Chapter 22: Dirty business (3)

A lone solitary figure floated quietly above the city skyline glowing brightly, the light of the moon mingling with its own light to obscure him from view. One would find it difficult to determine whether that figure was male or female for its beauty was otherworldly. Its long silver hair sparkled in the moonlight and fell like ripples down its back. This was a being which would cause any to feel awe, reverence, and perhaps even fear.

Only allowed on

Despite wearing a golden armor that shone brilliantly even in the dark of night, nobody down below had taken notice. There was a set of wings that protruded from its upper back. There was a total of four wings, all the same pale white colour and equally spaced from one another. Around the neck was a horn likely made of some type of ivory and in his right hand, an enormous spear that radiated an immense pressure.

I can no longer feel them, the cry of souls aching to be guided into the heavens. He must be here, but where?

Angels were said to be beings which shepherded the souls of the deceased into the divine realms of the gods. This was only partially true for not all gods had angelic servants and not all souls worshipped the gods. Also, those of pure angelic blood served their respective gods within their realms and did not usually make an appearance in the mundane world.

This particular being was not of full angelic blood, but instead a half breed. A union of an Angel and a Human, a Nephilim. The Nephilim quietly surveyed the city below but could no longer feel the power he felt earlier emanating from somewhere within the city.

That power I felt… It was clearly anathema! Heretical! My angelic blood is boiling in rage. It must be him, he has finally taken the bait. Oh Tihr, mighty god of Justice and Courage, bestow upon me your great power!

The angelic-like being beat its wondrous wings with determination, a gentle and somber cadence which kept the being afloat. It was rare for such a being to make an appearance especially so visibly in the night sky but it was clearly on an important mission. With a deep sigh of reverence, the being flapped its wings more rapidly and flew towards the grand cathedral within the northern Lord’s district of Andor’s Edge. It was here that many government facilities as well as many of the powerful Lord’s mansions resided.

The grand cathedral was situated right at the entrance of the district so that even the common folk of the city could attend without disrupting the lives of the lords that lived within. There was also a grand park which separated the cathedral from the many enormous and beautiful mansions. This park was a dividing line which separated the wealthy from everyone else. Of course even just crossing the northern bridge which spanned the northern arm of the Andor river was only allowed during certain hours of the day and was a clear line between classes. Those from the central districts could cross the bridge to attend services at the Cathedral as well as for healing and other matters but they weren’t allowed into the park or to the area where the Lord’s live except on official business.

There was some mingling between the classes when attending the cathedral but even then they were separated into different sections to clearly denote status. The cathedral wasn’t the only church to a god within the city but it was certainly the most magnificent one. Tihr was one of the patron gods of the Federation of Lords, the Grand Republic. Tihr was also a powerful High god with many worshippers. He was one of the oldest gods and many considered him to be a creator god involved with the creation of the world.

Once the Grand Cathedral of Tihr was in sight, the Nephilim landed gracefully in a courtyard situated in a secluded area of the Cathedral’s premises. There were several knights waiting at attention who quickly saluted once the Nephilim landed. Each knight was fully clad in glistening mail with hardened appearances. Their armor was adorned in silver with the symbol of their god, Tihr. It was a balance scale, the body of which was a blade with small wings protruding from its pommel.

These were clearly elites of the church. One of the knights whose armor was of a slightly higher grade than the rest, and was adorned with a gold symbol of Tihr instead, came forward.

“Sir Gregor, you have returned.”

The Nephilim known as Sir Gregor nodded and the wings which were present on his back began to recede into his body. It was a strange sight because the wings were clearly larger than the body of Sir Gregor .

“I have detected our target, but it was only for a short time. He’s somewhere within the city. Contact some of our informants… also contact some of the local gangsters. See if any of them know something. He’s obviously being careful and most likely won’t be too visible so contacting those thugs might be of use to us.”

The Knight-Captain saluted again, “As you order Sir! Should we ready a unit of Church Knights in preparation?”

“Yes, but don’t mobilize too large of a group. We should not underestimate that heretic but it would also be unwise to alert him to our presence. Too many of us and he might sense the congregation of our auras. If he somehow becomes aware of our plans, he might escape. We must not let that happen!”

“Yes sir! I will mobilize a squad immediately. They will be ready to set out on a moment’s notice!”

“Good, see that it is done.”

With one final salute, the knights dispersed to carry out their orders. Sir Gregor remained behind and stared off into the distance. He had a look of contemplation on his somewhat pale, but perfectly formed face.

“I’m concerned of the hands of others in the shadows. Even among the gods there are fools. Why can’t they see the danger in this wicked being? Hmph, only our lord god Tihr is righteous!”

“Here, master.”

Lenia kneeled with her arms raised. Within her hands was a gleaming golden mask. She held it forward towards her master with utmost reverence.

Aleks stood over her looking down at her in silent contemplation. He was somewhat hesitant, as if he were nervous to take hold of the mask. Within the mask, he could feel the presence of his brother and lifelong friend. Aleks unwrapped the cloth around his face slowly, and let it drop to the floor. The glint of the gold mask was the only sight in his eye, nothing else existed at that moment. He inspected the object of his desire carefully, admiring its beauty before taking it into his hands.

His fingers lightly caressed the contours of the peerless treasure until they rested on the edges and he pulled the mask to himself. He held it up close to his mouth and whispered, “It’s good to see you again old friend.”

Lenia, hearing his words, remembered the tale he had told her. She was stunned by the emotion in his words and could only feel a tinge of jealousy. She hoped that one day he would have such emotion when calling out her name. Even though her master had explained to her the story behind the mask it didn’t look like anything particularly special to her. It was just a gold mask. However, she dared not question her master. If he said it was special, then that was that.

Holding it carefully, Aleks placed the treasure on his face and breathed in deeply.

“The mask is finally where it belongs. We two brothers are united once more.”

Aleks could immediately feel a powerful presence within that filled him with a burst of divine energy. He was somewhat confused by this feeling.

Why do I feel hints of the divine in this mask? Could it be a left over from when Ishmael was imprisoned within it? Or is it something else? I will need time to understand and reflect on this.

After considering these thoughts for a moment, Aleks turned to Lenia.

“Hmm… This vault has many treasures. I sense some useful trinkets and equipment within the vault. We do not have the time to sort through them all now. Take what you feel is useful and then I will store the rest!”

Lenia blinked at his words. She wasn’t quite sure what her master intended to do but she quickly perused the various weapons and armor within the vault. She noticed two daggers with magical properties which she took and tied around her thighs under her clothing. She couldn’t tell exactly what magical properties they possessed but they seemed useful. Being proficient in duel wielding, she thought these magically enchanted daggers would be of more use to her at the present because she could keep them hidden. Also, the magic she felt within them was superior to the few other weapons littered around the room. Other than that, she noticed a piece of hard leather armor which also emanated a magical aura but decided against picking it up. As a Knight, she was more suited towards heavy armor and was not proficient in light armor such as leather.

Maybe my master can tell me what magic these daggers possess later. For now, I will just take them.

“Are you finished?”

Lenia nodded in response.

“Then step aside for a moment!”

Lenia followed his orders and moved towards her master’s back so as not to be in the way.

Glancing briefly at the equipment, items, and valuables littered throughout the vault Aleks raised his right hand and breathed deeply. A faint silver light spread from his fingertips and the space directly in front of him began to distort as it let out piercing wails. Several ghastly figures emerged from the distorted space screaming in agony. These wraith-like beings immediately swarmed around the vault quickly gathering all of the loot and returning to within the distorted space they originated from.

Once all of the strange and ethereal creatures returned, the distorted space closed and the wails faded as if they had never existed. The vault of the Don was now empty of all its valuables and Aleks glanced once more around the room satisfied. Lenia looked on in awe, praising her mysterious master within her heart.

“I will appraise and sort through our gains in this venture later! For now, let’s leave this place.”

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Aleks turned, his new robe and a cloak he found kicked up some dust. He felt whole once more as if embraced by a long estranged friend. Lenia woke from her daze and rushed to keep up with her master’s purposeful strides.

The two left the former Don’s hideout littered with the corpses of the recently deceased as well as the husk of the man formerly known as Roderan. Aleks had already devoured all of their souls and obtained a modest amount of SP. 2500 SP to be exact.

Surprisingly, that Don Jesef was of an intermediate class, although of a low level. Not bad, perhaps I will be able to rank Lenia up soon.

“Let’s get you cleaned up, we have a play to attend tomorrow night!”

Lenia hurried along and did her best to understand her masters intentions but he was still an enigma to her.

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