The inside of the circle suddenly turned black, then a dark, hazy green. It looked like the green dust around it was pouring into the floor like a waterfall, disappearing in sharp green tendrils.
Out of the green mist came a blinding light they all knew so well; he shut his eyes, as well as everyone else. When he opened them again, a familiar sight was before him.
The goddess didn't look happy at all.
Her eyes, as green as the dust 'waterfall' beneath her, were set angrily on Ray.
"Why have you called me, Ray?" Terrana's booming voice filled the whole restaurant with an icy feel. But he was not going to be subservient any longer. Not after everything she had done to him; after everything she had ordered him to let go of.
Ray was actually much more at ease than he thought he'd be. He was brave in the face of the goddess, who he'd only served wordlessly for so many years. But now it was time for her to listen to his voice. To their voice.
"Terrana," Ray said coldly, his voice on the verge of rage. "We have some things to discuss."
The goddess narrowed her sharp eyes at him. Her waving brown hair spilled over her white shoulders like a never ending waterfall, but it looked as if it were deadly rocks instead of soft wood.
"We have nothing to discuss if I have nothing to discuss with you." Terrana replied sharply. "You have failed once again to remember your place, Ray."
"You have failed to remember yours, Terrana," Ray shot back. "You forgot a long time ago."
"And what does that mean?" Terrana snapped.
"We are not your slaves," Ray growled. He was feeling all his emotions trying to spill out at once. He contained them as well as he could, only allowing anger and bravery seep out. "You may watch us, but you are not the leader of the Bound. I am."
The goddess's lips pressed themselves into a thin smile. "Is that so?"
Her smirk angered Ray even more; how dare she think she was still so much better than them? Simply because she was a goddess, and they weren't?
"Yes," Ray replied. "That is so. It is my decision over what happens to the Bound. I was given that responsibility in my first Cycle, and I am not about to abandon it now. I decide what is best for the Bound, and what we should do when the time comes. Not you. And as you believe your word is superior to mine, you pose a threat to the Bound's wellbeing. And that is unacceptable. I will not allow it."
Terrana's smirk faded into disgust. She folded her willowy arms, regarding him darkly. The air around her was already starting to darken. "You are so young, Ray, and have missed your place entirely. I will not allow you to endanger the Bound anymore with your nonsense."
Ray couldn't help but grin at that. He was so full of suppressed rage over all the years that it just had to come out. Right now. Right here. He was never going to bow down to Terrana again.
"Too bad for you," He said. "You're greatly outnumbered. Everyone here knows you have gone outside your boundaries. Even Aitor knows it."
At the name of her fellow higher immortal, Terrana snarled. Ray had never seen the goddess snarl before, but it quickly ruined the image of beauty that she always upheld. It showed her darker side, which made this all the more easier.
"You cannot speak for Aitor," Terrana growled at him. The air had grown thin and cold around him, but he managed to keep breathing. He couldn't let it faze him. "I am a goddess—I am never wrong! Whatever my actions, they are justified as right! You stupid, petty little immortal; do you really think you are that important to overthrow me?"
Ray opened his mouth to speak, but he was cut off by a warm feeling, and a sudden want to shut his eyes. He did so just before a flash of bright light entered the room. When he did, he saw Aitor standing beside Terrana, outside of the green dust circle.
Aitor was very similar in ways to Terrana, but different in others. He was very pale like Terrana, with the same willowy limbs and the soft features. He had long, snow white hair that was bound in some places with bits of ribbon with inscribing on them, though most of his hair was swept over his shoulders. The god wore a simple white robe with flowing sleeves, and it was a bit fuzzy where his robe ended and hair and skin started. He carried with him a wooden staff that greatly resembled a buck's antlers at its highest point. Along the top was a wrapped gold chain that led to a small pocket watch, which seemed a bit ironic for the god of time. Aitor had light brown eyes and thin, dark brown triangles that ran under his eyes to his chin, and he radiated a sense of serenity and logic that Terrana did not. Seeing as how he was the god they rarely saw, his presence now was surprising.
Terrana didn't seem very happy to see him. Her expression melted into that of animalistic rage when she saw the god of time appear. "Aitor," She snarled. "This has nothing to do with you!"
"Terrana," Aitor said calmly. His voice was thick and melodious, like a grandfather clock. It held a certain rhythm to it that never failed, and a seriousness that made him heard. "You have strayed too far from your own path. You cannot be the Bound's guardian in your state. I am relieving you of your position."
"You cannot do that!" Terrana exclaimed. "They are mine, Aitor! Mine!"
Her terrible gaze sought Ray's face, and he was a bit thrown back by the uncontrolled rage in her expression towards him. "You," She snarled, pointing what looked like a clawed hand at him. "You will learn your place, insolent boy!"
Out of the goddess's hand came a sharp, single bolt of white light, which arched its wicked path towards Ray.
This was it. He was going to die.
Ray shut his eyes—he deserved it. If this was the sacrifice he needed to make for the Bound, then so be it.
He was ready for his punishment.
"No!" A voice boomed.
There was a sharp, sickening sound in front of him, and then a thud as something hit the ground.
Ray opened his eyes, unsure of what just happened. He was supposed to take whatever Terrana had fired at him—so why hadn't he?
On the ground lay a motionless Callum.
The harpy found his thoughts again, and they were of terror. "Callum!" He gasped, falling to his knees in front of the unmoving form.
Callum's eyes were wide open in anger and fear, his hands angled like claws. He wasn't breathing.
Ray looked up sharply at Terrana, whose eyes were narrowed even more in disgust. "You are a pathetic excuse for a Bound," She told him with a voice like venom itself. "You will rue the day you tried to overthrow me. No one overthrows me."
Aitor frowned at the goddess. "Terrana. Depart in peace. You have done enough."
"Do not expect this to be the last time you see me," She snarled at him and the other Bound. "You are all at my mercy. Never forget that."
And with that, the goddess faded from the room.
Right now, Ray couldn't have cared less. He was too concerned about Callum and the terrible feeling in his stomach.
"Callum," Ray said breathlessly, unable to find the air in his lungs. He shook the lycan's shoulder, but it was limp and warm. "Callum, please. Callum, just wake up."
The other Bound surrounded him now, all silent in disbelief.
Ray couldn't see them either. He wasn't aware of anything but Callum and Aitor, who hadn't disappeared yet.
He looked up abruptly to Aitor. "He's still in the Cycle, right?" Ray choked out. "He's still immortal, right?"
Aitor was silent. His gaze was calm, but Ray could see the little twinge of pity in it.
Callum wasn't coming back. He could see that in Aitor's face.
"It's not fair," He said, his voice shaking uneasily. Ray tightened his fingers in Callum's leather jacket. Callum was still staring in anger at a goddess that was no longer there. His eyes weren't going to close or open again. "It's not fair!"
"Ray," Mimi said quietly, setting her hand on his shoulder. If it had been anyone else, he would've shaken their hand off. But he was too stunned right now, too guilty with himself. He was the leader. He was supposed to protect them all. "Ray, there's nothing you can do."
His hands were shaking now, though they were still embedded in the jacket of his fallen comrade. Why had Callum jumped out in front of Ray? Why couldn't he have let him take his punishment? It wasn't Callum's time to die. It shouldn't have been.
Ray's breaths were shaky in and out now. He had no idea what to say, but he spoke anyway. "This shouldn't have happened," He muttered. "This shouldn't have happened."
Aitor spoke again. "Ray, she is right. His choice was his own. Your soldier has died for you, and you should honor him for that instead of being angry with his leave. Now, as Terrana has been overthrown, it falls onto me to take her place. And if you believe my actions wrong like hers, I encourage you to overthrow me as well. Though I doubt that will be necessary."
The god was silent for a moment, as everyone was still in shock at the sudden loss of life. Aitor bowed his head and shut his eyes. "And so life goes on. Time knows no mercy, nor compassion. It never bows or bends for anything. You will all understand this one day, my children. Have faith in yourself."
And with that, the god disappeared into nothingness.
And the Bay was silent once again.
Thank you everyone for reading ReBound (though it definitely was not one of my more popular stories)! I know there's still a TON of questions still up in there, which is why I'm currently working on a **