FIFTEEN (Part 2)

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Suddenly, the world exploded in wild, glaring light. Morita screamed and Falor shouted, "What in the Gods?"

She closed her eyes, but the light still made the insides of her eyes red. With her vision rendered useless, she could only comprehend the ensuing chaos around her by connecting her internal sense of direction to the sounds that she heard.

And she could hear a lot.

Scream bounced off every direction from nearby humans as something threatening entered the area. Most likely oddly-dressed deities. Morita couldn't tell who they were so she ducked behind a tower of wine barrels by feeling the slimy wood with her fingers. Now that the light was blocked by the crates, she could open her eyes, but the light streaming from a deity prevented her from seeing any of the main action unless she wanted to test the healing capabilities of a deity.

Godsdamn them. Powerless, she could only stay in her spot.

Someone—a male—yelled, "I've got him!"

She heard the curses and grunt of two deities fighting and a body thump against the ground before the light blinked out. She spun away from the safety of the crates to see a deserted street filled with deities ready to pounce on each other—with their range weapon of choice, of course. The smoke in their air was gone; in its place was the effects of each deity's glowing attack in their hands.

Falor was closest to her, an orange heatwave that bent the air around it in his hands.

There were four deities Morita didn't recognize. The impossibly beautiful man wearing a black suit had to be Beauty and the tall man in black drapes had to be Death. At the thought, Death looked at her and she immediately turned her head away, getting shivers. Dark, soulless, cold, bottomless, dead, emotionless.

On the other side, Aruma and two Dishonoreds, both in red, orange, and yellow, faced them. And off to the side, closer to the Heavens than to the Dishonoreds, stood Alorza and Volorial.

Looking at the odds and numbers, she felt a bolt of fear shoot through her. Dear Gods, we are not going to get out of this on top, just like Tempdeis and Scioren had planned. Oh no Scioren, what have you done?

She quickly sent a prayer to the Gods that no one would die today. I don't think I can resurrect anyone right now.

Before anyone could move, Morita stepped forward. Their heads all flashed toward her.

"Stop this senseless violence," she said, trying to sound mature and reasonable. Instead, she just sounded like a child trying her parents not to smoke.

One Dishonored snarled, "We're not here to teach the mortals about the Gods, girlie. We came for a fight, and the Gods listen. They are in our favor." His voice was filled with disdain for her. She got a feeling that he was the type of person to hate everyone.

Volorial spat at the ground. "I don't know about that, Dishonored. Five against four looks pretty good for us," he said.

She couldn't help it, she panicked. Both sides were a breath apart from letting their rage loose in forms of death, ice, cool, heat, and whatever else they could do. Suddenly, she remembered what Tempdeis had said. Influence. "I don't think I made myself clear. I am Morita, the deity of Souls, Spirits, and Resurrection. Attack, and I will make sure never to resurrect you even should my life be threatened and my back on fire with pain.

Beauty shouted, "Let me ask you a question. Who's side are you on?" When Morita did not immediately respond, they sneered. "That's what I thought." She saw Volorial make eye contact with Beauty and he gave her a signal. Before they could start bewitching the Dishonoreds, Morita started yelling at the Dishonoreds to flee before they bent to the duo's words and will. She felt sick just remembering what it had been like under Volorial's control.

The Heavens and Dishonoreds charged at each other, but they only took a few steps.

The world started to jerk beneath her feet, shaking and trembling violently. A low, moaning rumble erupted from the ground, overpowering Beauty and Volorial's bewitching words. Morita's view shook as she watched with a sinking feeling the land tilt and vibrate. Towers of crates and barrels teetered. The Laicasto Sea's water roared as giant waves crashed onto shore, carrying smaller boats with them.

The deities—all beside her, Falor, Alorza, and Volorial—stared at the ground like it was going to open and swallow them up. One Dishonored, the one that had said that the Gods were in the Dishonored's favor, lifted himself into the air with a giant burst of fire. Even those who knew what was happening had a look of panic on their face.

A sudden idea came to her.

She saw Falor a few steps away, also watching everything with a new fear on his face. She already knew the thoughts going through his mind. Are the Gods angry? And who are they upset with? Morita ran over to Falor, the ground dipping her steps and shaking her legs to the point that she couldn't feel them. She made it to his side and grabbed his arm to get his attention. She spotted a narrow alley off to the side. She ran toward it and didn't have to look back to see if Falor was following her. She knew he was. They ran, taking random rights and lefts in small alleys and backends.

Suddenly, the shaking stopped so suddenly it was as if it had never started in the first place. The earthquake couldn't have been longer than twenty seconds, but it had felt much longer to her and everyone else. The Djinhelm region rarely got earthquakes. The only notable earthquake had shaken her nation much too long ago for her to remember it.

She hoped the girl with the kitten was safe. The two deities slowed down, lost in a shady alley with faded posters and bits of colorful littered trash. Falor put a hand on the wall and stared at the ground with wide eyes. She could see his mouth move in chants and his fingers drawing the Karvic runes for the Gods. As for Morita, she could not have cared less about the connection between the arrival of a bunch of deities and the earthquake.

It was an earthquake, the product of some sort of natural phenomenon. The Gods had nothing to do with it. Right?

Falor picked himself up and looked up straight at the white cloudy sky. It was so much different than the dead gray of Verotz. He breathed out, "The Gods did this. They're angry."

"Maybe. The timing is kind of odd," Morita admitted. The Gods are not real, she told herself.

"No, no. They definitely did this." He rambled to himself, trying to single out the cause of the Gods' wrath. "The Gods showed that we were wrong about something. We need to fix our faults."

"Wait, Falor, listen to me. The Dishonoreds—" Morita cut off.

He glared at her. "The Dishonor—"

She shushed him, tilting her head. There was a buzzing in her ears. Or deep in her skin, she couldn't really tell. But she knew that it was something inside that was disturbing the regular flow of her being.

Souls. Spirits.

She closed her eyes, straining to understand and amplify the feeling. It felt like her heart had returned, beating erratically, trying to tell her something. Then, it clicked. She opened her eyes, turning until the feeling strengthened like someone punching her in the chest, squeeze her heart until it came back and pulsed.

So many spirits, she thought. She could feel the massive wave of spirits joining the ones that Morita, as the deity of Souls and Spirits, embodied. They mingled and entwined the ones in the Underworld, something she had yet to interact with. The earthquake hadn't started in Bascine. It had started in Djinhelm, where all the spirits were flooding in from.

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A/N: My tag ranks are finally back! I'm still quite busy but hopefully my life will sort itself out. How have your lives been? Anything interesting going on?

Comment and vote if you enjoyed! It really helps me out!

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