The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
HELL IN HADES
He turned slowly as he treaded the water, and he stopped moving when he saw a grim-faced man standing on the water with arms folded and his deep penetrating gaze fixed on the breed.
“So, you survived the tortures of the body, the cravings and dictates of lust!’ he said in his slow, deep voice.
“Sage,” Sena said weakly. “Isn’t it troubling to find you here? I remember you telling me there’s no way you could come to Hades if I took the portal of the king.”
“Hummph!” Prosper Freeman said and made an arc in the air with his right hand.
Sena’s body was projected from the lake in an arc, and he crashed not too gently on the grassy banks of the lake. He groaned with pain and turned to look at the Sage, but the man disappeared from the lake and appeared in front of the Halo Breed.
“Did you lie?” Sena asked.
“No, I lie not!” the Sage said, his voice sharp with displeasure. “You did well to survive! You’re now on the path to Hades, and so I was brought here to meet you. Who am I, a mere sage, to abandon the ways of the Spirits?”
Sena smiled and sat up.
“You seem happy to see me alive,” he said.
“Indeed, it is refreshing to see you still breathing! But your ways are still folly sometimes! You must begin to move like the Spirits intend you to, otherwise I’m afraid you will fall, like so many before you!”
“Advice appreciated!” Sena said and smiled again. “Now, to what ends were you sent to me?”
Prosper Freeman pointed, and Sena followed his pointing finger and saw a single tree in the distance.
“That’s the tree of the Spirits!” the Sage said. “Go hither! Eat, drink, and get dressed. And then, a golden door will be opened for you to pass on to the accursed land thereof. It is the Desolates! Remember, you can never cross the Desolates unless you walk with Tatita.”
“Tatita?” he asked, puzzled.
“Yes, indeed. She’s a maiden inside the Desolates! Find her! You will perish if you do not find her because your sojourn inside that accursed place is limited, and only she can lead you out! Also, the Spirits want you to know that the red haze has thickened in the Tenements, indicating that Lord Lastor might be planning your early demise to facilitate his early return to plunder Earth. Be vigilant, Breed of the Halos.”
“Now, sir, wait a minute!” Sena said and struggled to his feet, but the Sage of the Spirits disappeared just then, and Sena’s jaw tightened perceptively.
Sighing despondently, he began to walk towards the Tree of the Spirits.
There was a table and a chair under the tree, and on it was a basket of strange fruits. There were six fruits in the basket, all of them with different colorizations and shapes, but two of them were octagonal and grey.
Also, hanging on a low branch of the tree were clothes, and beneath them, a pair of black cloth boots.
Although he was ravenously hungry, Sena Kukah took his time to get dressed first and laced on the boots. He saw that a black hood with slits for eyes was beneath the cloths, and he almost left it because there was no way he was going to put that on his head; on second thought, he surmised that if it was not needed the Spirits would not have provided it, so he pushed it into one of the pockets.
He sat behind the desk and drew the basket nearer, then he picked up one of the grey fruits and bit into it. Water gushed into his mouth, and his eyes widened with disbelief as he bit into it again and closed his eyes to savour the sweetness of the water that slid silkily down his throat.
He set it aside and picked a purple fruit, and it tasted exceedingly delicious, like the rice balls and peanut soup he had eaten at Densua and loved so much. Sena sat for a while munching on the fruit, and realized that even though he ate to his fill, he had only consumed a small patch of the fruit. He bit a piece of the water fruit to quench his craving for water, then he put the fruits in a small sack he found in one of the pockets of the trousers he was wearing.
Suddenly he heard a loud, ear-splitting sound behind him, the ground shook alarmingly. Sena spun around with a little trepidation and noticed that there was a black door on the banks of the lake.
It was shimmering, as if it was made of a hazy substance and would not remain available for long. He sprinted to the door and it swung. He rushed through, running in darkness, and then he emerged suddenly into the bleak Desolates!
It was a horrible valley.
On each side was an unending stretch rocky mountain, stretching into the white sky and far into the horizon for as far as his eyes could see. The rock on his left was black, and the one on his right was metallic blue.
The floor of this ungodly valley was a broad brown, sandy terrain. A weird, hot wind had whipped the sand and swirled with it so that the whole atmosphere was a mass of hot, floating dust.
Sena could barely breathe.
The hot dust stung his eyes and nose, and he knew he could not survive its horrors. He now knew why the black hoodie had been added to his apparel. Quickly, he pulled it off and jammed it down his neck, covering his nose and mouth, and now he could breathe easier.
The problem now were his eyes, but when he closed his eyes to slits and pulled the top of the mask a little down, it stopped the terrible dust from stinging his eyes and blinding him.
As he walked, wondering how he was going to find that Tatita in this swirling horror, it dawned on him that he could hear voices in the stormy sand to his left near the black rock surface, and he angled his steps towards the left.
When he was near enough, he stopped with surprise.
The rock surface was littered with well-spaced oval doorways, arranged like apartments with elaborate steps between them! Most of the doorways were lit, and he noticed that the rough, swirling dust stopped just short of the doorways, and never entered!
Voices were coming from behind the first door, and as Sena drew near, a strange figure emerged from within and glared at him. This entity was jet-black, his skin darker than coal! His arms and legs were triple-jointed. He was squat of height but powerfully-muscled, making him look like an ogre. His lips and eyes were bright-red, like blood, and his head was completely bald. His nose was like a piece of a square rock, and his ears were thin, long appendages on each side of his massive head, and they twitched constantly as he glared at Sena.
He was wearing a shiny red material around his loins, and the same material had been woven into a vest for his upper body.
“Hold it there, Traveller!” he said in a deep, rumbling voice. “No visitors allowed. You can find a Breaker to break a dome for you!”
Sena looked at this unfriendly citizen with cold eyes.
“I seek Tatita!” he said calmly. “Know where I can find her, perchance?”
The red eyes of the indigen blazed with sudden fury.
“Do I look like your stoogie?” he asked darkly. “Move along, Traveller!”
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