Gone To Graveyards 4: Gone To Flowers

By Prodigal


The impudite made its way to the shores of the Styx, then waited as patiently as it could. Eventually a ferry arrived.

"Where to?" the djinn at the pole asked.

"Abaddon," the impudite answered.

"Tall order," the djinn replied, "Why aren't you going through a tether? Or are you one of Saminga's lot, and afraid to see who's waiting for you on the other side, hmmmm?"

"I have my reasons," was the impudite's sullen reply, "And I have something that I think will prove ample compensation for the trip."

"Let me have it, and your name and I might be willing to take you there if it's not too much trouble."

"I'll show it to you first. If you want it, I give it to you when we've arrived, not before."

The djinn frowned, displeasure winning over its band's more usual apathy. "Fine," it said at last.

"Ed Gein's index finger," the impudite said with a smile, producing a rotted digit from the robes it wore. "Well, the first two joints, anyway. Most of the flesh is gone, but the bones are still holding together. Your prince would probably give you a pretty fat reward for that, don't you think?"

At this, the annoyance on the djinn's face gave way to naked greed.

"I'll do it," it finally said as it struggled to regain its composure. "Climb aboard, and let's go."

The journey was long and unpleasant, but thankfully uneventful. The Styx eventually reached the mouth of the Acheron, and from there it was just a matter of remembering to take the eventual fork that was the Cocytus rather than the Phlegtheon, and then passing beyond Tartarus without capturing the notice of any of Vapula's riverborn press gangs. When the ferry had finally come to ground on the shores of the wasteland that was Abaddon, the djinn could contain his curiosity no longer.

"Who are you," it asked, "And how did we manage to get all this way unmolested?"

"Aufhebenile," the impudite answered, "And I think it's because of this." He handed the decrepit finger over to the djinn as he stepped out of the boat. "Its former owner managed to go undetected in human society for a long while, so I think it's probably become a relic that shields the holder, or something like that."

"Oh," the djinn said, trying not to be too obvious about how eagerly it was concealing the finger, "Cool."

And with that, the impudite moved off to be lost in the endless winds.

The ferry was caught by one of Vapula's subs shortly after returning to the boundaries of Tartarus, and its pilot taken away for experimentation. Nothing prevents the telling of lies in Hell, after all.

"You've done WHAT?"

"Pretty neat, isn't it?" Eli had answered Dominic with a smile. "It took a lot of study of demons who were either trying to redeem, or taken prisoner, but I've finally managed to work out how to make a vessel for operations on the celestial plane, just like the ones we make for the corporeal. They don't last long enough when anybody other than me wears them to do us much good yet, but I'm working on it."

"But what are you planning on using an Impudite vessel for?"

It was several minutes after Eli answered Dominic before the Archangel of Judgment could do anything other than blink in mute shock.

Eli frowned with the effort of keeping his vessel intact.

"Should have tested this against storm conditions," he thought, as the storms that constantly blew through Saminga's former realm nearly tore away his disguise, "But I suppose that I can just think of this as a beta test..."

Eventually, he reached the Chasm, and after studying the burbling mass of mingled devastated souls that filled it concluded that perhaps the Prince of Death had been sincere, after all.

"Saw what it showed me, and I decided I hadn't anymore place in Hell," Saminga had explained to Novalis, "Sent you the message because of that, since you're the only one I could count on to actually try to redeem me instead of killing me outright."

"You know that I can make no guarantees, don't you?" Novalis had asked in reply, "I will try my hardest, but if you are not completely capable of accepting the light of Heaven into your heart, it could hurt you. Or worse..."

"Care not," Saminga had answered with a shrug of the shoulders of his host. "Want away from Hell. If kills me, it's one last act for my Word. Either way, I'm free."

"Then let us begin," Novalis had said with a nod, and shed her vessel. She fancied she could hear a popping noise as Saminga likewise left his host, and spared a moment's pity for the poor man as he tried to understand where he was and how he had gotten there.

Saminga had looked at her pleadingly, the only body parts visible upon its gaseous murk a countless number of sorrowful eyes.

Novalis had enfolded Saminga within her wings, drawing him higher into the celestial plane.

When the light of Heaven first touched Saminga, its faint contact stung. But Novalis sang her reassurance, for this was common for those who had never known its touch before.

Then it began to singe, but still Novalis sang her love and acceptance, and Saminga had accepted this as the cost of turning away from what it had been for so long.

When Saminga felt its forces begin to burn away, however, panic drove away all else. Blind with fear, Saminga lashed out, teeth, claws and vicious horns extending from its shrinking form in all directions, piercing, tearing and biting at Novalis' celestial form. She had tried invoking her seraph attunement, but Saminga's desperation had given him a strength of will that could not be beaten. Novalis then had tried to escape, but her wounds had been too grievous.

"Do not fail me, Eli," had been her last thoughts before her celestial form tore asunder. Moments later, the last shreds of Saminga's celestial form gave way to the light of Heaven, leaving nothing behind but the colossal disturbance of the death of two superiors.

"I think he may be telling me the truth," she had said to Eli as she handed him the seed, "But just in case, I felt a need to form a contingency plan. I've bound one of each of my forces into this. You know what to do if I fail, right?"

Eli merely nodded, the sadness that he allowed so few to see lining his face.

"I have to go now," the Archangel of Flowers had continued, "Because I'm going to have to devote my full attention to Saminga. None of us have ever redeemed a superior before, so wish me luck. And never forget - flowers may die in the winter, but they always sprout again once spring comes..."

Eli gathered up his full strength, and threw the seed into the Chasm, the winds of Abaddon cutting his impudite vessel to ribbons as he ceased paying attention to its maintenance.

The seed sank below the surface of the mass of soul fragments.

The sound of millions of souls weeping rose above the winds, not the chorus of grief that one would normally expect in Hell, but in relief.

The winds around the Chasm died as the light of Heaven broke through the skies of Hell in a beam that pierced its center, and Novalis rose from its depths.

She and Eli ascended from Hell before any of the Princes could gather their wits enough to stop them. In their wake was left a calm in the storms of Abbadon surrounding the Chasm, and a flower growing there for every mortal soul that Novalis had drawn upon for the essence needed to restore her to life.

They say the flowers grow there still, but then they say many things about Hell.


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