Epithet

September 23, 2020

Eloise was face to face with the Goddess Arae, The Second One, and it took everything in her to not deck her in the face right here and now . All her life, she was so sure the Sisters had forsaken her, that she was a mistake They didn’t want to see.

“My dear child. You’ve been quite ruthless lately, haven’t you?”

Her mouth didn’t move, in fact, Eloise didn’t think she even saw a mouth, or a face for that matter. Something in her, though, told Eloise that She was beautiful beyond comprehension. Did she care, though? Not really.

“Oh? Is that why I’m here?” She asked, Arae’s lack of response made Eloise grow irritated. 

“I’ve been causing you too much trouble so now you want to smite me? Just wipe me off the face of the planet, huh? How convenient for you.”

Eloise spat with venom in her voice. She wanted nothing to do with the Goddesses, they were the ones who had taken everything away from her.

Her hometown was burned to the ground, her brothers being two of the many victims. She was left alone to fend for herself and she was so young. What was she supposed to do? All she was left with was anger and vengeance, nothing to make her worthy enough to win over the Goddesses. 

“What more do you want from me?” Eloise cried, “I’ve already given you all I have.”

“I see resilience within you, young one. You have faced trial after trial.”

Arae approached her. Her voice was calculated, poised, it seemed to resonate and ring through every cell of her body. Suddenly, Eloise felt immensely intimidated, as one should when meeting their maker.

“Therefore, you and I,”  Eloise was graced with the slightest caress on her face. “We’re going to be working very closely from now on. I bring forth punishment to those who have sinned, not to those who defy. You, who has proven to me great passion, perseverance and strength. As such, you have won my blessing.”

Eloise felt a flame burst within her, blood bubbling and circling its way into her heart and back out to her fingertips. Eloise succumbed to the warmth of the flames licking the back of her neck, entangling itself into her hair, emitting from her very being in wisps. 

“Use that fury of yours, your wrath. You shall serve in my place as Punisher of Evil and fight in the name of justice to protect the innocent.”

Eloise heard a tinkling sound that kinda echoed around inside her head, dare she call it a laugh?

She felt a presence ghost over the top of her head.

“I will be keeping a close eye on you, dear child.

___________________________________________________________________________

“Are you willing to give your life for someone so insignificant? Someone who will never know of your sacrifice?”

“Prima? You can stop now, you know. It’s not going to work, she’s dead.” Her friend called out to her, hesitant. Prima kept her eyes shut tight, keeping one hand on her deceased pet, the other hovering over her heart.

“Lead her down the golden path.” She mumbled, her eyes screwed shut.

“Are you willing to give your life to spare another, no matter how irrelevant they are to your own?”

“Are you ready, starlight?”

“Yes.”

A brilliant light, cast down from the heavens. The First One; Arirah. The Goddess of creation sent down a star for her, Prima thought, her very own falling star. For a second, when Prima looked down at her deceased friend, she felt panicked, but not helpless. She felt sad, but not defeated. She was empty, hollow, stripped bare for only one second.

Suddenly, she was filled to the brim with Arirah’s love. The sacrifice of a mother, the passion of a dreamer, the pride of an artist, the dedication of a creator. Prima suddenly had way more love and power than she knew what to do with it. She knew she had to give, she had to give her all for everything living around her; Prima knew what her job was.

Her dog, her best friend, Rose, had returned to the world of living. She jumped up and licked at Prima’s face happily. 

“Prima..? What did..” Prima’s best friend, who’d witnessed everything that had unfolded in those quick seconds, took a shaky step back. The look in her eyes told Prima that she’d deemed her untrustworthy, betrayal written all over her face.

“Dahlia, wait. It’s not- I don’t know how it, it, it,” Prima stuttered, tripping over her words as she tried to explain. “It all happened so fast, it wasn’t me, I didn’t do this on purpose!”

“Witch!” Dahlia pointed an accusing finger at her, Prima stood, holding her hands up in surrender.

“No, no! I’m not a witch, I swear! Dahlia, you know me, we’re friends, right?” Prima desperately tried to reason with her best friend, however, Dahlia wasn’t going to be swayed.

“Stay away from me! I would,” Dahlia took deep breaths, anger bubbling in her veins. “I would never be friends with a witch.”

“Help! Help! There’s a witch! Come quick!” Dahlia shouted, running off towards the town.

Prima scooped Rose into her arms and ran as fast as she could down the hill. Prima blinked past her tears as she ran home. She glanced down at Rose, the brown dog blinked up at her, yipping happily. She understood now, she understood what she had done.

And she didn’t regret it.

____________________________________________________________________________

There was a young girl who never knew her name. She was never called, never wanted, never needed by anyone or for anything. She was utterly hopeless.

She spent most of her time practicing martial arts behind her mother’s back, or playing in her room with her stuffed animals. The stuffed bear was named Ceiling, her stuffed whale named Shoes, she named her stuffed snake Grass. After all, she didn’t know what a name was, she didn’t understand what they meant, or why she couldn’t have one. Sometimes, she would give herself a name, but they never stuck.

She had dreams of course. She wanted to have lots of friends, get married, have children. She wanted somebody to love, somebody to protect, somebody to hold close. But Martial arts was dangerous and it wasn’t girly, so it was no wonder why she didn’t have many friends. She did have the greenery around her home, she had the flowers that bloomed at sunrise but wilted by the afternoon, she had the rushing stream that ran at the bottom of the hill, the fish that lived there. 

So she wandered into the thicket behind her home that extended into the forest and carried a pen and paper, attempting to use the environment around her as inspiration to give herself a name that was fitting of her. 

“Please! Help! Somebody help me, please!” 

A voice cried out way too loud for her to ignore it. She definitely knew something was wrong, someone was in trouble. She rushed towards the direction of the commotion until she heard it again, a scream for help.

“Get away from me! Let me go!”

It came from her left this time, down the hill. The stream.

She ran down the hill past the trees until she reached the clearing by the creek. There she saw a woman in a white dress holding something close to her chest and a tall man trying to wrestle it from her grasp. She saw the woman crying and screaming out in distress.

What was she supposed to do, it’s not like she could help, she was only 13. What was she supposed to do against a grown man? Nothing, she couldn’t do anything. She didn’t have a name, she didn’t have a purpose.

“Nameless one, my dearest flower. What’s troubling you?”

A voice slowly rose its way to her ears, she looked up and saw a little girl standing in front of her. She seemed to be younger than her, but her entire body was a pale yellow hue that seemed to radiate off her. The little girl looked to be hovering off the ground and wore a dress similar to the one the woman wore, she found herself unable to speak. 

“She, s-she,” She stuttered as she realized just how nervous she was. “That woman, she needs help.” She pointed a shaky finger at the woman who was now frozen in time.

“So are you going to help her?”  The child asked, holding her hands behind her back.

“I can’t.” She answered, the child didn’t seem to like that answer. The little girl’s eyebrows scrunched up, she looked a bit disappointed.

“If you were in trouble, you’d want a friend to help you, right?”

“Yeah, but she’s not my friend.” She tried to protest. The child shook her head, seeming a little more annoyed now.

“That’s not a very nice thing to say. Friends can pop up anywhere, even ones you haven’t met yet. I can tell you are very dedicated to those close to you, even if you don’t have many loved ones. Here’s your chance, you can go and save her, make a friend, protect the innocent. For it is your duty, little flower.”

The little girl faded into the wind before she got a chance to ask her anything, so she was left with watching the scene unfold before her once more.

“Can I really help?” She whispered to herself, clenching her pen tightly in her hand.

“I know you can, little flower” A voice whispered in the breeze.

She jolted into action, running towards the tall man with newfound speed and confidence.

“Get away from her!” She warned, pushing the man at least a foot back. The woman scurried back behind the girl as a pale yellow barrier rose between her and the girl that saved her.

The man only gave an angry grunt, she nearly cowered in fear as she saw his face held nothing but blind anger. He raised his fist and threw a punch directly to her face. She strafed to the left, parrying his attack with her hand and slammed her knee into his unguarded stomach, she followed through with a mid-kick to his left side. His knees buckled from the force of the kick and he doubled over, dropping to his hands and knees.

“Eat shit.” 

She taunted before landed a kick directly to his temple and he was out like a light.

The barrier dropped along with her shoulders as she sighed in relief.

“Well done, little flower. I’ll be watching you from now on, Inanna”

Innana? Was that her-

“Thank you for saving me. What’s your name, little lady?” The woman asked, stretching out a hand for her to shake. She saw that she was protecting a little brown dog in her arms.

“Innana. My name is Innana.”

____________________________________________________________________________

Ignus lived in a bad area; never enough space, enough food, enough money. Everything she had, she worked for; everything she was, she made with her own two hands. Ignus learned from her mother that if she wanted to live, she’d have to fight. But Ignus was tired of fighting, it was all she ever did and yet, she still couldn’t keep up. She couldn’t keep up and that’s why she was alone now.

So she didn’t fight. She would never win if she could never play the game of life, so she played day and night; never resting, never letting her guard down. Ignus knew these streets and she played her cards well. Ignus worked and she worked hard; she had jobs all over the town, the ones no one wanted to do. She was quick and competent, always fast with her hands and never failed any job. 

Ignus believed that’s why she was chosen by the Fourth One. Ignus had gotten caught after cheating in a card game; two unhappy players chased her down into an alley, demanding their money back. This was the first time since her mother died that Ignus felt small, she felt helpless. 

For the first time, Ignus prayed. A quick prayer, a plea.

“Keep your eyes open, young brawler.” A voice warned; Ignus’s eyes shot open. All around her, everything slowed down, including herself. A man lunged for her, but she was able to move out of the way. Her movements were more calculated, albeit just as slow as everything else. Her mind worked faster than the lethargic pace of the men in front of her. She was able to weave through them both, now it was easier to predict their movements. She made a break for it out of the alley, pushing her legs as fast as they would take her but it felt like walking through mud. As soon as she left the alley, time reverted back to normal and she sped off down the street. 

“What was that?” She asked herself, out of breath, but still tingling from the encounter. 

“Insight.” Ignus whipped her head around, searching for the source of the same sound. 

“Behind you, little one.” The woman called. Behind her stood a tall woman, she seemed giant compared to any normal human. Her skin darker than night, draped in purple from head to toe, her radiance seemed to defy the natural order of this world. Ignus felt very insignificant compared to her.

“Who are you? Was it you who did that back there?” Ignus asked, still in awe. The woman shook her head and kneeled down to her level. Ignus could feel a maternal energy coming off her in waves; she reminded her of the mother she never had. 

“That was you. I’ve bestowed upon you my blessing, a gift of insight.” She explained, her voice soft and calm. 

“Insight? That means I-?” She nodded once more, a smile graced her lips. 

“That is correct. You are able to see moments into the future and if you cultivate this talent of yours, you could see even further,” Ignus opened her mouth to say something but something about her expression told her that she shouldn’t. “I am the Goddess Afairynghor. I am the base of all law and logic; however, I am willing to place a bet on you. Go forth and find your sisters.” Ignus received a kiss on her forehead as Afairynghor dissolved into the night air.

She made a deal with Afairynghor, the Goddess of Law and Wisdom.

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