War In Heaven

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Anna Marthalow

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Chapter 15

Annamarthow

Another mundane day begins without much excitement. The children bicker and gossip. They understand nothing of what it is to truly worship God. It is a never-ending responsibility. Each action and thought should be devoted to Him. The only reason one breathes is to fill His wish. The only reason one eats is to support His system. The only reason one desires is to quell His need.

How do I teach this to beings less than myself?

The task itself is revolting and belittling. Yet I continue such a chore at the behest of the Merci. I cannot deny their wishes. They believe this humdrum occupation will expand my connection with God. They are obviously dim-witted if they think I need support in such an area. My bond with my Lord Father has never been stronger.

I am being picked on, it is easy to see. Fifty years ago, I save a Yazata from the evil hands of a Fallen and I sacrifice a part of my own Soul to kill that wretched creature.

This is the repercussions of gratitude. The Merci understands nothing of Earth and its violence. Fallen are dangerous and they must be stopped at all costs. I am not sorry I killed it. I would do it again if I had to. Fifty years in Heaven’s prison did not change me. If anything, I am even more sure of myself than I was.

God sees all. God knows what I did. God loves me still. I care little for the whispers and the stares I receive. I care even less for the scars upon my Soul. It is God’s love I cherish and crave and He gives it regardless.

I bring my attention to the bunch of Psychopompoi, ready for the morning’s adventure. They are typically antsy but what gains my attention are the whispers they hide from me behind their hands and backs. I attempt to listen nonchalantly, flexing a short wing over my arm to pick at its feathers, preening and combing through the silk. It flickers in dislike, pulling from my fingers on a will of its own requiring me to grip it between both hands as I tear out a tattered quill. I scoff at its rebellion and it flaps with upset.

It is then I hear it: A name I dislike as much as Satan himself. “Who said it?” I order quickly, disregarding my unruly wing. They hush instantly, perceptively frightened. “Forward now.”

With much dishevelment, the crowd parts and out comes a small soul, barely seeable, its light too low: Meaning its faith is abating. I sneer despite my will to hide it. “Explain to me what has gotten so much attention, Melody.”

It stutters and shakes: A human reaction. I strike against my better resolve, and it crumbles to the floor with a cry.

Stuttering, she manages to voice, “Tymician.”

“Yes, what about him?”

“He’s gone missing, ma’am. No one knows where he is.” I shouldn’t have to bully information from these low forms of God’s creation. If I were an Elder, I would have known the moment Tymician’s Soul evaporated.

I quickly dismiss the class out of my vexation. They dawdle, unmoving, perplexed upon my disrupt discharge. Class has yet started and to leave them gathered on Earth’s domain uncared for will cause me grief with Arch Remeil. It is an act against my ‘probation.’ Yet since my release, I’ve grown apathetic toward many woes concerning the Merci and its ridiculous sense of reform.

To know that Tymician is missing gives me great pleasure. I know more than I should about the Fallen regime simply because I despise them so.

To destroy an enemy, one must know their enemy. Tymician is the Fallen’s Savior. His disappearance will bring them great misfortune, which will only benefit me.

The Earth disappears beneath my feet as I step into the Dust. I walk swiftly along the particles of the white vortex, my boots echoing in the empty space of the endless tunnel. It is once again against one of the many rules put upon me to travel anywhere the Merci does not direct, but despite how powerful the Merci may be, they cannot stop me from visiting my Soul Mate.

I step out onto the cobble stone of a barely lit basement. My lips curl in aversion upon the odor of dust and mildew. The obscurity saves me from the sight of cobwebs and other hideous infestations time does to all Earthly things. My wings flatten in instant displeasure upon the closed space. I pass large floor to ceiling statues of famous humans that I’m ignorant of. I care less for history, human or otherwise. I live in the present and want nothing more than to excel myself into the future.

I am in the cellar of a branch to New York’s Public Library, the one in Staten Island. It is the second largest library in the United States and though I don’t care for reading, the one I seek desires nothing else. He had already spent a hundred years in Washington DC at the Library of Congress and has since moved on while I was held against my will in Heaven.

I step in the doorway. The room illuminates by candle light only. Dane Monte dislikes artificial light and never reads by anything other than fire. He sits in an old wingback chair with a leg thrown over an armrest. He’s swallowed by its massive size. The sight of his chosen human form is nauseating. He is old and sickly with white hair covering his head, chin, and eyebrows. Spectacles hang from his pointy nose.

I know he feels me there. Though he is not connected to the Source, he would sense me, yet he doesn’t take his eyes away from his book as usual. I wait impatiently sighing in utter aggravation.

Unable to wait, I barge ahead. “Why didn’t you tell me Tymician disappeared?”

He simply flips a page before replying, “I knew how happy it would make you. It was easy then to keep it confidential.”

His witty replies are common and always exasperating. Over five hundred years I have known him and I still don’t like them any better than I did when it first began. My eyes narrow in agitation but it is lost on him since he goes on reading whatever damned book he’s got in his hand. Where other beings tremble at my feet when I get angry, Dane simply reads and disregards me.

Rage gets me nowhere with him. If I have learned anything, it is that much.

As stupid as it feels, I lean to one side, sticking out my hip trying to add some kind of seduction to this game. I am not good at seduction and I don’t ever mean to be. But I will get what I want. “Tell me.” I whisper. “What happened?”

A smirk breaks against his lips, one that reminds me of his soul form. My knees quake and my heart thumbs wildly. Even in this human body, it’s impossible to deny that he is my Soul Mate.

Many would feel inferior having an Erelim Elder as their partner but I only find it appropriate. I had wanted to expose our relationship to the world the moment I knew who he was but Dane forced me to be quiet. Apparently, there are evils in this world that would take me hostage in order to gain Dane’s Soul.

What could harm an Erelim? They are indestructible. They are practically immortals with powers that are limitless. A Transcending Erelim, like Dane, is a god.

The New York Council guards Dane. They protect him from the Darkness, creatures I readily believe he’s invented. Yet the NYC goes about securing these private locations so Dane does not have to do anything for himself.

I am the only one, aside from Erelim Isis, that knows the secret to the passage, capable of coming and going as I please. Otherwise, Runes and Shrouds, and multiple guards are set up, ready to defend Dane from any foe allowing him to read in peace.

It is my belief he should be in some grand castle having servants wait on him hand and foot, while I, his queen, have doting maids, feed me horderves in one hand and fan me with the other.

Instead, I must keep Dane and I a secret, live as a commoner, and arrive as some trampy mistress in filthy underground tunnels.

I do not fret, however. I know that God has big plans for me. Why else would He match me up to an Erelim if I’m not meant for something renowned?

Dane lifts his gray blue eyes and perhaps notices my moment of weakness. I stiffen radically but it’s too late. Whatever adroit remark he had upon his lips vanishes with his smile. He finally tosses his book upon the stand beside him, places his reading glasses on it too, and then holds out a large crinkly hand to me.

My face hardens and I curl my lips in revulsion. I need nothing and no one. I am an Angel, true enough but that does not mean I need a man to hold me up. He’s imprudent to think I would come to him. “Tell me what you know.” I demand starkly.

His hand drops unsurprised, unhurt but surely irritated. He wishes now he hadn’t put his book down. Dane closes his eyes, relaxing against the chair and doesn’t reply straight away. Who knows, I joke to myself, he might just fall asleep on me in his old age.

“Why should I give you this information? So you can use it to your benefit?”

“Of course.”

“And how can Tymician’s disappearance be beneficial?”

I take a step forward in my rage, “Why do you protect a Fallen?” He pauses and pain I have not met yet is felt and greeted.

Erelim Elders are odd creatures. Ten thousand years ago, Heaven was a different place. Instead of Seven Levels, there was One. And instead, of three hundred thousand Angels, there was only a few dozen.

Tymician and Dane were friends once. I trust it’s hard to remain close after watching them Fall.

He disregards my question and attacks me with one of his own. “Why do you loathe him so?”

There are millions of reasons to hate a Fallen but the correct answer blares in my mind. “Why? He’s hurt God! If I could cause one tenth of the pain he caused Father--”

“Anna.” He whispers, looking at me with those sad blue eyes of his. I hate it when he looks at me like that. “This is the part of you that I cannot understand.”

I grit my teeth. “You can’t understand? Or you can’t love?”

I swing away from him ready to storm off as I normally tend to do whenever I bring myself to this horrendous place and then I hear, “Wait.”

I smile contently. I do always get what I want. When I turn back, my smile is well placed behind a scowl.

Dane glares at me from his seat. “You play me a fool, Anna. Why ask, when you just take?”

My brows knit. He sounds as if I hurt him. I haven’t insulted him any. I haven’t done him physical harm. All I want is information he has. I don’t understand what is the big deal about that.

“There was a battle. Something fierce.” He sighs out of boredom. It is rare that a conversation can hold his attention anymore.

“I know you know what it was.”

Two fingertips rest against his temple as he closes his eyes. It’s a sign that I’ve aggravated him.

“What does it matter? Tymician lost. That is all you need to know.”

My jaw tightens at his dismissal. He treats me as a child, keeping me safe from the dangers around me, withholding information that would be too harmful to my ears. I am not a grown woman to him.

Does he even love me as a woman? Am I only his little girl, precious to his heart?

When I first became an Angel, Dane could not be kept away. He would stay with me, if only to sit and read in my presence. Our passion was an unstoppable force. It was scary at times how real and fierce it was.

Our relationship changed however.

He grew distant with each new scar upon my Soul. I could see it. I could feel it.

When he began to build his walls, so did I.

I may be his Soul Mate but I will not fight for his affection. I will not surrender who I am to be his trophy. I am independent and rely on no one. He is an Erelim, a being that doesn’t understand the meaning of sacrifice. He gets everything handed to him on a silver platter. I must work constantly and consistently to be accepted in this world. God’s love does not come effortlessly.

I feel more bitterness pile inside of me. Resentment for many unhappy times.

He wishes to protect me now. Where was he during my trial, I wonder?

My gallant Dane did not come to my rescue then. He didn’t show up at all. The prosecution turned me into a malicious criminal and at one point, I swear I heard the word murderer. Where was Dane? If he had whispered a single word to the Ruling or to the Merci, I would have been saved. But he let them lock me away for fifty years.

In Second Heaven, in the darkest and remote corners of the Library I filed archives and religious texts endlessly. It was cold and lonely. Every day a thousand books lay at my feet. At the end of my shift, the Master Bookkeeper took the cart of correctly filed books without even looking at me. Then, I would be taken through the back allies, seeing no one. I was kept in a small room, wearing the same dull clothing, day after day.

It was a year before my first visitor.

Dane came then. His voice worked then. I refused to speak with him. He came everyday afterward and in my loneliness forced my forgiveness.

He sat at a side table and watched me work or read his book. He brought me news of the world, technology enhancements, medical evolution, told me of Mother Nature’s destruction and human involvement. Talking was the only thing allowed.

I am not a very emotional woman if that is not obvious. But after twenty-five years, solitude wears on a person. There was a moment I cried to him, begging to be released.

With tears streaming down my face, my back towards him and shame strong in my shoulders, I heard him reply with a taciturn tone. “You must serve your time.”

In those first few years of our love, I was misled into believing he saw me as an equal. But now I know I will never be capable of such a feat.

Revulsion boils on my lips. “If you love him so, why didn’t you help him?”

He opens his eyes to catch my own. “He did not need my help. Had he wanted to win, he would have.”

I relish in Tymician’s defeat and feel only victorious. Dane’s apathy keeps me from gloating. I desire to know his thoughts. He reveals nothing in his features as he meets my scrutiny. I’m sure he wonders the same of my own opinions.

I ask a question that has been lingering in my mind since last night. “Will you attempt to save him?” The inquiry comes out odd upon my lips. I didn’t know how to form it and now I wish to rephrase it. “Will you attempt to journey to Sheol and save your companion?” I force a condescending tone, praying he doesn’t sense the underlying subject I am struggling to broach.

He guffaws, a smile playing on his thin lips as his fingers fall from his temples and lay in his lap. “Do not patronize me, Amore Mio.” My wings flutter, exposing my adoration for such simple words.

I personally riddle in horror. He thinks to warm me over with meek lyrics I’ve heard hundreds of times before. From the humor reflecting in the gray of his orbs, perhaps he is playing with me. Either which, I am far from indulging him.

I spin upon my heel, flicking out my wings to show my upset. I get a few feet before he speaks but it is not what I am expecting. “The Yazatas and you should stay out of the skies for a time. It is dangerous.”

I turn my head only slightly, refusing to display the desire that has developed. If he asks me stay, no doubt I will, but I know he won’t. I will not remain where I am not wanted. “What makes it dangerous?”

He doesn’t respond for a moment. I straighten, afraid he has seen the secret yearning I have. It is stupid really. I am not attracted to his human body. I want nothing to do with the nauseating old fool. It is his Soul I crave, the other half of my own. It is a flaw built into my core that I have tried fervently to oust but after five hundred years, I’ve surrendered to the unavoidable. I tolerate only moments when I can stay away no longer but I will never make the first move. It is he that will come begging for my attention.

How amazing it feels when an Erelim seeks my interest.

“Vetalas are in the air and Fallen search vehemently for Tymician. The Earth is not a safe place.”

My confusion deepens my black brows. The term ‘Vetalas’ is lost to me but to reveal my unintelligence upon the subject is against my pride. “Why would the Fallen be searching for him? Surely Satan has him?”

When I’m met with silence once again, I turn to find a smile on his lips. It is a smile that warms me, and heat flushes my face and my heart thumps against my chest. The admiration, the love he feels for me more present than before.

“I sometimes forget how young you are.” He murmurs gently. “There are worse things than the devil, darling.”

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