Vol. VI

    Demora could take the shape of a bird, a crow made of flame and shadow. She could take the shape of a great cat, whose fur was the consistency of smooth, black marble. She could turn into a snake, an agile cobra, adorned and speckled with gold. Demora could also take the form of a man, with long wispy hair and eyes like the sun. And his name was not Demora, for mortals called him Aashetu, the lord of desert and storm, God of the Oasis. Where he wept, oasis would appear. From the sands, water would spill and green shelter would grow.

    Those that took refuge in the harsh desert land, gave themselves to his mercy. He was the sand storm that swept away their enemies, he was the serpent in the sands that stayed their toxic bite, and he was the sanctuary, who harbored the dying in his green abode. This was he and also her. Both statuesque, bronze skinned and delicate with beauty. He wore loose robes of black, bearing a portion of his chest which was decorated with a golden mantle. In his realm, his temple was built upon golden sands and there, lived creatures with the form of women. They were the Mansa; women covered in scales with ears and tails of a great cat, with the talons of an eagle and dark wings sprouting from their arms. Demora was their master and so was he and all her forms.

    Time passed on Earth and those loyal to Aashetu came to live in his eternal realm at their passing. Men and women who came to bear his mark, a black serpent coiled around their arms. He called these priests and priestesses, Ahati. The Ahati swore their mortal lives and their lives in the next to him. On Earth they acted out his will and command, building his temples and harboring those who sought his shelter. In his god-realm, the Ahati lived forever, immortal beings who took pleasure in all his oasis had to offer. In this way, Aashetu built his home into something more. A paradise for those chosen to serve for eternity. And when the time came, they would be sent back into new bodies to serve in a new form.

    The Mansa were his guards and the Ahati his subjects. They continued to live within his oasis, awaiting their next life. This was the god Aashetu, god of desert and storm.

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