Chapter 54- Caius Ashfall

Chapter 54- Caius Ashfall

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 54

 

Caius Ashfall

 

           

            “Leave us,” ordered Charles.

            The throne room cleared for the exception of father and son. Caius looked at his father, mentor, and leader standing up by the throne with that painted cold look in his eyes. Proudly, Caius walked up to him. “To answer your question, I feel much better. I’m alive. Liana Veritas is dead. And the mission wasn’t a complete failure.”

            Charles looked down at him, humorless. “Did you do it for vengeance or to spite me?”

            Caius answered truthfully. “Both.”

            “While we’re being honest, there’s something I really want to ask.” Charles hesitated. “Why do you hate me?”

            That caught Caius off guard. “Good question. Looking back at that moment two years ago when I learned the truth, you might just say it was solely because of how it all came out. You were hurt, vulnerable, and angry by the destruction of your family. I was scared for my life, literally. Finding out the truth the way I did…I think I just didn’t want to accept it. It was just another way for you to own me. But even then, I knew why you did it and why you had to do it.”

            “So why…?”

            “Because regardless, that day the bond and respect we shared for one another was tarnished.”

            Charles nodded. “I can respect that.” He pointed to Liana’s head. “But not this petty spite. You don’t have to like me. And as far as respect goes, I could care less as long as you never disobey my orders. You can be your own man, aspire to whatever you want to be, but I can’t have this. You’re better than this. There will come a time, very soon, when it will be you standing in my place…”

            There was something about the way he said it that made Caius tense. “When you say stand in your place, what exactly do you mean? There’s no way the Fuhrer would ever consider me for Judicium’s Moon. Not anytime soon anyways. I only just became Mentor solely due to your biased judgment.”

            “You’re right. You’re at least twenty years short of ever becoming Judicium’s Moon…”

            “So when you say-“

            The doors to the throne room slammed open. Queen Grace stormed in furiously. Her hair was a bundled mess, her dress in tatters, and there was blood leaking from the side of her head. “I warned you, Charles! I warned you not to leave me in that forsaken tower!”

            “You’re alive…” said Charles, sounding thoroughly disappointed.

            “The crazy people of this city swarmed the tower! They came in and started wrecking everything. They even threw Governor Milliardo from the roof. I would’ve suffered the same fate if I had not acted sooner. Was that your plan from the start? To get me killed?”

            “My plan was for you to not interfere with my plans,” answered Charles.

            “Does that have anything to do with why you’re burning every church in the city?”

            “You did what?” blurted Caius. “In what world is that okay?”

            Charles stepped down from the throne. “I promised the Fuhrer I’d end this mess. That’s exactly what I intend to do.”

            Queen Grace looked at him like he was crazy. “By burning down the churches?”

            “By completely annihilating Caelum Infinitum.”

            Caius shook his head. “I’m afraid that’s beyond the point of containment. Their roots stem much deeper than we feared.” Caius explained everything Liana told him about Caelum Infinitum and the identities of every Archangel.

            Queen Grace was shocked. “Drake Lightheart? He just put Judicium’s Sun to death on claims that Edgar Gallivus was a True Believer!”

            “Don’t wash your hands on it,” accused Charles. “It was our plot with the information you handed Raziel Starfall about Edgar’s forbidden rituals that put him to death.”

            “How were we supposed to know that one of your Mentors was also an Archangel?”

            Charles walked up to Queen Grace and loomed ominously over her. “That’s beside the point. I know you play every angle Grace. Let’s also not dismiss the friendship you and Liana used to share. I don’t like liars…”

            Queen Grace bit her lip. “You’re a smart man, Charles. You know I play my own game and I only share information for favors. Unless Judicium found itself in an unfavorable position, Caelum Infinitum is no friend of mine.”

            Caius pointed his gun at her. “You’re an audacious c**t.”

            “Put that gun down, boy.”

            “Why should I?”

            Charles answered for her, “Because she has an insurance policy. The instant she dies her web of followers will deliver letters all around the world spreading every secret she knows. Yours amongst them…”

            Caius couldn’t believe his ears. “You told her?”

            “She found out through the only other source that was at the scene, prior to his death. Not that any of that matters since you opened your big mouth to Liana. I imagine by now all of Caelum Infinitum knows the truth.”

            “Caelum Infinitum won’t say a word. Not unless I’m dead. Acknowledgement that I’m the son of Rhyth Juno would only complicate their relationship with the Cruorians.”

            “Which means you still can’t kill me,” said Queen Grace. “Listen, if I wanted to destroy you I’d have done so already. Trust that I’m on your side as long as it’s still the winning side. Just worry about maintaining it as such.”

            Caius gave in. Compared to their other problems, Queen Grace was the least of their concern. “This is on your hands, Charles. So what now? You’ve pretty much alienated ninety percent of the world under the Fuhrer’s name with your blasphemous stunt.”

            “Not under the Fuhrer’s name,” corrected Charles.

            “So my suspicions were right,” muttered Grace. “That’s rather noble of you, in a fucked up kind of way.”

            Caius made sense of it almost immediately. To his surprise, he was conflicted. “You coward! You can’t just go off and die and leave this mess in our hands!”

            “There won’t be a mess in your hands,” assured Charles. “After I kill this Son of God, the Fuhrer can give me proper punishment for my actions.”

            “You’d never make it ten feet inside Yggdrasil. You’re one man Charles. Weak as their defenses may be inside, they still have protection from within their walls. No one will follow you on this suicide mission!”

“You’d be surprised…”

“For atheists, Charles’s Mentors are rather devoted to him,” explained Queen Grace.

            “Still only a handful,” argued Caius.

            The doors to the throne room opened again to an unexpected guest. Perhaps not so unexpected if you took into account how she ended up in Eden in the first place.

Lucia Starfall greeted Charles, “Dark Charles. All that you’ve asked for has been done.”

            “Are we ready to move in?” asked Charles.

            “At your command. Once the churches started burning the clergymen did just as you predicted and tried to find refuge within Yggdrasil. The other Mentors hid themselves amongst them and should presently be within its walls.”

            “Good work, Lucia. What about the other piece of information I wanted you to confirm?” Lucia glanced at both Caius and Queen Grace. “They can be trusted,” assured Charles.

            “Your son is still safely inside.”

            Queen Grace looked at Charles, concerned. “You know they’ll just use him against you. If you mean to save him you should have someone else do it.”

            Caius caught her glanced and argued, “I will not spill blood in sacred grounds.”

            “I don’t intend for you to do any of that,” clarified Charles. “Your work here is done. All you need to do now is sit back and watch. As for you, Grace. When you publish this story, let it be known that Caius alone stood up against my blasphemy when nobody else would.”

            Grace grinned. “That’ll make him twice the hero. Are you sure that’s what you want?”

            “Yes…”

            “Don’t I get a say in any of this?” complained Caius.

            Charles ignored him. “Lucia, handle the preparations and gather the remaining atheists. Grace, start planning out your story. Now go, both of you. I’d like a word with Caius in private. Afterwards I’d like my own word with you, Grace.”

            Grace raised an eyebrow. “I’m suddenly a part of your plans again?”

            “I’ll make it worth your while. Now leave us.”

            The Youth and Queen of Propaganda left the room leaving father and son alone once more. Caius looked at his father with a look of disdain. “Why are you doing this? You know it won’t solve anything. The world is already divided, Charles.”

            “The True Believers are inspired by their Messiah. Without him their faith will crumble.”

            “They’ll just replace him with someone else. Hardly anyone even knows what he looks like. Or worst, you’ll kill him and make a martyr out of him. Your life is worth more than this. After today Judicium will need you more than ever.”

            “I’ve already forfeited my life…”

            Charles was right. Like it or not, he was a dead man. If the True Believers didn’t kill him, Judicium surely would. The burning of sacred grounds was a crime no one would forgive him for. And even knowing so, he did it. Liana was right.  Charles is a man who fights for things greater than himself. He’s not afraid to go down as a traitor in history if it’ll preserve order...this is the man I admired.

            “So this is it, huh,” muttered Caius. “What do I tell Venir?”

            “Venir has never loved me,” confessed Charles. “As long as he lives, I can die happy.”

            “Well, if he hates you imagine me. I don’t know if he’ll accept me. I let his…our sister, die.”

            Charles’s eyes melted. “That was my fault…don’t take fault for my failures. That was my fault…” Charles placed a firm hand on Caius’s shoulder. “You were able to come back, Caius. I want you to do the same for Venir. I don’t know if I’ll recognize him when I lay eyes on him again, but Venir deserves an honest chance at living. Please, don’t let him fall into the darkness. We’ve both been there and it’s not a pleasant place.”

            “I can’t promise you anything,” said Caius. “But I can try.

            “Thank you…”

            Charles started walking passed Caius towards the door. Caius shouted without looking back. “You could run, you know!”

            Charles chuckled out loud. “And what would I do? Farm the rest of my life, hidden in the woods.”

             Caius heard the door open and closed. Alone, he gazed at the throne sitting at the end of the room. Are you watching God? Caius walked up to Liana’s head and picked it up. “It’s funny how different you two were. You couldn’t handle the feeling of being alone and hated by everyone. Just fighting for what you believed in wasn’t enough. But at least you’ve never had any doubts in who you serve.” Caius dropped her head and left the room.

            There was a lot of movement around the palace. A lot of celebration, some confusion, and some mourning. The battle was won but it was not without cost. The sad part was most of them thought it was already over. That became more apparent in the disappointment of the Black Coats when they started being ordered to help tame the city.

            Caius looked out a window and saw chaos like he had never seen before in his life. Is this what the world will looked like during the Crimson War? It was hard to accept how miserably they actually failed their original mission. How powerless they were to stop it. But the reality was right in front of him. This was the Week of Lament all over again. And all I’m supposed to do now is watch and wait.

            Caius sat against the floor, leaned his head against the wall, and closed his eyes. How many more will die I wonder. Tell me God…I know what Charles is doing is wrong. Am I wrong for allowing it? Will my soul be condemned for this? Caius thought back to the shelter and laughed. “If that was the case, my soul was condemned long ago. Only two sides to everything, right. If thousands must die for order than so be it.”

            “Are you talking to yourself?”

            Caius opened his eyes. In front of him stood Felicia Mandeville with a cane to stand with. Caius glanced at her leg and saw the injury. “Were you the only one who made it? What happened to Allen? He should’ve been in charge during my absence.”

            Felicia leaned down and sat beside Caius. She let out a deep sigh. “He’s alive. Though I fear for his mental state.”

            “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

            “Let’s just say, I missed you as my Mentor.”

            Caius had to turn his head to make sure she was being serious. “Now I’m really curious.”

            “Allen started having issues about our orders, second guessing everything. He’s under the impression Dark Charles ordered this without the Fuhrer’s consent. He still followed orders but…during the attack we ran into Ismailia Loucelles. She…Allen captured her and then we ran into Mentor Gottfried. Gottfried took it upon himself to interrogate her on the spot, putting an end to the little princess’s singing career after he was done. Allen didn’t take it so well…”

            “I don’t comprehend his shock. She’s an Angel. What more did he expect?”

            “It’s more complicated than that…”

            Caius snapped, “No. It’s that simple. She stood up against Judicium, this is her punishment.”

            Felicia frowned. “You’re not like yourself either. I’ve never seen you be this emotionally invested. I didn’t even know you could show signs of anger. Did something happen when you met with Dark Charles?”

            “Excuse me?

            Felicia looked away shyly, which she never ever did. “Nothing…”

            There was lie written all over her. She must know. Ismailia knew my secret. Why else would Gottfried cut off Ismailia’s tongue if not to keep her quiet? “Why didn’t Gottfried kill Ismailia Loucelles? What good is a prisoner with no tongue?”

            “He said she might be useful for controlling the other prisoners we captured.”

            “Who? Her father is dead.”

            “Dumas Erequix…perhaps?”

            “We don’t need Ismailia for that, we have Saphira.”

            “Well then argue it over with Gottfried. I wasn’t the one who made the choice.”

            Caius bit his lip. Just what I needed…I’m going to need to clean up this mess before it spreads any further. Caius stood up. “Where is Gottfried?”

            Felicia grabbed Caius’s hand. “Wait! Calm down…” She pulled Caius closer. “Your secret…it’s safe with us.”

            As I feared. Caius grabbed her by the neck. “Why should I believe you?”

            “Because I respect Charles as much as you. Gottfried does as well. We won’t stain his image and jeopardize either of your standings for a truth better left uncovered.”

            Caius wanted to trust her, but as a Shadow his instincts told him to kill her first chance he got. “And Allen? Does he know too?”

            “Yes. But that’s been taken care of. That’s the real reason Gottfried kept Ismailia alive. Gottfried promised her mercy if Allen stayed shut. The only other person who heard, one of Triana’s Nights, Gottfried took care of as well. Your secret is safe with us.”

            “Why not just kill Allen as well?”

            Felicia’s eyes popped. “I’d forgotten how ruthless you were. Father like son, I suppose.”

“We’re not the same…”

“Whatever you say. To answer your question, I believe Gottfried’s exact words to Allen were, ‘I’ll show you mercy for the friendship I share with your father.’”

            Caius took a deep breath. “There are too many loose ends. But it’ll have to do for now. In the case that Gottfried dies, you will be in charge of keeping all three prisoners quiet.”

            “You say it like you already expect him to die. And what do you mean three prisoners? Allen is still one of us.”

            “He can call himself whatever he wants. From now until the day I die, anyone who knows my secret is my prisoner.”

            Felicia glared at him. “Does that make me a prisoner too?”

            “Never cross me and I won’t treat you as such.”

            “Just so we’re clear, I’m doing this for Charles. Not you.”

            “Just so we’re clear, you’re still my Night. And I your Mentor.”

            Felicia looked into Caius’s eyes and stepped back down to where she belonged. “Whatever you say, Mentor. So what now? Do we also gotta help clean up the mess outside?”

            Caius looked out the window. “It’s not our mess. Our job here is done for now. I’m going to go make sure my wife is still alive.”

            “What I’m supposed to do?” asked Felicia.

            “Keep Allen in check. I don’t want him doing anything reckless. From this point on, you’re my Star Night.”

            There was a hint of a smile in Felicia’s mouth. “I-I’ll get right on it.”

 

***

 

            Caius walked into the mess left at the inn. What the f**k happened here? Caius walked over all the corpses scattered around. He leaned by Oswald’s corpse and shut his eyes. None of the other corpses matched anyone familiar, which Caius wasn’t sure how to feel about.

As far as he was concerned, Dumas had exhausted his use. So losing Saphira was hardly anything to grieve over. Sia in the other hand could be problematic. Dead she wasn’t doing any harm to anyone. Alive, she could get captured and used as a public hostage. And what good is a hero who can’t protect his own wife?

Caius observed the room for any potential clues Sia might’ve left for him. Where would Sia run? Eden’s Tower was out of the question. That place was even less safe than the streets. But Caius couldn’t think of any other places she might run to. Caius found his eyes fixated on the chair Saphira used to be tied up in. Neither Sia nor Saphira’s corpse are here which means they must’ve escaped away together. Perhaps Saphira knew some safe hiding place. Felicia might know.

Caius departed the inn to head back to the Azure Palace. On his way back, amidst the chaos, he recognized someone off in the distance creeping between an alley. This wasn’t just anyone. This was the only person he could honestly say he grew up with. A Shadow of equal status. A traitor and Archangel of Caelum Infinitum.

Everything else became irrelevant. It’s time we finally put an end to our story, Raziel Starfall.



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
What are your thoughts about Caius's development from when he started back in Lumina to who he is now? What do you think about Charles's plan? Shedding more light to the altercation between Allen, Felicia, Gottfried, Dumas, and Ismailia, what are your thoughts on that account? And as usual, feel free to mention anything else :)

Next chapter, Drake Lightheart

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Featured Review

I personally like the change in Caius. Not exactly sure why, but he just seems more in control than he use to be. He's figuring things out better. And Charles dies have a heart! :D Even now, he was thinking of the well being of his sons. That's why I like him. I'm slightly worried about Allen. What did that poor boy ever do wrong? And finally, another Drake chapter! XD I love this chapter and I love this book. Amazing job! :)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dark Rider

7 Years Ago

I think Caius does think about the greater cause, but just not as much as he use to so it's not as n.. read more
Cynical_Art

7 Years Ago

No, you read my comment backwards lol Caius is willing to sacrifice more now for what he believes th.. read more
Dark Rider

7 Years Ago

Oh, well, in my defense it was it was seven in the morning when I gave my last comment. I hadn't ful.. read more



Reviews

I personally like the change in Caius. Not exactly sure why, but he just seems more in control than he use to be. He's figuring things out better. And Charles dies have a heart! :D Even now, he was thinking of the well being of his sons. That's why I like him. I'm slightly worried about Allen. What did that poor boy ever do wrong? And finally, another Drake chapter! XD I love this chapter and I love this book. Amazing job! :)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dark Rider

7 Years Ago

I think Caius does think about the greater cause, but just not as much as he use to so it's not as n.. read more
Cynical_Art

7 Years Ago

No, you read my comment backwards lol Caius is willing to sacrifice more now for what he believes th.. read more
Dark Rider

7 Years Ago

Oh, well, in my defense it was it was seven in the morning when I gave my last comment. I hadn't ful.. read more

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Added on October 28, 2013
Last Updated on October 28, 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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