The Guardians have stood sentry at the gates allowing access to The Stones for centuries. They towered above all Gemin who walked Firma for as far back as anyone could ever remember. In fact, there was a point that someone’s life event didn’t involve a Guardian in or around or about in some sort of fashion. That was until the reign of King Apep. He had destroyed all that was worthy and kind, such as The Guardians, with his sorcery and black magic. The Guardians then became extinct on the twin planets except for the two that guard The Stones deep within the mountain. There, in the golden hall, they have stood silent since the moons first appeared over the horizon.
The handful of Yerad that had been kept inside the mountain were lazily going about their duties. Their sole purpose was to light the Chamber of The Stones and to light the way to and from Castle Castora through the private underground labyrinth built by King NeVada. They, too, had a sense of security within Mount Idres. If not for the Yerad, the path to enlightenment would be dark and ominous.
The Khepra were hungry. The thousands of scarabs clinging to the stone walls of the monumental cavern were forever in search of sustenance. There was a time that sacrifices would sate their appetite, but the days of sacrificial slaughters were terminated with the reign of Heka – The King of Enlightenment. His intention was to turn the land to peace and prosperity. The Khepra, who feed on the flesh of Gemin, were the ones who would lose out in this adjustment. So they turned to cannibalism. The weakest of the scarabs would become fuel for the strong.
The Shroud, in its ever-state of consciousness, does not rest. The mist churns and convulses as one continuous element, but it too needs to feed. The sacrifices to The Stones and to Mount Idres were an essential composition that fed all of those from the lesser Khepra, to the FEER far, far below and to The Shroud acting as buffer between the two. The Khepra would feed on the blood, The Shroud would feed on the meat, and the FEER would devour the bones. It was a symphony of nourishment.
And now, the three components of Mount Idres have gone hungry. The days of devotion have subsided in favor of a world of peace and spirituality. Heka ended what Sokara had begun. The blood lust still echoes in the deepest niches of the mountain. The hunger is fat from desperately wanting, but the perseverance is stronger. The stale air in the mountain has become odd, the smell is of promise. Not because of the arrival of The Prophet, but because of the omination that Sokara is about to rise.
The Khepra began with the rumor and ran with it. All Khepra are connected spiritually. The Khepra within the bones of Sokara have called home. The Khepra within the mountain were only too glad to answer. Their excitement could not be contained. Before too long, the entire mountain was ecstatic at the return of not only their Queen, but their reason for life. Everyone, that is, except for the thirteen kings that stood embedded in the stone wall in the middle of Mount Idres.
Of the thirteen kings cursed to subsist within the stone walls of the Chamber of Stones in the heart of the mountain, Apep – The King Who Slithers – and the eleventh king in succession, was the first to speak out about Sokara’s escape and possible return to Gijar,
“I see no issue with the return of our Grand Dame returning to her point of origin. This is where Queen Sokara had ruled, and certainly, after the turn of two thousand moons, she has served her penance for her malfeasance.”
“Malfeasance, indeed!” interrupted Heku – the King of Protection – and the second king to all of Gemin, “If only her crimes against the Gemin could be labeled as simply as a ‘malfeasance’. The stain she has placed on our Royal reputation is beyond measure. Words of forgiveness and regret will not resurrect the thousands she had slain all to fulfill an appetite and to curb a craving.”
Apep answered, “Certainly, the stain has now achromatized, Heku,”
It was Hotep, The King of Peace, who spoke up, “May I suggest we send an envoy to Terra to assess any damages thus far? If there has been no contamination, then we might be able to secure an amicable, and bloodless, return to Gijar under the strictest of circumstances.”
King NeVada was the king who had the most to lose with the proposed return of his less-than-beloved wife to the planet he was cursed to dwell for all time. “We find her, we construct a stronger asylum, and we leave her there to rot. She will never breathe Gijarian air in my extended lifetime.”
The mountain became quiet. King NeVada’s words were usually the period at the end of every sentence. Even though the King of Kings was made of the very same stone as the other twelve former kings, the respect he demanded from them was made of a different ingredient. Love for their first father was far more robust and rugged than crag and mineral could ever be.
The complete silence in the mountain remained for a time, until the voice of Thadio spoke aloud, “It is my opinion that Gijar should remain forever blissful, if I may speak out of turn,”
“You no longer speak out of turn, Thadio. You are an important component of our sacred body. Your words bear as much weight as ours,” relayed Heka, Thadio’s father.
“Then I will continue, Father,” said Thadio, still aloud instead of telepathically, “The star that currently houses Sokara is no longer the abandoned world of your age. The population among the humans has grown exponentially in my reign. Earth, as they now claim it, harbors machinery in its heavens travelling at fleeting speeds so they may communicate with one another no matter what part of the globe they’re on. They may fly as we do, although not without the assistance of more machinery. Their food can now be broiled without the assistance of fire, and precious moments can be forever amassed at the press of a button. Alongside of those advancements come greed, hatred, and jealousy. You’ll notice the ratio of inhabitants of Gamgijar far exceeds that of Gijar. The autochthones of Terra, the ones that used to revere our kind, have long been gone. There are new lords and new masters, both fictional and non-fictional. The state of confusion is overwhelming. There is stifling unrest. The mortals crave a miracle they may see, a miracle they may touch. I suggest we allow them this opportunity.”
“What do you propose, Thadio?” asked Heka, this time audibly with a robust accent laced with an accent that exposed his Gemin ancestry, “Are you suggesting that we will never see the likes of the mortals as we did during the age of the false god Ptah and the Hwt-ka-ptah. Nor will we feed as generously as we did during the age of the Mayans. Sokara had eliminated that entire race, including the Gemin we had placed there in our stead, before NeVada had her imprisoned on that desolate rock.”
“That rock is no longer desolate, Father. The population has exploded and is ready for harvest once more. The troubling fact is that the available fruit is no longer loyal to The Stones. I fear this would make them a considerable magnet for Sokara in her freedom among the occupants.” It wasn’t possible that the mountain could get any quieter than it already was as Thadio was relaying his ideas to his forefathers. Even the scarabs along the walls had stopped scuttering on top of one another to allow the other Stones to hear what Thadio was laying before them without interruption or static, “The Gemin now consider themselves ‘human’, even though they’re all simply a soul within a chassis of our choosing. It was understood that they would go among the native creatures of Pharoah Snafuru during the construction of the Red Pyramid and bring back information on how we could increase our harvest here on Gijar. “
“The population was no longer loyal to us. That much is true. The false Gemin began propaganda of a new deity attempting to bring civility and peace to the chaos that Sokara’s virus had spread. Vampyr not only altered the body and the soul, but the mind as well.” added Hotep.
“Today, the Mayans are extinct. However, there are those that believe in the blood rituals as the Mayan civilization did. I’m afraid that once Sokara reaches those humans, our harvest will be ruined once more and the fate of Gijar will be dire. The humans on Earth desire immortality and aren’t afraid to part with their inner serum to obtain it. Even if the cost of that immortality is contracting the very virus that killed them to begin with.” concluded Thadio.
“And the Hwt-ka-ptah? Are they still among those that walk the Earth?” this time it was NeVada who spoke up. His voice had not been heard among those that occupy the mountain in thousands of moons. Most of the other kings who were now part of The Stones had never heard NeVada utter a single syllable out loud; he had always communicated telepathically. The mountain rumbled in the wake of the bass in his voice.
The Guardians had been activated at the entrance of The Stones Temple. Khepra began skittering to and fro adding to the cacophony within the mountain. Nicandro was the sole occupant that The Guardians had admitted into the sacred shrine.
“The Hwt-ka-ptah are no longer,” Nicandro answered NeVada’s question as he bowed before the thirteen kings, “They currently worship other gods of their own design. There isn’t a singular deity any longer, there are now multiple ones; all with prophets and priests that claim to be the vessel of their chosen supreme being.”
“And how many feign their loyalty to us?” was NeVada’s next question.
“I’m afraid, My King, that there remains no loyalty to The Stones among the humans on Earth.” was Nicandro’s answer, “But I offer a solution.”
“This solution you extend, will the result be in a resounding sovereignty for The Stones?” asked Heka.
“I assure you, My King, that it will. It involves the last of the bloodline. Your grandson, Dice.” as Nicandro said these words to Heka, he looked directly at Thadio. The agreement was that none of The Stones were to know that Dice was of the Royal Blood. Dice had been the illegitimate child of Salvene – who had been mated with Thadio – and Nicandro, Thadio’s twin brother. Dice was to be the secret of three – Salvene, Thadio and Nicandro. No mortal or immortal would know the lineage. That was, until this very moment.
“Malachi and Rubone are the last of the bloodline, are they not?” asked Heka, Nicandro’s Father as well.
“They are the last, yes, Father, but not the only.” Nicandro replied.
“Then speak, Nicandro. I am not one for riddles,” bellowed Heka.
Thadio may have been made of stone and rock, but his eyes remain animated. If Thadio could stare death into Nicandro at this very instance, he would have done it. Dice was to remain a secret. A mystery to all that were ever privy to the information of the Amun offspring that began with the King NeVada. Thadio couldn’t telepathically plead with Nicandro to not go forward with the information that Dice – the Prophet lighting up Gijar in his newfound place in Geminic history – was Nicandro’s bastard child. This would bring shame upon Thadio and his sons.
Nicandro couldn’t keep the secret any longer. The Stones needed to know that Dice was not the enemy they thought him to be. The Stones, his father, his grandfather, all, needed to know that Dice was one of them. Dice was of Royal Blood.
Nicandro relayed the story of Salvene and his love. The tale was told slowly at first, while The Stones intently listened to the facts as they were revealed. They did not judge, nor did they ask questions. They didn’t interrupt Nicandro as he spread out Dice’s biography from the moment he was brought to life, to his current day events.
As Nicandro was finishing, he said, “So you see, My Kings, Dice is no enemy of yours. He was destined to be the savior of you all. It matters not how he came to be, it’s just important that he came.”
“He is a harbinger of peace, then?” asked NeVada, who was overwhelmed by this new information.
“Yes, he is, My King,” answered Nicandro.
“We are to believe your story, Nicandro? Why was this never brought to us as the events were fresh?” now asked Apep – The King That Slithers.
It was Thadio that relieved Nicandro of his answer, “I had asked Nicandro to keep the first born a secret. I could not bear shame on my family and my dynasty as Royal Gemin. Nicandro had agreed that the child would be forsaken and would live in exile on the only other planet we knew of that couldn’t influence his fortune and his fate. The fault does not lie with Nicandro, I am the one who banished the first born.” admitted Thadio.
“This name he bears – Dice. Is this a common moniker among the humans? This does not seem a fitting name for a Prophet of the Stones,” said Haran, The King of Science. All the attention had now been diverted to Haran who had alleviated the tense atmosphere that was permeating the Temple, “who had chosen this name?”
“I’m afraid I was the one who chose his name,” answered Nicandro. “We had ported through to Earth and landed in Japan. I had been offered housing with Prince Shotoku. We had wiled away the hours discussing Buddha of the Yerad and talking of peace for his land, I met a child with the name Diasuke. His name when shortened was Dice. I brought that name home to hang on my only son.” said Nicandro.
“He is of Amun blood. He shall represent us all. Inform him that we shall call upon him and offer him entry into the Temple of The Stones as Amun.” commanded NeVada.
“I will, My King,” said Nicandro as he bowed once more before all of his forefathers who had been cursed with immortality while set in the side of the greatest mountain of all Gijar.