To hear a story trapped in silence
in the white sand of the moon,
We beggars crawl to higher mount
amidst the endless blue.
The blaring sunlight is the noise
that stains beneath our eyelids;
The fresh white darkness of the night
is worse for show of distance.
In yesterday was written our imminent end;
We watched it with a smile
For all a soul could seek in life
is the end of this strain on Earth.
Yet the lady of heaven eludes us;
In her silence we are held
to wait for sleep until the light
of her sweet lullaby in the blue
Chapter One: Kindling Destiny
I stood above the metropolis watching her; she cast me a bemused smile. We drifted peacefully on the breath of the windless city, carried for miles on the rising pollution that somehow seemed clean even while it poisoned us.
“’Tis the soft touch of sweet death upon us,” her whisper carried on self-sustained drift to me. “I will let them feel it tearlessly.”
“You love this sight, don’t you?” I looked over at her, and her luscious long midnight hair flowed like liquid silk around her, cascading as a dark river from its source as if ready to flow into eternity. I grinned.
“Best to make the best of such things; this blemish has outlived its contract,” she sighed, not sorrowfully, “Its purpose is now expired.”
“I know the verdict; it’s still a shame, though,” I shrugged. “I don’t really feel sorry for them, but I think it could’ve went differently, the flow of fate, and they could live.”
“Fate is not for us to decide, Raphael, so let’s stay our minds on the task at hand,” she glanced at me sternly yet playfully.
“Yet if we are the messenger then we have a say, Kaldea,” I held her exotic fusion of sapphire and gold eyes in my own diamond indigo and raised an eyebrow as she blinked. We smiled.
“What say ye, Lord Raphael?” she grinned as she held my gaze contentedly. She somehow managed to inhale a deep glance of the city while holding eye contact. I managed to look beyond us to the supposedly non-existent forces watching us.
“I say let’s do what we came to do and have nothing more with what doesn’t pertain to us,” I nodded with a solemn smile and she returned it with identical longing. If only things didn’t fall so far into the point of no return. Her nod spoke what she verbally would not; she was ready to complete our purpose to close the span of the thing that had exhausted its purpose. “No hurry, though, let’s enjoy one last moment,” I suggested and she nodded approvingly.
“A final dance in wake of the death, how suitably romantic for this courtesan metropolis,” she detached herself from the air mass and drifted downward toward the nearest rooftop, her stream of silken midnight giving her body the appearance of twilit wind. She reversed her direction so her head was upright and stepped softly onto the flat pavement. I landed opposite her on an adjacent skyscraper and we both maintained our silent watch on the city, gingerly holding our last breath as we waited to exhale the last scent of poison.
She inhaled deeply as a pair of midnight-scaled dragon wings emerged from her back. She stretched them widely and leaped over the edge into the hold of her flight. I, in turn, spread my own double pair of pearl-white angelic wings and followed her into flight. We sailed above the streets through the protruding structures of stone, brick, and glass, sifting effortlessly through the gagging haze of decay and corruption that the inhabitants below had long since fallen numb to. Our wings carried on a breeze I fashioned for the occasion, and we glided beyond the extent of the streets of fornication, prostitution, necrophilia, drug use, and suicide. Catching the air in the hook of our wings, we parachuted to a hilltop overlooking the doomed skyline of the city whose name I’ve long since forgotten.
“In corruption and vice you have built your wicked empire, and now into your own sullen darkness I cast you this decay of eternal slumber,” Kaldea whispered audibly the verdict to the silent bemusement of the coldly indifferent metropolis; it stared at her, the face of death, with cold lifeless eyes that seemed to be saying dejectedly “Do as you wish for I have long since been dead and you have yet to notice.”
She raised her death-pale hand palm up and extended the delicately smooth fingers away from her on a straight arm stretched between the executioner and the condemned. The glittering poison fluttered from her hand and swarmed like a sudden fog through the filthy streets. It amassed over the scenery and quickly obstructed my view as I felt the steady flow of vitality from the heart of the city. I could feel them. Throughout the streets the life forms crumbled and bowed to sweet slumber and the silent death they never felt. The foundations of the vast structures corroded and collapsed in their lack of strength upon themselves and the things below. Like a flame through thin paper the haze devoured all life from the courtesan until only the barren mounds and towers of rust and decay lined the horizon now free of the clamor of the lie called humanity.
“And so this is done,” Kaldea said to me, and I nodded and turned away with her. We walked for a while, our back to the atrocity, until the pale lit sky darkened to the color of Kaldea’s hair and opened its many eyes to the sight it would remember and forsake as a single ruby amidst a mound of ill-gotten treasures. Thus was such a memory looked over and lost and never recovered as the record of our being here until now. We ventured to the end of our road in that region, and then devoid of a backward glance, we soared into the distant horizon to our next mission. I suppose all destinies are kindled to end.
Chapter Two: Kindling Dissension
The fortress of the elders loomed ominously before us as we trekked to the black gates that served as its entranceway. I had no desire to see the inside of those gates, but it was for my cousin, not me, that we had come. I looked over at Kaldea and she eyed the immense darkly adorned palace with seemingly immeasurable aversion. Silently I longed for some official avaunt from even the castle lord whom I loathed almost as intensely as he abhorred me. I scowled with recollection of his grimace onto my memory.
“Relax, Raphael, we’ll depart shortly,” her words of comfort were negated by the harsh coldness in her voice. “But we know this needs to be done, so let’s be quick.” She reached out tentatively and rang the loud clanking bell to hail the lord of the estate. At the top of the dark iron gates I could see the wiry inscription “House of Aetherum” scowling down on us in a masterful mimic of Lord Aetherum’s imminent visage upon glancing me. I looked away but glanced back suddenly when I detected the presence of staring eyes. Although the eyes were no longer visible, I knew my senses weren’t deceiving. But I didn’t like the thought of the castle watching me.
“Come in, milord and milady,” a solitary woman stood solemnly in the wake of the gate, which opened its jaws as if waiting to consume its prey. She had thick, curly blonde hair and a rosy complexion, but her eyes were a stale gray, and she was dressed entirely in ebon black. “Lord and Lady Aetherum will see you shortly, but for now please follow me.” She spoke plainly, bowing as she finished, and turned to march into the palace doors. We followed, I hesitantly, into the eagerly awaiting unknown beyond the threshold of the castle door. Once we were inside; however, the doors shut tightly behind us and the veil of darkness held us solidly in its hold. We felt a slight upward drift and then we stood squarely in an extravagant hall as the darkness trickled into its asylums in the corners.
“The lord of this manor awaits you beyond those doors,” the girl hung her head to her chest as she indicated the massive identical slabs of bronze wood that dominated our frontal view. As she stood aside, we walked past her, and the slabs opened inward, yielding for us a path into a large circular room. Directly in front of us was a round golden table stationed between two immense and extravagantly cushioned recliners. Sitting in the left (from our perspective) was a tall finely dressed man with a complexion appearing to have been smeared with chalk dust with a hint of blue-gray. His eyes were deep violet, and his slick dark indigo hair fell straight down to his shoulders.
“If it isn’t the cousins Raphael,” he smile was more of a grimace as he perused us meticulously while reaching for his glass of wine. “What misfortune should I curse for this visit?” the emerald flames in the fireplace behind him crackled loudly as if expressing personal distaste for us, and the large room seemed to contract threateningly in on us.
“You know why we’ve come, Lord Aetherum, and know that we are no more eager to be here than you are to have us,” Kaldea retorted through her expressionless face; there was a trace of a scowl. “The sooner you give us what we want, the sooner we leave.”
“What on earth do you want then?” Cisnero Aetherum wore his most tolerant grin as he said this, and my stomach lurched sickeningly at the sight of it.
“We’ve come for the Eye. Give to us peacefully and we’ll be on our way,” she said bluntly; her stood face unaltered by his change of expression.
“What eye?” he asked innocently. “Have you heartless mercenaries come seeking my own eye to add to your sick collection?”
“We don’t have time for your pranks, Cisnero,” she scowled, and he raised a curious eyebrow.
“I don’t have any eyes other than my own, Lady Kaldea,” he shrugged unabashed. “Now I suggest you see your way out of my manor; I don’t have the time nor patience for the foolishness of your Order. His voice carried no hint of a threat, rather he spoke with a civil neighborly tone, but his demeanor suggested that he was ready to fight.
“If you want to fight for it, then so be it,” Kaldea growled as she took a step forward; he glared challengingly toward her.
“There will be no need for that, Assassins,” a cool female voice sounded from our right. I glanced toward it to see a tall, gorgeous gold-skinned woman with long silky midnight-blue hair emerge from a hall leading to some mystery I chose not to ponder. Her violet-red eyes flashed entrancingly in the firelight as she strolled over to her husband’s side.
“We are more than willing to cooperate and prevent any further conflict,” she continued “After all, no one wants to see anymore bloodshed like with the recent, unnecessary slaughter of the monarchs of the 3 main Third Peoples.” She spoke of what had come to be known as the First War of Hope. It had occurred just over 50 years ago between the former Lycan Syndicate and Vampire Nation and the fledgling nation of Hope. In a surprising turn, the monarch of the two allied armies had both met their ends at the hands of Hope’s then-recently crowned ruler, Prince Anthony.
“We know you mourn your brother’s loss, Lady Crystal, but we must do whatever necessary to obtain what was agreed we would obtain,” Kaldea eyed the half-vampire darkly as she spoke with strict formality; Crystal didn’t miss her brother at all, despite her guise, and she didn’t pretend to before us. The fact that her late brother, Jescan, had been the King of the now dissipated Vampire Nation, made her benefit from his death obvious, and it was a well-known fact that she had made no attempt to assist him or his armies in their moment of need.
“Like I said, Lady Kaldea, we would love nothing more than to cooperate with you and your charming escort,” she cast me a dark look and I frowned deeply at her. “But, I’m afraid we cannot help you.”
“Why not?” my first words since entering the domain we tainted with growing impatience.
“We’ve already transferred the Eye to another agent of your Assassin Order,” she seemed excessively delighted to have wasted our time so thoroughly while doing nothing meriting an offensive (although I wouldn't have minded using one anyway).
“Whom, may I ask, did you transfer it to?” I asked through gritted teeth, succeeding in broadening her smirk.
“None other than me, dear brother,” I turned at the sound of the familiar female voice to see a well-built, blonde woman with dazzling sapphire eyes identical to my own. Her peach skin seemed to settle harmoniously with the soft silk pants and jacket she wore in metallic-blue along with a golden-sandy colored blouse that complemented her medium-length smooth hair. “Hello, little cousin,” she addressed Kaldea who cast her a weary eye.
“How long have you been here, Gabriella?” I asked, completely unsurprised by her allowing the unnecessary tension. Crystal seemed to enjoy the aggravation in my voice, but Cisnero looked thoroughly jaded.
“Not too long; are you ready to depart now?” she asked in her usual airy tone.
“Now that you have what you came for, you can stop hassling us,” Crystal smiled treacherously, “The habits of vagabonds don’t suit you mercenaries.”
“We’ll be sure to remember that, milady,” I scoffed, “But I suggest you concern yourself with the hostages in your little garden.”
“What do you mean?” her cheer dissipated for the first time since her entrance.
“I neglected to mention, but the Holy Order has learned of your practices with innocents in this little prison-fortress of yours,” I grinned darkly at her livid grimace, “So you may have other guests whose time you may waste.”
“You little…” she growled bestially as her eyes flashed crimson. “You think you’ll embarrass this house like that, you treacherous, cowardly—”
“For someone who wouldn’t even help her own brother or his children while they were being slaughtered, you have some nerve calling others cowardly and treacherous,” Kaldea raised a dark eyebrow; she eyed the vampire with grim satisfaction.
“It’s nothing personal, Assassins,” Lord Aetherum cut off his wife’s next retort, “but if the Holy Order is going to be knocking on our doorstep, it’ll be most advantageous of us to have a bargaining chip.” He stood to his feet and straightened his flowing black dragon-leather overcoat on his shoulders. His eyes flashed emerald momentarily, and Kaldea and I were knocked off our feet through the door and into the wall behind us. In a similar fashion, I felt my sister being forced into a wall in the room.
“Our experiments here are too valuable for Order interference,” Cisnero strolled toward us emitting an extraordinary aura of dark power. “I assure you, it pains me to have to dispatch you so soon; you could’ve been useful.” His balled fists unleashed a torrent of emerald lightning that cut into our skin as a forceful psychic wall pinned us down against the wall.
“Now get out of my palace!” the electricity around us increased in charge as Cisnero assaulted us with a wave of emerald fire. I felt the explosions around me as my cousin and I were lifted off the ground and through the roof into the sky. We landed roughly in the forest about a mile away. As I stood to my feet and helped Kaldea up I saw Gabriella ejected from the palace in a similar fashion to our ousting.
“I’m getting very, very angry,” I growled as I linked my mind with sky. From an unblemished blue, I tainted the heavens with the rough cover of gray storm clouds. Bolts of white-hot lightning splintered the air as they plowed into walls of Cisnero’s palace. My storm dropped them in torrents, and the towers of the palace crumbled in their wake. “Would you like a go?” I turned to my cousin who grinned darkly.
“Do you have to ask? No one tosses me to the dirt and gets away with it,” she worked her fingers as if kneading clay and formulated a condensed puff of lavender fumes. She clapped her hands together and formed a lavender pearl-like energy orb between her open hands. Thrusting the orb out in front of her, the energy converted into a thick rod of power that penetrated the heart of Aetherum Palace.
“It’s a shame we have to do this to the castle of elders; don't you think?” Gabriella had come up beside us.
“Do you still have the Eye?” I asked her, turning only slightly to keep her in my peripheral vision.
“No, Crystal swiped it when she caught me off guard,” she shrugged casually in her usual calm. I stood determined not to be bothered by it; in fact, I was used to it now.
“Then we’re just going to have to get it back,” Kaldea smiled as if she’d been accepted into Heaven. We launched ourselves into the air and soared toward the battered palace. “Are you coming?” Kaldea turned to Gabriella who still stood where we left her.
“Oh yeah, of course,” she seemed to awake from a daze as she flew after us. Cisnero and Crystal met us atop the highest undamaged tower, and they responded to our assault with a barrage of dark energy. Cisnero launched a deadly array of emerald lightning and flame, but Gabriella raised a wave from their moat to drown his attempts. Crystal laced the air with poison in a desperate attempt to ground us, but Kaldea countered with her own toxins that I blew back at the Aetherums via the wind. As they coughed on their own idea, I swirled the toxic air around them in a wide cyclone that lifted them from their perch on the tower and swirled them helplessly before us.
“Looks like you’re the one who’s been kicked out of this house. Now hand over the Eye,” Kaldea called from behind me. Although she couldn’t speak, we could “hear” Crystal’s mentally broadcasted ‘Never!’ “Fine, then suffocate,” Kaldea replied and I responded by constricting the twister until they barely had room to move. I could feel their breath leaving them when a sudden blast of air disrupted the funnel.
“Guess you should‘ve moved faster, Raphael,” Crystal choked as she and her husband landed on their feet on separate towers. “Guess you Assassins are loosing your touch. Too bad, our Master is here.” My kin and I looked behind her to see a hooded figure hovering in the air beyond the castle.
“Well if it isn’t a trio of Greats,” a husky male voice cackled, “I almost thought I’d never run into you again.”
“Not him again,” I heard Kaldea frown beside me. We recognized that voice well; it was the voice of Nautilus, a warrior demon of air, the current XO of the Overlords of the Damned (the O.D.) “I thought you had crawled under a rock in Limbo and faded away or something.”
“That’s not any way to greet and old friend, is it, Kaldea?” Nautilus grinned; we saw his sharp silver teeth from under his low hood. He raised his arm and a fierce gale whipped us several feet backwards. The three of them assaulted us simultaneously and succeeded in catching us off guard. After their clever combination of psychic power and physical onslaught, we found ourselves back in the dirt in the wood.
“That’s it; no more mercy,” Kaldea growled. Her aura of assassin power engulfed her, and her dark dragon wings emerged as she soared into the sky. Crystal met her first, and they dueled briefly with their toxic energy blasts before Crystal was knocked from the sky. As Cisnero rose to challenge her next, Gabriella spread her dark-feathered wings and launched herself between them, assaulting Lord Aetherum with a massive fist of earth and stone. He flailed backwards momentarily, and she seized the opportunity to propel blades of water at him. He regained balance just in time to bleed as the aquatic scythes penetrated his clothes and flesh, and he too fell from the sky as Gabriella followed up with a fist of water.
“Guess it’s my turn,” Nautilus grinned. He raised his hands in front of him and assaulted us with tornado-force gales. We struggled to remain airborne as earth, water, and debris assaulted us agonizingly. Holding my eyes open wide enough to take aim, I thrust a single bolt of lightning through the gale. As I’d expected, Nautilus paused to block the hit, and in that second his concentration was broken.
“Now it’s my turn,” I called as I pulled my sword from its ethereal holding place and wielded its smooth, platinum blade steadily in my hand. Nautilus moved to strike, but I’d anticipated the move and wielded Ectheiron in an upward slash that sent a charged particle blade toward the demon. He redirected his approach quickly to avoid the attack, and countered with a loud clap that propelled impressive waves of a sonic boom toward me. I cut through the wave with an eleventh-hour slash, but the resulting thunder rendered me momentarily paralyzed. Nautilus seized the moment to launch another sonic boom toward me, and I buckled from the force of the blow. I managed to condense enough air beneath me to disrupt my fall before I hit the water, and when I recovered, my sister and cousin had launched a joint attack on the demon.
Kaldea launched a river of winding fire that burned on her poison spores. Nautilus countered the assault by encircling himself in a quick-turning twister that dissipated the flames. Gabriella raised a pillar of water to engulf the twister, but Nautilus fused the two into a waterspout and directed it towards Kaldea. Gabriella turned to intercept the twister, and Nautilus struck her with a slam of solidly condensed air. Kaldea used her own power to negate the twister, but that second cost her being engulfed in another one.
“Drown, and get out of my hair,” Nautilus growled as Kaldea choked in the aquatic cyclone. I dashed behind her and swung Ectheiron forcibly, releasing a gale that sliced through the twister and continued toward its source. He blocked it expectantly, but my follow-up slash transferred all the heavenly energy within me at the moment into one massive almighty blade of energy. Quickly recognizing the approaching danger, Nautilus turned to flee, but Gabriella and Kaldea had recovered and collaborated on a joint psychic hold that completely immobilized him.
“Noo!” he howled furiously as he struggled vainly in the psychic hold. He flailed forcibly as the energy ruptured him from the hold. His blood sprayed vividly behind him, and his eyes widened dramatically as he bent forward as if snapped in two and fell. I noticed Cisnero and Crystal stirring in the water as if planning an attack, and I motioned this to the women. They nodded and we all, in our own way, pretended to believe the battle over. Cisnero sprung from the water with surprising agility, but Gabriella, despite her lax countenance, responded even quicker by raising the water below him to fuse with the moisture about him into an immense water-fist that held him firmly in a death grip.
Crystal followed with arms of poison powder preceding her, and her agility was equally astonishing for such an injured vampire. She made the mistake; however, of assaulting Kaldea first. My cousin, being by far the superior manipulator of poison, reached deep into the arms of the powder and rearranged them in a manner that utterly bewildered Crystal, and before she knew it, she was wrapped in the hold of her own toxic fumes. She gagged audibly as she plummeted into the murky water, and the clash reverberated like shattering glass as she vanished beneath the surface. Around the same time, Gabriella’s fist yanked Cisnero beneath the surface as well, although he managed to keep his head emerged.
“I’ll take back that Eye, even if you mind,” Gabriella told Crystal in the casual manner one might use to speak with a common acquaintance. Using the water as her medium, she drew a spectacular diamond ring from Crystal’s pocket and tossed it to Kaldea who caught it one-handedly.
“You won’t get away with this,” Crystal shrieked as she struggled to stay emerged against the Gabriella’s downward pull of water. Cisnero growled audibly, but still remained completely immobile in Gabriella’s now-submerged fist.
“Good-bye for now; I’m sure we’ll meet again,” Gabriella waved as if parting with a comrade she hadn’t seen in a while. “But for now, I can’t allow you to follow us.” She waved her hand airily over the water and the entire moat froze solidly, encasing both Aetherums’ faces in a layer of pale turquoise frost.
“I suppose we’ll have issues with them sometime down the road,” I said, not bothering to feign concern or the slightest hint of worry.
“Yeah, but no matter how troublesome they grow, we’ll just keep knocking them down until one of us isn’t around anymore,” Kaldea shrugged as we flew away over the wooded hilltops, our wings stiffly extended to catch optimum wind for a smooth glide.
“Oh well, at least we’re guaranteed to never be bored,” Gabriella smiled in her trademark airy fashion, “Besides, once the O.D. gets word of Nautilus’s demise, I guess we’ll have more imminent worries on our hands.”
“Guess so,” Kaldea and I nodded simultaneously as we soared above the dispersing cloud cover. “Now let’s drop of this ring.”
Chapter Three: Kindling Moonchild
We stood placidly amidst the rolling sand dunes of the vast deserts of northeast Africa. The bright Egyptian sun beat down on us from its sinking angle as it neared its waning horizon. I knew this land deeply enticed Kaldea, and although I could easily see for myself the beauty of the enchanted land of Egypt, I knew my feelings paled in wake of Kaldea’s elations of ecstasy for here.
“I think I’ll erect a city on this spot; I’ll call it Lunapolis, City of the Moon,” she murmured to the burning sands and the still oasis not too far away.
“Interesting name. Tell me, what does yours mean?” I asked her gently as we soaked up the scene; the sun lowered ever closer to its veil as if reaching for sleep after a long race across heaven.
“Well, cousin, what is your greatest fear?” she grinned. It was like her and my sister to ask seemingly irrelevant questions such as these. They always convinced themselves (and me, I guess) that by some innate feminine virtue they were entitled an answer before I received one.
“Cockroaches,” I chuckled, and I saw the sand lift gently as my breath produced a slight tremor in the air. “I loathe them with an indescribable passion.”
“Thus it shall be then,” mischievous eyes tainted her smile, and I eyed her suspiciously. “Thus it shall be,” she repeated, “for the mortal who shall last sustain you.”
“How do you feel about Princess Crystal Nite,” I asked casually as she chuckled softly to herself. She cast me a stern glance.
“I loathe Crystal with an immortal passion,” she spoke in a dry, breathless voice that seemed to mimic the sand around us.
“And yet you’re attracted to Ileana,” I continued, without the slightest hint of ill intentions. “You know she bears the seed of the late Vampire King Jescan. How can you stand someone who slept with Crystal’s brother?”
“She’s graceful, wise, and enchanting. So what?” she eyed me suspiciously, and I maintained a straight face.
“So, I think it’d fit you to be a Nite,” I dropped the charade with a grin, and she stared blankly toward me for a moment.
“How cruel, cousin, to degrade me to something as base as a hybrid noble,” she frowned when she finally grasped my words. “a dejected member of a fallen House.”
“I’m sure you’ll make her your own,” I grinned broadly as I turned to witness the last seconds of the glamorous Egyptian dusk occurring seemingly light-years away across the gateway to some distant world.
“And what shall be my name? Sorrow?” Kaldea’s indignant voice ruptured my thoughts from the sunset back to her annoyed visage.
“Moonchild,” I said after a thoughtful moment. She stared at me. “Moonchild,” I repeated, “and a flower laced with briars; I say Luna Rose.”
“How charming,” the sarcasm in her voice stung like the taste of salt in a glass of deceitfully clear water. “She, I mean I, am due to be miserable.”
“At least we’ll meet again in the mortal world,” I offered. She raised an amused/aggravated eyebrow.
“Small comfort, cousin,” she spat, but then she forced a feeble smile to her lips, “But it’s comfort nonetheless. I leave to you this Circle of Faith entrusted to me. (She handed me the gold medallion). Have her find it when she’s ready so I may be awoken.”
“You know I will, Mnemosyne,” I spoke to life one of her other names that was no longer in popular use. She nodded silently.
“Answer me this; do you really think some miserable Gothic Irish girl can sustain the Catalyst Great?” she asked with lightheartedness that did nothing to diminish the potent relevancy of her inquiry.
“If a scrawny procrastinating black boy can sustain me, the Great of Sky, head of our order, I’m sure your host will hold,” I replied sternly but with a smile. “Besides, mortality by its very definition isn’t permanent, and that’s millennia away, so don’t dwell on it.”
“Or maybe they’ll both fall,” she spoke at first in a whisper as if I hadn’t spoken my follow-up sentence into existence.
“Maybe,” I shrugged, weary of the topic, “Guess we’ll know eventually.”
“That’s right, the Prophet is born,” for the excitement in her voice, her face revealed no trace of it as she watched the last of the sun vanish beneath the western horizon. “Perhaps I’ll inquire of him my fate, if Lords Sirius or Lycios will allow me access.
“Thinking about mortality, are we?” I turned to see the form of a white male apparently in his late teens with the beginnings of a goatee and straight, thick brown hair. He was midway between stocky and lanky (closer to lanky) and stood not far beneath 6 feet. His eyes were warm ruby, and he wore thin white pants and a loose button-up white t-shirt.
“Hello, Phoenix,” Kaldea said to the man who was said to be our cousin in some way. “What brings you down to Earth?”
“I’ve come to see you off, among other things,” Phoenix replied. The air shone gracefully around him as his aura radiated of holiness. The sky above us was quickly fading to twilight.
“I guess I should be leaving soon,” I thought aloud, “Geoff, Kym, and Sean must still be waiting for me. Geoff’ll probably make it snow just to get back at me for taking so long; he knows I hate that stuff.”
“I love snow, Daniel,” she used what was considered in those days my Christian name; I hadn’t heard in a while. “I love here in Egypt as well, so I know I shall return as soon as I am able.”
“It never snows in this part of Egypt,” Phoenix smiled at her. She glanced back at him and gazed into his fathomless ruby eyes with her dazzling windows to the even greater beauty within her.
“I’ll never say never about such things,” she smiled her reply. He nodded and the darkening sky suddenly plunged into midnight twilight. Soft flakes of crystal-white snow began to fall, painting an exquisite landscape portrait of divine beauty around us. His eyes flashed ice blue momentarily, and a single slender ribbon of the visible spectrum transcended the moonlit twilight. Kaldea smiled.
“This is my parting gift, sister,” he kissed her briefly on the cheek. “Until next we meet,” he bowed courteously and strolled off into the snow. We followed him with our eyes until he vanished into the dancing fusion of snowflake and sand dust. In the wake of his absence, I saw in the distance the sleeping body of Crescent Manor, the glamorous secluded mansion estate belonging to the Wolf King Sirius.
“Under the cover of snow and a lunar rainbow, I hide my gift here,” Kaldea whispered to the air and sand around us as she christened the spot that would eventually yield a town called Leeria, rising north from the vast estate that is now the Nite Family’s Rose Mansion. “Come back here someday, Daniel, and call on me so I may wake.”
“Perhaps I will,” I whispered back as I allowed the scenic lullaby of the divine phenomenon of utter unnaturalness lull me into a transient calm.
“Then I will wait for that call until I find you, and not even Cisnero, Crystal and all the legions of Hell can keep me from returning to this haven I have christened my temporal paradise.” She moved off the mound and danced gracefully in the surprisingly warm snow that seemed to vanish as if never existing once if fell level with our ankles. I watched her placidly and wondered if I’d ever see her dance again. ‘Probably not,’ I told myself. As Kaldea continued to dance, she looked back at me briefly while absorbing the exotic scenery as a whole. I felt a single stream of thought flowing from the port of her eyes to mine as we held a brief link in eye-contact.
I take a look at my cousin’s dark skin and smile again at this African sand; this is land that birthed the Lord Assassin, was the first sentence to arrive in my mind. Several others followed, but I’ll omit them for now. As she turned away, she looked again to the people of a nearby village that she’d loved to visit in the past. I watched her watch them and wondered what fate would befall those people in the time preceding her return (they’re gone). As I closed my eyes, I felt the snow stop, and the moonlit lullaby faded into the elaborate corridors of my subconscious where I recall it when I have no other source of comfort. I opened my eyes to the natural scene of the Egyptian desert beneath the dark sightless sky. There wasn’t a soul in sight, and the ancient cities started to look more like ghost towns on this moonless summer night.
I turned away and walked casually into the distance, calling a wormhole as I ventured slowly away from the comforting solitude. Eventually, I’d be back there with my family: all whom I care to be with. For now, though, I struggle with the snares and entrapments of this mortal world. But, eventually, I know I shall be free. For thus I wait.