A Dying God (Book 2)

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Ariel- My Place

Ariel

Coming through the double doors, my bare feet rest upon cobblestone. Stitched perfectly it overlays the entire flooring. The Light itself seems brighter and the air is warmer. A gold cast iron gate wraps around the courtyard. I step forward to caress its gelid surface with trembling fingertips. Through the gap, I unearth the home of God.

Five thousand years ago, as a gift for allowing usto descend to Earth, we built for Father this glorious creation. A scintillating citadel, contrived from crystal. It gleams and radiances, shining in random places, never once having the same shadow from the same direction. Seven different floors for the equivalent number of levels of Heaven, we built it high so that He may see the entrance to the realm from the tallest tower. I assisted in the creation and yet even I cannot fathom how. The intricate design of the multiple spires rise to delicate heights but it does not sway or bow under the immaculate pressure.

We used our bare hands and only the brute force of our backs and the dedication of our hearts. It took nearly fifty years with hundreds of us to complete this well contrived endeavor.

I have seen nearly every inch of the citadel. Balls, parties, and social festivities arranged by the Royal Seraphim took place here. Yet only the elite were allowed to attend

It is awkward however to see people randomly strolling the grounds and sitting on the balconies with cocktails in their hands. If there is no party, the citadel should be empty.

As we come to the open entrance, I stall just on the brink, shielding myself behind the outsized marble column. A line of Angels stretches a lengthy pathway through the gardens and around the back, winding its way up the granite staircase and through the open doors of the citadel.

There are hundreds of them. Newborns, Asuras, HIkmah, and even Elders mix together in a desperate desire to see Father.

Pity swells in my heart. Why do they stand here? What do they fear?

Tatiana chides me. “We are on the brink of war and God is dying. Do you expect less, your grace?”

I didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps I thought they would be more knowledgeable than I and they would understand why God chooses to die. Mourn, yes, but fear it? No. God knows what he is doing.

Tatiana places pressure upon my back, bidding me forward.

I step through and eyes fall upon me.

Hands reach out in jubilation. They leave the line in wild hope, coming toward me, grasping my arm, touching my hair to simply admire my spirit. Tatiana waves over the watching members of Med Jai and they come with sharp spears forming a three-way box around us. It doesn’t hinder them. Every hand I hold there are six more to replace it. Every pair of eyes I meet there are twelve more to greet. And the more I connect with their presence, the louder I hear their prayers.

I used to run from the voices. I didn’t have the courage to listen. But now, I want their prayers, if only to relieve their burdens by listening.

Cherubs come along, gently pushing the crowds apart forcing everyone back into the line but I manage only a block further before another crowd accosts me. Despite upsetting Tatiana, I linger and give each one as much attention as I can. I calm their woes and ease their panic. If Tiatana knew that such simple words could comfort a mass of people, would she be in such a hurry? We are of the same age and if she chose, she could have this type of influence. Why does she opt to be distant and cold?

As the hours pass, I make it finally to the stairs and Tatiana’s patience is no longer viable. I follow her, despite no longer needing her assistance. I stay because duty permits me. She has done me a service escorting me here.

In the Grand Hall, Angels speak in undertones. They loiter having nowhere else to be. It is of royal pedigree and Elders. There will be no Newborns allowed here. It is revolting how even in a time such as this; they dictate how close one is to God. Age decides that they have more meaning. They deserve more privilege. Always it is the same: Age outranks pain and mortal suffering.

Their eyes rest on me as Tatiana proudly brings me forth. She must be pleased with herself. She had gotten news of my arrival before anyone else. I am her new toy. She thinks I will stay stationary as she sets me before her friends and plays.

I snub them as they congregate around me. My eyes are instead upon the eighty-foot orb hanging as a chandelier above our heads. It is an exact replica of the Earth. It is to scale, marking every land mass, every body of water, and every human, Angel, and Fallen upon its surface as tiny dots of light.

Blank circles decorate its exterior in sporadic locations. These areas consist of the Light infused Shrouds that block out God and Nature and everything else in between. The Ruling in Japan, where I was immured in a catatonic state, has consumed itself with Shrouds.

There is a common saying in Heaven: ‘Evil tends to shy away from Light’.

The replica of Earth is a tremendous creation, one I cannot stop staring at, even as Tatiana’s friends prod me for answers. The sphere of Earth used to be so much brighter but the Darkness veils its hue. Do they notice it? These bunch of hackneyed individuals; do they detect how dusky the world has gotten? Do they care?

I step out of the circle to their dismay, disregarding each and every question. I came for a simple purpose and I must see to it. I am so close to Father, I can feel Him call to me.

I climb the steps with vigor, my naked feet smacking against the stone, my heart racing against my chest. He will not care for my appearance. He has never cared even when I diluted myself into thinking He did. I lost my path so many times but God has always been directing me. How foolish I have been. How long has He waited for me to figure out my true purpose in this life?

I stop just before His door and stare at the golden handle. Tucking stray strands of yellow hair behind my ear, I enter, softly, composed, hoping He doesn’t see how terrible I shake.

His room is lavish as we have made it, though I’m positive now that He has never cared for it. This entire castle has never been His request. We were foolish when we made it. What could God want with such an elaborate thing? He stays here to respect our hard work and He loves it because of how much effort and energy we spent into constructing it for Him. But I am certain if we told Him today that He no longer had to stay here, there would be no upset in His heart. Then again, there is never any disparage. God is free of such emotion.

The living quarters encased two long tanned couches with brown and off white pillows intermixing. In the middle sits a low-lying table, beautifully lacquered and covered in a glass sheet. The wall to the right leads out to an open balcony with long white curtains hanging down, still and unwavering in the windless weather. Titania and her crew keep up with the decoration, changing it on a whim. Before a fireplace are two ancient and rickety rocking chairs, the only possession Father does not allowed to be replaced. I’ve spent numerous hours sitting beside Him, staring into it, seeing nothing but glowing embers.

Further on is His bedroom but with His doors closed, I will wait for Him. I shut the wooden panel to these private dorms and step further in, running my hand along the backend of the couch. I rest a palm on the wood of the rocking chair forcing it to move. It makes a smile form upon my lips when it squeaks.

Upon the mantle of the fireplace are photographs. I like to think that these few images hold a significant role in shaping the universe and thus He honors them by placing their photo in His room. Metatron and Sandalphon hold an arm around each other’s shoulders, grinning as children can only do. It is the first photo I can recall Father ever putting up here. Without them, I do not know how different the world would have developed. I think Heaven would have become a requirement instead of a safety net.

Lilith, Lucius, and Lysander all have a spot here.

Lilith is a beautiful woman with long straight black hair, dark sad eyes, and a body that women grow envious of and all men desire. If it weren’t for the wings that grow dead upon her back, she would be a perfect creation sprung from Nature. Yet the mutilated skin of her lifeless wings fester and it warps any chance of feeling in her heart.

Lucius is young in his photograph. He is no more than a teenager here. Thick white hair pinned in a tight ponytail, he looks sullen and unsure of himself. Despite his speeches and his constant wages for riots, he was unconfident when I met him. He knew his faults better than any painter did. His sermons boosted his waning ego. People listened and it swelled his pride. One unkind word from me however and I could knock him off his high horse. He was easy to dismantle. Dane intimidated him. People with courage and tenacity scared him. I wish it were true now. Winning this war would be too easy.

Lysander sits upon a chair in his photo. Too tired to stand, I’m sure. The sight of him brings tears to my eyes. Brown hair curls just short of his ear, crystal eyes, bright and shining waver in their strength. I see a thin streak of brown surrounding the pupil. He lost so much of his Soul, he was losing God’s Light. To give up so much of one’s self, to sacrifice for the human race so much potential, is the true purpose of God. Lysander was the only one who was unafraid to fulfill his purpose.

To love as no one has loved.

There are other photos but the one that catches my attention is the last upon the ledge. It is of Dane Monte, Tymician and I. The Three Lambs. We look so different from what I recollect. I cannot recall ever being young. I can remember being stupid and naïve, however.

Dane is massive, towering over us both with his height of six-eight. His broad shoulders and thick muscles make Tymician and I seem meager in comparison. Despite his appearance, Dane never made me feel less than a god. I was a masterpiece in his eyes. He loved me fiercely. I call him my husband now but we had no marriage in those days. He claimed me and thus from that day I was his. Together in our human life we went from one village to the next rebuilding lives and homes damaged by the unstoppable Eve. We brought hope and love. It was easy because we felt nothing but such emotion for each other.

He was my entire world. There would be no one and nothing that could part us. Not even death.

I flick my eyes over to Tymician and my smile falters.

“You’ve come.”

I hear His aged voice fill my head and I spin around with a brilliant grin. Father stands at the foothold of His door. He wears a brown long gown that ends at his mid-thigh and pants, which swell past his feet. He is a thick man, one perfect to snuggle against. His long white bushy hair curls down along his back while his thick curly beard hangs low on his gut. I gaze upon his eyes and the crystal twinkles with the familiar glitter that I cannot ever doubt or mistaken.

Tears fasten and roll down my cheeks.

He inquires with much confusion, “I upset you?”

“You’re old.” I cry covering my mouth.

He chuckles, vibrantly pleased. He holds out His hands as He steps up and grasps my biceps. “I’ve aged some, yes. Forgive me for these fallacies. I am dying, Ari.”

I laugh and cry but my heart is breaking.

He wraps me up in the meat of His bulbous arms and I bury my face in His neck, breathing Him in as I sob. “Shall I cry too? You are not as young as you used to be either.”

I choke on my tears, smiles coming through each set of wails.

A massive hand strokes my hair. “Despite the reason, it is nice to see you have found your heart. You must help Uriel find his. Though he acts as if he smashed it to tiny pieces and burned the remains.”

My tiny fingers grip His clothing. His humor is never ending. I love it so. He finds pleasantry even in the worst situations.

“There now.” He slowly pulls from me and gazes down, grasping my cheeks in His immense palms. I oblige a smile.

“This is a happy occasion, is it not?”

I nod readily.

“No more tears.”

“No more tears.” I concede.

He detaches from me and steps to a rocking chair. His movements are slow, I notice. As tentative as an old man. It is disparaging to witness. He is weak and it prevails. How do I ignore these obvious signs? How do I treat him as I have done? He is my Father. He is an unbreakable stone.

Father points to the chair beside Him, “Please, sit with me. It has been too long.”

I force my feet to move and land stiff and rigid in the rickety seat.

“The last time you sat with me was two thousand years ago when Lysander came to Heaven. You fought with me. You were angry with what happened. Such rage was in your Soul for so very long. Now I see you, there is nothing but hope. The years of absence have done you well. Will you speak about them? Tell me what you’ve learned? Metatron feared you dead. He is a daft man. Will you care for him when I’m gone? He does not mourn well. Not that one can mourn well, I presume.”

Father is all over the place. There is too much we have to talk about and thus it comes to random ideas and no structure. I must get a hold of my thoughts or I will learn nothing from this conversation. I have to get Him to talk to me and not simply ramble. “Father.” He perks His eyes up. “Why are you dying?”

He turns His attention back upon the fire. Silence becomes His response. I doubt he will answer it. Father rarely gives straight answers. It is what He doesn’t say that holds meaning. It is this I have to take into account. The wordless reply means it is something that I would not be able to comprehend. It is far deeper and complex than I can imagine.

Father presses His foot upon the floor, causing the chair to rock and creek, “Will you tell me of your explorations?”

Though I know He saw it all, He wants to know how it was through my eyes. He wants to feel what I felt.

I watch Him, unable to turn my gaze away, acknowledging that this is the last conversation that I will ever have with Him. It’s imperative that I get across to Him one essential detail. I’ve come to understand the reason I exist.

After I left Dane that day of the theatre, I journeyed back to Africa where I lost myself among the tribes deep in the forests. Wearing only the chains that hid my Soul, I followed every custom they decreed and learned to live as a human. I was a handmaid, conducting menial chores and required to do the most mundane of tasks. I rebelled at first but I forced myself to learn humility. Never have I done such common duties. For ten thousand years, I was worshipped. But in their uncivilized culture, I was a woman and could do nothing more than clean, cook, and procreate. Though they were quick to find I would not allow a man to touch me. Many men ended up hurt in either a physical or mental form.

Every ten years I either faked my death or I simply disappeared. It was obvious to them I did not age. To change a body would require me to go to Heaven. I was stuck in the same shell.

As a chieftain in the Icelandic Range, I spent most of my time fighting the Darkness or saving some random human. It was an occupation. A demeaning game that became boring and weary. Every human saved, a hundred more died two hours later. Every moment the Darkness was detained, it felt like an inevitability until the walls crumbled and the shadows would flood the land.

But I did it because it was my duty. I was expected to do it. I followed the rules, I laid out the guidelines taught to me, and that was the way I lived my life. Step by step, one moment at a time.

Is it any surprise that I could no longer dawdle in such a bane existence? I needed to find my purpose. So I abandoned everything and everyone in search of it. It was selfish but in life I realize there are moments where it is required in order to achieve happiness.

In the forgotten tribes in the African forests, I became a part of a real family. I was a piece of an intricate design and I mattered. Not because of my power or of who I was but because they needed me. I was important simply because I existed. I helped them with my commonplace errands. Cleaning kept their homes safe. Baking fed their bellies. Joking and laughing eased their stress. By being in their lives, I was helping their Souls. And they were helping mine.

Why weren’t we doing this? Why weren’t the Angel clans integrating? We should all be intermixing and loving every human being there is. That is our purpose. From the very beginning, Father simply wanted us to love and cherish our Souls. When did it become so complicated? Why can’t we just simplify it and go back to the first days when we appreciated each other, not for our strength but because we were all Light, all equal?

It is troubling that not even during my stay in these secluded families, battles would find me. Fights broke out between the villages. I could do nothing without risking that vexing line of intervening. Humans die. There is nothing I could do to stop that unless it was a force of unnatural causes but this was simply blind hate and that I could do nothing about.

As I saw my people lay there, bleeding and dying, something changed inside me. For so long I witnessed bloodshed and it did nothing to distress me. I learned how to shut off my emotion but as I walked through the lands, I saw a man I called brother groaning, I couldn’t stop as I knelled down beside him.

If I connected to the Source to heal him, I would alert everyone of where I was and I’d no longer be able to hide. I could not put this land in further chaos. Instead, I cut off a piece of my Light, bestowing it into his. Right down the line, I went to each of the victims, restoring them.

I stopped caring about the part where intervening was about Heaven’s vigorous law. Everything I ever learned from the Merci and from Angels that came before, I threw it out and I did what I needed to do.

I healed them and I took away their hatred without caring about the repercussions of my actions.

The wars didn’t end and people kept dying. I continued to heal, running from camp to camp, cutting off a piece of my Soul and easing their pain. In such a short time, I didn’t realize that my Soul was near its end. I wanted only to save the world.

I reach over and grasp Father’s hand, gaining his blue gaze. “That’s when you came, Father.”

He smiles warmly, rubbing my fingers, “I did.”

“You stood in front of me and told me I could not save the world.”

Leaning up with a sly glean on his visage, he wonders, “What else did I tell you?”

“That there was another way.” Confusion furrows my brow as I recall. “You needed a tiny portion of my Light. I gave it to you without a thought and then it’s blank. I remember nothing else.”

He releases my fingers and leans up out of His rocking chairs, groaning as He straightens. It’s a horrible noise, one I hate even worse than watching Him rub the ache of his back. He is learning about bodily maladies. It is a terrible sight to behold.

I follow him as He moves through the white curtains out onto the balcony. “What did you do with my Light, Father?”

A chuckle passes over His lips, “Eve did not give me her Light so freely.” He tells me with adoration on His lips. “I had to bargain and barter. I was willing to do that for yours. And for Tymician’s. But you both were willing that it was needless.”

The happiness Father brings me flees upon that man’s name. “Tymician? What has he to do with this? What did you do with our Light, Father?”

He reaches a sausage finger and brushes a strand of blond hair from my forehead, “But you know, Ari. You knew the moment you met her.”

Her.

He speaks of a woman and it takes no time at all to surmise of the one person He names. “Kyla.” I fasten my gaze upon God. “But, It It, It isn’t possible.” I grip his sleeve, “Tell me it isn’t possible.”

Latching onto my shoulders, He leans down to look me straight in the eye, “There are thousands of things impossible that I’ve made possible. There are thousands of things that need yet be tried. Do not fear the unknown. It may bring miracles. She is that miracle. You cannot fathom what she is. Do not try. Not yet. When you are ready, I hope you will not be afraid.”

“Afraid, Father? If she is my daughter, as you say, then why would I fear?”

He straightens and looks out towards the distance. I imagine He’s capable of seeing the gates from here but I haven’t such ability. I instead see the hundreds curled around the gardens waiting patiently for their turn to meet with Him. They wish to say goodbye or to beg Him to stay.

“Do you fear, Father?” I lean over the railing. “For them? Because I do. They have no direction and to lose you, they will lose hope.” I look to Him, “Father, I believe in you and trust in you. Rarely, I have questioned but are you sure your death is the best plan?”

“I am dying, Ari, there is no stopping it. But God will never die.”

I turn towards Him, “What do you mean?”

“You must realize.” He chuckles as if it’s absurd that I’ve not figured it out yet, “Do you not hear their prayers as I do? Do you not hear them call for you?

“What…” I drift and then I drown in the realization.

I’m to take His place.

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