Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

The parasite goddess that called herself Life fled from the War before it began. She followed her dancing sisters, Time and Fate, into the fogged Unanchored the moment they foresaw the War’s infancy. On their final day, their jewelled shells glistened in the blinding white of Order as starlight against the pitch of Chaos. When her six-folded home drifted away from the Spiral, she turned her sapphired gaze towards her followers, the crusted kithriarchs and loom aunts in the attics of barren Houses.

She smiled at those who remembered when the Homeworld hummed with myth. They were the double-pulsed magicians and hermits who survived the Architect and his Anchoring, who remembered the stink of steaming grease from the first breeding engines, the marching chants of the first parahuman brigades, and the songs of the killer cats in the south. They were the Homeworld’s forgotten and ignored who reached out to her and begged her to stay.

“Life during Wartime,” she cooed, smile twisting into a sour emerald grin, shaking her head as a stationed avatroid would with a misbehaving childe.

“No, my loves. I think not.”

She left them then, in the orange sands of their cryptoformed Homes, to be swept into the grinding engines of the War. The enemy watched her go, watched the realm unfold and vanish in the Chaos’ cackling dark, and tipped their hats to her in fond farewell.

Death, of course, stayed behind and watched her sisters leave.

Life left her aspects, puppets, and prophets stationed in the Spiral’s years.

One was Life’s Voyager, a shard of her duty and ego wrapped tightly in knobbled flesh and a razor-sharp parody of House regalia. He still stood resolute on the deck of his creaking ship even as he went headlong into the War, skinning and flaying the occasional blasphemer or self-titled wizard seeking immortality.

Several of Life’s agents took the form of angels, living creatures carved from
crystal and rare gems, flapping their silvered wings and blinking their collection of eyes.

Now, long after the War’s outbreak and on the eve of its final breath, thousands of these angels were filling the crimson sky of the Shadow Spire, a final refuge of Faction Paradox, as a full and impossible celestial host of singing voices. They were delivering good news, a message as sweet and honeyed as their singing.

“The War is over.”

On the beach outside the Spire, three of the Faction sat around a fire, roasting least favourite memories over the shadow flames. They were two boys and a lumbering Martian, all wrapped in their velvets and skeletal armour, watching the angels with varying degrees of interest through the sockets of their masks. The two boys were holding hands.

“Why are they here?” the younger, Kifah, asked. “The angels?”

“Angels spread good news to the mortals and immortals alike,” Intrepid, the older, answered with a grin. He squeezed Kifah’s hand and pressed their lips together gently. “They’re giving us good news, the best news of all. The
War is over. Bring on the Peace.”

“Do you think Life will return to the universe for the Peace?” Kifah asked. “Like, will things go back to normal?”

“Life during Peacetime?” Intrepid mused.

“Nah,” Gustav, the Martian shifting in his shell, said definitively.

The other two nodded in agreement as an unwritten sun shone streams of blood through the diamond canopy.

“Nah,” Kifah echoed.

(as told by or to Jacob Black)