• * * *

    (Neptune! Help me!)


    (…Know this—the steps you are striding, you will never stride back.)


    (I love you, Neptune. I love you.)

    (Once you begin your vengeance, you’ll never stop!)

    (Neptune, please…don’t leave….)

    Mars…I love you, I will come back….

    (Neptune. My baby.)


    (You will know when the day comes. Sorrow will overtake you, as well as anger beyond any ever felt. From this you will create your Evil.)


    Urd? My promise! Oh gods…I must…the anger, the sorrow….

    I looked up at the blackness of the heavens, standing outside the Pavilion. With rage I gathered my cloak about myself and began to chant.

    Powers of the dark, evil lying in wait…with your strength I invoke death and suffering. I held my hand out. In my palm, a tiny, bloody-red maggot slithered and gnawed on its tail. I seized the maggot in my fingers and ripped it in two, and from the oozing halves two maddocks birthed themselves, each end covered in gnashing teeth. I ripped them in twain, and then in tiny remnants, and my palms stained with black ichor. The maggots continued to grow.

    My summon of evil, give it wings. With my sacrifice I create ravenous hunger and destruction. I crushed my hands together, and the maddocks tore at my hands, drinking my blood, eating my flesh. They squirmed and writhed in my palms, and one devoured its way through my hand, up onto my knuckles. I closed my eyes and balled the maggots together, forming them into the core of my vengeance. I closed my eyes, and my mantle rippled around me as I rose into space.

    Speed of the darkness! Carry me away! I create the reaper of flesh!

    As I flew forward, the coldness of the dead air sucked the oxygen from my lungs with a frozen gasp. I breathed in stark, barren breaths, my face blackening with bodily death. I flew faster, and faster, past the planets and the stars like a great, malevolent comet.

    In my hands, the maddocks devoured flesh and sinew. My fingers flayed away, until nothing but bone remained. I gasped in a strong, chilling breath and rolled the squiggling maggot-ball, chanting furiously—the ball began to suck inward, pulling in dust and growing, larger and larger….

    Gall rose in my throat, like wormwood….

    “To the heavens I consign my rage!” I screamed. “Great Star Wormwood, be formed!”

    I hurled the maggots into space, and plummeted, hurtling toward Earth with wings of flame.

    Val, I’m coming for you!

    And far, far away from me, at the center of the galaxies, a seed of my power began to devour matter into nothingness and grow….

    * * *