Talerius, mortal god of Law and Earth rushed down the center-most street of the Golden City; the home and birthplace of the gods.
As he was on his way to an emergency meeting called by his patron; Salaroo, Mortal God of Magic and Earth, he could not take in the sights of the city as he normally did. Even after eight-hundred years of living in the Golden City, the sight of various 'gods' of all races and powers moving to and from the local bars, inns, stores, and homes still gave him a feeling of pride.
He, Talerius, son of a cabbage farmer, smallest of his siblings, and lawyer to the King of Zakora had actually become a God! Granted, he was a mortal god, and not a powerful one for that matter, being only slightly more powerful than a tier 6 monster... But even so, He. Was. Proud!
It'd taken him nearly one-hundred and five years of dedicated service to both his king, and his god, before he caught the attention of Salaroo and become his champion upon his death.
Talerius, of course, was reincarnated and served as the champion of Salaroo for almost five-hundred years. Talerius wore many 'hats' during this time; he was a soldier, a lawyer, a general, and even a king for a few decades, but none of that compared to his ascendance to god-hood and Salaroo bestowing upon him the title of 'Earth God' and, because of his actions during his time as champion, he was given the title of 'God of Law'.
After making his way to the streets end, Talerius climbed the nine large, golden steps to the door of his faction leader's home. It, like most of the buildings in the Golden City, was carved from one extremely large, golden block. The building was several hundred feet tall and just as wide; it was carved into the shape of a stately Manor with pillars lining the front entrance and forty-foot tall double doors carved from obsidian.
The building was heavily warded to only allow faction members inside, and even then only if they were invited.
"Opulent as ever." Talerius thought as he grasped the golden ball situated to the left of the door and used it to knock on the door.
He knocked three times, then folded his arms across his chest to wait... A few minutes later the door opened to reveal a young man in a butler's uniform.
"Hello, Orlus. Is the master home?" Talerius asked politely.
The light-skinned youth slightly nodded his head, then stepped to the side and beckoned Talerius in.
"He's waiting in the dining room, sir. You're the last to arrive." Orlus said neutrally.
Talerius grimaced, "How mad is he?"
Orlus shrugged, "It's not my place to assume the master's state of mind." He said.
Talerius thought he saw a slight smirk flash across on the boys face, but it was gone as fast as it arrived.
"I'll just go join them then, shall I?" Talerius asked, nervously.
"Of course, sir." Orlus nodded his head, then closed the door behind Talerius and led him across the large entryway, under a flight of stairs, and to some obsidian double doors.
Orlus opened the doors and stated, "Master, sir Talerius has arrived."
"Oh, good! Send him in!" A nasally voice replied.
Orlus nodded and stepped aside to allow Talerius to enter, then he shut the door behind him.
Talerius glanced around the room at his twenty compatriots sitting at the large, marble table before finally settling on the man sitting in the master's position.
The man, for he could be nothing else, was extremely short and just barely reaching three-feet in height. His trimmed mustache and beard combo and extravagant silk outfit gave him an air of nobility... In spite of his child-like body.
Talerius bowed low and said, "Greetings, Master. I apologize for being late, but I-"
"Nevermind that, Talerius." Salaroo interrupted, "We have much to discuss and very little time to talk. So please, have a seat."
Talerius acquiesced, pulled the only free chair out and sat down.
"Now," Salaroo began, "As some of you may have noticed, many of our older members have gone missing."
"Missing?" A goddess asked.
"Yes, missing." Salaroo agreed.
"Perhaps they've simply decided to go on vacation? I hear the Lifespring is very nice this time of the millennia." A god suggested.
Salaroo shook his head and grimaced. "If only that were the case." He sighed. "I have received numerous reports from our allies saying that their gods are disappearing, as well."
"So... It's not just us?" Talerius asked mildly.
"No, it certainly isn't."
Before anyone else could speak, the double doors were thrown open as a human-sized dark object slammed into the table; knocking over glasses and spilling wine onto the pure white tablecloth.
"Who dares!-" Salaroo began before he noticed what had slammed into the table... It was a black skeleton in a butler uniform.
"Or...lus?" Salaroo gasped.
"Well, that was boring." A voice said from beyond the doors.
"Amaar!" Salaroo growled as he and the other gods stood to their feet and turned to face the intruder.
"Oh, I'm sorry... Was this yours?" Amaar asked as he grabbed the skeleton's leg and shook it for emphasis.
"You killed him!" A goddess gasped.
"Killed him?" Amaar asked with a tilt of his head. "Yes, I suppose I did." he agreed.
"Why!?" Salaroo demanded, loudly.
"Why not?" Amaar asked; his abyssal black eyes seemed to suck some of the light out of the room as he stared down Salaroo.
"My family gave you these lives so you could monitor and run Yggdrasil while we relaxed... But you haven't done that, have you?" Amaar stated matter of factly.
Suddenly, a pitch black cane appeared in his hand and he leaned on it.
"You lot- you haven't been doing your duties. You've been slacking off and playing power games with your 'siblings', all while Yggdrasil has been spiraling out of control."
"That's not!-" a god began.
"Did I ask for your opinion?" Amaar interrupted and looked the man in the eye.
The god grit his teeth, but reluctantly remained silent.
"I didn't think I had, but it's nice to know I'm not going senile in my old age." Amaar 'smiled', then continued.
"Of course, I'm not laying all of the blame at your feet. All of your 'siblings' will also be punished." Amaar calmly said while smiling.
Suddenly, a young god stood up and marched up to the skeletal man.
"This is bullshit!" The man yelled. "We've done everything the ancients have done and more, and yet you dare accuse us of being lazy!? Who the hell are you to make such a claim!?" The man finished with a growl.
"Me?" Amaar asked while pointing at himself.
"Yes, you!" The man yelled.
"Galdos, sit down!" Salaroo demanded but was waved off.
Amaar bent at his waist to look around Galdos. "No, it's alright Salaroo." Amaar said. "After all, it's a good question."
Amaar waved his free hand through the air causing a black top hat with a white brim to appear in his hand, then he bowed at the waist.
"Amaar is the name and Death is my game!" Amaar said, cheerfully.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Galdos asked.
"It means," Amaar said after standing up straight and pointing the end of his cane at the God's chest.
"That you're my bitch."
The God's eyes widened in surprise as Amaar's cane lightly tapped his chest; Galdos disappeared in a flash of light and a loud boom could be heard in the distance.
Every god in the room turned to the wall behind Salaroo's head and saw a Galdos sized hole in the wall... And blood... A lot of silver blood covered the walls surrounding the hole and was slowly dying the golden walls a bright silver color.
Everyone in the room slowly turned their heads back to face Amaar and saw him propping his chin onto the head of the cane.
"Anyone else need a refresher on just 'Who', I am?" Amaar asked with a grin.
The group almost simultaneously shook their heads in silence.
"Good, I do so hate to repeat myself." Amaar returned to his full height and placed the hat atop his head.
"Anyway, I do have some good news to accompany the bad."
"Such as?" Salaroo asked after a few moments of silence.
"We, my siblings and I, that is, are prepared to give a full pardon to anyone capable of completing a... minor task for us."
"What will you have us do?" Talerius asked with a grimace.
Amaar looked to a nearby goddess and smiled as he walked over to her.
She flinched as he placed his hand on her shoulders and leaned down to whisper in her ear.
"You're good with illusions, yes?" he whispered.
The goddess shakily nodded her head.
"Good, then you can assist me for a moment." he grabbed the top of her head and forced her to look into the air.
"This," he began as the goddess's eyes began to glow and a truly massive serpent appeared in the air above the table.
"Is Torga. He's an Elemental Serpentine Dragon of not inconsiderable power." Amaar finished with a chuckle.
"So?" A god asked.
"So~ he is the newest contender for the title of Serpent King." Amaar smirked as the gods gasped.
"It must be truly powerful if it can challenge Orochi!" Salaroo stated.
"He is." Amaar easily agreed. "Which is why you're going to kill him."
Chatter erupted as the Gods all began to talk amongst themselves.
"Quiet!" Salaroo demanded in a booming voice without a trace of his normally nasally voice to be found.
The room immediately became silent as the chatter died in their throats.
Salaroo took a deep breath and said, "You're sending us to our graves... You know that, right?"
Amaar shook his head and waved a finger at Salaroo.
"Not at all~" Amaar chuckled. "I'm giving you a choice. You can either die here and now, by my hand. Or you can face Torga and possibly live... Either way is fine with me." Amaar cheerfully said.
"Either way is a death sentence..." Talerius noted.
"Not necessarily," Amaar stated. "Despite Torga's strength, he is but one creature. Meanwhile, every mortal god on Yggdrasil is being given this choice."
The gods were silent for several minutes as they all began to think over this 'deal'.
Eventually, they all nodded their head in agreement and stood up.
"Have fun~" Amaar smiled at the gods as they flashed away...
Amaar sat down in Salaroo's chair, propped his feet up on the table, and pulled his hat down over his eyes.
"Now... You'll either succeed and prove me correct or you'll die and be forgotten by history... Either way, I'm sure you'll give me one hell of a show.
Isn't that right, Torga?"