Mirko wasn’t sure where he was. Everything around him seemed vague and he couldn’t quite focus on any of it. All he could really say was it gave him the impression of vastness and power.
The last thing he remembered was being in Chesed’s Temple with Rae and Luca. That’s right, he remembered. He sacrificed himself. Not because he was sorry. He still wasn’t. But because she was right. A healer, a true healer would have saved everyone. She could do what he couldn’t. Rae would save them all.
“Welcome, Mirko Salvai.”
He spun to see three people behind him. Two of them, a man and woman, had a lot of similarities to each other. Both had honey brown eyes and thick brown hair. The woman wore hers in an intricate style that kept it all pinned up with only a few loose curls around her face. The man’s was tied at the nape of his neck. Something about them made Mirko’s body tremble, though he wasn’t sure why.
The third person he knew well, though he’d only seen her once. Goddess Chesed. The one who gave him his healing power when he died for strangers. Guilt and shame flooded him for the first time. He knew he wasn’t the kind of healer she wanted him to be.
Chesed gave him a sympathetic smile. “My poor soul. You have suffered much in your short life.”
He wasn’t so sure that thirty odd years counted as short. Then he remembered she was immortal.
“I worried you would not overcome your hate and anger in the end,” Chesed continued, her voice kind and soft. “I hoped Rae would be able to remind you of what you had forgotten in your rage.”
That gave him pause. “You sent Rae to me, my lady?”
She nodded. “It was the only thing left I could think of to save you from yourself.”
“What if I had corrupted her,” he demanded, feeling a stirring of anger again.
Chesed didn’t seem bothered by his outburst or accusation. “My child, Rae is a far stronger soul than that. It would take more than even my brother Chaos could bring to break her. She is, and has always been, a healer to her core. It is her very nature.”
“It was mine once too.”
“Not so,” she disagreed. “You always carried the anger and fear in your soul. Those two things are what led to your fall.”
“Then why make me a healer?”
“Because I always believed you could overcome those emotions. I thought you more healer than not.” Her smile was like seeing the sun for the first time after years of storms. “And I was right. Now, you can be saved.”
“I am dead.”
The man who was next to Chesed nodded. “You are, which is why my sister and I are here with Chesed.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I am Thanatos.”
A chill went down Mirko’s spine. Thanatos was the judge and jury for the dead. His choice here would decide Mirko’s fate for eternity.
The woman who bore a striking resemblance to Thanatos nudged him. “You are scaring him brother.” Turning her attention to Mirko, she said, “I am the Goddess Laisidheil.”
That would make her Thanatos’s twin sister and Goddess in charge of rebirth and life.
“There is no reason to fear,” Laisidheil informed him. “I am here to follow through with your judgement. It has already been decided that you will be reincarnated.”
“You are getting a second chance to live a life,” Thanatos explained.
“Not to argue against the mercy you are showing me, but why? I killed hundreds and I still have no regrets.”
“Exactly. No regrets. Not even for saving the other hundreds still ill with the plague you cast.”
Mirko opened his mouth then shut it. Thanatos was right. He didn’t regret that either.
“Yes, you committed a horrible crime. However, you then made it right. The fact that you kill all of those people is why you cannot go into Paradise. However, your act of redemption has earned you another chance to get there.”
“You have made mistakes. Horrible and tragic ones,” Chesed told him as she took his hands in her own. “But, in your life, you have saved many selflessly. You may not have been the healer Rae is or her father could have been, but you were a healer. For that, you will get another chance to be better.”
Tears slid down his face. “Thank you.”