Kreesan had set the stage for his plan to see fruition. There was only ‘actor’ who wasn’t enlisted yet; a specific demon that Kreesan required. After bartering such precious information to the demons, the way into the celestial realms, his target had no choice but to agree. The Fallen would soon get her visions, and the only being with a hope of foiling the grand unification would soon be dead. It was marvellous just how smoothly everything was proceeding. Kreesan mused to himself.
Tension rolled off Wendall's presence in near tangible waves. He was becoming too aware, too fast. Not that this was a problem. He and everyone else all shared the same goal, though almost none of them realized it. They weren’t the same person of course… but Kreesan had felt the connection too. He knew, and understood it for what it really was. We all share the same soul, and that soul had only one purpose, one interest.
With the angels and demons out of the way, there would be only one conscious guiding force, and that would be humanity's. They would be free to create a world, one ideal to their unified living. Though this wasn’t it, there would be time to recover, time to re-create. Those who were aware of this would benefit wholly, while those who weren’t would serve to make the world worthwhile for all. The walls were breaking down though; more and more people were awakening and Kreesan could sense them all. People had been more spiritual in the past, and the world hit a great metaphysical lull where the vast majority had sealed off those parts of themselves. After the apocalypse, reality had little to no bearing on the world that people now know, and they had to rediscover it from the inside out.
Wendall watched Orchid’s every move from her new 'home'. The internal struggle was evident, but there was no way that he could resist telling Kreesan what he saw and knew. One of the lives connected to their souls was helping manipulate the outcome of things. Such raw power. Kreesan thought. One life is going to make their shared dream a reality.
The reunion between Orchid and Grace was well received. She had forgotten entirely about the orphaned girl she had saved from the fire. The reminder sent a sting to her heart with each passing word shared, but there was a sense of relief that she, at least, made it to the resistance unscathed. Orchid clutched her 'tooth fairy' necklace, absentmindedly, as they spoke. The charm was one of her only real ties to the life she lived not so long ago.
Grace showed her a new dance that she had invented; taking Orchid through the steps one by one. It was something right out of a cartoon, and was all together far too silly; kind of a cross between a robot dance, and the hokey pokey. There was a certain magic to it, the kind of magic Orchid only knew through the eyes of a child. She stopped to wonder why children playing had that kind of impact on her; they always had. In times like these, she wished that she could remember her own mortal childhood. With a ceremonial pinch on the cheek, she sent Grace off to go eat, but in truth she wanted some time alone.
Orchid had decided to spend the remainder of the day drunk. The last of the whisky, plus a little bit of the fierce concoction Wendall was toting, would tide her over until nightfall. She had taken the parting between herself and Evalle harder than originally anticipated. Something about it felt like 'forever', even though the argument they had wasn’t severe enough to warrant it. The last time they split paths it took many years before they saw one another again. Would it be awkward? Would they still like each other? These were some of the questions on Orchid’s mind. That foolish girl had to fall in love. Why me anyway? By the time I even get a chance to ask her, I’ll have forgotten the question. If only we had spent more time talking things through, then maybe… whatever. She stared out across the open waterfront in silence, while the resistance soldiers trained Orchid’s recruits.
Wendall was trying to pinpoint the location of the shamanistic cult outside of town. Orchid had tried herself, with the energy web technique she had used to find Wendall, but her magic was barred from passing that far. She suspected that perhaps it was the shamans themselves who had stopped her from scrying on them. A ritual had to be performed before Wendall's gifts could manifest, and would take a lot longer than simply extending light. He didn’t have the same kind of mastery as Kreesan did, and never learned how to pierce metaphysical barriers. He was stepping into the endeavour blindly, and at best could only intuit each step.
Wendall extended his mindscape to the edge of town, guided by gut instinct, but all he found there was himself, many times over. The longer he scanned, the more disturbing it became. Everywhere he looked, the only person present was him; sometimes several copies.
Just when he was about to give up, a cat crossed his remotely viewing sight. Unlike all the other 'beings' he saw, this lone stray cat didn’t feel like a mirror, a reflection of himself. He watched it for a while, grooming itself. Suddenly it perked up, staring back at the space Wendall metaphysically occupied. Wendall’s vision blurred, and all he could think about were the words intoned “Mom? Is that you?” As reality invaded his senses again, he was nothing short of shaken. Wendall figured he was going insane; there was no other logical explanation for thinking the cat could penetrate his mind. It was going to be a long day, especially since Orchid had taken the rest of his booze.
The library was one of the most decadent wings in the grand celestial halls. The texts were old, mostly documenting the history of the angelic and human realms. There was very little literature on the lives of demons, mostly since angels and demons had kept their distance since the wars of ancient times. They both considered themselves distinct from humans, since their existence long predated the species, but that wasn’t entirely accurate. Humans were forged from a mixture of pure demons and pure angels. Not in that physically sexual way, but instinctually. When a human died, it returned to the source of all energy, which meant either becoming an angel or a demon. The choice was judged on a case-by-case basis, and depended wholly on which instincts the individual leaned towards. If no definitive decision could be reached, the individual would return to Earth to live as a human again; collecting more lives into its soul.
Evalle was among the spectators for Orchid’s case. As a mortal, she had a wild heart, and there was heated debate over where Orchid would wind up. Sometimes it happens where a person hangs in emotional imbalance, enough to warrant contested interests. Orchid never bore malevolent intentions, which ultimately was what made her more of an angel. Her chaotic manner, and impulsive behaviour didn't amount to a valid reason to send her to Hell, or Earth for that matter. Evalle prayed hard for Orchid’s case, one of the many secrets she kept to herself all these years. She felt from the start that there was a compatibility between the two. It turned out to be a one-way deal, and only now she was starting to accept Orchid as a friend rather than a potential lover.
The staircase that led to the second floor of the library was long and winding. This was due to the height of the bookcases, spanning much higher than any person could reach on their own. A system of sliding ladders was adopted to allow for their use, and to save space consequently. There were so many points of view on every piece of history that it would take a scholar to find anything anyway. The head librarian’s office was beyond the bookshelves, in a small room towards the back. The second floor held all the offices and more functional rooms, like the one with the obelisk she sought.
After a quick rapping along the librarian's door, Evalle was granted entry. “Come in!” A venerable voice chimed outwards.
The room was a complete mess. Archaic parchments were strewn about, and a pile of unmarked books littered the floor. Empty bottles of ink lined the desk, like an alcoholic might have liquor. Evalle wrinkled her nose at the musty smell, and decided it was best to get this over with as quickly as possible. “Hi there! I’m supposed to ask you to open the room with the sensory obelisk. Oh, and here's my signet!” Evalle held her hand up with the backside facing the librarian; her ring identifying her as a Sentinel was unmistakable.
With a roll of the eyes, and heavily drawn out sigh, the head librarian procured a key ring from within his desk; having no less than thirty large iron keys on it. The crotchety old angel even seemed to struggle with the weight, holding it in both hands. He hobbled out of the room, and grumbled unintelligibly every step of the way. By the time they made it to the door in question, Evalle considered offering to carry him to it.
The librarian tried almost every key in the ring before finding the right one, stopping to mutter with each false key. Anticipation grew, making Evalle anxious, but she folded her clammy hands together and waited. “There you go missy. Try not to think too hard about what you see. The future is hidden from us for a reason.”
“Thanks Grandpa!” She patted him on the head, which led to further noises of discontent. Hobbling back on his not so merry way, the head librarian left Evalle to the obelisk and her answers.
The room was empty save for the crystalline centrepiece. There were no lights, except the residual shimmer from the opalescent crystal that rose almost to the ceiling. It was encased in a golden holder, reminiscent of a plant pot, only with outstretched metal vines. The colour that emanated from it shifted with each passing breath, though generally stuck to shades of red, blue, and everything in between.
Evalle kneeled down in front of the obelisk and put her hands to it. “Show me what happens to Orchid. I want to see the next time I’ll be with her!” She exerted her will into the crystal, forcing the answers to come. There was resistance at first, but, slowly, the images coalesced amidst the swirling coloured lights.
The perspective came from someone lying prone at a sideways angle. Evalle saw Orchid locked in combat with another angel, one who held the advantage over her. Confused, Evalle wasn’t sure why she wouldn't interfere, she was supposedly there. Meanwhile, Orchid looked beyond furious. The intensity of the fighting paralleled that fury, but Orchid was struck down. Evalle could only watch as life left the eyes of the woman she loved, slumping to the pavement.
The image faded into stillness, uncharacteristic of the crystal, Evalle still kneeling by it in the darkness. There only remained the sound of her sobbing as company. What did Orchid do wrong? Why is an angel going to kill her? I… I want to know but if I look… I’m scared… I need to see her again… What is a war worth fighting for if you can’t protect the ones you love? She withdrew her hands from the crystal, and plotted how to make her way back to Earth. She wasn’t going to give Orchid up, even if that meant fighting her own kind.