By Sirea Theyal
Hodriul dropped the gun and ran. While one of the demons may be dead, the other six still stood, and not one of them looked pleased with the panicked Oafnite. Pushing his resonance, he sought for the closest safe haven, and by the grace of God he felt the Symphony pulling him to what his resonance told him was a nearby Tether!
Pushing past the crowds of people, Hodriul wondered why there was a Tether here he didn't know about. Then he spotted it. A small dusty library on the side street, doors lit only by a few solitary candles. Shedding his corporeal form, the Wheel blazed through the doors just as he felt the demons turn the corner and make a rush for him. He had precious few seconds left, and he burnt all the Essence he had to make it to the locus in time. The Light of Heaven bathed him, and he rose to his home just as the now-celestial Calabim flew through the walls, bearing down on him...
Hodriul opened his eyes, and found himself in an unfamiliar place. He was in a small room made of pure crystal, in which his fiery form was reflected a million times. No light came into this place, and Hodriul worried for one brief second if some dark force had intervened and sent him to Hell. The Wheel did his best to get out of wherever he was, and soon found a long passage that led to a source of bright light. Spinning with joy, he flew from the dark chambers, and found himself once more in Heaven's skies, safe and sound. Turning, he looked down, and froze in place, cold with terror. The crystal dome of Lucifer's former Cathedral glittered in the celestial sun, and Hodriul realized what had happened.
He had Ascended though a Tether of Light.
They remain a rarity, and a well kept secret among angel and demon alike. Few enjoy speaking of them, and being in the prescence of one has driven many celestials to tears with the overwhelming sadness of what they represent. Occuring every once in a great while, lasting for maybe a few minutes, or even years at a time, are Phantom Tethers. They are Tethers that spontaneously form just like regular Tethers... but to a Word that has Fallen or been long since soul-dead.
In a small run down city, in the back roads on the northern side, an old couple lives together, where they have been married for 50 years. They love each other dearly, and have always helped one another through the diffucult years they have suffered, yet stay happy. In a small garden outside their house, a Tether to Love blossoms.
In a small community, the resovoir is infected with a deadly parasite that makes the whole town sick, killing thousands. Where the super virus is born, a Tether to Disease infects the lake.
A man witnesses a crime in progress, and against his better judgment, he bravely attacks the criminal, who stabs him with a knife, but also falls and breaks his ankle, and is later apprehended by the cops. The man survives, and where he fell, a Tether to Valor burns brightly.
A small girl is born with a severe learning disability. But, through her own force of will and with the help of others, she strives to overcome it and teach herself all she can. One day, she succeeds. Where she reads her first book, a Tether to Knowledge comes to life.
In Argentina, a young woman fights for the freedom of the oppresed people. She meets a man who also fights, and though they do not speak each others language, and come from different worlds, something blossoms in them both, and they fall in love, fighting together. In the park where they made love to each other, a Tether to Diversity springs forth.
Phantom Tethers are different from regular Tethers in the following way - for one, they never have more than 3 Word Forces, and are always small in size. They cannot be stabilized by a Superior (though some say that a Superior who formerly held the Word the Tether comes from might be able to...). They give off no noise that can be heard by a normal celestial - only Grigori, Superiors, and those looking for a Phantom Tether can hear it. Lastly, though a celestial may go through it, it is not guarenteed that they will pull all the way through, or that the Tether will stay together from being used. Some celestials have been sent to Limbo, the Far Marches, or... elsewhere, when using these Tethers. Some remain well kept secrets, and many Superiors do their best to keep them together to be used as an ace-in-the-hole.
And some, especially those who were once connected to the Word, see it as a sign of hope that the Superior, even if Fallen or long dead, may one day return home...
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