By Erminia Yode
"They'll never be punished."
“No one escapes Eternity.”
These things and more ran through the ancient mind of the woman who floated over the schoolyard. It was hard to believe that only an hour ago the yard had been filled with happy people. Parents and families celebrating their children’s graduation from Mandalay High School, and students delighted at passing their MAT’s (i.e. Magical Assessment Test - or as those who took it were concerned, “The Magical Anxiety Test"). Now the yard was filled with work crews, the grieving, and the dead.
Bombs had gone off. Bombs set in particular positions to cause maximum damage. Bombs set by willing agents who thought that killing those who offended their religious sensibilities would earn them entrance to Paradise.
They called themselves “Keepers of the Faith”, but the bombers’ organization was really a group of fanatics from many different religions who only agreed on one thing: Magic in any form or for ANY purpose was evil and those who practiced magic deserved to die. According to their doctrine, magic was a corruption of humanity and practicing magic was an evil worse than murder. Therefore, anyone who killed a magic user was destined for paradise. Since the rise of the “Keepers” about twenty years ago, their suicide bombers had been targeting the embassies and national events of countries that refused to outlaw magic. Frustrated by their failure to terrorize these governments into submission, the “Keepers” were becoming ever crueler in their attacks. This was the first attack to target a high school, and rather than regular shrapnel, the bombs were loaded with esse – a metal that reversed the effect of magic, so that healing spells turned lethal. This was a terror weapon that struck at the core of what it meant to be a healer in a magical culture. Terrified they might do more harm, the healers could only provide standard first aid, so that many who might have been healed died instead.
Below the woman, a distraught mother sobbed into her husband’s shoulder. They were among the luckier parents, if you could call them lucky. Unlike many who had lingered in pain for hours, their daughter had been killed instantly in the blast. Her soul, along with so many others, would soon be on its way to Moonshire.
“Those fanatics who killed Sarafina took the easy way out. They’ll never be punished.”
The grief stricken mother’s words reached up and cast a shadow across the woman’s face. The bombers had indeed been killed in the explosion, believing they could escape what they viewed as corrupt Terran justice that way. Then the sound of wings alerted her to the arrival of Lux, The Goddess of Moonshire.
“Lux, you are late.” She commented turning to face the crystal winged woman, who was hovering behind her. “You should have been here before me, almost an hour ago. Some of your souls noticed me.” The rebuke was well placed. In comparison to those who went to Moonshire, very few ended up in Oblivion. By their duties, Lux should have been gone with her souls before her counterpart arrived.
“I know that sister.” Lux whispered staring at the ground. “But they’re all basically children. Even, even those two your taking are barely twenty.” She looked up at her sister, her counterpart, and her opposite in all things, chocolate eyes awash with crystalline tears, “So much potential, so many things that would have helped Terra, so many young lives destroyed. I could never just watch them die.”
“Lux,” The elder of the two eternal women whispered gently, placing a pale hand on the others shoulder, “These children acted more selfless and kind in their deaths then some adults I could name. When those bombs went off, they reacted faster than their parents and teachers, throwing up shields and trying to heal the injured until they realized that healing wasn’t working. Those who weren’t as badly injured offered comfort to the mortally wounded, many of whom valiantly tried to smile in their last moments in order to ease the pain they knew their loved ones felt. The kids you’re taking to Moonshire truly earned it.” Her voice was laden with sorrow and regret, but her eyes gleamed proudly as she gestured around at the dead souls.
Lux nodded whipping crystal like tears from her eyes, then she closed them in concentration, as she summoned her staff. Its decorations of gold and crystal glimmered ethereally in the light from the sun. Raising it above her head, a flickering multicolored aura surround first her, then the staff. Then Lux and the souls of the Blessed shimmered out of Terra, and into Moonshire.
Her sister’s eternally milky eyes observed what was left of the world of strange auras. Scanning through those of many colors, and those that were just white, searching for dark purple. Then she spotted them. Two figures who stood out as dark purple blots against the brighter multicolored auras of the living and the plain white auras of objects.
Gliding down until her feet touched the paving stones, she calmly walked up to her targets until she was only a few feet away. With a bone white hand, she brushed the obstinate strands of silvery hair out of her blind milky eyes. Then, Mirras, the Goddess of Oblivion, Hell, Hades, or any other religion's name for the afterlife of the wicked, coughed gently.
The two figures swirled on their heels; both appeared to be around twenty. A small version of “The Keepers” symbol hung around the neck of man on the right. He was just slightly shorter than his fellow, who was carrying the remains of a burnt and ruined box that had been originally wrapped in colorful paper so that it would blend in with the presents the parents had brought. If it had been from a parent, the box would have contained an item symbolic of the graduation child’s life or dreams. Instead, this box, like the others containing bombs, had been carried into the ceremony with the intention of ending the life and dreams of so many. Lux was right. They looked like children. Nevertheless, karma and the universe itself would be judge and jury today.
The two men breathed sighs of relief as they spotted her. Then the sighs quickly turned to screams of horror and fear as they realize that she was not an angel. In fact, her appearance was rapidly shifting to fit their image of the Goddess of Oblivion. They had been expecting someone like Lux. Someone with crystal wings, warm brown eyes, and a tender loving smile. However they were wrong. The Goddess of Moonshire, Heaven, Elysium, Paradise, Valhalla, or any other religion's name for the afterlife of the good hearted had already collected all the souls destined for her kingdom.
The Mirras smiled a sad smile. Her new fangs shone bright in the sun. Then she whispered in a high wavering voice that penetrated the ears whether they were covered or not;
"Gentleman, this Universe, the laws of which you have violated, has spoken. Eternity is waiting.” Then she waved her hand and sent them to Oblivion. Closing her eyes for a moment, she sent a message after them to her realm. It was to deal with these as men Cursed-by-their-deeds, rather than by a wicked heart. Thus would begin the count of years until they would have the opportunity to be redeemed. For as long as Mirras ruled in Oblivion, justice would be served.
Turing to survey the chaos of the courtyard, she spoke to no one yet everyone,
“Beware - No one escapes eternity.”
And just like that she was gone.