The layers of silver fog lingered over the dry, ravaged land, hiding the piles of dead bodies, but it couldn’t hide their stench that burned the throat like acid, the stench that could compel a normal person to his knees, choking. But she was not a normal person, not anymore.
She wrapped the black lace more tightly around her face, as if that would keep the smell of decay away.
She was Trinity now, she possessed the life forces of The Damned, The Lost and The Fallen and even though her abilities were not fully developed yet, this was the time to show what she was made of.
She took a step forward. Her boots never touching the ground, her silhouette disappeared in a silver swirl, appeared a kilometre away and disappeared again. She travelled over the devastation of human flesh and bloody ground until she came to the edge of a clearing in the forest.
There in the distance was a camp, a large, cheery-red tent in the middle of small white ones. It was its home, the home of the monstrosity that ruled the world from the shadows. But it would rule no more. The era of Abbas was about to end. All of its puppets were either dead or had had their strings cut and its pride and joy, its city of corruption, had been torn apart, torn like the bodies behind her.
The world was changing; the darkness that enveloped it was an announcement of a new day. A better day, a time in which the humans would be creators of their own destiny, not just a sacrificial lamb on the altar of Abbas’s gluttony.
“It’s time.” A white glowing energy in the shape of a woman with angel’s wings appeared beside Trinity.
Her name was Cetrta hci, but she called herself Angelica.
“Why, thank you for informing me.”
“Don’t be sarcastic, it doesn’t become you.”
Trinity suppressed the urge to roll her blue eyes. By now she should have been used to Angelica’s haughty manner. Her gaze was focused on the movement of the guards around the red tent. She had been training and studying for the last two hundred years under Angelica’s guidance, and everything that she had done in those years was for this moment. It was a little overwhelming.
She closed her eyes and reached out with her energy. The blue translucent whips floated outwards; feeling, they touched everything in front of her, then stopped before the red tent, looking for a way in. “He’s using acacia wood with silver and gold clasps again.”
“He always uses that. That’s the reason we can’t get close to him,” Angelica said. “You know that.”
Yes, Trinity knew that. Acacia wood with silver and gold to hold the energy of The Fallen at bay. She also knew that the ground in the tent was covered with red coloured ram skins and that in the centre of the tent was a pile of badger skins divided from the other area with veils, both coloured red. Actually, everything in that tent was red, cherry-red, maybe so that the blood splashing around whenever Abbas fed wouldn’t be seen in his surroundings.
Trinity didn’t just know all that, she saw the inside of the tent with her own eyes. And the greed with which the monster dug his teeth into a young child’s flesh, devouring him, tearing the flesh away from small bones, burned into her mind. The memory was so strong that she could feel those teeth in her own flesh; digging into her shoulder, drinking from her, killing her, then Damon and Angelica had brought her back to the land of living.
It was supposed to be that way, Trinity heard a small voice in her mind.
She put her palm on the small swell of her belly. Dume, her child, a four-month ‘old’ fetus of a boy that had spent the last 200 years in a state of stagnation, because there hadn’t been time for pregnancy and a child in her life. Perhaps, she answered in her mind.
Daddy is here.
Yes. He’s looking for you. I can feel him, I can feel his rage. He’s close.
“What are you waiting for?” Angelica’s wings rustled and she transformed from a white angel into a black she-bird.
Trinity removed her hand from her belly. Her son, Dume, was a secret that had to be kept from Angelica, because one never knew what Angelica would do if she found out. Neither should she know that Damon was here. She secured the shawl around her lower face with a copper clamp and pulled a black hood over her head. “Is your Fallen flock ready?
“Yes.” As soon Angelica said that, translucent shapes invisible to the average eye appeared all around the camp and it seemed the air stilled, like time stopped and even the waning moon that was a witness up in the sky wrapped herself in a thicker grey cloud, hushing out her light.
“They know we are here.”
Angelica nodded and spread her crow-like wings. “You know what to do?”
“Yes.” She had to sneak up into the tent and cut off Abbas’s head -- which she hoped wouldn’t be too much of a problem, even though the monster possessed the ability to invade one’s mind and his voice could rule one’s body -- and then bring his head to Angelica. She was ready and in a silver flash she disappeared and reappeared at the side of the red tent where her threads had found a little crack.
The part of The Damned in her enabled her to slip into the red darkness.
Abbas was there, a dark shadow lying under the veil, and by the way the shadow lifted itself and the way it tilted its head like it smelled something, she knew that it was aware of her presence.
‘Come to me’, a voice intruded in her mind, ‘come to me’, its sound a caress against her brain. It lured her, ‘come to me my child, come to me’, it made her want to forget everything and just listen to it, to obey it. But she expected it, they both did.
Reach for the stars in the sky, a small voice stared to sing, the moment is always right, just reach for them now, a song that her mother used to sing to her and which she sang to her little boy whenever they were alone without Angelica’s shadow hanging over her.
She joined in, she started to murmur under her breath to drown out that siren call, “Don't be afraid of the unknown, you know that somehow everything is going to be fine.” From a sheath that hung at her waist she pulled out a light sword made of copper, steel and Angelica’s spell, the only weapon that could cut through the greenish, crumpled skin that covered the monster’s bones.
Everything is in your reach. She slowly stepped forward. Just close your eyes, grab it and hold it tight.
Take the path unknown, don’t turn me down, just take my hand now. She pushed the veil away and stepped on the badger skin. The air inside was hot and heavy, it was suffocating her.
Let me show you the joy.
There it was, the monstrosity. It was small like a ten-year-old child, sitting on his shanks, his small hands in his lap and his wide smile full of serrated teeth. His white glazed eyes couldn’t see her, but it could smell her, it could feel her with the waves of its mind. “Down on your knees!”
The pressure of its words thrust her down on her knees before it, the wetness of the skins slowly oozing through her black, leathered pants. It was blood. She grimaced in disgust and lifted her sword parallel to the ground, facing away from her, ready to strike. Let me show you how to play.
Abbas leaned toward her, its clawed hand reached out for her, and she raised her voice, the sound of it floating over them, “Let me show you how to play in the twilight of day.” She swung her sword.
Abbas’s head fell away and a piercing scream filled the air around them, filled her head, and pain exploded behind her eyes. She screamed too.
Let me show you the joy, let me show you how to play in the twilight of day.
She cradled her head with one hand while she used the other one to pull herself up. Black liquid was leaking out from the still screaming head that rolled down to her, but Dume’s voice was drawing the pain out from her mind. She fiddled with the bag at her waist and pulled out the sack Angelica had given her.
Careful that her skin didn’t come in the contact with the head, she bagged it. The fabric suffocated its sound. Thank god.
She looked up at the black liquid that was transforming itself into black fog, floating upwards until the tent’s roof stopped its progress. It was a poison of Abbas’s body and just one breath of it could crumple not just the body, but the soul as well.
She turned away and froze. The Akilueteers.
There were hundreds of red glowing eyes staring at her, waiting for their master’s command. And she could hear their master’s whispers too, how it ordered them to free it, to put its parts together again, to not let her out, promising them its pats on their shoulders, it affection, promising them the ultimate prize, its love.
She tied the sack around her belt and then with her feet apart, her elbows slightly bent and shoulders relaxed, she raised the tip of the sword at her eye level. Her fangs dropped down.
She charged, her sword cutting left and right, never missing a mark.
She whirled around, looking for a rift in their ranks, for a chance to get out into the open. If she could just get into the open she could use her flash steps and she would be home free.
The world became a blur of motion, her blade flashing wickedly under the ruby glow of a hundred eyes.
It seemed that for each one that had fallen, two new ones had appeared. They were occupying every inch of space, crushing her between them, their claws slashing her skin open and she wanted to scream in frustration.
Her eyes burned from the sweat that was dripping down from her temple and forehead, she couldn’t breathe through the cloth on her face and her sword felt heavier and heavier with each swing. There was so many of them. So many.
She closed her eyes and brandished her sword at random, just slashing with it here and there, until they overwhelmed her, until they pushed her down on her knees.
My little one. With her last ounce of strength she chanted up a spell, she made a barrier around Dume, hoping that that he would somehow survive, that somehow events would turn in his favour.
Suddenly the pressure was off and somebody’s hands lifted her up.
She opened her eyes to see the most beautiful emeralds looking back at her. Damon. Too bad he hadn’t been a second earlier, but she was grateful for beauteous sight and for the salvation of their little one, and with that thought she gave the world a last breath before she closed her eyes forever.