Carpathia III: Episode 104: The Blind Angel
Yseri, Desert Trail
As the hours ticked by, the tension that previously hung thick in the air gradually became replaced by boredom. The only real activity occurred when Artemis directed Phobos and Deimos to attempt to pry the crystal from Jaze's hand. Neither would be able to break Jaze's grip unless they went so far as to remove his hands from his arms, a step nobody was willing to take.
Kaoru kept vigil over Jaze while the others milled about, occasionally making quiet conversation. Kaoru was almost as unmovable as Jaze, watching for even the smallest sign of change. So adamant was Kaoru about watching over Jaze that some of the others were beginning to worry about him as well. Adell approached slowly and gently, so as not to startle him, placed his hand on Kaoru's shoulder.
Adell: Kaoru, maybe you should take a break and let someone else keep watch.
Kaoru didn't budge and kept a firm eye on Jaze.
Kaoru: I'm staying.
Adell's voice trailed off as he felt a hand on his own shoulder. Turning, he was surprised to see that it was Quilyon. She grimaced as she beckoned him away from Kaoru. She then backed away and Adell, curious, followed.
Quilyon: Don't bother. If there's one thing I know about Kaoru, it's that he will chew his way through a brick wall if someone he cared about was on the other side and in trouble.
Adell froze in silence, the only movement coming from his eyes blinking rapidly in surprise.
Adell: That was... vivid.
Quilyon shrugged and momentarily held up her hands.
Quilyon: Just trust me on this one.
Zet: I can vouch for that.
Adell held his hand up to his mouth and thought for a moment.
Adell: I suppose you two have known him longer than I have, to tell the truth. I just hope he will be okay. Mostly, I'm wondering what Jaze is going to be like when he wakes up.
At this time, Azrael joined the group.
Azrael: All I can tell you is that Jaze is calmer now than he has been since we found him. I think it would be a correct course of action to allow this situation to simply run its course.
Adell: I hope you're right.
As Jaze looked for the best path across the stream, he continuously glanced over his shoulder at the rock where his father sat, hoping that he would magically reappear. He didn't. With heavy heart, Jaze took a deep breath and waded quickly through the shallowest nearby portion he could find. This part of the stream was wider than the rest and he quickly splashed his way to the other side.
Hesitantly, Jaze tip-toed to the person lying on the ground. Without any better idea of how to describe him, he could only think that this was an angel. The figure was dressed in white and the massive, black wings belonged to him. Blood stains covered his simple, white tunic and a bloody, white bandage covered his eyes. Between the blood and bruising, it looked as though he had been battered with a baseball bat. It was, at least, easy for Jaze to see that the angel was still alive, as his chest rose and fell with each breath he took.
Jaze kneeled on the ground and gently touched the angel, awaiting a reaction. Right away, the angel put his hands on the ground and laboriously began to lift himself up. With that confirmation, Jaze gingerly helped the angel to his knees.
Jaze: Hey! Are you okay?
It seemed that the angel struggled to speak as blood trickled from his eye bandage and the corner of his mouth.
Blind Angel: I'm glad you're finally here, Jaze. I've been waiting for you for a long time.
Jaze recoiled right away. The last mysterious being who, upon meeting, seemed to already know him was Wishmaster. He wondered if he could possibly be so unlucky as to pick up yet another malevolent stalker. Though the angel made no move against him, Jaze remained wary, ready to dart away at the first sign of trouble.
Blind Angel: There is much about which to speak, but there is something I must do first. Please come closer and touch your head to my hand.
The angel slowly held out his trembling, bloody hand and awaited Jaze, but he did not come, forcing the angel to wait for him in vain.
Blind Angel: I see that Wishmaster has understandably eroded your trust in others. I can say that we have a common enemy and that it was I who brought you here and gave you a reunion with your father. Regrettably, I have no proof to offer you that my intentions are pure. I would ask that you look into my eyes and see my sincerity, but alas, I no longer possess them.
The angel continued holding up his hand while Jaze studied him carefully, his mind awash in possibilities. He did his best to calm his mind as much as he could and study this new situation. At first, he thought the angel was injured, but now, upon closer examination, it seemed more like he was simply falling to pieces. The tunic he wore was old and tattered, covered with both blood and ages of dirt. The feathers on his wings were not broken, but scraggly and frail, and looked to have fallen away due to age rather than trauma. Even the wounds looked as though his paper-thin skin had simply begun to peel away from his body.
Quite the opposite of Wishmaster, this angel was showing no signs of power or intimidation at all. Even in this weakened state, the angel could have touched Jaze's head a few moments ago when they were close, but he didn't. He was asking permission. Above all, however, one single thought floated through his head over and over.
I have nothing left to lose.
Taking a deep breath, Jaze steeled himself for the consequences of his decision, whether they be for good or ill.
Jaze: Okay. I'm coming.
Jaze carefully leaned forward and slowly placed his forehead into the angel's hand. Prepared for anything, Jaze was nonetheless surprised when nothing happened at all, at least, not right away. The angel raised his other arm and pointed it away from both of them, toward the endless grassy field beyond the stream.
Blind Angel: Thank you. You may rise.
Jaze lifted his head and looked all around him, and that's when he saw it. To Jaze's left, he saw the nightmarish form of Wishmaster slowly fading into view, as though he were part of a video. Every muscle in Jaze's body tensed as Wishmaster's head darted around like a confused squirrel.
Wishmaster: What? What? What? What?
Jaze began to cower as he knew that Wishmaster would catch sight of him eventually. However, he paid Jaze no mind. Instead, Wishmaster's eyes locked solely on the angel. Wishmaster glowered at him with with both hatred and surprise.
Jaze hastily scooted backward, desperately hoping that the angel and Wishmaster would keep their focus on each other and ignore him. The angel grimaced confidently at Wishmaster, who was now slowly stepping away, as though expecting an attack at any moment.
Blind Angel: You shall not trouble this one any further. He is now under my protection. Leave his mind and presence forever.
For the first time in Jaze's memory, Wishmaster looked genuinely frightened. Slowly, Wishmaster backed away as though he had a gun pointed at him while the angel raised his hand again and, calmly, appeared to do nothing but point his finger at Jaze's longtime tormenter.
Before Jaze's astonished eyes, Wishmaster simply disintigrated as if he were simply blown away by a gentle breeze.
The angel then turned his attention back to Jaze, who stared at him in wonderment.
Blind Angel: Now, with that little necessity out of the way, we are free to converse.
Jaze said and did nothing but stare at the angel with his mouth hanging open. Already, his mind felt as clear and placid as a mountain lake. Looking around him, he suddenly noticed the sweet smell of the grass around him, the serenity of the gentle breeze upon his face, and the greenness of the leaves on the trees and bushes around him, filling him with a calm, even greater than when he sat with is father, which had eluded him for years.
All city pictures from SimCity 4