Flame and Shadow

By Joshua Carr All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Other

Chapter 70

A short time later, we were up in the air at 20,000 feet. Rachael skillfully piloted Teklos’ unconventional craft. If aliens were to invade earth, I would expect them to fly something like this. It was shaped somewhat like a disc, with several swooping fins on the sides and back. It also possessed advanced stealth capabilities. Most of the parts had Eisenaki’s logo printed on them. Teklos was getting really friendly with those guys.

For hours, we flew above the clouds. This was the calm before the storm. I knew the end was coming, but that’s all I knew. I hadn’t the slightest inkling what would await us at La Patata de Diablo. But whatever it was, our adventure was coming to a close.

After a long time of silence, Milo questioned Sera about something.

“I’ve been wanting to ask you this for a long time now, but didn’t know how. But, here it goes. Um, was Kyle…your boyfriend?”

Sera shook her head.

“No. We were just friends. He’d been my best friend for 6 years.”

“Are you sure? Because he seemed to act like…he liked you.”

“Nah… He wouldda told me.”

“Well, it’s possible he liked you and just didn’t know how to tell you. I’m pretty sure that I really liked you.”

She shook her head again.

“Nah…he wouldda told me. We told each other everything.”

Milo sighed. “OK…”

This flying machine was extraordinarily fast, and we were flying across the entire US in no time. When we were flying above California, Milo asked if we were planning on flying through the night, or stopping to rest. His question jerked Rachel from her sleep, and she decided it would be best if we stopped for a while, and continue on in the morning. The dark-skinned girl landed the craft in an abandoned field, behind a patch of trees. All four of us found a semi-comfortable spot to get some sleep, but I could have slept standing up. I wondered if Milo was uncomfortable being the only male around, surrounded by three females, but if he was, he didn’t show it.

First thing the next morning, Rachael made some preparations, and we quickly began to take off. This thing was awesome. I looked out one of the windows out into the field. To my surprise, there was a strange man running through the weeds toward us, waving his arms. He was wearing a familiar Hawaiian shirt.

“Larry?” I asked incredulously.

His muffled voice reached the interior of the aircraft.

“I knew it! I knew they were out there! They’ve come for me, man! ME! They’ve finally…”

“Oh my god takeoff takeoff takeoff.” Milo pressured Rachel to expedite the launching procedure.

She quickly complied, and in no time we were back in the air, leaving the raving hippie in our exhaust. In under an hour, we had reached the coast. I turned to Sera.

“Hey, are you gonna be alright? We’re going over the ocean now.”

She had a big smile on her face, though she was gripping her seat tightly.

“Yeah! Yeah! I’m good! Just…don’t make me look outside.”

We flew for a couple more hours southwest without any interruptions. It was so peaceful, and easy to forget everything that we’d been through so far. So many people died, so many changes have happened. Would it all be worth it? Could we really achieve our destiny? One thing I’d learned from this journey is that if anyone could do it, these two could. They were the strongest, most indomitable people I had ever met.

“Alright everyone, are you ready to land?” Rachael called out.

“Ah, yes. Land. That sounds good.” Sera confirmed.

The ship dropped out of the sky rapidly, and touched down, not on land, but splashed into the ocean.

“I thought you said LAND! Like as in…LAND! LANDING ON LAND! YEAH?”

“Nope. Hang tight. I’m going to take us over to the coast.”

A few moments later, the craft had taxied up to the shore of the tiny island. I would have been able to see across the entire thing, if it weren’t for an enormous volcano resting in the center, which dominated almost the entire surface. Thankfully, it was an extinct volcano, so we wouldn’t be taking any hot magma baths today.

“Thanks Rachael.” Milo said. “I don’t know what we would’ve done without you.”

“Yeah, no problem. Let’s do this.”

“Actually, I need you to stay with the ship.”

“Seriously? Is this your supposed chivalry shining through? I don’t need you to protect me.”

“No. I know. You kick major butt. But I have no idea what’s gonna happen. It’s quite possible there’s gonna be trouble, and I need you to be ready to drive getaway. You’re the only one who knows how to fly this thing. All I can do is crash helicopters.”

The young woman smiled.

“Fine. But you owe me one.”

“Yeah, yeah, take a number.” Milo snickered.

The twins and I left the ship and headed toward the volcano. There wasn’t much else to do, really. We walked across the brief course sandy coast, and climbed up some craggy rocks. After a few minutes, we came across a very suspicious flat spot. It was a perfect level circle cut into the mountain. The three of us stood on it, and looked down in disbelief. Taking up the majority of the circle was the emblem that was marked on the back of my hand; Tsalderk’s overlaid intersecting hooks atop Nahalore’s swooping wings.

“This is it. Are you guys ready?” I asked.

“Do it.” Sera commanded.

Milo just nodded.

My stomach was filled with butterflies. What would even happen? What was I doing? Was this a mistake? Well, too late to back down now!

I touched my palm to the ground, and focused all my power through the symbol. The lines on the circle began to glow a very light blue. Then, the light seemed to travel in wavy lines through the craggy rocks until it reached the mountain. Then, it formed a pattern almost identical to my markings as it swirled around the mighty volcano. Finally, the lights traveled downward to the base of the mountain, and created another pattern.

Gradually, all the places that glowed light blue faded dark red. My eyes widened. I saw what appeared to be giant chains wrapped around the mountain suddenly break in pieces and fly off. No one else must have seen that, or their reaction would have been a little more awestruck. Suddenly, it felt like my heart was just stabbed with a knife. I gasped in pain, my eyes even wider. Then the knife seemed to twist excruciatingly. My body twisted with it, until I fell to my hands and knees. Milo and Sera were worried and rushed to my side, but I was only marginally aware of them.

The incredible twisting pain reached its peak as the pattern near the base of the mountain began to move. Then we realized, the pattern wasn’t moving, the rock itself was opening a yawning crevasse into the volcano. After the hole had finished forming, the pain immediately vanished, and I collapsed to the ground.

“Wow. That was really something.” Sera commented. “Are you alright?”

“I’m not sure…” Something felt wrong.

I attempted to from a force field. That’s what was wrong. My power was gone.

“I’m sorry guys, but I can’t make shields anymore. You’ll have to be extra careful.”

“Hey, don’t worry, we’ll be fine.” Sera consoled. “Just take care of yourself, OK?”

“Yeah.”

The three of us proceeded to climb downward toward the large cavern that had just formed. The feeling I had was starting to get worse. This was not good. Sort of like déjà vu, like I had been there before, but couldn’t put my finger on what had happened.

After we entered the cave, we found ourselves walking along a perfectly flat floor within the volcano. There were several pits of lava. It was getting really hot in there, and I knew it wasn’t just me. Sera also began sweating.

“Um, guys, does anyone else have this really weird feeling…like…something really bad’s about to happen?”

Before I could even answer her, it did. On a large flat stone outcropping on the far side of the chamber, a figure began to stir. Then, slowly, it sat up, and dropped down to stand in front of the stony structure.

It was a man. He was tall; probably around 6’4” or more. His bold orange hair was the exact same color as Sera’s, but it was much longer and more flowing. He wore plain brown robes that looked like they had gone out of fashion over 2,000 years ago. His face was handsome, but the most startling feature about his entire body was his eyes. They looked almost identical to Sera’s, but seemed to burn with an infernal flame that threatened to leap out and consume us all. Feeling somewhat naked without my force fields, I hid behind Milo and Sera.

Actually, every part of his body was near perfection. Almost…superhuman, or angelic…

He stretched out his arms and worked kinks out of his neck, then addressed us, in English.

“Welcome, my children. I have been waiting for you. Well done.”

“Thanks dad.” Sera replied. “But um…who are you exactly?”

“Ah…the Fiery One. The deliverer of my power. I must admit, I was expecting someone a bit more masculine and heroic. But I digress. We have met before. When you almost died? I was there, inside you. I could not have the bearer of my power go and die, could I? I was only able to perform this action a single time, though, so it is a good thing you did not go around thinking you were invincible.”

“Are you…Seraphim?” Milo asked.

“And you must be the Shadowy One. ‘Wherever there is flame, there is shadow’. You are always there, guiding with your strength and wisdom. She never could have made it this far without you.”

I poked my head out to get a better look at him. His eyes flashed as he saw me.

“We meet again, Eqdachel.”

I had no idea what he was talking about. I think that I’d remember seeing someone that striking. I had no idea what to say, so I didn’t say anything.

“Quite a different situation than our last meeting. You were the one to imprison me here, and now you are the one to release me.”

I was thoroughly confused. What in the world did he mean?

He tilted his head slightly, still smiling.

“You do not remember anything…do you?”

I shook my head. What he was saying made no sense at all, but somehow, it sounded familiar. The angelic man continued speaking to all of us.

“My name is Mavethel. I knew that the words of Metatron would prove true, and I would have waited 10,000 years for this day. These mere 3,000 years have served as a fuel for my ire. It will be worth all of the wait. I thank each of you for your roles in bringing the end to the plague upon this planet. The plague of life.”

“Waitaminute, what?” Sera reacted to what the seraph said.

“It is judgement day, my child. My flames will extinguish every glimmer of life that exists on this world.”

Mavethel then turned his head to face heaven.

“Are you listening, father? You will pay for my banishment. I will destroy these pitiful creatures you love so much, that you would dare to make in your image, that you would mock our perfect angelic creation! We shall see how you can come return to fulfill your word if the entire earth has perished in flames! You lose! HA HA HA!! I WILL MAKE YOU A LIAR!! YOU Will PAY!!”

The celestial being had become enshrouded with darkness as he screamed upward. In fact, the entire cavern seemed to be twisting into shadows. The volcano rumbled, as though it were threatening to erupt. Yeah, we definitely made a mistake. This monster wasn’t satisfied with simply destroying people, he wanted to eradicate the entire planet, and cause God’s Holy Word in the Bible to fail to come to pass, effectively negating God’s Omniscience and Omnipotence.

That’s not good. Like, nightmare quality level of not good.

The seraph turned back to us, with his pleasant smile having returned to his face.

“And it is all thanks to you.”

“And us.”

Milo, Sera and I turned quickly around, to see my father entering through the opening in the mountain. He was accompanied by Mara, Dorian, and Urlacher. Then, Geoffrey, the new scorpion, stumbled in. He was missing his right arm, and part of his tail, but his left claw was covered in blood that wasn’t his. Rachael…

“Cape of Wrath…” Growled Sera.

My father was carrying the Book of Prophecy, which he tossed to me. I caught the heavy book with an oof.

“Here. I don’t need this anymore.”

“Ah, yes!” Mavethel’s face lightened. “I was aware of your efforts to release me, and for that I am deeply appreciative.”

“OK, that’s it. What’s going on here?!” Sera fumed.

She was afraid, and she acted angry when she was afraid.

“Oh, my dear, in a matter of moments you will be one with me, and you will understand all. But I can give an explanation for the benefit of your companions. You see, in ages past, Yahweh, the Father, created the angels. We were perfection. We were capable of doing anything imaginable, and not constrained by any limitation. We were the perfect creation, singing praises and serving the Most High for all time, without the knowledge of good and evil.

“But when Lucifer exalted himself above the Father, he was cast down. Every angel that elected to follow Lucifer was also cast down. Those who remained, myself included, remained loyal to the Father. However, we watched mankind be created, and we watched them fall. Why would the Father create such a pathetic, weak, sinful, dirty, evil creature, when he still had so many of his perfect sons left? And in His own image…He loved them…YOU more that the rest of his blameless angels. I began to wish I had thrown my lot in with Lucifer.

“I devised a plan to overthrow His perfect order. Following the example of the fallen angels before the Great Flood, I descended to earth, entered the physical plane of existence, and had relations with a human woman. I pledged my power to my offspring, and this new breed of Nephilim would not only corrupt the human race, but would destroy it.

“However, I became aware that an incarcerating angel had been dispatched to lock me away. Before it could reach me, I sent the majority of my power into my children. That way, when it emerged, my son or daughter could bring it back to me. I did not know how many years it would take for the Fiery One to be born, and I did not care. Just before the imprisoner found me, I came across a tome written by The Celestial Scribe Metatron. It was penned in eternal veridity that the Fiery One and Shadowy One would free me, and the world word burn. The fact that it was written in the Book of Prophecy made it as certain as though it had already happened.”

He then pointed his mighty finger at me.

“That was when you showed up. You…You locked my physical form here within this accursed mountain, and chained my spiritual form here to await eternal judgment. Well, now you have freed me, the prophecy will be complete, and it will be all of YOU who will burn!”

He kept talking to me like he knew me. Maybe I remind him of someone else. Although, some part of me felt like what he was saying could…possibly…be at least partially true…

Then, my father began to speak.

“When I explained everything to you about Teklos back in my lair, I lied. The true reason Teklos was founded, was to bring the end of mankind. My ancestors saw that no good could ever come from humans. When we found the Book of Prophecy, it became our mission to see that it WOULD come to pass. THAT was why we pitted Nahalore and Tsalderek against each other, and culled their populations to keep one from growing too strong. They both had to survive until the Fiery One and Shadowy One could appear. We watched day and night for the Children of Prophecy to come, that way we could guide them to free the Seraph, and bring this evil world to an end.

“The reason the words of the Book were removed was to prevent Tsalderek and Nahalore from finding the true meaning of the prophecy, and attempt to thwart it. The end had to come. So my great great etc. grandfather bound them to his wife, and they were passed to her daughters through the ages until the words would be needed again.”

The caped man turned to me.

“I never blamed you for killing your mother. What truly happened was: even at an early age, it had become painfully obvious to me that Tabal was not the type of girl that we needed. No matter how hard we tried to condition her, she only wanted to protect people, and never hurt them. So your mother and I decided to try again. I felt, somehow, that the end was near, and I wanted to perform a demonic ritual to give the new offspring more power. Your mother did not survive the ritual, but you did. Although you were nothing special, I chose to make you hate me, and lie to you that I did not want the prophecy to be completed. That way, you would work to complete it, just to fight against me, and it would be done. Hate is a far stronger motivator that love.”

“You…manipulated me…and Tabal…with your lies… to get us to complete a world-ending prophecy!?” I could hardly believe it.

My father laughed.

“I manipulated all of you. Did you really think you’d have half a chance of doing the stuff you did if I actually wanted you dead? I was forcing you to complete the prophecy!”

I was hurt, but Milo and Sera were furious. They probably would have attacked the man if not for the resuming of Mavethel’s speaking.

“Wonderful! You humans are more entertaining than I gave you credit for! That was beautiful! My servants all have their own motivations, but ultimately, they all wanted the earth to end. Except for the water-caller. I promised him that my wrath would only destroy all humans, and he could be the king over the surviving Nephilim. HA! Well, he has served his purpose. Now, with no further delay, let us begin.”

Mavethel then addressed my father.

“Abimilech Shomal Nouri. You have served me faithfully, guiding all of the other unwitting pawns in this scheme to assist in this judgement, so you shall be privileged to go first. May these flames carry you into your eternal darkness.”

My father bowed his head.

“Thank you, master.”

The angel slowly raised his arm perpendicular to his body. An enormous tongue of fire flicked forward, and incinerated the man instantly. Only a small pile of ash remained where my father was. I would cry with sadness, but I had forgotten to bring my box of tissues with soothing lotion, so I decided not to bother. It was actually more challenging not to laugh.

Dorian and Mara remained perfectly calm, but Urlacher and Geoffrey panicked.

“This is not what I signed up for!” Urlacher exclaimed, and sprinted for the door.

Before he could escape, another bolt of flames came from the seraphim’s hand, and the giant man was consumed. Geoffrey, however, took a different approach. With a battle cry, he charged toward the angelic fiend.

Mavethel smiled and released a raging inferno toward the cyborg. Geoffrey kept attacking, through the fire. He screamed with pain as his flesh was burned, but he continued forcing himself onward through the flames with intent to kill. Eventually, all that was left were his cyborg parts, until those too, melted away to nothing, the blades only inches from the face of the angel’s human form.

“Well, that is one way to do it.” He stated. “Now for you. Mara Thomas.”

The woman stepped forward, strong and confident. She knew what was coming.

“You have served me faithfully for many years. Because of the death of everyone that you cared about, you want all of humanity to perish. I do not blame you. I welcome you into eternal darkness.”

Mara did not flinch as the tongue of fire reached for her. Dorian, however, did.

“NOOOO!!” He screamed, and dove in between the conflagration and the woman.

The man attempted to absorb the energy with his nullifying gloves. It worked for some time, until the right glove was overloaded. The resulting surge sent him and Mara flying backward.

“Fascinating.” The seraph observed. “One who would sacrifice his life to save one who wanted to die. You humans are quite the queer bunch. I must commend the bravery, though, as well as the use of those gloves. I am only at about 5% of my unweakened power, but the fact that it can even hold a second against me is quite the testament to its design. I wonder who made them… Well, I shall deal with you in a moment.”

The angel turned his attention to Sera.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, my daughter, my Fiery One. We have waited for thousands of years for each other. You were destined to complete me. Now, come.”

Instantly, something appeared to come over Sera, and she began walking like a zombie toward him.

“Sera…SERA! What’re you doing?” Milo attempted to get through to her, but she was dead to him.

“Yes…that is it. I will absorb your powers, your memories, your very soul…and you will utterly cease to exist. Then, I will have recovered enough of myself to bring this despicable firmament to an end.”

I watched in horror as the girl continued walking forward. Her eyes were glowing with an unearthly flame, just like his. Then, bright orange wings made of fire began to unfurl from her back. Her path took her directly over a patch of molten magma, but she just kept walking. Her shoes and socks burned off due to the extreme heat, but she just kept walking.

Mavethel continued to hold his hand out straight in front of him, beckoning her to come. When Milo saw that his words were having no effect on his sister, he decided to take a different approach. Without the angel noticing, Milo came around the side of the stone outcropping. Then, he attacked with a powerful sucker punch.

It didn’t work. The mighty seraphim caught his fist, and threw him aside.

“Valiant effort, human, but you cannot hope to even lay a finger on me.”

I could only watch in stressful horror as all this took place. If only I hadn’t lost my powers, I could jump in to help. But now, there was nothing I could do. Instead, I ran over to where Mara was kneeling beside Dorian.

“You idiot. What were you doing?” She asked him softly.

Dorian was struggling to breathe, but he looked like he would live.

“I know we’ve talked for years about ending this world. We have perfectly good reason to want to do that. But…when it came down to it…I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to just throw away humankind like that. And…I wasn’t ready to lose you.”

“Wh-what?” Mara’s cheeks flushed, and Dorian reached up a gloved hand to stroke her face, right at her hairline.

Dorian turned his head to see me standing there. He then removed his left glove.

“Here. This one still works. Give it to that kid. Tell him to only use it to misdirect attacks, not directly absorb.” He tossed me the glove, and I caught it.

“Oh, yeah… one more thing. Give ’em hell!”

I nodded, and sprinted back toward Milo. He was picking himself off the ground following Mavethel’s last playful counter attack. I handed him the left glove, and relayed Dorian’s message. Milo nodded.

“Thanks. I have less than thirty seconds before Sera makes it to him. I’ve gotta hit him hard.” With that, he headed back after the angel.

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