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D o p i n e p h r i n e


Veiled EmpyreaN
Part II
COLOR twisted and churned all around Athlon. He took a moment to take in the awe of
Yggdrasil, watching as vast swirls of color separated and recombined for a million miles in every
direction. It was like seeing a thousand living nebulas in space, one blending seamlessly into
the next, serving as a backdrop for the realm that had no stars. Something about it reminded
Athlon of being beneath the surface of a vast, alien ocean.
Yggdrasil was quiet, but not silent. The ever-changing colors behaved like storms, and Athlon
could hear the distant booming of Yggdrasil’s power as elements collided but did not fuse.
Athlon felt tiny in the realm, but found that it did not frighten him. He began to fly, his
navigation systems pointing him towards the Caliphate’s relative location in Yggdrasil. He
began scanning for any form of life, wondering how a swan could survive in these conditions.
Less than a year ago, the power of Yggdrasil would have torn the Android himself apart in
seconds.
Athena occupied Athlon’s mind. He felt a powerful instinct to protect her and their unborn child,
and only her remarkable spirit and powerful abilities soothed his fear at the current state of war.
He felt love for her as deeply as ever, and longed to return to her side.
After a few hours of exploration and contemplation, a small blip appeared on his scanners.
Disbelief made him recheck his readings even as he found what he was looking for; a
remarkable bird was soaring through Yggdrasil.
As Athlon approached, he sang to the large swan, wondering if it could understand him. It called
back to him, a simple but pretty sound, and then flapped its wings, flying away from the

Android. Athlon gave chase, keeping his distance so as not to spook the majestic bird. He
grinned as he watched the swan fly gracefully ahead of him, an impossible creature amidst the
chaos of Yggdrasil.
Soon, Athlon saw a huge well growing ahead of them. It was stunningly beautiful, swirling with
blue energy that looked like water. Once above it, the swan tucked into a dive, and plunged into
the blue surface of the well. Athlon hurried after it, flying into the pool with wonder and
excitement.
For a moment, Athlon could see nothing. His sensors offered no information, and Athlon
realized he could no longer tell which way was up. He pushed on, trusting his trajectory, and
hoping he would not blindly hit the swan as they sped deeper into the pool.
With no warning, Athlon emerged from the well, coming immediately to a stop. He barely
noticed the swan flying away from him as he looked upwards at the pocket of Yggdrasil he had
emerged into. His jaw fell open as he gazed around at the scene.
Elysians were everywhere. They glided through the air above and below, moving around an
enormous structure. It looked like the trunk of a great tree, with branches that glowed like
energy reaching in every direction, most stretching beyond Athlon’s sight. The tree hummed
and shimmered, and Athlon was transfixed. He stared up at the wondrous view, watching
Elysians move silently and elegantly, phantasmal dancers surrounding the giant tree.
From above, a single Elysian descended towards Athlon, her glowing robes ruffled, as if affected
by her movement. She was a being of pure energy, like the Elysians Athlon had known during
the conflict with Lucifer, but her face was colored with a gentle lavender that extended into
darker hues throughout her headdress. As she grew close, she smiled at Athlon, and he smiled
back, dazed by her indescribable beauty.
<It brings me great pleasure to welcome you, dear Champion, to
The Quintessence.>

Her voice made the Ares Clef tingle, and Athlon shivered as she spoke in his mind. It was
wonderful to hear the voice of an Elysian again.

<I am Ananke. My role here does not have a definition that will
translate to you; crude as the term is, I have been called
Goddess of Elysia by mortals in eras long passed. I am neither a
goddess, nor any longer of Elysia; but if the term helps you
comprehend, you may use it.>

Athlon barely noticed that he was rising with Ananke. They flew to the pinnacle of the great tree,
and Ananke placed one hand against its glowing trunk.
<The Quintessence is the heart of Yggdrasil. It is the greatest
power source ever created, and it maintains the realm built by
the ancient Titans. The branches of Yggdrasil connect all of
time and space through The Quintessence. We were starving after
the fall of Boris, as the rest of the galaxy corrected itself
after the religious wars. Without the chaos of those constant
conflicts, the galaxy contained no source of sustenance powerful
enough to nourish us. In their mercy, the Titans guided us here
during the revision of time following the death of Cronus.
We are not ruled by time the way you are; the Titans’ revisions
granted us a home here beginning with our entrance into
Dopinephrine from Elysia.>

Athlon was pleased to hear this. He had worried about what would become of the Elysians
without religion to feed them.
<Your concern touches me, Athlon. And I would like nothing
than to converse with you for a time, about your story and
nature of our adopted galaxy. But I know why you are here.
in the galaxy above remains in motion; the Norn are close
completing their plan.>

more
the
Time
to

With a furrowed brow, Athlon thought of the shadowy danger he had come here to investigate.
He began to open his mouth to speak, but Ananke placed her hands on the sides of his head,
and stared deeply into his eyes with a gaze that pierced his mind. Athlon could see the galaxy
spinning in her pupils, and he began to feel weak, closing his eyes as a mental transfer began
between himself and the Elysian Goddess.

Ananke could see Athlon’s questions. She opened her knowledge to him, her connection to The
Quintessence giving Athlon the sense of being present as she summoned the events
surrounding the arrival of the Norn. The story unfolded before Athlon like living memories, with
Ananke as his guide, anticipating his questions in order to show him exactly what he needed to
see.
The Norn were not from the Dopinephrine Galaxy. Their original home was long forgotten. They
were nomads, moving from galaxy to galaxy in order to feed on a very specific type of energy.
When wildcrafting was discovered in a particular galaxy, it released a powerful energy signature
that called to the Norn, who fed on the transformed being, now changed into trees.
Using Yggdrasil, the powerful Norn travelled to a ripened galaxy to feed. Cunning and deceitful,
the Norn would establish themselves as sacred prophets, whispering in the ears of the most
powerful leaders of the galaxy. Using their ability to move freely in and out of Yggdrasil, they
travelled through time, altering cultures across millions of years, weaving themselves into the
beliefs of the societies they encountered. Laws of morality would be drafted by the Norn,
restricting the freedom of trillions of people, and sentencing them to death for even the most
innocent offenses.
Rewritten, the history of the galaxy was leeched by the Norn. Convicts were forced to ingest a
wildcrafting seed, and were then quickly consumed by the parasitic witches seen universally as
the ultimate moral authority. Eventually, the galaxy would be hollowed out by war and mass
death, crippling previously prosperous civilizations. The dying galaxy would quickly be
abandoned by the Norn, propelled off to the next galaxy ready for harvest by their immense
collected energy, burning up what was left of the devastated galaxy.
Timeless and immortal, the Norn had destroyed hundreds of galaxies. They were the single
most devastating force in the universe, the three witches responsible for death on a scale no
other entity could claim. Athlon trembled as he thought of the scope of their devastation.
Maya was the only person in the Dopinephrine Galaxy to unlock the secrets of wildcrafting. She
was imprisoned by Zeus before she took an apprentice, before she could pass her knowledge on
to anyone else. The Norn arrived shortly after the Trees of Fate were scattered across the stars,
summoned by the transformation of Maya, Alethar, and their children.

Athlon watched as they searched for their prey, panicked when they discovered only four trees
existed in the galaxy they had just invaded. Incapable of penetrating Maya’s prison, and unable
to locate Alethar, hidden perfectly by the storms of Esadru, the Norn turned to the saplings. They
found the baby Mary growing on a small desert planet, and moved to consume her, unaware
that her grandfather did not wish any harm to befall the innocent children. Zeus had left
Olympic forces to guard Mary and her brother while they grew, and the Norn were intercepted
shortly after their arrival.
The Norn were powerful beings, capable of incredible travel between galaxies, and possessing
supernatural skills of persuasion and deception, but they were physically frail, and ill suited for
combat. The evil witches managed to collect a small sample of Mary’s bark in a protective vial as
Zeus’ forces closed in on them, but they were forced to flee back into Yggdrasil before they could
consume her.
Athlon felt his confidence swell at this. Every dire threat he had faced previously had required
every bit of his strength to defeat. The Norn could be dispatched easily; besides their realm was
not hidden from Athlon. He needed only find the trio and the battle would be over. Olympus
could handle the rest of the Caliphate, and with some skill, diplomacy could end the conflict.
Fearing that planetary shields would simply draw attention to the saplings, Zeus took a rare trip
into the Dopinephrine nebula cluster to confer with the Titans. He asked their help in devising a
natural defensive mechanism to protect the children of Maya. The Titans had no respect for the
ruthless Zeus, but they also wished to see the saplings kept safe. They surprised Zeus by telling
him how to defend against the Norn. The cores of the planets where the saplings resided were
both special; with some alterations, they could be tuned to project fields that would repel the
Norn.
Zeus sent teams of scientists to drill into the planets’ cores. Mary was given protection with an
electromagnetic field that would keep the witches at bay, while simultaneously protecting Mary
from direct assault by ships or technologically advanced weapons. Idyllia’s core was made of
treble matter; Zeus used techniques he had learned while developing the Ares Clef to make the
core project a melody the Norn could not stand. He tuned it further to cause addiction in any

others who came too close, ensuring anyone attempting to attack his grandson would quickly
fall into the trap, placated by the music and losing all interest in harming the young tree.
Foiled by Zeus, the Norn examined Mary’s bark in Yggdrasil. They had brought a large supply of
wildcrafting seeds with them, collected from other galaxies during their travels, but wildcrafting
was galaxy specific. The tiny differences in the elemental signatures between galaxies made
each seed impotent in every galaxy but the one in which it was crafted.
The Norn hoped to analyze Mary’s bark, determine its exact galactic signature, and retro-craft
more seeds using Maya’s recipe. The metamorphosis had altered the signature however, and
the Norn failed to recreate Maya’s process. As Mary grew, she remained connected to her stolen
bark, and discovered her power to see across all of space at will. The Tree of Wisdom had been
granted her ability because the Norn had taken a piece of her with them into Yggdrasil.
Realizing this, the Norn shielded themselves from Mary’s vision, concealing everything they
affected from her.
Lacking enough energy to make the trip to another galaxy, the Norn became desperate.
Starving, they did not have enough power to move along the timelines of all the major
civilizations in Dopinephrine, and therefore could not gain enough influence to consume the
galaxy. Running low on options, they decided to choose a single civilization, and eat away at it
from within, conserving energy until they had collected enough to jump again.
The Norn chose the Byzantine Caliphate for this purpose. Without Dopinephrine seeds however,
influence would gain them nothing. The witches worked on this problem while simultaneously
infiltrating the thriving Caliphate.
Byzantine was at the time the scientific and philosophical center of the galaxy. The greatest
thinkers from across the stars traveled there to share research and collaborate on advancements
on behalf of all people. Olympus profited greatly from the Caliphate’s work, and Byzantine
processes were adopted into many areas of Olympic culture. They were known as the hub of
enlightenment, and were rivaled only militarily by their Olympic neighbors.
The Norn needed to convince the government of Byzantine to accept them as deities in order to
take control. With spells and shows of impressive abilities, they drew the sultan into a state of

fear and submission. Their influence quickly spread throughout the rest of the leadership,
forming a secretive cult dedicated to obeying the Norn, who became the effective leaders of the
Caliphate. With access to Byzantine’s advanced scientific resources, the Norn set about altering
the seeds they had brought with them. There was no way to make them work in the mortal
realm, but Yggdrasil was a different story. With the elements of every galaxy flowing through it,
the Norn succeeded in making their seeds potent so long as they were ingested inside
Yggdrasil.
The next problem facing the Norn was keeping a victim alive inside Yggdrasil long enough for
the transformation to take place. The sultan introduced a new set of moral laws which the rest of
the government quickly passed. The laws dictated everything from how people should behave
to what they should wear. Many freedoms were restricted, and death penalties were handed out
for the smallest infractions. The Norn ordered law enforcement to turn over all criminals to them
for execution. They forced victim after victim to swallow wildcrafting seeds, and then pulled
them into Yggdrasil, trying to feed on them as they transformed. Their bodies twisted into gray,
gnarled collections of branches devoid of leaves as the seeds reacted to their fear and
resistance. Only a willing subject could change into a beautiful tree the way Maya and her family
had.
Within seconds of entering Yggdrasil, the victims were pulverized by the chaotic energy there,
stealing the Norn’s meal before they could feed. Rapidly losing their remaining strength, the
Norn devised a final plan: they would build a realm that would keep victims alive inside
Yggdrasil. Using their advanced knowledge, they commissioned the scientists of Byzantine to
build special panels that could resist Yggdrasil’s power. A chamber was constructed with the
transparent panels on the outside, and a pair of advanced teleportation arches were built using
blueprints drawn up by the Norn. One was concealed in the Byzantine capital, and the other was
installed in the center of what the Norn named The Empyrean.
It was flown into space and abandoned by a military unit unaware of the purpose of their
mission. The Norn appeared once the ship was safely back on Byzantine, and placed their hands
on the chamber, transferring the large room into Yggdrasil in a flash. They moved into the
chamber, its walls no obstacle for them, and then called for convicts to be sent through the
portal, one by one.

The Norn feasted. Victim after victim entered The Empyrean, stunned first by the jolting
experience, and then by the strange twisting colors they could see through the crystal walls. The
Norn gave them each a seed, and licked their cracked lips as the terrified prisoners complied.
Moments later, the arms and legs of the damned twisted in agony as they were forcefully
stretched into unnatural trees. The Norn crowed with joy as they consumed the trees, finally
satiating their fierce hunger.
The Empyrean became the true seat of power of the Byzantine Caliphate. The Norn rarely left
their vile hole, choosing instead to summon the sultan to them when they wished to make
changes to their hijacked empire. When the free thinking people of the Caliphate decided to
study in a more permissive environment, a mass exodus threatened the Norn’s food supply.
Millions were leaving everyday; the witches had to seal them in. A new law was passed, naming
anyone who would leave the Caliphate as an apostate deserving nothing short of death.
As generations passed, the Norn slowly gained the reputation as prophets they were
accustomed too. What normally took a few well planned trips through history took several
thousand years in the Dopinephrine Galaxy as the Norn had to weave their influence in real
time, but the result was the same; the few who knew that the Norn existed were controlled
through fear and a belief in their divinity. The rest were controlled by the social moral code the
Norn passed down to the government for quick passage, designed to go against human nature
and label basic desires as sin. Their role was secure, and it took very little to maintain the status
quo.
Athlon’s emotion forced his consciousness into the forefront of Ananke’s mental transfer. The trip
through events passed shattered, and Athlon found himself back in The Quintessence. As he
gasped for air, Ananke placed her hands on Athlon’s shoulders, speaking soothingly to the
Android. Athlon was horrified by the level of death the Norn had been capable of causing, and
was stunned by the revelation that so many other galaxies existed in the universe.
Ananke gave him time to gather his thoughts, and Athlon calmed down quickly. The truth was
terrifying, but he had to learn more. With a deep breath, he nodded at his hostess, indicating he
was ready to continue. Ananke offered him a sad smile, and returned her hands to his head,
resuming the transfer.

As Athlon was resubmerged in his tour of history, he saw Zeus standing with his brother, Pluto,
in the ancient palace of Olympus. They were discussing their former trading partner Byzantine,
who had severed all diplomatic ties with the kingdom. A few ships full of people had arrived,
fleeing the Caliphate for sanctuary on Olympus, and what they had to say troubled Pluto. They
spoke of being persecuted for wishing to leave Byzantine, and the new code outlawing natural
parts of humanity, like homosexuality and artistic expression. Women had been stripped of
their rights, and were regulated through sexual oppression and domination by their male
counterparts.
The Caliphate had seemingly overnight decided that without a strict, legally enforced moral
code, the people would have no incentive to embrace morality. Those who fled were furious at
the claim, insisting that their educated minds and natural love of humanity was more than
enough to make them respect their fellow man. They did not believe in the new teachings the
sultan insisted everyone must obey in order to behave morally.
These refugees knew that as apostates, and would face execution if captured by the Byzantine
military, which had been turned into an enforcer of the new moral codes of the Caliphate. Pluto
insisted that they be granted asylum on Olympus, and Zeus allowed it reluctantly.
It wasn’t long before Caliphate forces came to Olympus to search for the apostates. Pluto, an
accomplished ambassador, sat with the Caliphate representatives and tried to forge a deal that
would allow the apostates to remain on Olympus, so long as they never returned to the
Caliphate to spread their ‘corruption’. It seemed like the representatives would accept, until they
contacted the sultan for approval. The leader of the Caliphate was furious, and spoke to Pluto
directly, demanding the return of his prisoners so they could be punished in accordance with
Caliphate law. Pluto refused, saying Olympus would not extradite refugees knowing they would
be put to death. The sultan declared war to Olympus’ shock, and shortly after the skies of
Olympus were filled with Byzantine warships.
Pluto continued working on a diplomatic solution, but Zeus was pleased to have the fight. His
own fleet was superior, and he destroyed the Byzantine ships after a short battle. Zeus was ready
to send his forces to claim the Caliphate as new territory for Olympus, but Pluto asked for one
more chance at diplomacy. He knew how many would die in the Caliphate if all out war began.

Zeus had always privately worried that his brother would one day take the throne of Olympus for
himself. He agreed to Pluto’s plan, knowing that his sibling would likely be attacked once on
Byzantine. The conflict could simultaneously rid Zeus of his imagined political foe, and help sell
a war against the Caliphate to the Olympic people.
Pluto flew alone to Byzantine in a small craft, and asked for an audience with the sultan. The
Olympic god pleaded for the lives of the apostates, insisting that it was unnecessary to kill them.
The sultan feared what the Norn would say if he granted Pluto’s request, and invited Pluto to the
portal leading to The Empyrean. He asked Pluto to go through the portal, which he claimed
would take the ambassador to the Byzantine parliament where he could make his case. Pluto
stepped through the portal, finding himself before the Norn.
Pluto refused to ingest the seed offered to him by the Norn, and the witches realized that the
god was much more powerful than a citizen of the Caliphate. Acting quickly, they placed their
hands on Pluto, moving him a few short yards into Yggdrasil. Pluto’s body began dissolving
under the power of the Titan’s realm, but his strength as an Olympian god kept him from dying
immediately. The Norn bound him in chains, securing him beneath The Empyrean, where he
was left exposed to Yggdrasil, a fate the Norn hoped would kill Olympus’ diplomat over time.
The Norn used Pluto’s arrival to further control the people of the Caliphate. They passed stories
to the sultan which described Pluto as a sinister demon of Olympus, sent to attack Byzantine.
They renamed him Hades, using the title of a dark fairytale to describe the Olympian. New
teachings from The Empyrean named Olympus a kingdom of infidels, intent on destroying the
Caliphate’s way of life. Belief in the new threat spread through the Caliphate like wildfire, and
Hades quickly became synonymous with the devil. After a few years, the Norn had a new
incentive to keep the Caliphate locked in obedience; if Hades became displeased, he could rise
from his great slumber, and bring death to the homes of nonbelievers.
Pluto, tortured by the incessant assault of Yggdrasil, had come to welcome death. Before he
could die however, the sudden, widespread faith of the people gave him strength. Like Boris
would eventually discover, the power of religious belief could give supernatural life to a person;
Pluto was sustained by the fear of the Caliphate’s citizens. His flesh was constantly torn and
burned by Yggdrasil, but death could not find him.

Hades eventually went insane, absorbing the energy of Yggdrasil, and gaining incredible
strength. The people’s belief in him only grew as time passed, and soon the Norn saw a new
opportunity. Crafting holy texts, they encouraged the legend of Hades, and introduced a
character as Hades’ opposite. The new holy Trinity, a god with three personas, became a central
part of Caliphate culture. The laws came to be interpreted as divine, a moral code handed down
by God to the people to keep them holy, and to keep Hades placated. Directed towards the
authors of the sacred law, belief in the Byzantine God indirectly gave power to the Norn. They
had become deities to all people in the Caliphate, not just the leaders of government.
As sultans grew old and died, their successors were introduced to the Norn, and made to believe
they were in the presence of the Trinity. The Norn had accomplished total control; anything they
desired was a demand from God, and few dared break the law. Every few years, more restrictive
laws were added by the Norn, making it impossible for everyone to obey completely. An
increasingly fundamental mindset made everyone in the Caliphate enforcers of the law. They
were quick to turn on one another, using God’s teachings to condemn those they perceived as
unholy. The Norn remained well fed, and were slowly building a new reserve of power.
The Norn had quickly put an end to the war with Olympus, seeing no value in sacrificing their
food supply in a pointless conflict. Zeus’ ambition pulled his attention in other directions, and
he decided to leave the Caliphate to their own devices, hoping that over time their unnatural
laws would weaken them, allowing Olympus to one day defeat the crumbling Caliphate with
ease. Olympus policy became to ignore the Caliphate, and by the time Zeus was overthrown for
the first time, the galaxy had forgotten about the former hub of enlightenment. The Elysians,
however, did not.
Aware of the utter destruction the Norn caused to a galaxy as they abandoned it, the Elysians
believed it was up to them to destroy the Norn. Once the parasites had enough power to travel
to a riper galaxy, they would rip a hole through Yggdrasil, destroying Dopinephrine in the
process. The Elysians sent their few warriors out of The Quintessence through the Well of Uror to
slay the trio of witches. It was then the Elysians discovered the cost of their new home; The
Quintessence gave them endless sustenance, but it also changed their physiology. They had
been altered, and could no longer survive in any other realm. The warriors barely made it back
through the well before Yggdrasil could rip them apart like mortals.

The Elysian swans, however, had no such limitation. Long kept by the Elysians as companions,
the swans would occasionally leave The Quintessence to stretch their wings, and explore
Yggdrasil, taking great joy in nothing more than being alive and able to fly. When hungry, they
would find an external source of chaos to feed on before making the trip back to The
Quintessence.
Hades remained in chains beneath The Empyrean, and the feverish belief in his evil by the
Caliphate was an excellent source of chaos. The majestic swans approached The Empyrean,
unaware of the danger of the Norn, and were easily captured by the witches. The Norn
discovered that they could divine the future by reading the entrails of a live swan, imbued with
the energy of The Quintessence. When a swan fell into the trap, it would be gutted by the Norn,
who could then see snapshots of events to come. Seeing the Champions of Dopinephrine, the
Norn knew that the androids were the only beings powerful enough to put an end to the
Empyrean.
Athlon and Athena had to be avoided at all costs. The Norn were approaching the point where
they would have enough energy stored to propel them to another galaxy, and they feared
Athlon and his companions would discover the secrets of the Caliphate in time to stop the
Norn’s exodus from Dopinephrine. When the Champions became entangled in the affairs of
Babylon, the Norn were relieved, only to be rediscovered by Olympus forces searching for their
wayward allies. The Norn devised a stalemate above Byzantine, hoping that they could keep
Olympus and the Indigo Order at bay until the last bit of power could be gathered. The next 100
years were nothing to the timeless Norn, who pushed the latest sultan, husband of Khawla, to
create more and more laws. The Empyrean was constantly in use, as rule breakers were swiftly
condemned by their neighbors and their government, and sent to God for judgement.
When Alethar pushed his fleet past the Caliphate’s borders, the Norn knew that they had lost
their cold war. They were so close to leaving the dreadful Dopinephrine Galaxy; they had to play
for time.
As Alethar prepared to destroy Babylon, the Norn were conferring with the sultan. They told him
that holy warriors were needed to fight the blasphemous infidels of Olympus. Hades was close
to awakening, and submission to God was the only way the people would be safe.

The sultan enlisted young men from Byzantine, telling them that God would grant them great
gifts in return for their sacrifice. They were told that the holiest thing they could offer God was
self sacrifice in the service of killing Olympians. They would go to The Empyrean, be judged as
worthy of eternal life, and receive rewards of concubines and treasure. Soon, a group of fanatical
warriors were prepared to die themselves in order to kill others. As Alethar, Hiratio and Athena
inched towards the Caliphate, the radicals took to the sky in cloaked ships loaded with
explosives. Athlon watched as they slipped past Enison, invisible to his sensors, and made way
for Olympus.
The mental transfer stopped. Athlon grabbed Ananke, pleading with her to tell him what would
happen. Sadness filled her face as she looked at the desperation in Athlon’s eyes.
<The Norn do not abide by the laws of time. Their
become to great. the fate of the galaxy is clouded.
Champion; I cannot see what the future holds. It is
stop the Norn. There is nothing more I can know
happens.>

power has
I am sorry,
up to you to
until it

Athlon hurriedly thanked her before turning and speeding for the Well of Uror. He was worried
about the suicide attack approaching Olympus, but his confidence was high. Athlon grinned at
himself, remembering all of his titles, all of his accomplishments. This threat would fall like
those that came before.
As Athlon dove into the blue pool, Ananke put her hand against the trunk of The Quintessence.
She watched Athlon reemerge into Yggdrasil, speeding for Olympus. He would be there in
moments.
Ananke focused her sight, looking at the Empyrean. The Norn had just completed the murder of
a fresh swan, making Ananke wince at the loss of its innocent life. The witches spoke of Athena’s
pregnancy, knowing that two androids were already a massive threat. A third could ensure the
Norn’s defeat. The distraction approaching Olympus would hold Athlon’s attention for a time;
Athena had to be dealt with now, before the androids were reunited. They discussed their next
move in cracked, unnatural voices, and agreed to unleash their final weapon. The people’s faith
had given God control over Hades; how far did that control go?

From beneath The Empyrean, Hades stirred. The Norn whispered in his thoughts, directing his
attention. His tortured mind had become a dark, bitter shell of its previous intelligence; only
hatred and pain were left. Pluto had long ceased to exist.
With a gleeful command, the Norn ordered Hades to destroy Athena. With a roar, the burning
Olympian was reinvigorated by the permission of the Norn, their unnatural power giving him
strength.
Ananke cried out in fear, shouting Athlon’s name to no avail. The Android could not hear the
Elysian’s warning from outside The Quintessence. No warning would reach the soon-to-be
parents.
The chains that had held Hades snapped, and he stretched his arms, his eyes darting like a wild
animal’s. The need to destroy Athena filled his warped mind.
Perhaps when the android had been torn in two, God would allow him to die.


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