“Hecate?” I gasped aloud and came out of time loop I had entered on Irin’s request. My hands burnt as if set on fire. Hearing my cry of pain, Ralf immediately held my hand and his touch acted as a balm taking away the sting.
“What happened here Irin?” Ralf directed his anger towards the young guardian.
“I am sorry my prince, it is my mistake. My request to see my past has caused the lady harm. I didn’t expect my request….” The poor guardian couldn’t stop the deep hurt he felt for having caused stressed to me. I walked up to the young guardian and held his hands letting him know he was not responsible for what had happened.
Ralf asked other guardians to help Irin to settle for the night, before taking my hand and walking towards the tent. Once inside, he held me in his arms hugging with the need that brought tears to my eyes. “Solange, what happened with Irin?”
“I saw her, Hecate. She was standing and watching when my father tried to help Irin’s father, but he attacked as if he didn’t have control over his body. But somewhere his soul was still alive and that refused to attack father. He struggled with himself to stop his killing spree, but someone was forcing his body to work against his wishes.”
“It has to be Hecate. When she was pardoned and warned away from Empyrean, she was not this strong. We had hoped she would repent and learn the right way, but she just seems to indulge more in black magic.”
“No no she was not the one who was controlling Irin’s father. It was somebody else. The power over him was not malicious although it wanted him to do violence, but Hecate seemed to control this someone who had this power.”
“How is that possible?”
“I don’t know how, but I could feel the footprint of the magic. This magic was controlling Irin’s father, but the malicious intent was not coming from Hecate. She has found someone to do her dirty work.”
“Seems that way, but how is she is involved with disturbing the peace in Empyrean, your somnolence and killing of Irin’s father. Where does it all lead to and why?”
“Most importantly how does it all lead back to Lucifer?” I asked trying to make sense of the situation
“Everything that has been happening at Empyrean is leading back to Lucifer and so is this. Let’s hope Uriel gets back as soon as possible.”
“Ralf, I need to tell you something.”
“What is it Solange?”
“I haven’t been completely honest with you. From young age, I have been able to read people; their thoughts emotions, and their past, when I touched them. In it all I was also able to track anything unnatural to humans. But a day before my eight birthday I was almost killed when I tried to trace back black magic. I reached the place of its origin to find a man performing a ritual and sacrificing a small boy. I do not know how I knew what he was doing or what I had to do, to stop him, I simply knew to summon my inner energy and this energy formed a blue ball in my end and directed it towards the man. He integrated into dust. I ran to the boy to help him, but the fear in his eyes towards me stopped me in tracks. Aunt Gretchen ran up to me along with some other. They all took us back to her house. I locked myself in my room and cried myself to sleep, thinking why I was different from other children. The next morning when I got up, I swore to stop using my gifts. Aunt Gretchen came to my room with breakfast when I refused to come down and join others. She said if not for me, they wouldn’t have found the boy, but I was still feeling guilty for some unknown reason. From that onwards I stopped using them and made myself believe that it was all nightmares. But when I was asked to take the thesis on angelology I was scared it would all come back, but father somehow convinced me this is what I was supposed to do. But I am glad he did, otherwise I would have never met him or learned about my mother, or met you.”
He pulled me to sit next to him on futon placed in the tent and held me gently stroking my hair, “You know Solange you are the most amazing woman I have ever met. You hold Empyrean’s future in your hands, but most importantly you hold my life in your hands. What happened to you is not your fault and I just feel sorry that Gretchen couldn’t help you and you couldn’t nurture your gifts. But you need to understand, you don’t need the training that other angels do in order to use their power. Your power comes to you of its free will; otherwise Athena wouldn’t have chosen you. Believe in yourself and your gifts. Now you should lie down and rest. We have a long day tomorrow if Uriel returns as planned.”
“Ralf, can you lie with please? Your presence always brings me peace from the nightmares I have always carried with me.” Nodding his head Ralf lay down rocking me to sleep.
As she lay in arms, sleeping peacefully I couldn’t stop myself from stealing a kiss from her lips. For so many decades I had been looking for my soul-mate, but when I found Solange I was not ready to feel the gut wrenching fear which accompanied it. Her nearness brought peace, but every second far from her, would feel like a thousand knives were stabbing through my heart. Her warm breath across my chest stole a beat of my heart and I settled next to her promising myself just few moments,
The next morning:
Sound of footsteps woke me from my slumber. I shifted to get up only to have Solange out her arm across my waist protesting on my movement in her sleep bringing a smile on my face.
“My prince, your attention is needed immediately.” Whispered Uriel from the entrance of the tent loud enough to reach me
Slowly getting up, I walked out to find Uriel pacing the grounds calling order to the troop of soldiers. “Uriel, what news do you have?”
“I traced Michael from the location from where I found the journal. We traced it to the rain forests in southern India, but after that her tracks have gone missing as if she never existed. I don’t understand how she has acquired so much power to stay hidden to us.” Said Uriel almost disgusted to have not found her
“Solange believes, she has not acquired the strength, but she has managed to find someone who is capable enough and is using their energy for her selfish needs.” And that’s when it struck me how we could find Hecate.
I ran into the tent to talk to Solange. She was already up and braiding her hair. The view stopped me in my tracks, but urgency in Uriel’s voice made me shake my head and walk towards her “Solange, you said you can trace any magic that you have seen.”
“Yes I was able too, but I don’t know if I can do it now. I suppressed the ability with my own foolishness.” She said feeling sad
“What gifts?” asked Uriel from behind Ralf
I looked at Solange if I can speak about her gifts. She nodded and looked away from us, but I walked to her and put my arm around her shoulder and turned her to face me. “Solange, you don’t have to feel guilty for what happened. It is wrong that the incident forced you to alienate yourself from your gifts, but now is the time to put past to rest.”
She gave a small nod and asked me what idea I was talking about. I told her what Uriel informed me and said “Solange, if Hecate is still using someone to shield herself then I think this person is the same one she has used to kill Irin’s father. You already know this person’s magic footprint so you should be able to trace it. If we know where Hecate is hiding we may be able learn of who is responsible for this war on Empyrean by threatening to release Lucifer.”
I expected to Solange to refuse, but she surprised me by walking to a chair and sitting down. She looked at me before closing her eyes weaving a pattern with her hands. Few seconds she opened her eyes struggling to breath with her hand gripping the chair tightly and her facing going deathly pale stammering “I cannot do it.”
Before I could reach her Uriel was in front of her on his knees. “Solange, if Ralf believes you can do it, then I believe it too. You cannot give up so easily.”
She lifted her eyes towards me pleading saying “I cannot do it.”
“Solange Abode, you are born warrior of goddess Athena. I cannot believe she would choose a coward to save Empyrean. A woman with no belief in herself or her abilities, a woman who runs away from slightest danger. Savita and Michael are as good as dead to us now. I suppose now even gods can make mistakes.” Said Uriel straightening and walking towards
I snarled towards Uriel for hurting Solange and almost towards him, but Solange held on to me and stood up to and walked towards Uriel “I will have you believe sir, I am no coward and I will find my parents no matter how many dangers I have to face. Ralf call Irin I need clear footprint to the magic.” She said turning towards me.
Her fearlessness and protective attitude towards her parents caught my heart. I walked out the tent indicating Uriel to follow. As soon as Uriel was out the tent, I slammed into him and spread my wings and held him by his throat, “Next time you decide to talk in that tone with my soul-mate remember you will be dead in a heartbeat. You are alive now because she has stopped me from calling forth my sword.”