When the gods walked alongside Man, Shiva and his celestial brethren ruled over a time of enlightenment and tranquility. But as is the case of all times of peace, it was not to last. It came to pass that a race of demons known as the Raktabija broke free from their subterranean crypts and spread like a plague on the land, slaughtering all who stood before them. Humanity cried out to the gods for salvation, but the prophecies of the Raktabija proclaimed that only a woman could destroy them. And so the task fell to Parvati, wife of Shiva.
Calling on the celestial power of her shakti, Parvati transcended into the form of the warrior goddess Durga. She came down from the heavens and attacked the horde of Raktabija head on. Countless demons fell to her blade. But from every drop of blood that was spilled, a new Raktabija grew to take it’s place. Durga was on the verge of being overwhelmed. And beneath the shroud of Durga, Parvati began to feel fear. She felt despair at the thought of failing to save her precious humanity. But then Parvati felt an emotion she hadn’t experienced in her existence: rage.
Parvati became filled with anger. How dare these demons, little more than vermin, stand to oppose her, the bride of Shiva? Rising to her feet, Parvati summoned her power again, determined to ascend to a form mightier than Durga, more powerful than Shiva himself. The roar of the demons was overshadowed by her screams of pain as darkness enveloped her. And so it came to pass that on that day, demons, Men, and gods bore witness to the birth of Kali.
Kali. A goddess born of darkness, bloodlust, and fury. A being that possessed Durga’s strength and cunning in battle, but none of Parvati's all too human weakness. The Raktabija charged to attack this new threat, but within an instant Kali was upon them. She slaughtered them all and drank their blood, ensuring that they would never be seen again on this Earth. Humanity thought the battle was over, but they were wrong. The day was not done, and Kali still hungered.
With no more demons, she simply turned her aggression toward the humans. They begged for mercy but Kali continued her onslaught, determined to return to the heavens and bring down the gods themselves. Shiva saw that Kali had the power to accomplish her goal, but could not bring himself to do battle with the being that once was his beloved. He descended to Earth and fell prostrate before Kali, offering himself as a sacrifice so that humanity and the heavens would be spared. Kali raised her blade to strike the killing blow.
But Kali was betrayed. For within Kali still were the spirits of Durga and Parvati, who forced the goddess back within Parvati’s soul, restoring her body and mind. While humanity rejoiced the victory of their gods, Parvati knew that none were safe as long as Kali lived within her. Calling on her fellow goddesses, Parvati used their combined shakti to remove the shadow of Kali from her spirit, convinced that without a life force to sustain her, Kali would eventually wither, fade, and die.
But Kali did not die. She lived on off of her hatred and rage, swearing vengeance on the gods and the humans who worshiped them. But she was now a mere shadow, unable to fully establish herself on the mortal or celestial plane. But she still could give her blessing to humans so that they would create further bloodshed and chaos in her name.
And that is why we worship Kali. For hers is the power that will bring down the world. Hers is the power that can make the gods fall down in reverence. The day of the ultimate transcendence draws near, when Kali shall return to us. And on that day, all gods and all Men, shall bow.
“Tatter? Tatter! Where the hell are you?!” The woman’s voice broke Arnold Paffenroth’s concentration as he looked up from the scroll sitting on the podium in front of him. At that moment he was in the library of the Tower of Shadows. It was a circular room lined with shelves filled with dusty books and manuscripts. Arnold was a man with unkempt gray hair and dressed in a blue tunic and pants. He was in his early 50s, but he took great pride in the knowledge that he was in better physical condition than most men half his age. Still there was part of him that did enjoy the idea of being by himself and exploring the treasure trove of knowledge in the Tower of Shadow’s collection.
“TATTER!” Arnold sighed. There was also a part of him that would have preferred to have his associates use his proper alias. He had long ago chosen the name Tatterdemalion as his nom de guerre, but after realizing his allies either couldn’t pronounce, remember, or care what his name was, he resigned himself to being referred to with the abbreviated term.
The oak door to the library creak as it opened and woman’s head peeked in. She was an a attractive woman in her mid 20s with brown hair in two pony tails. She wore a black shirt, jeans, a brown trench coat, and an annoyed expression on her face. “Seriously, Tatter? I’ve been looking all over the Tower for you!” Arnold quickly started to roll up the scroll and reach for the cylinder he pulled it from. “My apologies, Moth. I was just catching up on some reading.” Sybil Dvorak, or Moth as she was known, raised an eyebrow as she noticed the scroll in Arnold’s hands. “You know Dansen doesn’t like people messing with her stuff.”
“How odd, since we are supposedly a team now,” said Arnold as he re-sealed the cylinder and moved to the rack on the wall where other scrolls were stored. Five strings of thread sprang from Sybil’s shirt and stretched out to snatch the cylinder from Arnold. He glared at Sybil as the threads placed the cylinder in her waiting hand and re-knitted themselves back into her outfit. “Isn’t there some cliché about curiosity killing cats or something?” Arnold quickly crossed the room and yanked the cylinder from Sybil’s grip. “Yes. There certainly is,” he said trying to maintain his composure. “I’m surprised you are aware of it. Did you read about it on Twitter?” Sybil rolled her eyes as Arnold walked back to the rack. “No. I just figured you’d appreciate it. It’s like you. Creepy, annoying, and old.”
Arnold bristled slightly, but before he could come up with a reply, Sybil was already heading for the door. “The point is, Dansen will probably kill both of us if you don’t get your wrinkled butt downstairs. Better move it. This will probably be our only chance to get this Russell guy.” Arnold watched Sybil as she disappeared through the doorway. He looked back at the rack, noting the location of the scroll he had been reading, then followed after her. Sybil had a habit of being rather brusque, but she did have a point. This was an important mission for their organization. “And besides,” Arnold said to himself as he grabbed his wide brimmed hat and wrapped his raggedy scarf over his face. “It’s not everyday you get to hunt a werewolf.”
Marvel Studios, in association with Netflix and Broadway Beyonder
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