About 10 light years east of the centre of the universe lies a magical cloud of red gases, glowing somewhat eerily in the void. Within it was the floating realms of Epanastasi, the home of the Panelix, the Goddess of Space. Massive, crystal towers fastened to the debris of dead planets, surrounded by beautiful rings of ice and cosmic dust made Epanastasi a daunting place.
But the powerful beauty of Epanastasi was nothing compared to its owner.
“Who sent you?” Epani’s voice boomed, echoing across the realm. “Are you a servant of the Whenvern, here to deceive me?”
Tenuk stood at the entrance to his little ship. He was just a mere mortal. A long-lived Kronospast, with a lifespan of about five thousand years, but a mere mortal nonetheless.
“Are you a plaything belonging to Yisini, here to confuse and annoy me?”
He may have been a Kronospast, but he didn’t look like one. Being a member of a race of shape-shifters, Tenuk had the freedom to change his looks whenever he wanted. But he was a rare kind of Kronospast who spent most of his live looking like another species. He had made himself look like a heavily armoured race called a Rethavok. Mainly because he was an exiled Kronospast and he had been living among the Rethavok for a while. Why? It was a complicated story.
“Fine. I would suggest that you are one of Arkadin’s minions but he is a lonesome deity. Why are you here?”
Epani’s massive form loomed into view. A deep red monster, lines of bioluminescent light running down her body. Massive jaws made her sea beast-like body too terrifying to mock.
“I am…” Tenuk hesitated. “I am here to learn more about you.”
If Epani looked confused or curious, it was impossible to tell. “Why?”
“I want to help bring peace to, well, everyone. And I thought if I got to know better our deities, perhaps I could bring a common ground to us mortal races.”
The Panelix floated around lazily, not sure what to make of the Kronospast’s answers. Normally Kronospasts were too busy worshipping Kairos, Epani’s draconic brother. It was unusual to see such a small, open Kronospast.
“Very well. What do you wish to know?”
Tenuk smiled and pulled out a pen and some paper. He was hesitant to use a voice recorder, in case he enraged the Goddess of Space.
“Well, firstly, what do you do? What are you a goddess of?”
The colossal space-beast growled, twisting around one of her crystal towers. “Don’t be silly! I am Epani, the Panelix, the Coil of the Void, the Goddess of Space. I create objects and the space between them! If it was not for me, you would not even be here!”
Tenuk nodded and started writing. “Do you get on with your fellow gods and goddesses?”
“Of course! Mostly. Kairos and you Kronospasts can be a thorn in my side, getting in my way at times. But I get on fine with both the Lord and Lady, and Yisini is plenty good to work with. No one likes Arkadin and his murderous paths.”
“He is Death, you fool.”
“But you’re unaffected by Death. Or by Kairos and his time. Aren’t you?”
Epani sneered, the rows of lights on her body glowing. “You do not understand. The faster you go, the slower Time is and the shorter Space is. Kairos knows this. He knows that speed is my enemy and his ally. That is why he toys with me.”
Before Tenuk could continue, the Panelix growled, swinging her long, finned tail round and crashing it somewhat near Tenuk’s ship.
“You are just here to discover my secrets, aren’t you?”
Tenuk raised his hands in the air, trying to make himself seem less of a threat. “No! Of course not! My loyalty is to no single empire! I simply want peace and happiness! Between both mortals and gods!”
“I do not believe you.”
The Kronospast sighed. “I understand. And I know there is little I can do to convince you. Perhaps if I visit the other deities first, will that convince you?”
Epani growled, then relented.
“FINE!” the Shark of Space hissed. “Prove yourself to the others, including the Blessed All herself, and I shall give you the answers to any questions you ask. Within reason.”
“Sounds fair to me!” Tenuk grinned. “I do have one question though… I have an idea how to find Kairos and Yisini, and even Kenon and Kinisis themselves. But where can I find Arkadin?”
“Ask Yisini. She shall reveal his location to you…” Epani twisted around the nearest crystal tower once more, before disappearing into the red mists. “Now leave, mortal. And do not come back…”
Tenuk shrugged, satisfied with what had just happened. He entered his ship, closing the door behind him.
“Yes, Master Tenuk?” the ship’s computer twitched into life.
“Can you set course for the centre of the universe, please?”
“Of course, ser!” Dessi beamed. “Please, prepare and strap in. The gravitational anomalies here may cause turbulence. Why are we going to this location?”
Tenuk sat himself down and strapped himself in. “We have another goddess to meet…”