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The Chalice Saga, volume 3
Part 3: The Chalice Drinkers
Vol, meanwhile, had finished his battle with Arisetsu, and began snuffing out the defeated gods as well as newly-forming gods. After such a terrible battle, there were hundreds of new gods forming from cast-off remains of godly power, and Vol hunted down and killed it before it could be come whole.
Ilth Hale watched Vol from her new home, the dimension known as Acur. To spite Vol, she began to seek out newly-forming dark gods and pull them to Acur so that they could manifest in safety and grow strong.
Harukita, Tuvillus, Kajich, and Urtigal were brothers, and she called all four into her realm. Then she spotted Ormorek, no longer the god of dwarves, now just the god of bitterness. She beckoned Ormorek into her realm before Vol could find him.
Lastly, Ilth Hale spotted a new goddess, Talerra, the god of Depression and Knowing the Truth. She beckoned for Talerra to rise into Acur with her, but Talerra was too depressed to move. Seeing that Vol was coming, Ilth Hale swooped down from the heavens, snatched Talerra in her arms, and carried her to safety. "Talerra, you will be my sister, for we are much alike." Talerra mumbled something, but could not be understood.
Ilth Hale closed the door into Acur, and for a time the gods rested, growing strong. The strongest of these new gods was Harukita, resplendent in his Armor of Hate and wielding the Sword of Bigotry. It was Harukita who found the Chalice of Undeath that had been hidden in Acur. Instead of being full of souls, it was still full of Zek's power: the power to create undead.
Harukita brought the chalice before the other gods. "I have sipped from Zek's Chalice and gained the power to create undead. But I have not sipped overmuch, for I have learned from the past. It was foolish for one god to try to protect such a power. If I dank all of the Chalice, Vol would hunt me down and eventually destroy me. But if we ALL drink from the Chalice, we shall all have the power of undeath. Vol will never be able to destroy us all. We shall be bonded in evil, a partnership that shall span an eternity. Are you with me? Drink from the chalice!"
Harukita's brothers quickly drank from the chalice. Ormorek drank too. But when the chalice was passed to Ilth Hale, Harukita stopped her. "There is one condition," he said. "While you may be the master of this realm known as Acur, I am the master of the Chalice. We shall all have a say in how the world is destroyed, but my voice shall call out louder than all others, including yours. Is it agreed?"
With a shrug of her naked shoulder, Ilth Hale wordlessly agreed and drank the bitter power.
A few sips remained in the Chalice, and so Ilth Hale flew to find Talerra. The goddess of depression was too weak to move most of the time, but on certain days Talerra would awaken and move with great power. Ilth Hale loved her and wanted her to be part of the covenant. Finding Talerra's body lying face down in the muck, she parted Talerra's lips and poured some of the power into her mouth. Talerra's eyes fluttered open and she screamed, "no!" but it was too late: she had become part of the brotherhood of undeath.
In a moment of rage, Talerra tossed the Chalice aside and began yelling at Ilth Hale. "How could you do this to me? You defiled the purity of depression! You marred me forever!" While the two gods argued, a lone figure sought out the Chalice.
It was Zhia Lian, the newly made goddess of whimsy and unpredictability. The door to Acur is unpredictable, and against tall odds Zhia Lian had been able to perceive the entrance to Acur and sneak in uninvited. She drank the last drop of power from the Chalice and then fled, giggling, out into the real world. And so Zhia Lian secretly joined the covenant, bringing a drop of whimsy and unpredictability to the undead.
In time Harukita took the empty chalice back to the world, where it once again began collecting the souls of those show died under dark emotions. And the members of the covenant - all save Talerra - began creating undead to walk the world and spread darkness across the planet.