Issue 9: Michael
A few of my brothers went down to the baseline of Elysium. I was out among the cosmos. Our Father on High wanted me to assess the outer regions.—Michael
Memory is potent. Names bring order. I rose with the Dawn. There was no pain. Not until the Shattering.—Eos
What souls stare out from behind other eyes? I didn’t know it then but the Highest had managed to evacuate others from Elysium. Just not via Noah’s Ark. While certain factions had influence over souls? Only He had ultimate dominion.—Sleeping in Starlight: Ruminations on the Dawn
Outer Shell of Elysium
Age of Creation
Michael floated within the quiet.
Fingertips touched the faces of rocky outcroppings. Formed into mountain ranges. Another home. For the age of Mortals. As his Father commanded. A curious form flitted between the shadows of the mountains. The scout of the Golden Host followed. Silvered threads parted. A young being darted behind the outcropping. Michael’s form shifted. Silver and blue armor flowed over a bulky humanoid form. He sat upon a boulder. Waited. He remembered the reaction of the Amarche. Two glowing green eyes peered over the lip of the rocks. The upper body resembled a human. The bottom? The white fins twitched. It could ride the Weave patterns!
Michael traced the images of the Ouro into the soil.
The golden-haired child approached. He asked, “Apex of the Oversoul!”
Michael plucked at the threads around them. The music soothed the boy. His fins pushed against the pressure between the veil of the physical and the Weave. He held out a pearl of dark matter, “Blessing upon you. What be this place?”
Michael replied, “This is to be a world. For those who walk outside the protection of Elysium. The choice will be given.” The stars dimmed. Michael shot to his feet. “Peace be to you.” He vanished in a flash.
The boy traced the symbols left etched upon the cold earth. “It begins.”
Eos watched as the knife descended. Formed from the Wood of the Eternal. Blessed metals from Hephestus’ Forge. The handle was pitch black. It ate the light around it. Lucifer’s lips pulled back in a snarl as he slashed at the Laylines of Elysium. Eos crawled towards the doorway. Her lips parted, “Brother. Save….” A shadow covered her face.
Azrael howled, “Betrayer!”
He lunged at Lucifer. Preventing the Fallen One from cutting that final Layline. Lucifer smiled. A terrible thing that warped his golden face. He snapped his fingers. His form bent. Light and flame engulfed the room. Above, Eos could feel it in her bones, the Ouro vibrated. The Thronebearers fell from their stations. Smoke curled on the edges of her senses. The city was engulfed. Azrael carried her in his arms. White and gunmetal gray architecture gave way to the clayed surface of the Temple of Supplication.
As she drank from the Grail, it took the recollection from them both.
It asked, “Shall I seal True Sight from you both?”
Eos nodded weakly.
Temple of Io
Sol System (Modern Day)
Michael spun. His current form a bright silver sphere. To mortals, he resembled a shell akin to Horus. His bright golden iris locked onto the messages flowing through from Hatheon territory. A white-bearded face appeared. The eyes were that same clear green. The Primar grinned, “It has been some time. Do you wish us to keep it for now?”
The Grail. The Flow of Memory.
Michael said, “We wish it. Poseidon.”
That ancient face glowed. The power rippled across that craggy face.
“So it shall be. The Covenant Endures.”
Paxton said, “Where do you need us?”
Michael greeted Argus. “The Hatheon will no longer be veiled.”
The old detective leaned against the marbled pillar. His expression distant. “The Grail is useful. Chronos might desire it to uncover origin souls.”
Michael replied, “No. Not that one. The All-Father would desire it.” Argus frowned. “To devour the mirrors of himself.” The scout of the Golden Host floated to the next tier. Plucked a scroll from the vast library. “Deliver this to Eos and Azrael. We will need them at their full power.”
Agrus bowed. Took the parchment. It melted into his body.
“Ahh, no wonder.” The Nephilim delivery service.
A southern voice cried out, “Marvin said you’d need us!”
Florida’s premiere demi stepped out into dais. Marvin, the black dachshund, trailed behind him. The bardaxian’s green space corp suit bobbed. His red jet pack clanked. Michael noted the blood curse within the human body. This was not chance. The man tipped his blue cap upward. His bright sleeveless coat a stark indigo. White tank top shirt.
Gray jeans and high black boots completed the unusual demi suit. His black hair was cut short. A smattering of a beard and matching mustache covered his cheeks. His bulky arms glowed with sigils of power for a brief moment. He handed a beer to Argus. “Picked up some nice rites from the Typherian Light Shamans. Potent stuff!”
Paxton brought up the demi’s profile.
Showdown retorted, “What? It’s better than Florida Man!”
Michael noted, “The blood curse grows with each telling.”
Marvin’s ears perked up, <<Doesn’t matter what name he would have chosen. The power of Florida rides eternal!>>
Showdown picked up his Bardaxian comrade. “You all keep saying that. My home state isn’t a plague upon humanity.”
Paxton said, “No but it does have a certain geographical resonance. Just ask anyone in Sir Avalon’s neck of the woods.” Michael kept silent. 1 out of 10 Floridians would develop the resonation with the Triangle. In the past, during the first vigil of the Markav, at the height of their Illarium expansion, Florida had been known as Berakamuda’s Triangle. Aden’s colonists had developed unusual insights.
Not to the level of humanity's demis but the pull of the blood curse couldn’t be denied.
Michael theorized it was a reflex planted by his Father.
Sunset Showdown pulled a McDuff’s brand beer from the padding behind Marvin’s head.
A small hiss filled the chamber, “Let’s get on with it!”
Il’kari circled the newcomers. Delightful! Each aura trickled across her senses. The four-legged being had an open honesty she found appealing. The brown-haired biped shimmered with divine energy. A truth seer! Her eyes locked onto the stocky black-haired individual. Her violet eyes widened. The blood rites upon that man fascinated her. It was a rarity among her people but in him, it flared like a second sun. She held out her hand and made the sign of the Triangle.
“If you will follow me.”
I gawked at the images as we were lowered back to the ground level. The Jupiter Rising polished brand new. Gwen took point. Her step energetic. As the airlock cycled, Doc pulled me back. Motioned to a side alcove. I followed.
As we entered the three cubes manifested, “You must drink from the Grail.”
I replied, “But I don’t have an origin soul. It unmasks those memories.”
The purple buzzed around my head, “True but it will be required.”
All three spoke to Lorain, “You must also drink.”
Lorain’s disquiet grew and she wrapped an arm around my waist.
A voice flowed to me alone.
“Piece upon piece builds to the whole.” I squeezed Doc’s hand.
I said reassuringly, “I’ll go with you.” She smiled. She touched my cheek, “I know.”
Argus Paxton knelt.
The merfolk had placed Black and White unto threaded healing pallets. The golden scrawl upon the scroll burst forth. It ringed their foreheads, their wrists, and their feet. The New Ashbury detective opened Black’s mouth. Poured three drops of water from the Grail into the awaiting Shardbearer.
As he set it back upon its dais, the artifact whispered, “Memory flows. The Arbiter carries the stream forward. I will not be safe here much longer.”
Paxton paused. His fingers tapped the rim of the goblet.
He knew what would be required. To remain hidden? The river held the key.
The Jupiter Rising
Main Cargo Hold
Orbit of Shield World Paradise Falls
Gwen held the mace up.
Its energy dormant. “Next time I see one of those Owls? THUMP!” The white grip conformed to her hands. Its metallic surface smooth. O’rioh smirked, “We have to put you through your paces then!” She turned. Her eyes lightened.
“I have to apologize.”
He waved her off. “No, you had your knocks. I can see that your soul has been cleansed.”
She clipped the mace to her belt. “Why’d we come back here? Jupiter’s homing beacon?” The Typherian warrior nodded. “We still have to set things right with the Innocent One.” Gwen tapped into that part of herself connected to the Weave. Her Speaker status fully restored. She saw the possibilities. No wonder Teddy was aboard.
Transferred from the A.O. S Arrow.
It would be a regular New Ashbury reunion. She imagined she’d get another set of siblings out of it. At this rate, 30% of the demi registry would be filled with family members. She hid her face in her hands as she pictured the disasters. Social ones. High School reunions. Memoirs. Anna called out, “It’s true! I know that look. They already ask me!”
Eliza paused. Noted the way her parents had just stood there.
Taking it all in.
I watched as my parents vacated the area.
Sitrep! As dad would say.
Doc tapped her console. The machinery in the bay maneuvered additional supplies. She poked my ribs with her stylus. “I’d say we could all use some R&R!” My face heated. I rubbed the back of my neck. “True but we have….”
She stared up at me, “I know. I’ll take a rain check. Even if it’s a Tsunami.”
I traced her right eyebrow with a thumb, “I promise! I’ll slot us in after we find J’anu.”
She folded her arms. Sighed, “Don’t forget X’mil. The Snakes.”
What I wouldn’t give to be bored for a whole week.
Anna rolled her eyes, her tone light, “What we all wouldn’t give for the good old days!”
Gwen motioned with her fists. Mimicking an uppercut, “Dino First Class Orbitals!”
Thomas placed the cup of coffee in front of his wife. She said nothing. Michael floated towards them. That Arcane node within the ship was quite handy. The scout said, “We must help Eliza find all my missing or captured brothers.”
Murphy blew on the steaming drink before setting the mug on the table.
“What about the Golden City? Ta’mathon and the others need her as well.”
Michael’s golden iris expanded, “There will be time.”
J’ino mused, “I imagine that is part of Phase Two?”
Michael hovered over the table. A holographic image appeared.
It was the Golden City. Thomas noted the date. 3455 BC.
They watched as Eliza poured water from a simple goblet. Its inner edges covered with bronze. Lorain shuddered as their daughter placed the woman on a stone slab. The magic illuminated the darkened corners of the room. She turned the cup onto herself. She placed it within a raised cornerstone. It submerged as she spoke quietly to it.
Thomas asked, “Do we go on crazy timeline adventures?”
Michael retorted stoically, “No. You are anchors. The Arbiter’s.”
J’ino cut in, “I never thought we’d get an upfront answer!”
Michael’s iris narrowed. Highlighted a ship in orbit above ancient Egypt. “It must be thus. They were made for this. Both of them.” It was Atlantis. In the past, it would orbit the Sol System. At random intervals. Always hiding. Or so it thought. In reality? Michael knew that At’lan had sensed Eliza in her near complete form. Clever. The Golden Host had to admit: The mortals had done well by their AI/VI comrades. As noted by Noah himself.
We are all Creations of the Highest. Mortal or Divine.
He didn’t know the whole tapestry. That was for Father. He would carry out the Will on High. He said, “I suggest rest. For on the morrow?”
Thomas replied, “X’mil.”
The Innocent One must be preserved. The Urraden Line was not yet lost.
Michael linked to the Cherubs, <<How close is she?>>
Trouble responded, <<A week. The pregnancy is quite accelerated.>>
General Murphy inquired, “I imagine this son of J’anu and Ta’rammon will be placed WHEN rather than Where.” Michael floated towards the exit.
He turned and replied, “It is both.”
J’ino cradled her mug, “Think we will ever get back to simple demi work?”
Thomas smiled, “Sure thing!” He believed it.
J’ino leaned back, “I’ll hold you to it.” Thomas winked, “Just think. We could add to the demi roster at any time!”
X’mil stared out at the dotted landscape. The palm trees. The people laughing. Soldiers patrolling up and down the catwalks. A mix of relief and attentiveness made his blood boil. There it was. The ship floated serenely. Its sleek shape was bigger than he remembered. That white, black and red hull was as familiar as his embarrassment. The Jupiter Rising flaunted its power. Even idling within the spaceport. His knuckles bone white around his knife hilts.
Medusa said softly, “We will get our chance.”
Members of the Protectorate flew overhead. X’mil barely kept the rage from his face. At the forefront of the formation was the Star-Spangled Banner herself. He spat, “Reports of her death had been greatly exaggerated.”
His eyes were two pinpricks of coal as he gazed up at the demis capable of flight. “I’ll clip your wings.” He pictured the shock on J’ino’s aristocratic face. Those eyes dulled forever. He giggled. Medusa flinched and backed away. Held her brother’s gaze for a few heartbeats. They would escape. Leave X’mil to his fate.
At the end of Thomas Murphy’s grav-rifle.
Issue 8: Here
Issue 10: Here