Chapter 1: A Bright New Day
A young man yawned and stretched pushing back the thick blankets that covered the large four poster bed. Scratching his head he glanced around his room and blinked the sleep from his eyes. Born of a noble household the young master was always lazy, preferring to wake not before the sun was high in the clear blue sky, casting a brilliant square of illumination through the large window that oversaw the rear gardens. Gardeners and butlers were already rushing outside the path ways maintaining the grounds, lovely maids darted here and there under the ever watchful eye of the head maid, an aged woman whose very presence seemed to scream dusty and discipline. Yet somehow the young master was still abed.
Shifting his hand fell against bare flesh beside him in the bed, a slow smile crossed the young man's roguish face as he gave the tender curve of a bare bottom a slow, firm squeeze. A startled cry, almost a bleat of shock came from the young woman as the offending grip suddenly roused her from slumber. Like a startled rabbit she bounded from the young masters bed, grabbing the discarded uniform on the floor and fled from the room, the cherry red face, burning with endless embarrassment was like a second sun as it burned hot on her flesh. A second startled cry and a sob of despair echoed from the hall beyond.
The reason for the second cry soon became apparent as an older woman, regally dressed in a gown and corset of rich silks swept into the room. An angry storm was in her pale gray eyes as she watched with no little disappointment as the young master casually threw on a robe and turned to smile at her helplessly, such was not the first time he had been caught bullying one of the poor maids, and certainly came as no surprise to the woman. His mother sighed helplessly, stepping towards the rooms smoldering hearth and poked at the dying embers, refusing to watch her son dress. "You do recall what day this is and how important it is to your father, correct?"
The young master laughed softly as a pair of maids filtered in to help undress his pajamas and dressed him in his formal attire. "How important it is to Father? It's my ascension day Mother, it's vitally more important to myself, besides Ingrid was merely helping me celebrate my coming of age, hardly an unheard event."
The woman sighed as a hand rubbed her forehead, too many stress lines marred the once smooth flesh since she had birthed the little monster. Always doing something before it's time, even being proclaimed a true genius at a young age, yet with that genius was something dark. If he was not flouting his noble blood over the servants he was bullying some commoner or another, there had even been rumors that the young master of the house had killed a boy that had tried to teach her son some manners during a school duel, nothing had been proven but the looks of his class mates had spoken deeper volumns as to whom they firmly knew was behind the other boy's demise.
Waving away the maids she walked over and cupped the young man's charming face, the softness of early childhood was giving way to the growth of puberty. Yet unlike most new forged teens this youth did not shy from her touch or avert his almost ocean deep blue-green eyes from her own searching gaze. Releasing her son she swept to the door holding the edge in pale slender fingers, "Dear child of mine, we wish you good luck in your ascension. We'll be there when the sage pronounces your path. Be swift, my darling Alexander."
Alexander smiled sweetly as he focused on a mirror, adjusting his clothing and making last minute changes to his rings, his eyes watching the departure of his sweet, tolerant mother. "Thank you Mother, I'll be along swiftly." When the door closed behind her, he frowned softly. Ascension Day, the day that the newly aged teens underwent to find their life paths. Most that knew of him as a genius fully expected him to claim the Paladin path or perhaps Scholar path. The young man spit into the hearth, the sizzle of his saliva hitting a softly glowing ember cut through the deathly silence of the room.
A path of celibacy or a path of being a scrawny nerd? Not a chance! Both paths were touted as Prime paths, ones that any royal or commoner would sell their soul to get either path, but what would be the point of reincarnation if he became a 'good' path? No, for one reborn he wanted the best path, the path due all souls that made a trip to these backwards, medieval shit holes. The path of the Hero! After all he had paid the ultimate price to get to this world he deserved nothing but the best after all. Like Ingrid, a lovely young peasant girl had attracted his eye years ago when she had come looking for work to help support her family. Still being a child, he could not act on her beauty, it was almost mind breaking watching the lovely redhead in the family maid attire for days, innocently taking advantage where he could before finally claiming her innocence on the night before his Ascension, it had been glorious tasting her, claiming the young woman as his.
In truth he felt little for her, he'd always had a fantasy about redheads in his old life, their temperment, the fiery hair and eyes. He'd been in no position to taste that delight in his old life but now as the son of her employer in this backwards world, he jumped at the opportunity. Not to mention this would help solidify the proof of his growing up amongst his friends. Alexander smiled to himself practically strutting from his bed chamber to the bathroom, he'd have to hurry, the destiny owed him by death itself was about to be proclaimed upon his worthy shoulders, he shouldn't miss the rise of the ages one true hero.
* * * * *
Fourteen years ago... Earth
Alex had been walking down the street of his new home town, at twenty one he'd had life by the proverbial balls. Born to a loving family he'd easily been through the better schools earning a scholarship to study Engineering abroad. The apartment he found was within walking distance of the university and his parents were gladly footing the bill. He hadn't found a girlfriend yet but he'd spotted this cute little barista at the coffee house he just left, a little work up, flash his family wealth and it shouldnt be too hard to score a date in the near future.
Things were only looking up, even Alex himself had looked to the clear sky and smiled. Before the falling fragment of space rock took his head from his shoulders leaving a headless body ready to conquer life....
When he awoke, Alex was in a dark room, fuzzy shapes flitted through the haze in a slow procession to reach an altar where a robed figure was checking a book before a large bone laced gate. The line slowly moved forward and he found he had no ability to divert from his place in line, the eerie silence broken only by the turning pages of the book unnerved him, what had happened? Where was his home, his friends, his family? As the line progressed Alex could see the figure more clearly, a pasty faced man in a black hooded robe was silently guiding the line, the gate would sometimes become ethereal showing different scenes. It wasn't a stretch to figure out who it might be and what he was doing, yet still Alex raged and shook, fighting against the force that was steadily pushing him closer to Death.
Finally he stood abreast of the grim reaper whose pale milky eyes raised slightly stopping on a page. The smooth albino forehead creased as almost skeletal fingers began actively searching through the book before him. That sickly visage eventually turned, the eyes that should be blind focused on the soul beside him, "You are not on my list yound Alex Maybell. This is most irregular."
Alex fumed his spirit wrestling against the force that bound it to the line. Death smirked and waved his hand, the spirit bursting to become a naked spectral image of Alex. "It was not yet your time to die young Alex Maybell, something, perhaps karma itself has delivered you to my land. Anubis." Those skeletal fingers snapped and in a puff of inky black mist a jackal headed man in a pale skirt and golden jewelry came into being beside Death, the Egyptian god of death lifted a scale in one hand and with the other reached into Alex's chest and pulled out his spectral heart. Adding it to the scale opposite a single feather... Alex frowned at the unusual sensation of having even a ghostly image of his organ pulled from his body, and the frown fell further when the scale clanged down, by this test his heart was heavier than the feather. Not a good sign at all according to Egyptian mythos.
Anubis snarled and prepared to leap at Alex, a khopesh blade sung through the darkness as the jackal headed god prepared to reap an unworthy soul. Alex trembled staggering backward wondering if it was even possible to die as a spirit when Death's fingers snapped again. Anubis was banished before he could claim the soul. The darkness shook as a monstrous howl of indignation and rage ripped through the room. The other spirits trembled and nearly winked out of existence at the power within that cry, of Anubis thwarted. Death frowned and looked to Alex, "You have been deemed wanting young Alex Maybell, your heart is heavy, were you to continue through the gates only punishment awaits you. Anubis, Hades or any of the other lesser gods and goddesses of the Underworld would vie to claim you. Yet you were not yet to die, the Book of Fate spoke of a noble soul yet you are not that soul, perhaps the turning point had yet to happen so it would be unfair to judge you too soon."
Death glanced to his book and frowned, "Yet I cannot send you back, the damage to your body is unable to be fixed unless the lower plane of Earth has found a way to regrow heads."
Alex blinked, he'd been beheaded? By what?!
Death shook his head seeing the shock on Alex's face, "Through some alignment of luck, karma and the planets a mini meteorite fell and took off your head, there's simply nothing your lower plane medicine to work with."
"So if I cant go back what about another world? Re-encarnation! There's plenty of stories about dead people moved to fantasy worlds to become heroes and gods! Send me to another world where I can cast magic or cultivate, how about it? I mean, I was killed before my time by divine intervention after all, in a sense you owe me." Alex rambled, ignoring the glare Death leveled at him.
Death's frown deepened but then his milky white eyes narrowed, he could certainly do as proposed and make amends with Anubis while he was at it. Looking on Alex, Death smiled and the man failed to realize that was never a good thing. " Alright, young Alex Maybell, I shall heed your demand since I 'owe' you."
Glancing to the gate a pale slender hand reached out to push it open slightly. "Enter for your new life mortal."
Alex quickly dived through the gap, eager to once again live and this time perhaps in a world unlike Earth, a world where he'd gain a super power or cultivate to godhood himself.
As the gate shut behind Alex he could not see the sneer on Deaths formerly impassive face. He owed no mortal anything. This foolish mortal wanted to claim a mile when he was given an inch? Anubis' test was spot on, this soul deserved damning, so to appease Anubis he'd have a corrupt soul in due course, power seemed to be young Alex's inner demon, so Death would feed it till it choked on it's own tongue.
* * * * *
Unlike what Alex expected he was not given an adult or even a near adult body, in the truest sense he was granted rebirth, experiencing the womb, birth and childhood again. Like his old life, his new parents doted on him, a spoilt young master from the time he could walk. Though walking and talking came swiftly to Alex, letters and runes were a bit more of a process but his initial burst of know how got him the title genius by his family.
As Death expected, born into a silver spoon again played right into Alex, now Alexander, and he swiftly abused his new noble identity. Born into House Caven, he was the second son of the aging lord of the local fiefdom. His elder brother, some ten years his senior, had left to join the imperial legion's following the Path of the General, a decent path that later in life would see him rise to become a general in charge of armies.
Alexander's father, Michael Caven, and his mother Lady Janice Greenbrook both followed the Path of the Merchant, literally a self made lord who was granted nobility in recognition of his trade house which served the empire. Both were loving people who had retired to manage their lands in the twighlight of their lives. Little did they expect their youngest would be such a silk pants, a young noble so entrenched in his own self worth they swore his nose often sprouted from the crown of his head.
Still they loved him, even with this most recent faux pas, of soiling the innocence of his mother's newest maid, they could forgive hoping the decent of his path would straighten the youth out.
Somewhere far yet near, a robed albino man leaned back on a stool of bones, a sly smile on his thin lipped face, "Young Alex Maybell, so begins your trial..... and your damnation."