Beings Of Light
“Lara’s dead.” Kurtis said, his voice fading, his lips barely moving. He was leaning against the rock wall for he couldn’t go on.
In front of him, Maddalena wrung her hands and said: “Dio! It won’t be true.”
Kurtis slowly raised his head. His lips were blue. Along with the living and dry blood which soaked his face he looked totally sinister. “Wish it wasn’t true.” He muttered. “I knew they would do that to her. Nothing less than that.”
That’s it, Warrior, Loanna sadly said, whom only he could see, we, the women who are strong, we’re humiliated that way. Demons, humans, the irony is that, ultimately, everyone’s equal. Don’t give up now. You swore an oath.
“I’ve failed her.” Kurtis murmured again, with forced blankness. “This is the Bitter Path.”
“No!” Maddalena. “Everything will be fine. We’ll overcome.”
“If only they had tortured her... she was very strong, but she wasn’t prepared for... they raped and butchered her and ripped...”
“Hush, for God’s sake!” The redhead lunged and covered his mouth. “Santa Madonna! You’re burning! No wonder you’re delusional. You’re hurt, tired, feverish...you must rest. You’ll see how everything works out, you’ll stop seeing ghosts, having bad, false visions...”
There’s no time for that, said Loanna, for nothing is crueller than reality.
Kurtis had no strength. He collapsed on the floor, shaking. He no longer had eyes to weep, but was crying anyway with hoarse sobs born from the depths of his being. He put his hands on his destroyed face. “I’ve failed her.” He obsessively repeated, while the blood was still slipping through the cracks of his fingers. “I just wanted to save her, and I failed.”
“That’s not true!”
You’ll fail only if you stay inactive. Arise! Loanna’s voice was now severe. Don’t shame your partner! She’s died to give you a chance. Lilith has risen, fueled by the blood of your son! But even now you’re not alone. Arise, or you’ll fail!
“Courage.” Maddalena gripped his hands. “We can’t stay here. Let’s go on. Maybe you’re wrong and she’s not...”
A bright light blinded her. She screamed in pain and covered her eyes. Even Kurtis, who could see thanks to the Gift, caught that iridescent and powerful clarity. Three bright figures began to take shape before them. Loanna was the first to react. She took a few steps ahead and bowed in respect.
The light was fading until three figures, shaping tall and slender, three beings made of light, lined up next to each other. Their bodies were male and they were naked, but had enormous wings, too bright and almost transparent, which they sprang back up above their head and spread widely. At first no one could glimpse their faces, for they were pure light spots.
Hail to you, oh Venerable, oh Ancients, Loanna waved her hands to her lips and then to the forehead.
Finally they could see them clearly. Maddalena dropped to her knees, trembling, speechless, and dug her fingers into Kurtis’ shoulder. “Oh Dio mio, this can’t be true.”
There were three angels: tall, gorgeous and breathtaking. Their bodies, though naked, had no trace of hair, bend or imperfection, for they were like marble statues, like ancient Greek gods and heroes of canonical perfection. And yet, they were different despite how similar they seemed, as the angel in the center was stocky and gave a powerful impression; the one on the right was agile and vital, while the left one had a milder form, like a teenager. The beauty of their faces was overwhelming. Such perfect beauty had never been seen before, since even Bathsheba’s features weren’t comparable with the brightness of their faces and the strength of their looks.
With her heart pounding, Maddalena noticed the angel in the center was holding a silver sword; the one on the right, something like a stick used by pilgrims, but also silverish; and the left one was just holding languidly a pen and an unrolled scroll almost touching the ground. This young-looking angel was the one who spoke, using a multiple and indefinite voice, which was both young and old, male and female, and sounded like a thousand voices in unison: Peace be with you, even in times like these. Also to you, Giulia the Sicilian, despite the demons that torment you. You were raised a Catholic and so you can recognize us. Indeed, we are the Three Archangels, servants of the Father. I am Gabriel, the Messenger, and these are Michael, the Warrior; and Raphael, the Guide. We came because she called us while dying.
...while dying... repeated an echo of his many voices.
Kurtis slowly raised his face at hearing that. “Lara called you?”
Indeed, Gabriel said softly, looking sadly at the man, we came to help you, Son of Light, because darkness is too strong now and your energy is flagging.
Michael stepped forward. Despite his beauty, his stern and frowning look made him terrible. He’d long blond hair and luminous eyes as a spring of water. He raised his silver sword and touched Kurtis’ chin with the blade’s tip, forcing him to raise his blind head. In his attitude there was something fascinating, a kind of disdainful aggressiveness. Maddalena embraced Kurtis’ shoulders, protective, scared at the angel’s attitude. He’s not but a poor mortal, his voices, unlike Gabriel’s, were an amalgam of deep and powerful tones, he’d no faith in his heart and had to sacrifice his sight to actually see. Such unfortunate.
Then Raphael intervened. His voices were more didactic and prosaic: Body’s eyes are worthless, for we only truly see with the heart. Tell us, young mortal, what do you want from us?
Kurtis mumbled: “Nothing. It was Lara who called you. Do whatever she wanted.”
Michael withdrew the sword, to Maddalena’s relief. Gabriel smiled. But she sent us to you. She said you’d answer, she said it with her last breath. Now you’re the only one left.
...only one left...
At that time, the fascinated Maddalena reached out to the young angel and tried to touch his leg, but she didn’t feel anything, neither hot nor cold, nor any rubbing. Gabriel smiled again. Sorry, little Giulia, but we’re not made of human flesh - you can’t touch us.
Kurtis said sourly: “Lara’s dead. Nothing else matters. You’re angels. You’ll know what to do.”
Michael frowned. So you’re the one who was to come, the mighty Warrior of Light? You’re rather cowardly. The Great Harlot just woke up and you mourn and shame your partner, who at least had the courage to fight until death.
Loanna stepped forward and placed her hand on Kurtis’ shoulder, a contact he could feel but was not corporeal. Oh Venerable Saint Michael, have mercy on him. You’re a divine being and don’t know about neither human suffering, nor the ravages it makes in our weak hearts. I beg you to assist him, for the Amazon asked this of you, and you listened to her in the past, when she invoked your Oracle.
Raphael leaned over and peered into Kurtis’ face. Then he shook his head and muttered: He brings death written on him!
… on him...
Kurtis smiled bitterly. “Well, that’s good news.”
There’s no time to waste, ruled Michael, standing, I’ll talk to Samael.
...Samael... The echo reverberated multitudinous, dragging the dreaded name.
Maddalena saw the young Gabriel quiver and nailed his frightened eyes to his companion. Brother, the Father hasn’t given you permission for it.
I’ll talk to him, Michael’s expression was firm, don’t worry, little one, for I beat him once, and so I can do it again, and when saying this he gripped the hilt of his sword. And if I fail, may the Father punish me.
No one seemed to be in the universe to punish that powerful and magnificent creature. Maddalena couldn’t take her eyes off them, big tears running down her cheeks. Now a red aura was surrounding Michael, who raised his sword and spread his wings. Samael will listen to me.
…listen to me... A glow surrounded him and he instantly vanished.
Raphael came and told Kurtis: I, by myself, will guide you to where your partner died, where the Unholy Goddess is awakening. Be strong and take comfort for she’s no longer suffering. She’s at peace, for I, by myself, snatched her soul when leaving her body, for the demons wanted to grab her and drag her into the blackness, and I’ve taken her to the Light. Rejoice and fight, because if you’re brave, you’ll see her again.
...see her again...
Maddalena came out of her fascination and dried her tears. “Now what?” And fearing having been disrespectful, she added. “Oh Saints, oh Venerable, oh Ancients!”
Gabriel smiled, as if being amused by those epithets. Now, forward, towards either end.
Raphael stood, stretched the rod and the rocky wall opened before him, revealing a path in the rock, dimly lit by his celestial body. Maddalena helped Kurtis to get up.
Follow me, it’s about time. Gabriel...
I know, Brother. Come on, Loanna Von Skopf, you’ve been involved enough. Go back to your well-deserved rest. I’ll be back soon.
...soon... said his youthful echo, and vanished after a blue flame, taking the silent and rueful Loanna with him.
Slowly, both Kurtis and Maddalena made their way, following Raphael’s luminous aura, towards the restless darkness.
Michael landed softly on the ground, folded his wings and scanned the darkness around him. Then he shouted: Samael!
There was no need to repeat it beyond the echo of his voices. A flash of light materialized before him, grew, grew and led to another being of light.
What an honor. Look who deigns to visit me after all this time.
The warrior archangel managed to hide his surprise. The being standing in front of him was just as he remembered, he’d changed nothing over millennia. He was the same as when he had defeated and condemned him to eternal darkness.
What’s up, Brother? Samael said sarcastically. Did you expect, perhaps, to see me with horns and a tail, as the mortals think I am?
.. I am...
The archangel Samael, the same one called Satan by mortals, differed very little from the beautiful and splendid Michael. He was so beautiful, tall and strong like him, except his eyes and his thick hair were jet black.
If you want, I can take that shape. Christian churches are full of images of yourself kicking me, a terrible monster. Would you feel more comfortable if no one’s competing with your power, isn’t that right, Brother?
Enough. I didn’t come to see your tricks. The one you call your bride just woke up.
In my presence, you’ll treat my wife Lilith with due respect.
Michael’s harmonious factions contracted. He moved the sword so fast that a millisecond after the blade brushed Samael’s mouth.
Be careful. I stuck this sword in your mouth once. Only the Father deserves respect.
The other one smiled calmly. Ah, Mi-ka-el, he hissed, pronouncing his name in Hebrew, How little angels change. Millions of millennia had passed and we continue as ever. While wasting time on these bluster, my wife is waking up and She’s very angry. She’s determined to avenge our fall into darkness.
You must stop her, Samael.
How, is that an order?
If you don’t obey, she’ll be destroyed. And you and your demons, too.
Nothing can destroy us, except the Father, as you know. And even He didn’t want to destroy us in the past. He imagined a worse punishment, the long agony in this endless blackness. Seeing how my brothers were transformed into hideous monsters, slowly, while my wife and I remained incorruptible. Yes, Moloch was once even more lovely than the gentle Gabriel, and look at him now. He’s become as cruel as the most despicable of mortals. We’re the Father’s creation, and this is what He’s done to us.
The warrior archangel’s fist tightened on the hilt of his sword while clenching his snowy teeth: If you keep blaspheming, I’ll rip out your tongue, Samael.
You’re a good fighter and a faithful servant, Michael, but I’m smarter. You need me, both me and my tongue.
Will you stop Lilith?
Under one condition.
How dare you put conditions?
For I am the bold, and you’re the obedient. Send this message I’ll tell you to Father, and if He accepts my conditions, I’ll stop Her. Otherwise, I’ll let Her to unleash Her righteous wrath.
Are you trying to negotiate with the Father? Who do you think you are?
Samael smiled. The devil himself.
My Daughter... Her voice was like all the voices of all women everywhere in unison. Great, terrible, very worthy.
Bathsheba knelt on the floor, trembling. The light coming from the broken statue blinded her. She closed her eyes, shuddering.
You’ve done well, my Daughter. Welcome to my Kingdom. Now tell me what you want and I will grant it.
She’d decided it so long ago, but at that moment her voice failed. The Nephilim trembled, forced again her voice and mumbled: “Destroy, Blessed Mother, the Periapt and the Shards, so that nothing can hurt me or harm me anymore in this world.”
So be it.