The Bloodlust Power
Loss of Power
The year 6345 OI (Odunti Ikpe)
“Are you going to answer the question?”
Yugi shifted his eyes to Kireh, who was seated on the other side of the elongated glass table. The seven ehols surrounded the table, their eyes glued to Kireh.
“What question?” he asked Kireh.
Kireh twisted his wings. “We need Reapers on the Board of Council.”
Yugi pulled in a breath, his eyes shifting back to the window. The moon was bright outside; its silvery light making everything inside glow white. A soft wind blew the black curtains inside.
“The sanya deaths.” Kireh’s simple reply.
He pulled in another breath at the mention of the word ‘sanya’. He’d been hearing about them lately, the unusual spikes in deaths. The Council wanted answers for that. Yugi would have to provide. Yugi was the Ehol of Death—it only meant he directed a fleet of Reapers to do the gruesome job of collecting souls, and although they reported back to him, he could only account for numbers—not reasons. The sudden deaths were suspicious, but sanyas died all the time.
“So, what’s the plan?” Kireh tapped his fingers on the glass table, then scanned the entire room. His large green eyes were fixed on Yugi; Kireh was waiting for an answer.
“I’ll see what I can do.” Yugi pushed back into his seat. He’d have to hand-select Reapers from his Kingdom, Daun. He wasn’t sure if he had the time to do that. He already had his plate full with the criminals who occupied Daun and the already-deceased souls of sanyas and aingeals housed there.
“You’ll have to think of something before the Orin-Jua Festival,” Kireh pressed.
As cold and menacing as Kireh tried to make himself, Yugi could still see beyond the scopes of his façade. Yugi considered Kireh as a younger brother, his darker side, so to speak. Although if one saw Kireh, they would have mistaken him to be a happy-go-lucky ehol like Yugi. Kireh’s ginger-colored hair and freckles stood out in contrast to his sandy complexion, giving him an innocent and playful look. But his prominent temples reminded Yugi he was still cold and rigid.
“I’ll pass by your Throne Palace before the festival.” Yugi hoped that would relax the ehol a bit, but Kireh only got tenser.
He nonchalantly moved to the other side of the table, cutting close behind Yugi.
“Does anyone else want to add to this?” Kireh asked, his voice unwavering. His eyes locked to Levi, whom he stood directly over.
“Any plans for this festival?” Adriel’s timid voice cracked.
Kireh only brushed Adriel’s question off, his eyes still glued to Levi.
“No plans for the festival,” Levi droned. “At least, not on my end.” Levi’s deep-set, beady eyes narrowed onto Kireh.
Something was off about Levi. The ehol ran his Kingdom, the Central Octeract, with an iron-fist much to the others’ dismay. Yugi knew both Kireh and Bryël had their eyes on Levi. He was placed in charge of one of the most delicate Kingdoms of Ịtoba; the sudden deaths of sanyas were inexplicably coming from his Kingdom.
“I wasn’t talking about the festival,” Kireh stated.
Levi’s lips formed a frown. It was funny: Levi looked like a person who should be feared. He was the color of porcelain, his skin drastically contrasting the smooth black hair that seemed like it was molded with wax. Even though the ehol was beautiful, he was downright eerie. Even Yugi couldn’t shake the feeling from his gut.
“Shall we adjourn this meeting?” Bryël asked. Bry was silent during the entire meeting, but he was observant. Especially of Levi.
“Yes, but I need to hold a private discussion with you after this,” Kireh answered.
Yugi leaned forward in his chair, his eyes fixed on Bry. Bry was different—not ehol. Something darker. Of all the ehols who sat in the room, it was unquestionable where Bry’s Sẹda stood. He was the oldest and most powerful, but Bry never spoke of his past life. He never mentioned his own Eholic Clan and never entertained any question that threatened to unravel it. Sometimes, Yugi found himself worrying about Bry.
Ehols, by nature, were considered to hold god-like beauty. It was a part of their complexity that made them stand out from mere aingeals—and beauty signified power. But Bry, although Yugi considered him to be the most enthralling, had a sensuality and intrepidity that came with his Sẹda. It was more than just ehol.
Yugi just couldn’t put his finger on it.
The ehol’s beauty was unmatched; his rose-brown skin was reminiscent of the ancient Titans of the Celipha Empire, but his down-turned silver eyes were those of Nightingalers. Silver eyes said to Yugi the ehol saw and knew things too dark for even a Death Ehol to want to know. Bry held soft creases beneath those eyes, and although his eyes were alluring, those same eyes were piercing and enigmatic. Frightening and calming at the same time.
Yugi caught Kireh staring at him, the ehol standing by the edge of the glass table, seemingly waiting for the ehols to leave. “I’ll get the Reapers,” he said under his breath, but then again, when did Yugi ever keep a promise to Kireh?
“What should we do about Levi?” Kireh asked Bryël the minute the last ehol left the room.
Kireh was tired. For the past months, he’d been planning the Orin-Jua Festival, going around to each Kingdom to ensure everything went well. It was supposed to be a time of celebration: praise to the Divine Ones for creating the realms, but the air seemed different this year.
Everything was stagnant. And within the last week, there were around forty-five deaths just in the Central Octeract alone, all unaccounted for. He found it strange that Levi, the Ọba of the Central Octeract, couldn’t give a definite answer for any of those deaths.
Kireh never wanted to ask Yugi to put Reapers up on the Board of Council, but the Board had forced his hand. The only thing he could do was ask.
That was certainly never a good sign. It only meant it would draw the attention of the Awọn Mimọ, and those were the last people Kireh wanted to deal with.
Bry patiently sat in his seat, unconcerned.
“And what should we do about the others?” Kireh asked.
Bry stared outside, taking in the moonlight. He never answered, but Kireh knew he acknowledged the question.
“Levi is ruling the Octeract with an iron fist. The people there are afraid of him,” Kireh said.
“Isn’t it a god’s duty to make his people fear him?” Bry responded, his words sarcastic. His eyes were glued to the window.
“But not the way Levi does it,” Kireh replied.
Bry never believed the ehols should rule their Kingdoms in tyranny. In fact, it was the exact opposite with Bry. He ruled the Kalér Mountains with a sort of grace, and his ability to command a Kingdom was unmatched by everyone else.
“Levi is going insane,” Bry said, his words as casual as his disposition. “His mind is bent and twisted. His soul, tortured.”
The words bit into Kireh’s skin. Nothing in this world could’ve prepared Kireh for this. He hoped Bry never spoke of Aging. Kireh was the last in his Eholic Clan—the only one to survive the bitter reality of what Aging brought. All the others died from the insanity Aging came with. Kireh’s heart jumped every time he heard the word ‘insane’, but there was nothing he could do about it.
It was only then Bryël looked at Kireh, gray eyes glistening as though somehow it captured the silvery light of the moon. There was something erratic in those eyes. Something fearful. “Power.”
The word sliced through Kireh’s shielded mind.
“But we Age in Sẹda,” Kireh contradicted.
Bry only smiled. “The more we use the power we have, the more we thirst for it. To use power is to drink poison. It acts slowly, but with each sip we take, the crippling effect of it hastens to destroy us. For Levi to be saved, he must let go of power. Or, at least, stop using it.” Bry returned his gaze to the moon. “Sẹda is needed to sustain these Kingdoms, but the younger ones, they are not wise enough to know how to use it discreetly.”
Kireh gulped. “What are you going to do about it?” he asked. How was Bry going to prevent Levi from using his Sẹda? Power was a part of an ehol. It was the embers running in their veins, keeping them alive.
“The Divine Ones spoke with me, but I’m afraid the ultimatum and its consequences are too harsh. I believe that for right now, it’s best to have the ehols refrain from using their Sẹda.”
Kireh blinked. “All of us?”
Bry looked at Kireh, then back at the window. “Yes. I’ll have to ask you to talk to the others.”
“No one would agree to that.” He could imagine the looks on their faces as he tried to explain why they couldn’t use their power. Adriel was the youngest of the ehols, barely in his Age of Youth. He’d be upset if he was forced to stop now.
“It’s not indefinite,” Bry continued. “Only until I can stabilize Levi.” Bry stood up and made his way toward the window, his face pressed against the glass. “If I don’t try it this way, then I’ll be forced into stripping it from them. That is a fate no ehol wants to endure. It’s much too painful, too radical. It is akin to death for the immortal god.”
Akin to death.
Kireh knew what pain felt like, but he never experienced one that would have him begging to die. But somehow, he felt Bry understood how such pain would feel. There was a look in his eyes. Perhaps this truth gave Bry his edge; this truth Bry never spoke of but hinted was there.
“I must go now,” Bry turned toward the open door, “but know something must be done, whether by will or by force.” Then he vanished.
Kireh didn’t see when he left, but he did. He knew at that moment whatever Bry went through wasn’t the loss of power. It was something greater. Something far more poignant.