Started on: April 28th, 2007
Author's Note: This is not a story intended for F.P., but I am using it as a testing ground, to see the responses. Most of it sits on my hard-drive, and I have been hard at work on it. If the response is good, maybe I'll let more out to the public, but as it stands, this is like a demo disc, and I am wondering what people think of this taste. :) If you go through the trouble of reading, why not leave a review? And, yes, this story has long chapters, a lot going on, and can be complicated. If lots of violence, Latin words and names (look up everyone's first name in etymology and last name in Latin for fun (except Darton, I just liked that name)), a few curse words, and political babbling bother you, then don't read. Otherwise, enjoy!
I feel as if I have been in the presence of God once. It was like a flash of brilliance, in which everything that had happened all seemed to culminate and make sense. I'm not arrogant enough to say I understand His plan, but I am enough of a pompous ass to say that, for a moment, I saw the shape of things. For that brief moment, all of the pieces in the puzzle fit. It was like the old recordings of symphonies, with hundreds of people each playing their instrument together to make one beautiful sweeping sound. It's a rush, a wave that drowns you, and makes you think there was a point to all of it.
That moment was a few months ago. It still feels like I have not lived a day past it, though. That's how we all feel, because we don't know what to do now. Everything is different; there is a new life to live. The story of this world seems to end on that night, those months ago, and every day after belongs somewhere else, outside of any of our lives, outside of this world. They're a blessing, but they're also alien and foreign.
That night…it felt like God, if He still lives, was watching. The eyes of the world were watching us, but they were watching over our shoulders, seeing as how the world was being held upon our backs. In particular, it was all on him, the savior of humanity. I was watching, hidden in the darkness. I don't think he knew I was there, but she did. The scene was one of macabre convention, considering the lives we lived.
It was the largest attack force that I had ever seen. They had called out their brothers from as far as we could, and whoever would listen to the faint broadcast, and assembled every man they could in all of the cities to attack in this last effort. If it failed, so would all defense of humanity. It was a foolish fight, and realistically, one we could not win. It was something that we should have lost, if our enemy was intent on murdering us.
Instead, it ended somehow different. There are a thousand possibilities of why, how, and the inherent meaning of the conclusion of the events. I watched a man, representing God, kill a god of our times. I watched the sinful fallen, emaciated in ill-warranted holy rot, kill the gloriously fiendish maiden of justice in our times. And, it was embraced, no, it was celebrated.
The scene was something out of scripture. There must have been ten thousand men, all running as one. There was this dull roar, a type of sound that sits in the background. It has no real definition, and nothing can be heard, other than a deafening, booming cacophony that seizes body and mind. You are taken out of your body, feeling enlarged by this explosive sound, where every step taken is an earthquake, every swing of a sword is like carving mountains, and every yell is a clap of thunder. Every man on that battlefield was being pushed, was being enraptured, by something greater than themselves. They were fighting for everything, and losing meant the loss of a history.
They were fighting to lose a future like yesterday, and gain a past unlike tomorrow.
The blood was heavy, and was splashed into the air. That thick must of copper filled the lungs of every man, and the deep breath of its acrid pungency affirmed their struggle. The scent of death was on the worn hands of every present creature. Every white robe was stained with dirt, crimson, and sin. Every carrion sack of the blind enemy would breathe and move as one, their carapaces a mask of scars and control, lacking even the ability to deny their nature. Red eyes rolled in rotten skin of the blind, thinking and commanded, sliced down by the glazed eyes of the mute and the deaf.
Something was changing. The scene, seen by the eyes of the outsider, would fill one with awe. I certainly was. I have been a patron of both sinful divine and damned justice. Seeing this unfold, all I could do was be in awe. It was a feeling that "so, this is what it all comes down to". Every leading moment, every action, every loss, every victory, every saved soul, every sacrificed innocent, every year of fear and every moment of struggle, seemed to culminate into what I can only describe as perfect. This is what the world was coming to, and no other way could it happen. This was how the world was supposed to crescendo.
The trumpets of bloodlust carried on the wind, as screaming monster scorned the air with the dual, hideous growls and men yelled the Lord's name in their valiant slaying and demise. The violins of glory echoed in the cries of the dying and the whining last whimpers of beasts being fell. Percussions of slamming magnificence rang out in the sound of steel-on-steel, tooth and claw slicing through flesh, hard cracks of fist against sinew, and the tearing, wet slurp of offal being carved from the hewn bones of the righteous and indignant.
The setting seemed almost too perfect. This final battle was conducted in a place of lasting holy significance, even in its disrepair. Instead, a feeling of purpose rested in the stones underlying the feet of the engaged. These pillars and shrines had been used for war, prayer, and now were the dark obstacles of an apocalypse. How many men had knelt to pray before these murals, I can only imagine, and how many lives had been deemed damned and worthy of execution by men sitting in these hallowed halls, I wish not to imagine. Now, this destroyed facility of embodied faith was the blood-splattered, disheveled throne of the scorn of humanity. In the house of the holy sat the justice for humanity. And, what do we do? We fight that which is justified. We seek to destroy it.
Why? Because we must. Why must we? To gain a past and lose a future.
I knew I was witnessing something beautiful when he approached. I hesitate to call him a man, but I must ascribe that towards my bias. But, he survives because of me, and I let him be here. I wanted him to do this, I knew he could. That is why he was here, because I saw it in those eyes. I saw it, when he was at the end of my blade, and instead of fear of death, I saw a resolution in his eyes, the same look he had at this perfect moment. It didn't matter if he died, and he it took him a long time to learn that. It mattered that when he died, did he die and leave something better behind than he found.
This moment was amazing. Lucas Trucido approached. I was hidden amongst the wreckage in the far back, sitting in shadow on a fallen pillar. My presence had to have been known, but it was not deemed a threat. No, I was not a threat to Aequitas. I think Aequitas knew it, too. Amongst this battlefield, sprawled in front of me, the darkness was split by the myriad of torches and small fires. The night sky held a silent lightning storm, flashing the blue fury multiple times a second, but no sound could be heard. The deafening sound of divine purpose was more than any storm could drown out, regardless.
The broken courtyard of St. Peter barely could contain the sight. The fountains were worn, the angelic, water-bearing cherubs green with moss and weed-growth, now being splattered with righteous and damned blood. Bodies lie underneath them, looking up with the spanning eyes of the dead, questioning their carved beauty. It harkened to a time when praying for God didn't require the price of your soul. The circular colonnades opened up to the men, running up the stairs with spittle running with cries of battle lust. Pieces were shattered, the entire beautiful opening now a reclaimed Eden.
Vines intertwined the white stone, growing from between the cracks of the centuries-old flooring. Weeds sprawled over the ground, claiming the dirt covered by the superficial faith's house. The obelisk from the Circus of Nero had been toppled, lying in enormous shattered pieces. Men vaunted off the fragments; beasts used them as foot-steps to gain thirty-foot jumps to sweep into the flesh of the blessed warriors. The once-magnificent courtyard had been turned to a wrecked reclamation, and once again being fought for. Emperors and popes called it home, and so did a god of our times.
This god was Aequitas. The history of Aequitas is a varied one, but the only thing required to know is that this figure was justice. The equality inherent in divine justice by Saint Peter at the gates was rather enacted in propriety by this figure on our world. Many would claim Aequitas a demon, spawned from Hell, and God's wrath against the impure sins of man. Others would just think it an enemy of the fragments of our society, no, our species. My view might be considerably unique, especially considering losses attributed to Aequitas. The saying is true, though. Justice is blind, and so are the demons of the gods.
The rubble formed a stairway up to Aequitas. The gold carvings, the massive ivory columns, the paintings of thousands of years, all were in disheveled dejection. The actual house of the holy, the Sistine Chapel, had been razed decades before. What existed now was an open forum for the courtroom of humanity. The heavens and the fires of Hell were the jury.
These steps of rubble were guarded by some of the best of Aequitas soldiers. They all tried to claim Trucido as he ascended, but he was absolutely convicted. It his blood was spilled, it would only be drops of his flesh, not of his soul. And, his soul is what was so magnanimous at this moment. The few beasts would leap upon him, and he would kill them quickly. A fast stab through one's neck, ripping out his blade, ducking under the attack of another, then using that ducking momentum to rise with the soaked edge through the gut of that second enemy. Both bloody heaps would fall, and he would continue walking, his pace determined and unbreakable.
Sweat and dirt stained his face. His hair was matted against his forehead, crispy with the dried blood in it, browned from not being wiped from his face, mixed in with his own spit and sanguine drive. A few more would try to overcome him, and they would be breathing their last breaths through blood-filled lungs, clutching their ribs in futile last moments of life, before choking and submitting. When he reached the pinnacle of that climb, his eyes only looked to the ground, not forward, to his enemy.
Lightning played in the sky, silently jumping from cloud to cloud, as if the eyes of God were blinking, watching the scene. God was certainly not in either of the players, but He was certainly in the electricity of the moment. The blue light showed Trucido in a way that he would never been seen again. His white robes, the collar held high upon his neck, were splattered in blood. The tattered and frayed edges of his long cloak lightly grazed the dirt-encrusted marble, small bits of reflective tile still showing his boots.
The blade slowly rested onto the ground, the blood pooling at its tip. He breathed in hard, his voice turning from a feral growl to a near whimper, an enraged and bitter cry. Looking up, his eyes shone like small pearls under the grime. They dropped their tears, although for whom, I do not know. Seeing his enemy for the first time, in all of Aequitas' majestic glory, must have been too wrenching for him. Sitting there, in that throne, stolen from pious lords of centuries past, and yet, existing as beautifully as Aequitas did…I can only imagine. Maybe that was the reason for the tears.
Behind Trucido, legions of men were bitterly combating their long-time enemy. The boiled and stretched skin of mortal enemies, hell spawns and demons of man's pride, held in contempt for their nature, were equally embroiled in the combat. The screams of their lord's control pierced the ears of men and stabbed the night, while deep rumblings from the Corinthian fate of man's lungs competed for the ears of the deaf. And, in the moments when the skies weren't granting light to the battle, the blind could only imagine what darkness visible could yield.
And, then, there, at this epic battle, the world changed. Trucido walked forward towards Aequitas, and the course of history was forever altered.
This moment had so much leading up to it. Everything that came before it—it all looks so small now. The events, do not mistake me, are not to be forgotten, and even still, I ache over her, but I am able to continue, knowing that it all had a purpose. I don't think that any of us understood what we going through, or how important we would all be. This plan, it was bigger than any of us. We were merely players on the stage of the world, if my quotation is right. Most likely is not, though, but the fact I can quote that speaks towards the few advantages I have been afforded.
Even now, I sit here and I write. This writing, I do it not for my own enjoyment. I am compelled to tell the story, considering I might be the only man who can. The other man to tell this story, well, he is conveniently dead, if you want to believe that theory. That leaves me to tell this conclusion to the trilogy started by the Old Testament. Do I believe myself to be told these words from God, like the prophets were in writing their scriptures? Of course not. But, I believe God would want this to be remembered, and I am the only one to tell it.
To whom I write this, my dear reader, you are my lover. To you I express only the truth I know, and the stories to fill in the blanks, so that you may understand what we had to endure. The decisions made, the battles fought, the lives lost, the heroes made, and the men who decided to save our world from an evil we never could defeat on the merits of our own strength. That strength, the required ability, to defeat that sin…some could say it was in God's service, but I think the truth lies rather in the slain's fear of immortality.
My story is in here, but I do not wish to magnify myself above anyone else. There are central characters to this, of which I might be one. Or, I might not. By the time I finish this, you will most likely know my identity, but what survives of me will be these words, not my body. The dead speak loudly, when given the chance to let their voices ring in eternity.
I honestly question myself, sitting here, about why I am writing this. For who? For what reason? I am sure the historical records will be kept by Kallipolis, and many will sing the glory of the story I am about to unfold. It will not be forgotten, and I am going to be proposing a very unpopular version of the history that many will be worshipping. Not many will even read this, I suppose. That doesn't make it any less important, since it must be told, but to you, my reader, you hold divinity. You hold something close to the truth, and knowing the absolute truth is to know how things happened, why they did, and how the plan worked. The big plan by the Big Man upstairs, and if you can start to even get a tiny little bit of it, then you are blessed for a second of that enlightenment. So, maybe I am just as much a prophet as the martyred many in the history of Gaul.
Perhaps I just wish to make all of my sins known. Not for forgiveness…I regret none of them. Instead, I want to sing their glory in defiance of God. Or, maybe one day in the future (a future we have now secured, might I add, different from the tomorrow we would have had if not for the actions of the worthy), someone will look at this and realize how things were, back in these terrible days. Perhaps I write for a future that has forgotten our struggle, forgotten our blood spilled, forgotten our sacrifice. Even worse: to show people the sacrifice of those whom they never knew. It is one thing to mourn a hero, but it is quite another to understand the sacrifices made by the faceless.
But, you, my reader, I think I might begin something very close to divinity with you. We shall share a love, we shall share a past. I will show you all I know, all that happened, and where I was not present, I will tell you the most accurate story I can. I do not think I will be perfect, and I am sure I will be making some things up, just to substantiate the story, but I do so with the best intentions. A selfish intention, possibly. There have been no books written in some time, it has been forgotten. I believe this, among all things, is worthy of being written about. I'm not an author, but I might have been one if we had a world in which I was not forced to be a murderer. Maybe not a fiction, but a retelling of all we suffered through, because this story truly matters. To whoever you are, my lovely reader, we mattered, and you better damn well understand it by the time you finish this, and put my printed soul to sleep.
I hope that the world you live in can look at this and cringe. You can read this and want to never look at it again. I say this because I want your world to be nothing like this one I live in, and I write this with the intention that all of my customs, this society, will be ancient to you, that all of these things I describe must be told in detail, for their archaic nature will confound you. I want this to be so foreign to you, because of how perfect the world is you now have.
I remember reading the Bible when I was young and thinking about Armageddon. As all young boys do in the Castitas, we were required to read, pray, and be extremely knowledgeable on the Bible. They said it was a big battle on the hill of Megiddo, where all the forces of the East and West mounted and fought. The blood was so high that it reached the horse's bridles, and spread for two hundred miles. That's a lot of blood. It said that after the Armageddon a thousand years of peace and prosperity followed. I hope that the prophecy is true, because we've certainly waded through enough blood and been through the Hell to justify a thousand years of easy living.
In this story, in my world, hopefully to be forgotten and erased, we live in purgation. No, I take that back. Purgatory is being between Heaven and Hell. We were in a Hell of our Earth, and at the same time, we were closer to perfection than any history lesson has shown me. In my world, God did not shine His glory or help the weak, no, that was the job of the Castitas. God was a dead figure, killed in many battles, and spat on like a bad taste in your mouth. I still maintain that God is not in our world, but I have been in the presence of divinity, or whatever His plan was. It may be contradictory, and I am not saying I believe in God, but I am saying I believe in there being some plan, something beyond us. I believe in being holy and being damned. Maybe it is God, but I cannot see God as a character to ever allow the world to become what it did. Maybe He isn't in this world, but some other one, maybe He does exist. Not on these battlefields, though. Where God is thought to exist, I see the souls of convicted men.
The story of how my world saw its fitful finale, and your scared tomorrow began, starts on a night at the end of summer in the year of 2217.