Flames flashed across crumbling stone, lighting up his pale forehead as he stood stoically at the iron gates. Cerberus’ coal-colored eyes traced routinely across the familiar endless plane of darkness. Another hour, day, or month had passed, he couldn’t quite tell. But that didn’t matter. Time didn’t matter to the great guardian between fire and brimstone. Only the vast emptiness of the darkness, and the task of keeping it at bay, mattered to Cerberus. He narrowed his eyes, as he always did. He steeled his expression, as he always did. He clenched his fists and dug his heels into the black dirt at his feet, as he always did. He did everything just as he always did.
Without warning, there was a burst of bright light from behind him. He couldn’t see the light, but he felt it’s presence. It was hard not to notice a bright light on the brink of darkness. As he whipped around to lay his eyes on the mystery, he felt a rush of a cool breeze, on his back, like a bird flapping her wings. Gravel skidded beneath his feet as he rushed to throw himself between the two figures and the gates he was chosen to protect.
On either side of the archway were two hovering feminine figures, one bathed in a soft glow the other wreathed in black feathers. He recognized them immediately and bowed without hesitation. It was not very often that he was honored by visits from any gods at all, let alone two at once. From his lowered position he could feel words prickling across the back of his neck.
“Cerberus,” A light voice floated through his mind. Though he had his eyes, an image of The Patron Saint Eve drifted into his vision. Her delicate fey features glowed with the light of Pelor as she hovered before him. “Pelor requires your service.”
The air around him froze as the Ravenqueen’s firm voice echoed through his whole body. “Cerberus, I require your service.”
“What?” Eve’s tone shifted, sounding very ungodlike, and Cerberus was reminded that she was a messenger, not a god. “But, Pelor sent me to fetch Cerberus for an earthly mission.”
“I require the service of the guardian.” The Ravenqueen’s words were unwavering, and a sensation of unwavering confidence exploded from her like a gust of cold wind.
“But,” Eve retorted, and he could almost picture her tiny hands resting upon her hips. “I got here first.”
“By half a second,” Spat back the Raven Queen.
“Still I got here first.” Eve replied triumphantly. “Meaning, life trumps death in this case. So ha ha, suck it.”
Cerberus was very confused. This argument was unexpected and as the godlike voices resounded within his mind, he got an intense feeling akin to walking in on a quarrel between a mother and daughter. But he kept his head down and listened, as he was meant to do.
“Life trumps death?” the Raven Queen laughed darkly, “Pelor couldn’t even bother to show up here. He sent his little messenger instead.”
Eve groaned irritably. “Yes, because this is about more than just light I- Ugh,I don’t expect you to understand. Listen, Cerberus,” Cerberus’ ears perked up as a soft warmth began to fill him from his toes all the way to his forehead, “Pelor, the god of Light and Life, has send me to calling upon you to-”
“I, the actual, live and in person, god of Death and Darkness,” The Raven Queen interrupted loudly, “Am here, in person, to call upon you-”
“Pelor is calling upon you to-”
“The Raven Queen is calling upon you to-”
The room vibrated with the force of both voices, both energies, until at the same time they both shouted. “To restore the balance.”
For a long moment (a minute, or an hour, or a day, Cerberus couldn’t tell) there was nothing but silence and the sound of the darkness beyond the archway.
“You want to restore the balance?” Eve asked skeptically. “That doesn’t sound like you. You’re the god of death.”
“You forget who you are talking to, little messenger.” The Raven Queen answered, her godly essence filling the room again. “I would never seek power from the lost souls I am sworn to protect.”
“And what is happening in Ravendean? That’s not you?” Eve inquired cautiously.
“But you’re the Raven Queen, and it’s called Ravendean. I thought-”
“That I would stoop low as my predecessor once did?”
Eve was silent at that. And while Cerberus still sensed her glow, it was softer now.
“Cerberus.” The Raven Queen’s words filled him once more, washing up from the ground like a stream of cold but comforting water. “Your services are required in the material plane.”