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Fine parchment

‘Alethea, I have concerns about Brenzel, please meet with me at your earliest convenience.’ Feeling the parchment between her fingers, rubbing it over and over, she wondered, How do they get it so fine? (**should Alethea end this chapter by going to visit Dove in response to this? Or just take this part out, maybe?**)

Rising from her divan, Alethea summoned her servants with a thought, asking them to come quickly. How had things gotten so out of control? She thought back to the old days of endless peace and tranquility. Everyone happy, everything right. Two realities lay side by side, as if she were in both. Wings shimmered as they extended, orange gossamer feathers full of the first rays.

As servants came in and waited, Alethea turned to them. “I will fly before dawn, I will return before noon wane. Look to the southern regions should you need me.”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” the women said, their own wings folded demurely behind their backs as they bowed. Then, with a mighty thrust, Hala’s Orange Seraph flew off from the balcony of her Sanctuary, spires and porticos of her great palace disappearing into the vast green of the Northern Hemisphere.

Great beating wings

Above the billowy clouds, sun warmed her, causing her runes to glow brightly. The energy of the double suns seeped into porcelain skin making her feel warm and cherished. Great beating wings carried her southward, over ever younger forests. Following the river that issued from her sanctuary, she came to the edges where she sensed forest planting parties below, covering new roots of seedlings. Banking left, gliding along the equator, she turned right, moving over the Great Dune Sea, remembering how the ocean used to sparkle. Before the Hadite invasion, majestic vessels sailed Hala’s oceans, trading between the north and south ports. Aromatic woods, crafted into exquisitely useful things, flowed from the south, while bolts of the finest cloth lay in the holds of the southward bound ships.

Now, below her lay only an endless expanse of drifting sand, salt lakes, and the lingering effects of dark energy. The vaporization of the oceans had created a global ecological disaster making it difficult for her to manage the planet. Water vapor increased and weather patterns were disrupted, causing storms that frequently ravaged the bare lands, eroding vast areas of once fertile land. In the north, where most Halans lived, she kept them at bay, but elsewhere….well, there was only so much a Seraph could do.

Resting on thermals, by a high mountain, Alethea wondered why Dove wanted to see her in person? The time distance was considerable. I know Brenzel is here on assignment, she thought, but we agreed. Wasn’t it settled? 3 hadn’t mentioned anything the last time she spoke with him, and he generally knew what was going on with her sister. Six great wings flapped, pushing her onward towards the south.


Looking down as the Dune Sea abruptly ended, Alethea saw the old southern port city, now occupied by Hadite hoards. Yucky smoke belched out of a myriad of factories rising as a foul stench; pipes and other industrial monstrosities tangled in that rats nest of other-worldly technology. She lighted on one of the higher mountains overlooking the city. So high no one saw her, she focused on individuals in the streets.

One woman, dragging a cart full of and odds and ends, shouted about her used wares to all who passed by. Most ignored her, but some stopped to look, haggle, then move on. She limped, head covered against the dust, but Alethea could see the wrinkles around her dark eyes. In the north, all the people were healthy and young, but in the southern regions everyone was dying; some fast, some slow, but all were aging year by year.

She understood her people

She understood her people’s sentiment. After all, the Hadites had destroyed their Tree of Life during one of the last battles of the Great War. Admittedly, she also struggled to come to terms with impulses to destroy all of them and rid her planet of the plague of Hades. Yet, the Blue Seraph of Elysia, Dove, did help them plant another tree. It had grown tall, producing fruit enough and in time that no Halan had to endure hardship. However, the Hadites, or Haders as her people derisively called them, had no access to a Tree of Life and they were all dying, slowly, miserably.

She looked over to the temple in the middle of the city, a mockery of a true temple, where the Red Seraph’s high priestesses practiced their abominations and waited for her second coming. The mere thought of what they did to worship “Her Majesty” turned Alethea’s stomach. The bitter truth was that the Hadites who still remained on Hala after the Great War were those from Hades who were left here by their very own Red Seraph – abandoned and forgotten. They possessed only the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, allowed to grow only on their temple grounds. Its fruit prolonged life, but didn’t preserve it. It was a false hope; it could not heal, only let those who partook of it die slower. How she longed for the time of restoration, when this splinter could be removed, this nagging pain healed and dealt with once and for all.

Until then, we do what we can.

An ill wind

Alighting from her perch, she flew further towards the south, finding it increasingly difficult to push on. The negative energy of the region, a sure sign of Dark Tech, grew increasingly strong…like an ill wind. Turning west, she flew around the edges of it, growing tired as the field grew denser. It must be him, who else could it be? She thought. But, the Tech Wizard was sick with darkness even at the end of the war, he couldn’t have survived this long? Did someone else learn his secrets? Carry on his work? No one knew for sure, but the signs of his evil genius were increasing. The latest attack of Hatshepsut in Alfheim was just one of the many indications. In the south pole, the dark energy field was growing, places she could fly to only last year, were now impossible. Barred from my own planet! She groused to herself. If it grew too much, it would kill all the Hadites, too.

When Dove suggested that Brenzel be tasked with finding the Tech Wizard, initially Alethea thought it a bad idea. She was not Halan, and she did not understand the ways of the Hadites, either. However, Dove pointed out that the field of the Hat would protect her and those with her from the effects of the Dark Tech. All she needed to do was pinpoint where the wizard was and angels would do the rest. Alethea remembered looking at the Blue Seraph, wondering why she was changing. Her new charge, this Brenzel of Eden, seemed to have a hold on Dove that Alethea couldn’t fathom. To Alethea, Brenzel was a novelty, an unknown quantity added into an extremely delicate system on the brink of collapse. Besides, she was a brat, prone to outbursts and all kinds of irrational behaviors. It was her own patience and perseverance that had replanted the north and gotten her people this far. Why let Dove’s protegee wreck centuries of careful Halan work with her unpredictable ways?


(maybe have her see below her an effect of the dragon?) Yet, the dragon, in Alfheim! Whoever was responsible, only a portal machine could have transported that infernal beast into the midst of her city without her sensing it beforehand. Reluctantly, she’d agreed to Dove’s request to use Brenzel to find the Tech Wizard, but with grave reservations.

Abruptly, Alethea turned north again, flying swiftly over the wastelands, Dune Sea, and back over the pleasant great canopy of her forests. Sensing Fey, she slowed, looking at the city below slide past. Sighing, Alethea felt the hive mind growing, more than it had been last time. I hope your faith in your Edenite is well placed, sister.

With that, she shot towards Alfhiem like lightning.

*****note about her heading to Elysia?

Flying Back Home by SixKey