Lucas didn't understand what he was seeing right away. There was a woman, who was holding him close to her chest, humming softly to him. She was shockingly beautiful. Her white-blond hair fell around her shoulders to her mid back. She had pointed ears and bright orange eyes that danced with kindness. Her skin was as dark as night and as smooth as a baby's, glowing with stunning perfection. Lucas had never seen anything more amazing in his life.
She held him with such thoughtfulness, every move she made, to ensure that he was always comfortable. The song she sang to him was slow, in a language he'd never heard before. He wondered why she was holding him. He was sure that he should be feeling unbearable pain after the accident. The car had wrapped around a light post. He and Alexis had been both been crushed. So who was this angel who was singing to him?
"Don't be afraid." The angel said, brushing some of his hair out of his eyes. "You won't feel pain anymore. Not while you're here with me." She promised him.
"Where is here?" Lucas asked. The woman let him up and he looked around him. They were in a room that was decorated in lovely shades of greens and creams. "How did I get here?" Lucas asked her.
"You died, dear." The woman said solemnly. At Lucas's alarmed look she shushed him, pulling him closer into her arms. "Do not fret, little one. I saw what happened to you and your brother. I shouldn't have, I know, it was your time to go into the next life. But..." She looked over towards a fluffy bed where Lucas saw Alexis was resting. "I saw an opportunity that I just couldn't pass up. I have a favor to ask of you, child."
He looked at her hesitantly. "What kind of favor, miss?"
She turned her head towards a window, where the purple sky shinned softly, lightning dancing in the sky. "The world that my beloved created is rotting. He spent so much time and careful planning to make everything perfect, and for a time he loved his creations. They were his second attempt, the first, his first children were twisted, wicked creatures. He had to seal them away. Oh, he was so very happy with the mortal little things he made. But my love is a jealous master. He saw that the other gods took interest in his world. He saw that some of his creations loved these other gods, so he abandoned his children. He withdrew from them, he refuses to help them."
"I don't understand where you're going with this," Lucas said.
"Will you help them?" The woman asked. "I could let you and your brother live again. I could give you powers you could have only dreamed of once upon a time. You could be gods in this world. All I ask is you be the aid that my husband will not give."
"We're really dead then?" Lucas paused for a moment and looked back at his brother, who looked so peaceful in his dreamless sleep. "What would we have to do?"
"Whatever you thought you needed." She told him.
"What kind of powers would you give us?"
"The powers one would expect any god to have." She said. "I will send you to the very beginning, where the rot was just starting to take root, and you may make your mark on the world. You will never die, neither of you will ever have to fear the grip of the afterlife again. You will not age. You will be young and powerful forever."
It was a tempting offer. If he wasn't sure all she really wanted was for him to help her husband's 'children' he would be sure she was a devil, trying to trick him into something. It was hard to believe, and as they say, things that seem too good to be true, usually are. "It won't be easy though, will it?" Lucas smirked at her. She had enough sense to look embarrassed.
She shook her head sadly. "No, no it will not be easy. The hearts of my love's children can be very wicked. Mortal, or otherwise."
"So are you a goddess?" Lucas asked. "It sounds like your husband is a god, won't he be mad that my brother and I kind of just came to take over?"
"Yes, my husband is the god of this world. However, he does not care what his children do any longer. I was the exception. When his children die, he discards them into the fade, damning them to an eternity of misery. He lost the right to be angry about anything that happens in the world he created."
"What about you? What are you?"
"I am but a memory now. Once, I was known as Andraste, but no longer. I will give all of my conscious existence to send you back to the beginning. Hundreds and thousands of years before I was ever even born. Perhaps we may meet again. Now my child, what is your answer?"
He nodded but she was still looking at him expectantly. "Yes, in exchange for becoming the gods of that world, my brother and I will guard her people. We will do as we must, to lend our aid." He looked over at Alexis. "He gets that power to, doesn't he?"
"Yes, he will get power as well." She smiled thankfully at him. "I would also like for you to create a suitable afterlife for the children, the fade is no place for rest. A soul becomes a demon there if left alone too long."
She moved closer and kissed his cheek. Lucas fell into her arms and blacked out.
"Oh my goodness!" He heard someone say from somewhere above him. "Wake up, Lucky."
Lucas snapped his eyes open and saw that Alexis was leaning over him with tears in his eyes. "Shit, what happened?"
"We have horns!" Alexis said. And they did. Alexis's horns were curved and pointed up. They were pitch black, reflecting light like beautiful onyx stones. Lucas reached up and touched his own horns. They twisted down like a ram's, their tips pointing towards his temples. Alexis reached out and touched Lucas's horns. "It's strange, I know what happened, but I don't know how." He chewed his bottom lip.
Lucas noticed the things that were different about his brother. His brown eyes were now a bright yellow with dark slits in the middle, instead of pupils. He also had reddish-brown tattoos over each eye that formed a thin diamond. His ears were long and pointed. Alexis looked adorable, and yet, so very dangerous. Lucas hoped that he looked just as frightening.
"Lucky, I lit a tree on fire." He gestured towards a tree that was scorched. "I just got so scared and..."
"It's alright," Lucas said. He slowly got to his feet, using Alexis as a crutch. He stretched, and he could feel every bone in his body pop. "So, what do we do now?" Lucas wondered to himself.
"Well, that pretty lady said we were gods now...so something...godly?" Alexis shrugged. "I've never been in this position before, I'm not sure how to do this."
"You saw her too?"
"Yeah, she took me by the hand and set me down here. She was very sparse about her explanations." Alexis said.
There was a loud hissing and Lucas covered his head when he heard a voice invade his mind. There was a young woman, sobbing in agony. It was so hard to listen to. 'Oh gods, if any of you listen to this lowly servant, please save my family.'
Lucas looked over and saw that Alexis had a similar response. "What in the heck was that?" Alexis asked, rubbing his temple.
"I think someone was praying to us," Lucas said, looking towards the area where the voice had come from. "Helping others was the only condition she gave us, so...let's go." Lucas took Alexis by the hand and led them up the hill.
Alexis pulled his hand away and looked at Lucas strangely. "Um, we're gods now, we don't have to go walking everywhere."
"Well, what do we do, exactly?"
Alexis hummed and thought deeply. "Just close your eyes and hold my hand," Alexis said. Lucas took his hand and closed his eyes. He could still hear that young woman, but distantly. He felt his being shift and suddenly he was standing knee deep in water. He opened his eyes, just in time to see a yellow light fading away. There was screaming, so much screaming.
They were in a boat and wicked wind pounded against them. Lucas was annoyed by that. He held up his hand and the wind stopped. He looked down and saw a family of six people cowering in a corner. The father pushed them all behind him. They were all bound up in chains, with filthy skin, soaking wet. They were all also elven. "Don't be afraid." He said, holding out his hand. "We heard your cries, and we have come, to save you."
Alexis snapped his fingers and the chains disappeared.
"What manner of spectator art ye?" The man demanded.
Alexis walked closer with his hands cupped together. He opened them and there were three large apples. "I am Alexis, god of peace." He said. Then he looked at Lucas. "This is my older brother Lucas god of...luck?" Alexis turned and looked at Lucas who shrugged and nodded. Alexis looked at the only daughter. "I heard you call to me child, please tell me why you despair."
'All those years of larping are paying off, aren't they, Alexis.' Lucas thought, crossing his arm over his chest.
The young girl, she must have been about thirteen, looked up at her father who nodded slowly. She stepped out from behind him and reached for an apple. She seemed encouraged by how happy Alexis looked when she took it. "The god of our village is a cruel monster. He demands a sacrifice, so our family was sent out on this boat. We were meant to die."
"The beast will trouble you no longer," Lucas said. "Take this boat and go west, find a new land, and a new home."
"Thank you, my lord," The man said, bowing his head. "But what are we to eat?"
"You will eat fish, and every week, bread will rain from the sky for your family," Lucas said. "Now, begone from here."
Lucas was wondering in the Fade. Andraste hadn't been kidding when she said it was a dumping ground. It seemed everywhere he turned, he could hear the tortured screams of a mortal soul. Eventually, Lucas stood before the spirit of an elven man, who seemed unconcerned by the happenings around him. "Excuse me..."Lucas walked up to him. The man was sitting behind a desk, very occupied with his work. He looked up, irritation clear on his old face.
"Do you mind? I'm busy." He spat. "Go spend your sorrowful eternity somewhere else."
"What are you working on?" Lucas asked, pulling up a chair, and sitting down.
The elf frowned, looking down at his paper. There was blood splattered all over it. "I...I do not remember." His eyes widened as he looked at Lucas. "Fan'an was supposed to bring me my tea, but he'd already been killed. One of the unholy nine was coming for me. Yes...yes...I remember now...Alduin was there to slay me. Now I am here." He put his paper down. "Forever."
"I'm sorry that happened to you," Lucas said, truly meaning it. "However, I think I might have a way for us to fix a similar problem we have." He gestured with his hand to the nonsensical goings on of the Fade. "This cannot be a happy place to live."
"No, it is agony."
Lucas hummed and snapped his fingers. The man's desk became part of an office with a roaring fire. The man seemed...so relieved to feel the warmth on his skin. "Whenever someone dies, you will receive the records of their lives. To the good, you will give them the choice to be reborn or to move onto the next life. For the wicked, you will judge them. If you believe they could have been good, send them to be reborn, if you believe their hearts were always filled with evil, send them out into the Fade. Rebirth is the door on the right, the afterlife, to your left."
"That's a lot of work." The elf said with a frown. "Many die every hour, how am I to handle it all myself? Am I to work tirelessly for all of eternity?"
"No, you've got a point," Lucas said with a wave of his hand. He extended the office to accommodate a hundred people. "Where I hailed from, it was a common belief that those who ended their own lives served others in the next world forever. I won't do that to them. They will serve one hundred times the years they had left in their lives, then they may move on to be reborn. You will also allow them one year of vacation every fifty years. You yourself will do the same."
"What would we do on 'vacation?'" The elf asked.
Lucas thought. "See what the next world has to offer."
"Very well." The elf said, bowing his head. "What may I call you, my lord?"
"I am Lucas, god of luck." Lucas bowed his head.
The door opened, and a very young boy walked in. Lucas frowned sadly. "Your first client has arrived, I know you'll do me proud."
"Yes, Lord Lucas."
"Whatcha thinkin' about?" Alexis asked, hanging off of a tree branch by his legs, swinging back and forth.
They'd been in that strange world for just two days. But Lucas had noticed many strange things that didn't make any sense to him. "Have you noticed there's no sun or moon in the sky? Or stars?" Lucas asked. "Have you noticed that the sky is purple?
"Uh yeah, weird place, right?" Alexis said. "Do you think we could...make the sun and moon?" Alexis asked.
"Yeah," Lucas said, chewing on his bottom lip. "I want to make the moon." He looked at the palm of his hand. He reached down and grabbed a white rock from the ground, turning it over in his hands. "You should make the sun."
Alexis jumped from the tree and looked around on the ground until he found a red stone. "So how do we do this, exactly?"
"I don't have a damn clue." Lucas sucked in a deep breath and pressed his lips against the stone before he threw it into the air. He watched in amazement as it flew, slowly becoming the familiar shape of a moon, and settling into the sky. The world was plunged into darkness, with only the small light to guide, so he reached down and collected a handful of sand and dirt. He threw that into the air as well, smiling when they became the beautiful, glittering stars, that were so familiar to him.
"Oh come on!" Alexis said, throwing his arms into the air. "That's just ridiculous, there's gotta be a limit to our power," he said.
"Maybe," Lucas said. "Are you going to make the sun yet?"
"Not for 12 hours," he said. "Night and day, you know." He looked over the red rock with deep concentration. "We have to really make sure to do this right. We can't afford to mess up, everything we do affects the entire population on this planet."
"Right, right, I'll make sure to remember that," Lucas pulled his brother in for a quick hug. "But you have to admit, this is really fun."
"It is a lot of fun." Alexis giggled. He looked up at the sky and sighed. "You should make constellations. It just doesn't feel right without a few."
"Someone will change the name anyways, but...maybe just one." Lucas reached out and used his pointer finger to make a shape of an apple. "I think we need to get a theme going if we want anyone to take us seriously."
"And...apples are the theme?" Alexis asked with a raised eyebrow.
"You gave those apples to that family. It's a sign of hope, of peace, of good fortune." Lucas nodded. "So they seem just as good as anything, in my humble opinion."
"I guess that does make a lot of sense."
Fifty years passed them by and neither of them had aged a day. Lucas still looked like he was twenty-one and Alexis still looked like he was nineteen. They had built themselves a comfortable little home in a deep mountain, overlooking a village filled with their most devoted followers. These followers were made up of all kinds of strange people, but it was appreciated, none the less. Being worshiped was hard for both of the brothers to get used to, but they managed, taking care of the needs of those that depended on them.
Every day, more and more people prayed for their help. The two new gods would travel wherever they were called if the need was great enough. People would burn yellow apples for them as offerings, and the brothers would find them in their home, steaming, sometimes with honey or cinnamon. But along with the good came the bad. It was 51 years after someone had dedicated their first temple to them that a jealous elven deity came prowling into their sanctuary. Lucas stepped up to fight her, wanting to protect his younger brother.
The deity was called Daern'thal. Lucas could tell, just by looking at her, that she was no goddess. She was powerful, oh so very powerful, but not a god. "Who do you think you are, you had no right to make your home in this world, baby god." She snarled at him.
"I have to quarrel with you, leave us be, and I will not harm you," Lucas said coldly. He pushed Alexis behind him, showing a strong face.
She threw her head back and laughed at him. It was an ugly laugh full of vile intentions. "I am the elven goddess of death." She snarled at him. "You're just as arrogant as the others, now, let me show you what real power is."
She raised her hands to the sky and called down powerful magic. She gathered it in her palms and threw it towards Lucas, who dodged, but not quick enough. He let out a shout of pain, as it grazed his side. He grabbed his midsection, trying to push the foul magic out of his body. He wouldn't die, he knew that, but fuck did he wish he could in that moment. Never in all his years had he felt so much pain.
Alexis screamed and rushed at her. He grabbed her by the neck, his hands heating up, becoming a glowing white. She was screaming, Alexis was screaming, Lucas was crying against a tree. Alexis pulled away from her. Her neck had burns that were in the shape of Alexis's hands. "You are no match for a real god, faker!" Alexis screamed at her, with balled hands. "Now leave us be, or I will show you the power of the being who created the sun!" He screamed.
Daern'thal clutched at her throat, wide-eyed, frightened. "Wh-what have you done to me?"
"I've taken your power from your body," Alexis said. He opened his hands and in them laid a purple gemstone. He threw it at her. "You may use it, but it will never be truly yours again, it is mine and should you trouble me again, I will take your powers away forever. Now be gone from this place, and never return."
When she was gone, Alexis rushed over to Lucas, helping him sit up easier. The younger brother lifted Lucas's shirt and hissed at the long lines that were left on his tanned flesh. "You won't die," Alexis said. "The beautiful woman promised."
"I know I won't," he groaned in pain. He laid his hand on his wound and closed his eyes. He could numb the pain and stop the bleeding, but the scars would be there forever. "Hurts like hell though."
"Let me help you up," Alexis said. He couldn't help but fuss over his older brother. He hadn't seen him injured in such a long time. Almost an entire lifetime had passed and during all of that, and they hadn't had a single battle. "That woman...we should be careful with her."
"That we should," Lucas leaned against Alexis, groaning loudly in pain. He looked down at his younger brother with a sly grin. "But after a display like that, I don't think she'll be coming around to bother us again."
"I hope you're right, brother."