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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:20 pm 
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The angel sighed.

Liquid silver flowed through the Moon Sphere, a glistening ocean where solid and fluid were as inconstant as the celestial body. What was one minute white waves became metallic ice sculptures the next, guided by the careful hands of the artists and scientists who were prudent in life. Perfection was the child of order and chaos, meticulous planning and work to be recrafted under the spirit luminaries, so bliss wasn't stagnant. And for thousands of years the angel had their purpose in this work, building masterpieces and encouraging the deceased in their projects.

But if the moon was inconstant, so was happiness, and the work stalled as the angel felt numb and directionless. Their light was blinding, but if you asked them right there and now they would tell you they felt like their insides were voracious shadows.

At first they did what an angel of their sphere should do: talk to the intellectuals they guarded over, trying to gain some insight their luminous mind had not yet considered. Conversation would be fairly limited due to the the opioid bliss the perfectionists felt, but at least they wouldn't complain too hard if the angel decided to vent. Politely and under restaint, of course.

This alleviated their depression mildly. Still not enough; after all, what use is embracing perfection if you are yourself lacking? So the angel pondered on what to do, their feathery tendrils massaging a beastial, vaguely otter-like lower jaw.

They glided aimlessly, aiming for the Sun Sphere. There where the spirits that had all the combined virtues, paragons of mortal life as radiant as the angels themselves. Failing that, there'd be angels that surely had this problem as well.

But in their grief induced flight they accidentally found themselves before the Mars Sphere.

This sphere just barely avoided touching the Moon Sphere, gold plaza borders at the base of the Sun Sphere seperating the seas from each other. It was it's polar opposite: whereas the Moon Sphere was defined by prudence and the absence of courage, the Mars Sphere was defined by fortitude and the absence of wisdom. Instead of silver seas there were those of molten iron, orange lava scarring the land and lighting the sky in the perpetual tones of a sunset. But it was no less heavenly: the noble spirits welcome into the sphere shaped the iron into dazzling displays, they drank from it like it was the finest wine and played and competed with each other. It was a loud, boisterous place, not unlike an eternal volcanic eruption.

And few things were as thunderous, as well as luminous, as the archangel of the sphere, extending his fiery wings before the startled arrival.

"You seem lost" he said, his voice concerned but loud and proud in a way almost inconceivable to mortal ears, emited from an open throat beneath boar jaws.

The angel shook, as devoid of courage as their sphere. Wings and tendrils coiled around them like closing magnolia petals.

"I'm so sorry" they said meekly, "I meant to go to the highest sphere to seek council."

"I can advice you the same, if you want" the archangel said, "Your ailments come from the heart, which is my domain."

The implications of that wording were not lost to the angel, but though they felt their ichor flow they did not comment further. Professionalism and all. They relaxed their wings and tendrils, took a deep but airless breath, and said:

"I feel... empty. Like I'm in a swamp, rotting on the inside, no water to sculpt and no light to cleanse. Like I can't do anything, like sadness molests me and orders me to be still and silent. A rock under a sky snowing and raining at the same time is more jovial than I am."

The archangel nodded, urging the angel to further relax. Venting this personally freed a shackle, but there were many more.

"Depression ebbs and flows, even in paradise. It is normal that you feel like this, and being around people in constant bliss can open the wounds of the self. Your sadness has no origin, so the best you can do is wait it out, doing things that make you happy."

The angel sighed. The archangel reached out an appendage, fiery yet soft like a duck's wing, stroking his lesser's closest analogue to a face.

"You can always try out new things" the boar-faced divinity said.

The angel's heart fluttered, unsure.

"With all due respect, I lack the courage to be in your realm of fire."

"Then get it" the archangel said, a strange voice weaving a playful encouragement with an order and a threat.

From a moment he withrew his orange, burning eyes in his face and wings and stared afield, to the valleys and chasms that gave in to the material world, and further away and down into hell.

"There is a holy war coming. Do you wish to take an assignment? You would be trying something you've never done before, which will alleviate your spirits."

The angel considered declining the offer and leaving (politely, of course), but there was something so magnetic about that offer, about the archangel's voice in that precise moment.

The void began to stir on the angel's insides. Could this b a way out of the stagnation, of the emptiness?

"What do you need me to do?"

***

Silver wings glided in the evening sky, above a vast and old forest. The angel spotted the settlement quickly, an elf village surrounding a larger complex, seemingly buried under a hill. They would shoot the angel out of the sky so they flew around the tallest trees, angling themself to the still white clouds.

And then unleashed a beam of white light, setting the forest on fire.

Trees burned, followed quickly by homes going ablaze in white-hot infernos. By by itself crippled the elves substantially, families charred and their corpses filling the air with a lung-puncturing cloud of ash and debris. The fighters were quickly disposed off by smaller, more precise beams; the survivors grovelled and begged to the flyer above, so that they might be killed quickly or have whatever children remain survive.

But the angel would not negociate with pagans, and so saw them all die slowly, skin burned and lungs clogged.

For a few slivers of a moment, the angel felt guilt and pity. But as they saw their idol - a great cervine made of granite - crumble on the ground and melt under the divine flames, an enormous sense of satisfaction overwhelmed them. Justice was served: darkness was held back and its worshippers now laid as they truly were, disgusting little flesh and charcoal monsters that one could easily mistake for a demon.

A small fairy flew out of the woods, circlig the larger angel.

"You're very mean!" it wagged its finger accusatorily, before the angel's silver hand crushed it into a bloody, broken doll.

Light and fire raged on their heart. A happiness and pride glowed brighter than even than sun on their chest, making them shout and laugh in the most pure joy.

They darted back to paradise, bursting straight for the Mars Sphere where they enveloped the surprised archangel in a tight hug.

"I take it you feel better?" he said, and his laughter was the shattering of planets against one another.

The angel almost laughed and thanked the archangel, but their professionalism remained. They quickly realised their hug and withrew, embarassed.

"I-I'm sorry-"

"Don't. Be. Your actions have earned you courage, at the expense of your prudence. You are of this sphere now, and thus mine."

A silence followed, as the angel once of the Moon now looked at the bright possibilities of the future. Perfection was the child of order and chaos, but the idea of children seemed less appealing in the vibrancy and hedonistic bliss before them.

And so, recklessly, the angel's and the archangel's lips touched.

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Last edited by Heliosphoros on Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:24 pm 
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I think my favorite part of the story is the hard left it takes in tone at the time skip. That does good work in solidifying the difference between the pristine order of the angel's former existence with the more chaotic experience of the new. Some of the vocabulary seemed unnecessary and even distracting, and while I am usually a proponent of the gender-neutral singular "they," there are a few places in this piece where is it needlessly distracting, like this line: "They would shoot the angel out of the sky so they flew around the tallest trees, angling themselves to the still white clouds." That is a very clunky sentence with the three uses of "they." Also, I believe that is would be "themself" rather than "themselves" here, as you are referring to a singular being.

Anyway, not being a particularly big fan of angels personally, I didn't connect with this story all that much, though it does come across as highly metaphorical, which is fairly interesting. I was thrown off a bit by the "Mars sphere," being such a real-world allusion, but it's not like I haven't done similar things, and it's probably the simplest way to communicate what you are trying to get across. I find it odd that the angel essentially simply gets lost and winds up there, though. I did like the fairy as a brief, if dark, comedic touch. "You're very mean" is certainly an understatement to a being that has just destroyed a large swath of the forest.

Thanks for posting, Helios.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:58 am 
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Thanks for the review!

That0s a good point, I'll correct that and spelling mistakes.

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