Sunday, February 17, 2013


In the end, there was nothing but the light. Brilliant luminosity filled the lifeless vessel laying flat against the ground, blood of the enemy drying under the hot sun on its armor, sounds of war exploding all around it. The pain had long subsided but the memory remained, shadows of horrors unfolding like pieces to a grand puzzle, placed before it one dreadful wedge at a time. All of the pieces came together to form a mural of its past, present, and potential future. Mother and father stood over it like proud gods admiring its tiny creation, promising big things to come, sheltering it with love and offering it protection. Then it looked into the eyes of a beautiful woman, arms outstretched to embrace him, with eyes like twin galaxies calling out silently into the night for him to behold, begging him to stay. And then his own creation laying quietly in its crib, an occasional coo escaping its tiny crested mouth. Here was something to fight for, something in which to die for. All of it taken away, long ago when Kings ruled the land, brandishing their broadswords upon the backs of armored war horses on the battlefields. Though free from any more pain and suffering, the image of her calling out to him, and his inability to go to her, was more damaging than the wounds suffered in battle- a battle that he and his King would lose in the end.

Lifeless was the battlefield now, stained red with the blood of man that seeped into the earth as those who survived, victoriously or defeated, had retreated far from the battle in order to escape the stench and death promised to them by war. Night crawled over open grounds, bathing the dead in its moonlight. Sounds of hooves crushing against fallen leaves emerged from the surrounding woods, trotting slowly across the battlefield. Whispers carried in the wind, sounding like the voices of children, some laughing while others more sever in their opinions of the dead.
     "Too deceiving," Said one.
     "No honor," Said another.
In the middle of the battleground, a lone voice stood among a crowd of fallen warriors. This one stepped down from its beast and tip-toed over the body of a fallen soldier, and then another and another. Finally it found what it had first smelled. Unlike the rest, this one smelled pure. Clean of conscious and devoid of regret, its scent tasted like water to the dry dehydrated tongue of a weary traveler.
     "Here!" It's voice rushed the battlefield alerting all the others.
Within seconds, the voices converged to the middle of the battlefield, drawn to its scent like a pack of wolves to a wounded doe. This intoxicating smell was that of a Retriever. A soul that clung to its vessel refusing the light, choosing to remain lost inside a pocket of time many called Purgatory. The voices huddled over the body, their shapes like twisted silhouettes of disfigured things that go bump under the moonlight thirsting for the soul within.
From above them, a great wind rushed the field with a force that pushed the horde back from the body, kicking up dust into a whirlwind that settled around a feathered cocoon in front of the fallen soul. Slowly the cocoon unfurled into mighty wings that flexed outwards from the back of a humanoid being, with eyes devoid of color like two black holes side by side eating away the light around them. The being's hair were like strands of sunshine cascading down around its face that continued down the length of its body.
     "This one has my protection. If you wish to challenge me for it, then do so now or leave us be," The light moved from its side, forming an arm that held in its hand a flaming sword that glowed bright orange in color.
The creatures jumped back onto the backs of their beast returning to the woods.

The Angel knelt beside the body and reached out with its hand, touching the forehead of the fallen.
     "You do not wish to leave?"
A distant voice cried out from another place and time. It did not fear where it was, nor did it ask why it were there. It heard the Angel and simply replied, "There is work still to be done."
The Angel stood.
It looked upwards to the open night, the distant starts glimmering peacefully light years away and said, "Lord, hear my prayer."
The fallen warrior lie still under the stars. Its soul listened as the Angel spoke in a language it could not understand, at least not at first. As the Angel prayed the words slowly became coherent to the soul at its feet.
     "Mortua heic ego sum cinis, is cinis terrast: sein est terra dea, ego sum dea, mortua non sum. Say it." The Angel said.
The Soul inside listened as the Angel repeated the words again, each time more easily understood than the last. Finally, as instructed, the mouth of the corpse opened and spoke.
     "Dead, I am here and I am ashes, the ashes terrast: Saint Clare is the earth goddess, a goddess, I am, I am not dead."
The warrior's eyes opened and he saw for the first time his Guardian Angel.
     "Hello brother. Tell me, what is your name?"
     "Ely. I am Ely Perseus."
     "Ely was your earthly name. You are now born again, to serve the Lord; therefore, you are Grigori. Come now, there is much you will endure along your path to Him."
The man once known as Ely took pause.
     "My family-"
     "You will see them again. But, for now, we go."
The Angel approached Ely, wrapping him within the light of his being, absorbing flesh into the spiritual manifold that makes up his angelic self. His powerful wings forced the air beneath them down towards the ground, lifting them both effortlessly into the air. As they traveled higher into the night, the Angel felt the fear inside him.
     "Fear not. You will become like me soon."
Below, the world changed. Time passed like sand in an hourglass that was turned by the hand of progress, shifting landscapes that morphed stone castles into towering steel skyscrapers, horse drawn carriages into engineered machines that advanced the people further out, ushering in the tides of change. One that brought with it technologies that neared the heavens and challenged God at every corner. All the while, far beyond man's advancement in a place no modern technology could reach, a celebration was occurring. It was the coronation of one man's journey towards life eternal, to serve God and carry out what the Guardian had called, Acceptance.

     "The first step in Acceptance," the Angel said, lifting his hand up to the heavens, "Is knowing."

Above them the stars appeared to split, opening a view into the cosmos as though Moses himself had parted the galaxies as he had the Red Sea. From the center of the universe, light flooded in so intensely that it could not be looked upon, without blinding the observer. The Angels helplessly dropped to their knees, their wings raised into the air in salute to their Lord, God. Their perfect faces, soiled by black tears that were the texture of hot wax running alongside a candle stick, wept joyfully over His presence, for it, like all things, was unrivaled. Both chaotic and beautiful, The Father, the Sun, and the Holy Spirit had in an instant, become the embodiment of the universe before them. Grigori, who had adapted to his new eyes long ago still had to slightly shield his onyx-colored eyes against the shine. Then Grigori saw it. A mountainous burden of guilt, shame, and humility lifted from his shoulders. His thoughts were answered and his heart healed by a voice inside him not his own. Grigori then felt infinite sadness. It was knowing how it would all end that broke him, his own uniqueness had soured part of his angelic awakening; however, this was part of the plan. In a blink of the eye, all was removed. Grigori stood at the cliff of a snow-capped mountain overlooking a white snow-covered world below. His Guardian stood alongside him, pointing to the north beyond the veil of frosted clouds.
     "I am not like you am I?"
     "In His eyes, you're better. You can walk among them, call upon your wings when needed and see with their eyes. Above all, you have something we do not- choice."
     "I do not understand. I thought my Acceptance-"
     "Acceptance doesn't make you one of us, Grigori. It makes you enlightened. You have what they all want
and very rarely ever achieve. That is why you are so special, and why your role in Acceptance critical. Your final lesson is this. God is flawless. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, and just look at how detailed and wonderful the earth alone is. His love for humans and their world goes far beyond its atmosphere, stretching beyond this galaxy and the next, racing ever onward to the infinite rim of the universe. He left his imprint with you, and watched as you slaughtered it like sheep. And still, He loves you most, more so than even those beings who can do nothing but serve him.  The reason, Grigori, is out there somewhere. And Lucifer knows it too." The Angel turned and looked over the edge of the cliff. "Much has changed since we were here last."
     "It is not the same world I remember. It feels...dark." Grigori said
     "Evil has a firm grasp here. Demons walk among them. They sleep in their beds, eat at their dinner tables, breed with them, employ their services and coach them like puppets; humans are such a fragile species, lost within their own sin they do not realize what is right in front of their noses."

The Angels admired the world ahead of them. It was easy to enjoy the view from here, far from unspeakable atrocities humans dished out to one another daily. They closed their eyes and listened to the world at large. For Grigori's Guardian, the noise was calm and soothing. The innocence and purity of God's army did not allow for sin to interfere or impact their judgement, free of those things that sculpted sin, contributing to a long list of desires that have crippled humanity since the time of Adam and Eve. Grigori, however, fought to push the noise aside. Though angelic, his humanity still resided inside him. Sin in any fashion was like heroin to an ex-junkie- he could smell it in the air and taste it upon his tongue. Evil flowed in his veins, which made his Acceptance all the more challenging and risky, for he could turn on his Guardian and his God at a moment's notice. This flaw in his design was his strength and his weakness. His Guardian knew this too, but could not teach him, for he knew nothing of sin.
     "Time grows closer for my departure, my friend."
     "What will you do now, since I have become one of you?" Grigori asked.
     "Protect another. The world is full of souls in need of protection."
The Guardian turned, his wings unfurling as the air gently rushed beneath them, lifting the angel from the ground.
The Guardian turned his head.
     "Is Acceptance the same for us all?"
A smile unseen by Grigori etched along Gabriel's mouth. "The vision of his grace is common amongst us, but the message is our own."
There was a hint of worry to Grigori's voice as he attempted to hide his concern from his Guardian. "I saw terrible things coming to this world, Gabriel. Things I believe I am responsible for."
     "Perhaps. That is the miracle of life, brother. The freedom to change those things we are responsible for, to repent or even mend whole again. Whatever you were shown can be changed."
The powerful wings of Gabriel flapped towards the ground, the Angel shot upwards until swallowed by clouds. Grigori took a deep long breath, tasting air he had not felt in his lungs in hundreds of years. There was much to learn about his home now, and he still needed to find the girl from his vision. He could not shake the vision from mind, the raging fires that burned across cities, demons enslaving humanity, and Lucifer rising from hell. It was the girl though that captivated him the most. Who was she? Why had he been chosen to protect her; especially, since she was damned. The breath Grigori had been holding slowly released from his lips as he stepped off the edge of the cliff, plummeting through skirted clouds that hugged the mountain top. He held his arms out to his side, palms flat against the wind, and flexed the muscles in his back. Midway down, he tilted his momentum and moved his arms to his side, barreling towards earth like an arrow, waiting for the last possible moment, when he would unleash his new wings and fly.

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