BEEP. John? Are you there? Pick up the phone if you can hear me. We’re on our way there from Fran’s place. We have the van… John I’ve gotta call you back.
BEEP. John, it’s Emily again. Ricky, Fran, the kids, we’re coming now. Pack up what you can. We’ll be there in ten minutes. And see if you can remember where we put dad’s rifle.
BEEP. John? John? Please pick up. We can’t turn down the street, there’s burning cars and a lot of zombies. Can you get to us? We’re down at the corner by the bus stop.
A voice called out, “That’s far enough.”
He was mentally kicking himself for not noticing the ladders and planks linking the roofs of the buildings on this street, but he calmly looked up without raising his shotgun. “I’m looking for shelter.”
“Unless you’ve got a magic bag full of food, there’s no shelter to be found around here.”
“I know how to make bullets.”
“What’s that, now? Say that again?”
“How low are you? I can make you more. I know where to find the ingredients. Guaranteed to fire.”
“If you can prove all that, you’ve got yourself a bed.”
They were surrounded by a jumble of colors, scents, and noise; hundreds of shops and stalls competing for the attention of their senses.
“Where should we eat?”
“I don’t… oh, wait, I remember.” She reached into her purse and pulled out the Polixaci Ident disc they’d been given at boarding. As soon as it was in her hands a visual overlay appeared showing her which shops were pre-approved for humans. “The lenses.”
He fished his own disc out of his pocket, and whistled appreciatively. “How about the Triket’th place?”
“Looks too much like squirrel.”
“What, the food or the Triket’th?”
The Immortal Zookt, being versatile, took the form of King Chrojo and seduced the lovely Queen Midria. The Queen bore a son of this union, the half-Immortal Midrok. Eventually the King discovered Midroc was not his son, and led his Guard into the countryside in an attempt to kill the fleeing boy.
Zookt offered herself to the King in exchange for his laying down arms and returning to his castle. When the King reached his bed-chamber, he found Zookt waiting. Alas, the exertion was too much for him and he died mid-coitus, leaving his son Midroc to take the throne.
Rekkit, taking the form of an elderly beggar, made his way into a sweets shop and asked the proprietor for a single piece of candy. However, the shopkeeper was selfish and refused, sending him back out into the street. Rekkit returned the next day, and asked again, but again he was refused. He returned every day for six more days only to be refused.
On the ninth day, and every day thereafter, all the customers who entered the shop felt sickness of the stomach and lost their appetite for sweets. The shop closed and the proprietor became a beggar himself.
The underworld is ruled by Bol, King of Death, and Jyl, Queen of Murder. Their children, the Beyelu, are the Princes of the Underworld, Awelon being the ‘Crown Prince’.
The Underworld consists of an inverted rocky plain, from which hangs mountains, and below which is the Void. The mountains are riddled with tunnels and chambers containing the dead.
The children of Awelon and Hookt, the Ahkt, administrate the Underworld, sheperding the favored dead to their eternal reward. The children of Ziklon and Yikt, however, are terrible demons which punish any dead who have offended the Immortals. They are called Zikt.
Ziklon, usually depicted as a huge muscular male completely encased in armor, is the patron of War. Hookt, shown as a hunched, withered old woman, rules over doubt, suspicion, and betrayal. Yikt is a younger female, and inspires jealousy. Mowolon, driven mad by the Xil, rules insanity, while Awelon is the patron of anger and depression.
The trimale (infertile, neither male nor female) Chorolem and Sokolem rule anger and depression, and disease, respectively.
The Meyelu have responsibility for various aspects of the mortal world (the universe outside the underworld.)
Chikt, for example, carries the Suns across the heavens in her hands, while Vikril places the stars in the night sky. Jikt rules over the wilderness, husbanding the wild animals and plants of the forests, and Akril is the patron of farming. Bitril rules the waters of the rivers and oceans, as well as rain. Bookt watches over home and family, and Otkit is the patron of labor. Eekt, the joker, is the patron of laughter. Zookt is the patron and symbol of sex.
The Xil, like the Suul, were created in the first moments of the universe, but they consist of Ye (magic) only. They are usually associated with random chance and mischief.
Once the Suul began to have offspring (the Meyelu and Beyelu) the Xil, who cannot reproduce, were terrified that they would be overwhelmed by the Immortals. In an effort to discover their opposition’s weakness, they kidnapped Mowolon and inadvertently drove him mad.
Bol punished the Xil by forcing them to collect the souls of the newly dead and deliver them to the underworld; this remains their responsibility to this day.
The Meyelu are the Immortals most known to intervene in the daily lives and great events of the Folk. They have been known to take Folk for lovers and even (temporarily) spouses.
Rekkit, youngest of the Meyelu, is said to walk amongst the Folk, spending little time with his Immortal family. He changes gender and appearance at will, often testing the generosity and politeness of the Folk, rewarding the kind and punishing the selfish or impatient. Giving alms to the poor is called “Feeding Rekkit”, and the words for “stranger” in five of eight Folk tongues derive from his name.
Their mortal daughter Simkit is born malformed, and the two parents dedicate themselves to her care while she lives (a long period by Folk standards, certainly, but Simkit does eventually die). Simkit is also known as “Eyd-Rill" (“Mother–of-Smiles") and “Ivmeyel” (“Beloved of Myn and Eyl.”) When Folk desire special favor from Myn and Eyl, they offer devotions in memory of Simkit.
Malformed or congenitally ill children born to the Folk are considered to be especially favored by Simkit, and therefore the other Immortals.