Forgotten – P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was only the Divine Energy of the universe. Energy was neither good nor bad, light nor dark, male nor female—it simply existed, a maelstrom of possibilities, clashing, joining, and growing. As Energy grew, it evolved. As it evolved, it created. Energy first created the many realms of the Otherworld, filling them with beauty and magick. Those incredible realms inspired more creations. From the womb of each of the Otherworld realms great solar systems were born, tangible reflections of the Otherworld Old Magick filled with countless celestial bodies. Energy divided and evolved, reflecting the infinite aspects of the Divine. Some Energy was content and rested, eternally existing in a swirling orbit of stars, moons, suns, and beautiful, but empty, planets. Some Energy destroyed its creations, more content with itself than with possibilities. And some Energy continued to change, evolve, and create. In one Otherworld realm, the Divine Energy was particularly restless and precocious because it desired companionship. So, from the magnificence that was the Otherworld, the Divine fashioned fabulous beings. It then breathed immortal life into the beings, and thus were born the goddesses, gods, and the sprites that made up the many magickal species called fey. The Divine granted the gods and goddesses dominion over all the Otherworld realms and tasked the fey with being their servants and helpers.

Many of these immortal beings scattered throughout the endless Otherworld realms never to return, but for those who remained at their birthplace, the Divine had a gift. They were given an additional dominion over all other immortals, that of the stewardship of one spectacular planet in their system and all of its mirror worlds—a planet that intrigued the Divine Energy because it reflected the emerald and azure beauty of the Otherworld. The Divine named the planet Earth. The Divine adored Earth, so much so that it stroked Earth’s surface and became her lover. Alas, Energy cannot long be contained, and it eventually moved on from Earth, but not before it granted to its lover Earth the Divine’s most precious gift—the magick that is the power of creation. Young Earth, fertile and curious, began to create. The goddesses and gods were intrigued by Earth and her mirrored images. They and their fey visited often, and Earth welcomed the immortals, children of her beloved Divine. She loved them so fondly that she was inspired to design a very special creation. From her bosom, she formed and then breathed life into beings that she fashioned in the very image of the goddesses and gods, naming them humans.

Though Mother Earth was not able to give her children immortality—that was a gift only Divine Energy could bestow— she placed within each of them a spark of the Divinity that had been shared with her, ensuring that even though their bodies must always return to the Earth from which they had been made, their consciousness would continue eternally in the form of spirit, so that they could be reborn again and again to Mother Earth. Created in their image, Earth’s children enchanted the goddesses and gods, and the immortals vowed to watch over them when the inevitable happened and their mortal bodies died. All was well for many generations as humans prospered and multiplied. They were grateful to Mother Earth, each culture holding her sacred. The goddesses and gods visited Earth’s children often, and humans revered them as Divine. Well satisfied, Mother Earth retreated within herself to rest from the strain of creation. When next she awakened, eons later, she looked for the children of the Divine and was hardly able to sense their presence at all. Concerned, Mother Earth called to Air, commanding the element to send out a message to the Otherworld, asking the children of her beloved to remember their vow and return to her. Only one immortal responded. The Goddess Nyx, in her many forms, had remained true and faithful, even after her brothers and sisters had become bored and restless and deserted Earth.

Mother Earth was moved by Nyx’s fidelity. Grateful for her loyalty, Mother Earth granted Nyx dominion over the five elements, and she gifted the young Goddess with her heart’s desire—two beings created especially for her. The first of the winged immortals was the son of Mother Earth and the Moon, fashioned to be Nyx’s warrior and lover. Earth named him Kalona and gave him silverwhite wings. Kalona’s brother came next, created from the union of the Earth and the Sun to be Nyx’s playmate and friend. Earth named him Erebus and gave him golden wings. To test the strength, intelligence, and loyalty of her new creations, and to be sure they were worthy to be companions to her precious Nyx, Mother Earth fashioned three tests the brothers were required to pass before they could join their Goddess in her Otherworld. In one of Mother Earth’s realms, Kalona became incensed with jealousy during the testing process, misunderstanding his golden brother’s relationship with Nyx, and the winged immortal allowed Darkness to taint his spirit so completely that not even the Goddess’s love could save him. But through Kalona’s jealous mistakes, and the violence they caused, came about the creation of Nyx’s most special children, her vampyres. The day of their creation was so tragic for Nyx that the Goddess made Kalona and Erebus swear an oath that they would never speak of the events of that day.

Our young Goddess did not understand then that by silencing the truth, she was setting into motion a series of disastrous events. Though Erebus and Nyx tried to mend Kalona’s spirit—tried to make him understand that anger and jealousy beget only despair and disaster, Kalona refused to soften. So, to save the Otherworld from encroaching Darkness, Nyx broke her own heart and banished Kalona from her realm. As he Fell to Earth—as he tumbled to his exile—the color of his wings changed from silver to black. In his grief and anger at being separated from his Goddess, Kalona became completely consumed by Darkness. He terrorized Nyx’s human children until finally the Wise Women of the Cherokee people created a maiden to draw Kalona into a trap, where Mother Earth imprisoned him for generations until the vampyre High Priestess Neferet, another fallen follower of Nyx, released him. Though Kalona eventually evolved enough to earn forgiveness from Nyx and was able to rejoin his Goddess as her Consort in the Otherworld again, he left in his past a trail of violence, destruction, and despair that would haunt him for eternity. But what if …? What would have happened if Erebus had somehow gotten through to his brother? What if Erebus broke his word to Nyx and spoke to his brother about the events that had changed them all so tragically? What if that very sacrifice of his oath, and something much, much deeper, managed to make Kalona understand there was no need for his jealousy and rage? What if Kalona of the Silver Wings had never Fallen? Well, dear readers, in a mirrored realm of Mother Earth, that is exactly what happened. Turn the page and learn of Erebus’s choice. A choice that saved himself, his brother, and —ultimately—two worlds.

Nyx’s Realm in the Other World 1 Other Erebus Erebus couldn’t stand to watch Nyx suffer—especially as he was coming to believe more and more that a simple misunderstanding was the cause. It would be so easy to fix this if we could just explain to Kalona that he misunderstood what he had witnessed. The golden-winged immortal pondered silently as he stood in the arched doorway to Nyx’s suite of chambers. Within, the Goddess sat lethargically on her balcony, looking out over a crystal lake so blue it hurt Erebus’s eyes if he gazed at it too long. Water sprites frolicked in the waves, doing impossible flips and spins and dives as they tried to amuse their Goddess, and though they sparkled like precious jewels, Nyx barely glanced at them. She reclined on a cloud-like chaise lounge, looking at the beauty of her Otherworld but seeing nothing except her own sadness. Erebus wasn’t surprised. He’d seen his brother’s moonlight-colored wings flash as he flew away from the Goddess’s balcony. The dark look on Kalona’s face and Nyx’s melancholy told Erebus everything he needed to know. “Blessed morning to you, my Goddess!” Erebus greeted Nyx as he entered her chamber.

At the sound of his voice, Nyx sat up and smoothed back her mass of thick, dark curls, turning to smile at Erebus, though the winged immortal saw that the Goddess’s lovely smile did not reach her eyes. Today she had chosen to appear in skin the color of the fertile earth she loved so well. She wore sheer sunset-colored silk that alluringly draped her athletic body. Around her neck was strand after strand of maroon beads that glistened magickally like they held secrets. “Blessed morning, my Erebus,” Nyx greeted him as he bent to kiss her smooth cheek. “Ah, today you are lovely Oya! Are we going to visit the earth felines you’re calling Golden Cats, or are you simply going to run with the antelopes again?” He pulled a strand of her springy curls playfully. “You know me so well, sweet Erebus. You are correct. I had thought to visit the Niger River and perhaps frolic with my Golden Cats before racing some antelope.” Her gaze slid from Erebus to stare from her balcony up, up as she obviously searched for a glimpse of moonlight wings and passionate, amber eyes.

“Have you and Kalona argued again?” Erebus asked softly as he sat beside Nyx. “You already know the answer to that question, my friend,” said the Goddess. “What was it this time?” She sighed. “I mentioned the Golden Cats.” “Ah, his jealousy. Again.” Erebus had introduced Nyx to the wildcats that delighted her so and had gifted the first vampyre maiden ever created with a magickally domesticated version of those kittens, earning his Goddess’s sincere appreciation. Since that day Kalona hated even the mention of felines. Nyx nodded in weary agreement. “Again.

” Then she shook back her mass of ebony curls and waved dismissively at the sky, saying, “No matter. You and I shall frolic with the Golden Cats and race the antelope. We will have a wonderful day. Perhaps we will visit one of the tribes that hold Oya’s image dear and I will invoke water to bless their planting. That will cause a joyous celebration.” “It certainly will, and I think it is a nice idea. Your people will be grateful.” Erebus paused and took her hand in his. “But before we go, please talk to me. You do not have to carry your sadness alone.

” Nyx met his gaze. “Speaking of it feels as if I am a naive maiden pining for …” Her words faded as her gaze lifted again. “Pining for the moon?” Erebus offered. Her melancholy gaze found him again. “I don’t suppose I have to speak of it to be the pining maiden. You do know me, my friend. And so you know my sadness. I am sorry.” He held her hand gently. “You have nothing to be sorry for.

” “I do. Somehow I have caused—” “My Goddess, forgive me, but I must interrupt you. You have not caused anything. May I speak plainly?” “Of course.” In a rush of words Erebus told her what he’d been silent about for far too long. “You did not cause Kalona’s jealousy. I did not cause Kalona’s jealousy. Nor did we cause the anger that is festering within him and—” Erebus paused, suddenly not sure he should speak quite so plainly to his Goddess. “Festering within him and what? I granted you leave to speak your mind, Erebus. Please do so,” the Goddess commanded.

“And destroying his capacity for love,” Erebus said slowly and distinctly, realizing at that moment just how true his words were. Kalona should be completely content to live an eternity as Consort to Nyx. He was created to be her warrior and lover, yet as each day went by it seemed the winged immortal became more withdrawn and angry—always angry. If something didn’t change soon, Kalona’s anger would, indeed, eventually destroy everything of Light within him, including his ability to love. Nyx stood abruptly, pulling her hand from his. She walked to the edge of the balcony. Erebus followed her. “Forgive me,” he said. She shook her head. “I think you and I must stop apologizing to each other about your brother.

He is not here—he is rarely here—but his anger still feels present, and I believe that is because you and I apologize our way around the wounds his anger causes and do not speak of it.” “Then let us speak of it. I was created to be your friend. Let me share this sadness with you—as a friend.” “Erebus, recently I have often wondered if …” Her words faded as she stared miserably into the sky. “If what, my Goddess, my friend?” Nyx turned to Erebus. “I have been thinking that perhaps Kalona was flawed from his creation.” “You will have to explain that,” said Erebus. “He was destined to be my warrior and lover. Perhaps he wasn’t given the inherent joy you were given as my playmate and friend.

You find joy so easily—so naturally. It is one of the things I love most about you.”

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