Chapter 40- Liana Veritas

Chapter 40- Liana Veritas

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 40

 

Liana Veritas

 

           

            Liana held her nose tight with her hands as she stepped into the Azure dungeons. She had been to many vile places in her years but none as vile and repelling as this one. The faint azure glow reminded her of her father’s labs. Though she never had much love for the man, she could never avoid the family business. Her father had always been adamant on her learning everything possible about crystallite. He was never the kind to care about the worries or passions of anyone but himself. He was a visionary capable of seeing only his own future.

            Gladys Evermore was the pioneer of crystallite engineering and still proudly held the title. Responsible for the invention of crystalterations, artificial light, crystallite fuel, and the family pride, crystallite herbs and medications, Gladys Evermore was easily the most influential man in Judician modernization. To say he was a good businessman would be slightly false however. His business did itself, but before the death of Elena Evermore, it was Liana’s mother who was the brains behind the business.

            Elena was a greedy c**t who saw the world in money. Liana learned at an early age that her parent’s marriage was not one built on love, as many were led to believe. Her mother never loved her father and she doubted her father ever loved her mother. Elena came from a family rich in coin while Gladys was a man rich in ideas. Anybody with half a brain could see that their only passion was how they could use each other. A passion neither ever found in Liana.

            Liana let go of her nose and used both hands to unlock the iron door. She was relieved towards the lack of stench bursting from inside the room. As the blue light swept inside the darkness, a beam hit her prisoner’s face. His face was more handsome than she remembered it being two years ago. It seemed hardened, more alive. But hard as is may try to be, Liana could see his withdrawal symptoms already taking in.

            “You don’t look too well,” she commented.

            Caius looked up at Liana from where he was sitting and forced a shivering grinned. “If it isn’t the Archangel of Lust herself. I didn’t know your kind came down here to where the rest of the s**t was dumped.”

            Liana returned the grin. “Normally we don’t. Guess I just have a thing for Shadows.” She stepped inside and closed the door with just enough room to let some light in. “You’ve seen better days.”

            “No thanks to you,” he said with spite. “So, why help spare my life? We both know I can’t alter whatever wrath Charles might unleash.”

            Liana wasn’t about to argue pointlessly around lies. “You’re so full of s**t. I don’t know what kind of relationship the two of you have but I’m not an idiot. Whatever the two of you have is more than just a person giving another orders. Why else would he let you in my house two years ago? It didn’t seem like you were there out of any suspicions towards me, though you did manage to stick your nose in every place you shouldn’t have. More importantly, how is it you managed to avoid Charles’s wrath after failing to protect his family? Didn’t he ever ask what you were doing outside the manor that day?”

            Caius chuckled. “You all call yourselves Archangels but here you are asking a mortal for all the answers. Just what exactly are you hoping to hear?”

            “The truth. You’re never going back to them. They’re never coming for you. So why not just lay it all out on the table? You owe them nothing.”

            Caius struggled to stand up, shaking tremendously. “Fine. I’ll play. But in one condition. I want you to tell me everything. How you found out I was a Shadow. Your connection to Caelum Infinitum. Who the Son of God is. And what your great big plan is.”

            Liana laughed. “That’s hardly a fair trade. Do you think me a fool?”

            Caius shrugged. “I don’t see the risk. After all, I’m never getting out of here. No one is ever coming for me. How much of a threat could I possibly be?”

            Liana pondered the thought. The answer she wanted wasn’t so much valuable as it was curiosity. But to deny how desperately curious she was would be the biggest lie she ever told herself. Then there was the potential harm there was in telling Caius everything. This room was likely to be Caius’s grave. But if it wasn’t, could she live with all the blame?

            Liana danced around the topic. “How can you manage to remain so calm given your situation?”

            “I learned to die a long time ago. The moment you exposed me my life became worthless.”

            “And you’re okay with that?”

            “Are you okay dying for God?”

            Liana couldn’t help but smile. “Fair enough. Very well, I’ll make the trade. Your truth, for my truth.” What’s the worst that could happen? “So, what is your relationship with Charles?”

            Caius leaned against the wall for support. “Like you, when I got sent to live with your family, I was confused. I couldn’t decipher what ulterior motive my Mentor had in mind for me. It was unlike any other mission he ever gave me prior. It wasn’t until his return that I finally found out the truth. And it was something I never could’ve predicted.” He leaned forward, staring deep into Liana’s eyes. “The reason I was sent to live with your family was because your family is also my family.”

            Liana was perplexed. “What exactly is that supposed to mean?”

            “My father is Charles Veritas,” he said with a hint of humor.

            Liana couldn’t tell if he was just joking with her or being serious. “Impossible. Charles was not the kind of man to have affairs. And God knows I only birthed two children.”

            Caius tapped his head with his finger. “You’re forgetting the other child Charles had.”

            Liana didn’t have to think long to remember. “That Cruorian b***h’s child was publicly murdered in front of all of Judicium’s highest officials. There’s absolutely no way you could be him.”

            “I thought the same, but as Charles further explained, it all made more sense. Judicium’s Moon helped him swap the babies before the public execution. Charles’s baby, me, was then sent to Judicium’s Youth where I grew up as an orphan only to later be adopted prematurely by Charles himself. Rather than entering Judicium’s Light, I was sent to Judicium’s Shadow where Charles already held the title of Mentor.

“The day Charles told me to live with your family he gave me the simple task of discovering what love was. He said it was the strongest cause to do anything. Unfortunately, all I learned thanks to you is that love is a destructive illusion that could undo even the greatest of men.”

            Liana laughed at the irony. “For such a big man, he certainly has the softest heart I’ve ever seen. Especially when it comes to family. Who would’ve ever thought…here I am standing before the true Cruorian King.”

            “Cruor no longer has a kingdom therefore I am no King. But now it’s my turn.” His purple eyes became stern and fixated on Liana. “Let’s start in Lumina. The very first night I was at your home you were already attempting to leave. Yet you claimed you feared I might’ve been sent in suspicions to your being a True Believer.

And if I’m not mistaken, until that moment, you were under the impression Charles was clueless. Why take such a bold risk all of a sudden?”

             “I was desperate,” answered Liana. “Charles had kept me in a cage for a long time and I played along grabbing to what little freedom I could whenever I could. For a long time it was enough. But with Paradise Lost able at hand, the time to truly act was imminent. The truth though, was that I was terrified of Charles. I wouldn’t dare act unless he was miles away from me. So I pushed him away the only way I knew I could. By making him Judicium’s Moon.”

            From Caius’s expression she could tell he wasn’t expecting to hear that. “And how exactly did you manage that? You can’t actually expect me to believe you’re responsible for the prior Moon’s death. And besides, how did you figure out Charles had become part of Judicium’s Shadow?”

            Liana felt a slight pride in how confused Caius was. “Perhaps I gave you too much credit as a Shadow after all. See, I wasn’t the only Archangel inside of Lumina.”

            “Cardinal Gilles…”

            “You truly are clueless,” teased Liana. “The other is someone much closer to you. Though back then I had no idea.”

            The answer seemed to click almost immediately to Caius. “Raziel then…it seems I’ve undervalued both of you. Which proud title does he bare?”

            “Archangel of Envy. Judas. He deserves credit for almost all of my information. He was how I knew Charles was a Shadow, and it was him who killed Judicium’s Moon. With a little help from me of course. I created the poison. Cardinal Gilles delivered it. He did the deed. Knowing the type of man Charles was, I knew he would ascend to Judicium’s Moon forcing him to have to leave the city. What we weren’t expecting was you.”

            Caius was in utter disbelief. He muttered to himself, “How could I be so blind? How could Charles be so blind? And we call ourselves Shadows…”

            “Well in Charles’s credit. His unintentional accident threw a wrench in our plans. When you came in I could only assume you were a Shadow but I was clueless to how much you knew. You also succeeded in preventing me from communicating with anyone outside.”

            “Well if it comforts you, I had more than one conspicuous encounter with Raziel during the time. Though I believed his claims to be genuine. Shame on me for mistaking him for a Loyal Judician.” Caius stared her up and down. “So when you realized you couldn’t get out, was that when you resulted to seducing me instead?”

            Liana shifted in the azure light, showing off her body. “Like I said, I was desperate. And I’ve never met a man that could resist my charms. But I must say, I was surprised how quickly you gave in. However after taking everything into perspective I can see that you just wanted to be Charles. Even if that meant f*****g his wife.”

            Caius thwarted his gaze to the floor, embarrassed. “I’ve broken away from such petty thoughts since.”

            “Is that why you became the Shadow in the Light?”

            “In order to cast your own shadow first you must cast your own light.”

            “And that worked out perfectly for you,” mocked Liana. “In reality all you accomplished by doing that was becoming everything Charles already was. Even managed to find yourself your very own Cruorian w***e to marry.”

            “Unlike Charles, it cost us a victory rather than a defeat.”

            “That I won’t argue. The Cruorian w***e managed to ruin everything we had worked to accomplish in Lumina. Because of her we were forced to abandon it.”

            “Enough about what I’ve done,” concluded Caius. “Why spare me? Charles was in another city. You were outside of the manor. And I, the only obstacle between you and freedom, was completely defenseless. Why not just kill me?”

            “Simple,” said Liana. “I wanted you to kill Charles. I thought when Charles returned and I was gone that he would discover our affair and would force you to defend yourself in an attempt to kill you. And that was without even taking into account the poor attempt organized by Cardinal Gilles to save me that resulted in our daughter’s death. Which I was completely unaware of, I might add. But bringing it back to you, given the utter failure on your part, in my mind there was no doubt that Charles would try to kill you upon his return. Had I known you were his son, I would’ve killed you then and there.”

            Caius laughed bitterly. “So many little things that could’ve played out so differently. God certainly has a crude sense of humor.”

            “Everything happens for a reason, Caius. You wouldn’t be here today if not for those events. Thanks to this revelation, now I know my plan will work. Who knows, you may even live to see the light of day again.”

            “It won’t work…”

            “We shall see by the end of tonight.”

            Liana tried to leave but Caius grabbed her wrist. “We’re not done yet. Caelum Infinitum. What’s their plan? Who are the Archangels? Who is the Son of God?”

            Liana gazed into his purple eyes. From this distance they almost seem human. “Before I tell you I’d like to determine one thing. What do you fight for, Caius?”

            “Order. You know that.”

            “And what if order was no longer standing beside Judicium?”

            “It certainly isn’t next to Caelum Infinitum.”

            “But if it was…would you reconsider where you stood?”

            “That would depend…”

            A part of her believed he could be swayed into one of them. Judas was. Despite that, she knew investing too much into Caius was a waste. The other Archangels would never allow a former Shadow meant to infiltrate their ranks become one of them. Only an idiot would.

            Liana took a deep breath. What’s the worst that could happen? “If what you fear is war, Caelum Infinitum will not be the cause of it. Jeshua’s plan…aside from uniting the people to the Church once more, is to change Judicium from the inside. We already have one member in the Council of Seven. Soon we plan to have three. We intend to shape the country through guidance and create a democracy where the people have power. Of course the Fuhrer and his children will have to fall first for that.”

“You think the Cruorians you’ve aligned with will be content with just that?”

“The Cruorians were only supposed to be a distraction to help stir Judicium.”

            Caius was not swayed. “That plan failed the moment Sia betrayed you. Now that we know about Caelum Infinitum, it won’t work. We’re talking about the man who conquered the world.”

            “Conquering foreign nations is different than fighting a war within your own. The Fuhrer won’t know where to strike until it’s too late.”

            “No. He will know exactly where to strike before it’s too late. There’s only one tree this big in the whole world and it’s pretty hard to miss.”

            It seems I was wrong. He’s as hardheaded as ever. “Well, as much as I’d love to stay and argue about our plans, I’ve things to do. Lucifer has already sent the message to Charles. At the appointed time I will meet him and we will see who holds the upper hand after I control Judicium’s Moon.”

            Caius laughed and took his seat back on the floor. Liana stepped out the door and closed the iron door shut, once again trapping him in the darkness. For whatever reason, despite the course their conversation took, telling Caius everything lifted a burden off her shoulders. Maybe it was because she had forgotten what it meant to be completely honest with somebody. After holding so many secrets, the secrets start to become one’s true identity. You start to become a stranger in the mirror. Liana wasn’t sure that stranger could come face to face with Charles. If she died tonight, she would die as herself.

            Liana returned to the throne room where the glutton Alistair proudly sat in his chair as usual. Next to him were Dante and his daughter. From the looks of it, she had just interrupted whatever the two Archangels were scheming.

            “So?” asked Alistair. “Will he be of any use to us?”

            “More than we could’ve hoped,” answered Liana, proudly. “It seems our Shadow in the Light is far more than meets the eye.”

            “Is he now?”

            “Yes. His connection to Charles is much deeper than I could’ve ever foreseen. We will hold Judicium’s Moon by the end of the night.”

            “Yes…we will.”

            Liana looked at both Alistair and Dante back and forth. “Are you two planning to kill him?”

            Dante confidently stepped forth. “Not if we don’t have to. I will follow you to the appointed meeting, hidden of course. If things take a turn for the worse I will kill him.”

            “I thought we had already established the stupidity of that ploy? Not only would Charles suspect a trap, but the only way we’re all getting out of this alive is with his aid.”

            “Charles was never meant to be our Moon,” reminded Dante. “If I recall correctly, the original plan was for Judas to take his place.”

            “Judas and Gabriel are trapped inside the white ring. We can’t depend on them.”

            “Even so,” said Alistair. “That is the plan. Do what you can with Charles. If you fail, Charles Veritas will die tonight.”

            My word is still worthless to them. Maybe it’s time I visited someone who does value my word. “Fine. Do as you please. Charles will submit to me, so I could care less what precautions you take.”

            Liana turned and stormed out of the throne room. She had been too long away from proper company. Before departing to Yggdrasil she gave her temporary farewells to her two faithful bodyguards, Lemont and Benet. They had insisted on accompanying her but she preferred to go alone. She needed to be alone to prep herself for the long awaited reunion with her son. Even with Dante’s reassurance of her son’s state, she couldn’t imagine him having anything but resent towards his mother. She left him when he needed her most.

            Right as she was about to exit the Azure Palace, an unexpected person came to prevent her. “Wait!” shouted Ismailia Loucelles. When she caught up she whispered, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you ever since you arrived, Mary.”

            Liana studied the young girl. She was beautiful, not as beautiful as her, but more so than the average pretty girl. “What can I help you with, child?” asked Liana in her kindest and most sincere voice. Even if her father was a slob, from what she’d seen of her she was a sweetheart.

            Ismailia smiled, all flustered. “Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to meet you. You know, Father didn’t always hate you.”

            “Of course not. Every man that hates me loved me at some point in their lives.”

            “Yes, I know. But he really loved you. Even after you married Charles, he used to tell me how everything you did was because of your devotion to the Church and that one day you would come back. Only…you never did. He gave up on you eventually but I never did. And now you’re here.”

            The girl looked happier than Liana could comprehend why. “Well your father wasn’t wrong. Everything I do is because of my devotion to the Church. However, whatever he told you, I’m afraid I probably don’t live up to the legend.”

            “No, you’re perfect!” blurted Ismailia. “Father always told me how beautiful you were, but I never believed it until now.”

            What is with this girl? “I’m…happy to hear that. Now I must excuse myself. I have many things to do and so little time.”

            Before Liana could even attempt to walk away, Ismailia hugged her tight. “Please don’t go! I just met you…I finally got my mother back. I don’t want to lose you again.”

            Liana pushed her away. “Mother?” She burst into laughter. “Is that what that fat f**k told you?” The expression of utter shock and confusion on Ismailia’s face was hysterical. “Look at me, child. Do you honestly believe a beautiful woman like me would sleep with that disgusting blob of a monster you call father? Would you sleep with a disgusting blob?”

            The girl was in denial, short of tears. “Father said…”

            “A bunch of lies,” finished Liana. “I don’t know what unlucky w***e has the shame of calling herself your mother but it certainly wasn’t me. For what it’s worth, whoever she was I reckon was gorgeous. You managed to come out rather pretty, even with your father’s genes.”

            Ismailia was speechless.

            “A word of advice for future reference. Don’t ever believe a word that glutton tells you. Even the Azure Kingdom is built on lies. It once belonged to my mother until he cheated her out of it. Men like him. They’re ashamed of the truth. So they never stop lying.”

            Now the tears were falling. Consider that a warning, Alistair. If my son is harmed I’ll make sure to shred you to pieces along with your daughter and the Azure Kingdom.

            Liana left the broken girl where she stood and left towards Yggdrasil. Even beneath the hood of her mantle, traveling the streets of Eden was nerve-racking. It had been years since she traveled unaccompanied and the feeling was not welcoming. Every wall, every alley, every pair of eyes, felt like someone was watching her. Studying her every move.

            She wasn’t the only one afraid in the streets of Eden though. Every person that walked felt exactly the same as her. Scared because they were a Loyalist or a True Believer. Some scared because they were neither. That was today’s world. A cold war based on fear, secrets, and lies.

            Surrounding Yggdrasil was a mob of people. According to Dante the mob had begun to accumulate at their command shortly after the quarantine. Judicium had tried two attempts at clearing the mob but both resulted in riots. After the second, Judicium kindly decided to just let the mob be, forever keeping an eye on it. The mob was far too large to keep close track of it, though Liana reckoned there were more than just a few Shadows amongst it. Unfortunately for them all one had to do was cover their faces and there was no way of knowing just who exactly was entering and leaving Yggdrasil.

            Liana entered with no opposition. Once inside, she felt completely safe. Out of all the places in the world, there was none as safe for an Archangel as Yggdrasil. Upon entering Liana was quickly greeted by the face of her old friend, Cardinal Gilles.

            “Good to see you are safe,” he said.

            “Likewise,” said Liana. “How are things in Yggdrasil?”

            “In order, as to be expected. Though the tension in the city burdens all of us. I pray you come with better news than Dante.” The Cardinal’s wrinkles morphed into a concerned look. “Liana, you cannot meet with Charles. It’s suicide.”

            Liana had dealt with enough doubt already. “Suicide would be if I didn’t.”

            Prophet Anima came up from behind. “I cannot say I believe it is a good strategy. Yet I have faith in it.”

            Gilles turned to him with fear upon his face. “What if it fails?”

            “If it fails, we will have one less Archangel,” answered Anima without even a slight stutter. “If this is what she feels she must do than all we can do is pray for her success.”

            Prophet Anima had always felt indifferent about Liana. Though he never seemed to have much confidence in anything she ever did, he never had any opposition towards it either. In that respect he was less irritating than Alistair.

            “Thank you,” responded Liana.

            “I take it you wish to meet with our Savior?”

            “Yes. I do.”

            The two Archangel ascended to the Heart of Yggdrasil where their Messiah awaited. It had been Liana’s first time entering the Heart since Charles was off fighting the Crimson War. She quickly noticed the addition of pedestals surrounding what would be the Prophet’s throne. The audience seats of the College of Cardinals were desolate. The only inhabitant besides her and Anima was their Savior.

            Jeshua was dressed in gold and white silks, wearing a plain white mask with no expression. Liana was disappointed to find him fully covered as she was hoping to see his remarkable crystal skin once more. Still shy, even after all these years.

            “It’s been a long time…Liana,” greeted Jeshua.

            “The years without your presence have been long and hard, my Savior,” Liana greeted back.

            “Not as hard as mine have been without your beauty by my side.”

            Liana blushed. “You flatter me.”

            “So you truly intend to go forth with this plan of yours?”

            Liana nodded. “I do. I would have your blessing before I do.”

            Jeshua gestured the cross. “You have my blessing.”

            Anima got her attention. “Liana. If you are successful, we have promised Charles to the Cruorian Queen.”

            The mention made Liana’s blood hot. “You did what? Was my daughter’s life not enough for her?”

            “If we want to use the Cruorians, we must give them something. Right now she is their leader.”

            “I’ve heard recent news that says otherwise.” She looked up to her Savior. “Caius Ashfall, the Shadow in the Light, is Charles’s son. The same one that was supposedly murdered after the Crimson Treason.”

            Anima looked at her like she had gone mad. “And how exactly is it that you come by such a ludicrous assumption?”

            Liana did not tear her look away from Jeshua. “Caius told me. Taking other accounts into consideration the story fits. Caius Ashfall is the true King of Cruor.”

            “Even so,” said Jeshua from above. “The Cruorians will never follow him. The rest of his bloodline will never acknowledge him. And above all else, he is an enemy. Better for the secret to die with him.”

            “We can use him,” argued Liana. “A lot more than that hotheaded Queen of theirs.”

            Anima shut down her hopes. “He will always be a potential enemy. He will die once he is of no use to us. The same as his father.”

            Liana looked up to Jeshua for a final answer. “Is that what you would have?”

            Jeshua nodded. “It is the only choice we have. We cannot trust those that so loyally serve the enemies of God.”

            “Than I have said my part. If you would allow me to excuse myself, I would like to see my son.”

            Anima sighed deeply. “You may be afraid to what little you will find of him.”

            Liana felt a tight grip on her heart. It’s as I feared then…

 

***

 

            Liana wasn’t sure how to greet a son you had abandoned for two years. Venir was an innocent boy with all the makings of a bright future ahead of him. That future no longer existed for him thanks to her. She always knew eventually her war would swallow him too, and perhaps her real mistake was never actually preparing him for it. Who am I kidding…the only reason I never did was because everything about him reflected Charles.

            Liana was not ashamed to say she feared Charles. To say she feared him would be an understatement. It was love that drew her to him but fear that kept her. Marrying Charles was probably her greatest mistake she ever made. Despite that, she was never ashamed to have done so.

Liana had grown up witnessing what the leaders of the world were. They were all the same. Greedy selfish b******s that could only see the world in front of them. She watched how they all stepped on each other just to stand an inch higher. It wasn’t loyalty as Judicium loved to preach. It was selfish ambition kept in line through fear. Charles, though he would argue order is fear, was a different breed of man.

He didn’t care so much where he stood as long as he could accomplish what he wanted from where he was. Whether that goal was revenge or changing the world, once he set his mind to something he would do it. One might argue all ambitious men were the same but Charles was different in his own way. Ironically, what made Liana fall in love with Charles was that he genuinely fought for Judicium. For the exception of his personal vendetta against the Cruorian Queen, Charles had always fought for what he believed would make Judicium a better place. If Judicium needed it, Charles would forfeit his life willingly. Charles was a man adamant in his beliefs. A quality Liana rarely found in men. Most men were slaves to their desires, long as they believed they could get away with it. Even Charles’s son couldn’t hold on to his loyalties over his own selfish desires. Had it been Venir though she knew it would’ve been a different story.

Venir came from the generation where everyone had Charles’s mindset. A generation when the world was already united by the Fuhrer’s might. These children were subconsciously taught to have little ambition but for the path where Judicium directed them in. Though they weren’t nearly as lacking in self-ambition as the Starfalls of the Youth, Judicium was their God. The real God was only a figurehead used to justify Judicium’s order. I wonder which they will believe in once they must choose one or the other. It would seem Venir chose God, but was it by choice?

Liana stood in front of her son’s room next to Dante. They’d been standing there for the last ten minutes without a word being said. Liana still hadn’t figured out how she should embrace the son she abandoned.

Dante turned to her, concerned. “You know, you don’t have to do this right now.”

Liana shook her head. “This may be my last chance. I don’t have a choice.”

            “Charles will not kill you. Even if he tries…”

            “You don’t know that.” She took a deep breath. “I have to do this. Not for me…but for him. For Venir.”

            “His name is…Malus now. He’s been baptized.”

            “He will always be my Venir. Even if you baptize him a hundred times.”

            Liana built up the courage to step forth and open the door. As she stepped forward, Dante placed a restraining hand on her shoulder. “Go easy on the boy. He’s come a long way but he’s still wounded. His mask is only a cage to keep it all contained. If you remove his shield, I don’t know if we’ll be able to fix him again.”

            “Fix him?” Liana slapped his hand off her shoulder. “You say it like he’s broken. I appreciate the help Dante, but he is my son. And I will embrace him like the mother I am.” Liana didn’t wait for him to respond. She turned her back to him and opened the door.

Inside was a boy much older than she remembered, sitting on his bed, reading the Holy Grimoire. His hair was cropped slightly shorter than before but the color was the same. His cheeks were hallow and there were dark rings below his eyes. Their color hadn’t changed but they looked different. His eyes are like his father’s now. They’re completely frozen.

            Venir didn’t even tilt his head to acknowledge her. Liana took a hesitant step further inside. “Hello…Venir. How are you feeling?” she asked with a shaky voice. Venir turned his head to look at her and her heart dropped. “Your face! What did they do to you?” The scar spread across his cheek like a smile but there was no humor in his lips. Another blow was struck to her heart when she noticed the slave brand around his neck.

            Venir replied, “You’ve come to the wrong room. Venir is dead.”

            Hearing him say that with zero restraint and no acknowledge of who she was hurt her more than both the scar and slave brand combined. “Don’t you remember me…? I’m your…mother.”

            “I have no mother. I am a child of Yggdrasil. The Church is my family.”

            Liana smiled. “Yes. The Church is your family. They’re my family too.”

            Venir startled Liana as he got up from the bed and suddenly gestured the cross and bowed. He looked up at her and said, “I apologize for my rudeness. I’d forgotten that I am standing before an Archangel.” He stood back up and looked at her, emotionless.

            Liana felt hollow inside. “You don’t have to…I’m your mother, Venir. Your mother.”

            “My name is Malus,” he replied, coldly. “And as I’ve said before, I have no parents. Venir is dead. Just like Emilia.”

            The jab ripped at her heart a way she couldn’t have prepared herself for. “Venir, that…none of that was supposed to happen. You have to believe me. We were all supposed to make it out of that house that day. All of us! Together!”

            Venir shrugged. “From what I hear, you abandoned them. And only one made it out…as a prisoner. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What’s done is done. If God willed it, it was for a reason. Now please, I have to get back to reading.”

            “Venir, no!” Liana tried to embrace him but Venir took a step back. She looked at him with begging eyes. “Don’t you love me anymore?”

            Unflinching, Venir replied, “Who I love or hate is irrelevant. I live to serve God and nothing else.”

            “Is that so…” Liana looked at her son. She held her tears. At least he’s on the right side. “Very well. Continue to do your duty…and make God proud.”

            Venir remained silent.

            Liana turned to leave but stopped to say one last thing. “When I see your father today, I’ll let him know that you’re doing well.”

            Venir couldn’t give less of a f**k.

As soon as she walked far enough that he couldn’t see or hear her, Liana cried long and hard.

 

***

 

            The Archangels arrived early to the meeting location. They had chosen Lucifer’s Tomb. Not down below, but outside in the courtyard. It was the one place guaranteed to be desolate at any given time of the day. The stage was perfect, it was the players Liana wasn’t sure would stick to the script.

            Dante had envied Charles since the day Charles stole her heart. Liana had no doubt in her mind that Dante had dreamt the death of Charles countless times. And now, for the first time ever, he would have his opportunity. Assuming Charles showed up. Alone.

            Liana wasn’t doubtful Charles would show. She knew her husband well enough that she knew he didn’t like to have any untied loose ends. The engineered rose she had delivered him along with the instructions was enough for him to know of her presence. Whether or not he still loved her, Charles would want his resolution.

            Was she afraid? Had you asked her before her reunion with Venir she might’ve said yes. Now she was just anxious. What could Charles tell her to hurt her more than her son already had? What could Charles do to bring her lower than she already was? Like him, Liana had no doubts about where she stood. Even with the death of their daughter, her ultimate loyalty was and forever will be with God.

            “The appointed hour is almost upon us,” said Dante. “I will take cover and hide. If he doesn’t show within the hour we leave.”

            “Just go hide already,” urged Liana, annoyed.

            Dante didn’t bother to argue and did just that. Liana walked to stand beside the statue of Lucifer looming over the steps beneath. One of Charles’s Mentors had died here chasing after Lucifer. She wondered if that would make Charles more hesitant to come. What am I thinking, Charles isn’t scared of anyone. If he knew Lucifer was here he’d probably walk right by me just to finish the job.

            Time passed and no one showed. Liana started to fear that her husband had changed as much as everyone else. Not only had he ignored the reunion with his son but he was about to ignore the reunion with his wife. Liana expected Charles to take caution, but to avoid an opportunity was about as unlike Charles as it could get.

            As more time passed, Liana started to feel like she was the one being set up. She lost track of time. Her only reassurance an hour hadn’t passed was because Dante hadn’t reemerged to take them both back to safety. The tension made each minute feel like hours though, and every hour she felt less unsure. What if Charles no longer cares? What if both of his living sons aren’t enough to force him to work for us? What if Caius lied to me and he’s not even Charles’s son?

            Just as she was about to call it quits, she heard footsteps approaching. They sounded heavy and slow. Dante practically glided on the floor so she knew it wasn’t him. Then she saw it. The scar spreading from eye to collarbone. The massive mountain of a physique. The cold unforgiving blue eyes that could freeze hell over three times. Her husband.

            Charles approached her. From the looks of it he was alone. Liana’s gut told her they were completely surrounded by Shadows though. When Charles reached her, the two stood in front of each other in silence. Liana decided to break it first. “You haven’t aged a day.”

            Charles was as big and masculine as ever. His faded blonde hair hovering loosely over his ice blue eyes. Not a hint of fear. When she gazed at the scar across his face it was like staring at a wound that would never close. Today, she added another one. Only this one would be in his heart.

            Charles just watched.

            “Very well, I expect you didn’t come all the way out here just for small talk. I’ll admit, I thought you would be at least be a little surprised to find me here. After all, it must raise a lot of questions. Like how you had an Archangel living under your roof all these years and never noticed.”

            Liana waited for a reaction that never came. His lack of caring hurt her more than any hate he could’ve expressed towards her.

            “Fine,” she said, getting annoyed. “If I’m no longer important to you perhaps you have more of a mind towards your son. Or should I say, sons.” If this doesn’t get a reaction out of him than he might as well kill me now.

            “So he talked,” said Charles, glumly.

            Liana felt a surge of power. “So it’s true then. You can murder a traitorous wife no problem but your children…that takes a different king of man.” Liana laughed. “Hypocritical if you take into account how many children you’ve killed. But I’m not complaining. Would you like me to tell you what you need to do if you ever hope to see your children again?”

            “You can kill Caius,” he said, bluntly. “He’s of no use to us anymore.”

            “Bluff all you want, Charles. I know you care.”

            “Then keep him alive. I could honestly care less what you do.”

            A hint of passion wouldn’t kill you. “And Venir? Do you still care about him? He was never a part of this unlike Caius. He was never a Shadow or anything else to Judicium. He was just a boy, misguided by you…”

            Charles cut her off, “You won’t kill him. You’ve held him captive for two years. If you haven’t killed him yet it’s because you won’t.”

            “We held him captive for the day we needed to control you,” Liana tried to argue.

            “You won’t kill him,” he said again.

            God forgive me. “We killed Emilia. And she was half the age Venir is now.”

            Charles’s heavy brow frowned and all her nerves froze. “I’m curious Liana. Did you ever love any of us?”

            Liana swallowed as she prepared herself for another lie. “I did it to keep an eye on you. I’m an Archangel after all. And you’re a Shadow. We were destined to be enemies. I did what I had to for my cause.”

            “I highly doubt that,” Charles replied in confidence. “When we got married I had just stopped believing in God. I was no threat to the Church. All I cared about was obliterating Cruor. A fact you knew well.” He took a step closer to her and stood ominously in front of her. “Tell me the truth, Liana. I’m tired of the lies.”

            Liana felt like a powerless ant. “I loved you…once. But it was always God my reason for living. The mistake was mine for not seeing sooner that we could never coexist.”

            “No. The mistake was mine for believing I could keep you from this war. I never actually believed I could make you lose your faith in God, but I thought I could keep you away from the war I would one day start. Only, I had no idea the war had already begun.” There was a glimmer in Charles’s eyes. “I loved you…and a sad part of me still does. But like God is to you, Judicium has always been my reason for living.” He looked up at the moon. “On the night of the full moon.” He looked back down. “It’ll be the last moon you’ll ever see. If not for Venir, you wouldn’t even live to see that day.”

            “Is that a threat?”

            “No,” Charles said as he turned his back to her. “I just thought you should know.”

            “That’s it?” Liana called out, staring at his back. “You’re just going to walk away? Don’t’ try to act like you’re better than me. I know there’s more you want to ask. More you want to say.” Charles continued walking away. “We’re not done!”

            I’m done,” he said without as much as a glance back.

            Liana chased after him. “You can’t just walk away from me, Charles!”

            Charles left the courtyard and she followed. The moment she stepped outside her eyes grew big with fear. In front of her was a line of six men. Three were Black Coats. The other three she assumed were Shadows. Charles walked in front of them and turned around. “I’m giving you two days to live. Enjoy them.”

            “So you’ve chosen war,” muttered Liana under her breath. She chuckled. “I guess it is what you’ve always wanted, isn’t it?”

            “I never wanted to kill you. But if you must die to burn down the Church, so be it.”



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
So really big chapter! (took me long enough lol) So I have a lot of curious questions thanks to all the big reunions.

First let's start with Caius. How do you feel about their reunion? Specifically, what do you think about all the revelations covering pretty much all the holes from the first part of the story? And lastly, what do you think about the odd relation between Liana and Caius?

Next, Venir/Malus. How do you feel about his reunion with his mother? Do you think he was in the wrong for essentially casting her aside? Do you feel bad for Liana? Do you think she is undeserving of Venir's love?

And last, Charles. What do you think of their relationship from their encounter? What would you have done if you were Charles? And what do you think the future holds?

My Review

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Reviews

Okay, first off, I never saw the part about Raziel being the Archangel of Envy coming. You sir have a great way of hiding your secrets very well. Second, the reunion with Caius and Liana was almost amusing. They are so much alike and so different at the same time. It was really good. Third, I don't feel bad for Loans. She deserved everything Venir said to her. She shouldn't have abandoned them. I bet she woukd have been able to save Emilia if she hadn't. Fourth, I would have done everything Charles had done. Charles is just that one character that you can't help but agreeing with even if his morals might be a little off. Like I don't agree with some of his actions, but I can see where he's coming from because of the emotional toil he's taken. And finally, this chapter was just all around epic! It was everything I was hoping for and more. I can't wait to read the next chapter. :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

Well I'm glad you found it amusing. I figured these are the type of reunions people look forward to .. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

And I look forward to reading each one! :)

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Added on August 9, 2013
Last Updated on August 9, 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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