…Neferet beamed a smile at her Dark minions that was both exquisitely beautiful and terrifying. “I have an answer to our dilemma, children! The cage we created to hold Redbird was a weak, pathetic attempt at imprisonment. I have learned so much since that night. I have gained so much power—we have gained so much power. We will not cage people, as if I am a gaoler instead of a goddess. My children, we are going to blanket the very walls of my Temple with your magickal, unbreachable threads so that my new supplicants will be able to worship me unhindered. And that will only be the beginning. As I absorb more and more power, why not encase the entire city? I know it now—I know my destiny. I begin my reign as Goddess of Darkness by making Tulsa my Olympus! Only this is not a weak myth passed down as trite stories from schoolchildren to schoolchildren. This will be reality—a Dark Otherworld come to earth! And in my Dark Otherworld, there will be no innocents being abused by predators. All will be under my protection. I hold their fates in my hands—they have only to look to my welfare to be fulfilled. Ah, how they will worship me!”
Around her, the tendrils writhed in response to her excitement. She smiled and stroked those nearest to her. “Yes, yes, I know. It will be glorious!”
Kalona streaked across the billowing thunderclouds almost in time with the lightning. The storm’s winds buffeted him, but Kalona took no heed of it. He had one duty, one responsibility, one edict from his Goddess. He would protect the people in need. No matter the cost, he chose to stand between Neferet and those he had come to value, even to love.
Suddenly, the clouds before him began to boil and change form until Kalona was staring into the glowing eyes of the White Bull. His body was an enormous cloud, his horns dripping with a rain of blood.
Though it has been eons since last we met, you are as predictable now as you were then. The voice blasted through Kalona’s mind. What mu- tually beneficial deal shall we make this time, Kalona?
“None, bull. Last time we met I rejected you in words, but not in my heart, nor in my deeds. Last time we met I allowed your Darkness to feed that which was weak within me and poison my life. This time I am different. This time I reject you in words, in heart, and in deeds.”
Really, Son of the Moon? Would you still reject me if I told you I had the power to restore to you everything you lost during the eons you have wandered the mortal realm?
“There is nothing you can give me that would be worth the price.”
But you haven’t even heard my price. It would be so very little in comparison to that which you have lost…