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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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The Second War

by Edward Sullivan


 

 
 
The svelte robot approached the Sultan.
 
"Sahib, have you heard the story of how the second war of heaven began?"
 
The Sultan narrowed his eyes. "I have not ever heard that heaven had a second war. You must be making jest. Surely in my long life one of my many storytellers would have told me this tale."
 
"No, my Sultan. This is not known by them. I have this one because I have all tales even those which are lost to your storytellers."
 
The Sultan glanced around his court. "Everyone sit, we will hear this before we conduct anymore business this day! Tell me a tale, droid. Your Sultan commands it!"
 
"Yes, Your Eminence. It began a long time ago on ancient Earth....
 
Cassiel followed the path to the top of the falls. Penemue had something to show him and his nature was voyeuristic. He had to come to South Carolina to this spot. Penemue was not a braggart. The scholar of the fallen was the closest thing to pious he could possibly be. He was also Cassiel's friend. The Grigori were prideful, that was why they fell. He sat on the edge of the falls and hung his feet in the cold water. The fallen angel soon came out of the woods behind him.
 
"Hello, Cass."
 
"Penemue. How are you?"
 
"Troubled. You came, I am glad that you did."
 
"You doubted me? We are friends despite your fall. I have never had issue with your methods. You just grew too prideful."
 
"I have something to show you. You recall my crime, brother?"
 
"Certainly I do. We all had to commit the charges of each of you to memory so there would be no claims of ignorance should they come to pass again."
 
"He claimed it was prideful for me to teach them to write. They had to communicate, Cass. It was essential to their being. If they did not there would be no music, no stories, and no poems."
 
"It was not yours to teach, Grigori. He does things in his own time. You are his vessel. You forgot that." Cassiel turned his head slightly to gain a better view of his friend.
 
"These falls are called Brasstown Falls. Do you recall the ancient city of brass?"
 
"I do. That city is long buried and is as quiet as these woods now. Why do you ask?" The angel raised himself up so he could stand before his friend face to face.
 
"The old cities died with so many secrets, none as great as the one I am about to show you. Follow me." The Grigori stepped off the edge of the falls and began to float down.
 
Cassiel followed him. "What is this, Penumue? You have never been one for mysteries!"
 
They came even with each other midway down the falls. The spray off the falls felt cool and refreshing. There was a dark shadow right here if you looked at this section at the correct angle. Cassiel squinted at that spot.
 
"What is that? It defies the eye. My eyes should not be turned by simple water."
 
Penemue folded his grey wings and dived at the spot. "Come see."
 
Cassiel's forehead crinkled and his mouth tightened. This was adventurous behavior. He preferred the watcher's role to the explorer's. He tucked his wings and followed.
 
The other side of the falls was a cavern. The walls and floors were completely natural rock. Pebbles and the normal detritus left by birds of prey covered the floor. Pedestals surrounded the outer edge of the cavern. Twenty of them were spaced out each with something sitting on top. Penemue went to one of them slightly left of center and looked down. Cassiel joined him.
 
"What is it?"
 
"It is the first written words of mankind."
 
"You fool; you saved this like some kind of memento? He will destroy you. You can't hide this from him!"
 
"First, this isn't any doing of mine. Second, I assure you he knows of its existence. He just doesn't know I have found it."
 
"I do not understand."
 
"He sleeps. He has turned his attention elsewhere. Even his resources have limits when applied against himself. It is hard to comprehend, but he has become so melancholy that he games with himself. I take exception because he unfairly involves us. This chamber contains evidence that shows all of the Grigori did not commit the sins of arrogance we were accused of. This is the words he taught man before I ever did. Each pedestal contains evidence clearing my peers."
 
Cassiel's normally dour countenance got tighter. "You fool. You have damned yourself again and me as well. You think he wants to be shown fallible? We must leave!"
 
"It is too late. Now we truly rebel. You must leave so the others know. You are my witness. The others await me outside. Go now!"
 
Cassiel flew through the cold water and turned upwards to streak to a great height. He looked down and saw all the Grigori there at the top of the falls with their seconds and minions. They had obviously spread the word of the evidence as well. The others were arriving and heading toward the cave.
 
The sky darkened in the distance and a roar echoed over existence. Cassiel flew away from that place as fast as his wings would beat.
 
The Sultan was on the edge of his seat. He leaned forward in anticipation of a description of a glorious battle yet unknown to everyday man. He was going to find out what God's countenance was when he exhibited his divine wrath. The female robot stopped and looked up.
 
"Why do you stop? Continue! I must know the rest!"
 
"I am sorry, Sahib. My battery runs low. I promised the story of how the war started. I will recharge tonight. Tomorrow I shall tell you how the war comes to end and the creation of the lasting peace heaven knows now."
 
The Sultan frowned.
 
THE END



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