The sprint through New Paris was a frenzied blur and my mind was reeling with the seeds of possibilities that the encounter at La Roseraie had planted.
Who was the Angel that Lucifer had been speaking with? Could it have something to do with the plans to destroy the men and women of New Paris that he had spoken of? How soon exactly was “soon” if the assault were to occur?
Before I realized it, I was at the front gate to the Citadel. My mad sprint had left me breathless as I burst into the large open courtyard and I was drawing curious glances from the commoners and Guardians going about their business.
Looking about panting I caught sight of a guardian wearing the robes and cowl of a scholar. I hoarsely called to him but he dismissed me as he was in possession of a grade five halo and whatever business had a lowly level one flustered could hardly compare to the works he had in progress.
Angrily I blocked his path and grabbed the front of his robes, wheezing two words that I hoped would catch his full attention.
The tattoos branding his skin began to flare as he glared at me for daring to handle someone of such higher station than I so roughly. Then a realization dawned on him, seeing the terror in my expression. The tattoos dimmed and he grabbed my arm roughly leading me toward the Library.
Inside I saw Allegra seated at one of the tables pouring over several tomes intently and a number of other scholars doing the same. Simultaneously their heads raised in irritation at the commotion coming from the doorway.
Then Allegra recognized me and noticed my panic and heavy breathing. She jumped up from the table and ran to me, concern shot through her voice as she asked me what was the matter and why I was being dragged in by a leader of her order.
The other Guardians looked to the tattooed leader for direction and he motioned them back to the tomes they had been scouring. Once we were all seated at the table he pulled a massive leather bound book in front of him and opened it to an aged page that contained a charcoal image of an Angel.
He described the scene portrayed on the opposite page, A great war prophesied by the Oracle nearly a century ago between the Angelic Host and humanity. The original reason for the Guardians very existence and the most closely guarded secret of the Citadel, a secret even to all but the highest ranking of the Guardians.
He turned to me and asked me to explain what I had meant by my panicked words to him in the courtyard.
I began the recounting of the events that had transpired at La Roseraie. The revelation of La Jardiniers true nature, the horrifying prospect that the Angels may have been preparing for a direct attack on the Citadel, and the terrifying sight of the golden haired Angel speaking with the Devil himself as if he was an old friend.
By the time my tale was done the light outside had dimmed to the hazy gloom of twilight. In the low light I could see that each of the other Guardians at the table had gone pale and looked very concerned. Even the tattooed leader looked pensive and was rubbing his temples, deep in thought.
We did not have long to discuss the events further however, as the sound of a trumpet blared in the distance and suddenly it seemed as if the entire Citadel had awakened and a dazzling white light pierced the gloom as if it were midday again.
The first battle had begun.
Alexander Motus, Guardian # 51