Chapter 16- Caius Ashfall

Chapter 16- Caius Ashfall

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 16

 

Caius Ashfall

 

 

            “Look who finally decided to wake up.”

            Life returned to Caius in a storm of misery. His ears could listen but the sound was a painful needle. His nose could smell but the only scent he caught was the suffocating aroma of crystallite. His sight slowly returned but his eyes burned like acid. His hands could touch but everything felt numb. As each sense slowly rejuvenated it finally hit him. I’m still alive.

            Caius released a groan of pain as he stretched and his muscles felt like they belonged to him again. As his vision cleared he realized he was not where last he remembered. He was lying shirtless in a small room that looked like an infirmary. Sitting on a chair nearby was his beloved brother, Raziel.

            Caius attempted to stand but to little avail. “Ugh…my body is a mess.” He looked at his hands, which were trembling uncontrollably. The more his body became his again the more he could feel the crylist withdrawal symptoms starting to take affect. “How long have I been here? When was the last time I had a dose of crylist?”

            Raziel raised three fingers up. “You haven’t had any in the last three days you’ve been unconscious.”

            “Three days!” said Caius, horrified. Most orphans from Judicium’s Youth showed heavy withdrawals after just one day. The fact he’d gone three and still had his sanity was outstanding.

            “The medic said not to inject any crylist in your veins because you apparently already had a heavy amount of crystallite flowing through your veins by the time we found you.”

            Liana Veritas instantly came to his mind. “Where did she go? You’ve been following me all this time, you must’ve seen her.”

            Raziel shrugged. “Sorry to disappoint you. While you were busy f*****g your Mentor’s wife the whole of Lumina kind of went to s**t. I wanted to wait until you guys were done but you were taking way too long. I had to leave to attend other duties. By the time I returned you were passed out on the floor and Liana Veritas was nowhere to be found. You’ll be heart broken to know that she is still nowhere to be found.” F**k! How am I going to explain this one to Charles?

            “Lumina went to s**t?”

            “I have bad news, horrible news, and terrible news. Which do you want to hear first?”

            “Just f*****g tell me everything that’s happened.”

            Raziel laughed. “I’ll start with the bad news then. While you were sleeping, six Judges and three Generals, along with numerous Judicians simply doing their job, and plenty of innocents, were killed. My Mentor also lost his life.”

            Caius’s eyes almost came out of their sockets. “What?! How could Paradise Lost manage an attack of that scale?”

            “The Week of Repentance. They killed clergymen and put on their robes. We never saw it coming.”

            Killed? Sounds more like the True Believers had a hand in it instead. They were born because of Cruor. I’d stake my life that certain members of the Church willingly helped them.”

            “Maybe. But the Church has enough corpses to serve as an alibi. As of now, their hands remain clean and their losses as fatal as everyone else’s.”

            Caius broke into a series of coughs. “Water…get me water…” Raziel left the room and returned with a cup of water. Caius grabbed the cup with his trembling hand and brought it to his numb lips. The stream of water down his throat tasted like a spring from the Garden of Eden.

            “Don’t drink it all,” warned Raziel. “You’ll need every last drop after you hear the horrible news.”

            “What could possibly be worse than the biggest tragedy since the Crimson Treason and Liana Veritas disappearing?”

“Try not to pass out again after I tell you. Three more days of you sleeping and I might start losing track of all the bad news.”

            “Just f*****g tell me.”

            Raziel smirked the kind of smirk that Caius had learned to fear. The smirk that said, this is to die for. “Well…while you were f*****g your Mentor’s wife, and Luminas highest officials were dying, there was another attack that occurred somewhere else. It was in a place you know very well. A place…you should’ve been protecting.” The smirk grew into a smile from ear to ear.

            No…no…no…NO! Caius realized he was no longer trembling out of his withdrawal symptoms but out of fear. “I don’t have time for your theatricals, Raziel. This isn’t even slightly amusing or funny…”

            “Despite my love for theatricals I’ve never been a liar. Sorry to disappoint you yet again but the Veritas household was attacked. Eight of the stationed Black Coats, dead. All of his house servants, dead. His daughter…dead.”

            Water splashed all over the floor as the cup fell from Caius’s grip. His throat suddenly felt dry as a desert, his words were lost within it. Fear had now found its way to places in his body he didn’t even know existed. Is this my punishment for straying from the path God carved out for me? For betraying Charles? For living for myself?

            Raziel stood up to stand in front of Caius who was currently a prisoner in his own mind. “I almost forgot to mention his son. He’s about the only good news.”

            Caius continued looking out into space. “Is he…alive?”

            “Yes!” Raziel clapped. “Unfortunately, he is nowhere to be found either.”

“Great. F*****g. News.” But I’m already dead…what does it matter. Caius chuckled, bitterly. “If all this is a coincidence…God has a cruel sense of humor.”

            Raziel shrugged. “What else can it be? A lot of Judicium officials got attacked that day. Charles being amongst them is hardly a surprise, especially considering his history with the Cruorians. As for Liana Veritas, there’s no way she could’ve known the Cruorians would attack the same day you gave in to your c**k and decided to f**k her.”

            “I didn’t f**k her…”

            “Please do tell, what exactly were you doing in a f*****g inn then.”

            “I didn’t f**k her…”

            “But that was your intention.” Caius didn’t reply and Raziel burst into laughter. “For a man with so much respect and loyalty for his Mentor, you sure betrayed him in the worst way possible.”

            Caius tried to attack Raziel but the instant his legs touched the ground they buckled and he fell entirely to the ground. “I didn’t…f**k her!”

            Raziel crouched by him. “Relax, it’s not me you have to convince. Speaking of which, moving on to the terrible news.” He helped raise Caius to his feet and back to the bed. “Judicium’s Sun and Moon have arrived in Lumina.”

Burning cold wrapped around his entire body as fear became ice and his soul drowned in darkness through a blinding light. He wondered how he ended up here. Where everything went wrong. When he lost sight of himself. The world had fallen apart in front of his eyes and he willingly jumped ahead to the bottom.

            “Why…why am I alive?” he muttered. “If she…if all Liana Veritas wanted to do was leave then why didn’t she just kill me? If her only fear was that I would tell Charles then WHY didn’t she kill me? It…it just doesn’t add up.”

            “Fear,” said Raziel. “If I was her and I wanted to escape, I wouldn’t dare attempt it unless I knew exactly where you were at all times. Incapacitating you was the safest bet. But obviously she needed you to help her get her out of the house first.”

            She never needed my help. “How did you know she wasn’t allowed outside?”

            “The entire time I followed you, she never once left the manor. Not to mention all it takes is a little asking around to know Liana Veritas never leaves her manor.”

            “Except she does leave her manor.” The image of her f*****g all her servants materialized in his mind. “Are you sure you never saw her leave once?”

            “I’m certain she never left from the moment you became the family bodyguard.”

            “Then perhaps she was scared.” Caius attempted to get back on his feet but fell right back.

            Raziel stared at him, baffled. “You shouldn’t be up and about until you’re back to your daily doses of crylist. If there’s a message you need sent, I can deliver it.”

            “No,” said Caius, adamantly. “I need to go see Charles.”

            “Are you so eager to die?”

            “No. I intend to make the first move. I’m going to arrest him.”

            Raziel grinned. “Finally decided to see the light. Why the change of heart? I’m hoping you have some real evidence here.”

            “I’m all the evidence we need. His wife is a crystallite engineer. And she knew I was a Shadow. I made certain to not slip up. The only way she could’ve known I was part of Judicium’s Shadow was if she always knew to begin with.”

            The look on Raziel’s face said I-told-you-so. “Why did you lie for her back then? I’m sure deep inside you always knew I was right.”

            Why did I lie? Was it to protect Liana or Charles? Or was it simply because I didn’t want to believe Charles would be the kind of man to betray his own side. “I…thought they were innocent. It’s clear now that I was just being naïve.” Caius looked up and stared Raziel in the eyes. “Which is why now I have to act. Even if it means sending my own Mentor to the gallows.”

            Raziel shook his head. “As much as I’d love for you to do it, it’ll have to wait. You’re in no position to leave this infirmary yet. Not to mention, Judicium has so much on their plate right now that they probably won’t give two f***s who killed the late Moon. Tell them now and it’ll get overlooked and give Charles enough time to act.”

            “If Liana disappeared it’s only a matter of time before Charles does too.”

            “Not quite. Since they told him about his family, he’s pretty much locked himself inside his manor.”

            Charles mourning…and I thought I’d heard it all. Caius rested his head on the pillow. “Then it seems God has given me more time to rest. Raziel, thanks for telling me everything that’s happened. After all these years it appears you’re still the closest thing to a friend I have.”

            “We’re brothers, remember.” He started heading for the door. “Anyways, I’ll check up on you daily to make sure you’re still alive.”

            Days went by and the world was beginning to revert to its natural state. The illusion of peace had vanished after the Week of Lament, and the Cruorians were once again declared Judicium’s enemy. Much like after the Crimson Treason, the Cruorians paid in blood. Judicium’s Sun ordained a blood price for each day that the Cruorians hid Paradise Lost. Every day no one said a word, ten Cruorians were sent to the gallows, starting with the women and children. Of course this ignited thoughts of rebellion but rebellious attitudes were quickly remedied with guns. After just one week, four-hundred-and-forty-six Cruorians had died. Already the lower districts seemed less crowded, but not a word on the whereabouts of Paradise Lost was said.

            During the Sun’s cleansing of the lower districts, Caius’s mind often went to the one person that could help put an end to all the madness. Sia Septem. All it took was his eternal matrimony to her and all their questions would be answered. His only hope was that she hadn’t already met her fate in the gallows.

            Nothing had been heard of Charles. As far as anyone knew, Charles was still a prisoner in his own home, much as Liana Veritas was once thought to be. A part of Caius felt for him, the loss of his daughter and disappearance of his family is a fate no one should have to experience. It was also one that both Charles and him had cast upon many others before. The other part of Caius saw Charles as a traitor and enemy to Judicium. While there were still holes to fill and many things that simply didn’t add up, Charles’s innocence was undoubtedly in question.

            Once Caius was back to his daily doses of crylist, his body started functioning better by the day. He couldn’t wait to finally leave the infirmary and return to the world. He had spent enough time locked away in places and nothing good had come of it. The only person he ever saw aside from the medic was Raziel, which was the highlight of his day. Raziel was his only connection to the outside world. His eagerness to share stories where terrible things happened was something that would never changed.

 

***

 

            After what seemed like an eternity, Caius stretched his unexercised muscles and took a deep breath of the fresh outside air. The streets of Lumina had a different mood than when he last saw it. Its citizens had a look of fear in their eyes that was foreign to your average Judician. White Coats roamed in every district now as opposed to just the lower ones. Most notable of all, there wasn’t a clergyman in sight anymore. They must all be hiding in their churches. After wandering around for a bit and inspecting Lumina in its new light, Caius decided it was time to finally concern himself with his more personal problems.

            The Veritas manor was unusually desolate and grim. It was an uncanny feeling walking through its gates without two Black Coats greeting you. The lack of security almost made it feel like a normal home. Caius wondered if Charles would actually be inside, and if so, what would he be doing. How long could a man cry for? Caius had taken his Mentor more for the type of man who would rather rage madly for revenge instead of crying in hopes of miraculous tears.

            Upon opening the front door, Caius was quickly greeted by what looked like a shadow of Charles, pointing a revolver directly at him. This wasn’t the Mentor he was used to. Charles had lost weight and his eyes cried for sleep. His hair was drenched from what Caius could only assume was sweat and in his other hand was a bottle of wine. How the mighty have fallen.

            It took Charles a second look before it registered to him who was standing before him. At the realization he stood up and lowered his gun. “I was wondering when you were going to decide to show up. For a second there I thought you might’ve disappeared with the rest.”

            Caius walked cautiously towards Charles. “How have you been? I never thought you to be the type to lock himself away in mourning.”

            Charles chuckled. Charles chuckled! “My daughter is dead…my son and wife gone to what I could only assume is the dungeons of wherever it is these f*****g Cruorians hide.”

            And wife? You mean to tell me he doesn’t know yet? Or is this all a trap to see how I respond. “Then shouldn’t you be out there finding or avenging them?”

            Charles started walking idly. “Bright Edgar will see the Cruorians to proper justice. Right now, my mind is directed towards more personal matters.”

            “Crying won’t bring your daughter back,” responded Caius, almost too bluntly.

            “Perhaps, but it would quench the heart.” He stopped walking and directed his drunken frozen eyes to Caius. “Although…one might argue there would be no need for tears if let’s say…someone would’ve been here to protect them.”

            Caius swallowed hard. “The whole of Lumina was caught off guard. Even Judges and Generals died. What difference could I have made?”

            Charles started walking towards him. “None…I’m sure. But it does bring into question, what were you doing outside? As many have told me, it was not even curfew yet during the time of the attack.”

            This is the moment…to tell the truth or a lie. “I sent you a raven informing you I could end this pointless war. I was attending what at the moment seemed like the more urgent…ugh!” Caius never thought a punch could hurt so much. He had seen the giant fist coming but would not dare move for fear of worse. A swollen eye and your back against the ground were little compared to what he deserved.

            “Wrong answer…” Charles said ominously, as he loomed over Caius like a dark tower. “You would lie to my face. I received one letter from you, ONE letter! And that’s not even touching the surface on the rest of your disappointments. What happened to the obedient boy I left behind?”

            Caius wiped his mouth and stood up, fearlessly. “You left him behind to find love. You send him to find something you don’t even have. I bet you thought it was a great f*****g idea.”

            “Watch your mouth, boy…”

            “No, I’m tired of your s**t! It’s easy to put all the blame on me but I should’ve never even been here in the first place. I don’t know what kind of cruel joke you were playing on me or why the f**k you even picked me. You send me to a house absent of Judicium’s f*****g everlasting peace in order. A house without respect or morality. A house so filled with f*****g hate that love was the last thing to ever cross my mind.”

            Caius was able to dodge the first two punches but the third took all the wind out of him. The fourth would’ve sent him crashing to the floor if the fifth didn’t send him back the opposite direction. The last blow was a kick to the stomach that sent him flying slamming against the wall. “Don’t presume to know my family after just a couple days! And don’t you ever f*****g insult them in front of my face.”

            Caius laughed exposing a bloody mouth. “For being famed as the most cautious man around you really don’t know a f*****g thing do you.”

            Charles didn’t seem the least bit moved by the comment. “I know the reason you left the manor was not to end the war but in hopes to sleep with my wife.”

            He knows! The anger Caius felt was quickly overcome by fear. “If you know…then why am I still alive?”

            “Because you’re young and naïve and my wife is beautiful. Of course she would seduce you to trick you into letting her outside the house. A shame for you it didn’t end as you had hoped it would.”

            Caius smirked as he began to stand up again. “It wasn’t a complete loss. I still got to put my c**k in those sweet lips of…ugh!!!”

            Charles kicked him back to where he sat and beat him senseless before he pressed the barrel of his revolver against his head. “I can let you live with talking badly about my family…but lie about my wife and I’ll put a bullet in your f*****g head.”

            He doesn’t know! This time it was a bloody laughter escaping Caius’s mouth. “This is truly hysterical. Feel free to kill me but before you do, please allow me to tell you the truth about your lovely wife.”

            Anger could be seen pumping in every raging vein on Charles’s face. “Speak if you must…but know your life hangs in the balance.”

            “Your wife was no saint. Her seductive ways went much further than just simply being impossible on the eyes. What started with just a look soon became much more, the details of which I shall spare you. At first I had believed myself to be special but…your wife has been leaving this manor every single time you’ve been away.”

            Charles’s body trembled with rage but the look in his eyes was one of hurt. “You lie.” He punched Caius. “You lie!” Again. “YOU LIE!” And again. Charles grabbed him by the collar and stood him up against the wall. “Why would you make something like that up?”

            Caius coughed up blood. “The truth…was all around me, but the true confirmation came directly from her lips. Right before she drugged me. Which brings me to my next question. Did you kill the Moon?”

            Charles let him go and stepped back, distraught. A tear running down his cheek. “Liana…didn’t…she didn’t…she loved me! She wouldn’t…she wouldn’t betray me…”

            Caius pulled out his own revolver and aimed it at Charles. “She loved you. Just not anymore. How long could you love someone who keeps you locked up in a prison? It only took a couple days for me to hate you. Before you trapped me in this God forsaken prison I wanted to be you!” Caius felt a tear of his own descend. “You were perfect. I questioned Judicium’s order many times but I never once questioned you. You were always so certain about everything. I strived to be everything you ever were. I even wanted everything you ever had…even your wife. Like you, love made me blind…but not anymore. I can’t forgive your sins, Charles. You have to pay for killing the Moon.”

            The shattered shadow of Charles looked up in bewilderment. “You think…I killed the Moon?”

            “Who else?”

            Rage possessed Charles again as he smacked the revolver from Caius’s hand and pressed him against the wall by the neck. “The Moon was like a father to me! Without him both you and I would be dead!”

            Caius struggled to breath. “Both…you and I?” Charles let him go, dropping him to the floor again. Caius gasped for air, grabbing his throat. “I never…even met the man… before. How could he be responsible for saving my life? And even if I had, so what if he did! It wouldn’t be the first time you killed someone you loved…ugh!”

            Another kick to the stomach took out Caius’s air. Then he felt his body be lifted up and thrown across the room. Caius didn’t even have the chance to attempt standing up again before Charles was on top of him beating him senseless. He stopped pulled Caius to his face. “You ungrateful piece of s**t! If swear…if you weren’t my son you’d be dead already!”

            None of the punches Charles had hit him hit half as hard as the words he just said. “What…did you say?”

            Charles looked at him almost human. “Twenty years ago…when the Crimson Treason happened, Judicium blamed me. Despite the fact I was left to die by the woman I loved at the time, it was a tragedy that would’ve never happened had I never insisted on peace. All the heads of Judicium wanted to see me dead. It was the Moon who spoke for me and my innocence. The Fuhrer agreed with the condition that I redeem myself and cut all ties with the Cruorians. That also meant killing my child, which my wife Rhyth, the Queen of Cruor, left behind.

“I had agreed, but when it came time to do the deed, my love for the child was too great. At that moment, I had told the Moon that I would gladly forfeit my own life for that of my child…even knowing all that would accomplish is dying beside it. The Moon would not comply though, so he took a Cruorian infant and replaced it with my own. I killed that infant in front of the Fuhrer and Judicium’s Council of Seven, while my real son was sent to Judicium’s Youth…”

            Overwhelmed didn’t even begin to describe how Caius was feeling at the moment. “Is that why you wanted me to become a part of your family?” Charles nodded. “All this time…and you couldn’t tell me this before? All this f*****g time…and then you have the audacity to get angry when your family f*****g hates you!”

            “I don’t blame you if you hate me, but you must understand why I did it. I couldn’t have you make ties with the Cruorians because of your blood. As long as they are an enemy of Cruor I refuse to see you beside them.”

            Now it was Caius’s turn to get angry. He head butted Charles in the nose and punched him in the face. “Ties with the Cruorians? That’s your f*****g excuse? I grew up believing I had nobody in this world!” Everything was suddenly bitterly making sense. “I had always feared my natural auburn hair was because of mixed blood. I escaped the possibility so many years…I never thought the truth would actually catch up with me.”

            “Some truths are best not known,” replied Charles, coldly.

            Caius glared into Charles’s shattered eyes. “Like Liana’s truth?” He saw his father clench his jaw. “That’s the thing about truths. You can’t run away from them once they’re in the light.”

            “You may be my son, but it doesn’t make Liana and my other children any less family to me.” He pointed a threatening finger at Caius. “Truth or not, you will not disrespect my wife.”

“She disrespected herself. And I imagine that’s just one of many truths. Liana was scared I had discovered her secret. If it wasn’t the Moon’s death, the possibilities are endless.”

            “She’s a True Believer…It’s why I locked her up inside the house in the first place. I couldn’t bare the thought of having to kill another wife, so I locked her up before she could no longer be saved.”

            Caius laughed mockingly. “Truly, you and your family have to be God’s biggest f*****g joke. Well have fun going against the Church. Sooner or later you’ll have to kill yet another wife and child. Try to do the job right this time.”

            Charles punched the smile off Caius. “Liana is not amongst the True Believers who stand against Judicium. If she was, my daughter wouldn’t be dead. As for Venir, he’s as much an atheist as me.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure. I have proof that he attends church.”

“What you saw was only his façade to fit in with his friends.”

            “You just told me his mother is a True Believer and you honestly believe that? You forget that unlike you she actually spends time with her kids. Not to mention the fact they are both missing.”

            “I know because one of his best friends is one of my Spiders. Venir is missing because the Cruorians captured him. Liana is missing because you let yourself be seduced,” he ended in spite.

            Caius raged at how easily Charles disregarded everything he said. It was humiliating and pathetic. No matter how hard he tried, Charles kept having the last laugh.

A long silenced followed before Caius asked, “So what now?”

            “Now, I’m still deciding whether or not I should kill you. Like I said before, if you weren’t my son you’d be dead already.”

            “What about the Moon? If you didn’t do it, who did?”

            “Maybe he just f*****g died. As old man do.”

            “You really believe that…?”

            “Seeing as I’m the only person who seems to have benefitted from it, yes.” Charles turned his back to Caius. “Now leave this home…you’re no longer welcome in it.”

            Caius didn’t bother to argue. He left the manor as quickly as he could, limping away. The world finally caught up with him at the bottom and he was still alive. What more could he ask for? It should’ve been enough, but it wasn’t. Somewhere along all the lies, the boy that grew up in Judicium’s Youth died. What was once a meaningless life meant to serve was no more.

            Caius was making his way towards the lower districts when Raziel ran into him. “When I saw you had left the infirmary I was expecting to find you in top condition. What the f**k happened to you?”

            Caius’s face was swollen, one eye was completely shut, his left cheekbone was ripped open, and his lip was busted. “Charles…”

            “In that case, you don’t look so bad. Where are you headed anyways?”

            “I’m going to propose.”

“Propose?”

“Yes…I plan to put an end to this war with the Cruorians. And when it ends…Judicium will know and respect the name Caius. I’m done being Charles’s shadow.”



© 2013 Cynical_Art


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O.O I cannot think of a word to described the shock I am in right now. BEST CHAPTER EVER! One, I'm glad Caius didn't die. Two, my mind exploded when Charles dropped that bomb on Caius. Three, I was wondering what his real hair color was, and now I know. XD But I will probably be in shock for a few days letting the fact that Charles is his father sink in. Dude, this was just awesome! I need the next chapter now.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

This was one of those chapters I was dying to get to from the moment I started writing the story. I'.. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

Don't worry, I will! XD

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Added on February 14, 2013
Last Updated on October 22, 2013
Tags: fantasy, Religion, science-fiction, family, death, betrayal, sex, war, conspiracies, characters, love, psychological, development, God, hierarchy, order, cynical, victorian

God's Requiem


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Cynical_Art
Cynical_Art

New York, NY



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I am 21 years old, I got my Bachelors in Science Degree when I was 19. My career profession is computer animation (I am an Environment Modeler, for those that follow the profession) but I love to writ.. more..

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