Vrin_ Ten Mortal Gods




So there I sat, wondering how long I had been staring at the same page of my book. My head was fuzzy, and my thoughts were scattered. I could remember starting the book, and I knew it was important that I finish it, but not much more would come to me-- including my name.

Somewhere a log popped.

I pulled my eyes from the page and tried to focus on the lavishly decorated room around me. Light from a fireplace scattered dancing trails of orange on bookshelves lining the walls and in the corner a spiral staircase wound its way up to a balcony where statues of mythical figures sat balanced on delicate podiums.

I shook my head; something was wrong with my vision. The effect was subtle, yet distinct. Every color in the room shimmered with a life of its own and my eyes tingled from the influx of shades and tints. I closed them and gave a squeeze, but the problem persisted. I looked down. Even the hands gripping the strange leather book had a color fluctuation, as if they could not decide on a proper shade of tan.

How long had I been sitting? I reached up and rubbed the back of my neck. The stiffness there indicated it had been awhile-- but I was unable to draw upon any workable memory to confirm that conclusion. Scenes passed before me, but their meanings ran like frightened shadows. Face after familiar face pushed forward from the murky pool of my consciousness, but who these phantoms were and how I knew them was a mystery. Am I dreaming?

I shook the jumbled images from my head, pulled forward in the chair, and put weight on my feet. They tingled but had not yet fallen asleep. Placing the heavy volume aside, I stood and shuffled over to the fireplace where a variety of framed pictures sat lining the mantelpiece. The colors continued to dance, but I managed to bring things into focus. There were several portraits: a family gathering, children in color, a couple in black and white-- and a panting dog next to a smiling man holding a trout. I sensed these images held a secret to my past, but whatever that secret was, it eluded me.

Something caught my eye, a trophy tucked behind one of the larger portraits. I moved the picture to get a better look. The inscription read, “1976 Bar Harbor Golf Tournament, Second Place, Jason Tardin.” Jason Tardin? Was that my name? There was a faint recollection. But nothing more.

Again I surveyed the room. There was such familiarity in this place. No. More than familiarity-- a sense of security-- like a childhood hiding place. I felt safe here, but safe from what, or whom?

My eyes came to rest on the book I had placed on the end table. I could remember nothing of its contents and yet-- there was something in it I needed to know. I walked over and looked down at the volume. On the cover emblazoned in gold were the words, Davata Notrals, and a line of letters I assumed was the author’s name. I started to reach for it, but froze. Why could I remember nothing before holding this book? Could it have been tainted with a poison or some kind of drug? Crouching down I examined the worn out pages from the side. They appeared to be stained from age but-- could the stains have been caused by something else?

Using a nearby pencil I turned to the first page-- then stared in confusion. It was written in a foreign language! I flipped to