The time has come to free the captured gods of this new world and to save Heaven and Earth from the forces of Chaos. Kate and Daniel know they have a big mess to clean up, and hope that their secrets never come out. But their companions are gods, and their powers may allow them to learn how much of the troubles of the world were caused by Kate and Daniel themselves.
Barris lay on the temple’s roof, watching the sun go down with half-lidded eyes. His shirtless, bony chest rose and fell slowly as he contemplated the center of the sun. Such light would burn out a mortal’s eyes, but Barris didn’t fear the sun; it was the pure manifestation of his energy.
He turned his head and held a small ornate box to his ear. Thin fingers pried the lid off and he sucked in breath as pleasure overtook him. A small voice whispered in his ear. Overtaking the rudimentary government of Lathe would be a simple coup. What a fantastic idea. Lathe was the city of the mad, the city of the cast-offs, the city that lay literally under the floating city of Meridian. When you failed in Meridian, you ended up in Lathe. The scientists, the mad, and the ambitious — they still created in the shantytown.
The idea wasn’t one of his favorites that he’d experienced, but it was a good one. He loved good ideas.
“You are pathetic,” came a voice from behind him.
He grimaced. The voice belonged to Gamma. They’d both been imprisoned for thousands of years with his floor between them. He had discovered in the past few weeks that he preferred greatly the primitive communications of knocking on the floor to actually speaking with her.
“The battle with the pirates took a lot out of me,” he said, hating the peevish sound of his own voice.
Her footsteps came closer until her leather boots ended up by his head. He kept staring at the sun.
“You didn’t do anything during the battle but give Kate a bad idea, Barris. You —”
“I kept the sun in the sky! Imagine what would happen if I failed to do that for even one minute!” he said. He shifted his focus to her, the warrior messenger. She towered over him, strong and dark and imposing next to his pale, weak body. Revulsion for himself replaced his dislike of her and he sat up with difficulty, sighing. “What do you want, anyway?”
“Kate wants to see us in the morning. There are plans to make about rescuing the other gods.”
He rubbed his hands over his face and through his limp blond hair. “Then I’ll see you in the morning. Leave me alone for now.”
She blew air out her nose and pursed her lips. “As you wish, sun god.” It sounded like an insult coming from her. She disappeared then, traveling, he assumed, by being attuned to weapons around the city and manifesting through them.
The gods had many ways to travel by magic. Barris had no powers. He walked and ate and shat. He may as well have been a human. Nearly all his energy was spent keeping the sun in the sky.
The only thing that gave him pleasure was to open ideas from the Idea Emporium in Lathe. He had an agreement with the proprietor, Professor Burns, who allowed him as many ideas as he liked as long as Barris blessed the business every now and then.
He never did anything with the ideas. But it felt so glorious to have them in his mind, whispering their potential to him. He had ideas now on how to become a scientist in the foothills outside Lathe, the hills of the forgotten and mad. He knew several key battle plans that would work against sky pirates who resided in the corrupt Dark north of Meridian. He now knew several ways to farm the chaos-riddled land under Meridian and Lathe. He was even pretty sure he knew how to move the floating city of Meridian if they ever needed to.
He closed his eyes and lay back on the roof to enjoy the slight remaining high from the idea. His self-revulsion was quickly replaced by a feeling of superiority. No one else had such brilliant ideas, and if he ever did anything with them, they would all — even the other gods — know he was a force to reckon with.
He was the sun, after all.
Barris the sun god slipped into sleep just as the sun slipped below the horizon west of the shining, floating city of Meridian.