Chapter Ten: Ancient Power
Sookie unconsciously touched the sword at her waist. ‘Whose body are we in? This is the Gatekeeper’s sword, but the Queen’s clothes, the Angel’s wings… Where’s the vampire?’ Trying to shake off her confusion, Sookie found herself laughing, “I’m about to face a Titan, and all I can wonder is whose underwear I have on right now.”
She laughed to herself some more as she strolled deeper into the shadows of the Void. The Erics of their four dimensions still had their strongest emotions ringing into her soul. Their souls.
Drawing her sword, Sookie let it hang loosely at her side while she walked and listened for sounds of movement. She could not see her hands in front of her face in the darkness. The soft, reassuring effulgence of the Door was long gone.
“How am I supposed to fight something I can’t see?” Sookie wondered aloud until she remembered her barrier aura emitted a soft light. Focusing her strength outward, a blue glow encased her and allowed her eyes to finally seek landmarks. The globe only illuminated the mists in front of her, but judging by the diameter of fog she could see, Sookie reasoned she had a fifteen-foot radius of sight, not much of a reaction time.
‘What if he just waits until I’ve wandered around until I’m too weak to fight?’ she asked herself. Perhaps a little goading was called for.
“Chronus!” Sookie called into the shadows. “Come out and face me!”
The silence was all that answered her, and Sookie frowned.
“Are you scared of one woman? A great Titan hiding in the darkness from a tiny blonde woman!?” she shouted, and did not miss the low rumble in the distance. Turning her body in that direction, Sookie smirked to herself and reached out with her telepathy. Eventually, a presence came within her range.
Though there was no thought, like a vampire, she could sense some awareness in the all-encompassing night. “I can sense you,” she taunted. “Do you really want me to have to seek you out? Why not come out and face death like a warrior!”
The roar that followed her insults only gave Sookie a brief moment to lunge away from the swooping arm. As Chronus came into view, Sookie found her body tilting back further and further. Her aura could not illuminate him entirely. His upper body remained shrouded in darkness. At nearly thirty feet tall, the Titan was a giant, and she, a dwarf.
“Seriously?” Sookie gaped in alarm when she found herself dodging another fist the size of an SUV. With vampire speed, she leapt onto that swinging arm and ran up its length until she saw the other arm coming to swat her like an annoying fly. Sookie jumped from the arm bridge, and flung out her sword, driving it into the Titan’s back and coasting downward in a cascade of blood.
“You little flea!” Chronus snarled angrily, and his hand reached to smack her away, effectively sending the woman crashing to the ground. Winded, Sookie only managed to roll out of the path of Chronus’ stomping foot. “I do not care how many women are in that body! None nor all are a match for me in the Void!”
“Listen, Buddy,” Sookie ground out after she escaped another squishing, “if you weren’t so hell bent on ending all the worlds, I wouldn’t be here right now annoying you to death!”
“Ending all worlds!” Chronus roared with laughter, sweeping his fingertips toward the ground at her. “They will exist! As my world of playthings! My dolls! My toys!”
“Oh. My. God!” Sookie flicked her sword at a bulging tendon in Chronus’ wrist and made him reel back momentarily. “I’ll get ya some Fischer Price toys! Can this be over now?”
He snatched her from the ground at last, and brought her to his face. It was a face Sookie wished she could have gone her entire life without having seen. Chronus looked very much like a man. A man with giant bloodshot eyes, skin so pale and thin that it looked delicate enough to pierce with her thumb. His face was very wide and rounded, with a mop of matted, black hair flopped thickly atop his head. “Insolent witch!” Chronus snapped as Sookie gaped at him.
“And angel, vampire, fairy, a little Goddess, too,” Sookie retorted, pushing her barrier aura outward and forcing his fingers open.
“How are you doing this!?” Chronus demanded when he found his grip loosened and Sookie tumbled thirty feet to the ground.
“Infinite power and an indestructible body,” Sookie grinned, using her teleportation to *POP* near his ear and send her sword deep into the canal. Chronus screamed in pain, plucked Sookie out of midair, and sent her sailing.
‘Admittedly,’ Sookie thought, ‘this all still hurts like a fucking bitch!’
“Indestructible or not, your body still needs nourishments to continue fighting,” Chronus mocked. “I can fight you for centuries. Nay, millennia and never grow weary!” he told her triumphantly.
Sookie lay on the ground, sent flying such a distance she could scarcely pick up Chronus’ presence. Her mind was being consumed with doubt. She had just stabbed him in the ear canal, and he had reacted as if it was nothing. How was she supposed to weaken him enough to use Fairy Light?
“What is wrong, Melting Pot!?” Chronus roared from their battle arena. “Where is that sure fire spirit!? Where is that over-inflated confidence!?” He was mocking victoriously. “Are you finally realizing you are no match for the Titan Chronus!?”
Curling onto her side, Sookie held her aching ribs, waiting for the pain to recede and the breaks to heal. Chronus was right. A direct descendent of a God was too powerful. Lukas’ faith in her was just as over-inflated as her own ego.
‘But if I fail….’
Sookie grimaced and crawled back to her knees before slowly rising to her feet. ‘If I fail….’
She thought of Lukas devoured by Chronus. Images of Leif, Beck, Astrid, and her unborn grandchild frozen for eternity as the figurines of the tyrant king, blazed red in Sookie’s mind. All of the unmet soulmates frozen without their true loves in their lives… And poor Garm and Fenrir lost forever without the woman who first loved them after so many millennia of contempt rained upon them.
‘Eric…’ Eric standing hopeful before the door, believing in her, trusting her to accomplish what no God or Goddess could. Brushed aside like a paper lantern while the Door was flung open and the mists of the Void encapsulated every dimension.
‘If I fail, we will never meet again,’ Sookie walked slowly back to the arena from which she had been thrown.
“That ego will be your death,” Chronus laughed at her.
“It is no longer ego,” Sookie told him. “It is determination. If I fail, then all is lost.”
“I would allow you to retreat,” Chronus replied amusedly. “I knew myself to be victorious before this battle even began, Little Girl.”
Sookie smiled grimly, “I cannot retreat. You would follow me to the Door if I ever found it again. This will be decided between you and me, even if I am unable to defeat you. I can hold you here for as long as it takes. Someday, maybe Lukas will find someone actually strong enough to defeat you. Until that time comes, I will remain, and I will keep you from throwing open the Door!”
The woman had not realized her body was beginning to glow with a new light while she made her declaration. Her mind had already resigned to centuries of unending battle, and could not fathom why the mighty Titan was leaning away from her.
“You cannot produce such light in this sacred place of darkness!” Chronus roared.
“With every spilled drop of my blood and every break in my bones, you will never meet the Door!” Sookie screamed as she erupted in a blinding pillar of light that could be seen clearly from the Door. Oceanus and Lukas held their breaths when they witnessed its startling glare.
Chronus roared in agony while the light flooded his darkness, casting the mists outward and burning him with its brilliance. The Titan fell to his knees as his skin blistered. His massive hands covered his eyes, and he shrieked at the burning of his flesh.
“Please!” Chronus screamed. “Mercy!”
“The Gatekeeper eliminates all threats to the realm she is sworn to protect! She will not stop until you are pile of ash! She will not hear your pleas!” Sookie told him harshly while she felt her body coil with another blinding flash. The intensity with which she radiated light shone like that of a new star. She could see for miles all around herself, and she focused that energy into a burning orb above her head. The new star shined blindingly above her, suspended directly above Chronus’ head. “That star will burn until you no longer exist, Chronus, whether that be minutes or centuries.” The mists around them fed the new star, making it beam and glow steadily without any more sacrificed energy.
“End me! For the love of the Goddesses and Gods! End me, Gatekeeper!” Chronus begged.
Retrieving her sword from where it had fallen, Sookie approached the Titan. “Relinquish your strengths, and I will take your head.”
Chronus bowed his head to the ground and shakily pulled his matted black hair from his nape, “Please, Gatekeeper, end my suffering!” he begged again.
Sookie strolled toward the pleading Titan, arms raised to deliver the death blow. As her arms swung, so did his, but some part of the woman’s brain had anticipated this moment. Sookie easily changed her saber’s course.
As Chronus’ arm came toward her, his arm severed at the wrist from the deadly blade’s intervention. He howled in pain, and clutched at the dismembered appendage.
“For that,” Sookie snarled, “you may lay there and burn slowly.”
Crossing her arms over her chest, Sookie stood in silent vigil as Chronus’ body slowly sloughed away and crumbled to ash on the grounds of the Void. While a large portion of her brain screamed in mortification, begging to look away, Sookie kept her eyes trained on her opponent. She would not be taken by surprise.
Soon bone was visible, and the screams subsided. Eventually all that remained where Chronus had once knelt in defeat was a mountain of ash. Using her telekinesis, Sookie gathered the ash and summoned her star to follow her to the radiating green light in the distance.
“Mother!” Lukas cried when the glowing woman came into view. “You did it!”
Smiling, Sookie nodded, and deposited the ash before them, “This is all that remains of Chronus. I think you should shoot it into the Sun just to be safe.”
Laughing, Lukas nodded at her suggestion, “I will give it to Apollo. He will be sure Chronus remains saturated in light, although I do not believe even a Titan can recover from what you have done to him.”
“Are you able to extinguish that star?” Oceanus asked curiously.
“I could reabsorb it,” Sookie told her.
“I request that you do so. It is swallowing the Void’s mist. That is not good,” Oceanus explained.
Holding up her hand, Sookie smiled while the pair before her watched in fascination as the energy was reabsorbed slowly through her palm. When all that remained was a tender glow, Sookie handed it to Lukas. “A being like us is something that will never be seen again. Take this as a reminder of what you forged today. It is all the very best of me… Of us….” she told him before plucking one of her feathers. “May we separate and return home now, Son?”
Lukas smiled and nodded, “Yes, Ma. I will check up on you again soon. Thank you, all of you, for everything.”
“I wish us to be four beings once more!” Sookie called, and suddenly, four different versions of herself stood in a row.
None of them said a word to each other, only offered smiles as Oceanus tapped the Door with her Space Key and the threshold opened before them. No words were needed between four women who knew each other better than anyone else. Silently they walked through the Door, and returned to the worlds they loved to be wrapped in the proud embrace of their Bonded.
As Lukas watched them leave, he looked at the shining globe in his hand, and smiled. “Now, what to do with you?”