The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus Series: Caste System

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Hound Dog Confidential

There are a number of non-human races in the world of my series, Trolls, Wendigos, Nymphs, and Huldrefolk to name a few. For the urban fantasy fans that are sick of vampires, angels, werewolves, fae, fairies, parasitic aliens, evil unicorns and mutants, well, get over it.  All of those are in this series. JUST KIDDING! There isn’t a vampire within my pages.  It’s not that I don’t love reading stories about angels and fairies and the like, but they don’t fit here.

Gaia, in her lust for revenge, caused a cataclysm to destroy Zeus. Things went horribly wrong. Her weapon tore apart every ancient God and Goddess in existence. The Norsemen called it Ragnarök. The Mesoamerican, Sumerian and Egyptian deities all devolved into particles of chaos. The chaos rose like water vapor.

Realizing her actions would not only destroy the Olympians, but also her other children and herself, Gaia opted to save the last of her offspring. She rescued Ekhidna from prison in Tartarus.

Magic around the world popped and exploded like tossed grenades. It infected a few humans with supernatural abilities in some regions while faded completely in others. Human sorcerers and other races split open the bellies of unwilling lambs to protect whatever was left of the spirits of their deities.

Through raging weather that shifted between blizzards and hurricane rains, Gaia and Ekhidna pulled Typhoeus free from under Mount Etna. Torrential mudslides had loosened his prison. He could not walk and flopped from weakness. Because he and Ekhidna were imprisoned they were not affected yet by what Gaia had done. Time was short. They had four days before they too would disappear like the Olympians.

Athena, the last of her family, found them at the base of Mount Etna. She attacked Gaia with a spear for her betrayal. Ekhidna fought Athena off with her claws. Snarling, she thrashed Athena into a bloody sack on the dirt.

Gaia screamed at the fallen Goddess of wisdom, “He left me with no choice. Zeus was as power hungry as Cronus and Uranus before him. He ate your mother to stop your unborn brother from usurping his rule. Soon it would have been any who opposed him.”

Athena struggled to hold her body together. Her insides felt as if the sun was burning its way out. “Keep your venom. Nothing my father did is as unclean as your deed.” She used the last of her power to curse the three. “You and all those who follow you, may your enemies always see the evil in your hearts.”

She clutched her chest and screamed. Chaos ripped Athena apart from the inside out in a burst of yellow light before their eyes.

The sight shook Gaia to her core. She fell onto the grass sobbing.

The ground quaked, cascading a stream of loose mud. Tree trunks snapped in half as they barreled over rocks and crashed at their feet.

“We must find someplace safe.” Typhoeus called forth a cyclone. It whisked them to Arimoi. It was the place of his birth, so it should be the place of his death.

They discovered Arimoi was no longer a lush, mountainous land. Storms of wild magic were ripping it apart. They sheltered in a cave. Gaia left Ekhidna and Typhoeus alone to rest and reunite.

Ekhidna drew Typhoeus into her arms. “We have a chance to say goodbye for once.”

The couple made love for the last time. They savored every moment.

Lying with their serpent tails tangled together, they talked, laughed, reminisced about terrorizing humans and mourned their lost children.

“Zeus squealed like a toddler when I ripped out his sinews,” Typhoeus snickered. The echo of their laughter drove bats screeching into alcoves.

Later, Gaia found them. She told the pair that she no longer felt the spirits of Olympus, Hades and Tartarus, Elysium or the other planes connected to the Earth. “Soon Arimoi will crumble like the other worlds. It wouldn’t be long until chaos pours into the cave and kills us too.”

Gaia was shocked to notice that Ekhidna was already pregnant with a new brood.  A large brood. Gaia thought that must be a sign of destiny.

Before Typhoeus could stop her, Gaia unhinged her jaw. She swallowed Ekhidna whole.

Typhoeus was furious. He moved to strangle Gaia, but she stopped him.

She said, “Ekhidna is with child and this is the only way to ensure the children are safe. Ekhidna will not be able to deliver them without help. Do not fear me. I’m not Uranus, Cronus nor Zeus.” Gaia’s plan was to combine the last of her strength with Ekhidna’s to carry the children to term. “My son, you must use the last of your quintessence to build a fortress around the cave to protect us from the destruction outside.”

He was unsure that he had the strength, but vowed to try.  Expelling the last of his power, Typhoeus’ body burst into a shield around the cave.

Gaia sat down and waited. She fell asleep.

Wild magic bombed the shield. Dark auras pushed and squeezed, battered and slammed. It howled with raged. The sound boomed as loud as a thousand hurricanes.  The shield wavered, but never cracked.

A hundred years passed.

Terrible pains woke Gaia. Wrapped in darkness, she gave birth to nine thousand wailing babies. The metallic smell of blood overwhelmed the cave. Outside chaos still fumed in Arimoi. On Earth, the chaos was gone. Bundling the children in her tattered clothes, Gaia prepared them to tunnel through chaos to return to Earth.  Not all would survive.

These are the descendants of Ekhidna and Typhoeus. They grew up and named their new race Primordial.

Primordials are physically faster and stronger than humans. They are long lived, the oldest up to two thousand years. They are born with two skins. The inner (or first skin) is their natural bodies that look monstrous to humans. The outer layer (second skin) is a human shell.

This second skin is Gaia’s final gift to them. All of her children were beautiful to her, whether they had one hundred hands or one eye. Humans didn’t feel the same and they ruled on Earth now.  Gaia tore off her flesh. She crushed the clay between her hands and rubbed the powder onto her grandchildren.

Gaia faded into the Earth an hour later, becoming one with her body for all time.

The second skin allows Primordials to live amongst humans; however, it also ties them to mortality. They need to replenish their life force, or quintessence, or their first skins will die.

Primordial society is divided into three castes. Why? Because they are a tiny population and it’s easier to keep people in line with a rigid social system. At the start of the first novel, Hound Dog Confidential, the caste system is not as strongly enforced as it once had been. The castes are:

Canines:

  • Orthus and Cerberus
  • The lowest rung caste
  • Second largest in birth rates
  • Shortest life spans
  • First skins can have one or multiple dog like heads, tails
  • Can shift into any canine form
  • Telepathically communicate with and command any canine animal
  • Don’t hold high rank positions
  • Work in the military, security, law enforcement or emergency responder fields

Serpents:

  • Hydras and Dragons
  • Mid-level caste
  • Lowest birth rates
  • First skins can have one or multiple serpent like heads, wings, fangs
  • Some have poison glands
  • Can shift into any serpent form
  • Telepathically communicate with and command any serpent animal; older Dragons can breathe fire
  • Don’t hold many high rank positions
  • Work as small business owners, in trades

Hybrids:

  • Sphinx and Chimeras
  • Highest ranked caste
  • Longest lifespans
  • Largest in birth rates
  • First skins can be a mish mash of any animal, single head (multiple heads are rare and only on Chimeras)
  • Can learn any human or non-human race’s language with ease
  • Have innate magical abilities
  • Dominate every high rank or position of power
  • Feels it’s their sacred duty to manage the lower castes
  • Work as wizards, politicians, lawyers, entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers, CEOs

Hope you enjoyed this week’s post and the backstory from my urban fantasy series, The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus. You can read last week’s blog to learn about Gaia’s son Typhoeus, the father of monsters.

Please let me know what you think.

Next week’s blog will share details about the Sphinx.

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