Ryan was completely knocked out. I wasn’t sure how great that was in hindsight. I mean he can see through Mars’ eyes and could have given us the upper hand. But, really… how often are you trying to exorcize a demon that’s in someone while it’s also knocking at the front door? This will be tricky.
“When is Raphael descending?” I asked Deacon as we secured Ryan’s bonds and left him locked in our chambers. I felt really badly doing that. Yes, it’s for his own good. But, didn’t he just spend how many hundreds of human years locked in a room, unconscious, with demons to contend with? Am I doing any better than Primus right now?
Not for a while. Ares can’t get in necessarily, but that doesn’t mean he’s not trying.” Deacon explained.
“Persistent little pecker isn’t he?” I mumbled to myself. Deacon laughed despite himself.
We rounded everyone we could find into the Descending Hall to make sure that everyone else was accounted for. I don’t want another Vaugna incident to happen while we’re not looking and Ryan be severed in two next.
Amelia and I elected to go see the Jade Gate and assess how bad the damage was. I fully expected the Silver Banshees or some sort of back up to be out there waging a full scale attack on us. But no, Ares stood there arms crossed and vexed. His face seemed distorted. Like another face was shining through underneath it. That always creped me out about him. He was changing faces. In a way I was glad that he wouldn’t be traipsing along in Ryan’s likeness. But, on the other hand I knew that whatever still held me to Ares would fade the moment that another face had taken hold of him.
I was a friend, sort of. I mean I worked for him. But, we did spend a lot of time just talking. I know him better than most everyone except Gwen. But, I never liked him like that. He was like a scary, brotherly, cousin that sent you on fun little missions that could get you blown up somehow. Maybe that’s what working for the government is like. Covert Ops in dark places with dark intentions securing someone else’s agenda.
He looked at me perplexed. I bet he’s wondering how I got in.
He started to speak; only I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. Just like when we were on the mountain pass and the angelic shield protected us. Only now he’s by himself on the other side. Only God knows for sure what’s going on out there.
* * *
I touched down well behind the tree line. As soon as I unshrouded myself with cloudy mist I could feel the same heaviness in the air that Ares had left in the middle of the desert. A forlorn sort of disappointment. I heard the snarls of whatever it was he’d brought with him and had thoughts of transporting his “guests” mid air above the dome where they’d fall into the angelic shield and be destroyed. Only… I don’t know how well that’ll work without a distraction for Ares.
So, I stayed still and listened.
“I want to switch sides.” he said… to the air. Was he talking to the shield?
“You do not have free will as the humans do in order to change sides at will and live as you want to. You were made to serve the Almighty God and you chose to leave his service. Thus, there is a price.” a breathy female voice answered.
I never knew you could just talk to the shield. Holy crap! Is this what…? No, but could it be that…? Linus was in search of an oracle. One that was never found, but that an angel told him to come here to pursue. It’s the shield!
The shield is the oracle!
“I want to change my allegiance. I want…” he continued.
“This your first folly. You began to turn inward to serve your own desires and not those of the Most High King. What you want was never a question of importance. What He wanted should have been your only concern. Now, you are here because you want your way with a woman. A married woman who has no interest in returning to you. Your motives are not even pure and yet you ask to be reinstated? Even the humans are not granted this unless they are pure of heart.” the shield replied.
“So what then? Back to hell? Or should I just stay here and wait for the Judgment?” Ares barked.
“You know the truth and yet you close your eyes. What can you hope to gain either way? Can you redeem your servitude the way in which redemption for angels is designed?” the shield asked him.
“No, because that would require…” he began and looked up at the air angrily.
“That you die to self thus losing your motive. You know God will never allow you to tempt a woman away from the husband God has sent her. Giving your will over to Him would not be self serving. Thus you fail.” she woman’s voice sharpened.
“You’re a lousy sister you know that?” he hissed.
“We have not been brother and sister for many an eon. You decided to leave not me. Do not take out your anger at the foolishness of your choices on me. There is much to atone for Danieltee.” the voice tenderly spoke to him.
“My name is Ares, Mars if you will.” he replied cockily.
“A pagan name for a demon Lord. Not the name that the Father of Lights bestowed upon you. No knee will bow to you here or in heaven. Leave lest you risk destruction.” she demanded.
“Oh, I will risk it. In fact I insist. Send him down then. Send Raphael and we shall see whose will is going to prevail here today.” he said pacing and ready to pounce on anything that moved.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by His spirit. No one here is on your schedule.” she said blankly.
“Then I’ll have to cause a problem.” he hissed and walked towards the shield.
Immediately it seemed to spring out at him with spikes, only those spikes were angels holding swords ready to strike at him. This is too cool. I had no idea how privileged I was to even get inside.
Ares has many shapes. He angrily bent over holding his stomach. Two more arms emerged. He bent over backward and another set seemed to unfold from his flesh. I think I’ve only ever seen him do that a handful of times, but usually it was just before devouring some poor soul… literally… Or fighting a pack of blood demons. Ooh, or that one time when he rescued me and a few friends from the Northern Palace when Primus ordered the genocide of our people.
Now would be a good time to go inside. I clouded quietly until I was sure I had entered the Jade Gate and was just past where onlookers standing at the gate could see. I saw Elle and Amelia standing there bewildered at what they’d just seen.
“That reminds me of a movie I saw once. Only, it was about people who went to an island to fight and these demons were there trying to…” Amelia began.
“Yeah I know what movie you’re talking about. It had a techno song that went with it.” Elle chimed in still mesmerized by Ares’ new form.
“Yeah and a video game.” I added, “People do get these ideas from somewhere you know.”
“Gwen!” they exclaimed as they hugged me.
“Thank you for getting us out of there. I think Mars would have had Ryan kill me while under his control to try and gain trust at the Vatican if you hadn’t gotten there when you did.” Elle told me.
“Sandilated?” I asked to confirm what I already knew to be true.
“Unfortunately.” Amelia said woefully. Elle fought back tears.
“There’s a remedy for that which will leave Ryan still able to see through the eyes of Ares without being under his control.” I told them as I looked over my shoulder watching the spiny face of Ares protrude through what once was the beautiful illusion of Ryan’s skin.
If only people knew how he really was and what he really wanted. They’d see him differently. Not so much in a better light, just differently.
I grabbed the girls’ hands and clouded directly into Elle’s chambers. Ryan had broken his bonds and was crawling on the floor howling in pain. He looked perplexed, confused, and enraged. Ares’ resolve shone in his eyes as a faint blue flame began to take root in his pupils and a third arm slimily emerged from Ryan’s right side.
All of that time he spent in hell and now this? It’s just not fair.
Winter Wonders this week are:
The lighthouse pics on: http://jacquelinemhadel.wordpress.com/
Christmas humor on: http://good2begone.wordpress.com/
(Photo courtesy of: wallpapermood.com)
Music for this episode – Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo