The Two Faced Goddess – The Door | C.R. Gardner

The Two Faced Goddess – The Door

C.R. Gardner

To The Nines Award Part 4

 

‘Leave it!’ said Sofia Erris Eritrayeaux, as the Prince knelt to pick up the pulsating ring. ‘Nobody touches it but me,’ she said, scooping it up and stuffing it into a pocket. ‘It’s calling something.’

‘And something is answering,’ said Lieutenant Huxley, looking back up the tunnel. ‘Can you hear it?’

‘Reavers,’ muttered the Prince. ‘My brother said he’d try to stop them sending their beasts after us.’

‘Your brother?’

‘He’s infiltrated the enemy ranks, gained their trust.’

Sofia made a derogatory sound and turned back to the massive door blocking their way, examining it.

‘He’s on our side!’

‘He’s already betrayed you twice! How many more times will it take?’

‘What do we do now?’ said Chi Sun.

‘Open the door,’ said Sofia Erris Eritrayeaux.

‘No!’

‘Is there something else you’re not telling us, Your Highness?’

‘It would be better to die than let out what lies behind the Door,’ said the Prince.

‘And that is?’ said Anson.

‘Darkness and horror.’

‘We don’t have the key,’ said Lieutenant Huxley,

Sofia placed her hands flat upon the Door it and her sigilla flared with an almost blinding light.

‘Perhaps we don’t need one,’ said Chi Sun, shading his eyes as electric blue light flowed like liquid down Sofia’s arms into the grooves of the Door’s matching sigils.

The mostly dormant power of the Two Faced Goddess that slept coiled like a snake in Sofia’s body, awoke, rushing through her like fire. She closed her eyes feeling the sigilla spreading over her skin as the power of the Goddess consumed her.

Soon she would cease to be, but the Two Faced Goddess would remain. Tears welled beneath closed eyelids as leaving Ana and Ty forever became reality – at least their pact had given her three more years with her children.

‘Sometimes,’ a gentle voice whispered. ‘We must give up our own lives to protect the ones we love.’

She opened her eyes to see not a door, but a woman holding out her hands and regarding Sofia with sad eyes.

‘Take my hands, Sofia. You have done well.’

‘I have come,’ said Erris, the Goddess of war. ‘It is time.’

‘Please,’ said Sofia, feeling her being fading out of existence, ‘Keep them safe.’

‘You have my, our promise, Sofia,’ said the Two Faced Goddess.

‘Mum!’ cried Ana, Ty holding onto her.

‘She loved you enough to die for you,’ said the blazing figure as it changed into the form of the Goddess. ‘Stand aside or die, mortals!’ The words were like thunder from her lips.

The Door swung open and darkness poured forth. It swirled about the Goddess like an old friend before surging forward in a dark wave towards the oncoming Reavers. Slavering snarls and growls turned into howls of pain and screams of terror, followed by the silence of nothing. The darkness flowed on, leaving behind broken and ruined bodies.

‘Come,’ said the Goddess, slipping the ring onto her finger as she stepped through the open Door into darkness. ‘We made a promise to Sofia to keep you safe.’

~

The Grievous One stared at the bodies of her Commander and his troop, their entrails festooning the tunnel like misshapen garlands.

‘They’ve opened the Door,’ whispered the Prince at the Grievous One’s side.

‘What door?’

‘The Door.’

‘And what is this Door?’ She said, sinking her claws into the Commander’s dead shoulders, pulling what was left of him upright.

‘It must never be opened!’

‘Why?’ she said, murmuring words under her breath.

The Prince felt his skin prickle as purple mist eddied around them.  ‘Something terrible was sealed behind it.’

‘You’re not being exceptionally helpful, Princeling,’ said the Grievous One through clenched teeth as the soldier next to the Prince started choking. Eyes bulging the soldier clawed at her throat gasping for breath. Her body swelled to twice its size before exploding like a ripe melon, covering them all with warm, wet innards.

The Grievous One smiled as the Prince retched and gagged. She spoke another word. All the blood, even that which had spattered the Prince, rose up, hanging in the air like a red organza curtain. With a gesture from the Grievous One the red haze poured itself into the deceased Commander’s mouth, frozen in a silent scream. He opened dead eyes.

‘What happened, Commander?’

‘We were ambushed,’ he said, his voice hollow and cadaverous.

‘Do not be facetious with me, Commander. I have given you life, of a sort, if I take it away now, your second death will be far worse than the first.’

He shrugged, seemingly unconcerned. ‘The darkness took on form, overwhelming us.’

The Grievous One removed her claws from his body, leaving him swaying drunkenly, her skin prickling. Her childhood village had been destroyed by a darkness with teeth and claws. It had flowed through like black water ripping apart the warriors as if they’d been paper dolls. When it dissipated only her and her brothers still lived.

Not long after the Dark Lord found them and made them his own, shaping them as a blacksmith with a fine blade. Was it just a coincidence, or had the Dark Lord orchestrated it all? If the darkness had not come, what life would she be living now? She gouged the walls deeply as they continued their hunt for the Ring, unaware of the dead rising behind them, or the enemy now in their midst.