Children of Dawn - Chapter 3 - Welcome to the Show
A river of lights, ringing with the warm sound of laughter and cheering, poured in towards the centre of the capital. People know that it was a time for them to come together, setting aside their worries and quarrels for a night of what would be an unforgettable celebration. Families cuddled close as the children, happy and awestruck, gazed with delight at the spectacle of decoration and feasts that had been prepared especially for their enjoyment. This is what Tel could see as he glanced through the tall metal shutters, surrounding the stage.
“Tel!” his grandfather summoned. “Get over here and help me align the fuses. We’re not quite finished yet.”
Tel snapped his attention back around. “Have you seen it out there Grandpa? It’s incredible!” He jogged from the sliding wall back to where Glen was crouched, setting up for the big display.
“Yes it’s incredible, and yes, it will still be there even after we finish this. And besides, how can you still be hungry? You’ve barely stopped since we got here.”
Tel shrugged with a cheeky grin. “Not sure, growing lad I guess.”
Glen hummed with doubt. “You can’t use that excuse every time you know.” His wiring became a little more frantic as time ticked on.
“Even the King said it. Guess that means I can use it as an excuse.” Tel defended as he knelt down to help his elder.
Glen held his hands steady for a moment as his heart warmed. “You’ve really grown to like him, haven’t you?”
Tel looked up through his thick eyebrows, not wanting to seem too keen on the ruler which he, not so long ago, resented. “He’s not all that bad. Seems fresh out of ideas though. I mean this whole event is pretty impressive, but I guess it would be when cost is no issue.”
“Oh I would be so sure about him being out of ideas, son.” Glen began working once again. “You see, his majesty came to the laboratory yesterday with a very good idea.”
“You mean he actually does come out of that spire? Why? What did he say?”
“Well…my answer depends entirely on how much you know about our King.”
Tel looked up, confused, as he continued to couple wires from touch alone.
“His majesty is not just our King, he is our creator. Everything here, the hills, plants, rivers, the air, the sky, even us. He made it all, a long time ago.”
“He built everything? What was it like? Did you see him do it?” Tel asked, excited.
Glen sign with insult and looked to his helper in disbelief. “A very…very long time ago. But of course you would know that if you’d gone to school.” He shoved innocently.
“If I’d gone to school, we wouldn’t be in the capital right now, would we.” Tel countered, also wearing a cheeky grin.
“Very true.” Glen chuckled, nodding. “But since you are here, you might as well know how all of this is supposed to work, thanks to the King’s fresh ideas.”
“Well I have to learn somehow.”
“Long story short, just for this occasion, the King is going to alter the properties of the air, way up, close to the sky. That way, the flame won’t go out.” Glen explained as he knotted small metal cables together.
“He can really do that?”
“It’s as I said, he built everything we know, probably more. And, Tel, there’s something else you should remember.”
“Which is?” Tel asked again, glancing to his grandfather’s handy work and trying to replicate it with his own wiring.
“If we follow our roots back, to our very beginning, we are all results of the King. So…” Glen paused, shuffling to face his grandson properly. He reached under the collar of his new, expensive festival wear, generously provided by the people of the kingdom as a gift. “…just remember…” he pulled out a small, precious stone, on an old string from around his neck. He slipped it off. “…that no matter how hopeless the road may seem, or how lost you may feel…” Glen placed the pendant over Tel’s head, carefully resting it at his collar. “…we all have the strength to find ourselves, and we all have just a little bit of a God…” he poked hard against Tel’s chest with a wrinkled, old finger. “…right in here.”
Tel looked at his grandfather, closely, and for the first time he believed every word that he had been told. “Thanks Grampa.” He meant it this time, his voice free of sarcasm.
“Sorry to interrupt.” Said a steady voice from behind them, accompanied with footsteps approaching.
The two turned to see their king striding through a sea of workers, franticly carrying out final checks. His leather waistcoat and crimson robe had been replaced by extravagant, fine clothing, straps of armour pinning them in place. The light of the lanterns glistened against their chrome surface like fireflies, dancing across him.
“My Lord!” Tel bowed promptly.
Glen doubled over to bow also, however he now felt much more at ease in the God’s presence. “How may we serve you, my King?”
“It won’t be long now before the performance, is everything ready to go?” Wrath checked, waving his hand up to end the bows of his subjects.
“Just finalising the hardwiring now my Lord. We will be good to go as soon as we get the signal.”
“Everything should go off without a hitch.” Tel cheered.
“Good to hear.” Wrath sighed in relief. “Nice stone, Tel.” Wrath complimented, squinting to the boys neck.
Tel took the gift in his hand and held it tightly. “Thanks, my Grandpa gave it to me.” His head tilted towards Glen in indication.
“Your grandfather is a good man, young one. Best make sure he becomes a good old man.” Wrath winked. “Won’t be long before you’ll be retiring I suspect, Glen. But here you are, you’ve made it. You had an ambition and you followed it. I only wish my entire realm was as righteous as the both of you.”
Before the men could thank the God, yet another horn sounded, this time with a slight rhythm behind it.
“You’ll both have to excuse me I’m afraid, that’s my queue.” he apologised as he turned away, walking back the way he came, his armoured boots clanking on the concrete beneath. “Best of luck to you both.”
Glen looked to the God, then to the shutters, confused. “Erm…my Lord…isn’t your throne that way?” Glen gestured over his shoulder with his thumb.
“You’re right, but these people have come a long way for this…” he turned, walking backwards. “…what host would I be if I didn’t give them a true welcome?”
The air around the God began to blur and sparkle with pure white smoke, like a glowing cloud of light had enveloped him. The fog grew thicker, blocking him from sight, wisps of smoke tracing along the ground.
Suddenly, the warping mass of sparkles and light burst into the air, rocketing towards the clouds. The visitors to the other side of the shutters gasped and commented in marvel of the zooming mass. Flying higher, he vanished behind a thin blanket of cloud, out of sight.
The gasps and wonder gradually turned into uncertainty, bafflement. Perhaps he had left, perhaps it had not pleased him to earn their gratitude.
Just as the gathering began to feel a chill of doubt, the light cracked through the cloud, roaring down towards the centre of the plaza. With controlled force, it crashed down to the head of a high, marble column, surrounded by a large fountain of water. The cloud exploded out over, blowing through the crowd.
The beauty of the whirling aura was quickly joined by floating, dancing beads of water, rising from the deep well beneath the pillar.
As the cloud expanded, it thinned, revealing a strong figure standing at the head of the column. His stance was tall, his eyes bright, so bright that they ripped through the shade of night. In his right hand, he gripped a long, golden staff. Slim pipes of gold and silver twirled around its length.
Finally, the smoke cleared. The crowd waited patiently for their God to speak. He did not keep them waiting long.
“My people!” His voice echoed with a holy tone, traveling through the city. “Once, you were but seeds in this soil, and before that, you were a part of my brothers, and myself! Yet here you stand, kings and queens unto your own.”
He lowered his head, looking down into the water from afar, the droplets slowly returning. For a moment, he was quiet. He knew that there were those in his audience that worshipped him, and loved him, but they could not understand, or comprehend, the love he felt in return.
“Though…I will say this. My children, creation of God and soil, I thank you. Because it is you, the woman, the men, the children. The bakers, the engineers, the farmers, the builders, the readers, the writers and everyone in between…” he paused, to take a few deep breaths, his chest heaving from the emotion he felt while speaking his words. “…It is you, who have made this world, a Home!”
As he said his thanks, he punched his fist into the air, raising the staff. A roar of cheer and applause was summoned as the city erupted with emotions so strong that they could not decide whether to sing or weep.
“And for your entertainment, we have a special surprise in store! It seems as though your favourite tale, is that of how my brothers and I sealed Hell within its own evil tomb, to protect all that we had created.”
The crowd bellowed with excitement and even louder cheers. Many tales and legends had travelled the land, though none of them were as empowering or uplifting as the story of the Hell Seal. The sea of people shifted forwards, squeezing together to be closer to the stage, lying broadly across the front of the plaza.
Although he wore a smile, Wrath’s eyes furiously scanned the population below, searching for any threat that had concealed itself within. He could see nothing out of place, not for now at least.
“Well then, let the show begin!”