FROM CHAPTER EIGHT OF “DIASPORA”
SECOND BOOK OF THE PURE ANGST TRILOGY
Having opened the isthmus that should never be made manifest, bridging the gulf between the world and the Blood Red Moon, the Fallen One has turned his back on the shattered Sethron homeland and passed the Rubicon – the point of no return that forces a way into the heart of the Red Moon and its promise of heavenly bliss. It matters not to the Grand Priest that his own success must needs expel a veritable battalion of “angels” from millennia undisturbed at the sublime fountain of perfect contentment, scattering a hundred immortals thrust forth unwillingly across the world lately ravaged by the Eyeless Wind.
But the diaspora of the angels is fact and the Grand Priest looks down from his state of apotheosis, mute witness to the diaspora as his brethren taste that bitter cup of exile once forced on him when he was thrust out of the Red Moon and cast down a thousand years ago. It is an irony of no great moment to Esteban that the seraphim rage and howl in impotent disbelief, burning nodes of crimson brilliance scattered all across the world. The Grand Priest drinks deep from the Fountain and bliss is a sublimation that admits of no sympathy with the plight of the material world. The diaspora grows rapidly into a menace far greater than the all conquering Sethron hordes; for Esteban himself had been a benefactor, evolving in exile to become the Grand Priest: autocrat yes but guardian and leader and catalyst for Sethron glory on his quest to reverse the Exile. He had found compassion of a sort and even gratitude to the frail mortals he had used for his own ends. Had not their choir discovered the chord divine? Had not their desperate song on the ramparts of the Sethron capital overmatched the Eyeless Wind and unmasked the truth behind, halting its relentless killing sweep through all the armies of the world?
But bliss is a place without Care or Conflicted Emotions… and Esteban had been denied his birthright for so long. He had repaid his debt to brave mortal kind and they had tried to kill him, nay worse, to destroy the Pure Angst and bring down the bridge to his beloved Home. Yes it was a group of fanatics and justice was served as Esteban perceived from on high the Knights beset by five rageful angels. No compassion penetrated his state of bliss.
Then it was his listless gaze feel unwillingly on the Sethron capital itself and his transcendent sight looked upon the remnants of the choir gathered to stand against a burning red coalesion of angels destroying all before it. All sight of the capital city and the choir was blotted out by a flare of crimson fury – angels gone mad with violence, denied the bliss, infuriated by unexpected resistance from these mortal creatures… Esteban turned back to the Fountain of Bliss, not willing to recognise the truth such was his blind desire to drown in a contentment he had striven a thousand years to reclaim.
And then rose a sound that spoiled everything, somehow travelling the isthmus and passing the Rubicon and permeating the blissful bubble to reach out to the Grand Priest at the very moment of his triumph and revenge and hard won sublimation. It was a voice from the world below, one beautiful lonely song somehow heard so clear it might be just in front of him. It was but a simple madrigal, no instruments, no other voices. Its tone was undaunted, defiant, pure, expecting no succor, wanting none. The solitary singer stuck through the bliss of heaven and made it delusion, turned its contentment into something not unalike to cowardice. Esteban knew the voice he was hearing, a song from the very brink of death in the maelstrom of angelic fury, the voice of Inambo his own flesh and blood. Inambo whose brash scallywag retorts had first roused the Grand Priest to emotion after centuries of somnambulism. Inambo whose eyes were a mirror of his own… and Esteban had no more bliss. In his mind’s eye he saw the rampaging angels in the world below, tearing the choir to pieces until one reached Inambo himself.
It was that thought caused the Grand Priest to rise and throw off the cloying miasma that moments ago had seemed like a state of heavenly bliss.
The voice of his little grandchild stopped suddenly. Esteban looked on the world and dozens of blazing cyclones are visible across its continents. The diaspora of the angels was becoming an apocalypse for the millions of mortals and had he listened Esteban would have heard their despairing cry.
But he heard nothing save the silence where Inambo’s song had been. He who had been the Fallen One, the Grand Priest, Esteban greatest of the immortal seraphim, opened his mouth and, taking giant strides towards the bridge, lifted his voice in an answering cry.
And all the world heard and did tremble.