A Chance Meeting

From the Story Arc: Finding the way home

Previous Story in the Arc: Choosing Sides by Arch Angel X (Monday, June 20, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Something Stirs in the Darkness by Arch Angel X (Wednesday, July 06, 2005)

(posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005)

Xavier sat alone, no other beings approaching him. His pure ice white eyes, which were usually full of light, love and understanding, were hollow and lifeless. His handsome face, which usually held a small smile of laughter and joy, was now impassive and sorrowful. He seemed to be in silent contemplation. His almost pure white hair cascaded down between the two magnificent and glorious darkened wings that extend from his shoulders.


He sat on a huge wall made of what looked like a mixture of granite and marble, a huge tower made of gold towered into the sky. The sun had no bearing on if it was day or night here but he enjoyed immensely. The warmth from the center of the massive city still felt comfortable and pleasing, but already it was becoming smothering and unpleasant.


He clenched his jaw tightly and extended his wings and with a mighty flap he rose high into the air. Gone now were the days of his blind obedience, his unswerving loyalty, of his purity, his understanding and compassion. As he flew high over Paragon City his rage was silently building.


As feathers fell from his wings his anger rose even higher, he no longer cared about calming himself, he wanted to work himself up, too stir his anger up. Soon it would be his time; he would show he was right, that those humans were false and vile creations.


As he gazed down towards the towering city below a sudden rush of emotions scattered through his body, something was calling him, but whom?


“Something feels so familiar here, what is it?” Xavier felt strangely awkward, “I sense something that I have not felt…”


A dark could form over the horizon and rose into the evening sky, almost casting human facial features.


“Almena!”


“Xavier, she is here”


“Who is here?”


“Seraphic Flame, she has changed”.


“What do you mean changed?” Xavier responded as the cloud seemed to fill more of the sky and moved closer to him.


“She is no longer an angel, she is ---yes I feel it a human, she gave her self up for a love of another man”.


His face went sour; the mere thought of the word love was sickening now. Never again would he love. Too much pain, too much blindness. His anger boiled an even hotter white, in the realization that he would not have felt such betrayal, such bitterness.


“How could she do that?” He thought to himself as he stood floating in the sky. “Why would she do that?” his thoughts began to mislead him. For a brief moment he wondered if it was so bad to be subject to the humans, they could be borne, just another obligation for him


“She gave me her heart, why would she give it to another?”


“Angels are much like demons Xavier, you will learn that over time, they thrive on power and have needs and wants, she betrayed you. Offering you something she could not, just to gain your trust, so she could watch you suffer in the end”.


“But I felt it---it was so real, the feeling, so powerful---“


“A simple trick Xavier, she has betrayed us all by giving her self to the humans, she has defiled the Angelic code”.


“How much more can I bare?” he asked himself, he closed his eyes tight, his anger and hatred at its peak. He would show that he was right; that he was the best that he was the one who deserved to be the right hand. He would take his rightful place nothing would stop him or halt his quest for it.


If only it could have been different, if only he didn’t have to do this.


“Do what must be done Xavier”.


The cloud disappeared revealing the setting sun in the western sky. Its glow reflected off the mirror walls of towering glass.


(From Xavier’s point of view)


“There she is, ---with a human---fine two with one stone”. A dark could cast over his body and he landed upon the top of the building, he squatted down perched upon the towers mast. Jumping down to the roof top he landed on one knee but did not make a sound.


“What---the hell?” The human whom he would later find to be named Red Djinni looked surprised as Xavier approached them his form clouding their vision, seemingly ending any polite conversation they were having. “Ignition!” the Djinni seemed prepared to defend himself but he was of little consequence to Xavier, he had one target, if others had to fall then so be it, a loss of a human life meant nothing to him.


Xavier stared at Seraphic Flame, she did look different, and her eyes no longer glowed like the rising sun anymore, but were rather a faint blue. As the mist faded she took a step forward, Djinni moved close to her as if he was protecting her every movement.


“Hello Xavier” her voice had not changed, it was still as soft as a gentle spring breeze. He shook his head as he tried to remain focused.


“Ah---Seraphic Flame, you have changed”


“I see you two have met” Djinni spoke he seemed to relax a bit but only for the moment.


“Yes” Flame responded in a tone that led me to wonder how much had she changed.


“I need to be worried here?” Djinni leaned in and whispered to Flame. She grabbed his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, Xavier couldn’t tell if she was ok or if it was out of fright.


“I sensed something different in you the moment I laid foot in this human land of misery”.


“Yes, Xavier, I have changed, I am now---merely mortal. Though the part of my heart that I gave you remains celestial”.


“So Almena was right, she had given herself to the human race, this should be easier then I thought”, I whispered this into my mind as if keeping a mental note.


“Easy with the misery talk, Mister. Flame and I were just having a nice conversation on ‘fun’”. Djinni tone began to become condescending and I didn’t like it, I would deal with him later.


“Of course you were, such a human emotion---fun”


Red Djinni looked over me as he was judging me “by the look of you, you should try having some sometime”.


“The Djinni speaks”


“Yeah I do that sometimes” Djinni became angrier with where this conversation was headed; Seraphic Flame stopped it before it went any further.


“Xavier, my concern for you remains”.


“Your concern has changed now though hasn't it?”


“Change is inevitable”.


“You can no longer feel what I feel”


“Actually---I can, weakly, as a mortal can, but I can”.


“With what remains of your human heart I suppose”.


“And your pain is still greater even than mine”.


Red Djinni looks over at Flame; his begins to wonder where this is leading “Triste....”


“You know not of my pain, we have discussed this before Seraphim”.


She shook her head “a Seraphim no longer. My name is Triste”.


So she had become a human, abandoning here given Angelic name, she had turned on him, turned on his kind. Anger began to boil in the pit of Xavier’s stomach.


“Triste---how quaint”.


“I am no longer a Celestial Flame. I am a Fire of Sorrow, and still I can sorrow for you as well”.


“An awfully large burden for a human is it not?”


“Still I ask you to open your heart and soul to the voice of the Infinite, it calls you still”.


Xavier looked down towards the cold stone slab that he stood on, the cement was as cold as his aching heart, “a different voice calls me now---Triste”.


Triste closed her eyes, and began breathing very deeply. Red Djinni moved closer making sure she was alright rubbing her hand softly. One tear falls down her porcelain face.


“I know. And I hear that voice too. More strongly than you can know. It lies, Xavier. It wants me as much or more than it wants you”.


Xavier became defiant; he did not want to hear that he was being lied to.


“It does not lie, it tells me everything I want to hear, to know, it shows me the way to true power”.


Triste looked up towards the heavens as she spoke “What a prize I would be! A Seraphim among the Fallen!”


An evil smirk came across Xavier’s face as he contemplated her words, what if he thought to himself.


Xavier’s voice became sinister “yes, yes so very true, think of what I can give you”.


Triste began to tremble “no Xavier, it will never share its power with anything nor anyone


“Oh but you will”.


“Nothing you could give me would be anything but poisoned, Xavier”.


Red Djinni moved slowly behind Triste.


“Why do you speak that way, I offer you something you have never felt”.


“I do not need to feel it to know it—“


Blaze Phoenyx drops down out of the sky in his human form, landing between Flame and Xavier


“That's enough!”


Red Djinni whispers to her “Steady....”


Yet another seemed to come to her protection, Xavier began to feel as if he was being setup, all of the vile humans coming to her aid. Yet this one was different his life force emanated a different energy.


“John Murdock, now who the hell are you?”


“This is he for whom I sacrificed my nature”, she spoke as if to steady the situation.


“Of course--- your”, Xavier cleared his throat, “sacrifice. How nice for you Mr. Murdock”.


Triste began shaking the negative energy in the confrontation was making her uneasy.


Blaze Phoenyx starts forward, fists clenched. “Watch it...pal”.


Triste placed her hand in front of him “Blaze---no!”


Red Djinni responded “Careful Johnny! This... feels wrong”.


“I am not of this world Mr. Murdock and while you may think the same of yourself, I am of one with the darkest places you fear to tread”.


“Yeah? You're talkin' like I give a damn”.


Triste ignites her fires, and stands between Xavier and the two men. “Though I can only oppose you thus, I still oppose you, Xavier, I had rather save you---I had much rather save you---but I will oppose you if I must”.


“There is nothing to save”. The sound of despair came from Xavier’s voice he knew it was to late for him.


“Xavier---I beg---listen to that other voice. You heard it once, you can hear it again”.


Xavier became a little shaken up “yes---but it has gone”.


“No! It is still there! I can hear it, even diminished! You can hear it if you will listen!”


“I now hear one voice one dark voice and it tells me to ---to do oh such bad things”.


Red Djinni interrupted as he watched the conversation go back and forth “someone please tell me what's going on here...?”


“Its power is not in strength, but in sureness!”


“I can no longer here the word of God my friend, but I can here the word of another, a fallen one much like myself and abandoned by God”.


“You can, and you must! Not abandoned, Xavier! Never abandoned! To be Fallen does not mean you may not Rise again! It is a choice---“


“I have found the way, and it is not the path edged in gold”.


“I swear it, by all that I once was!”


“While you still may have powers you are no longer one with the angels”.


Triste begins shaking her head violently “Xavier---no---“


Red Djinni sees Triste's strength, her conviction.


Spheres of dark power begin orbiting Xavier and Flame.


“Feel them, the trapped souls, they yearn to be free, but I won't let them, why is that I wonder”.


As the orbs continued to sway in front, more flickered on in the gloom around him. Hissing became shrieks as the demons that assembled grew eager for the kill, their long hunt finally over, the mission seconds from completion. The wind had stopped now. The only sound of air escaping from anywhere came from the Xavier’s mouth.


“---Xavier---“Triste looked on as the dark balls of negative energy began engulfing the air that surrounded them. Faint cries and screams of save us whispered in the openness.


Red Djinni whispered again “c'mon darlin'... keep it together....”


In a paroxysm of grief, overburdened by Xavier's power, Flame falls sobbing to her knees.


Red Djinni screams “NO! GET UP TRISTE!”


“They call for you, they ask you, they need you, come with me. I will give you things you could only imagine”.


“Xavier, no ---no---“


Blaze tries to interpose himself between them. “That's goddamned enough!”
She is being crushed to the ground.


Red Djinni screams again “TRISTE! TO THYSELF, BE TRUE!”


“---no—“


A Dark Servant, a column of dark power appears, trapping Flame between it and Xavier.


Red Djinni looks on in disbelief “what the... where'd THAT come from?”


“There is nothing to be true to, be true to me”.


Red Djinni mutters “get away from her....”


Red Djinni “Ignition!” Djinni ignites once again flames pour out from with in him trying to protect his true friend.


Her voice is nothing but a faint whisper “...no...”


Red Djinni holds Triste by arms “Hey! HEY!”


“Feel the anger it makes you stronger”.

Blaze Phoenyx points at Xavier anger fills the tone of his voice “Your first and last warning. Leave”.


Red Djinni yells “REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE! REMEMBER... WHO YOU LOVE!”


Triste barely speaking at all “....anger...serves...nothing”.


“Love is a concept. Only there is no such thing, take my hand come with me. I need your help now”.


“You know that isn't true darlin'”. Djinni looks down at Triste who still is collapsed on her knees. “You've felt it”.


She raises her head a little “---no---“.


Blaze Phoenyx shoves Arch “Now! “And don't you dare think I won't boot your ass from this roof”.


“Mr. Murdock do not underestimate the powers from which I came”.


She straightens her back “---no! ---“


Red Djinni continues to try and get her to recover. “You gave up so MUCH for it, now HOLD ON!”

She looks Xavier in the eye “---NO!” She throws up a hand “NO!”


“Unless you want to join the shadows that abound me step aside”.


Red Djinni tries to get through “John.... step back... talk to TRISTE!”


“Seraphic Flame come with me”.


She struggles to her feet. “No! Xavier. NO!”


Red Djinni steps in front of Angel. “Get lost”.


Blaze Phoenyx turns to flame “Flame...remember! Please, if I'm trying then you gotta help me!”


Xavier becomes aware of what is transpiring and must change her beliefs; he feels that she is slipping out of his grasp. “I need your help they don't need you anymore, I do, come with me”.


“Don't know if John could've hurt ya pal, but believe me when I say I can”. Red Djinni clenches his fists in anticipation of a fight.


“Damned straight I could” Blaze responds in kind.


Triste stands straight, frail, but unyielding. “That---is---a—lie. There is nothing you can give me that I would want. Nothing!”


“Oh but there is you just don't see it”.


Red Djinni looks at Triste with hope, laughs “Atta girl!”


Blaze Phoenyx looks into her eyes “stay strong”.


“If I cannot save you, I can save myself, you cannot give me hope---“


Red Djinni eyes twinkling, steps back...

“I can give you everything”. Xavier begins to panic as he looses his grip. For the first time fear sets in followed by loneliness.


“You cannot give me joy---. You cannot give me peace---. You cannot show me the way home again--. And you cannot give me love!”

Xavier’s voice booms through out all of steel Canyon, birds fly from the tree’s and the weak at heart cower in fright “I need you, know, come with me”. But a voice as quiet as the whisper in the trees “no”.


Xavier becomes desperate and it is apparent in his voice “but I can give you love, the love only an angel can give, you remember that love?


“Your ‘love’ is a poisoned thing”.


“No! That is an illusion brought on by human paranoia. I am love, I am compassion, I am strength, and I need you now”.


Blaze Phoenyx in a voice not wholly his own “Enough! Warshade---you stain the earth where you walk! Be gone!”


“I was a Seraphim! The angels of Fire and Love!” Again she steps forward, holding up a hand to stop Blaze and Djinni. “Blaze---John---no”


Now it is Flame's voice that rings through Steel Canyon, “STOP!”


Red Djinni responds “You heard her...”


“Enough. John be still”. Blaze Phoenyx steps back, deferring to Flame. Again she interposes herself between the men and Xavier, one on either side of her. “No, Xavier”.


Red Djinni whispers to John “I think I get it, our help to her isn't pushing this jerk over the edge, and it’s to be here for HER”.


“If you two are so inclined to push me off the edge you will see I will vanish into thin air only to reappear here”.


“My memory is not so faded that I do not know the face of true compassion, true love, and true hope”.


Red Djinni whispers to John “Keep her steady....”


Blaze Phoenyx nods slightly too Red.


“Love is patient, love is kind, love does not insist on its own way. Love does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in right. Love does not imprison, but sets free”.

“I am the right, your duties here are complete, come with me, I need your help now”, Xavier holds out his hand.


“No Xavier, you offer only a facade, and you speak only lies. You are a hollow thing, eaten out from within”.


Xavier sighs almost if he had a heart.


“I would save you if I could. I will reject you if I must”.


“I am sorry to hear that---very, very sorry”.


“I beg you--listen for that other voice. The quiet whisper, the one that will show you the way home. The one that will always be there, no matter how far you Fall”.


“I wish it were that simple, but alas it is not. It is impossible no matter how much you may think otherwise, you don't know, where I have gone”.


“I did not say it would be simple, it will be hard, and it will almost break your heart. But in the end---”.

Xavier screams “I have no heart!”


“Xavier---you have a part of mine, it is still within you, and it can lead you home”.


Triste gives one hand to Red, the other to John. Red Djinni takes her hand. Blaze Phoenyx takes her hand, squeezing it gently.


“Here is strength, friendship, honor, love, sacrifice. These mortals bear more in a single day than you or I experienced in a millennium. And yet---they bow, but remain unbroken”.


Xavier raises a brow “you don't expect me to believe that do you?”


“This is why they have strength. The proof stands here before you, that you are blind to it is the fault of your eyes, not the truth”.


“They know not of the struggles I have faced, they are God's chosen ones, he loves them, he cares for them, and it sickens me to no end. I can't get it off of me, this place and its foul stench”.


“In the long ago days you said that---and you wondered why---this is why. They do not hear the song, and yet they sing! They cannot see the Light, and yet they hope! In the face of pain, they persist in loving! They are stronger than we ever were, or ever will be. And I---will stand with them”.


“Yes only because God protects them so”.


“No, Xavier, he does not protect them. He is not their keeper. They are neither his toys nor children. He sets them free to learn and strive and make mistakes and therein is their strength”.


“But yet even then he watches over them and guides them”.


“And he does so with you and always has. But you are free to make your choices too, as I have made mine. I stand with them, through despair into hope, through darkness into the light, through pain into joy. Through anger into love, and we will all one day go home”.


Xavier shakes his head. “If that is how it must be”.


Red Djinni replies “Damn straight”.


“I tried to offer you what I can give you it is your choice not to accept it”.


“There is nothing you could give me that I would want”.


“But there is another and he will come”.


“And come and come and come again, and always my answer will be no. Fare well, Xavier, I wish you well, I wish you hope”.


In a flash of dark power, Xavier vanishes.


Reappearing back in the same lonely woods he once ran from he found himself alone.


“You have failed me Xavier; your lack of focus is what set her free, your apparent lack of motivation will be your undoing”.


“She was not alone, there were others---“


“Silence!” screams echoing from the darkest shadows each overlapping each other as if just slightly out of sync.


Xavier covered his ears from the madness, the cold numbed everything; panic had them running without a specific destination, and the moon’s fickle light made it hard to see through the thick foliage.


Brush and twisted bramble whipped at his sweat stained, blood caked face as he staggered aimlessly through the jungle. The undergrowth slashed at his flesh, grappled at him with bone white, naked claws.


“This is unacceptable Xavier and for that you shall burn, you shall fall to the very place you so despise”.


“This all a lie you told me ---you would save me, all lies” Xavier buckled down onto his knees his armor torn, flesh broken off trailing behind him breaking off in pieces.


“They come for you know Xavier; I suggest you run they are so very hungry!”


Sure enough, the beasts cut through the gloom behind them, lava dipped eyes reflecting their lust for a feed. Disembodied shrieks blasted the air, and Xavier clutched his sides tighter, hoping the closeness might quell the sickness growing within his gut. An explosion shook the ground behind him. Another did the same seconds later, each impact spewing up steam and molten earth.


“Once they feed on you they will feed on her!”


The creatures increased their speed, while he slowed down, releasing his grip from his side to reach for the scabbard at his back. He knew the enemy gained too fast. The tortures endured by their jailor had made himself too weak to outrun the enemy. The only way out, the only chance left was to take a stand.


It was the only chance he could give her.


“What have I done?” Xavier begins to see Seraphic Flame in his vision.


Fear made her beautiful blue eyes glimmer even brighter in the glow of dancing flame and moonlight, the crackle of fire and thick smoke fueling Xavier’s resolve to ignore the plea he found in her vision. “Don’t do it”, she warned without words, her could almost see her hand reaching for his arm in attempts to pull him away before he was too far gone to help. “Please don’t do it”.


He could not be swayed and instead fixed her with a pair of desperate gray eyes, the pupils flashing with determination. She withdrew in response, her free hand going to her mouth as she shook her head in defiance, tears streaking her pixie face.


To be continued…