Beyond the Insula, where chaos fills all space and reality is no longer, he runs. His black and white mane billows in the currents of Chaos, his dark, ghostly equine form moves elegantly through the Void. Nothingness extends under his hooves as he guides his harem through a run around the Insula. There are dozens of them, all following in his steps, running freely, hooves hitting the Void like a silent thunder.
There is no air here, no sound, no scent, no taste. Here, there is nothing and no god could survive here for long. Except for them.
They have known many names and shapes throughout the ages, each civilization molding and naming an idea of them. They are the guardians of reality, caretakers of the Insula and worlds alike. And now, he leads them, like his ancestors have, through the currents of Chaos, herding and leading little specks of matter, seeds of worlds, through the Void. He is Arion, Son of Chaos, Void Rider.
Behind him, his large harem turns and parts, the mares guiding the young away from the Insula. Reality is not safe for them, especially not among gods. Too many of them have been captured for their ability to survive beyond the edge of reality. It is his duty to keep the mares and foals safe. They are his family, the future of his kind, and so, he turns to follow them…
… and stops.
The Insula may not be safe but he cannot fully avoid it. For there lies the keeper of his heart, the soul that has tamed his, the one who haunts his dreams.
Alma, he calls silently into the everlasting night.
You call that name too many times, child, a voice rings in his mind, thoughts thrown against his. She will not hear you.
He doesn’t need to move to see her standing not far behind him, to his right. His mother and alpha mare – he could never keep anything from her.
I know, he replies.
Still, he focuses his sight and thoughts on the Insula, on a small neighborhood in the Fourth Ring. He looks into a building to see the short mortals with bunny ears and fluffy tails that move within it.
They are free, he thinks, his lips curling in an equine smile.
They are hers, not yours, his mother counters. She created them.
After we lay together, he insists. They are ours.
You can never join them, Arion, the mare argues. Not if they are to live. Now, come. Eyal will soon move his moon temple into this part of its orbit.
She turns to leave and he turns to follow. Looking back for a moment, though, he can’t help but follow the movements of a certain Death goddess, held in his heart as the very flame of Life.