By Zeon Liafador 28 Comments
Zeon stood at the edge of the Pit, her dark brown eyes glaring down into the abyss as the hairs on her neck began to stand. Only four people had gone into The Pit and succeeded in completion and Zeon was one of them. Going in the first time was a trial that she wouldn’t wish upon anyone, but the thought of going back in again… it made her stomach turn. There was no telling what would happen to Zeon, physically and mentally after entering The Pit for a second time. It was unheard of for someone, let alone the head of the family, to enter The Pit more than once. But after the events at the Liafador Palace, she didn’t have a choice. A deal had been made between The Matriarch and the Darkness consumed Maya Liafador, and it was time for Zeon to do her part.
Looking behind her, Future Tassiana stood with the look that Zeon was feeling, worry, fear and anxiety, only difference between them was that Zeon was good at hiding her emotions. Going with tradition she dawned the rags that were issued to everyone who entered The Pit, but this time going in with two weapons, a bow and arrow, and her sword. Future Tassiana was given the responsibility of protecting her younger self. The future of the Liafador line would be left vulnerable during Zeon’s time of absents and what better person to protect the young Sapphire Goddess than her older self.
“Zeon…” Tassiana began, holding onto The Matriarch’s quiver. “This is a horrible idea.”
Zeon’s eyes shift gaze from her cousin back to the darkness below her. She knew this wasn’t a good idea. But what choice did she have? The balance was in Zeon’s hands, and she wished upon the High Goddess that it wasn’t. “Just do what’s expected of you, for once Tassiana.” Her glare at Tassi was harsh as she snatched the quiver from her hands. “I have to fix this chaos you caused.” The Matriarch hissed as her attention pulled away from her and looked up at the sun lit sky one last time. “If I’m not back in a month… it means I have failed.” Her attention went back to her cousin, her face that of stone. “If that is the case…” she pulled a sealed envelope from a leather satchel she was going to take in with her to bring the dagger back out with her. Written on it was ‘Nemesis Liafador’.
“Isis?” Tassi questioned grasped the envelope from Zeon’s hand, it had a bit of weight to it, which caused the Sapphire Goddess brow to rise.
“It officially hands over the power of Matriarch to her, with the Matriarch necklace inside. She won’t want it… but she’s the only one I would trust to care for little Tassiana and do what it takes to push the family in the right direction.” She was still conflicting with herself if Isis truly did betray the family with Ziccarra, but deep down, Zeon knew that she was always the rightful pick to be Matriarch. It was something she was trained to become since birth. It was her birth right.
“Smettila!” <Stop it!> She cut off the Sapphire Goddess, growing tired of this talk. “These are the steps needed to be taken, I have to be realistic about the situation, there is a chance I won’t make it back and I have to do what I must to preserve the family. So just do as I tell you to do!”
With that Zeon made her way to the edge of The Pit, where nothing but darkness could be seen. With a final breath she slipped on a parachute upon her back, there would be no time wasting attempting to climb down. Her legs pushed her off the edge as her body began to free fall deep down into the abyss of The Pit. The air went from a misty cool to a freezing chill within seconds as she released her parachute. The darkness quickly engulfed her senses as her vision became obscured. She could feel the musk of the air hit against her body as she did her best to navigate through the darken atmosphere before releasing her chute. Her body free falling once more as her body landed on the soft and wet patch of ground but the stink of rotting flesh loomed in the air. From the thick consistency of the moisture under her feet and the reek of a metallic scent told her it was in fact, blood. Bushes began to rustle behind her and without hesitating, she withdrew her blade with a shiiiiing from its’ sheath, her vision still completely obscured she had to rely on the vibrating footsteps on the ground, the sound of the beast breathing in heavily and the stink of it’s breath was that of death.
Time escaped Zeon, in that moment in battle her mind was no longer her own, but rather became one with The Pit. It felt more natural than before to live in the chaos, as if she was home. When she originally left The Pit, she felt as if something was taken away from her, that a part of herself was left inside the deadly abyss. Of course, she never spoke a word of it with Ziccarra or Isis, but rather kept it to herself. But coming back, it felt like her mind and body were restored on a certain level. Her mind was one with her body and her true warrior and survival instincts had taken control. She could feel the power of The Pit course through her veins, as if the blood of the Cardinal Goddess have been fully awaken coming back into the Twilight Underworld.
It was difficulty for Zeon to stay on track. It felt the longer she stayed in The Pit, the more she became easily swayed from her mission. Instead of going right to the temple, she would go on a feral rampage, hunting down beasts for her own entertainment, rather than fighting against them for her own survival. She had become as feral as the monsters in the jungle, maybe even more so. She could feel her body begin to grow with power, a power that felt raw and true. It was as almost as if she had become one with an invisible and intangible energy that she had never felt before. It build off her anger, the more rage she felt, the stronger and more powerful she became. It was addictive, and Zeon wanted it all. The only thing that kept her on track, was the overused seashell bracelet that clung to her left wrist. The once groves from the white shells were now worn down and black from Zeon constantly running her fingers upon it, reminding herself why she was here, why she was doing this yet again. It was for her, for Chance, and for the Liafador family. She had to keep telling herself this, to justify what she was doing and what she was to do in the near future.
She couldn’t tell how long she had been in The Pit before she stood before the large Cardinal Temple that towered over her and was too tall for her to see the top. It was located in the darkest and coldest corners of the abyss. Her breath could be seen being pushed between her lips as she exhaled as the sleek ice that covered the area could be felt against her bare feet, but seemed not to bother her, as if her skin had thickened during her duration in this frigid purgatory. The Matriarchs eyes also had time to adjust to the pitch black darkness around her, or maybe it was a blessing from The Pit.
The temple was larger than she last remembered, and now she could visibly see a statue of a woman, dawned in a cloak. Could it be the representation of the High Cardinal Goddess? Her grandmother? Maybe… but she didn’t have time to figure out details. It was time to finish her mission. Getting a closer look, you could visually see that the temple was in fact carved into the walls of The Pit, meaning the temple was in fact created by the very stone that held The Pit together and covered in thin transparent ice. Making her way towards the door she could hear the hissing and bass rumbling growls of the creatures all around her, but none dared attacked, as if they knew she was now standing on holy ground.
The temple was vast in the inside as well and was surprisingly warmer. Dim crimson glows of fire could be seen going down the long hallways that were decorated with carvings along the stone walls which seemed to be a story of some kind, one that Zeon was not familiar with or understood. What was this temple created for? For whom was it created for? However, the temple would soon prove to be just as deadly as the creatures that loomed outside. Soon she was lead to the second part of the temple that seemed to lead to a lethal complex maze. Traps that consisted with pressure plates, trip wires and levers were littered all over the temple the deeper she journeyed inside. Pit falls that were deeper than the eyes could see, rigid darts shooting from the deep groves of the walls, ceilings attempting to crush you and starving beasts that lurked around tight corners.
How she made it through surprised even The White Cardinal. She had lost her bow somewhere in the maze and her blade had become dull. The rags she once wore were now used to bandage her own wounds. Her hands and feet covered in blisters and sores. While you lost time during your trials in The Pit, in the Temple you lost all sense of reality. What was real? Did that statue really look like Ziccarra? Did the carvings in the wall just become animated? Was that Tassi’s cry in the distance? Her mind was unable to keep focused, her sanity felt as if it was slipping away from her mind. Lifting her head up, her eyes looked forward to see an alabaster box sitting upon a marble pedestal. The walk to it was a narrow path with nothing but emptiness all around her. Drips from the slowly melting ice along the high ceiling could be heard tricking down to the darkness around her and a single light, that almost seemed to come from the heavens, gently kissed down upon the box, as if it was holding something so pure and precious it had to be displayed in this manner. But nothing that could control the darkness that lingered inside Maya could be such a thing. Zeon’s bare feet slowly moved forward, afraid of triggering something that could possibly kill her before she could lay her hands on the box.
Her shaky hands planted themselves on the box. It was cold as death as her fingers forcefully opened the box, her brows pushing against each other as they laid their eyes on the item that could save her sister. It was a kriss dagger, silver with black markings that ran all along it. But what caught the Liafador’s attention, was the name that was written on the dagger itself. “Maya Liafador”, Zeon’s raspy dry voice spoke out as she could feel the amount of power that was held on the dagger just by touching the alabaster box alone. It tingled along her fingers and gave a strange chill that ran down the back of her spine. Shutting the box she tucked it away into the satchel carefully, not wanting to harm the precious cargo that she was now going to have to carry back to the surface world.
Her fingers once more dug within the stone wall lining of The Pit, her muscles, ligaments and tendons pulling, stretching, flexing together in unison but screaming in pain as The Matriarch climbed her way up from the twilight purgatory. The light of the sun could be seen beginning to shine down upon her and as she paused for a moment to look up, she could see the cool blue sky above her. Her eyes shift to the seashell bracelet for a second, soon, soon she would be reunited with her sister. But as she pressed on, series of thoughts began to overwhelm her.
Was it going to be worth it in the end? Yes she would save Chance, but what about in the long run? Zeon couldn’t pretend she could protect Chance, or any of the family for long. Soon, another tragedy would strike. Soon Zeon would be left with another choice to make. Make another sacrifice. Risk her life yet again. Attempt to fix the problems that felt too complex for her to even grasp. How long until carrying this burden would kill her? She had brushed death so many times already, it was only a matter of time before it would claim her, just as it had other members of the family.
With a final push her hand reached up from the frozen hel and grasped a hand full of soft grass that still had morning dew. Giving out a final cry she pulled her body out as the Wild Card Liafador stood to her feet even though her body demanded rest. Her mouth hung open as she breathed heavily, sweat running down her forehead tricking down her temple and dripping off her chin as her eyes darting around the area like a wild animal. Her bare, naked body was covered in mud, infected wounds, ulcers, lacerations and black stains of blood that could have either belonged to her, or the demons of The Pit.
Cardinals began to approach her but something inside her stomach began to burn. That same energy she had felt while in The Pit, she was now feeling even stronger now that she reached back to the surface. The anger burned like a fire as she suddenly reached out to one of her Cardinal’s, her hand stopping a few inches from him as the Cardinal suddenly stopped walking, wrapping his hands around his neck as he began gasping for air. The other Cardinals stopped in their tracks as they stood in shock of what was happening. The raw energy of this new power flickered in a yellow hue around her eyes. But that second she snapped out of it, a memory rushed into her mind from back when she was a child, when she trained with a young man who displayed the same power years ago upon her. Blinking her eyes her hand dropped as the Cardinal fell to the ground at the same time to his knees, gasping for air as Zeon grasped the clothing from one of the still stunned followers.
What happened to her while she was in The Pit? What was this new ability she was granted? She couldn’t focus on that right now… now… she needed to find Maya and fix what had been broken.
Zeon goes into The Pit to retrieve a dagger than can control the darkness inside Maya Liafador. Prior to The Pit Zeon made an arrangement with Maya that she would fetch this dagger for her, in return for her sister's (Chance) restoration of her mind and for the safety of the family from Maya herself. During her time there, a new power awakens inside of her.