Gradually the landscape changed. The air felt cool and refreshing, light breezes blew against her face. She was entering the Valley of the Whispering Winds, a place of towering cliffs and mist-swept mountains where the primal Elementals ruled supreme. The murmuring river rapids sang to her in sweet voices that made her forget her troubles.

Before long, she came to the foot of the cascading waterfall from which the Great River flowed. There was nowhere left to go but up the mountains, and she climbed as if pulled by an undeniable force. The higher she went, the more breathtaking the view became. But air was getting thin, and soon it became hard to breathe. She saw no purpose in her life, and thought the only thing left was to die surrounded by beauty. So ever-higher she hiked until she felt faint and sat down in an alcove, waiting to die.

Tshushani could see the valley floor, sensing her consciousness drifting away with the wind-chased clouds. But just then the clouds opened and a heavenly light poured forth and flooded her vision. Before her was a luminous entity sitting on a throne. He smiled and reached out his hand, asking if she wanted to be a Guardian. Faintly she whispered her assent.

A powerful surge of energy overwhelmed Tshushani as her physical body was transformed into one of light. She rose to join the strange being in the clouds, and he took her far away from the earthly realm, to his home in the Overworld. No longer were they speaking with vocal cords, but through the resonance of thought and emotion.

The entity introduced himself as Aeli Neicla, and explained that Aeli were responsible for recording events and dealing out karma. He had observed her life, and felt she had the potential to be a magnificent Guardian. He further explained that a Guardian is one that guards the gates between worlds, and guides the dead to the Land of Truth in the Overworld.

Tshushani became Aeli Neicla’s apprentice, and he taught her all she needed to know to be a good Guardian. She learned how to manipulate energy, how to read the souls of mortals, and how to alter one’s surroundings. At the end of her training, Tshushani changed her name to Nexus, and made it her karmic duty to protect all women and punish the men that caused them harm. She was still haunted by nightmarish memories of days long gone, and would not achieve peace until they were laid to rest in her own way.

The very next day, Nexus descended to Lossi. She wore garments of diaphanous scarlet, painted her lips with poisonous nightshade, donned a veil, and let her lustrous black hair stream behind her in a ponytail. In this form she appeared to Rei Hiloschen, striding through the sand dunes like an exotic mirage. Immediately he was overwhelmed by her beauty and invited her to his tribe.

When the Rei led Nexus through the Maraudean encampment, it was as if time had stopped. All male eyes were fixed on the otherworldly woman, oblivious to all else. Nexus paused in the center of the camp and proceeded to dance. She swayed from side to side, her movements sensual and hypnotic. As she felt pure, passionate lust swell from all sides she tore off her veil and intensified the dance. Nexus’ motions became snake-like, lashing out this way and that, gyrating her hips to an inaudible drumbeat. As she danced, she gathered the lust that spilled from the mesmerized men, draining away their very life-force until they dropped dead where they stood. Finally, she walked up to Rei Hiloschen himself, reached into his body, and yanked out his soul, sending it hurtling up to the Overworld.

The most feared man on Lossi now lay lifeless at her feet, and the few males that escaped her spellbinding Dance of Death lived on to tell other bands of this mysterious spirit woman. But their warnings were to no avail, for no man that wronged her could escape Nexus’ wrath, doomed to be yet another corpse in a long trail of bodies. The females left behind in Hiloschen’s band recognized her as Tshushani, and became her first worshippers. Reina Shvarna, the very woman who had ridiculed her in life, became her first High Priestess.

         After she had taken her revenge on the men of the Maraudean Desert and the Riverside Kingdom, Nexus set out to protect all women. She became widely-known, and Nexusian cults sprang up all over Lossi in her honor, for she had eliminated some of the most despicable men on the planet. But her most fervent and populous followers remained those Maraudean women who heard her calling and abandoned their tribes to establish female-only bands of Nexusian priestesses. They worshipped her as a goddess, and believed she had two faces: that of Nightshade, the aspect of seduction and revenge, and that of Sage, the aspect of wisdom and justice. In return, Nexus taught them the Dance of Death.

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Copyright © 2003 by Yumeni All rights reserved.
Revised: 12 May 2010 07:47:48 -0400 .