The Gods were angry. The temples that had been used to worship them now lay in ruins; some had even crumbled into nothing. The abundance of sacrificial offerings had been reduced to a measly morsel. The people who still followed the old ways tried their best to appease the mighty beings, but it wasn’t enough. The Gods wanted more.
‘Again,’ a raspy voice commanded.
Meryem wiped away the beads of perspiration that dampened her forehead and obeyed. Concentrating on the Montblanc fountain pen sitting on the table, she reached out with her mind. It was still a strange sensation; she could actually feel the weight of the pen in her hand even though she wasn’t physically holding it. The empty space in the room reminded her of being underwater; she could feel the sway of it against her skin. It didn’t take as much effort to manipulate the air around the pen this time. It took her less than a heartbeat to have the pen float over the head of the man standing next to her.
‘Very good. The elders will be pleased,’ the frail man said as he tried to snatch the pen from the air. Meryem playfully willed it out of his reach, and it slipped through his fingers before she gently lowered back onto the table. The old man smiled, causing lines to wrinkle at the corner of his eyes.
‘What will happen if I pass the trials?’ Meryem asked walking over to the window. While waiting for him to answer she lowered herself to the wooden floor, crossing her legs beneath her.
‘When you pass the trials, the elders will travel with you to the Tigris River. You will follow it until you reach the ancient village that is home to the great Temple. It is there that the Gods will give you their orders,’ the man explained.
Meryem nodded her head; she had heard this many times before. She felt nauseous as she prepared to ask her next question, nervous that it might anger her mentor.
‘Do I have to use my power for vengeance?’ She lowered her head, trying to avoid the man’s reaction.
‘Meryem, look at me.’ The man waited until she lifted her gaze. His eyes were narrowed into angry slits. Meryem shifted uncomfortably under his glare. When he spoke again his tone was harsh; in that moment he was no longer her friend, but a vessel of the Gods.
‘The Gods bestowed the power of Telekinesis on you as a gift. It is your duty to carry out their demands. Humanity has lost its way; they worship money and possessions rather than thanking the Gods for their existence. They must be punished for their vanity and greed. Do you understand?’
As Meryem thought of all the death and destruction humanity had brought onto the planet, she knew her mentor was speaking the truth. If the Gods wanted vengeance, she would be their willing vessel, even if it meant reducing the world to ashes.
‘I understand,’ she finally replied.
The man gave a satisfied nod, ‘Then come, the trials begin at Sunset.’