Dark Journey Chapter 1 Part 6

February 16, 2010
By , Vassalboro, ME
Kerri felt hands grab her arms. She reacted instinctively, pulling the sword from beneath her pillow and slashing out. She opened her eyes and was momentarily blinded by the pure light that seemed to be coming from her attackers.
“Cease, child,” one said, the voice female.
“Get your hands the f*** off me!” Kerri shouted slashing out again. Then she felt herself yanked out of the bed and suddenly they were airborne.
Kerri froze, looking down, her sword still in hand. They rushed over the sleeping city, headed for the sea. The warm wind whipped around Kerri’s nude body as she hung suspended between her two captures.
“What the hell are you?” she whispered, stunned. She heard a chuckle, and looked up at her other capture, the male.
“Have you never seen angels before, Kerri the Murderess?” he asked, his voice harsh and steely, no emotion in the pitiless tone.
“No,” Kerri replied, anger curling in her stomach. “Angels don’t visit the likes of me.”
“Indeed, we don’t,” the female said, derision dripping from her voice. “We only come to lay judgment upon the condemned.”
“Then why the hell haven’t I seen you before?” Kerri shot back, tightening her grip on Blood-drinker compulsively. She longed to strike out at her capturers, but the rushing city had turned to dark waves now and a fall from this height would surely cost Kerri her life.
The male let out a bark of laughter and as if on a silent signal the two angels stopped, their wings pumping steadily. The female stretched out her hand and began to whisper strange, arcane words. Fog gathered around the trio, momentarily blurring Kerri’s vision. She shook her head, trying to clear her eyes. Then the fog settled in a thick, solid strip beneath their feet.
The two angels suddenly let go of Kerri. She bit back a scream as she fell, her heart jumping in her throat. Kerri’s feet hit the fog and crumpled, causing her pitch forward before regaining her balance. The bitter wind whipped around her, raising goosebumps all across her skin. Kerri refused to rub herself for warmth, staring at the celestial beings rebelliously.
“Well?” she said, addressing the towering male. “Do you enjoy staring at my body, or will you do the courtesy of providing me with clothing?”
“You deserve no courtesy, murderess,” the female spat, floating down to stand before Kerri, her gold eyes burning. Kerri felt the familiar warmth of fury gripping her heart, and she grasped her sword tighter, ready to attack.
“Zoya,” the male said sharply, floating down beside the other angel. “Be calm, sister.”
“Sister?” Kerri asked, surprised. “You two are siblings.”
“That is no concern of yours, mortal,” Zoya snarled, her eyes never leaving Kerri’s. The male exhaled, his breath sounding suspiciously like a sigh. He raised his hand and, lips moving silently, gathered wooly white clouds around his fingers. Gesturing with his other hand, the male draped the clouds around Kerri’s form, letting them settle around her body. The clouds swirled and shifted, then settled, taking the form of the finest cloth.
“Thanos!” Zoya exclaimed, turning on her brother. Electricity pulsed between the two immortals. Kerri could almost see the thoughts flashing between their minds, like lightning leaping from cloud to cloud.
“Remember what we are here for,” Thanos said quietly, a thread of anger in his voice.
“Yes,” Zoya replied. “Let us finish this matter.” The two immortals turned on Kerri, looming above her. Kerri felt the sheer power rolling off these beings, crashing against her senses. She was swamped by the urge to bow down before them, paying homage to them and their masters.
Kerri shook her head viciously, defiance and pride keeping her on her feet, though her knees wished to bend. The urge to obey, to show herself humble before these angels, fought with her anger and stubbornness.
“I will bow to no one,” Kerri hissed through clenched teeth, glaring up into the burning eyes above her.
“We are the Angels of Life and Death!” Thanos boomed, his voice taking on a double timber, almost as if someone else was talking through him. The two angels began to glow and burn, getting brighter and brighter with every word. “We are the Twins, born from blood and starfire. We are the consorts of the Master and Dark Lady. We speak in their voice. You will bow!”
“F*** you, and your keepers,” Kerri spat, leaning on Blood-drinker in order to hold herself up.
“Kerri of the Assassins, you have been charged with the crime of murdering a Priest of Life,” Zoya said, her voice deeper and more powerful, causing Kerri’s ears to ring. “I come in the stead of my Master, Life himself, to punish you!”
“I’ve killed before,” Kerri hissed back, glaring at the burning forms. “Why haven’t your oh-so-glorious masters tried to punish me then?”
“Because this time,” Thanos replied. “You have gone too far. You have tortured a Priest of Life, desecrating his body, ripping it apart. The fact that you can do this to your own kin shows just how far gone you are, Kerri of the Assassins.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Kerri snarled, shielding her eyes from the blazing glow coming off the angels in front of her. “He wasn’t my kin. I have no kin. I’m an orphan, a street brat.”
“That is where you are wrong, ignorant child,” Zoya spat. “Brynn was your brother. You were separated at birth by that woman who raised you.”
“Vixen knew?” Kerri asked, her rage burning so hot it was cold. “She sent me to kill my own brother?”
“Of course she knew,” Zoya replied viciously. “After all, she –”
“Zoya!” Thanos snapped. “Remember the task at hand.” Zoya shot Thanos a look filled with anger and a touch of jealously.
“Speak on, brother,” was all she said, her eyes never leaving his. Thanos’ hand tightened into a fist. He took a deep breath and relaxed, letting his hands hang loose at his sides.
“Kerri of the Assassin,” Thanos boomed as he turned back to Kerri. “In the voice of my Dark Mistress, the Dark Lady Death, and by her will, I give you a choice: repent from your sins by taking on a holy mission in the name of the Creators, or be taken by Death and tormented for all eternity in the bitter canyons of the Abyss.”
“Well that’s not much of a choice,” Kerri retorted, his voice echoing in her head. She shook herself, her nails digging into the skin of her palm. The pain roused her, allowing her to concentrate. “What the hell is this holy mission you’re talking about?”
“Four Disciples of Life and Death are going to begin their travel to the Convent of Unity this dawn,” Thanos replied. “Go with them and act as their guardian, protecting them from all harm, and your soul might be saved.”
“So, my choices are either go straight the Abyss and be tormented for all eternity, or escort a group of useless Disciples across some of the most dangerous land in Tavor, and still probably end up in the Abyss,” Kerri said, crossing her arms and glaring at the angels, fighting to meet the eyes of the celestial creatures. “I think the Abyss sounds better, personally.”
“If you bring the Disciples to the Convent of Unity unharmed and pure, your sins will be forgiven,” Thanos replied, looking deep into Kerri’s eyes, as if longing to see into her mind. “You must choose.”
“Quit looking at me,” Kerri snarled, trying to break his gaze.
“You must choose, mortal,” Thanos replied, his dark green eyes glowing.
“You’re not helping,” Kerri said, her chest tightening. She fought to breathe, but the weight of those eyes was too much.
“Choose, Kerri of the Assassins,” Thanos commanded. Kerri’s eyes slid in and out of focus, black creeping in around the edge of her vision. She swayed, trying to stay upright.
“Thanos, what are you doing to her?” Zoya asked, her voice low, golden eyes watching the mortal before them fight to stay upright.
“I am doing nothing,” Thanos replied softly. “The Dark Lady is using me to contact this child. I cannot stop it.”
Kerri felt a great, dark presence in her mind, riffling through her thoughts. She fought against the intrusion, gripping Blood-drinker so hard her fingers turned white. The darkness clouded her mind, and she felt her legs give out.
Thanos reached forward and caught Kerri as she fell, lowering her onto the fog. Her breathing was shallow and her face pale. A wild, feverish light burned in her vivid blue eyes as she gasped.
“What do you choose, mortal?” Thanos demanded, gripping her hair and forcing her to look at him.
“I choose,” Kerri said, her voice soft and choking. “Life! I choose life! I will not go with Her. I choose the mission.” With that her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out.
Thanos stood and looked at the limp form at his feet. He felt a dark brush on his mind, light as a feather, caressing him.
Hurry home, Thanos, Death whispered, her voice a purr. Gabriel and I miss you greatly. We will be waiting for you in bed. Take care of this mortal filth and come back to us.
Then she was gone. Thanos sighed and looked at his sister. She was looking at him, her golden eyes cold and uncaring. Thanos could find no trace of emotion in her face, though he knew she had heard the whispers in his head.
“Come,” she said coldly, gesturing to Kerri. “Let us take this filth to the Head Priestess of Life. She will know all.” With that she leaped into the air and, with one word, allowed the fog to dissipate. Thanos grabbed Kerri before she fell, holding her in his arms as they flew back towards the town.

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