Chapter 29- Charles Veritas

Chapter 29- Charles Veritas

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 29

 

Charles Veritas

 

           

            Mathew’s body lay in the courtyard surrounding Lucifer’s Tomb. From the neck down he was skinned. His corpse had no eyes, lips, arms, or legs. The word sinner was carved on his forehead. Below him, written in blood, was Charles’s name with Lucifer’s cross beneath it. So he talked, Charles thought bitterly to himself.

            Grace was covering her nose with her hand. “Perhaps it’s best if we all return back to Eden’s Tower. You have the proof you wanted, Charles. Now more than ever you have reason to hide.”

            Charles shook his head. “No. Now I have no reason to hide.”

            Gottfried crouched near the corpse observing it. “They even cut off his c**k. I don’t blame him for talking. Everyone breaks…eventually.”

            Charles turned around and started heading back. “Not everyone.”

            Fury couldn’t even begin to describe how the Moon felt right now. To see a Judician break to something as petty as physical torture was pathetic. Mathew had nothing to live for but serving Judicium, yet he betrayed his country for a quicker end to his worthless life. My children in the Youth would make better Mentors.

            When news first came of his Mentor’s corpse and his name written below it, Charles could not believe it. Gottfried claimed to have seen it himself, but only his own eyes would convince Charles. Perhaps he had a naïve hope that this was all a lie conspired by traitors around him. But the truth was cruel. The Archangels now knew who he was and exactly where he was hiding. As of right now, his days were numbered and quickly dwindling.

            Walking back to Eden’s Tower, Charles made certain not to show a hint of fear. Was he scared? He wasn’t sure. For the first time in a lifetime though he felt vulnerable. The last time he felt this way was after the Crimson Treason, when Rhyth murdered his brother and left him to die. It seemed almost another life the days before then.

            Love had been so innocent. A mere duty that had evolved into something unexplainable. A feeling of forgetfulness. One that made the whole world seem smaller and as if everything revolved around you. For three years, it was pure bliss. Three long years Charles had believed he would end his life living like that.

            He still remembered the day Caius was born. Auburn hair, bright purple eyes, and an innocent smile capable of bringing even Charles to tears of joy. His birth had been Charles’s confirmation that this life was real and that it was where he belonged. Funny, I can remember the day Caius was born clear as day but I can’t even begin to recall Rhyth’s face. All Charles saw when he tried to recall Rhyth was her body on a cross as she screamed in anguish for the mercy of her daughter

            Charles had thought to have lost the concept of love after Rhyth shattered his entire world, but four years after the Crimson Treason he had found his second false love. Liana Evermore. In Liana’s case, their love did not sprout coincidently from duty. There was something about her that still allowed him see that there was hope and light in the world.

            What had started as a mere debate of religion became a search for answers. Together they searched for deeper meaning to the world. Both stubborn as they were never saw eye to eye though. But that was what kept their love alive. However, the wound Rhyth left him never closed. Haunted by her betrayal, a part of him never trusted Liana, which eventually led him to his discovery of her devotion as a True Believer.

Charles couldn’t bear the thought of having another love bathed in blood and consumed by hate, so he trapped Liana from the world, so she could belong to him and only him. However, over the years he grew more careless. More trusting as she seemingly became more obedient. To the point that once again he had become so naïve he could not see the truth right in front of him.

            Love was a poison. It was a drug so powerful that it made you believe you were alone in the world. It made you stronger but it also made you weaker. Maybe it was his own pathetic love for Caius that made him want his son to experience it as well. Because every time he saw those lifeless amethyst eyes, he knew he had failed as a father. That his son had lived a lonely miserable existence. Unfortunately what he offered was not love but hate. It seems whenever I do anything for love all I end up getting is stabbed in the heart.

            Once they reached Eden’s Tower, Charles had a conference in his room with Queen Grace and Just Kramer. “Now that I am exposed, we’ll need to take more direct action against Caelum Infinitum.”

            “And what would you suggest, Dark Charles?” asked Kramer Godsbane. “Another massacre like the sort you and Bright Edgar did in Lumina.”

            “If you recall, that was Edgar’s and Caius’s doing. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t desire a similar approach.”

            Grace warned, “The Fuhrer strictly said not to start a revolt.”

            Charles gazed out the window at the masses. “You know what the problem with this city is? They fear God more than the Fuhrer. And so far, if I were one of them, I’d be of similar mind. Their Governor is a spineless s**t. Their streets are guarded by Black Coats most of which are True Believers. More people are afraid to say they are Loyalist than to say they are True Believers. There are crimes being committed on a daily basis with seemingly no punishment. Not to mention the uproars we’ve had about the quarantine from those that want to leave the city, waiting endlessly for Judicium to bring justice to some rebel Queen who no one knows is even here. If we hope to win this city back we must show them why Judicium owns the world!”

            “The question remains,” said Kramer. “What do you suggest we do about it? The plan was for you and Caius to expose and eradicate Caelum Infinitum, but you’re making sluggish progress. And now the hunted seem to be hunting the hunters.”

            “We know where it is exactly they hide. We only need expose them.”

            “We can’t enter Yggdrasil, you know that. Only certain clergyman and those of royal blood or divine right are allowed inside. Anyone else needs to be proclaimed a holy individual by majority vote within the College of Cardinals. Entering without meeting any of these requirements is punishable by crucifixion. And the Fuhrer clearly stated we are not to spill blood on holy grounds. I know the damnation of your soul for all eternity does not frighten a nonbeliever like yourself, but this is still a nation serving under God’s influence.”

            Charles stepped away from the window. “Then if we cannot go inside we must make them come outside.”

            “We could just arrest Alistair Loucelles,” said Grace. “Without him around, his order and claim on the city will collapse. People will be proud to call themselves Loyalist again. Once Eden belongs to us…”

            “The True Believers will strike somewhere else. They are everywhere. Getting rid of one Archangel still leaves six more and the Son of God.”

            “So we rely on the Shadow in Light? You put too much faith on Caius Ashfall,” she argued, bitterly.

            “I would place my faith on the boy as well,” defended Kramer. “But that does not mean we must remain still either.”

            There was a loud knock on the door. They all looked at one another questioningly, each bewildered. Charles went to open the door. The fat Governor Milliardo stood white as a ghost, shivering with a trembling hand holding a letter. “What’s this?” asked Charles.

            Milliardo reached his hand out, passing the letter. “A dove…j-just brought it in. I-It was…addressed t-to you, D-dark Charles.”

            Charles took the letter. The seal had Lucifer’s cross imprinted on it. He turned it around. As Charles read whom it was from he felt a cold shiver down his spine. He would go as far as sending me a personal letter. The arrogant f**k!

            Grace stepped behind him. “Who sent the letter?”

            Charles swallowed the slight sense of fear he had. “It says it’s from…Lucifer.”

            “Lucifer?” blurted Kramer. “The Archangel? What madness is this?!”

            “Open it,” said Grace. “If this is the same guy who killed Mathew, it could very well be Lucifer. True Believers don’t take upon holy names for the sake of amusement. If he wrote his name on the card it’s because he believes himself to be the very Archangel.”

            “Then let us see what this Angel has to say,” said Charles as he opened the card.

 

Greetings Charles,

 

            It is a pleasure to finally clash with the mortal so many Angels fear. They say your shadow spreads like the night sky. Mary has spoken highly of you. Judas fears you. And even Gabriel envies you. Quite an achievement for a mere mortal. Alas, I must put an end to your sinful ways.

The College of Cardinals has deemed you the Voice of the Sinners. Thus, I have ordained a personal invitation for you to come into Yggdrasil. I eagerly await your arrival. As does your son. Venir.

 

The Archangel of Wrath,

Lucifer

 

            Charles crumbled the letter in his massive hand and stormed right through the Governor. “Where are you going, Charles? What did the letter say?” shouted Grace. Charles ignored her as he descended the stairs, his sword on one hand and gun in the other. Grace and Kramer ran after him. You taint my country, disrupt its order, kill my men, take my son, and dare challenge me! You will regret ever inviting me into your home, Angel.

            Charles had clashed with many different types of people in the past. Proud. Arrogant. Conniving. Shameless. Cruel. But none more so than this anonymous self-proclaimed Archangel. This wasn’t just an insult and provocation. It was the epitome of sheer disrespect and disregard for Judicium’s order. This fool of a man, whoever he was, had not only tested and broken all the boundaries placed by righteous men in the world, but announced himself proudly as if above it all.

            The stocky Kramer sped up and stood in Charles’s way. “What did the letter say, Charles? Speak now or I’ll have my Black Coats arrest you! I won’t risk you jeopardizing anything and starting a war we don’t want.”

            Charles aimed his gun directly at Kramer’s head. “They have my son, Kramer. They have Venir. I’m taking him back!”

            “You don’t know that,” argued Kramer. “So what if a letter said it. Anyone that knows your son disappeared during the Week of Lament could’ve told you that. It’s been two years, your son could be…your son could be dead for all we know.”

            Charles slapped Kramer to the floor with the side of his gun. The instant Kramer hit the floor six Black Coats were aiming their bayonets directly at Charles. Queen Grace stepped to stand in the way. “Lower your guns!”

            “No!” commanded Kramer, as he got back on his feet. “Charles, I know how you feel, but this is bigger than just you and your family. If you storm into Yggdrasil, you wouldn’t make it in ten feet.”

            Charles was adamant. “They are clergymen. They cannot spill blood in holy grounds. I can. I would gladly forfeit my life for order and peace and the safety of my son!”

            “The holy law dictates that the Church may pass judgment on all sinners, even in holy grounds. The moment you enter that tree, you will be branded a sinner and enemy of the Church.”

            “No,” corrected Charles. “The College of Cardinals have given me right to enter inside.”

            “And you’ll gladly walk into a trap. Just like the Prophet. We all saw how that ended up. You’re smarter than this, Charles.”

            “The Son of God and all his Archangels will be dead before I let them put me on a cross.”

            “That’s your anger speaking.” Kramer pulled out his own gun. “I won’t let you do it Charles.”

            Charles aimed back. “Stop me.”

            “I have always known you to be a ruthless and merciless man, I’ve never liked your methods or what you stand for. If it were for me you would’ve never been seated in the Council of Seven. But at least you always fought for your country. Never once did I question your loyalty. Never once did I think you would put your own desires before that of our Glory! Don’t do this, Charles. You’re better than this.”

            Charles struggled to lower his gun, still shaking violently. “The first woman I married lost us this very city. Because of her…I had to murder my own child. The second woman I married was as much a traitor and w***e even. Her whereabouts unknown…but I can take a couple guesses. My daughter…murdered for…for what I can only blame myself for…” Tears streaked down the Moon’s cheeks. “She was innocent, Kramer! Too fragile to even harm a fly.” Charles took a deep breath. “And my son…for the last two years I haven’t even heard his name be called. Imagine that. Knowing your child is alive somewhere, in the hands of your enemies, God knows what they’ve done to him. For two years I’ve heard nothing,” he sheathed his sword and raised the crumpled letter, “until this letter. He’s all I have left, Kramer. How can you expect me to just stand here?!”

            Kramer lowered his gun. “Because you know that this won’t save your son. Even if you storm in there and they have him, they’ll just use him as leverage against you. You won’t even get to hold him in your arms.”

            Charles pointed his sword towards the ceiling. “God himself would not be able to stop me.”

            “But Caelum Infinitum can…”

            There was a long awkward silence. Not a word was spoken, but all Charles heard was words. Where do your loyalties lie? Is your family worth an entire nation? How much do you love your son? Are you afraid? With his mind in shambles, Charles stood a shadow of his former self, swimming in a vast ocean of darkness, alone in the world. Love conquers all…that’s what you said Liana. But that wouldn’t be the first lie, would it.

            Charles felt his arm drop to his side. “All hail…Judicium…”

            A smile crossed Kramer’s lips. As he was about to approach Charles, a Black Coat came running in out of breath. Kramer turned to him. “What’s the urgency?”

            “There’s…a girl,” the Captain huffed. “She said…she’s looking for…Charles Veritas.”

            Kramer, Grace, and Charles all looked at each other. “You’re quite famous today, Dark Charles,” said Grace. “It seems now you are as exposed as Caius, in the light.”

            They all descended the long steps of the Tower of Eden. As soon as they stepped outside they quickly saw ten Black Coats aiming their bayonets at a girl being held by two other Black Coats. She was slender with big blue eyes and short cropped brown hair.

            “Speak your business,” demanded Just Kramer.

            “I’m here to speak with Charles Veritas,” she answered. Her eyes wandered to Charles’s scar. “I believe you are the man.”

            Charles stood forward, still not quite himself. “I stand the man…what do you want from me?”

            “I need to speak with you in private.”

            “Sorry to disappoint you, but you don’t have that privilege,” informed Queen Grace. “State your name and business.”

            The girl looked directly into Charles’s melted eyes. “My name is Lagrima. Before I ran away, I was a nun servicing within Yggdrasil. Inside, I was considered an Angel…and served directly under an Archangel. I know the man who hunts you, Charles. For he hunts me too.”

            Charles felt his heart quickly hardened. “Release her!”

            “Are you mad?” asked Grace. “She just said she was an Angel! That means she’s a True Believer under Caelum Infinitum.”

            “And yet she’s here, in front of Eden’s Tower, openly confessing where her previous loyalties lied. I would hear her out.”

            “As would I,” agreed Kramer. “But not where she can post a threat. She can have her private audience, behind bars deep within the dungeons of Eden’s Tower.”

            “I care not where you place me,” said Lagrima. “As long as I am safe.”

            They moved her to a descent cell with both a bed and a privy. The guards stepped outside while Charles spoke with the prisoner. Although alone, bars remained between the two.

Inside, Charles got a closer look at the girl. From the hollowness in her cheeks he could tell she had not been eating well the last couple days. The same went for sleep, her eyes bloodshot and restless. If her story was false and she was just a spy or another piece of Lucifer’s plan, at least she made a committed effort to play the part.

“You risk a great deal by coming to our doorstep and confessing your traitorous ways,” said Charles. “So what is it you want to tell me?”

            The girl relished in the food given to her, taking a large bite of bread and gulp of water. “Only everything I know.”

            “Very well. First start with how you came to runaway and for what reason. It’s not often you see True Believers turn their back on the Church. Convince me and I may yet believe whatever it is you have to say about the Archangels.”

            The girl shifted awkwardly on the bed, noticeably uncomfortable compared to her previous eagerness. “I was one of the Children of Yggdrasil. Orphans taken in by the Church at a very young age. When I was taken, I was not alone though. I was with my brother. We were raised to live, preach, and serve the word of the Holy Grimoire. He became a priest and I a nun. We never had any complaints. The Church gave us all we ever needed. Things started to change when our Messiah arrived a couple years ago. You know him as the Son of God.”

            “So he is there,” muttered Charles to himself.

            “The moment I laid eyes on him, I knew he was our savior. Many had doubted him, and there were those who called him heretic within Yggdrasil, but all doubts were laid to rest shortly after he arrived. Once Cardinal Anima was elected Prophet, the inner conflict resided and things were as they once were.”

            “Prophet Anima? How could a new Prophet have been elected when the previous one was alive until just recently?”

            “Prophet Adamus was relinquished of his title once he was declared a nonbeliever by the College of Cardinals. The same reason for which he was crucified when summoned to Yggdrasil.”

            Charles was appalled. “And you see no problem with this? This is blatant corruption.”

            “Prophet Anima brought the Church to its former glory. Adamus was the Fuhrer’s pet. It was for the better. Every True Believer knows that.”

            “What opened your eyes then?”

            “Nothing,” she said, bluntly. “I still stand a True Believer. My reason for running is an entirely personal matter.”

            Charles was starting to lose his patience with the level of audacity every True Believer seemed to amount. “A personal matter I would hear.”

            “Prophet Anima is a kind and loving leader. He forgives and guides all he can on the path of God. The same goes for our Messiah. Alas, the same cannot be said of Lucifer. The Archangel of Wrath passes judgment upon all who sin. Whether they be a nonbeliever or True Believer. Lucifer killed my brother…and he means to kill me too. That is why I fled.”

            “Why? What did you and your brother do?”

            “As I said, it’s a personal matter. Just know that we sinned.”

            Charles snapped, “Perhaps I should clarify the situation you’re in. The Church wants you dead and as of right now you stand a True Believer and a traitor. While it pains me to compare myself to him, I am not so different from Lucifer when it comes on passing judgment on those who stand against Judicium.”

            “Knowing the contents of my sin will not help you get what you want. Hearing what I have to say just may.”

            Charles had to swallow his rage once more. “Pray it does. So as Lucifer’s Angel, I imagine you know his face and name.”

            Lagrima shook her head. “You are mistaken. I was not Lucifer’s Angel, but Uriel’s.”

            “Uriel? You mean the Archangel of Sloth?”

            “The very same.”

            “So there are two Archangels within Yggdrasil as well as the heretic.” This girl is worth more than we could’ve ever hoped for, assuming she’s telling the truth. “Are all the Archangels within the city? How many of their faces do you know?”

            “I only know of the two,” she answered. “As Angels, we only follow one Archangel. As True Believers, we only walk on whatever path God has set upon us. So we never ask questions. In Lucifer’s case, he is often present within Yggdrasil and beside our Messiah, so all of Uriel’s Angels know his face.”

            “You’re avoiding the more important question. Who are they?”

            “Lucifer goes by the name of Dante Daimios. The name will likely sound unfamiliar to you. Although he stands now a Cardinal, he came with our Messiah, and all but his name remains shrouded a mystery. However, whatever his origins, he should not be taken lightly. He is a skilled assassin, and far from old, as you might expect of a Cardinal. He fears no one and stands above you as an angel would a mortal.”

            “So I’ve noticed,” commented Charles, spitefully. “And what of this Uriel?”

            Lagrima looked away. “I still hold Uriel to high regard and would not betray him. I…apologize.”

            “Listen girl, one way or another, you will speak his name. Now whether you want to this the easy way or the hard way, the choice is yours.” She remained a shell. Charles let out a deep sigh of frustration. “Very well, have it your way for now. It’s not as if it’s difficult to decipher who stands the man.” She looked up with fear in her eyes. “It’s Prophet Anima,” he said, bluntly. “He’s the only one with enough power to carry such a title, and you seem to hold him to high esteem. Fortunate for you, my current concern is not with him. I would have the life of the man who means to see us both to our deaths first.”

            “Thank you…”

            “Don’t thank me,” he corrected. “It’s not for your sake. And the rest of Caelum Infinitum will fall in due time. I just have one more question for now.”

            “Ask anything and I will answer to the best of my abilities.”

            “Before you left, was a boy of about sixteen, hair color and eyes like mine, taken to Yggdrasil?”

            She dwelled on it for a second before shaking her head. “Not that I was aware of. Is this boy your son?”

            Charles nodded glumly. “Lucifer sent me a letter inviting me to Yggdrasil and claiming he had him. I guess I should be relieved he was probably bluffing.”

            “I wouldn’t be so sure,” said Lagrima. “Before I left, Lucifer had no idea who had been killing the True Believers in the city. I only found out myself because I saw the corpse with your name below it and recalled hearing your name numerous times in mention before. I knew if anyone could free me from Lucifer’s wrath that it would be you. But Lucifer is a dangerous man and would go through all lengths to pass his judgment. If he says he has your son, I would believe him. Angels don’t lie.”

            Charles laughed inside. “I assure you, Angels lie. But perhaps I’ll believe this one.” Charles turned to leave. “On future visits, be truthful, and I shall see us both free of Lucifer and you from harm.”



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
What are your thoughts on Charles as he is being conflicted between his love for his family and his loyalty to Judicium? What are your thoughts on Lagrima? Any other comments of things going through your head that you just want to get off your chest? XD

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Charles surprised me in this chapter. For starters, I was surprised that he was even considering he was scared. Then I was just shocked to see he started crying in front of Kramer. But I'm also a liitle glad that he still has those feelings for Venir. It means is is still a small bit human. XD I also think this cleared up a lot of things that wasn't clearly stated in the first part of the book, such as Charles side to the Crismon Treaty/Treason. And from what I got from that, I still think he likes Caius. Might not love him like a son, but he would still help him out if need be. Great chapter, like always, and can't wait to read more! :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

This was definitely a very Charles-centric chapter. I wanted to delve into his mindset and change in.. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

Well, Charles has moved up in my favorite character status, although, he has always been in the top .. read more

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Added on March 25, 2013
Last Updated on March 25, 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



About
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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