FHD Remix Chapter 46

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Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 45: Market Square

Chapter 46: The Traitor's End

Features parodies of: The Invasion, 2007 Warner Brothers / Village Roadshow / Silver Pictures / Vertigo Entertainment; Planet Hell by Nightwish, fourth track of their 2004 album Once (Warner Music Group) as well as the second track of their 2005 concert DVD End of An Era; and the old Humpty Dumpty rhyme. After the initial upload of this chapter here and on Bookrix, it turned out that there was a song for Shimoni and also Rakka, Rachel Loy's I Can Feel It Loving Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99KNUHGQK3E (c) 2007 Warner Brothers (relevance ends at 2:21, the end cuts off the start of Roger Rees' "civilization speech")

Tatakai hears a hum. It is a hum she hasn't heard in about ten months. The radio turned itself on. It takes her a moment to realize that it must be the radio in the tower, what used to be the Temple of the Haibane Renmei is now the prison of six Toga, one enemy demon and its host.

"Shimoni!" she cries, "Warm up the scooter, we have an emergency! Everyone else to your shelter stations, now!"

She gets down on her hands and knees and holds her hands together. In the dark of night, the glow of her halo brightens, and her wings begin to glow as well.

"Saviour," she whispers, "Please speak to me. I can learn it faster from you than from the radio."

<Not by much,> he answers, <He is going to the shrine in the West Woods.>

The radio starts to play its somber tune, chords based on the language of the Toga, of meaning only to her as Shimoni, Menmo and Yaiba burst into the room. <He has escaped, Battle. He transformed and jumped up to the ladder access and released the gate, offered us to go with him. Leroy has escaped.>

They left his name until last because it would take longer to spell it, and Tatakai would probably guess correctly.

Tatakai reaches for the keys with her hands and taps back, "Acknowledged. Thanks for staying put."

"Leroy has escaped," she says to them, "Shimoni, drive me to the West Woods, please. The Shrine. Yaiba, head over to the temple, the Toga may be injured."

"The Saviour's light will work from here," she says, sitting down at the radio, she plugs in the headphones. "By the way, I picked up some Toganese."

Shimoni and Tatakai bolt outside and hop on the scooter. It still slides on the snow, even with its knobby tires. It is also much heavier and faster. The running boards are now battery banks and the engine has been replaced with a motor that is "channel wired"; a remarkable innovation by Yurushi. Shimoni was stunned when, instead of painstakingly winding wires as she once did, he used a machine to reprocess and wind invisibly fine threads of tick silk, and then transferred it through a series of baths which replaced the tick silk with insulated aluminum.

"We'd have to walk the catwalk," Shimoni says as the scooter fishtails on a narrow path where the wind has blown away the snow, leaving drifts on either side. The scooter easily cuts a notch through a drift in the shadow of one of the mills.

A flash. Tatakai turns to see the Saviour's light of healing bloom at the temple, doubtless at the command of Yaiba. Shimoni is concentrating too much on her driving to look. Both are forced to ignore the kilograms of snow blown up their sleeves as they speed along.

Tatakai closes her eyes. She has her own light to command: the Saviour's light of war. Glie's wall comes alight, glowing in the night for the second time this winter.

Shimoni slows the bike to negotiate the piles of fallen snow and leaves. Tatakai senses Shimoni's gratitude for her and the Saviour, and realizes what for when Shimoni kills the scooter's headlamp. The light from the wall illuminates the landscape almost as day.

They pull up to the shrine and see Leroy standing on it, holding his hands up. From his back, small bat wings protrude, making him look like the evil equivalent of a haibane. Tatakai realizes that must be how he got the small door open. While batwing transformations are Maledict's forte, she realizes she shouldn't be so surprised at Lilith's ability to do the same.

"Oh, the power," he sighs, turning to notice Tatakai pacing up to him in her hatching robe. "Tatakai," he sighs, "The wall is coming down soon, see? We will have our Jericho."

Tatakai says, "You deceive yourself, Leroy. The enemy lies, and I've guided you as to what those lies are. Take a look at me. Who's light is that in the wall? Who commands it? Who defends Glie?"

"Devon," he addresses her.

Tatakai pauses in the middle of a pace, recognizing her old name. A drop of blood falls from the tip of one of his wings. Lilith, inhabitant of the Guardian, not only the one she slew not too far from here two years ago, but the very first one she slew hundreds of years ago on Mars ... not on Mars, she was in the teleporters' intermediate dimension ... she was in hell rescuing the Cube.

"Tatakai, look at yourself," he sighs, "Is this who you are? Is this who you want to be? We are wrong to fight them," he weeps. "Look around us, Devon. The snow scale trees, how beautiful and peaceful it is? The trees are just like this outside the wall."

Tatakai is remembering something. This sounds familiar, like he's quoting something old, someone from long ago. Leroy's eyes are normally green. With Lilith in charge, his eyes are normally grey, but right now, his eyes are an icy blue. She's remembering. That is part of the parody.

"Don't you ever wonder what it would be like if people could live more like those trees: Completely connected with each other, in harmony. As one."

Tatakai strikes her foot on something as she slowly paces towards him and the shrine. She looks down. At her feet, the roots of two different snow scale trees fight for the same square metre of real estate, breaking apart the stone path to the shrine. A slow, otherwise unnoticed duel, which if left uninterrupted, will kill them both in a few more years. She'll have to tell the forester. She is reminded that the enemy lies. Her enemy spews forth deception like a cholera victim his final meal.

"Leroy," she whispers, "Don't believe the lies." She is now on the steps, just a couple metres away from Leroy.

"I'm not just Leroy. I'm more than Leroy," he responds, stroking the tips of his new featherless wings, which won't quit bleeding.

"At least that's not a lie," Tatakai hisses, "Lilith."

"You know what's outside the wall? What we're offering? A world without war, without poverty, without murder, without rape. A world without suffering," Leroy, or is it Lilith, the evil spirit within him, sighs, "because in our world, no one can hurt each other, or exploit each other, or try to destroy each other. Because in our world, there is no other. You know it's right, Devon." He bats his eyes at her seductively, "Deep down inside, you know that fighting us is fighting for all the wrong things. Devon, you know it’s true: Our world is a better world."

"Leroy," Tatakai winces, "Spot the lie that you can: there is an other right there inside you: your war, your poverty, your murder, your rape deep inside you. Hurting you, exploiting you, trying to destroy you. Leroy!!" she cries, "It's no use hiding behind Lilith, the Saviour has told me what you have done!"

He shuts his eyes, when they open, they open green.

"Civilization crumbles whenever we need it most," he winces, "In the right situation, we are all capable of the most terrible crimes. To imagine a world where this was not so, where every crisis did not result in new atrocities and every history not full of war and violence. This is to imagine a world where human beings," he weeps, "cease to be human."

"A half-truth," Tatakai warns. "To be human is to be made in the image of God: Spirit, soul, and body." Tatakai walks up to his side, turns and points back at the horizon under the scattered stars. The temple of the Haibane Renmei can't be seen from where they are.

"What new atrocities?" she asks as the light at Yaiba's command flares brightly into the sky from the tower he was a prisoner in, healing the injuries resulting from one of those atrocities.

Leroy whispers a confession in her ear.

Tatakai closes her eyes and sighs, "My name is Tatakai." Looking again at him, she says, "You don't realize just how peaceful and tranquil Glie really is: it is a green paradise compared to the world I became used to in my previous life: the one I lived with the name Devon. Saviour, a number please: how many times I have I broken the bones of an enemy?"

With a glow in her wings and a flash of her halo, she answers her own question with the Saviour's guidance, "Three thousand four hundred and seventeen times in my last life. One hundred forty six times as the cute little angel you see before you." Tatakai begins to cry, "But you have done something that I've never done, a crime of war for which there is never a cause but to cause your enemy suffering. A crime which defiles not only the human nature within your enemy, but within you as well. A crime meant to distort the image of God in which humans are made."

"I didn't know before that there was such a thing as a female Toga," he winces.

"Tell me what you have done to her," Tatakai asks gently.

Leroy whispers it in her ear.

"Even that is not a new atrocity, Leroy. It's called rape, so you can see how false the promise of your evil spirit really is!" she cries. With a gesture to the modest skyline of Glie, "Pull a population this size from Devon's world, and it happens about fifty times each year." She gestures towards the wall, "Out there, it is even worse. The truth is more like this:"

Tatakai begins to sing softly.

"Denying the lying
A million children fighting
For lives in strife
For hope beyond the horizon

"A dead world, a dark path
Not even crossroads to choose from
All the blood red carpets before me
Behold this fair creation of God."

Next, through her tears, is a heartfelt cry she had as she fell out of the sky in her last moments as Devon Campbell, and her first moments as Haibane Tatakai:

"My only wish: to leave behind
All the days of the earth,
And every day, hell of my kingdom come."

The song continues to play in her head as she bawls, but is unable to sing.

Shimoni kneels on the shrine, she remembers:

"Helen!" cries the man above him, as she scrambles down the service ladder between the air baffles, wind blowing past her the wrong way, "Call the Saviour!"

His name is Junko Katayama, her friend. He always thought he was eccentric, but to be bringing up the Saviour at a time like this was just rediculous.

Suddenly it appears in front of her: a sickly cloud of yellow plasma forms into a skull, laughing at her. It passes into her chest and suddenly she shudders aglow. It is trying to tear her apart. It seems bizarre how the feeling of it concentrates not in her heart or head, but in her loins.

"No!" she screams, "You can't!" She lets go of the ladder, on purpose and falls over backwards, bending her legs to speed up the rotation. She gently grasps the outside of the ladder's uprights behind her head while she plummets, screaming. She knows her spirit, soul, and body are being torn apart, and she wants to break the latter before the process is complete. She makes sure that when she reaches the bottom of the shaft, she will arrive in an inverted position. She remembers the Saviour's name but doesn't have time to utter it. If time she had, she didn't believe in his power anyway.

Helen Ochreby died instantly when she hit the floor at the bottom.

Shimoni lowers her face to her hands, remembering her old name and silently thanking the Saviour for giving her a second chance to receive his love.

Tatakai weeps her tune:

"The first rock thrown again:
Welcome to hell, little saint
Mother Gaia in slaughter
Welcome to paradise, soldier"

Leroy tilts his head and smiles. Tatakai fits both descriptions "little saint" and "soldier" so perfectly. Glie, in his eyes at least, is both a hell, and a paradise.

"My first cry: neverending
All life is to fear for life
You fool, you wanderer
You challenged the gods and lost."

At this point, Leroy's eyes turn grey, and he quivers in fear. The Saviour is forcing Lilith to sing what is, in secret, its favorite song, its favorite taunt:

"Save yourself a penny for the ferryman
Save yourself and let him suffer."

Tatakai responds, words slightly changed. It becomes a taunt which disagrees with Lilith:

"In hope, in love. This world is ready for the Ark."

[In the movie Doom, based loosely on the game Doom 3, the teleportation technology is called "The Ark" and teleportation, "Ark travel."]

Lilith continues with a little more gusto as it decides to embrace, rather than fear Tatakai's knowledge of its favorite song.

"Save yourself a penny for the ferryman
Save yourself and let him suffer."

Slowing her pace, Tatakai affirms the song's final versed words:

"In hope, in love, Mankind works in mysterious ways."

Lilith sees these words differently all of a sudden. Originally, it thought the old Nightwish song mocked God, as "God works in mysterious ways" according to a verse in the Bible. Man was made in the image of God, the evil spirit realizes. The song does not mock God. The way Tatakai sang it, the song affirms God!!

"You realize now, don't you?" Tatakai gasps as Leroy's eyes return to their natural human color, "Lilith has turned you into a farce, a parody of a man." Tatakai grabs him in an embrace. At the top of her lungs she screams in a raspy, haunting tone:

"Welcome down, to my Planet Hell!!!"

With that, an enormously bright and silent flash of light engulfs the shrine, momentarily blinding Shimoni, even through her hands. The swirling light goes straight up into the starry sky.

With her eyes squashed shut, Shimoni reaches out with her hands and starts feeling her way to crawl towards the shrine. Either the light hasn't dimmed yet or she can't tell that it has. She gets lost momentarily when she reaches the wrestling roots.

"Tatakai!" she screams, "Don't go! We still need you!"

Sensing the engulfing darkness returning, she opens her eyes. Alls she sees is a grainy gray fog, "Tatakai!" she cries. Anguished, she bawls desperately, "Alas! Alas! Our defender has taken her Day of Flight!"

After crying for about twenty minutes, she again lifts her head from her hands and sees the glow of a halo over the shrine. The walls have dimmed as well, and the stars above them glimmer happily. She stumbles to her feet and staggers up the steps, "Who is it? Leroy? Are you there?"

"Leroy is gone," Tatakai sighs. She is still on her knees, her left hand clutched around her right, "It would seem he has taken a Day of Flight."

"Tatakai!" she cheers, embracing her friend, relieved that she is still there. Tatakai doesn't return the embrace, except to set her chin on Shimoni's shoulder. The latter realizes that Tatakai is holding something in her hands.

"Is he saved?" Shimoni asks.

"I don't know, Shimoni," Tatakai confesses, "I have absolutely no idea."

"Neither did my friend Junko when I hit the bottom of that ladder," Shimoni sighs.

"Junko?" Tatakai asks.

"Junko Katayama. I remember how I died," Shimoni weeps, "as Helen Ochreby, torn between heaven and hell; salvation and damnation, a head first plunge into an air circulation system on Mars," she points into the reddest star in the sky, "moments into your first battle."

"Demon," Tatakai whispers. She opens her hands, and hovering above her palms is a tiny wisp of glowing yellow plasma. "The Saviour has erased you hasn't he? His blood works even upon you, erasing your sin. Since that's all you were ever about, he has erased almost all of you, leaving you like a newborn. You've lost even your name." Tatakai smiles, "The haibane of demons, and yet you still bend away from the Saviour."

"So the Saviour can blot out the sins of the wicked," Shimoni realizes, "but of changing our nature, he needs us to be an active participant. We need to change ourselves before he can change us."

"And this," Tatakai gazes upon the wisp above her hand, "he has changed as much as he can without that decision."

Shimoni says, "Let's call it Humpty Dumpty."

Tatakai turns and says, "Humpty- what??"

Shimoni lets out a small giggle as she recites the old rhyme, "Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty together again."

"Brilliant," Tatakai sighs, "Go, Humpty Dumpty, to the world outside. You'll be more comfortable out there." Tatakai blows the demonic wisp away much as she would blow a kiss at the wall.

Erebus stands respectfully as it approaches. The little yellow wisp hovers in front of him, swirling slowly about. Like any demon without a host, it is weak and confused.

"Welcome back, Master Maledict," he says respectfully.

The spirit's thoughts can be heard by Erebus, but are "spoken" without language. It is difficult to translate, but I'll try, <Huh? Who are you? I'm not Maledict, I am "Humpty Dumpty" which means "Fell off a Wall", I was named by Shimoni, which means "Fell off a Ladder" and... I am sore afraid of her ...Battle... the sound of her name is Tatakai.>

Erebus recognizes the little spirit, but the "voice" of its thoughts are different than he remembers, almost like one who has somehow ungrown and returned to the form of a baby. "Lilith?" Erebus asks at last?

< I'm not Lilith,> it thinks.

Erebus waves for a nearby Spectre Commando. "Yes, Master!?" she enthusiastically runs over at the prospect of being a demon's host. A nephilim crossbred between a human male and wraith female, the type inherits one claw and some of the invisibility of the latter, able to distort the light around herself into a mirage-like shimmer. Unlike the wraith, she can still attack when cloaking herself like this. Erebus lifts her until her smiling face reaches that of the yellow wisp, then sets her back down on her feet, the yellow wisp having gone inside. Hail and cinders crunch as he drops into a seated position. Even on his rump, Erebus is still taller than the six foot creature beside him.

The Commando says, "Master Erebus, this spirit has the voice of Lilith, but she is very timid, doesn't want to come out."

"I am your friend," Erebus says warmly, "What of Glie?"

The Spectre explains, in the first person, that she was born in the hands of a haibane named Tatakai, or Battle, and heard the voice of Shimoni describe how she died at the bottom of a ladder just before she was born. "Tatakai said that I was erased by the Saviour and made like a newborn, that I lost even my name."

"Your name is Lilith," Erebus insists, "That's the name she's talking about."

"But it's Humpty Dumpty," she insists, reciting the rhyme that Shimoni said about her.

"That rhyme isn't about you, Lilith," Erebus says, "It is about a human king that ruled an island kingdom thousands of miles from here, about fifteen hundred years ago, and his real name was George. You are Lilith, not," he snorts, "Humpty Dumpty."

"Lilith," the Spectre tries out, then sighs plaintively. After a long pause, she says, "I'm Doree."

"No, you're not," Erebus insists, "You're Lilith."

"Master Erebus," she trembles, "I mean to say that the demon inside me has retreated. I am Doree, the host. I will answer to Lilith if you prefer."

Erebus bows his head and slowly shakes it, thinking, < If Maledict has suffered this fate, all is lost.>

[Author's note: Describing Lilith's eyes like those of Daniel Craig was deliberate, however, the green eyes of Roger Rees was accidental. Leroy's eyes were green long before the author saw The Invasion.]

Next: FHD Remix Chapter 47: The True Clock; Origin of Glie

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