Chapter 2: Visions and Visitations

Clara opened his eyes and found he was in a long hallway of obsidian and diamond. He looked down the eternal path and to one end sat a light great in beauty and warmth, though the thought of entering it brought fear to Clara. He turned to look the other way and saw a growing darkness, reaching out for anything that stumbled down that more unwholesome path. He stood and looked down at his body, and it was a form of mist and air, nude in the perfection of man's creation. He started walking toward the light, thinking of the rest he would find in the dining halls of great Bisha, and receiving a robe of the chosen from the lady Tammuz. At the thought of seeing those of his lost family again he began to quicken his pace, and soon he was running toward the light.
All of a sudden his mind was hit with a feeling of pure pain and despair and he could begin to hear two warring voices inside his mind. They grew louder and more violent, causing him seizures that threw him down, and though his body seemed without form he met the floor with solid resistance. "STOP," he yelled, "and leave me in peace I beg." Immediately the voices stopped their argument. A voice came to soft and sweet and said, "My child, come and rest, and let your pain exist no longer. Your old body is broken and dying, as is your old way of life. Rest and live through eternity in the halls of light, my father Bisha awaits his true and faithful servant." Clara looked toward the light and thought of the bliss that awaited him when the second voice began to speak, and it was the voice of gravel on glass.
"You mind your business and stay out of the way of those who know much more you lamb," it spat at the voice of the goddess. "You must go back knight," it crooned to Clara. "Your job is not done and you owe me a debt." Clara looked toward the darkness, realization dawning. "Oh yes human, I convinced that puny man to strike at the creature of my brother in return for a debt, and one I now claim."
"But you did not save me" he cried out, "or am I not here in your halls awaiting my last resting place!"
"Ah, but your body lives still, as the healer priests will strive to keep you living as long as your heart beats, and I am keeping that in hand." The laughter of the god shook the hall. "Do not interfere brother," the goddess warned, "or others will begin to take sides and battle in earnest."
"Hush girl," the god spat, "do not allow the man more than he should be aware of, for he figures in both paths." Clara sat, confused by the exchange between the gods and waited to be addressed once more. His mind swam, for he had pledged allegiance once to Bisha and Tammuz, yet his bodily form lay living due to the god of the underworld! The gods continued to argue over the fate of the knight and soon he could not handle it any longer. "STOP NOW!" he bellowed into the hallway, and the immediate silence was deafening. "I still am warranted free choice I presume, else I would be apart of one realm or another right now," he stated aloud, and he took the god's silence as an affirmation. "My former oaths force me to honor any blood debt that is due before my end, and the saving of my life and the capturing of the vampyre require certain," he thought for a moment, "payment." He then stood straight and tall and faced the hungry darkness and yelled, "What would you have me do m'lord Supay?"
Supay laughed and said, "I would have you forswear your oaths to the pretender Bisha and place your faith on the true path!" Clara began to protest but the god silenced him with a peal of thunder. "None need to know save yourself, I and the other gods, though you will be marked by my brethren and treated accordingly. But do not fear, for I take care of my toys!"
"Choose wisely," the voice of Tammuz interjected, and then silenced reigned in the hall once more. Clara stood thinking about what had just transpired. He had had a conversation with two bickering gods and was given the oddest choice; pay a blood debt and live though forever changed, or finish life and enter the halls and be happy. Common since told him the latter was to be his choice after years of service to his gods, but something deep inside told him he had things to do, that he was needed. Something told him he was important.
"Supay!" he screamed. "I accept your terms and swear fealty to the God of the Underworld". No sooner were the words out of his mouth when the darkness surged forth and enveloped him. A mad cackling rose in his ears, and dampness on his head began to chill him. The light died and…