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The Pink Ravyn

The Stars That Fall

Chapter One

by R. N. Headlam

The year 6345 OI (Odunti Ikpe)

The moon was brighter tonight than any other night; than any other cold, early spring night that Ịtoba would ever see. In less than a week, the Orin-Jua Festival would commence. Yugi of Daun Kingdom, Head Reaper—Ehol of Death. That’s what they called him. 

The mortals referred to him as a Titan, their faces twisted, their noses upturned. He understood. Being a Titan was worse than being a Reaper. Titans were notorious for their betrayal; their ruthless thirst for power had torn Xhian apart. A bloody massacre led to many fatalities. Many Ịtobans lost their lives. And that night, when the Asayli singlehandedly expelled them all, it was the first time in eons since Ịtoba saw peace.

Before the Titans, Ariwa-Ịte and Ịtoba were one realm—Xhian. After the wars … Yugi pulled in a deep breath. Yugi wasn’t sure what happened after the wars. All he knew was that he was the only one—the only one to survive the slaughter. 

His eyes danced toward Kireh. He was the only one to survive, too. Albeit, Kireh’s clan wasn’t being hunted by the Asayli. They’d died of the disease

“Aren’t you going to answer the question?” Kireh’s eyes narrowed. His green eyes twinkled underneath the lights; his fingers drummed on the obsidian table. The other ehols looked on—waiting.

“What question?” Yugi hadn’t heard Kireh. 

“Can you provide Reapers?” Kireh furrowed his brows. The freckles around his nose paled. 


“We need Reapers on the Azharanian Council. The Councilors have been asking that we provide an answer to the deaths—the sanyas.” Kireh’s eyes darted to Levi seated in the corner, then back to Yugi.

Right. The Reapers. 

He pulled in a breath. The last time, it was simply a rumor. Sanyas were dying in the Central Octeract Kingdom. No one had questioned it at the time. The sanyas were of the lowest rank in Xhian—the Seventh Rank. Also known as the mortals. 

No one had concerned themselves with the sanyas. At least, no one presently seated around the obsidian table. Everyone here were ehols, and ehols were the Third Rank—the Erelim. Also known as the Demi-Gods. The Erelim had three orders: the ehols were the highest, then the Ọbakun, then the awakeners. And the Ọbakun weren’t exactly an order. Instead, they were simply awakeners elected to serve the Asayli. 

Yugi tapped his fingers against the table and straightened himself. 

“So, what’s the plan?” Kireh’s fingers danced around the lapels of his coat. His eyes glowed in the moonlight, fixed on Yugi, tracking every move he made.

“I’ll see what I can do.” Yugi slouched in his seat. The start of a new year saw the turn in seasons. Spring was here; Yugi had too much work piled on his table. The Orin-Jua Festival required the first month’s harvest, and Daun was not an agricultural kingdom. Perhaps he’d need to meet with Adriel after this meeting. 

“You’ll need to think of something before the festival.” Kireh’s face hardened.

“I’ll pass by your residence,” Yugi said, hoping it would ease the tension; Kireh squared his shoulders in response. 

Defiant. That’s all Kireh ever was. That’s all he’d ever been since the last of the Eccentrics succumbed to the disease. 

“Does anyone else want to add to this?” Kireh asked. His eyes locked to Levi. 

The ehol slipped into his seat, arms folded. Something was off about the ehol. Yugi couldn’t quite place it, didn’t try to. Levi, the Ọba of the Central Octeract, a Kingdom most prized by the Asayli, was tyrannical. And tyrannical was a gross understatement of the rumors Yugi heard about the male. 

“No plans for the festival,” Levi said. “At least, not on my end.”

“I wasn’t talking about the festival,” Kireh snarled. 

Levi frowned. His porcelain skin seemed gray underneath the lights. His black hair was sculpted to his head, like molded wax. Levi was no doubt beautiful: any ehol should be. Power came with beauty. The more enthralling a god, the more powerful he was. So, sẹda bubbled from Levi; his embers skirted around him whenever he walked. Yet … something about him didn’t sit right with Yugi. 

“Shall we adjourn this meeting?” Bry asked. He’d been silent throughout the meeting.

“Yes, but I need to hold a private discussion with you after this,” Kireh answered.

Bry. Bry was another one. He wasn’t an ehol; Yugi was sure of that. Bry was of the Second Rank—the only remaining Elohim there was. The Second Rank, known as the Elohim or the Ancient Gods, were completely wiped out. When Yugi was born, there were around thirty of them. By the time Yugi awakened, only twelve still roamed Ịtoba. And now, there was only one. Bry.

Yet … Bry wasn’t among the highest order of the Second Rank. Perhaps Bry was simply an almasi, the lowest of the Second Rank. Yet, Bry was different. He was darker, more powerful than the ehols seated around the table. He never spoke of his past, never mentioned anything about his clan—he never entertained any question about it. 

Yugi looked around. The other ehols were already gone, leaving Bry and Kireh in the room. Yugi stared at Kireh; the ehol frowned. 

“I’ll get the Reapers,” he said under his breath, but then again, when did Yugi ever keep a promise to Kireh?

For the past few months, Kireh lost Sleep planning the Orin-Jua Festival, visiting each Kingdom to ensure everything went smoothly. He’d known of the deaths, but ignored it for as long as he could. Ignored it until the Azharanian Council had pulled him up on it, until he could no longer ignore it.

“What should we do about Levi?” Kireh asked Bry. He’d hoped the deaths would’ve subsided by the time the new year came around. 

It only got worse.

The festival was supposed to be a time of celebration: a time to sing praises to the Asayli for creating the realms, but the air seemed off this year. 

Everything felt stagnant. Within the last week, there were around forty-five deaths, all in the Central Octeract. All unaccounted for. And Levi couldn’t give an answer for any of those deaths. 

Kireh was reluctant to ask Yugi to put up the Reapers, but the Council forced his hand. That was certainly never a good sign. Anything that got to the Azharanian Council would go to the Ọbakun. Anything that got to the Ọbakun would make it to the Asayli. 

A cold wind brushed across his skin; Kireh’s shoulders tensed. The Asayli were the last set of people Kireh wanted to deal with.

“And what about the other ehols? What should I do with them?” Kireh pressed.

Bry ignored him, his eyes glued to the outside, tracking the moon as it lazily moved across the night sky. 

“Levi’s control of the Central Octeract is concerning. The people are afraid of him.”

“Isn’t it a god’s duty to make his people fear him?” Bry finally turned to face Kireh. 

“Not the way Levi does it.”

Bry crossed his legs, closed his eyes, and took in a few breaths. When he finally opened his eyes, he said, “Levi has gone insane. His mind is bent and twisted. His soul, tortured.”

Did Bry mean…

No. He couldn’t have meant that. Bry couldn’t have been speaking of Age. Not when the Eccentrics had died out because of it … because of the disease. Kireh’s breaths became heavy. If the disease had reappeared, then it was the end for Kireh. He’d trained all his life to manage his sẹda—control his power so that he’d never have to succumb to the fate of his ancestors, and yet….

Bry stood up, his hands pushed into his coat pockets. He made his way across the room to the window, his face pressed against the glass as he stared into the courtyard below. “Power,” Bry said.

The word sliced through Kireh’s shielded mind. 

“But we Age in power,” Kireh argued. Sẹda was what made an ehol, an ehol. It set them apart from being mere mortals. It distinguished them from the aingeals. 

But Bry…

Bry smiled. “The more we use the sẹda we have, the more we thirst for it. To use it is to drink poison. It acts slowly, but with each sip we take, the crippling effect of it hastens to destroy us.” Bry stepped away from the window. “For Levi to be saved, he must let go of power. Or, at least stop using it. Sẹda is needed to sustain these Kingdoms, this is true, but the younger ones, they aren’t wise enough to know how to use it properly.”

Kireh swallowed. “What are you going to do about it?” he asked. 

“I spoke with the Asayli, but I’m afraid the ultimatum and its consequences are too harsh for now. So, They’ve given me the go-ahead to instruct you the way I see fit.” Bry tapped his fingers together. “I think that for now, it’s best to have the ehols refrain from using their sẹda. For a short while.”

Kireh blinked. “All of us?”

“Yes. But I’ll have to ask you to talk to the others.”

“But no one would agree to that.”

“It’s not indefinite,” Bry continued. “Only until I can stabilize Levi. If I don’t try it this way, then I’ll be forced to strip their sẹda from them, and that’s a fate no ehol wants to endure. It’s much too painful. Too radical. It’s akin to death for the immortal god.” 

Akin to death. 

A chill brushed against Kireh’s skin. He didn’t want to know what Bry meant by that. And he didn’t want to know how Bry understood how such pain would feel. There was this look in the ehol’s eyes like he’d been there in a place wanting to die. 

“I must go now.” Bry turned toward the door. “But know that something must be done, whether by will or by force.” Then, he vanished. 

Whatever Bry had gone through wasn’t the loss of power. It was something far greater. Something much more terrible than what Kireh knew or could ever imagine.

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