Chapter Seven

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                                             Elijah

The God of Light stands waiting.

Draped in blue silk, lacking shoes, the god regards me as one would regard a friend. But as it turns out I'm in no friendly mood.

Straightening, composed but definitely alert, I regard him plainly, not interested in concealing my distrust of this devout being.

"There's much conflict in you," he says.

The hope I harbor in this situation is momentarily masked by the horrors we've endured since she's become human. "Have you seen what she's been put through!? How this is effecting her!?"

Jehovah is unfazed by my outburst. "I've seen what you both are dealing with. Yes. Of course. Did you think a bout with the devil would be easy?"

"He possesses her. He's still completely latched onto her."

"And there's a logical reason for that."

"What?"

"What has she done since she returned? What has she turned to when seeking answers?"

I must be obtuse. In a very human-like gesture, I'm compelled to shrug, unable to see what he's suggesting. "Do enlighten me."

"I cannot, Elijah. I made a vow to remain on the outside of this."

"Your brother doesn't seem to care about that."

"My brother is causing absolute chaos in Hell in his seek for vengeance. Unfortunately, he hasn't broken any rules, as disconcerting his actions are. I came simply to guide you in a direction where she'd be less susceptible to his hateful tricks." He approaches me, laying a hand on my shoulder. The spot he touches radiates comforting warmth. It soothes my weary mind. "Now let's try this again. What has she turned to for answers?"

"She's... She has... the mirror." As it dawns on me the lengths we've gone to, I back up, remembering the flames following her body as she enchanted the mirror, recalling the runes I saw just moments ago scattered on a table. Horrified, I piece together the common similarities. "She's summoning him through magic and doesn't even know it."

"She's turning to what she knows, which is the darkness. It makes it easier for him to reach her when she's open to his influence."

"Can this be undone? Reversed in anyway?"

"She's chosen the way of the light by choosing to return to the mortal realm. What she has had at her disposal thus far is a path that can lead her astray from the light. If that happens, if she cannot resist, another timeline will take place. Another outcome will transpire."

"Another outcome? Meaning an outcome where we are unsuccessful?"

"Precisely. She is unprotected right now. There is nothing you can do for her when he is present."

"That's just not an option, Jehovah."

"Where you are being led will also lead you to a way to protect each other. My brother has his tricks. I also have mine."

"How I will know what I'm looking for?"

"Believe me, you'll know."

"Is this what you do for fun? Tossing us into a mess without answers? Is this all structured to your design?"

"This is no game. This is war. You two are my front men, my warriors. You form the design. The path is not pre-destined. Only the choices you make draw the results. There are many timelines your actions can lead us to."

"Then how are you so sure we will make the right decisions?"

"Faith."

I nearly laugh at the word. I've been seeking the very belief, asking it blindly of Cassandra, but it's been harder than I've imagined. "Until recently, I had none. I didn't even really know you even existed until Cassandra told me so. I was a non-believer."

"You were never a non-believer, even if you think so, young man. I have always been there, through every trial, every sin, every good deed. You lost faith. That doesn't mean there wasn't any."

He tilts his head, pressing his thin lips together. His flesh glows, radiating against the sunlight. "Your father was always a very faithful man in his mortal life. Your mother, a saintly woman who loved you dearly."

I'm appalled he speaks of them.

"And they died a horrific death."

"And entered the light of heaven anew, to live free of suffering."

He torments me, speaking of them so casually. I struggle to ask further.

"They rest... in heaven?"

"They've followed you throughout your very long life."

His words cut deep, striking an emotional chord in me that I'd forced to dormancy. "They must be ashamed of what I've become."

"They love their son. Love—true love—is unconditional."

Taken aback, almost frightened to be speaking of people so deeply hidden within my history, so preciously untainted by the harsh years I've endured being the creature I am, I strive to compose myself in front of this pious figure. Tears could come so easily.

"I have spent lifetimes hoping there wasn't existence beyond this place. I tricked myself into believing they died with their bodies. It made it easier to be what I am."

"What you are is a man with a past. You've traveled the years with experience, and that experience is what has led you to this point, this precise moment. You've become a man a god relies on. Refrain from dwelling on what's behind you, Elijah. What's to come is what really matters."

He turns. No, he's leaving. I step towards his retreating form.

"Is her immortality gone? Truly? Cassandra's?"

"She's human. A demi-god, but human."

"Will she possess power if she gives over to the light?"

"It's not that easy. You can encourage her all you like, but acceptance happens within. She must crave the light, cast out the rest."

"We touched the mirror together. It worked. We saw Hunan. We saw where we needed to go."

"You are strong, Elijah. So is she, human or not. Together—you are a source of energy. I cannot be surprised by many things in existence, but I had no idea what I created when partnering you with her. Your connection is the first of it's kind."

His back is to me when I speak again, this time with a sharp warning.

"I will end your brother if I see the chance, Jehovah. I'm sure you already know that."

He looks down, holding himself with grace.

"Let's hope it doesn't come down to that. His position is not one I'd wish on you."

"He used her, hurt her. He is obsessed with her."

"It's true he won't stop until he has Cassandra. His love is of a dark, possessive nature. Keep your eyes open. Keep them on her, and strive for faith, in any circumstance you may face...You will need it."

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