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Chapter 4

Egengen of Ilusona 

 

Egengen. The name sent a chill down the spine of most humans and even some Urisha. For Egengen was the servant of death, the chief officer of the enemy all those living must face.

 

But many forget, it had not always been this way...

 

Two hooded figures stood atop the snow covered hill. They looked down at the remnants of carnage that had transpired shortly before; a field awash with the corpses of humans and horses, broken, bloodied, and dismembered.

 

"They mourn their fathers, mothers, and children anew every time," The shorter of the figures said, "but still they do not learn." Her eyes glowed a gentle purple, evidence of her godhood.

 

The larger figure - equally divine - smiled sadly. His light blue skin glistened in the pale light reflected by the snow, and his eyes glowed a piercing blue as they surveyed the battlefield:  "Do not forget they are a young species. They will get better with time, especially now they have the Urisha guiding them."

 

"I hope you are correct," the goddess said and raised her hand above her head. Streams of light blue energy began to float up from the bodies of the slain and towards her. They coalesced in her hand forming a solid blue sphere. She lowered her hand and hid the sphere in the folds of her dark robes.

 

"Give me time to process this life energy, brother, and I'll pass it back to you for redistribution soon." She said.

 

"I know the arrangement."

 

"So then why are you here disturbing my work?" She asked.

 

"Because I think there is someone of intrigue here." He smiled again. "Come."

 

They walked further into the battlefield, grimacing despite their familiarity with the sight. Eventually they stopped at a single soldier lying facedown in the mud, his leather armour punctured by eight arrows and his sword still clutched tightly in his hand.

The robed god nudged the soldier with his foot. 

The goddess grabbed his sleeve to stop him, "Do not mock the dead, Xipe. They are my domain. You-" 

 

Suddenly the soldier jumped up and lunged at the goddess. She swept her hand swiftly across his face sending him flying back into the dirt. The soldier looked up, His pale albino skin and blond hair stained crimson with the blood from the criss-crossing wounds that had just been carved into his face. His eyes were gold. 

 

"Urisha," the goddess gasped, "though I assume you do not know it. There are not many of you born from humans at the moment." 

"This is Egengen of Ilusona. The person I wanted you to meet." Xipe, god of life said to her, "I think he will be of use to you."

"H-how do you know who I am?" Egengen stuttered crawling backward. 

"We know much, soldier." The goddess said, looking him up and down. "For example I know that in your condition you will be dead by nightfall. You are of no use to me." 

"But he could be." Her fellow god responded reaching out his hand, "Give me the energy."

"It is unprocessed."

"I know. Give it here." The goddess reluctantly gave it to him. 

 

Xipe took the glowing blue orb and pressed it gently against Egengen's forehead. It slowly dissipated, dissolving into the soldier's pale flesh. Egengen's eyes turned slowly from gold to pale blue, just like the god of life that stood before him. His wounds healed back, arrowheads dropping from his back, and scars forming where the goddess had cut him. 

The god of life smiled fully this time. He grabbed the rejuvenated soldier and pulled him to his feet, turning him so that he faced the goddess. 

 

"Egengen of the Urisha. I, Xipe, god of life have gifted you life eternal. Please do your best to loyally serve my beloved sister, Ruin, the goddess of death."
 

Egengen of the Urisha

A century had passed since Egengen had become an Urisha of death. He had spent some time living among the other Urisha in their hidden fortress and learning some of their ways. He had even met his father, the Primarch. But the goddess had cut his time with them short, demanding Egengen join her in her work just as he had begun to settle. It was with great reluctance that he left his brethren, they were at a massive turning point in Urisha civilisation: preparing to build a new home from which they would watch over the Earth. But he had a duty to do. 

Now Egengen was holed up in the shadows of the Underlands. Perched in front of the glowing opening of the life font, hard at work processing the life energy that had been delivered some time ago. He worked diligently, extracting impurities, mutations, aberrations and degradation so it could be passed on to the goddess who would then, in turn, pass it on to the god of life. It was work that required a lot of patience and concentration and although interesting, it was lonely work that left him dreaming of his father and new friends embarking on their project. 

"Your mind drifts, Egengen of the Urisha." he heard the voice of the goddess before he saw her. A scattering of lights appeared out of the neather and whirled together to form her robed figure. "Carelessness will cause defects in the next generation of humans."

"Apologies, Lady Ruin." 

 

"You miss the surface?" She sighed, withdrawing a blue orb from her robes and gently lowering it into the font. She glanced at him, then looked away, she deeply regretted scarring him so badly on their first meeting and sometimes struggled to look at him.

 

"I miss the other Urisha," Egengen stopped working and turned to face his superior as she turned to walk leisurely around the room. 

"How interesting." She patted the side of her hair down gently with a bejeweled hand, "Do you value the Urisha more than you value humans?"

"No. I greatly value humans. I always have. I just know that I fit in with them even less now than I did when I lived as one of them."

 

"So if you didn't belong even when you lived as a human, why did you dedicate your old life to protecting and fighting for the very people that cast you out?" Ruin asked curiously.

 

"I-I do not know. It just feels like the right thing to do. It brings me joy, especially when they have joy."

 

"Fascinating" Ruin placed her hand to her chin, "we designed the Urisha to have an innate desire to care for the Earth and its inhabitants. An Onus we place on each and every one of you - The Grand Purpose. But you feeling joy at the happiness of humans... that is you Egengen, though it may be linked to your Onus, we can't manufacture that."

 

"The Onus... Can one break free of it?" Egengen asked.

 

"I do not know. It's who you are," She sighed, "Can I break free of godhood?"

 

"Why would you want to?"

"Unlike the other gods, and even unlike you, I've known nothing else," Ruin closed her eyes and a flurry of purple glowing particles burst from her hands forming constellations within the room. "I was born in the death throes of the previous universe. Some say I may even have been the cause of its end. For this, I was named Ruin, The Eventuality that all things must face." 

"..." Egengen sat speechless as the purple particles faded. Ruin saw the sympathetic expression on his face. 

"Do not pity me young Egengen. For what do the humans say about me?" 

 

"At least if we are to meet our end, it is to Ruin that we go." He recited from memory. It was said at every funeral he attended growing up, before every battle that he ran into. Of both, there were many. 

She smiled. "Exactly. To my warm embrace. I am the end, but through me, all life energy finds its way to Xipe. And through him, it finds a new beginning. You are a servant of that process. A servant of the end - and the beginning too. The azure glow in your eyes is proof of that. Take pride in your work down here."

 

Egengen smiled and turned back to the font, her words had touched his very heart. He was not Egengen of the Urisha. He was Egengen, Servant of the End and the Beginning. 

 

Of course, people often forget the latter.

Egengen, Servant of the End and Beginning

 

It was a sunny day in this part of the Earth. Bound Urisha Egengen leaned on the edge of the wooden lift as it ascended upwards at a steady pace. He often forgot how much he missed the sun. The longer he spent in the underlands, the less he noticed how cold and dark it was down there.

 

"Eggy! Did you hear a word I said?" The Prime Urisha who accompanied him crossed her arms in annoyance, her auburn braids bouncing over her shoulders.

 

"Sorry, Imun, I was distracted. Continue." He turned to her indicating she had his full attention.

 

"You human-born Urisha may look mature but you're just like children !" She laughed.

 

"I'm approaching two hundred. Trust me, I'm mature," he was tired of being one of the unusual ones because of the circumstances of his birth. Hopefully this novelty would wear off in a few more decades.

 

"Well, as I was saying. We have this idea. The higher up we go with this pillar, the more susceptible to the elements the ring will be. Now we've developed a special material that will ensure it won't be broken by any normal means, but it's the swaying that concerns me. If it sways too much  those living on the ring itself may get thrown off."

So what do you suggest?" Egengen asked, following Imun off the lift and onto the scaffolding. He looked around to see dozens of prosaic Urisha using various abilities to mix and apply this mysterious construction material to the top of the pillar, growing it metres taller in mere minutes.

 

"I suggest we bind it to the Earth's core." Imun smiled and beckoned Egengen to look over the top edge of the pillar's wall to the gaping hollow within.

 

"How will you do that?" Egengen stepped back, feeling a bit disoriented by the sheer depth of the darkness.

 

"This is where you come in, Bound Urisha of Death." The Prime Urisha of Construction smiled, "Now I know you have some serious power over life energy. And this planet is a whole living thing. So I want our new home to be an extension of that."

 

"You want me to bind the life energy of the Earth itself to this structure? What you are proposing is insane." Egengen laughed. Then he closed his eyes and thought deeply for a second, then opened them and looked towards the construction Urisha as they grew the walls, then at his own hands. He turned to Prime Urisha Imun. "Insane but not impossible."

 

"Good, because we need this home Eggy." Imun smiled, "also, after this job is done I will retire from the Prime council,  and the feat you will accomplish will be worthy of a Prime Urisha."

 

"Are you saying...?"

"Yes, that Prime Urisha Egengen has a nice ring to it."

Prime Urisha Egengen, Servant of the End

 

The clouds convulsed and the ground shook as Praised Urisha Egengen pressed his hands into the floor. Glowing blue tendrils wreathed around his body, pulsating. Humans on the earth looked up at the glowing sky in awe, generations had watched the collosal structure grow and reach completion. They had also become used to its tendency to sway in strong winds.

 

Up on the ring, the construction Urisha watched Egengen with excitement and fear, for if he got this wrong, six centuries worth of work could come crumbling down.

 

But it was not to be so. Egengen was almost done. He had spent the last three months in this same position, without sleep, food, or even a pause, focused purely on binding the structure to the Earth. He had carefully drawn the life energy residing in the Earth out and weaved and braided it into the fabric of the two pillars and then into the ring itself. He had laced it through the ring in both directions and now those two ends were about to meet. He shuddered as he felt the cycle of death and life pass through him one last time as the circle became whole. And then it was done.

 

The glowing stopped, the tendrils faded and the ring became still for the first time in generations. There was a silence as the Urisha of Death rose to his feet. Then the cheering and applause began. He had done it, he had changed the future of the Urisha and Earth forever.

The crowds parted, making way for seven figures. The Primes.

 

Egengen immediately picked out Imun grinning from ear to ear. He smiled back in turn. Then his attention turned to the figure in the centre, the stern look on the Primarch's face seemed to be struggling to maintain its composure, the edge of his mouth twitching into a smile every now and then.

"Primarch Arunmila, are you happy with our work?" Egengen asked bowing his head. The Primarch could contain his pride no longer and his mouth stretched into a full smile. 

 

"Yes, my son, I am well pleased with your work," he turned to the rest of the Urisha, "all of you, I am proud and pleased with your work." 

"Let this feat be marked as a Turning Point in our history. The golden age of the Urisha has begun. Upon this, our Oruka, we shall fulfill our Onus and continue to serve the Earth and its Grand Purpose! Praise be to the New Gods!" 

 

The crowds roared into cheer and applause again. Arunmila raised his hand and they returned to silence. 

 

"And you, son of mine. Imun recommends you as the perfect Urisha to inherit her position on the council. So come among our fold, Prime Urisha Egengen."

The Whims of Divinity

Egengen slumped into his favourite chair. It had been carved in the last age by a good friend of his that was lost in the Great Human Seige. There had been so much back and forth between the Underlands and Oruka recently due to all the Alympian nonsense. He had hoped that Uru would be the end of it, but it was not to be. Instead the Urisha society had been thrown into a pointless civil war. He picked up a report that had been left on the table by the chair and began to read through it. 

About three sentences in, he felt a sudden chill down his spine. He raised his head as purple particles began to flicker into existence around him, he sighed and stood up from his seat as a figure clad in white armour emerged from the darkness. 

“Lady Ruin," he dipped his head, “you are earlier than expected.” 

“I am, Young Egengen” the goddess of death replied, “has the fighting begun yet?" 

“No, but I am sure it will. I expect the death toll to be particularly extravagant this time – especially if the humans get involved." 

“I see," she walked past him and sat in his favourite chair.  

“I just don’t understand it. Through all my millenia as Urisha of Death we’ve had disagreements but never all out war. It’s as if our Onuses are clashing with each other. As if the Urisha themselves are out of balance.” 

“…” Ruin remained silent and closed her eyes, he mouth turned downwards at the edges. 

“Or maybe it doesn’t make sense because I’m looking at it from the perspective that our Onuses are always correct and absolute,” Egengen shook his head, “But... maybe they are not. And if they are not the issue must lie with..." Egengen turned to the goddess who seemed much less imposing than she usually did. 

Then he saw it. 

Egengen’s eyes widened in disbelief. The right side of her armour was cracked. 

“No, this cannot be right. This cannot be possible" Egengen said in disbelief shaking his head once again, more forcefully this time. 

Ruin sighed, “It is as you see it.” 

“The Urisha are out of balance because the Gods are out balance. You five are at war with each other aren’t you?” 

“We have been for the past 2000 years. We have hidden it, hoping our... disagreement would have been solved much quicker than this.”

 

“This whole time Toju, Unsin, and Isangbe said that the Urisha appeared to be corrupted, and we laughed at the idea -  but they were right. The Grand Purpose has been poisoned by your petty disputes. " 

“This was no petty dispute" the cold region surrounding Ruin flared up for a second as her voice rose, then withdrew back to the confines of the chair, “the god of life and goddess of love want to begin something I am certain will not end well. It could lead to the very destruction of our universe if mishandled."

“Lord Xipe? But you two are practically family. How could this happen?” Egengen paced the room trying to make sense of it all in his head. 

“I will not concern you with the whims of divinity,” Ruin stood up and turned to him, “it is for us to solve amongst ourselves. The god of war and I shall do our best to minimise the ripples that this may send on into your world, but please. Do your best to keep both sides from doing too much damage.” 

“Because death must be neutral?” 

“Do I look neutral to you?” Ruin chuckled as she began to break apart into purple flecks of light, “No, it’s because death is universal.” 

Egengen's Visitors

Egengen stood at the life font working away in the Underland's ornate Grand Hall. He took it upon himself to process energy which may either have a high level of corruption, or may have belonged to high ranking Urisha; it ensured no mistakes were made.  He became so absorbed in his work he was completely taken by surprised when a green glob of energy floated in through the entryway among the usual gold and blue. 

This feels alien, he thought. He closed his eyes and tried to sense the energy within it, Ah, Alympian… a familiar Alympian… Ikkarias? I see he has fallen. 

Egengen sat down on his work bench, studying the green glob, unsure of what to do with it.  

I cannot mix it with our life energy for risk of poisoning our biosphere, but I don’t exactly want to keep it around - it does not belong here. 

The way he saw it, he either had to go back up to the Oruka again, or wait for the goddess of death to visit again in three decades. Neither seemed like an attractive prospect. 

He threw the green glob aside and encased it in a glass ball. He would think on it later, once this processing session was done. Egengen returned to work. 

It was no more than five minutes later he heard a smash behind him and felt the room grow thick with an unfamiliar. 

“Ikkarias, poor child. Your father warned you your ambition would be the death of you."

 

Egengen turned to see two figures standing in the corner of the hall. One was heavily bejeweled with little but a loin cloth and cloak covering his body, the other was shorter and sported a golden circlet, black tunic and winged sandals. The larger figure bent down and carefully picked the green glob of energy up from among the smashed glass. He peered at it curiously then ate it. “let us hope this energy will go towards building a greater Alympian than you, Ikkarias.” 

“Excuse me!” Egengen roared, the room growing darker and colder  “you stand upon sacred grounds, and before the Prime Urisha of Death.” 

The two strangers looked at each other bemused. 

“Your first time I assume?” the smaller one laughed, floating off the ground slightly.” 

“First time having uninvited guests within my halls – yes!” 

“Calm down, custodian,” the larger figure said, leaning against the uneven stone wall, “I am Greater Alympian Hediz of the Triune. This is my assistant the Alympian Hermus.” 

“We run the Underworld of our Earth. We're just here to pick up some misplaced life energy and bring it back to where it belongs.” The Hermus quipped. 

“You're not here to invade?” Egengen asked suspiciously. 

“Just the two of us?” Hermus laughed, “no chance. We're strong, but we wouldn’t dare touch a high ranker like you in your own domain.” 

“How did you get here?” 

“A good question, and something that you must take note of,” Hediz replied, “life and Death follow the law of balance, but they do not follow the laws of space. While the universes must all be kept balanced, death – among other things – will transcend space to ensure the life energy goes back to where it belongs.” 

“It reaches across to your universe and summons you here?” Egngen asked. 

“That's right, it allows us to break the laws of physics themselves and transport ourselves here immediately to pick it up. And that, my friend, is why all death custodians must remain neutral in all conflict. I am aware that Ikkarias and possibly Herakless must have done something nefarious that has led to their death here, or maybe it’s the other way round, but that is irrelevant.” 

“This loophole in existence – can we not exploit it for our ends?” 

“Impossible. The fundamental laws that make up everything won’t allow it. You won’t even be able to discuss this event.” 

“Fascinating.”  

“Indeed it is.” Hediz looked at his hand which was beginning to fade away “it appears we are being taken back to where we belong. It was a great joy meeting you Egengen and visiting your Earth. I hope we do not meet again.” 

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