They walked among us for millennia. Their power inspired tales of gods and heroes. They have been worshiped and feared; loved and hated. Their story has been hidden in the mists of legend. After many centuries of living only in the realm of myths, the curtain is being pulled back on an age old feud and humanity will take center stage with those they once considered gods.
Terry Oliver, the heir of a powerful birthright, only wants to live a normal life. But despite his efforts, such a desire cannot be fulfilled. There are those who would use him for his strength and they must be stopped. Terry is discovering that he is likely the only one can can do so.
Ashes of Utopia
Gustav led Kevin and Terry toward a three story beige stucco building. Gustav opened the glass door and allowed the other two men to enter first.
A very attractive receptionist greeted them as they made their way through the lobby.
Gustav of course, could not help but flirt with her and when they finally entered the elevator, the young woman was smiling as she slipped Gustav's card into her blouse.
Terry laughed as the doors slid closed. “Screw being an Ebon Lord, I want to grow up to be like Gustav.”
Kevin shook his head. “Thanks Gus, you have only met him three times and you have corrupted him.”
Gustav pressed the last elevator button. A panel opened and displayed the outline of a human hand. Gustav extended his hand and stopped it a few inches from the outline. His hand glowed red for a few seconds before the car started moving.
Gustav turned to Terry and his face was deadly serious.
“Terry we are about to enter one of the most sacred places to Spectrals. I know that you have heard myself and your uncle talk trash about the council, but once we are before them, it is a much different story.” “You must be humble and respectful.”
Terry nodded solemnly. “I will do my best.”
Gustav continued. “They may ask you to show examples of your power and you will comply. They will then ask you to accept the office of Ebon Lord.”
Terry continued to look at Gustav expectantly.
“What,” Gustav asked him.
“What do I say?”
Gustav shook his head. “This decision is completely up to you, Terry. No one else can tell you what to do as far as this is concerned.”
Great, Terry thought. So much for my senior adviser.
The elevator sank lower for almost another full minute before coming to a stop. The doors opened and the occupants walked into a massive chamber that had been carved out of solid rock. Terry stepped out of the elevator and his jaw dropped.
Nine chairs had been chiseled out of the gray bedrock in a semi-circle. All of the chairs, although thrones would be a more accurate description, faced the elevator. It was designed that way so that anyone coming out of the elevator would be intimidated from their first step into the chamber. Nine Spectrals occupied the seats. From what Terry was sensing, they were very powerful Spectrals. Five men and four women looked down from their high perch at Gustav, Kevin and Terry.
Terry was thoroughly impressed although to call it intimidation was a stretch.
This is incredible, he thought to himself. I will have to watch how an approach this.
The central position was occupied by a man that looked to be only a little younger that Gustav.
Terry assumed that this man was the council leader, Charles Parnell.
Charles wore a long formal robe that reminded Terry of a rainbow. It was then that he realized that was the intention.
Every color in the robe represents a rank in the Spectral hierarchy. The only colors that were missing were white and black, the two strongest Spectral talents. From what Terry remembered from his uncle's training, black and white were not included in the robe because individuals of those ranks were so rare. The last known white wielder, as they were called, had died just after the turn of the twentieth century. Ebon Lords were the only Spectrals able to manipulate the black spectrum. This was in addition to their ability to use any of the other Spectral ranks except white.
Charles' blue eyes locked onto Terry. Terry returned the gaze, but was careful not to let it be a challenge. White hair framed his face and a full beard matched it perfectly. Although Terry knew that the man had to be of an age with Gustav, his unbowed body did not show it.
“Welcome to the Spectral Council, Terry Evans. I know that you all have been traveling for the past two days and would probably like to rest but the matter before us is very pressing and we must unfortunately forgo that luxury. After our business here, you all will have the liberty of the island as well as our facility.”
Kevin narrowed his eyes as he considered the barely concealed admonishment at their arriving a day late.
You are lucky we are here at all, he thought to himself. My contempt for this body grows deeper by the second.
A haughty voice broke into his thoughts and his disgust blossomed into anger.
“Enough with the small talk. We are here to determine if this young man is worthy of the rank of Ebon Lord. I suggest that we get down to business.”
Before Kevin could say anything to the speaker, Gustav spoke up.
“Nelson, your petty words do nothing to hide your jealousy and fear. After all these years you are still a peasant grasping for a taste of true power.”
A dark blue spear of light streaked from Charles' hand, impacting in the center of the room near to where Gustav was standing.
“You have been here less than five minutes and already you are insulting the Spectral Council members.”
Gustav did not back down from the council chairman. “Since when was telling the truth an insult? Oh wait, I forgot where I was for a moment.” He spread his arms wide and slowly turned in a circle. “I am in the presence of the esteemed Spectral Council. One of the most corrupt, useless and self-serving bodies I have ever had the misfortune to be associated with.”
The council members erupted in outrage. Charles was attempting to restore order while Gustav continued to hurl cutting remarks. Terry glanced over at his uncle who seemed to be trying very hard to hold back a smile.
“You are not going to do anything about this,” Terry said to him. It was not a question.
Kevin regarded his nephew with a neutral expression. “It is not my place to play nursemaid to these idiots.”
Terry turned back to face the chaos that has engulfed the council.
“When you want something done right,” he said.
Terry drew on his newly enhanced strength and allowed himself to be caught up in its incredible power.
“Enough of this,” he said.
He saw his words got no reaction so he raised the power of his voice.