Chapter 18: Falling Sun
The sun was falling over the great city of Washington as it had so many times before. It was a warm day of summer, but with uncanny grey clouds that had covered the sky for the entire day. They only stopped filtering the Light of the solar aster when the golden disk was falling down over the horizon letting go of a strange illumination, shades of reds going from dark crimson to light pink, an explosion of warm dimmed light. The red waves of the falling sun felt on the Silver keep, the official palace of the Silver high order of the moon. On the balcony of the highest steel and glass tower; someone was leaning over the edge, lost in the vision of the dying sun. This person was the most important person on earth in that current year 202 of the Silver calendar, equivalent to 2209 A.D. She was no one else than the High Silver queen Frederica IV, the regent of human kind and the highest political authority on the planet. The wind came disturbing her silent sight by toying with her soft silky golden brown hair. It made her royal silver crown move sideways freeing short wicks of hair dyed silver; the official color of the faith and order of the moon. She didn’t really feel the disturbance of the wind as her mind was miles away from such trivial happenings. Her jade green eyes were lost in the diffusion of colors produced by the falling sun. She sighted as she was carrying the faith of the world in her shoulder, and never had this statement been so true; she had to make a very drastic decision; a decision that would change everything, everything she ever cared for, everything she really wanted to keep… She knew that that day was to come, but now that it was there, all the pressure was on her, she needed to take the final decision and go on with Project ‘Prime’. Her face got paler than it already was at this very thought. But she couldn’t let her deception leek, so she quickly managed to get control of her reaction, switching back to a wondering state. She managed to do that, but she couldn’t stop herself from frowning a little bit.
“Erica ! what are you still doing here?! The high council is already in the chamber of the moon, stop zoning out!” A voice said from behind her.
Frederica turned already knowing who’s voice it was. The person who was talking so openly and so authoritatively to the high silver queen was the High Silver Priestess Arianna, also called silver edge by some behind her back due to her very direct and very intuitive speech. Arianna was the same age as the silver queen; both of them have seen twenty springs. She was very slender, with long golden hair died silver at some extremities falling on her shoulders. Her face was a constant expression of wonder emphasized by her wide blue eyes. Both of them have grown together when they were chosen for their future tasks as babies. The designation of the silver queen and silver priestess is random, but they are trained for their task for as long as they can remember which make them at the end the best to fill those positions.
Frederica tried to hide her disappointment from her friend, but she already knew it would be of no use.
“I needed to take some air before the meeting.” She said.
“You are against it right? But you know we can’t change that right?”
“I don’t care! I will do what I have to do…”
“If you say so.”
“I am the High Silver Queen of the Sacred order of the Moon Arianna! I can’t put my own selfish wishes before the good of our society. We have come so far since our ancestors, the great sisterhood of old have founded the hidden faith of the moon, and have sworn to bring men down, and to put an end to their tyranny, to kill the patriarchy, and for once give us women the lead. We flew high above men with our determination, we changed the tides when the order of the moon became the center of all power on the planet. We won.”
“But at what cost? Men are dying out, soon enough, they won’t be any left if you don’t do what you have to do.”
“Don’t they deserve to disappear? After all they did to us, after thousands and thousands of years of misery!”
“Are you hearing yourself?! It is the only thing to do, by doing it, we will give the filthy gender the final blow, a last reminder of what they used to be and what they have become.”
Frederica couldn’t hold her tight control anymore, her face frowned in sadness. She whispered:
“But Arianna…Could I really do that to him? From all the people…”
“You can’t change that Erica… It hurts me as much as you, but we are the will of the people; we are the wings of the silver falcons, and it can’t fly to its right path with out us leading it where it needs to go!”
“It’s Sélas we are talking about Arianna. We knew him since we could remember, he has always been there for us, he rightfully serve as the Golden Paladin, our own personal knight Arianna! the person that swore an oath to protect us as long as he would live! would that even matter anymore after we take action?”
“Something happened recently? Right Eri? Something that I am not aware of yet.”
Frederica blushed, she couldn’t stop the flow of memories invading her mind; a stolen moment, a moment that she shared with the knight that she knew since they were born. A break in the thread of duty and roles, and a second of bliss. She felt like a spark going through her skin when she remembered the contact of their skins, and that kiss, that sole kiss that they had. She felt that that moment had passed like an eternity. So much hold feelings have been released through that lone kiss. She remembered his warmth as well, the fire burning inside of him as well that he always hide away. But she also remembered all the fear and the confusion. She was the Silver Queen and Sélas was her Golden Paladin, that romance could never be, she asked him to stop. She saw the surprise and the deception in his eyes for a second, but it all vanished down the dark eyes of the knight. She remembered him getting on his knee and saying that sole sentence: “For you my queen, I shall do anything.” before he completely switched back to his dutiful self.
Arianna looked at her friend, instinctively understanding what was going through her mind. She chose to not say anything for a moment, letting the silver queen in peace.
” How can somebody live as he is forever, does anyone really wants to be immortal?” The silver queen said with sorrow in her voice.
“That’s the price men have to pay through their last member, Sélas life will surely stop making any sense after a while…”
Frederica took a deep breath, before slowly whispering to her friend.
“There is no other way Arianna, right?”
“I am afraid not”
“We will long be dead, both me and you, and he would stay the same, trapped in this life that is not his. He will be so alone.”
The sun had completely disappeared dimming the sky in darkness. The dark clouds started to fall apart letting the full disk of the moon illuminating the sky by its silver light. Frederica and Arianna looked at the astral body for a while, then they both started walking towards the room of the moon, without saying a word.
After the meeting was hold, the decision was taken. Sélas the golden knight was chosen to be the Last man. The superior number of female birth had led to a potential extinction of the male gender and very few specimens where remaining. Sélas was one of them, and he was to be made immortal through the genetic material of the glitch. A man who first acquired that gift in the 1960s but ended up shattering his mind in an attempt to make the world a better place. the order already found a solution for the preservation of the species through selective cloning, The last man would be the eternal bearer of the downfall of men, the eternally living symbol of the falling sun.
The project was to start that same night. Frederica and Arianna visited the installation as it was expected from them. As soon as she entered the room, she saw Sélas waiting their, with a confused look on his face. When he saw her entering, she glimpsed a spark in his eyes, she remembered again, but this time, she took good hold of her emotions and so did Sélas, he rose from his chair and bowed a little putting his hand in front of his heart.
“My Queen. It is an honor to have you visiting my humble person.”
He turned toward the high Priestess, and bowed again although a little less that time.
“I am only fulfilling my duty. As you are my Golden Paladin, I need you to know that the high order of the moon is thankful for your contribution in the greater scheme.”
She felt awful saying that. He kept looking straight in her eyes as he bent his right knee to the ground and said:
“For you my queen, I shall do anything.”
He then immediately raised, bowed again to both the silver queen and the silver priestess, and turned to the door of the bloc where his life was going to be changed forever. As he opened, the door, he slightly turned crossing the sight of Frederica for a second, then disappeared closing the door behind him.
“The things we do for peace…” Frederica whispered.
Chapter 19: Crimson Moon
The night was falling as it was falling on the faith of men; it was a very strange night indeed, one of those night that feels odd and make you wonder if it is even night. The firmament was filled with light shades of red; a very strange sight caused by a very specific event, the crimson moon. The astral body in its full phase was hanging high in the sky with a deep shade of red, a red so strong that it gave the impression that the moon was covered in blood; a very bizarre sight indeed. The Crimson Moon was carrying the faith of the new order, it was also the trigger Sélas Prime, the last man, needed to realize the consequences of such a development.
The effects of Sélas’s transformation weren’t really known to the order; the only thing they were sure of is that the glitch never aged since it was first acquired in 1969. They knew that the glitch had somehow managed to shatter his mind, but they never knew how. At that point, they needed to go on with project prime, they needed a reminder of the age of men, and what men have pushed them through; it was irrelevant if the human artifact was conscious or not, as long as he would be alive and maintained as such for an indefinite amount of time. They thought about using the glitch himself at some point, but his grotesque and frail appearance wasn’t showing the kind of men that really made the life of women miserable through the ages. They ended up deciding that the best would be to choose someone that would be more fitting for the image, but they needed him to be obedient and docile, Somebody that would blindly jump from a cliff if told so by the order. It is for that reason that position of Golden Knight has been created; as a precaution in case the project was to be started, this way, they could have the perfect guinea pig for their little experience.
Sélas was no longer the man he used to be; Even if the process of making him the last man didn’t change much in his physic, it changed something very deep within. His mind wasn’t the same after the experience; he didn’t realize it directly, it took him almost a full month to realize what was going on. The way he got to know wasn’t trivial; it affected him very deeply on an emotional level.
Sélas took back his position as Golden Knight a week after the experiment; just enough time for the Bio Scientist of the Order to check the success of the experiment. They noticed gladly that the process have changed Sélas DNA, adding bits of information into his genetic code that they knew were responsible for the Glitch’s Immortality. The Bio Scientists have done countless tests before this human test, and they were glad to see that the results were positive. Sélas on the other hand was feeling grim; He has hoped all along for the experiment to fail. He wasn’t a fool, and he knew what his new status would imply. During the week he was given to rest, his thoughts were entirely directed at Frederica, or as he used to call her when they were kids: Eri. He always liked Eri, as long as he could remember, and that faithful day… His mind was a war zone. He still nourished foolish hopes for him and Eri, after all, he was her Knight! He swore an Oath to serve and protect her, and he thought that maybe, they could be more. After all, didn’t they have a moment of bliss? Why couldn’t they have more of those? But he knew that it was over, the moment he closed the door behind him to become the last man. Even if they were to be together, he could only make her feel bad, staying young forever while she would grow older. He would gladly stay by her side until her last moment, and love her as he did from the first day. But she wouldn’t be happy… She would start to hate herself first, then him… Sélas’s mind was leading him in a way, while his heart was leading him in the opposite direction, leaving him torn in the middle.
After his week of rest, Sélas wore once again his shiny gold armor. He looked in the mirror of his room at the Sigil on his chest-plate; a sleeping fox in the middle of a sun. Sélas laughed nervously at the irony of the vision, but he was scared more than anything. He didn’t knew what would happen when his eyes would fall upon Eri’s as he still didn’t find a way out of his conundrum. He sighted cursing destiny that have put him in such a tough spot. Taking a deep breath, He left his quarters to go to the Silver Keep. On his way to the glass tower, he met a fellow knight of the order; Fabian Tarl. Fabian Tarl was working as the Paladin of the high council, and both Knights only had respect for each other. He also met Arianna, the High Priestess of the Moon. For Arianna he always had respect, he knew that she was way smarter than him or Eri, and that she knew exactly what she was doing. He would blindly follow her into a pit, as he would know that she knows where the exit is.
Sélas finally got to the encounter he had feared for so long, Eri was at her throne room at the very center of the Silver keep, on the last level of the glass Tower. She was magnificent in her Silver Dress, and her royal paraphernalia. After a few steps, He faced the Queen and putting his right hand on his heart, he knelt. Showing respect, he kept his eyes on the ground.
“I am back at your service my lady, I hope my absence wasn’t too much of a bother.”
“You may rise, Golden Knight. It is a delight to see you on my side again; how are you feeling?”
The words were warm, but Sélas couldn’t think out anything from them to put an end to his dilemma. He rose as he was asked, and finally crossed the sight of Eri. His heart skipped a beat when the jade of her eyes took the center of his vision. Nothing have changed, or so he assumed.
A week passed after this first encounter, a week of during which the Golden Knight couldn’t sleep much. His desire toward the Silver Queen was growing more and more, and he couldn’t think about anything else than kissing her, holding her in his arms, be one with her again… during the last day of the week it, end up happening. The Golden Knight found himself alone with the Silver Queen; she requested from him to keep her company during her evening readings. The Golden Knight felt his stress rising as much as his desire; he remembered the previous kiss and the passion he felt. He loved Eri, and couldn’t do without her, no matter what he could think, and he felt that she might still love him.
The Queen cut her finger with a page, letting go of a small cry of pain.
“Are you hurt my lady?” He said, moving toward her.
“It’s alright, just a little paper cut.” She said, laughing nervously a little.
The knight reached for a first aid kit as he approached the queen. He bent on his knees, and took her hand, then getting her finger towards his mouth, he sucked the dropping blood, before putting a small nearly invisible bandage on it.
“I know when you’re hurt Eri, don’t act like I don’t.” He said those words without thinking. It was against the protocol, he shouldn’t…
“You always do Sélas…” The silver queen responded.
Sélas raised his head, crossing the sight of the Silver Queen; then, he felt surprise to see that his face was moving toward hers. When his face got as close as a few centimeters from hers, she started moving hers as well. In a fraction, they initiated the kiss that they have waited for so long. It was like a firework in the Golden Knight’s mind, all those feelings, all those sensations. But as the Knight was exploring the kiss, the silver queen stopped it.
“Sélas we shouldn’t…” She said with deep regret in her beautiful eyes.
“I…I am so sorry my lady” Started Sélas who felt he did a mistake. “I didn’t mean to offend you, I only couldn’t bear those feelings no more, and I thought that maybe they weren’t one sided. I present you my deepest apologies.”
“Don’t apologize Sélas. Your feelings are not completely one sided, but we shouldn’t go on like this at this moment and place. We can’t let anybody know. We will have a moment at some point, maybe the last one of those I’m afraid… But not just now, I will let you know. Now can you please patrol around to make sure no one saw us?”
Sélas got back on his feet, and bowed a little.
“As you wish my lady.”
Two week passed without the Silver Queen giving any notice to Sélas about their alleged last moment. The Golden Knight couldn’t stand it anymore, he was burning with passion for the queen and thought that he would be able to change her mind, to show her that they could still be together, that they would find a way out of this paradox. He waited for her reading time at the end of those two weeks, and made sure no one would disturb. He then walked toward the reading room, but as he was about to get into the corridor, he heard the door of the room opening. Sélas stopped his progression, and stayed silent in the shade. He saw Fabian, the Bronze Knight walking out of the room, and as he got completely out of the door’s frame, he saw a hand still holding his; the hand of the Silver Queen…
Sélas turned on his feet, and walked the other way, trying to keep his emotions in check. He felt his mind about to explode, and walked faster, not bothering about the people walking his way anymore. After a moment, He found himself standing in the middle of the royal gardens; the sun was falling, and no one was to be seen around. He stayed there, looking at the sky, until the last rays of the sun vanished, leaving the field for the Crimson Moon. The Knight focused all his attention on the astral body, trying to find something to think, anything. Then it finally started; what the order of the moon didn’t take in consideration: The Gift. In the case of Sélas, the Gift take form of Clarity. His mind stopped turning in circles and for a second, he was completely calm. Then his thought swapped and took place in an orderly matter. Everything finally started to make sense to him; his desires for the Silver queen were selfish and self centered. He understood that she couldn’t go through such a difficult relationship, that it will destroy her. She chose Fabian because he was a more realistic choice, a choice that she would be happy on the long term with. He felt all his emotions calming down, while his mind started to function faster, and better than it ever did. He kept looking at the Crimson Moon, and soon understood something bigger than his own ordeal. The faith of humanity was in danger. He was soon to be the very last man, but if men were to completely disappear, if only one gender stayed; chaos will soon ensue, and the end of humanity might be close. He figured out a plan, and was surprise to see himself taking action to achieve it.
Sélas only stopped when he got to the facility he was made immortal in. He cracked the security code with an ease he wasn’t even aware of, and after a few steps, he accessed a room that he had glimpsed during his previous visit to the facility. The door was made of steel and was protected by a password system, it only took him one attempt to open it. As he expected, still no security camera; he knew that the order believed in privacy and trusted locks more than electronic eyes. Inside, He found one glass pod, with a person sleeping in it. He checked the vital signs, and deducted what to do to open the pod. even after the machine was stopped, the person inside was still unconscious. ‘Of course he would’ Sélas thought ‘The glitch shattered his mind in 1969 during the moon landing.’ Sélas put his hand on the Glitch’s forehead, closing his eyes. As he did that, he started seeing what was wrong with the Glitch’s mind, and in a way knew what to do to fix it. When Sélas took his hand off him, the glitch Opened his eyes. He looked at Sélas for a moment before talking.
“I didn’t know I slept for that long; 240 years! That is truly a lot. My real name is Simon, not the Glitch, just so you know, and you are the Golden Knight: Sélas prime right? Man did I miss a lot of stuff!”
The discourse of Simon was quite bizarre, but weirdly enough, Sélas was understanding it.
“We must move, things are going in a very wrong way, and I need your assistance.” The Golden Knight said.
“I know, I also know that you know. And yes! We should definitely move out of here. but I like your idea!” Simon responded.
“It is the only possible path, no more falcons or foxes, no more faith of the sun or the moon. The only thing that could work is the Eclipse…”