Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Short Story Sunday: That Holy City

Graft Angelrott dreamed of the end of history. Not because he wanted to, not because he believed in it, but because he had to. It was the only way he could make sense of it all, the only way he could do what he did.
He outstretched his wings, white and radiant, and leapt from the parapet. He enjoyed the feeling of the wind lifting up his wings, kissing his feathers, and touching the flesh beneath. He began his patrol of the City of God’s parameter. He kept his eyes focused on his left flank. The Land of Abomination was vast and waste, not trees, no vegetation at all really, some thorns and briar patches, but that was the extent of it. He couldn’t see any Thirds out there, but you never know, he’d been told some Thirds had taken pot-shots at Golden-wing near the South Tower not two days before. Though a massive search of the area had been conducted the enemy was never found.
He fancied a peek at the Solomonic Court to his right as he neared the East Tower. Mortals robed in white walked about, oblivious to the Warrior above. They held hands, ate grapes, juggled, jogged on the golden roads, a few of the pious held beads and prayed. The king’s harem tittered away, unmindful of the Eunuchs watching over them.
Graft chuckled to himself, though it wasn’t exactly a pleasant sort of chuckle.
He landed at the East Tower and checked in, swiping his identity card in the machine. When the light flashed green he took to the air again.
He flew on; a little more wary the farther south he got. The Weere-woods that lay far outside the walls spooked even him. Only the Arch brigade dared enter them. Most said the Archs had went native, that they were practically demons, no one said this to their four dragon-like faces of course. No looking into the 8 burning sapphire eyes of an Arch even the bravest lost their courage. One of Graft’s pub-mates, Zane Ladyfeather, had been on patrol with the Archs once. He’d came back a much more solemn being.
When Graft stopped at the South Tower he took a long draught of water from his canteen. He looked over the wall. The Temple was grand; there were marble statues everywhere. Paul, Peter, even Jesus, were depicted in fine form. Candles burnt at their feet, rose pedals lay there too.
He swiped his card through the machine and waited. It took some time; one of the other sentries was late in arriving at one of the other posts. He took another swig from his canteen, then replaced it in the mesh pouch at his hip. The positive green light came on. He could continue.
After a short time the beginnings of The Hole came into view. The fallen Western Tower lay long out into The Land of Abomination, like a beached whale, crumbled and prostrate. The once perfect wall had been patched up as best the immortals could, but the Third’s bomb had been… devastating. Everything had changed. The refugees from beyond the wall who had used to come to the beggars corner had been turned away. Yet they came back. Eventually Solomon had ordered the Warrior-Saints to ride out and remove them so the repairs could be finished.
He landed at the stubby Western Outpost and again slid his ID card through and got a green light to continue.
Graft hated the Outpost. All except the Archs, with their massive wingspan, had to take a running jump to get airborne. So he took his bi-daily daring leap off the Outpost and fell toward the ground. His wings strained to push him up as he came closer still to the Abominable ground.
And then he was aloft again. He looked off to the northwest. Nothing. No trains of humble pilgrims or refugees. A good thing too, Graft realized, overcoming his own sentimentality. Pilgrims and refugees had become Thirds and he would have to shoot them on sight.
I miss the old days, he thought as he neared the Northern Tower.