Chapter 5: Doru
"I have been wondering, what does your name means?"
"In the language of Romanians it means longing…a cursed name."
"Why? It has such a beautiful meaning. So what have you been longing for?"
"My death, until you came along."
It snowed. Not of the fluffy white cold substance which melted upon a single touch, but of light-weighted feathers both dark and fair. The soft silky texture fluttered past a solemn figure. Blood crept to a pool on mesmerizing white marble floor, the surface reflective enough to mirror the two life forms in the hall.
One hunched with trembling hands holding on to an ancient blade. The other pierced through the heart, body a floated midair supported only by the standing blade. Eyes closed, tears streamed down pale ghastly cheeks. A last breath escaped past gasp of pain, "Doru…" and her soul left an empty shell behind, her body.
Cold steel grey eyes stared on at the lifeless corpse, a quiet empty look. His shoulder length dark brown hair blew briskly by an unseen breeze encircling the scattered feathers around his trench coat covered body. With a swift move he pulled out the blade and caught the collapsed body within his embrace. The sword was put aside on the smooth marble floor and he kneeled stained with her red sensuous blood over his coat.
Doru still looked passive. He hasn't really sunk into the thought yet of what he has done, the harsh reality that he killed his truly beloved, his only soul mate. A crime of his guilt, it would be a sin for him to carry throughout his remaining existence in solitude. Forever haunted with her bright smile, her scent and touch which he no longer has the privilege to indulge. He was truly doomed in damnation as his position deemed him to be.
"Ava…" the name came as a soft whisper. "Ava," the reaper repeated more firmly, "…I'm sorry…" a feeling stirred within him. His heart felt constricted as he brought her closer into his embrace. He felt her cold rigid body, but somehow he sensed her softness and gentleness was still there just like when she was still alive. She looked at peace, a sleeping beauty cursed in eternal slumber. Only that she won't open her vibrant oceanic eyes ever again, even with a true love's kiss such as depicted in fairy tales.
"You shouldn't have trusted me, not a killer like me..." he whispered calmly beside her ear as he gently stroked her long flowing honey blond tresses. Her alluring scent of sunshine and roses lingered intermixed with the metallic smell of her blood. How he wished that her body was warm, filled with vibrant life again as her infectious laughter echoed within his hearing just like yesterday – he took away their future and destroyed any happiness that both of them may have kept.
He as a reaper, Death's agent was not meant to feel. Only a merciless, emotionless, and dutiful assassin to carry the task of Death's responsibilities, to judge one's worthiness to remain alive or move on to the next realm when one's time was up.
"Ava I have wronged you, I have betrayed your trust and love. Neither repentance nor forgiveness will be granted to me. What I did is deplorable and punishment shall befall me in the most excruciating form. I will personally seek to ensure that, as long as your soul does not rest in peace neither will mine. Suffering pain will be my only solace in this meaningless existence." He gazed longingly at her angelic face, both her innocent and chivalrous nature was apparent on her youthful appearance.
She was still young, only a mere twenty and he robbed everything of her. "I'm a monster…no better than the demonic minions of the Devil." A lone tear glided past his cheek, he reached for the second one with his fingers. Feeling the wet substance, it was cool instead of warm and when he stared at it long enough it crystallized. It was foreign to him the act of crying, since it has been so long when he last did during the time when he was still mortal.
The incident was long forgotten the moment he lost his humanity. When he got converted into a reaper, emotions and feelings were not needed. He thought he would remain that way forever until Ava showed up. She was his light and savior to that cursed void being. He needed her but his bond with Death was far too strong to be ignored, she was sacrificed as a result of his loyalty. His responsibility and duty took life of its own against his very will.
"Ava Grant, I love you with my entire being like no other have I felt so deep for. I only wish for you to be alive again, to be able to see joy on your face. I am willing to exchange everything of mine for your life. Please save her and sentence me instead…" before he knew it a sob wrecked through him and his hold on her motionless body tightened, a small glimmer of hope existed in his frozen heart. He felt for real after centuries long, a desire so strong that he was willing to give up everything at that moment to have his only wish granted.
The Devil sensed, and it heard Doru's inner voice. The will so powerful and tempting, a wicked appetite evolved within the evil entity. "Do you wish for her to live?" a sultry whisper ghosted by alerting the reaper from his moment.
"Who are you? Speak of yourself before I force you out of your hiding stranger," his voice a dangerous low growl.
A light laughter replied him. "You are a brave one to dare demand me." Out of the shadow the Devil appeared, a lady with sensuality and innocence. Her long flowing gold hair and snow kissed skin, the subtlety of burning golden gaze. With grace she moved, each step dragged the satin white dress that clung to her perfect curves.
He was shocked at the uncanny resemblance between the goddess and his Ava. "What are you?" he persisted as she stood above him.
"I am one who will grant your wish. Doru the Legendary Reaper, you wish to see her alive. You want her to live, is that not your ultimate desire? I have the power to do just that, but in return I want your soul." She held out her hand to him tempting the reaper to accept her offer. The temptress waited in anticipation for her prey to fall into darkness.
"Do not listen to the Devil," a voice commanded stern yet calm. A sudden mist surrounded the area and brought forward a pair of mysterious figure. "Even the Dark Lord has no power to bring back the dead, do not fall prey to its seduction Doru." A young girl who stood on the opposite side spoke with calmness, she who voiced the command earlier gazed at the Devil unfeeling. Behind her stood a gigantic cloaked figure shrouded in darkness and silence. "Do you not identify your master, Legendary Reaper?" her stare cold in blue glacier as she turned to face Doru on the ground.
"Death…" he whispered meeting the gaze of the girl with short deep brown hair. "I'm sorry about your loss Doru," she added with solemn, her expression a change from previous.
"It's ok Seres. It is my duty to carry and my sin to repent, I blame no one for it and I ensure you that my devotion lies with our master all the same." He looked at the cloaked figure as he stood carrying the bloodied body of his beloved.
"It was her time, she will rest in peace." Seres sadly noted as she gazed at the motionless beauty held in Doru's arms.
"I believe not, don't you agree Death?" the Devil spoke while analyzing the tall dark figure with a tinge of amusement in its fiery gaze. Death gave a nod in acknowledgement. "We have a settlement to attend Death. Apparently one of your underlings injured my precious soul hunter, so how should you compensate it?" the Devil inquired with a raised delicate eyebrow and an impish look.
"My master admits the mistake, but for such occurrence to take place was very rare indeed. No reapers should cross the boundary of listed names and neither should soul hunters interfere in our duties. However the incident that took place totally eluded us, even my master's keen sense is unable to foresee such an error. My master ensures that Vlad will be punished as he deserved and apologies will be extended in formal." Ending her statement, Seres remained still watching the golden haired goddess in contemplation.
A moment passed before the hall was abruptly filled with graceful laughter from the evil entity. "I have a gift for you Death," the Devil announced in a sensual manner. From behind the goddess figure, Ava emerged. She was pale, empty, and hollow – a lost soul. "So you know she is mine to claim." A swift wave of the Devil's hand made a steel leash appeared on her neck and it suffocated her before pulling her spirit down to the ground.
"What are you doing?! Let her go!" Doru yelled as he watched with a pained expression at Ava's soul.
"I can't, because she made a contract with me. In exchange for her soul, your qualification as Death's disciple is no longer valid. In fact you can no longer be a reaper, since you placed judgment on an innocent mortal." Lucifer gleefully stated with amusement.
"Her name is on the list. I made no mistake…" looking disbelievingly Doru directed his gaze towards Death, seeking an answer from his master. The tall creature shook its head somberly.
"Ava's name was not supposed to be in the list…" Seres explained. "But somehow it did, in the list you saw." She continued with a passive look at him.
"Did you alter Death's list?" a menacing glare was shot at the Devil as Doru growled low in warning.
"It was her choice and her wish to do so." Lucifer smiled at the motionless spirit kneeled by its feet. Pain and confusion attacked the reaper as he stood unfeeling trying to analyze his beloved's motive.
"I'm sorry Doru, but you have broken the most sacred law of a reaper. You have taken an innocent soul, one that is not written in Death's list. You know what your punishment is," Seres voiced out as a matter of fact, her face stoic as she looked at him. "Your position as a reaper will be stripped as of your qualification as his understudy,"
Silently he placed Ava's body on the cold marble ground and went to retrieve his sword. "As you have taken the life of an innocent, you will pay for your sin in blood and flesh. Your soul will be disintegrated to replace the chance for the sacrificed one to be reborn. Legendary one, your existence will void to exist." She recited the punishment like a revised script.
With obedience Doru kneeled on one knee before Death and offered his sword. "My life and soul belongs to you, my master."
The weapon floated to a pair of ghastly pale skeletal hands with nails as sharp as claws. He hung his head low waiting for the finishing blow that would claim his very existence.
'Doru…I am sorry…' a soft whisper brushed past his ears. He felt sudden warmth around his body, a familiar feeling that touched him to the end of the world. 'All I ever wanted was to free you from your fate. Never to feel or to be loved again, you said if you could avoid it you would. Please forgive my own selfishness for bringing you to such an end.' He felt the sting as the blade stabbed through his heart, 'I will always love you…' slowly but swiftly the lethal object was painfully leaving his body. He vomited blood spontaneously the moment his wound bleed. His eyes closed and the very image that came to his mind was her warm smiling face. 'Live on Doru.'
"Ava!" he was perspiring, conscious with eyes wide opened frantically searching. She was not there. Not on the bed he was laying on top, also not in the room he was in. She was no where to be seen and he panicked.
Leaving the bed he ran toward the door and opened it, bumping into someone. "What is wrong with you?! Are you having nightmares again?" Seres asked with concern scanning the man before her.
"Where is Ava?"
"You have finally healed. So it is true that a reaper's own weapon cannot take its owner's life." She contemplated to herself before staring at him again. "Only Death's scythe may end our lives. Doru, our master has decided to spare you but not without a price. You are no longer under the protection of the Reapers' Guild. Go find her, she's out there somewhere. You may have to wait since we don't know when she will reincarnate."
"But her soul is with Lucifer, how can she…"
"The Devil has no hold on her spirit due to her sacrifice. For your life she gave herself to the underworld. Neither Death nor Devil could go against such a noble act, she made an exception."
Tears of relieve which he didn't notice streamed down his face, "I will wait, and I will find her no matter how long it takes. Time is of no essence to me, it never existed when she's not here with me. Only Ava makes my very existence meaningful."
"And what happen when you did find her?"
To that question he smiled, the answer was evident from the bottom of his heart.
'We will be together soon.'
Doru / END