We Are Taking Down the Goddess
We Are Taking Down the Goddess
Author: Maya Shopkovska
The Mines

Somewhere in the universe, between the earthen plane and its neighboring planets lies a hidden world...a mystical land of magic, enchanting creatures, and unearthly mysticism.

Elidy, the goddess of time, the one responsible for weaving the threads of fate, created the ultimate playing field for herself to enjoy. But not the utopian paradise one might expect. Between those enchanted forests and crystal clear waters, creeps a more menacing world.

It's the world of Elidy, home to the elves, fairies, and all kinds of magical creatures. Some of them are kind, with nurturing and gentle souls, others not so much. They would open up to their primitive instincts, the sudden impulse to cause harm.

To save their people from the clutches of monstrosities and creatures living in the deepest corners of the earth, the races of Elidy have agreed to summon humans from Earth, adventurers charged with protecting the land.

Here, only the fittest shall survive. 

Chapter 1

Between the Forgrave desert and the Mountains of Bokonia, in the Southlands deep in Azidora, the Kingdom of the Elves, sits a small human settlement, the Wolfmore mining village.

In the old days, Wolfmore used to be a thriving market, a strategic point for both Azidora and its neighboring kingdom, Vernon, the land of half-human half beasts. Since the oasis dried out decades ago, this place has been nothing but a deserted land that would bear no fruit.

The scorching sun would beat down every soul that would dare cross it unprepared. Even the gigantic lizards born here, with color-changing scales, massive claws, and fangs, would take shelter in the shadows of the sandy cliffs so the sun won't roast them.

Yet, despite its unsavory conditions, the human slaves of the elven kingdom made it their home. Now, under the watchful eyes of the elves, these settlers spend their days digging out the most magnificent riches of the world. Diamonds, crystals, and emeralds of untold beauty.

Although they are bound to serve the elves for all eternity, the humans together with all the outcasts of the kingdom are living their lives to the fullest. With no reason to retaliate, life in Wolfmore is peaceful. The elves are taking their guard duties lightly, wasting their days away at the tavern, and spouting an insult or two to remind the slaves of their place.

Regardless, the atmosphere in the village is filled with a pleasant vibe, friendly faces, and happy greetings.

Aiko, a young teenage orphan, with a hair that brings out the golden sunshine and green eyes as warm as any meadow, has been living in Wolfmore for as long as she can remember.

Together with Ren, a ferocious creature with a kind heart, they've been inseparable. With fur as white as the purest snow and soft spikes with a hint of orange hue, Ren has always been the village's mascot. His huge body as big as any war horse made it constantly difficult to move through the narrow dirt streets and rugged stone settlements. Yet, he would always find a way to swiftly walk on top of the houses, jump over the lofty watchtowers or fit into the tiniest of places to get from one place to the other. Sometimes knocking down a table or two at the tavern.

Still, no one would have the guts to stand in his way, not even the elf guard, for they all know how terrifying Ren is when he is angry. No one dares to make him angry.

But, to Aiko, he is a sweetheart, family even. He would always carry her around on his back, no matter where they have to go.

This was one of those mornings, just like any other day. Ren would grab Aiko by the shoulder and carefully put her in his mouth. He barely left her any time to braid her hair, let alone put on some clothes. He would take her leather boots in his left paw and the gloves in the right and storm out of their little hut.

- "Woah! Slow down!"

Aiko would always giggle. As they sprint straight towards the mine, she would struggle to get dressed.

- "Hi miss Lena! Mister Ron!"

She would greet everyone with a smile, the baker, the butcher, and wave even at the grumpy guards. Some would smile back, others would crouch at the sight of Ren's head.

But, before they reached the mine, Aiko mumbled:

- "Ren, do you have any idea where Daisuke is?"

- "Eh, that Halfling, again, Aiko?" – he answered with a deep menacing voice.

- "Don't be like that. It's rude." – she puffed her cheeks in anger.

- "Aiko, half-human, half-elf. Really? He doesn't have the strength to work in the mines. Taking him with us will just slow us down. Plus, I don't think his body can handle the work. How many times do I have to repeat myself so you'll understand?"

- "Nonsense. That's what friends are for. We are here to help each other. So, stop this and take me to his place."

- "So be it, Aiko. But, I'm not doing the extra work for that weakling."

Out of nowhere, Aiko slapped Ren in the face, not to hurt him, but to shake him up a little bit. Everyone who witnessed it was mortified. People would tremble at Ren's fearsome eyes, but not Aiko.

- "Ok...ok...Sorry. He is not useless." – Ren miffed while hiding a smile.

- "Much better." – Aiko winked.

- "At least he can sing."

- "Ren!" – she puffed her cheeks once more.

- "Joking...joking."

He nodded and quickened his pace to an all-out sprint before stopping abruptly near a lumpy old hut in the middle of the village.

All the houses in Wolfmore were crafted in a similar fashion, short, low, and comfortable. The walls and pointy roofs were made of sturdy stones, the only material capable of handling the heat. Each hut would have but a single-window opening and rough sodden planks for doors that would allow lovely streams of sunlight through the tiny holes.

As Aiko came down from Ren's back and approached the hut, the door opened. A young boy, just about the same height as Aiko with white messy hair, pointy ears, and broken round glasses came out. He was as thin as a rake.

- "Daisuke!" – Aiko jumped and grabbed his hands looking at him with her big googly eyes. "Ready?"

- "I think so." – he smiled shyly.

- "I found a nice spot for mining. I bet it has like a TON of new gems. We'll earn big time. Oh...oh... and you'll definitely afford that lute you wanted. But, it's a lot further than all the other tunnels. It will take us a while to get there. Don't worry, it's totally worth it!"

Aiko was full of energy. She spoke loud and fast while waving her hands around picturing the piles and piles of gems they would get. Daisuke simply looked at the ground suppressing his smile. You could tell his cheeks were burning hot, not from the heat, but from Aiko's warm smile. The closer she got, the brighter they became.

- "Nonsense. I don't think I can afford a lute in this lifetime." – Daisuke said.

Ren frowned.

- "Pathetic. Wasting time here when we can earn big. Let's go."

Ren interrupted the conversation grabbing both Aiko and Daisuke. He then placed them over his back.

- "Let's go!" – Aiko cheered.

- "Mom, I'm off!"- Daisuke managed to utter a goodbye just before Ren stormed off.

- "Be safe." – said the mom from inside the hut.

In a matter of minutes, the three of them arrived at the mines. A massive canyon with steep sides spreading as far as the eye could see. The once vast Mountains of Bokonia were divided in half. Not by nature, but by human hand, creating a deep amber-gold rift wide enough for a huge river to pass through. The entire place smelled like burning coal mixed with dry gravel. Just like a dirt road would smell on a windy day. Here, above the canyon, it was always windy. The giddy current always flowed through the scorching rocks. There was a beauty to this barren wasteland.

The countless holes dug barely a meter from each other, all led to a maze of mining tunnels. A couple of elves were guarding the entrances, while the villagers slowly made their way down the dirt road getting ready for work.

- "Just in time." – uttered Aiko.

- "Of course. I'm never late." – said Ren with a confident smirk.

Daisuke simply smiled as Ren jumped down from the top of the cliff landing directly in front of an elven guard. The guard gulped as he desperately tried to maintain his composure. The jump was so high, no other creature would be able to survive it. But, for Ren, it was a piece of cake.

- "Wow! I don't think I can ever get used to THAT."- Daisuke mumbled and wiped the dust off his glasses.

- "Crazy right?" – Aiko laughed.

- "Brats! To work!"

The guard finally managed to gather the courage to give out an order while avoiding to look at Ren in the eyes.

- "Right away!"- Aiko waved and bolted inside.

- "Hey! Wait for me!"

In the meantime, three adventurers made their way into the village, an archer, wizard, and a warrior with a bulky old blade. The archer was dressed in leather from head to toe, with a couple of scraped silver embellishments here and there. The wizard was clearly a compulsive neat, wiping down his pure white cotton robe as he moved along. While the warrior was the complete opposite. His armor was rusted with who knows how many scrapes and dents. But, before they could enter the tavern, one of the elven guards stopped them.

- "Adventurers, state your business!"

- "Our guild master sent us here to protect Wolfmore from an impending threat." – explained the archer.

- "Threat? We've managed to handle every monster attack here. Move along." – the guard turned his back.

- "We've been sent by the capital." – joined the wizard.

- "The capital? Are they training new recruits?"- he sneered while mocking the new arrivals.

- "Why...you little!" – the warrior fumed.

- "We are from Blue Lust, and yes, we've recently joined the guild. Our guild master thinks this is a good place to train." – the archer continued.

- "Do as you wish." – the guard entered the tavern leaving the adventurers to mind their own business.

- "What the hell is wrong with that guy?" – mumbled the wizard.

- "He needs some head-bashing." – laughed the warrior.

- "Wow..."- the archer rolled his eyes in disappointment. "Come on. Let's get inside and find something to eat.

- "Yeah man! I'm starving!" – answered the warrior excitedly.

- "Me too."

Dust swirled in the early afternoon in the middle of Wolfmore. Just as the guards were about to change their shifts, a congregation of thick clouds darkened the sky. A vast blanket of black fog followed suit, looming over the village. Only a handful of villagers, who weren't in the mines, noticed the sudden change. They knew it was bad news, so they ran away from the village and into the mines like a terrified stampede.

- "What's going on?" – yelled one of the guards.

- "I don't know. But, it's not good." – answered another.

All the hustle startled the adventurers. They immediately came out of the tavern to see what was going on.

- "Finally some action!" – the warrior cheered.

- "You think so? It's just fog. Nothing special. Let's go back to bed." – yawned the archer.

- "Yeah... This is pointless." – added the wizard.

- "Everyone! Positions!"

Ordered the elven captain, as soon as he left the tavern; his ears pointing towards his entwined silver crown and iridescent silky hair. They all obeyed.

Hundreds of guards emerged from the village streets, lining up in the square with their bows, spears, and shiny swords pointed forth.

- "For real?! It's just fog, man." – the warrior gasped and scratched his head.

Suddenly, the sky opened.

A strange crack in the sky emerged as if a giant hand had ripped through the clouds and divided the heavens in half. Everyone on the ground could now see the universe peeking out from the cracks. The wider it opened, the more vivid it became. It was a frame of constellations illuminating the unfathomable blackness.

- "My bad."

The warrior chuckled and turned around to face the elves, hoping they would explain what is about to happen. But, instead of the clarification, he was hoping for, he noticed that every single elf guard was frozen in fear.

With each passing moment, their heartbeat got quicker and quicker. Sweat trickled down their pointy silver brows.

The young adventurers stared blankly at their horrified faces. Taken aback by their expression, the wizard stumbled backward almost jamming his heel into a stone behind him. The archer grabbed the young man by the shoulder to make sure he won't lose his balance. Suddenly, a loud raspy voice emerged from the ranks:

- "We are dead! We are all dead!"

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