Chapter 39- Venir Veritas

Chapter 39- Venir Veritas

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 39

 

Venir Veritas

 

           

            Venir ate his dinner vigorously amongst the other children. He no longer felt alienated and uncomfortable as he once had. Gorgius had welcomed him along with the children and accepted him kindly. Although he did not feel like he was one of them, he now knew there was no malice in their intents.

            Gorgius had continued to teach Venir things about the Church and the Holy Grimoire, and despite the fact Venir did not believe most of the things he heard, it felt good to be learning again. It took him back to the days at the academy when his life still made sense and the people around him loved him and treated him nice. It still wasn’t the same, but it was mountains better than the darkness. He had also managed to make new close friends aside from Gorgius.

            Eating with them was the little girl that made him panic the first time. Her name was Cecilia and she was nine years old. She was the sweetest little innocent girl he had seen other than Emilia. According to Cardinal Daimios every orphan here had a dark past but he saw no remnants of any dark history in her big large smile. Whatever dark history she had was locked away somewhere deep.

            Gorgius also introduced him to a much more devoted orphan by the name of Isaac. Isaac was part of the choir. Venir had shown great interest in the choir so Gorgius thought it’d be good for them to meet. Isaac wasn’t nearly as friendly as Gorgius and Cecilia though. Driven more by duty, he was a prime example of one of the children Cardinal Daimios described as having abandoned their mortality.

            Isaac wasn’t much for words. He only said what was needed and rarely had an opinion. His voice was very soft and harmonious. Venir assumed he was castrated. He had often heard how boys were cut so they could sing for the church. Out of his friends, Isaac was the oldest, only lagging a year behind Venir. Venir had done the math himself after asking Cardinal Daimios how long ago the attack on Lumina took place.

            What had felt like an eternity of misery had only been two years. How much the world outside had changed he could only imagine. But if it changed anything as much as him, than the society Judicium had worked years to establish was likely no more. His former self might’ve thought of that as a scary thought, but he was no longer a part of that world, or any world for that matter. Venir had long been forgotten form society.

            After dinner ended, the four companions travelled the halls of Yggdrasil. At this point Venir knew essentially the entire layout of the interior tree. As usual, he picked up on things quick. After his second tour he knew all the areas where he was allowed like the back of his hand. In fact, he could already name each room and what purpose they served. A stranger wouldn’t think twice about whether or not he was part of the Church.

            Venir didn’t do much inside Yggdrasil though. He volunteered to help with whatever chores whenever he could but Cardinal Daimios insisted that all he had to do was learn. Everything in Yggdrasil was more of a routine rather than a learning experience though so things got stale quick. Once you heard and saw everything once, it was the same words being recited, the same rituals being performed, and the same people doing everything. Life was very organized here, much like in Judicium but stagnant. Very stagnant. Where Judicium would constantly try to march its society forward, the Church did everything in its power to make sure everything remained the same.

            Venir and his companions were walking through one of Yggdrasil’s many branches when they noticed a crowd of children running in unison towards something or someone.

            “Where are they all going?” asked Venir.

            “Cardinal Gilles,” answered Isaac. “There’s been much word about his arrival.”

            “Cardinal Gilles…” mumbled Venir. The same Cardinal Gilles who told me to open the doors to my home in Lumina?

            “What was that?” asked Cecilia.

            “Let’s go see him,” suggested Venir.

            “I can’t,” said Isaac. “The choir starts in ten minutes. You told me you wanted to watch and listen.”

            “The Cardinal won’t go anywhere,” said Gorgius.

            Venir wanted to argue against it but decided not to. His feelings and curiosities didn’t matter anymore. That’s what Cardinal Daimios told him. If he ever hoped to become one of them permanently, he would have to discard all of his mortality. That was his payment in return for Erica.

            They went to the altar where Isaac stood amongst the choir to sing. The choir was made up of ten boys and ten girls. All the boys sounded almost as high pitched as the girls. It was strange hearing them sing. Venir had always been praised as a remarkable singer but not for sounding like a girl. Even the male idols he’d seen in concerts sounded like men. Hearing the choir made him wonder if he would have to be castrated in order to sing amongst them. The notion didn’t bother him half as much as it probably should have.

            As the choir sang, Venir followed along with the words under his breath. Much like everything else, it was a routine so he had already memorized all the songs except for the occasional different one. Venir pictured how he would be received if he sang amongst the choir. The thought was intimidating. The Church openly gave no praise like he was used to back in Lumina. No one ever clapped or cheered after a song. They just watched, listened, and prayed. At the end of the day it made for very little incentive.

            After the ceremonial songs were done, the altar became a mob of clergymen. Isaac traversed the mob to reunite with his companions and together they started leaving. While they were walking away Venir felt a hand run its fingers through his waterfall of hair.

            “Your hair, it’s so beautiful,” said a familiar girl’s voice. Venir turned around and as soon as she caught a clear glimpse of his face, she screeched. “I’m sorry, I thought you were…”

            “It’s a f*****g boy,” said a boy next to the girl, practically laughing.

            They weren’t the only ones shocked. Venir’s own eyes stared in awe at the sight in front of him. Without a doubt, the two individuals in front of him were Cruorians.

            The girl was quite a bit older than the boy. Venir assumed she was probably around his own age. Her hair and eyes were both bright red. As for her body, it was far more developed than any girl her age should ever have. Her clothing was particularly unholy as was to be expected from a Cruorian. She was half naked wearing nothing but a couple sheets of cloth and jewelry.

            The boy looked significantly younger, probably still a year or two away from puberty. The crimson look in his eyes said he was far more matured than his given age though. The world had clearly made him grow faster than he should have. His eyes were dark with a feint red. His hair bright as fire itself. The mix instantaneously reminded Venir of Mhia. His outfit was another accumulation of sheets and jewelry that any Judician wouldn’t deem clothes.

            “Calam, don’t be rude!” said the girl. Calam…I remember him. Then the girl is probably…

            The boy Calam shrugged. “What respect do I owe a f*****g Judician?”

            “There are clergymen inside Yggdrasil who are Judician.”

            The boy walked up to Venir. He was up to his Venir’s chest. “He may have brown robes, but he doesn’t look like a clergymen to me.” He looked closer. “Is that a slave brand around his neck?”

            Venir felt embarrassed and tried to cover it with his robes. The girl pulled Calam back. “I apologize for my cousin. My name is Lana.” Lana. Both surviving members of the Cruorian royal family. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, eh…”

            “The pleasure is mine,” mumbled Venir. “My name is…not important.”

            Venir could feel her gaze fixated on the permanent smile across his cheek. “Of course it is. How else will I be able to call you when we cross paths again?”

            “God, you’re so full of s**t,” complained Calam. “But that hair color.” He looked back to Venir. “It definitely looks like a certain prisoner’s hair color my sister had a while back. Only you have a s**t ton more hair and look like a skeleton someone found in a hole. You’re also taller.”

            Venir was baffled how neither could recognize him. Even though he had been blindfolded the whole time, he could not imagine he could’ve looked so unrecognizable that people who had helped drag him halfway across the land couldn’t tell it was the same person. Then again, he could hardly recognize himself when he first looked at his reflection inside Yggdrasil.

            “That prisoner is dead, remember,” said Lana. “Mhia told us herself.”

            “That’s what she told us, yes.” Calam continued inspecting Venir. “But you don’t drag someone half way across the land just to throw them away. And that scar…” He directed his attention to Venir once more. “What’s your name, Judician?”

            Venir contemplated strangling him. Ideally he would’ve liked to chop his head off and show it to Mhia, but he had nothing sharp or any idea where to find the Cruorian c**t. The touch of Cecilia’s hand on his back restrained him from any other malicious thoughts. “Is something wrong?” she asked.

            Venir shook his head. “My name is of no importance,” he said loud and clear. “I will be baptized soon and bear a new name. Who I was before will no longer matter by then. I don’t know who this prisoner of yours was, but I can assure you, I am not that person. I’ve never even seen a Cruorian until today.”

            Calam kept looking at him, doubtful. “Is that so…”

            “Calam! Lana!” an old man called out to them. He was bald with a braided beard and a scar of a handprint on his scalp. “Do not think you can skip out on your royal duties.”

            Calam sighed. “Dianos always comes at the worst times,” he complained.

            Lana started dragging Calam away. “Come on, let’s go.” As they were leaving she looked back one more time. “Sorry for our rudeness. Next we meet I promise it won’t be the same.”

            Venir watched them calmly as they left.

            Luna crept over his shoulder. “What? Are you surprised? Of course the Church is in league with the ones who tore you away from your family. How else could they save you and Erica without almost lifting a finger.”

            Sol descended in front of him. “It would make no sense. Why would the Church contribute to torturing you only to release you with no compensation? What use could you possibly have for them?

            Think about it. Cardinal Gilles tells you to open your doors, Cruorians enter your home, kill Emilia, capture you, torture you for two years, and then you get rescued by another Cardinal and taken to the place your captors are taking refuge. And already you’re planning on becoming one of them.

            Don’t be misguided,” urged Sol. “Cardinal Daimios cares about you. He has given you no reason to mistrust him so far. You have something good. You finally have a life again. Do you want to return to the darkness?

            Think about it!

            Don’t be misguided!

            “Venir? Venir. Venir!”

            Venir left his mind. “Yes? What’s wrong?”

            Cecilia looked at him worried. “You were quiet for a long time just staring out into space. I was worried.”

            “I’m…I’m tired. I think I’m going to go to my room for a bit.”

            “Very well,” said Gorgius. “Look for me if you need anything.”

 

***

 

            Venir ripped a page from his Holy Grimoire. Then another. And another. And another. And another. He wished he had fire so he could incinerate all of it but he was a prisoner here, not a guest. A prisoner broken and reconstructed to be made into one of them. Luna was right, Luna was always right.

            What purpose the Church had for him, he couldn’t fathom. But no amount of kindness would undo what they did to him. It was the church that made him open his doors to the tragedy that had befallen him. Had he never decided to spontaneously go to church and listen to Cardinal Gilles none of this would’ve ever happened. He would still be in the comfort of his home. His friend wouldn’t be a prisoner the same as him. And Emilia would still be alive.

            He ripped the last page and then flung the cover of the book against the wall. He wanted to scream really loud but fear held his tongue. Instead he hurdled into a ball in the corner of the room, digging into the skin of his forearms with his nails while clenching his teeth so hard they hurt.

            Sol emerged shedding golden tears. “Don’t do this! They’ll take you back to the darkness! The Church is your friend!

            Luna laughed. “You’re a fool if you think this is any different. So what if there is light? He still can’t leave. He still needs to wait until he is fed. He is still entirely at their mercy. Nothing has changed!

            Prison or not, soon you will be reunited with Erica. Is that not reason enough to remain here as one of them?

            It is your fault she is a prisoner in the first place. Do you actually think she wants to see you? Without you, she would still be back in Lumina living out her life. You ruined her life. YOU!”

            And you can save it,” whispered Sol. “Like she is to you, you’re all she has left. If submitting to your foe is going to grant her even the slightest bit of happiness…is it not worth it?

            I’m all she has left…

            Venir uncurled himself from the corner and stood up. He looked around the mess he had made in his room. Torn papers lied in every corner. The Church would call this blasphemy. In Yggdrasil that was enough to kill a person for. The dead can’t do anything for anyone…

            One by one he started picking up every sheet of torn paper and putting them back together again. “What are you doing?” complained Luna. “These people did this to you! They are the reason behind all your suffering!” Venir collected every sheet and grabbed the book cover. “You’re practically thanking them for killing Emilia! Is that what you want?” He put the pages inside the book. Luna stood in front of him and gazed into his eyes, begging. “What would your father think of you?

            “My father doesn’t think anything of me,” said Venir. “He never has. And he never will. But Erica…Erica has always cared about me. Unlike Emilia, she is still alive. Nothing I do will bring my sister back, but I may still be able to save Erica.”

            Luna burst into tears. “Aaaaarrrrgghhhh! You fool! You fool! You will regret this! You will regret all of this!

            Venir shut the Holy Grimoire tight so the pages wouldn’t fall out. He didn’t have to love the Church or even believe in what they believed in. As long as he pretended to and did whatever they asked him, Erica would be safe. What more could I ask for in this ugly corrupted utopia…

            Venir walked in front of his mirror. This is the reflection of the world. Pale, lifeless, hideous. This is the truth.

Quietly under his breath he started singing one of the songs from the choir. Music was the best escape from reality. It made tragedy sound beautiful. It made lies sound like truth. Venir was ready to become a song for Erica. Without Erica he knew he would be lost. He knew he would be robbed of a purpose the same as in the darkness.

 

***

 

            Knock! Knock!

            Venir’s heart seized for a moment. The instant he saw the crimson robes it started beating faster than a drumbeat. Cardinal Daimios stepped forth, but he was alone. Venir felt his hopes and dreams shrivel into nothing. The expression on the Cardinal’s face only hinted towards disappointment.

            “Is she…dead?” Venir asked.

            “No. She’s alive,” answered Daimios.

            Venir jumped to his feet, unable to restrain his excitement. “Is she…here?”

            The Cardinal nodded hesitantly. “Yes. She’s here.”

            Venir tried to look passed him. “Where? Why isn’t she with you? Is she hurt?” Venir tried to walk passed him but stopped when he accidently glanced at the mirror. At that moment he knew what was wrong. “How bad…?”

            The Cardinal placed his hand on Venir’s shoulder. “On the outside, not as bad you. Though what her mental state is exactly, I cannot say. Like you, she has been a prisoner for a long time. People change, Venir. Which is why I wanted to speak with you before you saw her.

“None of us know how she will react when you finally meet. If she is not what you expect to find, do not be disheartened. Sometimes it takes time to heal a broken heart. When you see her, I want you to walk in expecting the worst. Sometimes being pessimistic is a good thing. It’s the biggest disappointments in life that break us down the most.”

            Venir didn’t care about the Cardinal’s advice. All he wanted was to do was see his friend. “Yes, I understand. Now please, take me to her.”

            The Cardinal nodded and opened the door. Venir followed closely behind the Cardinal as they walked, staring in every direction expecting to find her on the next turn. Two years it had been since he last gazed upon Erica. Two long years of brutal torture. He’d seen how much it changed him. He feared how much it changed her.

            Erica had always held a special place in his heart. She was always kind to him and saw him for more than his surface perfection. She was always there to defend him whenever Vladimir would harass him with questions. Whenever they talked intimately the world seemed less predictable. She had a crush on a Vladimir, which made him oddly jealous and grateful all the same. The trust they had for each other was as deep as family. And it was that same trust that led her to his home the fated day everything went down. The former him might’ve believed that nothing could’ve broken her spirit but the former him also believed that for himself. The current him knew that everything could be broken.

            After a couple flights of stairs and a lot of walking, they reached the nunnery branch of Yggdrasil. They entered the section where all the rooms for the girls who were being brought up to be nuns where at. The Cardinal greeted one of the nuns who then guided them to a specific door.

            “How is the girl, Tyna?” asked Cardinal Daimios.

            “We bathed her, cut her hair shorter, and dressed her, but she hasn’t said any words that weren’t in response to a question. And no answer was ever longer than a simple word or two. It’ll be a while before she heals up mentally but we’ve fixed worse.” She looked at Venir. “Is this the boy?”

            Daimios nodded.

            Tyna frowned. “Perhaps it might be better if he waited a month before seeing her. I don’t think she’s ready for the emotional stress of seeing a loved one so soon after coming out of that hell.”

            “No,” said Venir. “I need to see her now. Please…”

            The nun looked at Daimios with doubt. However, Daimios was ready to keep his part of the bargain. “It’s not negotiable, Tyna. He has earned the right to see her. Who knows? It may help both of them more than you think.”

            “If you say so. I have no right to question an Archangel.”

            Right as Daimios was about to reach for the door, Venir stopped him. “Wait. Please…let me see her alone.”

            “That, I’d have to argue against,” said the Cardinal.

            “The past two years we’ve both been prisoners…constantly being watched. It wouldn’t be a reunion unless we were alone. Please,” he begged. “Do me this favor and I’m yours to do with as you please.”

            Daimios contemplated it for a bit before giving in. “Very well…”

            “Thank you…”

            Daimios stepped to the side and Venir stepped forth. He put his hand on the door handle and took a deep breath before pushing it in. Heaven exists.

            The room was nothing fancy. No mirrors, no windows, no desk, only a small bed in the corner. Sitting on it was the first angel Venir had ever laid eyes upon. Whether it was the years of separation or the fact that she was older that made her more beautiful, Venir couldn’t tell. But in what seemed like a purely dark world she shone like the sun. Had he not known, he would’ve never guessed that she had been a prisoner the past two years.

            Her hair was longer than he remembered, but just as soft and creamy. Her facial features were more defined, more womanly. Her body was hidden behind a dull gown but her bare arms were silky smooth like a baby’s skin. Her eyes…were not the same. They remained big and blue but the story they told was different.

            Venir saw her tears building up, much like his own, and he ran to comfort her. “It’s me, Erica. I know I may not look it…but it’s me.”

            Tears started to run down her cheeks like a stream. “Venir…? It’s really you…isn’t it.”

            Venir burst into his own river of tears as he ran to embrace his long lost friend. “Yes, it’s me. We made it…we’re alive.”

            He felt her struggle to escape his grasp. When he moved away she slapped him across the face with all her might. “Alive? Is that what you call you this? My life is ruined because of you! I’ll never see my family or anyone I love again because of you!”

            “That’s not…Erica, I…” The words got stuck in his mouth. He was not prepared for the fury that was in her eyes. He had not listened to Cardinal Daimios.

            She hugged herself, shivering with rage and tears. “None of this would’ve ever happened had I never gone to your house. I…I…I will never forget…the things…” She closed her eyes and started crying hysterically.

            Venir took a step to embrace her once more but stopped himself. “It’s over now, Erica…No one is going to hurt you anymore…I promise.”

            “You…promise…?” She started to laugh. “He told me the same thing. Promised me I would never be hurt.” She hugged her knees, buried her face in them, and her laughter became tears again. “I hate him…I hate him so much…I hate everyone…”

            “Who?” Venir asked. “Who promised you that…? Was it…Cardinal Daimios?”

            She raised her head up and glared at him. “You know who…the same guy who cut your little sister’s head off. Saix…”

            Venir’s hands trembled with rage. Saix…so that’s his name.

“What did…what did he…” Venir took a deep breath to cool off. “What did he do to you?”

            Erica covered her face in shame again. “He…he put his hands on…” She snapped, “What does it matter?! Nothing you can do will ever change anything! I’ve lost everything because of you…my family…my friends…even my body…”

            Each word cut deeper than everything he had experienced in captivity. “I’m…I’m sorry…” He fell to his knees crying. “I never meant for any of this to happen…it’s not my fault…please…please forgive me.”

            “There’s nothing to forgive…my life is forever ruined…”

            “I’ll kill him,” mumbled Venir. “I’ll kill Saix if that’s what it takes…I kill him. I’ll kill them all! The Cruorians…all of them…anyone you want…just please… please forgive me.”

            “What part of nothing you do will change anything, don’t you understand?!” She stood up furious, her face red and sticky with tears. “You can’t take responsibility for your actions! You’re not that perfect boy everyone thinks you are! No matter what you do, we will never get our lives back!”

            Venir grabbed on to her ankles. “You can’t do this to me, Erica! You’re all I have left…please…I beg you…”

            Erica kicked her leg off of him. “I should’ve stayed in the cell…all you are is a reminder of everything I lost. I rather be stuck with Saix the rest of my life than look at you another second.”

            Venir felt his whole world burn into ashes. Life seized for him. There were no tears. No rage. Only emptiness.

            Erica stabbed deeper. “Get out. I never want to see you again…”

            “Why did you come here…?”

            “What?”

            “Why did you…agree to see me if you hated me so much?”

            Her answer was almost instantaneous. “Because I wanted you to know. I spent every night thinking about how different my life could be had I never listened to you and went to your house that day. I wanted you to know…that you are the biggest regret of my life.”

            Venir broke down completely, crying hysterically. He heard the door open and a strong arm lift him up and start dragging him away. He looked at Erica as she and her room became smaller and smaller in the distance, crying, begging her forgiveness with his tears. But she only watched back. Her eyes burning with hate. She hates me…

            Cardinal Daimios took Venir back to his room where Venir decided to dive his face into his pillow and wallow his tears away. Daimios tried to tell him something but Venir heard nothing. The whole world was closed to him right now. He was back in the darkness. Alone with no one to love or care about him.

            The door to his room closed shut. Luna emerged laughing psychotically. “I told you! I warned you! But you wouldn’t listen, would you!

            It’s not over,” argued Sol from behind her. “You heard the Cardinal. All she needs is time.”

            She never wants to see him again, or are you deaf? She hates you! She would rather spend the rest of her life with Saix than see you another day.”

            She only said that to hurt you because she was upset. Deep inside she still loves you!

            “Shut up!” shouted Venir. “I don’t want to hear it anymore. I just want to die!”

            You don’t mean that,” said Sol.

            “I’m already dead…what does it matter?”

            There was a knock on the door. Venir raised his head, but didn’t say a word in hopes the Cardinal would just leave him alone. There was another knock. Cardinal Daimios is not normally this persistent. He usually just walks in after his first knock. Could it be…?

            Venir stood up and opened the door to his disappointment. On the other side was Gorgius. “I’m done for today,” informed Venir.

            “I’m not here to attend duties,” said the boy. “I heard you crying and screaming so I came to check up on you.”

            “I’m fine…” Venir tried to close the door but the boy blocked the way with his foot.

            “As a servant of God, if I choose to walk away now I would be abandoning a soul in need.”

            “So what?” snapped Venir. “It’s not like God has any real power to do anything.”

            Gorgius’s eyes opened with shock. “Venir, you can’t say such things. The Lord punishes…”

            “Well I did and I don’t care! Why can’t you just leave me alone! I’m tired of this place and everyone in it! This isn’t where I belong!”

            SLAM!

            Venir went back to his bed, furious. There was another knock on the door. “Leave me the f**k alone!”

            The door slammed open. Instead of Gorgius, who Venir believed it was, Cardinal Daimios was standing before him. His demeanor was far from his usual kind exterior. His eyes were dark and filled with bloodlust like he was ready to murder someone. Whatever anger and frustration Venir had was quickly overrun by fear. Suddenly he was the same boy from the darkness.

            “Do you feel better?” asked Daimios. “Let me ask you something. Do you think this whole world revolves around you? You think if you’re not happy it can’t keep spinning?” Daimios closed the door behind him. “The people here have all suffered as much as you if not more. They never had the luxury of living the perfect life you once had.”

            “A life I might still have if not for the Church,” blurted Venir.

            “Is that what you believe? That we’re to blame for your misery.”

            “Everything was fine until the Church told me to open my doors…then the Cruorians came.” Venir looked him dead in the eyes. “I’ve seen them here. The royal family…”

            Daimios wasn’t moved at all by Venir’s discovery. “And how do you feel about that? Do you want to leave? If I open the doors for you to leave Yggdrasil, will everything return to the way it used to be?”

Walk out, leave, and be free once more? Cardinal Daimios had kept his word so far. Venir had no reason to doubt him. But the choice wasn’t a matter of trust and they both knew that. Even if Venir walked out without anyone chasing after him, where would he go? He was in a city he’d never been to before, away from everyone he ever knew. It would only be a matter of time before he came crawling back to the Church.

“Why?” mumbled Venir. “Why me? What does the Church want with me? Why am I here?!”

            “You’re here solely because of my pity,” answered Daimios, bluntly. “If you think you’re here for some greater purpose than you will be terribly saddened. You’re here simply because God has willed me to give you another chance at life.”

            Venir snapped, “I’m tired of hearing God this and God that! God has nothing to do with it! The real reason I’m here is because of my father. None of this would’ve happened had he never killed the Cruorian Queen. I don’t know why you pity me. I haven’t the slightest f*****g idea but I’m tired of all the lies. I just want the truth, Goddamn it!”

            “Listen to you. You sound just like Erica. Blaming someone else for the actions of others. But if you want the truth I will give it to you.” Daimios took a seat beside Venir. “This world is at war, and you’re in the middle of it. Your father and mother are part of a cold war that will shape the world’s future.”

            “My father and…mother?”

            “Yes. Your father is Judicium’s Moon and is currently trying to put an end to our organization, Caelum Infinitum. Your mother, like me, is an Archangel of Caelum Infinitum. For years we have worked in the shadows to bring down the corrupt order that is Judicium. As for the Cruorians, they are simply one of our many tools to accomplish said goal.”

            Venir refused to believe it. “No…you’re lying. You have to be. If my mother was a part of this, then why is Emilia dead? Where was she the last two years of my life? It has to be a lie. Mother loved us! I know she did!”

            Daimios frowned. “And she still does. That much I can assure you. Unfortunately, I do not have the answers you seek. Only a handful of people actually know the events that transpired in Lumina. I can only…” 

            “You’re Eminence!” Tyna came running inside the room out of breath. Her face was drained of color with a look of horror and terror on it. “The girl, she…”

 

***

 

            Tyna argued against Venir seeing the corpse, but Venir would not have it and neither Daimios nor anyone else was going to stop him. The reality didn’t hit him quite as one might expect. It drained him completely instead. Leaving him hollow. He was left without tears to shed or rage to shout. Standing like a doll, Venir did all he could. Watch.

The blood was trailing through every crack of the wooden table, dripping unto the floor. Erica’s body was limp on her chair, her arms dangling by her side, the knife stabbed directly where her heart was. Her eyes were still open but completely still. Venir could feel them watching though. Watching him. This is what you did to me, they said.

            According to Tyna they had taken her to eat with the other girls. She seemed well composed, perfectly stable, and obedient. Supposedly, as soon as she and Venir parted ways she almost seemed mentally healed. All the nuns claimed they could’ve never seen it coming. They didn’t even see when she picked up the knife used to cut the meat. It wasn’t until they heard the screaming from the other girls that they actually did anything.

            Erica was dead.

            Just like Emilia.

            And neither was ever coming back.

            I’m all alone. I’m truly all alone…

            There was nothing left for him to come back to. He wanted nothing to do with his mother and father’s war. He wanted nothing to do with his past. Whatever life he had before was ruined. Only his name remained.

Venir gazed hopelessly at his friend’s corpse. “In the Holy Grimoire…do people that commit suicide go to heaven?”

Daimios responded with silence.

 

***

 

            Clergymen circled the edges of the font reciting words from the Holy Grimoire in Illumian. Across from Venir, on the other side of the pond of holy water, was Cardinal Daimios. Daimios placed an open Holy Grimoire by his feet in front of him, and kneeled. “Lord Almighty, I present to you this mortal. In his flesh are the sins of his father, his mother, and all those before them. I offer him to you, so that he may be cleansed.”

            “So that he may be cleansed,” repeated the clergymen.

            Daimios stood up. “Cleanse his envy, lust, sloth, greed, gluttony, pride, and wrath! Relieve him of all his sins!”

            “Relieve him of all his sins,” repeated the clergymen.

            Two clergymen stepped forth and undressed Venir. Without second thought he acted as Daimios had instructed him to do so. He put one foot in the holy water. The holy liquid felt no different than any other water, but what Venir felt no longer matter. Soon Venir would be dead. Along with all his sins.

            Venir took a step with his other foot into the holy water. Slowly he treaded deeper and deeper into the purifying pond. Cardinal Daimios started chanting words in Illumian. Venir stopped walking when the water reached his neck.

            “On this day,” recited Venir. “I relinquish my sins and name. I give God my body and soul. From this day forth, I am his vessel and my duty his will. Lord Almighty, I am yours!”

            Luna materialized, her nails digging and ripping into the skin of her face. “You fool! They did this to you! Do you realize what they are doing?

            Sol rose from behind her. “Put your fears and pain behind you. You have suffered enough.

            If you do this you will kill us. Kill us!

            You cannot kill what is already dead.

            You’re making a mistake!

            You know what you must do.

            Venir took a deep breath. After this there is no turning back. Venir will be dead…

            “God,” called Daimios. “Release this child from his chains.”

            Venir dived his head. Beneath Venir could feel the water coursing through his veins pumping new life into him. It felt heavy but relieving at the same time. Was this God rushing through him? Or was it just his mind desperately wanting to be reborn? Whichever it was, it was washing away whatever remnants were left of Venir. In the distance he could hear Luna’s screech and Sol’s soft laughter.

            When Venir emerged once more, the weight of the world was off his shoulders. His pain, his anger, his past, were all completely erased. All that remained was his body and soul. Washed in holy water, he was born anew.

            When baptized, a babe would be granted a second name by his parent. For children who were never baptized however, the ritual was slightly different. Because they enacted the ritual as such a late age, the only true way to forgive their sins was to completely relinquish their former self. An act that could only be done by completely giving up any sense of identity they once had, or as Cardinal Daimios would word it, relinquishing their mortality. As a reward, God gave them the privilege of selecting their own name.

            Cardinal Daimios looked down from above. “You who have risen from the water. Speak the name of the servant of God who has emerged.”

            Venir looked up to the heavens. “My name is, Malus.”



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
Sorry it took so long, but here it is. Really curious as to your thoughts going through the chapter. What did you think of Venir's encounter with the Cruorian royals? How did you think Erica was going to receive Venir and how did you feel after the fact? What are your thoughts on Erica's suicide? And as usual, I'm always excited to know your predictions, opinions of characters, etc. :)

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I feel so bad for Venir, or should I call him Malus? Either way, I'm a little mad that you're putting him through all of this, but at the same time, it makes the story better. Something tells me that he is going to kill someone in the royal Cruorian family (ten bucks it's Mhia XD). As for Erica's suicide, I can see her reasons for it, but am sad that she died right after she was just brought back into the story. I really can't wait to see what you have planned to happen next. And hopefully we get to see what's up with Charles soon. I'm curious about what he has been up to while all of this has been going on. And I have to know what happened to Caius. All in all, great chapter. :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

I was contemplating whether to give Erica another chapter to live and make her death more dramatic b.. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

I can't wait to read about them. :)

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Added on July 20, 2013
Last Updated on July 20, 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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