Where Giants Rest
Location: Italian Countryside
The arrival of night brought with it a drop in temperature. The sky was devoid of clouds on this night; the only light being the occasional winking of distant stars as an exhausted middle-aged man stared skywards. The bags he usually carried under his eyes had now developed into full suitcases as he held the raw bundle of energy he fondly called a daughter safely against his chest. Her tiny palms were spread wide, fist closing around what appeared to be a close star. Incomprehensible words tumbled from her lips followed by a fit of giggles as she continued to play her private game of hide and seek.
From the top left corner of the sky, a shooting star raced across the night. The little one’s eyes spread in wonder as the glowing light disappeared below the tops of the tall trees and out of sight. She clapped her hands once before turning her face into her father’s shirt; seemingly abundant energy disappearing just as quickly as the falling star, as sleep now became the primary objective.
Pressing a kiss to the messy curly on her head, the father turned his back to the night.
The Archangel Gabriel flared her wings as she approached the clearing, the crisp night air filtering through her feathers as she slowed the blinding pace she had flown across the sky with. Her transition from flight to long, even strides was flawless; sandaled feet carrying her across the long stretch of low cut lawn leading up towards a looming convent. She has arrived under no concealment, immediately feeling the weight of various sentries following her movements.
Pursing her lips, Gabriel let out three hoots akin to a large owl.
After a pause, three shrill whistles were given in response.
Seconds later as she reached the top of the convent’s stairs, one side of the large oak door was pulled inwards, spilling light unto the steps.
“Good evening, Your Grace,” the nun, dressed in her traditional garb; save for the headset plugged into one ear greeted.
“Sister Francine,” Gabriel greeted in the same Italian, a smile warming her features at the joy contained in the light brown eyes of the convent’s head nun, “How are thou?”
“Your Grace, permission?”
“Granted,” Gabriel replied serenely, extending her hands forward.
Only the head nuns of the respective convents around the world were allowed to touch or make contact with an Archangel and before such contact was made, it required the Archangel’s shielding of his or her power lest a mortal incinerate themselves due to sheer curiosity. The relationship was a sacred and well-kept secret passed from generations of mortals and angels alike – the mortal convents charged with providing sanctuary and a place to meditate while angelkind ensured the safety of the pure souls dwelling within.
During the aftermath of the Falling, many of those that had crashed to earth sought out the pure souls of both nuns and priests alike in the hopes of returning them to their former glory. Many were lost; a fact that still pained Gabriel to her core – her memories never having faded as it did for the rest of her kind. Now, she took comfort knowing that the convents were now monitored around the clock by sentries armed with blessed ammunition.
“Have you come to see Him?” Sister Francine asked, releasing the Archangel’s hands. Even shielded from the Archangel’s true, natural power, the nun’s eyes glowed from the brief interaction.
“Yes Sister, has there been any change?”
“I fear none of us would know,” the nun replied with a shake of her head, “All were warned to keep well clear of His resting place.”
“A wise move,” Gabriel murmured as she entered through the large door; wings tucked tightly to her back, “You may stand down the sentries until I depart – no harm shall come while I am here.”
“Thank you, Your Grace,” Sister Francine replied before lifting a finger to her ear and giving the command for her younger sisters to return to the armoury.
From the perimeter, or even an aerial view, the convent gave off the impression of a large building made up solely of sleeping quarters and rooms for prayers – the only thing out of the ordinary was the dome of tinted, one-sided glass that made up its ceiling. Yet, as the tall oaken door closed behind her, effectively closing her into the armoury, Gabriel could see the beauty of the indoor courtyard through metal bars. Nodding at the young sentry who stared at her with wonder-spread eyes, Gabriel waited patiently as sister Francine imprinted her palm on the scanner, taking note of the beautiful yellow petals that covered the grass; the large tree growing from the centre of the courtyard reaching the height of the building’s second storey. As the door reclosed behind both Gabriel and the head nun, a hush fell over the nuns gathered beneath the tree’s outstretched arms and one by one the all prostrated in the Archangel’s direction.
“Please, carry on,” she addressed the small crowd, reaching down to remove her sandals; content to walk through the rows of petals on bare feet.
Half of an hour later found Gabriel slipping her feet back into the familiar feel of her leather slippers. Her large, silver hued wings were draped along the length of a pew in one the convent’s five chapels, the glow emanating from the table giving both herself and Sister Francine’s skin a silvery shine. Boxes of weapons and crates of ammunition glowed from the aftermath of the Archangel having imbued them with a silver of her essence.
“I shall go to see Him now,” Gabriel spoke, voice reverberating in the small chapel located beneath the east wing of the convent.
“As you wish, Your Grace,” the nun replied with a regal nod of her head, “Shall I escort you?”
“I see no reason why not,” she replied with an outstretched hand, “Come.”
The nun never felt the sensation of moving, not in all her sixty-five years of age; forty-seven of which she had known that angels existed. Sounds were all that told her she had moved – the sound of Gabriel’s large wings powerful enough to move them at blinding speed and the sound of running water flowing from the fountain and into the wide basin in the centre of the underground chamber they had just entered. The small waves the run-off created lapped up against the four-foot-high slab of rock that the pool surrounded.
On this rock lay Michael, the Archangel…
From head to toe, the warrior Archangel measured a muscular six foot seven inches of sculpted marble; too exquisite and lifelike to have been shaped by mortal hands. Dressed as He was in the ceremonial wear of an Archangel, Michael’s large fists were clenched around the pommel of His sword, the tip of the blade pointing in the direction of his sandaled feet. Leaving the nun where she stood with her head bowed, prayers spilling from her lips, Gabriel stepped into the small pool of clear water, the edges of her black ceremonial dress immediately soaked up to her calves. The tiny hairs on her bare arms stood rigid as she neared Michael’s resting place; the raw heat that was his power generating a small force field where he lay frozen in rest.
After several quiet minutes had rolled past, Gabriel’s voice echoed softly against the walls of the cavern, “There is a war coming.”
Sister Francine felt the trickle of sweat that rolled down between her shoulder blades, staring at the width of the Archangel’s wings spread to their maximum. Near the edges of each of the powerful being’s feathers, a slight silver glow emanated, matching the same shade as the Archangel’s eyes. The nun’s throat dried at the suddenly lethal look in the eyes boring into her own. In this moment, she looked every bit as the historic texts described; the same Archangel that had moved from household to household, erasing those without the mark.
“What would you have us do, Your Grace?” the mortal woman asked.
“Make your peace,” Gabriel replied after a pause, “Alert the other convents that the resting angels may soon wake and of course, prepare those under your charge.”
“What of His Grace?” Sister Francine asked, glimpsing at the stone slab.
“My brother will wake when he is ready,” she replied, wings lifting slightly with her shrug.
“We will be ready,” the nun replied with a proud tilt of her chin.
Gabriel gave no response as she resumed looking at Michael’s resting form, drawing solace from the taste of his energy. It had been a long time since she had rested in the angelic way – calcifying herself into a jade statue that burned upon contact; the outer layer a powerful defence mechanism. During these rare moments of rest, angels were much more sensitive to sensations, thus they generated a force strong enough to dispel outside influences from piercing that veil of sleep. Alas, Gabriel thought as she ran her palm against her brother’s forearm; the searing heat soaking into her being, there shall be no such rest for me.
The crisp night air kissed their faces as Gabriel returned them above ground, this time to the back of the convent, on a courtyard of flat, daily-cut lawn littered with wooden benches. Near to the semicircle of trees that served as a border between forest and convent, several nuns outfitted not in traditional garb, but military grade gear, launched throwing knives unto targets hanging from branches at varying heights.
“I shall leave you now,” the Archangel murmured, reaching a hand into the sky to pull what could only be described as a piece of the night sky – a black curtain filled with twinkling stars, out of thin air.
Sister Francine’s eyes spread wide as she saw the Archangel begin to disappear before her very eyes, as layer after layer of Gabriel’s body became shrouded in the night’s carpet. Her words of farewell were lost in the wake of the other being’s departure as a gust of wind tore at her clothing. She stood with eyes skyward, straining to discern the flying figure as the dried leaves swirled around her in a vortex.
The summoned immortal supported his weight on all fours, listening to the shallow and excited breaths coming from all around him. Half-opening his eyes, he felt the grip of a palm beneath his chin, skin crawling at the contact. Everything in his powerful body screamed at him in revulsion. The hand belonged to a man that topped out at just under six feet tall, dressed in an all-white robe that dwarfed his already slight frame. In his other hand, the robed man clutched a white papered book to non-existent chest muscles, eyes wild with the adrenaline of a successful summoning.
“Arise, King of Hell!” the zealot ordered, applying upward pressure to the base of Lucifer’s chin. Behind him, the members of the cult that stood outside of the leader’s circle gasped in disbelief as the Fallen angel with wings of purest white obeyed the command.
The light was annoying, an annoyance that was dealt with by a negligent burst of power. The bulbs blew with a pop, the white powder inside, falling to the floor as simultaneously, several wicks caught aflame. There, much better, he thought to himself before opening his eyes fully. Lucifer could sense them all. He could smell the rot of money that leaked from each of the thirteen gathered; giving them a false sense of power. Beneath the stench of old money, the smell of the lone female’s desire wafted beneath his nostrils. He breathed it in deeply, rolling his shoulders before looking down from his six foot plus height at the cult’s leader, “What is the meaning of this?”
The soft, melodic tone swayed the leader, Makieff Schneider’s body as the music that was Lucifer’s voice moved through him. His grip tightened on the book he held as the former Archangel, whose white pupils gleamed out of pitch black corneas bore into his soul with its gaze. Fighting the compulsion that whispered at him to undress and pledge his allegiance, Makieff puffed out his chest before replying, “You have been called forth to serve us and us alone.”
Lucifer smiled sweetly as his palm gripped the man’s face with preternatural speed.
“I order you to kneel before your -” Makieff began, his muffled sentence having no chance of completion as his head caved inwards, bloody brain matter leaking from his ear and with an inaudible crack, his jaw snapped grotesquely.
“Reverse the summons!”
“Oh God!” someone shouted.
“God has nothing to do with this!” Lucifer roared, dropping the twitching body of the now lifeless leader to the floor before tearing through two more cloaked members; arms ripped out similar to the sound of ripping paper.
Lucifer moved at a speed that was nowhere near his maximum, yet to the remaining ten that tried to clamber over one another in an attempt to make it to the door, he seemed to simply teleport. With a beat of his wings, he passed over the group to land between them and the door leading outwards. In the blink of an eyes, he stood in the centre of the group in a crouch, watching their expressions turn to horror in slow motion as he opened his wings to their full length, a responding scream echoed as one of those struck by his wing landed headfirst into a pile of firewood; igniting like a firework on impact.
The former Archangel laughed as he rendered limbs separate from torsos, mimicking the bug-eyed expressions of fear those dying or close to dying exhibited. He spat into the face of a pudgy zealot as the force of his punch collapsed the man’s chest inwards; the material at the back of his robe splitting. Lucifer executed all but one in quick time to stand in the centre of the circle where his afternoon had begun. Placing his hands at the small of his back, he bent his knees slightly before leaning backwards in a stretch; wings spread wide and held off the ground. Straightening as the sound of pages turning coupled with laboured breathing reached his ears, Lucifer turned to lock eyes with the female worshipper.
She clutched the summoning book in her uninjured hand; her other hanging limply at her side. Throwing the book down in frustration at her inability to understand the words contained in the text, the pain that shot through her side had her gasping. At the centre of the loosely scattered dead, stood the being Mr. Schneider had promised they would have been able to control. His chest was muscled and naked, decorated only by sprinkles of blood that now bubbled and dissolved off of his skin, His hips and legs were covered in a pair of jet black, leather trousers that hugged his muscular lower limbs. He stood with arms folded, lighting tapping the pure white boots he wore as he waited; seemingly on her arrival from behind the post she had struck when his wings had made contact.
“Come to me, cherie,” Lucifer invited, biting his lip slightly as he spread both arms and wings. The woman gave a responding bite of her own lip as she stared at the hypnotic welcome the Fallen angel exhibited – the room feeling as if it shrunk with each step in his direction. As she stepped into his personal space, the heat of his seeped into her clothes, melting away the fabric until she stood naked before him; a bead of sweat running down the centre of her toned stomach.
Their lips met in a clash of soft skin, similar to two marshmallows being pressed together, the angel’s wings draping her naked body as he cupped the back of her neck. Lucifer dominated the kiss with ease, holding the mortal in place; nails softly digging into the muscles of his chest as she rubbed against the leather pants he wore. It was only until she began to struggle in earnest that he let her come up for air.
“I am burning up!” she gasped, clutching unto his shoulders.
“Yes, indeed you are,” Lucifer replied conversationally, unfolding his wings from around her body to reveal her charred skin, the flames he produced having already reached the underside of her breasts.
“But why?” she gasped in confusion; face now awash with a mixture of pain and desire.
“Because you dared to control a King,” the former Archangel replied, capturing her pink lips once more as she turned to ash in his arms. Breaking the kiss, Lucifer stepped free of where she once stood, nothing remaining of her except a neat pile of ash with a pair of perfectly formed lips sitting atop.
END OF EPISODE