Michael took Raphael on the red paths toward the village, after a successful landing in the wheat fields and a peaceful moment by the water. Riding passed the Forest, Raphael felt, a strong presence buried in the ground. Sleeping. Maybe. Michael, he thought, is that her. He heard Yes, brother. It is her. Just where she crashed. Let’s keep moving. Michael ordered his mount to gallop and his two companions followed steadfastly. Raphael thought of stopping to investigate but his decision was already made. He was sure he did not want to wake her up and knew leaving would help. So he accelerated his steps in lock with those of his mount. Magnificent, these creatures that Michael tamed and organized. Raphael felt himself bonded to the black stallion.
The village was lit under a purple sky. They patrolled around it before dismounting in a Guard Tower where more of Michael’s Guards waited for them. They called him Captain. The sun was raising over the field and the children were whispering, supported by the song of the morning birds. A very peaceful place. Raphael thought. But there was no time to wonder in thoughts, two young men stood at attention interrupting him.
– Sir. We are here to escort you to the Great Hall and to your quarters. If you are ready we will be heading this way.
– Who’s orders?
– the Governor’s, Sir.
Raphael looked at Michael standing to his right, also settling from the ride. He seemed like he had nothing to do with this order. Obviously disapproved of it. What is it, brother? What should I know? Michael turned to look at him on his way out, going the opposite way. You will meet the Elders, four of them. And Eve. You will like it, it’s a political arena. I am out, Brother. Good day.
Raphael turned to his escort.
– Alright. Lead on. I have some questions for you. You do not mind, Guard, if we talk while we walk?
– It’s High Guard, Sir, and I was ordered to provide you with an Intel Briefing.
– Well…how nice. What is your name, High Guard?
– James, Sir. High Guard James.
– Thank you. Ok, I am ready for the briefing.
– Sir. The Council of Elders has predicted your Fall years ago. Your presence was to be preceded by the Green Flash which happened yesterday. The Captain left immediately with an escort for the Golden Fields where he personally landed expecting you to also land there which you did. The Captain reported the phenomenon to have separated in two during the descent. He arrived at Union Guard Tour at dawn today accompanied by you. The village has prepared for a great celebration and the day has come. Please, Sir, pay little attention to the curious looks on our route to the Hall. It will get a lot more crowded before we enter the Hall.
– Of course! I am the Man that fell from the Sky. I see why Michael would enjoy such a story.
– I will walk in front of you, Sir, Guard Patrick will walk behind.
Raphael observed his surroundings. The streets were narrow, everything was covered in red brick dust. The woven baskets of wheat, the clay jugs of oil, the fabrics citizens wore, all were tainted with the same crimson red of the paths and buildings. The People here were looking healthy and strong. The children were gathering behind them followed by their own cloud of dust. The group made it to a wider, main route, heading toward a plaza decorated with ribbons and flowers. A crowd of mainly women and children were throwing petals in the air and cheering their arrival. The children both in front and behind them ran toward each other describing circles in the plaza. A Church was standing to Raphael’s left and a luxurious house to his right. But his escort did not waste any time, they led him right through the crowd onward to a larger avenue also packed with citizens, young men, soldiers and friends cheering by the Great Hall behind them with its many appendices flanking it. The crowd was loud and the air was filled with coloured petals and ribbons.
But Raphael heard nothing and saw nothing. The silence came upon him when in his mind, he connected with Queen Eve from inside the Hall. She was sitting at a large, dark table with four others. No, five. Someone was attempting to remain invisible. Raphael saw a White Fire burning in the Council Chamber in suspension mid air. He was abruptly extracted from the vision when Guard Patrick grabbed his right shoulder in a tight grip. Raphael finally noticed the crowd pressing against them. More guards were standing at attention leading to the Hall. Four of them turned as they passed the stairs and columns. They were escorted inside. Raphael stepped on the clean, white tiles of the main room flanked by three guards on each side of him. They passed through an anti-chamber with its dark wooden doors wide open. Nobody here. In the Main Chamber,two half moon staircases were leading to a mezzanine. The rectangular table and the Council were installed in the centre of the tiled floor, behind them were closed doors to another annex. The guards stopped walking at once in a loud noise echo. Raphael was awaken from his contemplation, saw Eve standing in front of him, smiling. She had pale, glowing skin, pale golden hair. Her heart was pure as can be. But she was not quite an angel. Interesting.
– My Brother says you are the better half of him. I can see he speaks the truth. Raphael said with a grin on his face. She smiled gently.
– It is truly a great pleasure to meet you, Brother of Michael.
– Raphael, Governor.
– Our Father sent Raphael to us in these delicate times. She said as she turned to face the Council. Let me present to you, Elder Sem to the left, Elder Cham next to him, Elder Japhet and Patriarch Noah, builders of Union.
The Patriarch stood up behind the table. He was obviously ancient. Raphael perceived he had an agenda, he had prepared himself for the speech he was about to give.
– Master Raphael. Your green arrival in the Skies of Union announced the awakening of the Heart of the Forest. We had no expectations as to what that would mean for our community. But in recent days, the Council has started dreading this moment. More of my sons live in the forest and they are reporting strange occurrences, mysterious disappearances and erratic behaviors among their people. They are many bad omens. We are worried and fearful. Many wishes to flee the Forest. We ask for your clarity and wisdom during these troubling times. We will accommodate you in any and all ways necessary. Your guidance will be generously rewarded.
Raphael remained silent after those last words. The hall was dead silent. They feared him. He saw the dark cloud of their fear heavily rising above their heads.
– I have many questions for this Council. He took a deep breath while the Governor’s made her way to her seat. I know what is buried under the Forest. She is our Sister. Your world has started transforming, adapting itself to her presence as it was foretold when she first landed here when none of you where living.
The silence carried on.
Who else is here? Raphael spoke loudly. There is one more here that my eyes don’t see.
A tall, thin naked man wearing only leather belts and stone blades slowly walked out of thin air next to Eve. His skin was olive and tanned by the Ages. If the Patriarch was ancient, this man must have been as old as the planet itself. They stared at each.
– You speak truth. He said in thoughts
– Who are you? Raphael calmly answered.
– Adam, son of Dion, son of Diotime by the Mother of All. I have sons and daughters in the desert.
– Why are you here?
– My sister, He rested his hand on Eve’s shoulder, will reach the highest summit. Light the White Flame over there. The Violet Crystal buried under the trees crashed and transformed this land from dead to living.
– You and yours were living here before that?
– With rocks and fires.
– Does this Council has a library? Raphael said out loud.
– Of Course. The Council Library is at your disposal, Raphael of the Green Light. Said the Governor. As is this Council.
To these words, the Patriarch stood and made his way to Raphael. He stares into his deep eyes in a silent prayer. This Council now names you Governor of Union. Raphael was humbled.
– Thank you, Council. I will see you through this new day. I will leave you when my Task here is done. First, I will see each one of you and collect your testimonies in writing. Now, excuse me, I have other business to tend to. Raphael looked at each Member before walking away. The first four guards he passed stayed still. The last two, Guard Patrick and High Guard James turned right on their heels to follow him out the Hall where the crowd cheered and celebrated his arrival packed in the Great Plaza. James to his right approached him and whispered;
– Protocol suggests you deliver a few words to the People before we take you to your quarters in the Governor’s Mansion, Sir.
Raphael stared at the Crowd smiling at him.
– What you call the Heart of the Forest, I call Sister. She crashed here when this planet was forming. My Family sent me to find her and tend to her needs. We are just a little late. You are all safe, People of Union. Be in Peace.
The new governor and his escort walked among the crowd and the cheers out of the Square Plaza facing the great Hall and into the round Plaza between the chapel and the Governor’s house. The guards stopped marching in front of the fountain where children were sitting or standing in, proud to have the best seats to the show.
-The chapel was prepared for you if you wish to collect your thoughts in silence.
With just a nod, Raphael turned toward the chapel. His escort separated; two guards with him and two climbing the steps to the mansion. The interior of the chapel was dark even with the sun shining bright outside. The red brick absorbing some of the light gave to the place a comforting feeling of safety.
Twenty-five people could stand in here, Raphael thought. Very well designed.
Suddenly, the space in front of him grew in brightness. Raphael raised his arm to protect his eyes when he heard his brother Uriel’s deep voice.
– I am glad you made it in one piece, Brother!
A solid sphere of iridescent light was hovering over the altar. Raphael took a deep breath.
– Brother. This place is sacred.
– Am I not?
– How does the situation look from your perspective?
– Looking good. No significant changes in the wave patterns of the planet. People are happy it seems everything is at it should be.
– I received information that suggests my Vessel had split in two upon entering the atmosphere. Can you confirm that?
– Yes. One fragment separated and landed in the marshes at the southern border of the Forest. Its signature is faint but it is being monitored as we speak.
Raphael took a moment to think. He looked around him to remember he was in the red chapel. He stood at attention, turned his eyes to the flames dancing around him.
– Gabriel, my dear brother, this place has many secrets. It has not revealed itself to me yet. I feel most of its destiny is hidden from my sight. I’m surprised at how good things look right now. I have found Michael or rather Michael found me. He was expecting to see his brothers but did not know which one it would be. He is not in charge to his own admission. It is that separated part of him, Eve, who leads. Was amethyst also split in two? They refer to her as the crystal. She must have taken that form or is the crystal the separated fragment? I have been given power to rule by their counsel. I will be visiting Amethyst landing site at first light tomorrow. Let’s see what Michael has to say about all of this.
The solid light sphere vibrated and waved through its surface before collapsing onto itself leaving the chapel in darkness. Raphael turned toward the door and stepped out to see the last pink rays of sunlight on the horizon. Everyone had left but some young folks still sitting in the fountain. Two guards were standing at attention in front of the chapel and two more were in front of the mansion. Raphael walked across the Plaza, stepped up to open the door to his new home for the moment.