Chapter 32- Mhia Atlas

Chapter 32- Mhia Atlas

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 32

 

Mhia Atlas

 

           

            Mhia’s thumb bled as she pressed it against the sharp edge of her jian. There was a hint of pain as the blade split open her tender skin. Calmly, she watched as the blood slowly dripped down her finger. It was startling how fragile people were. God’s greatest creation, the world’s supreme rulers, nothing but a sack of flesh and blood easily put to an end with the simple swing of a sword. Mhia had watched her people die, her friends die, her family die, all one after another while she continued to live on. Forever escaping the solace of death.

            Her hand went to her missing left eye under her hair. In all my years, this is the only price God has seen fit for me to me pay. This, and the weight of the entire world on my shoulders.

            Mhia was never meant to be Queen. The rightful Queens of Cruor were her mother and sister, who were both murdered by Charles Veritas. From them, the crown had passed down to her brother, who was murdered by the Shadow in the Light. Now the heavy golden burden landed upon her head. But her place was not ordering people to their deaths from a throne. Her place was with a sword in her hand, fighting those who had stripped everything she loved from her.

            Mhia gazed upon Gabriel’s lectern and placed her hand on the Holy Grimoire he carried. Why have you placed me on this path, God? Have I not suffered enough? I cannot bear to watch any more of my people die while I sit back and do nothing. Please, release from these chains and let me fight.

            “You’ve been visiting the lectern frequently, your Highness,” said Prophet Anima, from behind.

            Mhia turned to face the old man. The Prophet illuminated the room in his white robes and hat bathed in gold and jewelry. His diamond eyes ever so observant. “This Queen can do nothing but pray, so I would be heard at the very least.”

            “I sense lingering trouble in your eyes. Perhaps it would rest the soul to place them upon willing ears.”

            Mhia shook her head. “It is a personal matter. I would not trouble your Holiness.”

            As she attempted to walk passed him, the adamant Prophet grabbed her arm. “I would trouble myself.” He turned his head to face her. “I will not have you perform another reckless attempt to quench your own heart as you did in Lumina.”

            Mhia yanked her arm away. “Rest your fears. I’ve learned my lesson already. My only concern is to what has become of my people who now only live to be worked to death by Judicium. As their Queen you must imagine how difficult it is for me to just sit and wait while they pray for my return.”

            “Patience is a virtue, your Highness.”

            “I imagine it is, for the Archangel of Sloth.”

            “I merely advise caution above all else. Do not forget, all you have, all you will have, is because we the Church have ordained it.”

            Mhia hated constantly being thrown how grateful she should be to her face. “You don’t need to remind me. I’ve done nothing but sit and do nothing in Yggdrasil since I arrived at your command, haven’t I. Besides, even if I were to attempt some reckless attempt and fall to an unfortunate fate, Calam will just take my place and rule as King as my brother before me did.”

            “The boy lacks more caution than even you. And that says a lot.”

            “Then you can rest your hopes on my cousin, Lana. She’s already your devoted disciple.”

            Anima did not appreciate the carefree tone. “I would have you as Queen and none other. Another Cruorian ruler will not fall on my watch. In that, you have my word as a servant and Archangel of God.” Your word, Mhia laughed to herself. Ezra gave me his word on many things as well, and look how that turned out.

Mhia smiled. “I am grateful. It lightens the heart to know God’s vessels watch over me. Now remove yourself from any concern on my behalf. I won’t be going anywhere that isn’t within Yggdrasil.”

            Somehow that seemed to help relax his stone gaze. “That is good to know.” As Mhia attempted to leave again he seized her once more. “However, that is not the reason I came to seek you out.”

            Mhia turned around irritated yet showing little signs. “How may I help his Holiness?”

            “Have you considered any of the marriages we offered you?”

            A topic Mhia had long avoided and wished to continue to avoid. “I…I’m still assessing each choice carefully. As you said, patience is a virtue.”

            Anima glared at her with his stripping gaze. “Take your time…but be reasonable. I would have a King lead your people when the time is right.”

            Mhia feigned a smile. “Once again, you don’t need to worry. After all, someone must lead. And seeing as I’m neither fit nor have the desire to, the burden must rest on a King.”

            One of the many things Mhia was struggling to get used to within the company of the Church was their sexist moral values. In Cruor, women and men’s only significant distinguish was between their legs. The amount of respect a Queen got was equivalent to that of a King. While it was more common for men to fight, women could take up arms just as easily. Women could f**k as many men as they pleased without being condescended. In almost every aspect both women and men were considered to have the same potential. Even Judician society had made most of the reforms that allowed women to stand almost as a man. But not the Church.

            As the Holy Grimoire would imply, women were placed on the world to aid men. A tender, gentle, reasonable soul to tame the beast and ambitions of men. It was for men to rule and dictate the order of the world. In the Holy Grimoire, only one woman ever rose so high as to stand amongst the leaders of God’s army. Mary the Archangel of Lust. Famed for her ability to bring out the weakness in men with her charms.

The women of Cruor were said to be descendants of Mary, and thus their sexual nature. But in that aspect Mhia was as unlike to the women of Cruor as she was to the image of women within the Holy Grimoire. Mhia was possibly the first royalty to reach the mature age of eighteen and still manage to be a virgin. A trait soon to be plucked from her once she chose her husband.

            Prophet Anima had given her three choices. The first was Esmere Septem. After the death of Ezra, his daughter’s marriage was dissolved and with it his hopes of his family line becoming royalty. No longer bearing a wife or any sons, his only hope of joining with the royal family was to offer himself. Mhia however did not sympathize with his desires nor did she desire to marry a man who saw her grow up since she was a babe.

             The second option was a man that once upon a time held a place in Mhia’s heart. Sharing the same starbirth and considered by them both to be each other’s halves, Saix Atlas should’ve been the easy choice. But times had changed and they no longer stood close as they once were.

During and after the Week of Lament, Mhia began to see a side of Saix that was foreign to her. Or rather, a side she never chose to see. Saix was a methodical sadist. Although Cruorians were known to put their prisoner’s in their rightful place, Mhia being guilty of doing the same to Venir, Saix took a peculiar satisfaction. He enjoyed holding people’s lives in his hands and toying with them as he broke them down. Perhaps it was Mhia’s clouded judgment after seeing him behead a little girl so easily, or unexplainable jealousy over every time he raped their Judician prisoner, Erica. But the warmth she once felt near his presence was gone. Now the only thing she felt was fear of what he may do to her if he ever held any form of power over her.

            Her last option was a man she’d never met before. A Judician by the name of Maximillian Osgia. Maximillian was a Voice of Judicium serving under Judicium’s Speaker, Jeffry Bloodvein. According to the Prophet, Maximillian held authority within Caelum Infinitum to rival the Archangels. Aside from the fact that a large portion of Caelum Infinitum answered to him though, Mhia knew little of the man. The fact that the man was Judician alone however was enough to turn her from any thoughts of matrimony.

            The instant Mhia stepped outside of the lectern room, her bodyguard resumed position by her side. Her bodyguard went by the name of Callatz Markibia and was an Illumian under the service of the Holy Army. The Church’s Holy Army was abolished during the last quarter of the previous Fuhrer’s reign, only recently being put back together by Cardinal Daimios. Callatz didn’t make much for conversation, and his vibrant eyes were merciless, but in the time Mhia had known him his devotion was unquestioned. Wherever she went, he went. Before she ate, he tasted it. When she bathed, he guarded right outside. Unfortunately he obeyed the Church, not her, and had become an unwelcome sight whenever he assumed his position beside her.

            Mhia decided to go to the royal bath found in one of the higher branches of Yggdrasil to lose herself of her tail. Upon entering she quickly saw that she would not have the luxury of privacy she had hoped.

Her cousin Lana Novem rose from the water glistening brilliantly. Between the two royal daughters there was no question which of the two was the more beautiful one. Lana’s eyes shone as bright as her hair, her face still an innocence seemingly untainted by the harshness of war. Her body, despite being three years younger than Mhia, was far more voluptuous and enticing. Yet for all her physical beauty, Mhia did not have an ounce of jealousy for the girl.

            “I apologize,” said Lana. “I did not know you would be using the bath at this time.”

            “I did not intend to until just recently,” informed Mhia as she undressed herself.

            Mhia was disappointed to see Lana dive her body back beneath the water. “Then perhaps we could share the water and gossip. Me never did have the privilege of living to the standard of our royal heritage.”

            Gossip, something Mhia cared little for. “I’m afraid I don’t know much about the on goings of anyone but my own.”

            Lana giggled. “Without a doubt yours are the most interesting. I heard you were deciding between suitors.”

“Where did you hear that?”

“Lexia. She told me her father might marry you since she could no longer marry your brother. God bless his soul.”

            Mhia leaned back and let the water rise to her neck. “Did she sound disappointed?”

            “Yes,” answered Lana, nonchalantly. “She still loves and misses Ezra.”

            “She hardly knew him,” blurted Mhia.

            “Ezra was a King. As his subject it’s only natural to already love and admire him. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t born in our family line so I could marry a King of Cruor.”

            “If I could, I’d gladly make you Queen so you could make your own King.”

            Lana shook her head. “Making a King isn’t as great as marrying one. Besides, I have no place ruling a kingdom.” Lana drifted beside Mhia. “You in the other hand were meant for a crown. So tell me, who are your other suitors aside from Esmere Septem?”

            Mhia avoided the subject. “Men as undesirable.”

            Lana pouted. “Surely there must be at least one who is handsome and gallant.”

            Mhia’s thoughts quickly went to Saix and his dark blood red hair and ruby eyes. She dipped her head underwater to cloud her mind. When she came back up Lana was still waiting anxiously for her reply. “None caught my eye,” answered Mhia, dismissively.

            “Well that hardly means anything coming from you. Have you even enjoyed the embrace of a man yet?”

            Mhia blushed. “That’s an awfully personal question.”

            Lana laughed. “God, you sound like a Judician woman. So are the rumors true, that you’ve never felt the touch of a man?”

            Mhia avoided eye contact, completely flustered. “I-I’ve never had the time.”

            Lana’s jaw dropped feigning shock and disbelief. “How is that possible? Even I had my share of partners inside Elysium. What about Saix Atlas? You can’t possibly tell me the two of you never did anything together with all the time you spent.”

            “Saix has always had eyes for Gia Februa,” replied Mhia, a hint of anger in her voice.

            “What about Serevex Julius? All of Cruor knew how much he loved you.”

            The thought of her missing friend send a knife through her heart. “I…Serevex was a dear friend to me. Nothing more…”

            Lana had at least enough consideration to know she went somewhere she shouldn’t have. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to bring back dark memories.” She waited all of five seconds before continuing where she left off. “So nobody?”

            Mhia shook her head. “As I said, I’ve never had the time. While I yet lived in Cruor, I ran. In Elysium, I fought. And here, even the men with their testicles still intact have sworn a vow to stay as far away from women as possible,” mocked Mhia. Secretly, she was more than grateful for the anti-sexual environment. The art of lovemaking had forever been cursed with the memory of watching her mother and sister get raped by wave after wave of men. Since little, it was something that she knew she could never grow to love.

            Lana in other hand was appalled at Mhia’s inexperience and lack of interest. “This can’t be, your Highness. You can’t get married without having ever been with a man! How can you ever hope to perform in the bedding ceremony the night of the wedding without any prior experience? We have to find someone for you to practice with!”

            Mhia almost lost her remaining eye from the shock of the outrageous suggestion. “You’re out of your mind! This is a sacred ground. Fornication here is a sin. And you know we aren’t allowed to leave Yggdrasil.”

            “It is not a sin,” argued Lana. “That is an Illumian custom that has shrouded its way all around the Holy Grimoire. Within the holy book itself there are no laws dictating places forbidden for man and woman to embrace one another. I also won’t allow you to fall prey to the Illumian cruelty of being forced to hold on to one’s virginity until marriage. That’s preposterous!”

            Mhia decided to put an end to the conversation before Lana started to actually formulate plans. “I’m fine with being a virgin until my wedding day. I don’t care if I have no practice. I’m only marrying because it’s my duty to my people. I care little about the pleasures and wonders of sharing my life alongside another. To me all that matters is reviving Cruor and returning the lives all my people deserve.”

            Lana frowned. “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”

            “Look at me. I’m not gentle and innocent like you. I’ve seen and experienced too much to have appreciation for the little things in life. I don’t even have two eyes to fully gaze upon my future husband and King anymore. Perhaps in a different life, a normal life, I could have had the same desires and curiosities as you. But this war we were born into never gave me that chance. My heart only has room for revenge and hopes and dreams that Cruor may one day rise again.”

            The disappointment was clear in her cousin’s face, but at least she didn’t argue. “I guess the mind of a Queen is a lot more complex than I could’ve ever imagined. I apologize if I made you feel uncomfortable.”

            Mhia smiled. “It’s okay. I know you’ve also been stripped of a normal life. I can’t blame you for wanting even a pale imitation of what true royalty should live like. I’m the one that should apologize for being unable to offer you the comfort and familiarity one should have from their family.”

            “Don’t worry,” she said. “When you revive Cruor we’ll both have normal lives.”

            Although irritating at times, Lana had a good heart. One that Mhia was grateful for whenever the world seemed to be filled with nothing but pain and misery. And in a tree filled with devoted followers, she made decent company at the very least. God knows far better than Calam. Her eleven year-old little brother was even more impulsive than her. Whenever they clashed it was always certain conflict, reminiscent of her fights with Ezra. At the very least it served to open her eye to how absolutely foolish she looked back then. Now she knew that the heart was merely God’s curse to set you upon the wrong path.

            Mhia found the rest of her day about as uneventful as expected until Prophet Anima sought her out once more. The clergyman that delivered the Prophet’s summons directed her towards the Heart of Yggdrasil. Also known as the Prophet’s throne room. It was located in the upper most point of Yggdrasil, at the origin of its most prominent branches arching over the city.

            Since her arrival at Eden, the Heart of Yggdrasil had served more throne room to the Messiah than it did the Prophet. Once stationed, the Son of God had yet to leave the room as far as Mhia was concerned. The only ones allowed inside the Archangels, Cardinals, and herself on occasions. Each time she visited she was rewarded with real news of the outside world and a new task ordained by the Messiah. Her last visit resulted in news of her soon to be marriage. Mhia prayed this one would hold better promises.

            As she came before the wooden gate to the Heart of Yggdrasil the doors opened and out came Cardinal Daimios. As he crossed by her, he gave her a silver glare that sent a shiver down her spine. She knew little of the Archangel of Wrath aside from the fact that he often stood beside the Son of God and passed judgment on all sinners. She had recently heard of a victim and escapee marked by his death warrant for involvement in incest. The stories of how he flayed the brother forever engraved in her mind. It was enough for one glance from him to make you remember all the sins you ever committed in your life.

            After Daimios passed her, she continued on her way towards the Heart of Yggdrasil and entered the throne room. At the end was a huge carved throne standing twenty feet higher than the rest of the ground to watch down from above. To both its sides stood three pedestals with a seventh directly in front. Lined against the walls left and right were the audience seats of the College of Cardinals.

            Mhia bowed before the Messiah and Prophet Anima. Anima stood sternly in his pedestal in front of the throne. High behind him was the Messiah that would once again return the world to its rightful state beneath God’s light. The Son of God remained cloaked in golden and white silks and an expressionless white mask, as he often did.

            “What would our Savior have of me?” asked Mhia, still upon one knee.

            “You may rise,” said Anima. “We call upon you to ease your mind with news of the outside world.”

            “Good news, I pray.”

            “That remains to be seen,” the ominous voice of Jeshua announced. “A lot has occurred in these past days, yet none of it has bared fruit. There are friends and enemies lost in the shadow. Enemies that appear in the light yet remain invulnerable. Plots and schemes laid out but yet to be put to work. Each day we are a step closer to righteousness yet not without cost. The heavens have warned me the coming days will decide the turn of this invisible war, yet for better or worse, they did not specify.”

            The Son of God had a talent for saying a lot without actually saying anything. It was frustrating but Mhia knew better than to overstep her authority with curious questions. Luckily Anima caught note of her confusion and decided to elaborate. “Eden may soon ignite into war. With the quarantine, the people grow more restless by the day and the Fuhrer more anxious to bring an end to Caelum Infinitum. All the while we grow more desperate to see us free of this prison to pass proper judgment. However not all is as grim as it seems. Outside the white ring, all goes according to plan. We have stirred the people of the world for when the time comes. We have also secured methods to see your people freed at the appointed time.”

            Mhia felt a heavy chain released from her heart. “Thank God!”

            “Save your thanks until after the fact. Your people will not be free if we are to fall here in Eden.”

            “How would we fall? Even if the Fuhrer kills Raphael and reclaims the city, they cannot hunt us inside of Yggdrasil. Not even the Fuhrer would be so bold as to stain sacred grounds with blood.”

            “Perhaps not the Fuhrer, yet Charles is a different matter entirely.”

            Mhia’s blood rose at the mention of his name. “He’s in the city?!”

            “And hunting us as we speak. We fear he may already know of our presence within Yggdrasil, although I imagine he always suspected as much. The true issue at hand is his nonreligious ways. Charles serves Judicium with dreams of one day eradicating the Church entirely. We fear that he may be bold enough to erupt a war between the Church and Judicium even at the cost of his own life.”

            “Let him! I’ll have his life when he dares!”

            “You have no more right to do so than he does!” shouted Anima. “Only those who have sworn an oath of servitude within the Church may pass judgment on sinners within sacred grounds. You remain a Queen of Cruor, and if you are to help reopen the world’s eyes to God’s way I will not have you condemn your soul.”

            “So what, we just wait here and watch him do as he pleases?”

            “Lucifer aims for his head as Charles does for ours. However Charles remains safely within the Tower of Eden.”

            “What of Raphael? He controls this city with his Azure Kingdom, does he not? Why doesn’t he bring down the tower and the rest of the Loyalist that hide within it so we may truly call the city our own.”

            “Take them down and claim the city and we incite whatever wrath the Fuhrer has in store for us next. Perhaps your mother never told you, but when Eden was last fully claimed by your people, the Fuhrer brought this city to ruins. It is true that your mother did not have the luxury of refuge within Yggdrasil back then, yet surviving while trapped in here will not win us this war.”

            “Exactly why we must fight. Sooner or later someone will have to strike first. Better us than them.”

            “I will not have needless bloodshed,” announced Jeshua, his voice loud yet calm. “The people of this city have suffered enough. When the heavens first spoke to me I saw a vision. I will stay true to that vision and see less blood spilled for the same end result. Our plans may have been hindered but they have not been thwarted. There doesn’t need to be a war. We only need to rid ourselves of the devils sent to corrupt this world.”

            “And what if we fail?” asked Mhia. “What if the faith we have placed in Gabriel and Judas falls short and we do not leave this city. What if Charles kills Raphael and Lucifer and reclaims the city. Once we’re stuck inside Yggdrasil with no hope of leaving with our heads I’m sure the Fuhrer will find a way to kill us inside. Once the Fuhrer has your head the True Believers will lose faith. My people will share the same loss once they see what remains of the royal family dead as well. We cannot stand idle until a miracle shines on us!”

            “We cannot act rash for as long as the white ring remains a threat,” argued Anima. “The Fuhrer only stays his hand to prevent a war just like us. If we start this now, we will fall where we stand. Let us continue to place our faith in Gabriel and Judas while Lucifer rids us of our current threat. Once we rid ourselves of both the white ring and Charles, the world we seek will be but a step away.”

            Mhia looked up to Jeshua. “Do you truly believe the Fuhrer will stop once you take away the world from him? A world he and his father won on blood and fear.”

            “I believe the Fuhrer, like us, desires peace and order above all else,” he answered.

            “That’s where you’re wrong,” said Mhia. “I don’t desire peace and order. Only to see my country reborn and an end to those who reduced it to ash.”

            Anima snapped, “I thought you fought for God.”

            “I do. I am the sword that will strike his enemies down. So they may never raise hand against him again.”

            “I promised you the rebirth of your kingdom,” reminded the Son of God. “Not a war to switch one tyrant for another.”

            “You can have the world for all I care,” said Mhia. “As long as my people have a home to call their own and justice is served upon those who destroyed it, the rest does not concern me.”

            Jeshua surprisingly left the argument at that. “Time will tell. Are there any questions you would have of the outside world, your Highness?”

            “Just one,” said Mhia. “The Shadow in the Light. Have you found him?”

            “We’ve heard nothing of the man since his marriage to the traitor,” answered Anima.

            “A pity…” Mhia said disappointed. “Will that be all then?”

            “There is one more thing,” said Anima. “When Mary and Cardinal Gilles return to us, I will not have you at each other’s throats.”

            Mhia had almost forgotten about the serpent that used her like a puppet. “I do not seek his throat, only answers. As for Mary, I’ve never met the woman and hold no animosity towards an Archangel.”

            “Unfortunately the same cannot be said of her on your part. You killed her daughter.”

            “Daughter?” It didn’t take long for her to figure out what he implied. “You can’t mean…Charles’s wife!”

            “Is the Archangel of Lust. Have no fear, we will do whatever we can to mend the situation.”

            Mhia knew what he meant. “Her son is my prisoner! I will not give him back!”

            Anima did not flinch at the remark. It was clear the decision had already been made. “I’m afraid he no longer stands as such. I understand you and Raphael had an agreement, yet pressing concerns force our hand. While I hold no attachment nor care for the child, Lucifer seeks to use him as a means to lure Charles within our walls.”

            “Then let him use him as bait. But let him remain a prisoner. How do you think Mary will react when she’s a tortured stranger for her son? It will only worsen whatever hate she already holds towards me.”

            “You were not the only person to cause the boy misfortune. The blame could easily be laid upon another. Mary will understand. She was ready to sacrifice all she held dear from the day this all began.”

            Mhia decided it wasn’t worth arguing. If anything, it was punishment enough on all those who cherished Venir to look upon what remained of him. “Fine, do as you please. But in return I would have a demand.”

            “Ask, and if it is within our power and reason, it shall be done.”

“If you capture Charles, I want to be the one to kill him.”

            Anima laughed. “It seems we were already of similar mind then. That was to be your reward for your willing cooperation from the start.”

            Mhia smiled. “Feel free to do as you please then. Above all other lives, the one I desire most in my hands is Charles Veritas. Give me his life, save my people, and I will continue to be your loyal subject.”

            “Then it is agreed upon. May God bless us with his divine light.”



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
What are your thoughts concerning Mhia? And now that you have gotten a deeper look to the players in Caelum Infinitum, which side are you rooting for? Judicium or Caelum Infinitum?

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Okay, I sorta like Mhia a little better, but not enough to be a main favorite. I'm not sure who exactly I'm rooting for right yet, because both sides have a fairly reasonable motive to me. Also, I'm not too surprised that Charles' with is the Archangel of Lust. Please let the next chapter be in Caius' point of view. I want to see how he will react when he has to smuggle her into the city. XD That should be fun. I can't wait to see what happens next! :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

That's fine, Cynical. I understand. I hope everything goes fine with your move and new job. :)
Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

Well the last two weeks of work have been busy to say the least. I'm hoping I can find the time to f.. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

Haha, I don't think I'll lose interest in this any time soon. So there's no need to rush. And I'm gl.. read more

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Added on April 13, 2013
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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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