Drifter paused for a moment, allowing all of this information to sink in, and he could see a thousand subtle changes come over Anna's face as she contemplated the story that she had been told.
"So when you say gods, what exactly are you talking about?" she asked.
"Have you heard of Zeus and the Greek gods? Or Osiris and the Egyptian gods?" he asked, and Anna nodded. "Well, they're the sorts of gods that I'm talking about. Only you guys pre-date them by countless millennia. We're all babies compared to you."
"We? You mean you're one too?" she asked, stunned. She had felt like the man was more powerful than he appeared, and yet he seemed so ordinary as well.
Drifter chuckled. "I'm not quite a god. I'm a demi-god – a half caste," he clarified. "But like you, I'm immortal, and have certain abilities," he added, and Anna frowned.
"How did you even find out about me? Why did you come here?" she asked, suddenly afraid that Drifter was going to ruin her little empire.
The man shrugged. "I sensed your power when I shook your hand, and it's so different to anything I've ever felt before that I just knew. And I came here because this is a new settlement, and a new church. To avoid complicated explanations, let's just say that God sent me to check out the new settlements that are springing up in this New World."
"God? But I thought you said that he didn't exist?" Anna said, and Drifter smirked.
"That's true, but I also said that there was someone who was filling in the role," he said with a wink. "But anyway where was I? Ah yes, the first gods," he said, picking up his story. "Now, from what we know of these first gods – which isn't a whole lot, to be honest – is that their powers were very different to the powers that we have now. For gods like Zeus, and every other god that you've probably heard of, they're born with their powers. They grow and mature with the individual, and even if the humans that once worshipped them stop, or die out, or whatever, that power remains. For the Old Ones, this isn't the case."
"Why not?" Anna asked, and Drifter shrugged.
"We're not quite sure, but we do know that their powers relied on the other humans around them. Because of Lady Light and Lord Darkness, they were all born with the potential for power, but it only showed itself when humans believed that they had power. I guess it's why so many of them set themselves up as gods and spirits, angels and demons. When humans believed in, worshipped, and had faith in them, their powers grew. But when that worshipped stopped, their powers faded, and they disappeared from human history. They existed in a time when men were very young, and had no written or pictorial history, so there are no records of them in existence. We only know about them from a few chance meetings, vague word-of-mouth stories, and the occasional conversation with Lady Light and Lord Darkness themselves," Drifter explained, and Anna nodded.
"Well that explains why my powers grew when the humans here started treating me like an angel," she said, and Drifter nodded. "But why don't I know any of this? If I am an Old One, then why can't I remember it?" she wanted to know, and Drifter shrugged.
"I have a couple of theories. The first one is that, just as your powers relied on worship, so too did your identity as a god. When the humans forgot who you were, and forgot what your name was, then so did you. My other theory is that you've been alive for so long that your memory simply can't contain that many years, and it's most likely gone through black out periods to cope with the weight of years that it has to contain," Drifter said, and Anna slowly nodded.
"My memory only goes back about two thousand years or so, but before that there's nothing. My earliest memory is of wandering through a desert in the Holy Land, with no idea who I was, or how I'd gotten there. When I had to, I came up with a name for myself, but I honestly don't know if it's even my real name," Anna explained, and Drifter nodded.
"I'm sure it's the same for any other Old Ones that are out there too," he said, and Anna seemed to perk up at this.
"Others? You mean there might be more like me?" she asked, having never before met anyone else like herself.
"I don't see why not. If you've survived, chances are others have too. You should try calling them," Drifter suggested, and Anna frowned.
"What do you mean by calling them? How do I do that?" she asked, and Drifter smiled.
"Well, you have a bit of power in you, so it should work. Gods can call out to each other, sending their voices to the minds of those they wish to communicate with. I don't see why you shouldn't be able to do that too," he explained, and the prospect of meeting others like herself both thrilled and terrified Anna. "You've got a nice little church here," Drifter continued on, looking around the inside of the dark chapel. "Maybe you could turn it into a sanctuary for forgotten gods?" he said with a smile, and before Anna had even properly thought about it, she knew that she was going to do just that.
"How do I do it?" she asked, and Drifter smiled at her.
"It's actually quite easy. It all comes down to the strength of your will, and your determination to be heard. Just think of who you want to call out to, and than imagine them hearing your voice, no matter where they are. You can talk out loud, or just think the words – whatever works for you – but the important thing is that you have to want to be heard," Drifter explained, and Anna nodded in understanding.
"Is that all there is to it?" she asked, and Drifter nodded.
"Yup, that's all there is to it," he said with a grin. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I really have to go. I wish you the best of luck," he said as he stood up, and before Anna could even say thank you, the strange man vanished right before her eyes, leaving nothing but a cool breeze in his wake.
Danian was standing on an ice drift, a hand-made wooden spear in hand, watching the freezing water for that elusive flash of scales. He had sharper eyes than a lot of the other men, and the harsh temperatures didn't seem to bother him as much, meaning that he could stay out longer and hunt better than any of the others.
He had been in the frozen lands for countless generations now, and although he was considered one of the tribe, he was also set apart from them. He didn't age at all, no matter how many years passed by, and the native people of Tanaina regarded him as one of their ancient spirits. They believed that he had come from the great mountain that towered over their lands, and they called the young man Denali, which meant 'The Great One' in their language. Dain let them believe these stories, as he honestly didn't know any better, and the native people had been nothing but hospitable towards him.
The flash of scales caught his eye, and Dain plunged his spear into the water. When he withdrew it, a shimmering fish was stuck to the end of it, thrashing wildly even as it died. Dain added it to the hand woven basket that contained his other fish, and seeing that he had enough for the day, he hoisted up the basket and began the trek back to the village.
Halfway to the encampment, the strangest sensation came over him, making him stagger and almost drop his basket. It were as if someone was trying to call out to him, only it wasn't his ears that were hearing the voice. It was more like his own mind was yelling at him, only his mind sounded like a girl. She spoke to him of a village in the foothills of towering mountains, where the sun was hot and the beaches were perfect. She spoke of a place where he could find the answers to his existence, and where he could have a home with others just like him. More than anything, she spoke of belonging somewhere, and it was such a strong sentiment that Dain could feel it tugging at something deep inside of him. He wanted to follow that voice, no matter where it would lead him.
The Tanaina people never saw the man that they called Denali ever again. They believed that he had returned to the great mountain that shared his name, where he continued to watch over and protect them. They never knew that on that day, the man with the deep blue eyes had left their lands, following after a voice that only he could hear, compelled south by the promise of a true home – the one thing that he had always wanted.
Seraphine hated Portugal. She wished that she had never left Spain, as things hadn't been so bad there, despite the men that refused to leave her alone. But Portugal was worse. She was not the sort of girl who would cower indoors only venturing out at respectable times of the day, and this had lead her into a lot of trouble. Men often mistook her for a working girl, and her penchant for loitering near the docks didn't help much. But she simply loved to watch the ships coming and going, even if the people on board them were usually detestable. She couldn't stand any of them.
She had made her way down from France, having fled the beginnings of the revolution, and Sera had found herself wandering through Spain with no real notion of where she was going. The next thing she knew, she was in Portugal, standing on the docks in Lisbon, and dodging the advances of nearly every sailor in town. She knew what the attraction was – she was a tiny little thing, with fair features and kind eyes that made every man think that he could get the better of her. However, that pretty face was hiding a powerful confidence that caught every man completely off guard; and yet Sera was sick of it all.
The voice came like a whisper in her mind, talking of a place where she could belong, and where there would be others like her – others that never seemed to grow old, and who stayed strong no matter what the situation. She had often wondered if there were other people like her in the world, and now this strange voice in her mind was telling her that there was. It was begging her to come to the New World, and before Sera had even consciously thought about it, her feet were taking her towards the nearest ship, and her voice was demanding passage.
She would go to this New World, and she would find the sanctuary that the compelling voice spoke of; anything to get her out of Portugal.