Standing At The Gate
North Wales. UK.
Clayton paced in front of the stone circle, glancing down towards the remaining soldiers fighting by the tree line. Behind him, from the center of the circle he could hear Cora mumble a few words as she regained some trace of consciousness. He breathed out, taking in his surroundings. He was standing on top of Moel Ty Uchaf, at the final gate. On any other day he would have appreciated it more, the beautiful rolling hills, specked with woodlands spotted in patches as far as the eye could see. Sure, it was a little blowy and cold, but the environment fit perfectly, like the last jigsaw piece finding it’s home.
He was no longer nervous. For good or bad, he was here, and everything was slotting into place. Well, almost everything. He knelt by one of the small stone pillars which moments ago looked old and weathered, but now were taller, smooth and angular. The force field, or whatever it was, domed the inner circle, encasing Cora in a vault of protection. He had to admit, this concerned him. But in the grand scheme of things, did it matter? Once the gate was active, it would set off a chain reaction. No more Cora, means no more shield.
Cora began to move, breaking Clayton back from his thoughts. He got to his feet, straightened up and slowly walked around the outer circle, deep in contemplation, allowing Cora time to gather herself.
“You must have known it was always going to end this way”, he said waving his hand towards the sharp cracks of gunfire, echoing over the screams of the wounded. “No matter how you or Alex played it, this was always going to be the conclusion.” He stopped pacing and looked down at her bruised body. “Its funny. We’re finally here, passed the point of no return, but the only thought bouncing around my head is why it doesn’t feel better?! You’re broken, he said with a dismissive flick of his hand. Alex is God knows where fighting Julius, and within a matter of minutes my armada will break through the atmosphere. And yet… Where’s the joy? Where’s the satisfaction?”
He started to walk, running his fingers over the tops of the stone pillars as he passed, now and then glancing down at Cora lying on the grassy floor, caked in dirt and blood. Even here he thought, in this pale reflection of the universe, her energy was palpable, he could almost feel it.
Bitterly he said, “Can you see the irony. No more fighting, no more pain, no more anything! What was it you said, in the darkness of emptiness, there is always light.” With a slight shake of his head, he smiled sadly. “Well, here you are standing at the edge of your abyss. How does it feel? You’re about to be ripped out of existence, you understand that, right?!” A memory of Gia flashed through his thoughts. He paused, trying to hold back his anger, but his emotions cracked with every word. “Do you even regret the choice you made? If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be here. All this pain because you needed balance, because you feared conflict. Look around you, he shouted. Look at it! This! This is the reality you chose!” He barked a laugh, “I thought you were my sister, my family!”
Weak, she managed to lift her head high enough to look directly into his eyes.
With a warm smile she said, “Clayton, you’re right. It was always going to end this way. The moment the pebble broke through the water, the ripples were always going to run their course.” Clayton stopped to study her face. Was it a coincidence she chose those precise words? “Wise words coming from a human. If I didn’t know better, I would think you had a direct conscious link to your over-soul,” he said while watching for a reaction.
Cora pushed herself to her knees, muttered a few inaudible words, then sat down on the backs of her calves. Once settled, she moved the dirty strands of hair from her face, pushed them behind her ears, and let out a sigh. “Clay, you chose this, not me. Or has fantasy taken your mind to a point where you truly believe I had that choice?”
Confused Clayton looked into her eyes. He couldn’t be sure because of the dull glow of the shield, but he thought he could see… No. That wasn’t possible! Cora continued, “Do you really think I had the power over Gia’s decision? And as for this reality” she said, looking around, seeing it as if for the first time. “Well… You don’t paint a picture using the same color as the canvas,” she said with a shrug.
Clayton turn to look at the woodland, mini explosions popped and flashed sending trees and branches flying in all directions. Shouts and electric fizzing noises, and more flashes pushed shadows towards the circle. What was happening down there? He looked up at the sky, then at the shield, and then back on Cora.
A sudden jolt of icy fear raced down his spine and into the pit of his stomach. With a sinking feeling he asked, “How?” Cora said nothing as the blood surrounding her started to glimmer, as if her blood was made from countless stars.
Clayton was now staggering back in confusion looking at his own hands. “What?! No!” He shouted as his hands became warm, and his veins started to take on a familiar gold complexion. Gasping, he fell to his knees, as pure energy pulsed through his entire body making the small hairs on the back of his arms stand up. He looked back at Cora as she smoothly floated to her feet. The blood that was glimmering, was now spinning around her legs like sparkling specks of gold, silver and rose-colored diamonds. The speed of which created a vortex of wind filling the inner circle, pushing against the shield, blowing it out like a balloon.
The moment the vortex moved above her head she said in a voice that left the stone pillars ringing like a bell, “I am Cora Emora. Arianrhod Class from the Pleiades.” The shield cracked and beams of light burst out for a split second before imploding back in on her, sending out a shock wave leaving the pillars to reverberate in a sing-song hum. She was no longer covered in dirt and blood. Her hair looked silky brown, her eyes glowed emerald-green, and vitality brought back the color of her skin. She looked down at Clayton, “Earth has rules Clay. You and Julius should have followed them better,” she said with condemnation or pity, Clayton couldn’t tell, but one thing was certain, they weren’t playing by the same rules now.
Clayton looked over his shoulder again towards the tree line. He could make out an outline of a man dragging another into the clearing. Everything was quiet. He knew then, the fat lady wasn’t about to sing. Not just yet.
Several Minutes before. 700 meters away… Coming soon 😉
End of “Standing At The Gate” part one.