It was my work. She told me she took the role of Medina when I was gone but was willing to surrender it to me, I was the wiser one, but it was a title I no longer wished to have. I could see that she was pregnant with our child and she was close to the end. I did not know how long it had been, but it was not long enough for her to give birth. She tried to touch me, but her touch felt cold and unwanted. I didn’t want to see her past, so I never closed my eyes. To know less about her, would make our passing much easier for me. I asked her to leave and she knew that I was a changed man. 
The day was long. I hear stories from the world up above and the bay, now lake, that was called Medina Lake after me. More and more people gathered in the cavern placing lights and a scaffolding so people could come up and down easier. A medical tent was placed, and I resided within it. Inside were several medical professionals that had gained a lot of insight since we settled in this new continent. Lady Manticore taught everyone about the future and how to prepare for it. It almost felt unnatural. I did not expect human life to advance this fast. Lady Manticore went from spoon feeding us to dropping us in a flood. It was too much for me. The scaffolding was built quickly to get me out of here, but I explained many times that I needed to stay, it was my power. The people down here were flooded by darkness. The Godsmetal or the recently dubbed Terium gave this cloud over the people’s minds. They people were slow minded and struggled to find their words but when they left to see the sunlight. They mention it all the time, they revitalized to feel the sun and they thought they would not perish underneath the pressure of the water above. My frequency. It prevented the people from turning Cremora. It kept the advanced mental disabilities at bay but only if they were not in a close proximity to the Terium. 
The people. They keep telling me that I need to at least see the sun. Stay just above ground so people can stay in the vicinity but to aid my mental health. The voice told me otherwise. The darkness was my friend. It gave me knowledge and I reaped the rewards like farmers toiling in the field. The knowledge grew and grew. I grew strong mentally. At least I thought I did. Lady Manticore doesn’t come down here and that was somewhat comforting. I wasn’t sure if I could forgive her for the misleadings and the blatant lies she fed me. I was sure the people still appreciated her but I didn’t. I was the Chimera and the people took to my thoughts. Dissent was growing among the ranks and the Lady knew it. People began to feed off the darkness much like I had. I was the Medina and if the Medina doubted the Lady then there was good reason for others to too. The voice taught me and the I taught the people who wished to stay with me. One thing was certain. The Terium mustn’t be touched but others, the sun-mongers. They did not understand. They cared to much for their pride. To be like the Lady. The Lady was just another evil. 
Over long and careful deliberation among my people we have decided that we could not reside here for too much longer. The Terium must be relocated to an isolated area. The metal was strong and resisted our pickaxes but eventually with our determination pieces were removed and moved onto boats. The sun-mongers also agreed. The native people they have seen what we have done to the landscape. They have known of our presence for some time now and we needed to talk. Medina to their leader. We will leave and relieve them of this burden of the Godmetal beneath the lake. We knew they knew of the terrors. Saw the Cremora firsthand with their own people but soon they did visit. They did not feel the tingling sensation in their mind as they reached the lake’s perimeter. They got closer and closer. The sun-mongers agreed to let them talk to me. If it was a way for them to understand more about the Godsmetal then it was a win for me and my people. 
They came slowly down the scaffolding in awe of the technology the Lady Manticore had given us. I was sure some felt it was a missed opportunity because the Lady came to them first, but all was well. There were seven of them. Four of them carried a large wooden box connected to bars so they could carry it down here. The other three looked elderly and were the wise men or chiefs of the soon to be called tribes of the local area. Lady Manticore had come to them. Taught them Godspeech but they did not abandon their own language so hastily as we did. They spoke to each other in their own tongues about their impressions and fears. All of our leaders were down here. Anyone of importance surrounded me as I sat on a wooden chair. Several other chairs resided around me. Some for the chieftains and some for my appointed figureheads and others for the sun-monger’s leaders. They had appointed their own Medina, it was Emma and she was very pregnant. She learned from my teachings and offered the same teachings with one vital difference, she thought the Godsmetal was a blessing not a curse.
We all sat around in a circle with a bright light in the middle, but it was hard to see the fine details of everyone’s face. The people of our colony gathered around us awaiting to hear what the native people had to say. I sat there quietly listening to the voice that had kept me company for so long. 
"Hello Medina and your people. We are here to speak of the dangers of this Godsmetal." One chief said. I began to open my mouth, but he interrupted me. "Do not speak. Not yet. I want you to see something." He snapped his fingers and the four holding the box put in the middle of the group. There was plenty of space between us and the box and I feared what was within the box. 
They placed it and a couple of them took a few steps back as two others held onto a chain that came out of the box. One opened the box, and all grew quiet as the people wanted to see what was within it. I had not seen a Cremora yet, but I assumed the native people wanted to show us the terrors of the Cremora and I was right. A skinny looking creature peeked out of the box with pitch black eyes with no iris and shrunken skin. It was small much like I was. I could see its bones as if its skin was tightly wrapped around its frame. The Terium corrupted its mind and it resorted to cannibalism, they told us. 
"This was my son. I told my son to stay away from the bay, but he did not listen. He enjoyed the sounds the Godsmetal made and it soon drove him mad. If this happens to those who listen to the metal, then eating the metal would have similar effects. This substance. You will all go mad much like your Medina here. He is skinny like the Cremora." The creature smelled the Terium and dried to run towards it. The people holding the chains held it back so it would remain in the middle. "He lives down here in the darkness and slowly it will consume his mind and he will be much like my son, only with powers. This creature resists most things. It can survive without food or water. It resides in the darkness, but it does not fear the light, it only prefers the dark. We have tried killing him many times, but blood loss is not a thing since they do not have blood but a black mass of coagulated lifeforce that we are yet to figure out. We have killed Cremora before." The Cremora let out a big howl that sounded animalistic, not human. This was some kind of creature that we did not understand. "They require to be dismembered or impaled. They heal quickly with no nutrition we know of. It’s a foreboding fate of your people if you take the Godmetal. We brought my son here so you can see the dangers of this Godsmetal."
"The Godsmetal,” I said, “It corrupts naturally. I agree with the chief. It will drive you mad it you take it. It needs to be moved somewhere isolated and, in that isolation, we can study its effects. I fear it will take me before too long. There is no cure." I said while trying to speak loud enough that everyone could hear me. My people and the native people agreed while the sun-mongers did not. 
"We can manage ourselves," Emma said. "Let me take it. To know for sure. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make." 
"There’s no turning back. Once it goes through your blood then there is no way to change your mind.” I said. 
"The Kindred will prevail with sheer willpower alone!" She yelled. Her people cheered in the background. "This is a gift and godliness does not come without a price! Our people will remain strong with swift minds and strong souls."
"Is there nothing we can tell you to change your mind? You made up your mind before this meeting and will not heed the words of others. You are blind with pride!" Said one of the chiefs. 
"Yes. Our pride and our wish to become better than just human. We have already crushed some of the metal into a fine powder and have taken it. There is nothing you can say to change our minds because it has already been taken!" Yelled Emma. She stood up and got near the light. I could see her eyes like I once had but a silver-like halo revolved around her irises.
“You are going to die! Every one of you unless you let the rest of us become Kindred!” She yelled as her face twitched.  Several people gasped as the native people began to yell and flee the area. This was the end. There was nothing I could do. Without prior knowledge there was nothing to be said.
Emma tried this weird movement trying to use some power, but I was in the vicinity. I negated everything as long as I stayed but there was nothing for me here. I worried for our unborn child. If the Terium corrupted the mind, then what would happen to a child whose mother lived off the substance? It was all too late though. It was time to leave.  
The natives holding down the Cremora let it go in fear. They did not have enough time to get it back into the crate, so they left it on the people. It jumped at a person and started eating its face, then another. It would not stop till it would be killed but that wasn’t my worry. I had to get out of here.
"Mason." I said. He was beside me and we have gotten to know each other through the weeks. He knew my mother intimately and knew of her sacrifice. When he heard that Lady Manticore had come to me he came to follow my teachings and to become the Chimera. Somehow, he knew of the future. He had taken the powder much like me and he knew I was not a Kindred but there was still much I did not know about him. He was still soft spoken but insightful. He was appointed to be under me. To be what we called Erudite’s. We knew of the future and it was our duty to delay it as long as we could. 
"Yes Chimera." He said while leaning into me to hear me over all the ruckus.
“The Kindred. We need to leave before we perish.” I whispered to him as people were scrambling here and there as the Cremora killed more people. “We need to go. Talk to the natives one on one. Get the people. We are leaving now!” Mason agreed and flagged down some of the Erudite’s. I grabbed my things. Made sure the powder was already relocated and it was. Only a small portion of the Terium was removed. It would take years to get rid of it. Some people helped me out of the cavern as I pulled a cloak over my head to protect me from the sunlight. When we were out the sun was harsh on my skin and it felt as if it was burning. The voice told me that he knew where the natives went. He was looking when I was not. When we got to the very top, we could see several bridges. One every cardinal direction leading out from the opening of the cavern to the land. The voice told me to go West into the continent and I did. This was the same direction of the powder, I was told. The people helped me move quickly and Mason was close behind. I looked behind to see flocks of people following me but not to kill me but as a leader. More Erudite’s had aligned with me and I could see several other people who did not choose either side as several boats made haste out of the bay. 
The bridge was very long between land and the cavern. It took a while and we could hear screams coming from the cavern. Screams of anguish and pain and soon the screams turned animalistic. Some were turning into Cremora and this cavern was now full of creatures that believed in nothing other than anguish. I could see the native people at the very end of this bridge. They stood just on the outskirts of the Medina Lake, listening to the screams. We got close and a few natives met us in the middle holding spears and bows. 
“You have gone far enough Medina. What do you want?” Yelled a chief 
“I have no desire to be here. I did not wish for any of this to happen.” I said. 
“A Kindred wishes for no more bloodshed. How cute.”
“I’m not a Kindred. There was a powder with the Godsmetal. If eaten it negates the Godsmetal. I am not nor will I ever be a Kindred.” I said. The chief’s eyes widened and got closer. He pushed through his bodyguards and examined my eyes, then smiled. 
“You do not have that iris that the other Medina had. You can’t be a Kindred.” He looked towards his people. “He’s not a Kindred!” Then back to me. “How can I help you Medina?”  
“We need to leave. The world just got a whole lot smaller.” 
Mason, Miguel, and John Smith were the only known faces among me. Everyone else seemed to be strangers but I would get to know every single one of them as time passed. Mason took out a knife as we entered the nearby forest and wrote into a tree, “CREMORA”. So those who knew that there were many dangers in the lake. The lake never seemed to shine as the sun hit its waters. The darkness that resided there seemed to dull every light that touched it. The people there were hollow and only time would tell if they could figure out what they really wanted. This place was home but not anymore.
We resided with the natives for a while and made our first city as the natives left to follow the food. We wanted to remain close to the lake to see what was going to develop and for some time nothing happened. No Cremora stirred outside of that cavern and we could see people setting up warning signs around it. We could see through trial and error that they soon found the cure to the Cremora but the Lady never showed her face. She left them to their fate much like us. What was she doing? With no doubt she was coming to others to tell about her wonders. To get more to believe in her. 
Several years passed. The Lady eventually showed up to do what seemed as healing people of their afflictions. I could see many talents and abilities of the Kindred just on the other side of the bay. They were truly blessed, but it was something that I would not be a part of. Their civilization grew much like ours. Soon we set up a trade route between the two of us but only between humans, not the Kindred. Both cities flourished and as more boats came from the old world, more people joined us or them. Soon this continent would be full of people and the forests would be chopped down. Civilization would take over nature but one day, if the Vagabond succeeded, nature would overtake civilization. 
It felt like a thousand years and it had been. I had gotten to know every man woman and child who lived the movement just like me. This powder had granted me and my people with long life but as life continued, we could not let others know about this. People would want more to be just like us but there was only a small supply. The powder was very valuable and was only given to those we trusted. Automobiles were invented and machinery. Modern medicine made a pill that Kindred had to take to help quell the God Complex. The Kindred became more stable as I watched from my manor. Kindred soon became accepted in society. There was a civil war that dealt with it too. The cogs were moving faster and faster. The Vagabond was coming. We developed a network of an anti-Kindred supremacy. Humans would inherit the planet, not the Kindred. We did everything we could to stop them. Slow them down and then we figured it out. 
Much like the Kindred, we developed a substance to quell the Kindred. We gathered our top scientists to develop it using a small portion of the powder that was left around the Terium. Division. It divided us from them. We took it regularly to vibrate at a frequency even stronger than before. It made Kindred hurt. It would kill them if we stayed in the same place for long enough. A new war was just about to happen between the Erudite’s and the Kindred. The Kindred didn’t belong. History remembered the Kindred but soon forgot the Chimera. He was still alive and vowing his revenge. The Vagabond had to die. 
When on business I met with a man I soon trusted him, but he told me his wife may be a Kindred. I told him I needed to see her. To touch her to make sure she wasn’t who I have been looking for all these years. Being a Kindred without Terium, that was unheard of. How do you not know you're a Kindred? I talked to my scientists. They told me throughout the years, if someone had relation to a Kindred, they noticed there was a chance to be born with talents thousands of years in the future and they develop sometime after adulthood. They called them purebloods. These Kindred didn’t need to take Terium and this was bad. I agreed to see her to see the truth. 
She walked into my office and my back was turned. She asked for me and I turned to not only see her but it. It was the Vagabond itself. Given to me on my doorstep. The voice was ecstatic, and I tried to hold in my excitement. What were the odds? To have the Vagabond walk into your office? I always agreed to meet with Kindred to know for sure that the Vagabond was not among them, but it was just handed to me on a silver platter. I smiled at it and invited it to sit on the other side of my desk and it did. What would I say? How would it die? My time had come. The timeline would not allow this death and it would kill me in the process. I did not have time to tell the ones I loved goodbye, but they would know this was the Vagabond. That was the only reason.         

"I've got to be perfectly honest with you. If you had seen the things I have seen. Well…you would still be in disbelief. I know I have. The gift of foresight and knowing where I am now. The places I have been. The things I have done. It’s got to stop. You have to stop it."

Remember me