This week I continue Apotheosis, the first two chapters of which you can read here. Cast down to Midgard, Sparda must set off to find Katari before it’s too late.
“Sparda,” Azari declared solemnly, “you are the first angel doomed to fall in five centuries. Though you turned your back on the heavens, know that the Gods watch over you and will do so until your final breath.”
He stood unarmed and unarmoured, as naked as moral babe on the day of its birth. His nakedness served to show he stood exposed before the judgement of the gods but also because any clothing or equipment he brought with him would burn during the fall. Being encased in celestial steel as it evaporated around him did not sound pleasant.
Before him stood the portal to Midgard and he felt it surge to life as Azari performed the necessary incantations, though he could not hear her words, he had known them all his life. He took this moment to study the soaring arches and glistening towers of his home, knowing he would likely never return. He remembered with fondness his home overlooking the pools and the fountains and the days of his youth millennia ago when he had raced between the pillars of the great temples much to the chagrin of the elders. Heaven was a civilisation built on one hundred thousand years of history, it would not be an easy place to forget.
Azari’s chant finished and the portal spurred into life with a rush of violent energy which would have destroyed him had he stood any closer but then it settled back into a calm shimmer. It was time.
Sparda did not say a word as he advanced and began his fall. Agony immediately rippled through his body as he began his fall and fire lapped across his flesh. His wings began to melt, the feathers crisping before falling away entirely, and he heard rather than felt the shattering of his halo as though it were made of glass. Forced to close his eyes he knew no more until he felt the rush of wind and opened them again. A countryside of patchwork fields lay below and the ground was rising fast. The impact of his landing burnt all within one hundred yards and left a crater where he had landed.
Years would pass before the field would once again be useable but the plight of a single farmer was beneath Sparda’s concern, he needed to reach the city of Vetnaris and find the princess Karari but more urgently, he needed clothes. With his wings removed he could no longer fly and was forced to scramble up the edge of the crater and walk through the muddy field. A farmhouse lay ahead and he watched as the family wearily approached the crater, the man carried with him a pitchfork while his two sons were armed with sticks. Should they try to confront them, Sparda knew he take them all in an instant but they passed him by as he watched from a clump of trees and the angel made his way to the farmhouse unnoticed.
The door was unlocked, as was often the case in rural communities, and he searched the interior, stealing clothes, food, water, and an old iron sword. With a touch, the rust of the blade fell away as his magic coursed through it and the metal was remade. The weapon was a serviceable one, built long ago in times of war and unused ever since. A memento these people did not need.
He was about to depart when he looked to his right and saw a young girl who had not followed her brothers and father. A crude toy was clasped tight to her breast and he feared she would scream for a moment but instead she merely looked at him wide-eyed and unmoving.
“Tell your father what was taken will serve the cause of heaven and the Gods,” he declared and left without a backward glance. The road to Vetnaris was long and the Hierarchs had warned him that the girl might be in the company of demons, he had more experience with their kind than most – that being why he had been cast from heaven – and knew well that not all were evil, any more than all angels were holy, but when the servants of Hell muddled the affairs of the mortal world things rarely ended well.
Image: Angel of Time by JasonTN