CHAPTER 21 (1945-1947) – I

We knew the world would not be the same
We laughed; we cried
Mostly we remained silent
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”
I suppose we both thought that
One way or another

Aricame had become a god – or at least that’s how he felt. Lost and out of place in the world, he slowly made his way from Manlius, IL back to Seattle. He needed to think; to process what had just happened – what he’d become. He had been training with Victoria Strife for months, honing his ability to transfer life from one living organism to another, but it was always for pretty low stakes. He had never actually taken a human life. Then Victor Strife introduced his theory that energy transference could be done on a large scale, something that had been attempted by Champions throughout human history yet never successfully accomplished. Theoretically, it was possible. And then, in a moment of pure humanness, with passion and power working in harmony, Aricame harnessed a superhuman weapon that changed everything. With unbridled and blinding rage, Aricame sucked power into his own flesh-and-bone vessel where it was stored, processed, and redirected in a focused attack on its specified target half a continent away at Janifer Pompea. She was vaporized in a flash, but so too was everything in a two mile radius and the ground itself was pushed downward to be swallowed up by the sea, and ripples were released eastward to vibrate throughout the land. What was intended to be a direct attack wound up taking the lives of thousands.

When Aricame came out of his fugue-like state, his presumptive nemesis, Stievo, had fled. After losing his mother (his past), his lover (his present), and his child (his future), the Champion of Light needed to be with his only remaining family. He was on his way to find his father.

Glendan was in a hospital bed, recovering from the most recent of his several surgeries. Doctors told him he would never walk again, but Glendan didn’t much care He was just happy to be alive, and was made even more joyous upon waking up to his son by his bedside. They hugged, they cried, and then they took turns exchanging their many horrifying stories of their horrific experiences during the horrid war. Glendan had survived months/years evading Geryman’s attempts to catch him, hopping between island and mainland and back again, finding refuge in caves, bunkers, and hollowed out buildings. His time trapped with Hanci had been his most memorable. Before the war they had been nominal enemies, but when forced into an alliance against a threat superior to themselves, they forged common ground. Strong-willed and proud, the two survivors still disagreed on much and knew that they would never reconcile some of their differences, but they found mutual respect. When a medical rescue team found the two of them, Glendan’s legs had been crushed in a blast while Hanci had been emaciated nearly to the point of expiration. Both were taken to the nearest hospital. Hanci – against doctor’s orders – left just 24 hours later to look for her children. She would be heard from again.

For the second time in less than thirty years, Glendan set about rebuilding the city after his family’s feud had decimated it. But this time was different – and not just because he was now doing so from a wheelchair. Before he had his wife, Carenf, her generation’s Champion of Light, to assist. This time Glendan had his son, Aricame, who showed no such interest. Glendan pleaded, relying on their “special relationship.” But his son had other plans, more grand aspirations…He would remake not just the city, but the world, in his own self-image.

Out of everything sprung something which begat everything
Before the something and everything was not nothing
Everything follows something; nothing never follows from the thing
There is nothing aside from everything…unless we’re missing something