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Theros Beyond Death: Chapter 4

28. 2. 2020

What sacrifices are you willing to make, when the fate of whole world it is in stake? And what precautions and acts are you willing to take? Ask Klothys, the God of Destiny - a keeper, a watcher, a fate-shaper.

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CHAPTER IV: Klothys

 

Theros, distant past

The sea was rumbling and lightnings criscrossed the skies. From far away, the booms of a volcano erupting were shaking the ground. On the horizon, two glowing figures finally forced a giant creature on its knees. Its dreadful roar coming from two gaping maws, resembling bottomless craters into the very night, one in its face, second on its torso, set free several medium-sized avalanches. But the chains binding it, forged by Purphoros himself, were holding fast. Both grasping hands and roaring maws were powerless.

 

Klothys, the God of Destiny, grimly nodded. The second to last Titan, Kroxa, was neutralized. Now the last one remained. She looked at her twin brother. Kruphix’s expression was, as usual, unreadable (that, considering he had no face, wasn’t so strange). But never mind. The god of destiny and the god of horizons shared the same gift – to be able to glimpse the future and know the consequences of acts of her and others, no matter they liked it.

 

Thousands of mortals will die, her brother’s voice reverberated in her mind, but if we do not act, the whole world will perish, and the gods with it.

 

Klothys’s mouth tensed. She knew he was right. She raised her spindle-staff to signal the others.

 

Brace yourself.

The ocean boiled and exploded. Uro, the Titan of Nature’s Wrath, emerged from the deeps. His face was a monstrous hybrid of a triton, deep-sea fish and an old man with humongous beard made from kelp threads as thick as ship’s masts. Uro opened his mouth and the air itself started shaking by deep rumbling, for mortals at the very limits of hearing perception.  The sea reacted and raced from him in concentric circles. Schools of tritons in the deeps scattered, as if hit by an invisible hammer. The mortals on distant coasts gripped their heads, their ears bleeding, their minds confused by half-unheardable dark noise commanding them to throw themselves to the sea, into the hungry, ever-rising tidal waves racing towards them.

 

The sea erupted with tendrils of water and latched onto the Titan’s body. Thassa, the God of the Sea, raised her bident. Below the Titan’s feet, monstrous krakens emerged and attempted to grasp its feet with their giant claws, but it was like a bunch of crabs trying to harm a Rageblood minotaur. Uro roared again, angered by the vermin’s attack, and swiped with one of his several arms as to crush them. But at that very moment, a blinding light lanced across his face. Heliod, wielding his sun spear, yelled triumphantly. Uro staggered, momentarily blinded and confused. Klothys raised her spindle-staff and thumped the earth.

Now.


The fabric of the world parted right below Uro’s feet, in the hooked shape of the staff of Athreos, the Underworld warden and psychopomp. As soon as the rip was wide enough, a black star-streaked tentacle emerged. No, not a tentacle. The tip of the Mastix, Erebos’s personal godly whip-weapon. It stretched further and thickened. It wrapped itself around Uro’s neck…once, twice, thrice. And then, slowly but inexorably, started to pull the Titan down, lower, and even lower, until the very last remnats of kelp-and-rock-crusted legs vanished into the gate to the Underworld. The rupture closed and the whole Theros sighed in relief.

„It’s over! We won!“ the hot-blooded Heliod did not hide his enthusiasm. Even the ever-aloof Thassa cracked a mild smile.

The goddess of destiny smiled sadly. If only it were so simple.

 
***


Theros, Underworld, distant past

The gods of Theros gathered close to the very heart of Erebos’s realm, a place so deep hidden in the Underworld that it had no name, until now. They were all around. The Sun God Heliod. The Sea God Thassa. The gods of the forge and hunt, Purphoros and Nylea. Erebos, the ruler of the Underworld and his recently arisen companion Athreos, the warden of the passage between Theros and the Realm of the Dead. And finally the two oldest ones, the Twins of Fate – Kruphix and Klothys.

Erebos, his head horned, his face ashen and his attire black as night, stepped forward.

As you wished, sisted, your will was done. The Titans are imprisoned in the Nameless Pit, the access firmly secured by Purphoros’s chains and locks. But I have some worries. Even the godly artifacts cannot hold the Titans forever. Not without…permanent godly supervision.

So where is the problem? asked Heliod. We are in the Underworld! Everything here is Erebos’s responsibility. Let Erebos guard them!

I am afraid you do not understand, brother. Erebos did not even made the slightest effort to hide his eternal animosity to the Sun God. The one who would remain would not be able to leave this place.

Heliod muttered something about a win-win situation, but he was silenced by the grave voice of the god of horizons.

 

One of us must remain here. His or her godly essence will be bound to this place and ensure the tightness of the prison. But he or she will be unable to leave from here – to Theros, Nyx, anywhere. No way to govern his or her domain. The faithful would not see him or her and the belief will be kept only by a handful of truly devoted, hidden from the eyes of both gods and mortals.

The gods exchanged glances. Not being able to manifest to the devoted, to give blessings and gifts? Unimaginable! That means relinquishing one’s power. Which one will bear the task? Would they draw straws? Fight? Some opened their mouths, but before anyone, Klothys spoke.

 „It would be me.“

Kruphix let his four starry arms down and slowly turned to his sister. He knew this moment will come, but it did not diminish his grief in the slightest.

„The sun may set. The forge be extinguished. The hunt can end and the sea evaporate. The Lord of the Dead must steward the whole realm to keep the world in balance. But Destiny will be always here. Unless the very time stops, the mortals will ever be going somewhere forward. I can be almost forgotten, but never entirely, if there is still another grain of sand to follow another in the hourglass of existence.

The gods exchanged glances again. Then Nylea as the first one kneeled and bowed her hand in a solemn gesture of respect. Thassa followed, then Athreos, Erebos and Purphoros. Heliod looked around until he met Kruphix’s indecipherable gaze. Then he kneeled as well.

 „Now, leave,“ said Klothys. „Just you, brother. Stay here.“

The gods dissipated into starry swirls, one after another. Only the two Underworld gods melded with the shadows

Kruphix approached his sister and took her hands into his.

Brother, you know there is no other option. Now it will be your task to oversee the destiny of Theros. You wield the same power as me, don’t be afraid to use it. And everytime keep in mind that without the mortals, we are nothing.

Kruphix did not say a word, just bowed his head. He knew what had to come.

Klothys sat down and brought her spindle-staff to the ground. Ribbons of white fabric streaked from the staff and enveloped Kruphix’s body. Then, a flash of light.

 

***

 

Theros, the edge of the Great Sea, distant past

Kruphix, the God of Horizons, opened his eyes. He was in the Temple of Mystery, his dwelling on the edge of the Great Sea. His mind was strangely fogged, with a strange shadow, just like a remnant of knowledge recently lost, an empty imprint. But there was nothing on Theros that the God of Horizons did not know.

And what the God of Horizons did not know, nobody on Theros did.

 

***

 

Theros, over millenia

Years passed. Decades, centuries. Grain after grain of sand, day by day, Klothys, the forgotten God of Destiny, held her unending watch by the Titans‘ prison.

 

What she had not said to anyone – not even her poor brother – she was not so powerless as it might seem from her words on the fateful day.  Despiry seemingly blind, she saw everything that happened on Theros. The emergence of other gods – the graceful Karametra, the twins Iroas and Mogis, both so similar and yet wholly different to her and Kruphix, the storm-lord Keranos, Pharika both venomous and curing, Ephara the wise.  Founding of Akros, Meletis, Setessa. Despite seemingly imprisoned, she was able from time to time to contact mortals and made them into her agents.  But she meticulously kept the awareness of her hidden – but it was her who sent the trio of gifted prophets through signs to Athreos’s temple, to become the Triad of Fates. It was her who made a young man named Kynaios go to the olive orchard near Meletis, at that time suffering under Agnomakhos the Cruel and his leonin tyrannical rule,  where his eyes rested for the first time on a young soldier named Tiro, practising here with a bronze sword.  Who set the sea conch to the stony road, right under feet of a seacoast village girl running there one morning. She picked it up, brought her to her ear, and the call of the sea never left her soul again. Who helped a very daring mortal named Phenax to escape the Underworld…

 

On the other, hands, there were moments when her limited might was not enough – particularly when the other gods themselves were involved. She saw the philosphers in Meletis unknowingly starting the grudge between Heliod and Purphoros by their musings about the nature of light and fire, a grudge that cost many mortal lives. She saw Heliod destroying in pride and vengeance the polis Olantin, where the mortals dared to doubt the belief in gods and therefore commited (in Heliod’s eyes) the gravest crime. And many others.

But she remained calm. Destiny brings both things good and bad, and a loss for someone is more often then not a gain for other.

 

The first time Klothys got unsettled was when Purphoros forged the Sword of Chaos.  Gods clashing was onw thing, but this time, the very fabric and nature of the Nyx was disrupted. And that was also the first time she noticed the person. She appeared seemingly from nowhere and took the sword away in the ensued confusion.  The knowledge of other world was a secret of hers and her brother, never shared with other gods. The girl was from elsewhere, but Klothys felt that her destiny is so strongly intertwined from the fate of whole Theros like for very few others.

 

And so she watched. Her return to Theros as a grown woman. The clash of gods. Her brother, with good intentions, to impose the Silence, just to pave the way for something even worse. The upstart satyr who attempted to seize her empty place in the pantheon, and poor Elspeth’s quest to stop him. Unsure of her own fate, torn by doubts, the woman became a toy in the hands of unscrupulous gods – Heliod, Erebos, Phenax. Xenagos did fall in the end, but Heliod, his hubris growing every moment, personally sent her to the Underworld out of petty vengeance and pride.  Erebos in turn took the opportunity to take revenge on him and  released his foremost prophet back to life, but not at all in the way he promised.

 

***

 

Theros, Underworld, almost present

Klothys sat by the Titans’s prison, her eyes fluttering under her blindfold.

When the gods of Theros started behaving like small children? She thought.

 

It was just a couple of days since Heliod managed, at great effort and personal cost, to revive his foremost prophet Daxos and create a new demigod. Klothys would not care much, but his subsequent words chilled her to the bone. The proverbial cuts from the Sword of Chaos were still present here, threatening to rip open and tear – and the ensuing chaos could consume the whole Theros. When other gods learned about Daxos and his mission, they did not hesitate. It was easier for them, though – their simply reached to Nyx, where their champions of yore rested eternally as constellations.  Thassa chose the legendary marine Callaphe, Nylea the great Setessan hunter Renata. Purphoros chose Anax, the brave once-king of Akros, who survived the grievous wounds from fighting Rhordon the Rageblood, but lost his will to live when he learned he lost his wife Cymede to Keranos. Erebos just imbued by Nyx his faithful servant and supplier, the Returned tyrant Tymaret, the Murder King. All across Theros, armies of mortals mobilized to fight god-against-god wars.

And to top it all, even the Underworld grew restless. Elspeth, dwelling in Ilysium, suffered from nigthmares that even Klothys could not explain. From one of them, she materialized a shadowy reflection of Heliod’s Khrusor, and set from Ilysium, cutting her path through the horrors of the Underworld, determined to leave the Underworld and even Theros.

And Heliod’s plans, clearer every minute, could cost Theros its entire existence.

 

***

 

Klothys’s eyes moved fast to and fro. It was like the cuts of the sword partially blinded her as well. She no more saw where the threads of fate stretched and ended. Just feelings remained. The God of Destiny, for the first time in aeons uncounted, was uncertain. And uncertainty was her utmost antithesis. So the main feeling that remained, was … fury.

The Sword of Chaos no more existed. Only the woman remained. She had to be the key. She must stop her and bring her to herself. Then she will see what to do next.

Klothys set out to mend the destiny of Theros, her fury guiding every stitch.

She reached deep into herself. In the furthermost corners of her existence, she was hiding the essences of her most faithful from days long past. Yes, here it is.

She concentrated. With a slight groan, a thin stream of Nyx essence left her body, swirled and coalesced into a rough shape of a human figure, at its core glowing the eidolon of one of Klothys’s most ardent devotees, from times before the Binding of the Titans. Then it solidified even more  - into a male figure, clad in green silk and gold, youthful face wreathed with beard.

Now, the last part. Until now, it was a construct, a hollow magical shell. It was necessary to give him purpose and therefore a sentient existence.

Rise, my servant. The Destiny’s Hand.  Go and find the woman. Bring her to me. Nothing and nobody will stand in your way.

 

***

 

Calix raised his head and looked in his goddess’s face.

Without a word, and with just the slightest bow, he set forward.

 



to CHAPTER III: Heliod

 
to CHAPTER V: Elspeth

 

This fan-fictionis unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

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