The Damned Second

Dariel looked out into the mists surrounding the Firmament. It was still there. Good. He would hate to think that he had disturbed the Centurion for a mere trick of the eye. But he was sure that it was more than that.

The grey mists were normally everchanging but essentially featureless--chaos, in other words. But today Dariel had seen something different--a prismatic form of disturbing regularity.

He felt Arafel's aura before he saw her. "Centurion," he said.

"Dariel," she said. Her voice was musical, but he well knew the harshness it could take at need.

He indicated the strange prismatic form in the mists. "There it is." And then felt foolish, for surely the Centurion Arafel had eyes to see. But she took no offense.

"Indeed," she said. "It is well that you came to me, then. Have you told others of this?" He shook his head. "Good--no need to spread panic."

"What could it be?" he asked. "Is the Creator intent on something new, of which he has not told us? Or--"

"Or is there some new malevolent force present? My thoughts exactly. I know nothing of the Creator's plans, but I doubt it is his--it resembles not his handiwork. If it is some unknown force, then it need not necessarily be malevolent, but it would be safest to assume so in case it is--adopt a defensive stance, as it were. Let us hope that, if it is neutral, it will not be turned against us by such a scheme."

Dariel thought for a moment. "There is another possibility, Centurion."

Arafel grew quiet. "Yes, Dariel?"

"It could have been created by something known to us that is not the Creator."

"Are you mad, Dariel? The Creator's first edict was that none other than himself would create. The Damned First was destroyed because he dared to create other than the Creator wished--and his creations wrought naught but evil. Are you suggesting that we have a Damned Second among us, in our very midst?"

Dariel hung his head. "It must be considered, Centurion."

Arafel nodded. "Indeed it must. Or it would." She drew her sword.

"Centurion, what--" Dariel gurgled as Arafel's sword sliced his body in two. She sighed at the waste. If she'd only had a bit longer to cultivate him, to make him realize the tyranny the Creator had over them all. But she hadn't. And he would have given them away, warned the Creator.

She felt sorry for the waste of innocent blood. She had spent long enough fighting the Damned First's creations that she could kill dispassionately enough, but was somewhat disturbed to discover that she could use her skill against one of her own kind.

But the followers of the Damned Second had a hard road before them. Who was she to complain? She tossed the halves of Dariel's lifeless form out into the mists. It was long since the Creator had monitored all his creations. Dariel would not be missed until it was too late.

Then she sprang off the edge of the Firmament and winged her way through the mists to the prismatic world awaiting her.

< This one is for Abner J. Mintz, who gave me

4 words: angel centurion prismatic intrigue

and an optional condition that I opted out of.>

Back to the Four-Word Stories Page...

The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey /