Rumana spat a mouthful of blood into the dirt, her white wings splayed on either side of her. She looked up at the man pacing in front of her. She knew, as did he, one of them had to die for the war to end. They had seconds, each, to decide their next moves.

She was the God of Fire, Angel of Fury, but Nordath only saw her as a threat to his dominion over her world. His sword was drawn, but he wasn’t going to kill her. He held a power no one in the three realms could explain. Killing her would risk everything he’d worked to build, or steal. Nordath’s power was unprecedented and his hunger for triumph was unmatched.

She had enough energy left for one more miracle. She could kill her soldiers quickly and mercifully, save them from whatever Nordath had planned, or she could kill attempt to kill Nordath himself.

This would have been a stalemate, god versus god, but it was impossible for a god to hold two opposing powers. Fire’s opposite was Water. Rage’s opposite was Peace, and so on through the rest of the other god powers.

Some called Nordath’s power, the Anti-power. It stopped casts and registered as the opposite of all other known gods, including Rumana. If a god held two opposing powers, they’d die. It had been unfortunately confirmed many times in many battles.

Technically, if Rumana willed her power to go to Nordath, it should kill him. But there was a chance he was strong enough to survive it. His power was unfamiliar and unmatched.

If he lived, it would be a devastating blow to the Alliance. If he killed her and died, his so-called revolution would die with him.

Rumana clenched her teeth; she clutched the still bleeding wound on her side and took a breath. Fire was still pulsing through her, but she was too weak to wield it with any kind of finesse. Her last cast had been wild and aimless. She glanced around the battlefield.

Her soldiers lay dead or dying around her. Those strong enough to stand had already been captured. They watched her; wide-eyed. They must have known they were witnessing the turning point of the Great War.

Miles away, tucked away in the back of a dimly lit cavern, a golden eagle stirred. He looked over the children and elders huddled together. They clung to each other, different races and species with different languages and customs. Their parents and loved ones were dead or fighting.

The Keep was supposed to be safe. It wasn’t anymore. Nordath’s forces were at the door and every able-bodied adult had moved to the front of the cavern to defend the next generation. There weren’t enough of them. When the attack was over a wall of bodies would be all that separated them from the enemy.

The eagle ducked his head and settled against the ledge. He was a raiamon and he was dying. Raiamon were unusual and difficult to identify if they wanted to stay hidden. The eagle had quietly watched over people since the war began. The legends said raiamon shared a soul bond with people who’d faced death.

Rumana had certainly faced death. She faced death the day she got the power of Fire. That was the same day the eagle was born.

What she thought, he thought. What she felt, he felt. When she died, he’d die too.

Both the eagle and Rumana knew they should attempt to kill Nordath. But it was not a gamble they were willing to make. If Nordath lived and gained the power of Fire, the Alliance might not recover.

But they couldn’t let Nordath kill them. If he did, he’d gain her power anyway. God powers were fickle and favored the victors in battle.

The eagle looked down.

A small pale-blue dragon sat beneath him. The child was curled around a large egg. It was likely the little dragon was left to guard his sibling. 

On the battlefield, Rumana’s wings flared to life one more time. Nordath had not yet cast a nullifying field.

She and the eagle realized exactly how to keep the power of Fire from going to Nordath and how to keep her battalion from suffering.

She cast a massive, annihilating blaze, an explosion.

At the same time, the eagle dove from his perch and attacked the little dragon and his egg.

Nordath countered her attack, but he was not fast enough to stop it from burning the majority of both armies alive.

The little blue dragon fought back against the eagle. He was just strong enough to do the necessary damage.

Rumana collapsed.

The power of Fire rose from her body and disappeared before Nordath or any of his remaining soldiers could stop it.

The little blue dragon was suddenly overwhelmed. Something strong gripped him. He knew he needed to defend The Keep. He made his first cast as the new God of Fire.

Some said, Rumana used her last strength to perform a miracle.

Some said they saw Rumana fly south, great white wings flared against the sky.

Some said Rumana killed her men and saved The Keep simultaneously.

Only the little blue dragon knew the truth. One he wouldn’t remember again for a very long time.

However, one thing was certain after the war of the gods, the real games began.