Chapter 14 The Omega Point
When I awoke in Nerys, I was surprised to find myself feeling rather calm. Daiva possessed quite a serene persona as well. It seemed she had confidence that we could defeat the Devourer though she had told me herself that her power could never contend with it.
“Are you ready?” She asked.
I nodded and she smiled, though I could not imagine why. I got out of the bed and she led me into the parlor. I was shocked to find Edith sitting alone on one of the sofas.
I gasped. “Edith! Are you all right?”
She jumped to her feet and ran past us, disappearing up the stairs. I sighed and Daiva took my hand.
“Don’t worry, Conrad. Your sister is struggling to escape that darkness just as you were. I suppose now it’s your turn to help her.”
I looked up the stairwell, hoping that she would return. I did intend to help her, but first, I had to know how she took the plunge into that darkness.
“Of course. She sacrificed everything for me . . . I will do the same if I must.”
Daiva laughed. “You won’t have to. You’ll be home soon, and then you can both start over.”
I frowned and shook my head. “Maybe, but I don’t want to forget my past. That was what I tried to do after the war and it only made Edith suffer even more. My struggles have made me who I am. One cannot be born perfect but must be made to be so. That is what Mary, my sister, and you have done for me. You’ve all taught me so much about this world. Even though we might be ten thousand years apart, our hearts will always be as one.”
Daiva smiled, though it was one of sadness. “No, we will never be separated. I will make sure of that.”
I raised an eyebrow in curiosity. What did she actually mean?
“Come with me.” She led me to the door as the mansion dissolved around us. I stared in wonder as the structure fell apart and faded into nothingness. “It’s time to end this and finally move forward.”
“Will slaying the Devourer be that simple?” I asked.
She made no response but stared forward as she guided me through the darkness. To my horror, the creature suddenly took form before us. It roared fiercely and I could not help but cower in fear. Daiva stepped toward the monster. Her eyes were calm and her body did not tremble in the slightest. Nothing about her portrayed apprehension. Had her powers not weakened after all? Could this being not take her life if it willed?
I gasped when the beast unleashed a cry of pain. I stared in awe as the Devourer slowly withered away, its cry diminishing until it was no more. Was it truly gone? Was Edith’s soul free? Yes, it had to be so, for I could feel it all around me. This war was over and humanity was saved.
Daiva smiled and covered her face with her hands as she began to weep with joy.
“Thank you, Conrad!” She sniveled. “Thank you for everything!”
“Why are you thanking me?” I asked. ”You destroyed it.”
She laughed. “No. It was you, Conrad. You taught me to let go of my hatred. You might think that I helped you, but it was quite the opposite. Because of you, I can feel joy again. I know that Saulius is my brother, but as far as I’m concerned, you were my brother first. Earlier today, I told you that I didn’t care about this world, but after I saw how much my brother loved me, I realized just how beautiful our world was. You were right . . . All it took to love myself was to know that I am loved.”
I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I found myself unable to control my tears. I never thought of her inner struggles. All along, Daiva, Mary, and Edith were suffering no less than I was. They all hated the world for making them endure such pain, but somehow we had taught each other to see the beauty in the world and love life again. Edith’s sacrifice and devotion, Mary’s unconditional love, and Daiva simply needing me all helped me to rise up out of that darkness . . . But what had I done for them? Perhaps I had helped to reunite Daiva with her brother and I had returned at least some of Mary’s love, but what of Edith? I had done nothing but make her miserable since the war. Even worse, she was still drowning in her hatred.
Suddenly, a light broke through the darkness of Nerys. Such brightness felt so alien in this world. I stared in awe as the light cut through the sky and the dark frame of Nerys fell apart. A world of life and green was revealed before me. Shimmering rivers flowed across the landscape and mighty forests sprang up from the earth. The sky was filled with the singing of birds. No, in fact, the entire world seemed to be singing a peaceful melody. I listened closely and found that it was the same music I had heard before in Nerys. This world of beauty had been here all along, but we were blind to it and I worst of all. The melody of that world was so serene. I had never before heard such sweet music. The way the pitch rose and fell, the way the tone grew loud and then soft, it was all so overwhelming. I called the piece God’s Symphony. There was truly a divine feeling to the sound that nothing of man could imitate.
Daiva walked up to me and took my hand. Together, we watched as the world bloomed around us.
“I’m sorry I led you astray, Conrad.” She said and wiped her eyes. I could hardly be angry with her.
She picked a flower and held it out to me.
“This is my true world. The Devourer was the manifestation of my hatred, and this world was filled with darkness after the war began. Everyone began to hate the world for tearing their families apart. We filled the world with such evil that we nearly destroyed it, but I suppose that was what we had wanted. We would have been consumed by our own hatred if not for you and Edith. My hatred was so strong that it had begun to slowly drain my life. Do you understand now why that hope you both gave us was so important? We saw love like we had never known and we knew that as long as that love remained, our world would go on.”
I nodded. “Yes, I understand. When I first arrived in this world, it felt as though it were already dead. That was, until my eyes were opened to that same love you spoke of—that love I could never comprehend. You and Mary healed me, and we all worked together to heal this world. No matter where I am, you will always have my love and gratitude.”
She took my hand. “Do not fear, Conrad. You will always have a home, here, at the Omega Point.”
I gasped. Was this the Omega Point all along? What irony! To think that this paradise that so many were willing to die to reach, was the same force that nearly ended humanity!
I laughed quietly. “If this is the Omega Point,” I crossed my arms, “then what does that make you?”
She shrugged. “Think what you will of it, but I consider myself a steward of this plane of existence.” She giggled. “I must admit, I was doing quite a poor job.”
I regained a stern expression and crossed my arms.
“What do you intend to do now?” I asked. “How do you plan to save Mary’s life?”
Daiva walked to the edge of the cliff that we stood atop and stretched out her arms. The wind swept through her long, red hair and the sunlight shone brilliantly off of her skin.
“I’m going to bring everyone here!” She cried, tears streaming down her face once more. “Together, at the Omega Point, our families will finally be reunited.”
“Do you intend to keep them here?”
She laughed. “No, I do not wish for Man to corrupt this perfect world.”
I frowned and nodded.
“Though, I do intend to allow Mary to stay. If she returns to our world, she will likely die. A large amount of my power already resides in her, so it would be possible for her to live here. At the Omega Point, her memories will be restored as well.” Daiva displayed a subtle smirk. “Besides, there’s already someone here waiting for her.”
I could hardly contain myself. Not only would Mary’s mind be healed but she would be able to live with her father as well.
“If what you say is true, then you must allow her to live here!” I grabbed her by her shoulders. “There is no other option!”
“All right, Conrad! Calm down!” She said, laughing.
I released her and we looked out over the vast land below us. Suddenly, small groups of people, both men and women, began appearing throughout the world. Daiva was bringing every broken family to the Omega Point where they were immediately greeted by faces they had thought lost forever. I will never forget their expressions of shock and delight, nor the endless tears each of them shed that day. All throughout this paradise, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters, and mothers and sons were seeing each other for the first time in twenty years. Daiva’s brother was among those who appeared. I left them and sat down on the hillside, enjoying mankind’s reunion.
I heard soft footsteps rustling through the grass. I turned around and Edith smiled down at me. Her dress was stained with tears. She sat down by my side and leaned her head against my shoulder. I smiled and put my arm around her.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I asked.
She shook her head. “I hate it . . .”
I raised an eyebrow. “Oh? And why is that?” I asked.
She looked up at me and her eyes shone with tears.
“Where’s our mother? Where’s our father?” She cried. “Our mother’s dead and our father wouldn’t even be able to recognize us if he were here! He never gave a damn about you and me!”
I grabbed Edith and sat her down in my lap.
“That isn’t true!” She stared at me in awe. “Our father was there that day when I awoke from my coma. He still cares for us.”
“That . . . That man was our father?” She sighed. “He was dressed so well, I thought he was just one of your friends from the military.”
I shook my head. “No, that was our father.” I looked away from her in shame. “And . . . That’s not all I remember. Our childhood, the miserable life we shared together, I remember it all, and I’m never going back to it again. I’m sorry, Edith but the brother you knew is dead.”
Her eyes widened and she caressed my face.
“Dead?” She murmured. “The brother who provided my every need, dead? He can’t be! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that man!”
I sighed. “I’ll still take care of you, Edith, but I’ve changed. I no longer despise our world, for it is full of beauty! All we witnessed growing up was sin and darkness, but it was because of you that I was able to open my eyes and see the light that shines all throughout creation. Can you not see it as well?”
She smiled and shook her head. “All I ever wanted was to play music for you. The rest of the world doesn’t concern me, Conrad, not when you were the only one who loved me. I want to use this life you’ve given me to bring you happiness in any way I can.”
I laughed. “If that is truly your goal, then you have already succeeded. Don’t you understand, Edith? Your living brings me more joy than you could ever imagine. You don’t have to do anything for me, Edith. Just live your life in whatever way you see fit.”
She shrugged. “And what if that is the way I see fit to live?”
“Well, then . . . If that is what you desire, I have no quarrel.” I sighed. “But are you truly happy living like this?”
She nodded. “I am very happy, Conrad.” She embraced me tenderly. “To me, you are my world and I love you. How is that any different from the love you found?”
“I suppose you’re right . . . Come. Let’s see if we can find Mary’s family.” I said, lifting her up.
I rose to my feet and we began walking down the hill, though I wasn’t satisfied at all. Did my sister take pleasure in the darkness in which she dwelled? I heard a low thump from behind. I turned about to find that Edith had fallen onto the ground. She was sobbing fiercely. I knelt down and picked her up.
“Edith! What’s wrong? Are you hurt?” I asked anxiously.
“This music . . .” She buried her head in my shoulder. “It’s too much! I can’t bear it!”
I smiled and relaxed. “Let go of your hatred, Edith.” I whispered. “You don’t have to bear that burden any longer.”
“I know!” She cried. “I want to love the world like you do, brother! I want to experience its beauty with you! But how do I do it?”
I looked up at the sky and thought for a moment. I had been able to see the world’s beauty by looking through Mary’s eyes. Could Edith see it through mine, or would it take much more than that to mend her heart? Then, it suddenly came to me. It was so simple and yet so difficult.
“We have to find our father and forgive him.” I said uneasily.
She frowned and looked away.
“I-I don’t know . . .” She faltered.
“Edith, we have to. If we ever want to truly be relieved of this hatred, we must destroy it at its source.”
She nodded slowly. “Yes, of course.”
We arose and continued our walk. It was a moving sight to see so many families being reunited. It was such a surreal scene, as if they were each living in a separate world. They shed both tears of joy and sorrow, for some of their loved ones had been lost forever and were unable to attend this reunion.
Eventually we found Mary’s family sitting together beneath a great tree. Her mother, sister, and brother were all present, but where was her father? Had he truly reached the Omega Point, or had he perished instead?
“Come and join us, Conrad!” Her mother called out. “You’re a part of my family now, aren’t you?”
She seemed rather stable for a mother who was with her son for the first time in twenty years. She did not even feign a tear. I awkwardly sat down beside Mary while Edith sat with Anwen. Mary smiled and embraced me.
“So you remember everything, do you?” I asked.
“I do. Thank you for staying with me.” She laughed. “Strange isn’t it, that it took me losing my memory for you to regain yours?”
I laughed as well. “Yes, I cannot thank you enough for that. Your love was what gave me the will to live again.”
Mary said nothing but simply stared into my eyes. There was really no need for words. I could see everything she wanted to say in her eyes: How much she loved me, how thankful she was to have her brother by her side, the joy she felt at the Omega Point, and above all, the loneliness she suffered in her father’s absence.
She leaned against my shoulder and wept silently. I took a moment to listen to the conversation Edith was having with Anwen. Apparently, Anwen was very nervous about living with her brother again and sought advice from her. I was sure it would take quite a bit of adjustment for all of these people. Some would practically be starting their lives over. I looked towards Gael and could easily see the guilt in his eyes. He must have known that his sister would not be able to return to the Lowerverse, or so I had decided to call our world. Gael quickly turned away from me and continued his sulking. I could not imagine the anger and remorse he felt. It wasn’t long ago that I had been in his position. The difference was that he had killed his sister. Now she would have to live alone in this world that would soon be empty again. I suppose I would return every night to accompany her, but would that be enough?
I sat up when I heard the faint sound of footsteps approaching.
I found the source of the gruff voice. Its owner was a tall, older man, perhaps in his early fifties. He wore a rather fine-looking coat and his hair was pulled back in a neat ponytail. There was a look of wisdom in his eyes and he seemed quite energetic for a man his age. Something was different about him, for his skin was gray; therefore, I knew he could not be a member of the Gaelturi.
I turned to Mary, hoping that she would know more about him, but when I tried to get her attention, she made no reaction and stared at the man in awe. Her mother bore a similar expression.
“Hey! You there, boy! Did you make my daughter cry?” He yelled, stomping toward us.
Why couldn’t I see it before? This man was Mary’s father! Mary jumped up with such force that she knocked me to the ground. She cried, “Father!” and leaped into his arms. Gael and Anwen stepped over me and ran to him as well. It was a wonderful sight. To this day, I have never witnessed a more joyful scene. The love they showered their father with was so fierce that he fell to the ground with them in his arms.
Edith sat down next to me and smiled.
“Do you think that will be us soon?” She asked. “Will our father be as happy to see us?”
“Who knows? We will forgive him either way.”
She nodded and took my hand. Her entire body was trembling. I had never seen her so nervous. Of course I was nervous as well; I’d be a fool if I weren’t. After all, he was the man who had caused all of our suffering and I was about to face him for the first time since Edith was born. I wouldn’t even be able recognize the man if he hadn’t visited me when I awoke from my coma.
Eventually, Mary’s father collected himself and walked toward the Matriarch, his wife. Edith and I quickly moved out of his way. I noticed that the Mother’s blank expression had not changed in the slightest since he arrived. He waited for an uncomfortably long time, expecting her to embrace him as well. Instead, it was quite the opposite. She struck him in the face with astounding force. Her heart must have been grim indeed to be able to feel such anger in a serene world like that.
“Don’t you dare stand before me like a saint!” She rasped.
He recoiled in shock.
“You left your children to die in that damnable war and me to hold together a society as it crumbled all around me! How do you think I felt after you ran away?”
“Oh, come now, Gwen! It was an experiment!” He yelled in protest. “I never thought it would actually work!”
“Well, your cursed experiment did work and you left us to die with the rest of the world! How can you even bear to look at our children?”
He sighed and shook his head. “I never meant to hurt you or the kids, Gwen.”
She scoffed at him and crossed her arms.
He inhaled deeply and clenched his fists. “Listen to me! Our world was dying before the war! Maybe you couldn’t see it on the surface, but at the heart of mankind, you could feel it falling apart. We were losing our faith in each other, the gap between men and women grew wider by the day. What choice did I have, especially after reading Mr. Hartwin’s journal? I knew that this war would ultimately save the human race, and that you and our children would persevere. So, yes, I was willing to leave if that was what it took to save our world.”
She grabbed him by the collar of his coat.
“You’re a heartless man!” She yelled vehemently. “What father would put the fate of the world before his own children?”
He laughed. “Do you think I wanted to leave? Believe me, Gwen, I didn’t. It took every bit of my will to keep me from staying. I wanted more than anything to see our children grow up . . . But more than that, I didn’t want them to live in a broken world. I love you, Gwen! If I didn’t, then do you think that I would have sacrificed so many years with you and our children to ensure that you all lived to see the world anew?”
The Mother began to shake violently. I could not tell if it was in rage or sorrow. She fell into his arms, no longer able to hold back her tears. I had always seen the Matriarch as the epitome of composure. It was indeed strange to see her like this.
“Of course not! It took adamant love and courage to do what you did!” She looked up at him and smiled. “Oh, Ithel, I love you. I promise that I will find a way to come here again and be with you, but until then, I will live every day, seeing to it that your sacrifice was not made in vain. I’ll rebuild our world so that our children and their children after them can live in peace. That is my oath to you.”
Such conviction was in her voice that I had no doubt in her promise. I then realized that my task was finished. Mankind had been saved and now it was time to return to my own time. I did not wish to part from these people, but if I did not go back, it would all be for naught. I had to face my father and forgive him so that we could start living.
Mary tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and, to my surprise, she handed me my handkerchief. I had forgotten all about the filthy thing.
“Here, Conrad.” She smiled. “I don’t need it anymore.”
I quickly found myself needing it as I began to weep. I took the piece of cloth and wiped my eyes.
“Thank you, Mary.” I sobbed. “Are you content with this life? We’ll all be leaving soon and only your father will remain.”
She nodded. “I’ve never been happier. What more could I want than to be with my father and be married to you as well?”
I smiled and put away my handkerchief.
“Then I believe we’ll be going now.” I sighed. “Edith and I must find our father as well.”
“I understand . . . Good luck, Conrad”—she kissed me—“and stay safe.”
I stepped away from her and took Edith’s hand. The rest of Mary’s family gathered around us. Her father clasped her shoulders.
“I suppose we should depart as well.” Her mother said hesitantly. “Take care of our girl.”
He nodded. “Don’t worry, Gwen. Take care of yourself.”
She laughed pleasantly and gave Mary a final embrace. Anwen and Gael did the same, though Gael would not release her.
“I have to know, Mary: Do you forgive me?” He asked, his voice quavering.
“Of course I do.” She whispered.
Gael smiled and said, “Then my heart is at ease.”
He stepped back and joined his mother. Anwen then approached me. I was surprised at how she had been able to abate her tears.
“Thank you for all that you’ve done for my sister . . .” She looked back at Gael. “No. Thank you for what you’ve done for us. We will never truly be able to repay you.”
I laughed and shook my head. “There is no need. Will you be all right without Mary?”
She nodded quite firmly. “Yes, we will, for I can rest assure that we will soon be with her and our father again.”
I had never heard her say anything with such determination. It might as well have already been so. She embraced Mary once more and walked over to her mother.
Daiva suddenly appeared beside me.
“Are you ready to leave?” She asked. “I can send you directly back to your time.”
I raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “What of the Rhiannon?” I asked.
“Do you really want to take it back to your world? Is your Reich ready for such a weapon?”
I sighed. “No, I suppose not. It would better serve her family. Besides,” I laughed, “I’d never get to fly it. Every scientist and power-hungry fool in the world would be after me.” I looked at Anwen. “Come and visit us whenever you’d like. Leipzig, Germany, 1875.”
She nodded. “We will. I promise.”
I returned my attention to Daiva and she smiled. “Say goodbye, then.”
I nodded and turned to Mary. I found myself already beginning to cry.
“I will see you again, won’t I?” I asked desperately.
She embraced me. There was a calmness in her eyes like I had never seen before. I could merely look into them and know that it would be so. The Omega Point slowly began to disappear around me. The faces of all my friends began to fade as well.
“Goodbye, Conrad . . .”
Mary kissed me and then she, too, vanished. The world darkened around me until only Edith remained. She sighed and fell into my arms.
“It’s time to start living, brother.” She said and closed her eyes.
I did the same and felt myself drifting away into unconsciousness.