" . . . It's dark."
" . . . Can't really smell anything either."
" . . . I think we're lost."
"William, it's times like these I really wish you talked more."
Jare grabbed hold of Anhel's angry body as he tried to rush toward William's voice.
"Anhel, I know you're frustrated, but don't take it out of William's voice." Jare's voice pleaded.
He listened to Anhel's head turn, presumably toward Jare's voice, "Well then big bro, let me take my anger out on you!" Jare winced as Anhel kicked his kidney.
He released Anhel and rubbed his sore side, "Calm down little brother . . ."
"Calm down? CALM DOWN?" Anhel shrieked, "I HATE BEING IN THE DARK."
When the beast-man trio had finished their nap on the stairs, they had made their way down to the 21st floor, the start of the last five floors. There hadn't been anything out of the ordinary at the entry room, so they entered the tunnel darkness.
Unfortunately, the darkness had continued until the trio realized that they couldn't retrace their scent. Somehow, the darkness had a magical sense in it, so much so that it interfered with their noses. It gave the effect that the darkness was alive and all-encompassing.
Also, none of the three had figured to bring torches, as every other floor has torchlight on the wall.
Anhel's tantrum began to get worse as he moved away from Jare. Even if he couldn't see him, Jare could hear Anhel's shivering; his hands rubbing his opposite arms in an effort to keep calm.
"Anhel, I know you have a hard time with the dark, but you need to stay with us." Jare took careful steps toward his youngest brother. Anhel growled at him, but accepted Jare's hug when his brother reached him.
"You aren't there anymore." Jare whispered, "You're safe with us; they can't get to you anymore."
Anhel whimpered, and Jare felt hair receding from Anhel's hands.
"When did he start to change?" Jare wondered privately.
"Danger!" William warned suddenly from somewhere in front of them. Jare heard the sound of sword striking something hard, and then he heard the panting.
Keeping his arm around Anhel, Jare removed his hammer with one hand and wielded it. He grimaced at the weight, because his hammer was meant to be used with two hands.
He heard the growl and reacted reflexively, swinging his hammer out as he turned his body. The hammer sung through the air and came into contact with something; sending it flying into the wall. Whatever it was yelped and stopped making noise, but Jare sensed it had merely fled.
Unfortunately, he didn't hear the other one.
A large, furry form slammed into his body, sending it, Jare and Anhel sprawling into the dirt.
Anhel, startled by the loss of comfort, roared out and beasted-out, according to Jare's ears. Jare landed awkwardly, his arm crushed by the hammer that had fallen with him. He growled in anger as he felt the bruising begin, and he struggled to get up while Anhel and the beast fought.
By the time he got up, the beast had fled, an enraged Anhel on its tail.
"Anhel, come back!" Jare cried out, but Anhel was to far gone to hear him.
A moment later, William's hand grabbed Jare and helped him up.
"Sorry, knocked down." William apologized.
Jare waved him off, "Its okay William, they got me too. We need to find Anhel quickly."
"Not slime." William observed.
Jare nodded, forgetting William couldn't see him, "Yeah, I think we found where the worgs disappeared to. I just hope Anhel isn't trying to fight both of them."
"Children, children it is time to come back in." A sister called from the doorway. Outside, kids were playing around the field and trees. Upon hearing her voice, however, they quickly gather together and followed her obediently into the building. She led them back to their classroom, where another sister stood waiting.
"Did everyone have fun playing outside?" the sister asked them.
"Yes Sister Polly." they chorused to her.
Sister Polly smiled, "Good. Follow me inside then, we need to conclude today's lesson." She led the children into the classroom.
She waited until they had all taken their seats before speaking again, "Now, let's go over what I taught you before playtime." her eyes scanned the room, "Josh, why don't you remind the class."
A small, dark-haired boy stood up nervously, "Um, you told us about the gods and demons. There are, ah, three heavens where the gods live and nine hells where the demons live."
Sister Polly nodded, "Good job remembering Josh. Yes, there are three heavens and nine hells in this world. Each heaven and hell exists in its own dimension and normally only the spirits of the dead can travel from our world to theirs."
She chanted softly, and blue light flowed form her hands, forming three triangles and 9 small circles.
"Let's talk about the hells first," Polly began, "Demons are creatures formed from the evil of man and the other races. The gods teach us that demons love to corrupt innocence and despise good feelings like happiness and purity. There are three major types of demons: monster, sin, and lord."
She wiggled her fingers, forming a dog-like beast, a mean looking brute demon, and a demon clad in armor, "Monster demons are their animals; this is a hellhound, on of the many types that exist. Sin demons are formed after a punished soul rejects the gods, becoming a demon that embodies whatever sin they are guilty of. Finally, lord demons are the original demons."
"What's original?" One of the little girls called out in question.
"Original means the first," Sister Polly explained, "These demons were never human and are the counterparts to the angels and god of heaven. They have different ranks, like in the army, depending on how strong they are. They can also include the other two types of demons if a monster or sin chooses to grow in strength."
"Do they have red hair? Are red-haired things demons?" A fat boy called out from the back.
Sister Polly frowned, "No James, demons have all types of hair color; including brown." James sulked as he patted his brown hair.
"As I was saying," she continued, "Each hell has a different leader and set of rules to follow; one is ruled only by monster demons for instance. Another is the home of the sin demons. Each hell is fighting with the others to become the ruling hell, which keeps them from working together."
A small boy raised his hand, "Do the gods work together then?"
Sister Polly smiled, "That's a good question Alfred. Yes, the gods work together when it comes to the denizens of hell, but they also compete with each other to gather followers, like all of you. That means each one of you is important to the all powerful gods."
She winked at them, causing the class to giggle.
"The three heavens are each ruled by a different pantheon; The Chaotic Pantheon, The Neutral Pantheon, and The Lawful Pantheon. Each one has different rules and ways of thinking when it comes to living a good life."
"Who do we follow?" another little girl asked.
"We follow the Lawful Pantheon Annabelle," Sister Polly informed her, "The major gods and goddesses are Duren of the Plains, Yore of the Forest, Francis of the Stone, Leo of the Sea, Volcana of the Fire, Ingress of the Darkness, and Rile of the Light. The neutral gods are Equinox of Seasons, Jura of Judgement, Kira of Law, Turan of Duty, Dietre of Truth, and Hegrim of the Home."
She grimaced now, "The chaotic gods are Gorax of Conquest, Temptra of Desire, Colgram of Vengence, Normid of Survival, Ulus of Wealth, and Eatrus of Death."
Josh held his hand up, "Are the chaotic gods evil?"
Polly shook her head, "No, the only evil beings are demons. However, the chaotic gods are the closest in relation to demons, which is why we don't normally pray to them. However, they are still important to our lives."
"For instance," She pointed out the window, "Cogram is often invoked with Jura, Kira, or Turan when seeking out one's enemy. Ingress and Eatrus were actually once married, which is what led to the birth of necromancy. Temptra has often worked with Hegrim to form families. Frnacis and Leo are both known to work with Ulus. The workings of the gods are both productive and harmful, depending on whom you call for."
"Temptra is the red-haired goddess right?" James called out again.
"Well she does but . . ." Sister Polly began.
"Fiona is a chaos worshipper! She's a bad person!" James cried out, pointing at the little girl who was trying to hide in the corner. As everyone began to scream and point, with Sister Polly trying to calm them, the world shifted abruptly.
Fiona woke up in a bad mood, her hand wrapped around her sword.
"Dammit, that dream again . . ." She muttered angrily.
Tada, something you guys did not expect (waggles eyebrows)