– Malkuth - The Pure Virgin. The reward of the Magister Templi.1 –
– Malkuth My selfishness is like an incandescent, sharp storm that, ruthlessly, won’t be stopped by anyone.
Once awake, this burning monster opens paths never seen before,
demanding a world of his own, a world I know that doesn’t belong to me.
Even so, the impulse that drives it forth is pure and, like such, irresistible ...
This is the true voice of my heart.”
As expected from someone who’d gone to bed not long after six in the afternoon, I woke in the middle of the night, even though I still felt tired. The clock on my bedside table showed '3:45' in the morning and I moaned, thinking that it would be less than four hours before my alarm clock rang.
I slid out of bed, still yawning, and took a trip to the bathroom. However, as I passed the stairs, I thought I heard voices coming from the living room. I listened in silence for a minute, easily recognizing Alexander’s voice which, strangely enough, sounded aggravated, angry almost.
I went downstairs, praying the wood boards wouldn’t creak beneath my feet, and hid against the wall, near the door, in the same place from where I’d previously listened to another conversation.
“You can’t be serious!” Alexander was demanding in a mix of astonishment and exasperation. “We already discussed this! Everything has been decided!”
“I changed my mind.” My heart jolted to life at the sound of his deep voice.
“What changed your mind?! Do you have some hidden death wish that I don’t know about?”
“I’m not going back on my word. You can do as you please,” Gabriel replied, sounding incredibly calm when compared to Alexander’s ill temper.
“Izrail!” Since raising his voice didn’t seem to accomplish anything, Alexander took a deep breath and looked like he was trying to calm himself down. “You will also be placing her in danger,” he argued.
“I can very well take care of that.”
“And who’ll take care of you? After what happened last time, you can hardly still think you’re invulnerable! And the closer you are to this place, the less power you’ll be able to use without placing all these Humans at risk!”
“That won’t be necessary. I’m perfectly capable of defeat them without having to use that much power.”
“One, two maybe. But if you stay, others will follow. If it goes around that you’re back and that you’ve set camp in this piece of land, alliances will be made just to defeat you! You know they all fear you! And there’s nothing like pure fear to make everyone put their differences away!” Alexander insisted, trying to appeal to his better judgment, and I squeezed my hands together as I understood the reason behind their argument.
“I’ll deal with that in due time.”
“But can it be possible! Just get it through your thick skull! You cannot stay here!”
Alexander’s roar made me cringe and I held my breath as I waited for Gabriel’s answer.
“For the last time, Mariane wants me to stay and, as long as this is true, I’ll do as she wishes.”
His answer allowed me to breathe again.
“Mariane!” Alexander echoed with a hint of resentment. “Stop making excuses for yourself! You’re the one who wants to stay!” he accused but Gabriel remained silent. “Izrail, I’ve been telling you since the beginning, she’ll never give you what you want.”
“I know and I’m glad she won’t,” he replied, apparently indifferent, and a sharp pain pierced my chest.
“For crying out loud! Have you looked at yourself? This is not like you at all!” Since he didn’t answer, Alexander went on. “She’s just a Human child! She’ll eventually die! What could you possibly want to achieve in the small time she has to live?”
“I don’t care about any of that ... at all.” This time around his voiced sounded rougher and I wished I could just go in there and end that meaningless argument, but my body wouldn’t move.
“She’s a Gaalgha with no Guardian. And she’s only using you to fill in the emptiness that remained when he left. It’s a bond too strong to be broken just like that. And you were the first one she found able to see her for who she really is. What do you think will happen once he awakens? Yeah, because I’m sure you know that if we stay, that’s what will eventually happen!”
“I know that!” Gabriel raised his voice and I shuddered as he sounded furious all of a sudden, the air around me becoming heavier and harder to breathe. “And enough of this!”
“Izrail! You’re not her Guardian!” Alexander said over his angry voice and the air crackled like it was electrified, making me shiver from head to toe.
“What do you mean by that?”
“That that’s exactly how you’re behaving!” Alexander replied and their argument became even fiercer.
”That is ... ridiculous!”
“What’s ridiculous is your stubbornness! You think I’m blind? You used this meaningless Contract as a link and you fell right into the same trap all Iaidon fall!” The sound of footsteps startled me and for an instant I thought I’d been found.
“Nonsense!” Gabriel stubbornly replied, somehow sounding more under control again.
“You listen to me very carefully. These feelings ... she’ll never answer them! What’s worse, they do not have place in beings like you. You’ll end up either destroying yourself or breaking her. One of you will not leave this unscathed. And, if it’s to end up destroying yourself, then you may as well end this right now. Just go upstairs and kill her, and be done with it!” The sound of something falling and breaking made me jump. My heart was drumming in my years, making it harder to hear what they were saying, and yet his soft whisper reached me as clear as always.
“Say that one more time ... and it’s the last thing you’ll say.” The ice in his voice stole my breath away and the silence that followed left me apprehensive.
“You’re beyond any measure of salvation, Izrail,” Alexander finally declared and I thought I could hear a deep sorrow in his voice. Once more I heard the sound of footsteps and then Gabriel’s menacing presence was gone.
I practically ran upstairs, making sure I was as silent as possible, and hid under my quilt, my breath still labored and out of control. The hand I placed against my chest told me I was still alive and I tried to regain control over wayward emotions.
My Guardian ... he had to be close by, I gathered. Sleeping, somewhere, and the idea that he might suddenly wake up made me feel anxious and apprehensive at the same time. I really wanted to know why he’d left me and, deep inside, I believed that he’d certainly had a very good reason to do it. But, on the other hand, I didn’t know how I’d react to the sudden presence of an angel in my life. I could easily foresee that keeping a Deiwos for company wouldn’t be allowed and, at that moment, I couldn’t even deal with the possibility of that thought.
Inevitably, my thoughts ended up turning towards the true reason of that argument. My heart jumped into a mad race and the word ‘feelings’ echoed in my mind.
I immediately refused to ponder on that any longer. The only question I allowed myself to ask was if any of what I’d heard had, somehow, made me change my decision. The answer was clear and prompt — no.
And becoming aware that everything remained exactly as it had been just a few minutes ago filled me with a peaceful quietness that finally allowed me to go back to sleep.