Chapter 16 - Angel and Goddess
The next day Orlai and her I left for Anor Londo.
Sporting her new armor and weapons, Orlai stopped the Chosen before they warped,
“So explain to me the plan again?”
“Go to Anor Londo, find Priscilla, escape Lordran.” Orlai nodded,
“Ok, but how?” He held up that strange, somewhat creepy, doll,
“This.” She cocked an eyebrow,
“You will see.” Orlai shrugged,
“Sure, whisk me away then to whatever the hell you have planned for us.” As if sucked through a tub of stars Orlai felt herself pressed paper-thin, when suddenly she reappeared in a room of white lit by the orange light of a Bonfire’s astral flames. Orlai’s eyes widened in shock, looking around at the marble columns and walls, a white and green tiled floor beneath our feet, the room glowing radiantly in wealth and cleanliness, a woman in golden armor leaned against one of the walls helmet nodding in greeting at our arrival. It was a far cry from the ruined, rundown Firelink Shrine and the Undead Parish had. Not even dust marred the gleaming floor. Chosen motioned Orlai to follow, ascending a long stairwell leaving her in a stupefied silence,
“Princess?” He asked, Orlai taking a moment before responding,
“Yeah but… but where are we? This is all so… clean.”
“I will show you.” He resumed walking up the steps and she followed staring at the smooth marble railing and white walls that reflected the sunlight from atop the stairwell, “Welcome Princess,” The Chosen declared as she reached the top of the stairs, gesturing widely with a black gauntlet, “To the city of Gods.”
Orlai gasped, a grand cityscape of marble, gold, and green shone brightly beneath a setting sun though she could have sworn they left at morning. The great buildings reminded her of the massive churches of her homeland, amazing structures of golden stonework and fantastic masterpieces of architecture, they did not hold a candle to the gigantic palace before her.
White clouds drifted beneath her, warm breeze swirling through her jet black hair. The child floated through a bright blue sky looking down at the world far below from a shimmering palace of golden sunlight. A grand mountain range stretched beneath her host to a shining city of white and gold, green forests and roads packed with the smiling faces of humanity. It was massive the distance from one wall to another several miles and each building stood over ten stories tall large spires of gold atop them. At the city’s center a great palace reached high into the sky its boundless authority dominating as its gold encrusted marble arches, spires, and walls showcased limitless wealth. Here the greatest minds performed feats of magic and philosophy that knew no bounds and the most legendary heroes and heroines honed their skill.
Orlai put a hand to her head, suddenly feeling light headed,
“Princess?” The man in black leaned over her, hand on her shoulder,
“I’m fine,” She assured weakly, surprised at the wave of exhaustion that gripped her momentarily before fading at his touch, “Really, come on let’s find this Priscilla.”
“Of course.” He nodded setting off towards a large marble gazebo at the end of the sizeable plaza they stood in, “Elevator.” He warned. Looking down at an empty hole Orlai stood next to him, watching a platform quickly rise to meet them. The butterflies already swimming in her stomach Orlai stepped onto the “elevator” as he called it. Resisting the urge to grab his arm they descended into the tall tower beneath the gazebo, stopping at the top of another marble staircase. They both stepped off, Orlai proud of how steady her legs were, and walked to the bottom of the staircase and out onto a long bridge,
“So where to now?” She asked and he pointed at a building to their left, and then at a large platform connected to the bridge. She spotted some sort of contraption at the platforms’ center as well as a staircase that lead down beneath the bridge. Orlai nodded as they walked towards the platform,
“Seems easy enough.” Orlai found the ease of this walk surprising, why had the man in black delayed so long before taking her here? They’d barely been walking for ten minutes and already were in such an amazing place that just screamed nobility, riches, and overwhelming power, when Orlai realized something, where were the people?
“Gone,” Replied the man in black when she asked, halfway across the bridge to the platform, “Only knights left.”
“Good or bad knights?”
“Bad.” That didn’t surprise her, when was something not going to kill them in this god-forsaken land, which seemed ironic since he’d called this the “City of Gods.” If it was such a grand city where were the gods? A tingle ran up and down Orlai’s spine, the sun’s heat suddenly growing ten-fold she raised her arm protectively, “Wha-” She was cut off as a blast of flame knocked her to ground and tumbling across the bridge. Dazed, Orlai slowly pushed herself to her feet, vision blurred she saw in doubles, eyes readjusting after a moment.
An Angel stood at the end of the bridge wielding a spear of flames, huge wings of white feathers sprouting from his back and bright glittering exotic plate mail that outshone the sun’s own light adorned his body, she could not see his face, obscured by a masterfully made winged helmet depicting the head of an eagle on its face,
"DAUGHTER OF FLAME,” Its voice rattled the very structure of the bridge and resonated with her bones, ”THINE TRIAL IS AT AN END, CHOSEN’S PURPOSE FULFILLED.”
Orlai’s eyes focused.
A man in extravagant black armor impaled upon the end of the flaming spear, entry and exit wounds aflame as the Angel threw the body bouncing across the stone to stop perfectly in front of Orlai. His hood and mask were gone, burned off by the flame, jaw disengaged, half his face burnt off, one remaining brown eye glazed over by the fog of death, a massive hole through the center of his body,
"DAUGHTER OF FLAME, HE HAS PAID FOR YOUR SINS AS WAS ARRANGED. YOU ARE TO STAND, NOW A RIGHTEOUS HOLY FORCE, AGAINST THE DARK. HIS PART IN THIS IS OVER. YOURS JUST BEGINNING."
Orlai heard none of this, reaching down to grasp the scorched corpse. Pressing its head to her breast she calmly pulled the Estus Flask from his pack, pouring its contents into his mouth, “Hey,” She said blankly, “Wake up.” The essence poured over his lips and face, and into his mouth oozing out from the wound in his stomach. The burns were still present, “Hey,” She continued, “Wake up.” The dead eye looked past her, into a world beyond her reach, “Wake up.” She felt no emotion, no sadness, no sorrow, no regret, the body did not stir, “Chosen.” The dead could not speak. He had said he was immortal hadn’t he? Hadn’t he?
"HE IS A GEAR IN A MACHINE, DAUGHTER OF FLAME, PURPOSE AT AN END, HE NOW FADES INTO OBLIVION TO SE-"
“Shut up,” Her teeth clenched, “Shut up,” Muscles tensed, “Shut up,” Sharp emotion, “Shut up,” A single, pure and wild emotion, “Shut up,” Weapons in hand she stood, “Shut up,” Sword and shield raised, eyes fixed on the scum that dared take him from her, “SHUT UP!” Orlai roared.
In an explosion of pure fire the human known as Orlai was consumed. Swelling in size and strength the flames swallowed the bridge and drove the Angel back before dying down. The fireball faded, and what remained shocked even the Angel. A fifteen foot tall goddess carried by wings of flame wielded a shield burning like a furious firestorm and a sword of white-hot metal, light so blinding it burned an after-image into the eyes from its passing. The goddess’ armor burned with blue flames, metal plates beneath shimmering silver, hair a maelstrom of fire, and eyes crisp green gemstones. To look upon her was to witness the true embodiment of rage and fury,
"DAUGHTER OF FLAME-" Began the Angel,
"SILENCE!" The Daughter of Flame cut, voice booming over the Angel’s like thunder over a drum, ”DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, FILTH?!" The Angel hesitated,
"I HAVE DONE THE DUTY GIVEN TO ME, DAUGH-"
"DUTY?! DUTY GIVEN BY WHOM?!" She roared back, drawing closer. The Angel raised its spear,
"YOU ARE TO COME WITH ME, NOW.” The Angel retorted, ”YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER WISH TO SEE YOU.” The Daughter of Flame laughed,
"THEY ARE DEAD,” She laughed, wings of flame flapping, flecks of the flames billowed out over the rooftops, “AS ARE YOU!” With a one-handed swing her gigantic sword cut through the air with unbelievable speed, the Angel barely dodging it as the weapon cut off one of the Angel’s wings,
"STOP THIS MADNESS, YO-" In a flash the Goddess stabbed her sword into the Angel’s chest who screamed as he burned to ash. The Daughter of Flame turned, feet hovering above the stones of the bridge, and flew smoothly back to the corpse of the man in black. Quieting her fires she landed heavily onto the bridge kneeling over him, wings closing around she and the lifeless corpse,
"Chosen.” The Goddess whispered gently, leaning down to ever so carefully scoop him up into her arms, ”Chosen.” The man did not answer, ”Chosen, please.” Her voice quivered, golden tears of Estus creeping down her cheeks to land upon his body harmlessly, dripping off of his body to the stone below, ”You are not a gear,” She cupped his cheek with a hand hiding the burn marks. His remaining eye stared up at her lifelessly, ”You are a man.” Rage pricked the Goddess, one that knew no bounds as she looked down at the broken body of the one she held so dear, ”You were supposed to be mine.” Eyes turning to the sky the Goddess scowled, ”But they took you," Sword reappearing in her hand she gently set the man down, hands folded over the hole in his chest, ”So I’ll take them.” The Goddess snarled and, in an explosion of flame, vanished.