Sunday 7 October 2012

Radiance 33 - The foundations of the earth

    New York city lay wounded and bleeding, smoke rising from a hundred places, a tearful wailing filling the air.
    “We did it,” shouted Mercury, “we won!”
    “In a way,” said Virgo, closing her strained eyes and sitting heavily on the cracked tarmac.
    “And at what price?” asked Li, looking at the stump of Asher’s arm.
    Strangely, Asher felt no pain at all from where his hand used to be - it was as if he had simply been born without it. It was an unsettling sensation. The world began to swim and blur around him - was this victory?
    “Here,” said Mercury, “sit down, we all need some rest.” She gently brought Asher to the floor and put an arm round his shoulders. “We’ll be okay,” she said, as if trying to convince herself, “we won.”
    Asher looked around. A coldness had seeped into his heart, a heavy emptiness. They had saved the world, hadn’t they? The Leviathan was rebound beneath the earth, once again waiting for the end of days, and yet…
    “How did you get here?” he asked Mercury, “we saw Ashmedai…”
    “I honestly don’t know,” Mercury answered, “after the Deep everything’s a bit hazy. Next thing I know, I’m standing in New York, the Leviathan attacking.”
    “And Ostar?” asked Virgo. “Did he make it as well?”
    Mercury looked at her feet, and shook her head.
    “Are you sure?” said Virgo. “You said yourself it was all a bit hazy, and if you got out, maybe he did too?”
    “He didn’t,” Mercury whispered. “Ostar is gone.”
    “I’m sorry,” said Asher, putting his hand on her’s, giving it a small squeeze.
    For a few moments, they all sat in silence, each one of them breathing deeply, feeling the loss of friends and family, and all that was good in the world. Even without intentionally using his power, Asher could feel that the Leviathan had done more than threaten Manhattan - the world itself seemed compromised, barriers torn down that should never have been breached.
    “We won the battle but the war isn’t over,” he said softly absently trying to scratch his forehead with his right hand before he remembered it was gone.
    “What do you mean?” Mercury asked.
    “Rahko,” hissed Li, full of venom. He had been her opposite, her balancing force, the water to her fire, the chessed to her gevurah, and he had betrayed them all.
    “They killed Ostar, they killed my father, my mother died saving my life,” Asher said, voice flat and emotionless.
    Mercury nodded and her fingers gripped the Sword that Cuts more firmly; behind Li’s dark eyes, the white fire burned.
    “Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against your fellow,” quoted Virgo, “but love your neighbour as yourself, I am the Lord.”
    “Virgo, this is different and you know it,” said Li, “Rahko nearly brought ruin to everything.”
    “This isn’t revenge,” Asher said, looking Virgo in the eye as he suddenly understood, “this is justice. Rahko has spilled innocent blood, and the Sitra Achra are still more powerful. The raising of the Leviathan has put the world dangerously out of balance, and we are only five - without the full Seven, we cannot repair the world. If the balance is to be restored, we must remove Rahko and deal the Sitra Achra a crippling blow.”
    Virgo smiled. “Your parents would be proud of you,” she said.
    Asher remembered his last sight of them - his father amid the clay dust of sheol, his mother standing in the heavens. “I know.”
    “To Jerusalem,” Li said.
    “Jerusalem,” Mercury agreed.
    Virgo nodded and rose to her feet, planting the Staff of Moses in their midst. As they placed their hands upon its ancient wood, the world shuddered around them, as they returned to the centre of everything.

No comments:

Post a Comment