DCM Vertigo


Twilight of the Gods

Blood Sacrifices
by Toby Kernan

Tourist and indigenous people, if but for a split second, were treated to a sight which would amaze and startle, and live inside their subconscious for the rest of their lives. It was just a glimpse of something truly amazing, a spectacular view that witnesses swore occurred, but no proof would ever be left to substantiate the things they saw.

The sighting happened; all over the planet called Earth, in places known for their mystical history and mythical significance. It happened at Stonehenge, England and Dream Rock, Australia. It happened at The Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico and at the Temple of the Eternal Buddha, Tibet. It happened at the Nexus of Realities in the Florida Swamp and at the Sphinx in Egypt.

People who were at these sights saw the bright flash of light, and then watched as Angels descended from the sky. People watched in awe as the divine creatures landed and formed circles. Amazed humans watched as the Angels began to sing a most glorious song.

Then all time on the planet known as Earth came to a stop, as a special spell halted time itself, for all but a special few, of special descent.

With the humans oblivious to what was about to happen, the Gates of both Heaven and Hell spilled opened, and Angels and Devils, The Divine Agents and the Fallen, descended upon the Earth to strike with righteous fury and vengeance.

Athens, Greece

"My sisters, it has begun," spoke Lachesis as she pulled herself from her sitting chair and placed her knitting needles upon the ground. She watched as her sisters, diverted their attention from their goings-on.

Atropos put down the kitchen knife she had been using to slice the carrots for dinner and made her way into the room. Klotho untangled her hands from the tangled yarn which was stretched across the skein she was manipulating, and came to join her sisters as Lachesis waved her hands and a doorway opened in the wall beside them.

The three sisters quietly followed the winding stone stairs down to the deep, dark cavern that lay below them. Being the three Sisters of Fate, their lives had been both a blessing and a curse. They had control over the very fates of people, their mystical hands manipulating the paths of mankind for centuries, but seeing the paths that destiny leads to also has its downside. The worse of which was now. The sisters now had seen their own fate as it untangled before them. There was little they could do for themselves, the hand of fate could not be prevented, but maybe, just maybe, their powers could live on. A prodigy, a daughter of sorts would have to carry on their legacy.

The three sisters said nothing to each other as they kissed and embraced one another. They had been with each other for a long time now. Their entire lives, centuries old, had been spent together. Now, as their time on the plane waned, tears began to flow down their faces as they stared lovingly into each other's eyes. It wasn't as though they could complain; their lives were long and full, much fuller than normal humans which roamed this Earth. The tears were actually tears of joy, of sorts. They were happy, that in their end, they went out just as they had begun, together.

The Fates then separated to arm's length, holding their hands, then closed their eyes, and concentrated. They began to chant their spell, when they heard the door to the cavern open above. They prayed that they would complete their spell in time as they heard the clatter of boots upon the stairs, and the jingle of the spurs that accompanied them.

As the sisters completed their spell, and hoped they were successful, they turned to watch the stranger finish her descent for the winding stone stairs. They had seen him before, and Klotho remember him from the past. Once, he had been just another Old West rogue, a gunfighter who repented, then lost his wife and child when his past caught up with him. Then he lost in own life. Bitter and clamoring for vengeance, even in the afterlife, he was transformed into The Saint of Killers by the Angel of Death.

As he came into the ladies' view, he began to speak. It was a slow, eerie, cowboy-tinged voice.

"Ladies, this ain't nothing personal, but I have my orders. You are a stain on this world, and you have to go. May God have mercy on your souls, if you have them."

The sisters squeezed each others hands tightly as the Saint of Killers raised his pair of Walker Colt revolvers and unloaded every bullet into the bodies of the three witches. He watched as their bloody forms were pushed back by the blasts against the wall behind them, then made sure that the bodies were cold and dead, and walked back up the stairs to find his next assignments.

Irene Adler, housewife in Boise, Idaho, never saw it coming. She had been vacuuming her living room orange shag carpet and deciding on if she wanted to cook roast or chicken for dinner. Suddenly she was forced to stop in her tracks as a terrible migraine headache enveloped her entire head and force her to lay upon the couch.

Then the visions began. Her head was filled with terrible visions more vivid than any dream she had ever remembered. She saw a beautiful young woman ripped to shreds by hideous looking green demon. She saw a flaming headed biker hang a man with a chain and drag him along behind his motorcycle. She saw people pointed from a secluded mountain city to a dark black cloud in the sky, looming ever closer. She saw a Rainbow Bridge filled with Viking-looking warriors battling winged Angels. She saw herself, along with a blue and yellowed costumed superhero, an Indian mystic, and a man with a red cape and pentagram on his chest standing with an angel.

Irene sat up from her vision with a shock, sweating pouring from her brow. The headache was a dull throbbing now, and manageable. As other visions and thoughts crept from her subconscious to her consciousness, she grasped some understanding of what had just happened to her. She had been selected by her 'grandmothers' to receive a very special gift, a very powerful gift. She must bear the powers of knowing fate. She must be the bearer of mankind's Destiny.

Irene looked at her television. She noticed that the radio was no longer playing. She walked to the window and looked out upon a most peculiar sight. The young boy whom she had invited to mow her lawn was standing there, unmoving, frozen into place. She turned to look at the clock upon her wall and noticed that the hands were no longer moving. It was as though time itself had stopped, but Irene had not stopped moving with it.

Then she felt his presence behind her and turned to greet him. Despite the fact that her visions had shone him to her, she still wasn't prepared to be in the proximity to an Angel. She tried to stair, to grasp the amazing being which stood before her, but she found the light unbearable. She had never seen such beauty before. She felt the tear slide slowly down her cheek.

"Irene Adler?" He said in a voice that brought both agony and ecstasy shivering down her spine.

"Yes, Zauriel," replied Irene, a move that seemed to momentarily startle the Angel.

His composure regained, he held out his hand to her and spoke, this time in a much softer tone, "I felt a calling to come to you. The fate of this planet lies in our hands. The gift of Destiny has been passes onto you. Have you seen what we must do save The Presence and restore order?"

Irene smiled softly as she took the hand, and felt a strange tingling throughout her body, "I have seen much, and the first thing you must know is that there are others who we need to retrieve in order to restore all things."

Naze reached the summit of Eagle Rock Mountain and sat upon his favorite spot. He relished the panoramic view of the valley below him from this spot. It had been his favorite location, in the entire world, since he had been a youth. He had always felt a connection from this spot, with its overlooking view of nearly half of the Kiwanee Indian Reservation below. He had his first communion with the ancient Spirits of his ancestors here. He had found his totem animal on this very spot. On this spot, his teacher Blue Sky Crow, had given him many of his shamanic lessons.

Naze sat down gently, crossing his legs and closing his eyes. He pulled some sacred powder from his pouch and sifted it into the cool breeze, which swirled around and past him. Something was wrong, he had felt it. It had brought him from his telling stories to the young children of the tribe on a trip up to his sacred spot to speak with the Spirits, to find the cause of his unease.

He was about to begin his chanting when he felt the wind stop moving. That was an odd occurrence in itself, because the wind always blew atop Eagle Rock Mountain. Then he saw the Eagle in the sky. It was not moving, but was frozen in mid-life, suspended with its graceful wings spread out upon the sky. Naze noticed the clouds were not moving either. It was as though all time had stopped, but Naze noticed he had not stopped with it.

Frightened, Naze began to chant for the Spirits in hope of answers. He was shocked to find he could summon none. Nobody came to speak to him. That had never happened before, in his nearly fifty years on this planet, he had never called for one of the Spirits, and they had not came. Naze was a powerful shaman, possible one of the most powerful wielders of magic on this world. He commanded respect, even from the ancient and the dead. He had always been just and wise and respectful, and had been treated in kind, even by those that had passed beyond.

"Naze," spoke a soft female voice, which broke Naze from his meditations and back to reality. He turned to see a most unexpected sight. Standing behind him was two entities. The first was a beautiful young Caucasian female. The second was something different altogether. He had skin of pure white, which matched the beautiful ivory white wings, which seemed to sprout from his back. Upon seeing the man, Naze was filled with a strange sensation of both pain and pleasure, and found he couldn't look directly at the creature for very long without his eyes beginning to burn.

The female continued, "I am Irene Adler, and this is the Angel Zauriel. The world is in extreme peril. Please come with us and all will be explained."

Naze smiled as he stood from his position, marveling at the amazing turn of events transpiring before him. First the Spirits had left him, then time itself seem to have stopped around him, now an Angel and a white woman had appeared out of nowhere and asked him to help save the world. Naze grabbed his walking stick and his pouch of items and joined the two strangers in what he was sure would be a most interesting journey.

The Young God known as Harvest frantically pushed her way through the high corn stalks, desperately searching her head for some kind of plan. In her wildest dreams she would have never expected her day to turn out like this. Not even in her worse nightmares.

The day had started out normal enough. She and fellow Young Gods Calculus and Highnote had decided to 'slum amongst the commoners' - basically, disguise themselves as human and move amongst them. They had been attending the 'Illinois State Fair'. It had been very quaint and interesting enough, with plenty of animals and people enjoying themselves. The three of them had even laugh when they had watched humans attempt to wrestle down young greased pigs.

Then time stopped. The three Young Gods were shocked as the man that had been leaping upon a large greased pig named 'Porkchop' was suspended in mid-leap. The pig had stopped as well, in mid-run. All the people had stopped. All of them were strangely frozen. The three walked around the fair for what should have been about fifteen minutes, amazed that something seem to had frozen time itself, yet they remained unaffected by time stoppage.

The three had decided to return to their other Young Gods and see if they were similarly unaffected when the roar of a loud motorcycle attracted their attention. The three went to investigate, and found a most peculiar sight. There, before them, on the outskirts of an Illinois wheat field, stood seven demons, and a eight one sat on a motorcycle beside them, complete with flaming skull head and a nasty flaming chain.

"Now," said the motorcycled demon, and the other seven quickly sprung from their position towards the three Gods. Highnote was the first to react, and her sonic scream destroyed one of the demons in mid-air, but several others grabbed her and Calculus. Harvest watched in horror as two demons held Highnote's arms wide as a third one plunged it's claws deep into Highnote's chest and pushed her heart out through the other side. Calculus tried to utter something, but His words were reduced to a gurgle when a rune-filled magic blade slashed across his throat from the hands of another demon.

Scared, and unsure what to do, Harvest turned and ran. She loved her fellow Young Gods, but it was obvious that these creatures were out to kill them. She knew that she couldn't stand up to these creatures by herself, with her 'Godly' powers or not. She had thought first to fly, but then she figured she would be too easy spotted, and so she ran to the cornfield, hoping to lose the demonic assassins in the tall stalks. She hoped that they couldn't detect her presence, and didn't appear to have wings for flight.

Harvest couldn't understand what was transpiring. Those creatures were obviously demons. Why would they attack the three of them? They had no Quarrels with anything demonic, and had not come into contact with anyone or thing of that nature recently.

Harvest stumbled on a rock and fell to the ground. She was unhurt, having godlike abilities, but she was scared. That was an odd sensation for her. It had been a long time since she had been scared, fearing for her life.

Harvest heard the sounds of a roaring motorcycle, and quickly stood and began to run with inhuman speed. She couldn't tell which direction the cycle was coming from, and it seemed to be all around. She noticed that she had cleared the cornfield and now was moving into an apple orchard. She noticed as she moved from the cornfield, that the sound of the cycle seemed to fade away and stop. Relieved, she stopped at the trunk of a large apple tree to get her bearings and collect her thoughts, and to plan her next course of action.

As Harvest decided to take the chance of flying, home to the remaining Young Gods and enlist their aid, she felt a sudden burning sensation wrap around her neck. As she struggled she felt herself lifted into the air and looked up to see a burning chain had wrapped around her neck like a noose and now carried her into the air, in an attempt to hang the life from her.

"Why?" she grasped harshly from her burning throat, as excruciating pain began to make her head throb and her eyes burn. She noticed, through blurred eyes, the form of the flaming-headed biker approaching her, with several of the demons behind her. As her lifeforce began to ebb from her body, she remembered where she had heard of this demon before. He was known as the Ghost Rider, a spirit of vengeance born in hell.

The responded, its blank, eyeless stare seemed to penetrate into her very soul, "You are a stain on His world. You are an aberration, which must be expunged with extreme prejudice. There is only one God, and you are not it.

The New God known as Harvest then lost consciousness mercifully, as the body that once housed her soul hung limply from the tree, burning from the hellfire chain which held it dangling from the tall apple tree.

Jim Corrigan had been on his way to O'Malley's Irish Pub in downtown Boston when all time around him stopped. He had been feeling uneasy for hours now, but couldn't place his finger on any causes. The Spectre hadn't been crying for an righteous justice, at the moment, and he figured that a stout or two might do him good.

Corrigan was about to walk in the front door when an altercation between two drunken patrons spilled through the door, out onto the street. Then time stopped. It was very unnerving, even for someone with the powers of the Spectre, to see two men in mid-fall through the door, suspended strangely in awkward fighting positions. Corrigan noticed that the blinking, lit sign above the door had stopped blinking, and a couple that had been walking across the street were frozen in mid-step as well.

Then he felt the presences beside him.

"Spectre. Your God needs you."

Corrigan turned to see a most amazing sight. Behind him stood the forms of the King Angel Asmodel and his predecessor Eclipso.

"What in the name of the Presence is going on?" yelled Corrigan, amazed that the Bull Host of the Pax Dei, and the renegade entity stood before him.

"The Presence indeed," said Asmodel calmly, "is why we are here. He has given all of us a mission, including you Spectre, and we have come to enlist your services."

"For what?" asked Corrigan, still in shock.

"For a cleansing. The Presence has decreed that all those that would take his name and office in vain be swept from this planet. The false gods are no longer wanted here."

Corrigan was stunned. "The Presence wants to exile the pantheons of gods?"

Eclipso laughed, but quickly stopped when Asmodel gave him a harsh look.

"Exile, well . . . " said Asmodel, the glint in his eyes unmistakable, "he wants them gone, by whatever means are necessary."

Corrigan could scarcely believe the words, "You are saying that the Presence has authorized the slaughter of the 'false gods'. I can't believe that."


Corrigan thought for a moment, then spoke cautiously, "I can't believe that. I won't believe that. The Spectre is for vengeance, not murder. It will not be apart of that. I will not be apart of that."

"You have no choice, Corrigan," said Asmodel, again rather matter-of-factly, "the Spectre will, but if you are not willingly . . . "

"I am not!" said Corrigan angrily.

"Then you are no longer of use to us . . . " replied Asmodel. Before Corrigan even had time to react, he looked down, a fierce stinging sensation burning within his gut. The Spear of Destiny buried deep within his stomach, piercing through his form to the other side.

"Goodbye Jim Corrigan," said Asmodel mirthfully as he and his associate walked away, laughing.

Next issue: The bloodshed continues as Angels assault Asgard and Devils assault the Eternals, and a desperate team of heroes is formed to find the Presence before it is too late in Twilight of the Gods #3.