The Island of Aeaea was a place shrouded in mystery. Although it was said to be located west of the Peloponnese’s in the Ionian Sea few had gone there and returned to prove it. Some say those who seek the island are turned into the animals that roam its forests. Others believe that Sirens guard its shores and lure any who approach to their doom. The reality was that there was only a barrier of Aether created by the gods that prevented Circe from leaving her exile. But the gods were arrogant. Circe was the goddess of magic and their simple seal could not contain her. In fact, she was free to do as she wished the moment they thought to exile her. A fact she has used to great effect. Circe returns to her island atop her flying throne. Her palace lay deep with the forests to the northwest atop a mountain peak. From there she could watch over all of Aeaea. Landing on the balcony of her chambers, she turns and looks towards Etenia. Even from such a great distance she could clearly see and feel the Void Gates presence…
“After all these millennia why now?” She thinks aloud as Karaba appears behind her.
“What ails you m’lady?” He asks, kneeling respectfully.
“The Rift has opened once more…”
“The Rift?” He inquires. “My apologies but I don’t know what that is m’lady.”
“It’s fine Karaba. I didn’t expect you too. There are very few who do…As you know, my brothers and sisters are the children of the Titans. The Titans themselves were children of the Primordial Goddess of Earth Gaia and the Primordial God of the Sky Uranus. They created all that we know…At least, that’s what we deemed necessary to believe. You see, before Gaia and Uranus gave life to the heavens and the earth there was nothing. And deep within that nothingness was The Rift…” Circes voice shakes with fear at her own retelling of the story. “The Rift is a place of infinite darkness…Its corrupted Aether leaves a permanent stain wherever it goes…It was so powerful and all-consuming only the most powerful could withstand it. Those who weren’t would succumb to madness and paranoia. If their minds weren’t shattered then they’d become one with The Rift…a creature who’s very existence spread the same madness The Rift itself brought. An Angel. That Void Gate in the sky is a passageway through The Rift…those creatures that escaped into our world were likely dragged here from another. It’s only a matter of time before the Angels find their way through as well…if they succeed all will be lost…”
Karaba had never seen such fear on Circes face. A fact that concerned the Minotaur. “By the gods…M’lady, how was The Rift stopped last time?”
“We didn’t…” Circe mutters as before lounging on her throne wearily. “My brothers and sisters were already drained and exhausted from the long battle to seal the Titans away…Our attempts to reseal The Rift failed miserably…but fate shone on us that day and The Rift simply…closed itself…”
“Pardon?” Karaba asks confused.
“It’s exactly as it sounds Karaba. I don’t know how or why but The Rift opened itself suddenly and sealed itself away just as suddenly. That’s why I fear for our lives this time…there’s no guarantee it will do the same again.” Circe pauses to gather her thoughts. “What of Alexandros, Karaba?” She asks Karaba who remains silent. “Karaba…”
“I’m sorry m’lady…but Alexandros was pulled into the Void Gate…”
Circes heart was devastated at hearing Alexandros’ fate and she wept for her son. She knew that even if she found him again the chances of him being the same as he once was were non-existent. She finally had the opportunity to meet her son and not only did he turn his back on her and she was forced to fight him; she lost him to The Rift. Fate was cruel and unforgiving to Circe and she cursed them with every fiber of her being. For this was not the first time the fates had conspired against her…
Once upon a time, Circe lived amongst the other Prometheans on Mount Olympus. Her control over the Aether was admired by even Zeus. It was this that caught the attention of the Lord of the Underworld, Hades. Not only had she captivated him with her beauty but he fell for her power. The two fell in love and had a child together. She named him Griffin and he was the God of Hegels. Circe was to be Hades Queen. Everything was going in her favor until the day her younger sister Pasiphaë disappeared. Pasiphaë was a quiet girl, an Inversion like her nephew Griffin and a witch like her sister. Circe didn’t know who was responsible but she discovered Pasiphaë had been cursed. Forced into giving life to the Minotaur species before vanishing. With the loss of her sister she sought comfort in the other gods and goddesses. Maintaining the bonds of friendship she had.
One goddess in particular, the Queen of the Seas Amphitrite, believed Circe had ulterior motives. That she was trying to take her husband Poseidon for herself. The two had become increasingly close and she would not risk losing him to another. Amphitrite sought out Hades and told him of her plight. The thought of his wife leaving him for his own brother enraged Hades. But rather than going to battle with Poseidon he took Amphitrite’s advice. He found the Goddess of Harvest Persephone and claimed her for himself as the true Queen of the Underworld. When Circe discovered it she was devastated and demanded answers. But word spread quickly and Zeus believed she was trying to pit Hades and Poseidon against each other. Rather than risk her further “tainting” Olympus, she was banished to Aeaea. There she would remain for the rest of her days and would never see her son again or have a kingdom of her own. If she was to ever show her face outside of Aeaea she would face the full might of the gods. Circe had lost her family, lost her friends, lost her home, and lost her true love…from that day forward she damned the world and lived only for revenge against those who wronged her.
“What would you have me do my Queen?”
Circe regains her composure. Her tears have dried and her sorrow replaced with a rage not even Ares could rival. “We’ll finish what we set out to do.”
“But would the other gods not be useful against The Rift?”
“Not necessarily. If they defeat our army then they will indeed be helpful against The Rift…though my vengeance will have to wait…But if they fall to the Alchemic Beasts then they would’ve been no help in the coming battle.” Standing from her throne the Aether cracks around her in a fierce frenzy. “When they fall their hold on the Aether will fade. With that my power will grow to a whole new level. Remain here Karaba, I have business with the alchemist.”
For millennia, Circe had feigned being trapped on her island. All to keep the gods ever watchful gaze off of her and on their precious mortals. In reality, she had searched for a means to get vengeance against them for their past transgressions. The first was a knight who would lead the Tartarans in her stead. The second was a means to combat the gods that did not rely on Aether. This was how she found the alchemist, Magnus Zosimos. An enigmatic man, he created his own type of alchemy by combining both Human and Tartaran runs. With his aid, Karaba and the Tartarans had gained far greater strength the gods could not easily match. He was a most valuable ally but not a trustworthy one. Circe kept him at distance and kept a cautious eye on him at all times. His quest for knowledge and the threat of his science were not to be taken lightly.
Leaving her castle, she makes way for his laboratory. A daunting building hidden within an alchemic bog. The Aether did not flow there and just being in its presence disgusted Circe. But she had no choice but to meet him. Walking towards the building, she is greeted by a pair of Alchemic Beasts made entirely of decayed plants and rotting wood.
“Begone foul creatures. I am here for your master.” The creatures stay at their posts and shriek at Circe. Their gurgled cries only added to her disgust. Her patience was at an end and with a swing of her arm a wave of magic bisects both creatures simultaneously. “Disgusting things.” She remarks as she walks past their remains. Moments later she stops and glances over her shoulder as the creatures reanimate and pull themselves back together. “Disgusting…and annoying…”
Circe ignores the beasts and continues walking towards the laboratory. There Magnus awaited her. He was a pale lean man with stringy black hair and eerie golden eyes. He wore a magnificent black tunic with golden trim. It strapped over his right shoulder and exposed part of his chest. The alchemic symbols engraved in his skin were clear for all to see. He carried himself proudly and seemed to have a permanent look of condescension on his face. His intelligence was to be both admired and feared. He was the leader of the Cabal of Zeverious. A secret group dedicated to the exploration of The Rift. But above all else, to use it to meet their lord Zeverious. They believed he dwelled in a realm of fire and brimstone. What they hoped to do if they did actually reached him was beyond Circe. She cared little for such fanatics. Especially ones who both knew and were entranced by The Rift…