Soul Relic Prologue

6 Nov 2021, Samuel Hinton

A brief snippet teasing much more to come!

Set on the continent of Rhodus, the Soul Relic series follows Raysha as she grapples with her broken soul and inability to effectively channel the spiritual force of aeon. In a world where those who advance in the spiritual arts enough are regarded as gods, living without this ability means living at the bottom of society.

Not a place Raysha wants to remain.

Atareus, God of Knowledge, basked in the light of the rising sun. It was crisp, warm, and full of promise for the day to come; a perfect day for new beginnings. The perfect day to have killed a god.

Or even a whole pantheon full of them.

Atareus gazed out over the great city of Nikean. The dim sound of people and produce and productivity washed over him. He breathed in deeply, turned his back, and walked into the Temple of Sinetha.

For the first time in centuries, silence reigned in the great temple. Only hours ago the shouts of dozens of ineffectual deities would have echoed between the vaulted marble columns and intermingled with the yapping of dogs outside.

The god walked steadily on, cataloguing the damage the temple had sustained during the theological discussions. Fractured marble busts strewn across the ground stared vacantly up at the painted ceiling, their stone gazes fixed on the charred remains of delicate frescoes. Fluted columns were hewn down and scattered like twigs around the hall. The flagstones under his feet crunched, fragments and dust puffing into the air and adding to the thick haze of smoke and burnt flesh that lay thick on the god’s tongue.

The building groaned as the cracked walls shifted, and Atareus reached out mentally, stabilising the structure and willing the marble to flow and seal the most significant damage. He cast his awareness out further, finding his wards around the temple holding strong. Without them, the city below would lie a smoking ruin from the flailing of his dying siblings. Instead, they hadn’t even cracked his barrier.

Atareus arrived at the end of the hall and stepped up onto the raised dais from which the gods of Erasted had governed their nation. He gazed around dispassionately at the twisted bodies of those former deities scattered like broken dolls across the floor. Once the nation’s greatest beauty, Aphaea’s glassy eyes stared into a wall. What was left of her mangled body lay a few yards away, tangled with the corpse of Kroenic, God of Smithing. His robes were tattered, and a foot-wide hole had been torn through his hugely muscled chest. All around the room, corpses of dead gods were splayed, dead by the hand of Atareus or each other in their panicked release of power.

They were gods that only played at governing a nation. Bumbling halfwits content with a life of luxury, simply because they had achieved enough power to claw up the theological ladder into divinity. Fools, all of them.

Atareus stood there silently, finishing his inspection. The damage to the Temple was well within acceptable limits. He’d have thought that his brothers and sisters in the Pantheon would have put up a better fight, but no, they had grown even more weak and lazy than he had thought. Caught in their own webs of politics and bureaucracy. Pathetic.

He looked up, his eyes falling on the prostate form of the Captain of Lionandis Legion. He clicked his fingers, and the terrified man glanced up, staring at Atareus’ sandaled feet.

“Up,” the god commanded.

The soldier stood quickly, his polished armour clinking. His once-pristine white cloak was tarnished with ash and soot, its pallid grey appearance strangely mirrored in the soldier’s horror-stricken face.

“Captain Hetados, how many are still of this world?” Atareus asked the soldier.

“Three, sire,” the man reported, without a quaver in his voice. The Legion only recruited the best. “The healers are unsure when they will wake, sire.”

Atareus nodded pleasantly and signalled for Hetados to lead the way down the hall. “Never, I would imagine.” He extended a hand and channelled a sliver of his power through it. A wispy, blue fluid streamed out of his hand, tendrils rising up like a growing plant and forming a complex structure of interlocking runes and glyphs. The formation continued to grow, forming a delicate spire a foot high. With a flex of the god’s will, the liquid spire solidified into brilliant crystal, and he passed it to the shocked soldier.

“Your Holiness—”

“Find me at least five promising Aspirants to adapt this formation. One month.”

Hetados bowed, hand over his heart. “Yes, your Holiness.” He looked up at the pre-eminent god of Erasted, now the only god of Erasted, the barest hint of confusion skirting across his features. He paused for a moment before his duty to the Pantheon won out, and opened his mouth to speak.

Atareus laughed, interrupting the man. “Worry not about me, Captain, for I have the heart for what comes next. By the end of the day, I will be well beyond the formation’s power.”

Atareus continued down the corridor, Captain in tow.

He walked towards the three doomed deities with shattered minds. Towards three sources of power ripe for harvest.

Towards a better future.

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