The story continues today… If you have forgotten the story so far, you can read the first two parts of Speak into the Air here on the Tale…
Speak into the Air
She heard the voice in her thoughts as she moved from the Realm towards her destination. It was something new for Lily, and it troubled her just a bit. She had heard stories from others about how sometimes, just sometimes, when there was a soul that truly needed them to appear, that soul’s call would come clearly in a succubi’s own thoughts …
… she had never experienced that before: a soul that spoke to her and her alone; a voice that did not scream in passion or howl in demand, but just simply … called.
Lily thought that she would appear beside her caller or nearby and know who it was the moment she arrived. She had prepared herself to explain who she was, why she was there, all of the things that those of the Realm found they had to do for various reasons …
She thought that would happen.
Instead, she materialized between the world of mortals and the world of the Realm, in a strange place she had not seen before.
Grey mists surrounded her, hiding the world around her, and she was unsure what any of it meant. She wasn’t where she expected to be, and it wasn’t quite like anything she had experienced before. She looked behind her and saw clearly—which was odd for how thick the mists were around her—the Realm shining in the distance, her home waiting for her there. But, in front of her, in the way of her destination, the mists pushed against her as if to block her way.
She heard the voice again, just barely there in her thoughts. Why was this happening now? It was stronger before, very much so, and yet … muffled, like there was gauze over the mouth of the one who called her, and it was becoming harder and harder to hear.
Lily moved forward slowly now; there was obviously something going on, and some caution was needed. There were beings that did not see the difference between those of the Realm and those of other places, and it could be one of those beings who was involved in this. The thought came to her that this all could be a trap, that the note wasn’t real, that the voice was a siren song meant to ensnare. As those thoughts intruded upon her, the voice became quiet, and Lily stopped.
She could never say how long she remained there listening … not exactly. Her fingers fidgeted with the note for a time before she finally opened it and traced her fingers again over the words …
When the voice returned—quite strongly now—Lily finally understood: someone or something was trying to stop her from going to the caller. One of the things about Lily was that she was almost as stubborn as Tera once she set her mind to doing something. It was both one of her strengths and also very much a weakness. It was that stubbornness that had pushed her into exiling herself from everyone in the Realm the way she had done. Now that same stubbornness made her push forwards into whatever was trying to block her path. The mists pulled at her wings, her tail, her form, like a web slowing her down, trying to give her a reason to turn back, to abandon her goal, to hide once more in her home and fade away …
… Why was she thinking like this? Someone had called her. Someone needed her. If nothing else, she was going to see who that person was.
When that thought came clearly into her mind, suddenly the mists vanished and, far ahead, so very far away, Lily saw two bright lights in front of her. She knew exactly what they were, and she was brought up short by that realization. She had not seen beings like them in ages, and now two of them appeared, slowly coalescing from light into physical form—or at least what passed for it in this strange in-between place where she found herself in.
“You shall not pass.” The first words spoken were by the female angel on her right. All golden, almost statue-like in appearance, in her right hand she held a short sword and in her left a shield, golden wings, and halo, robes as well.
“You are not wanted here.” Those words were from the male on her left. He, too, was armed, ready for battle, ready to stop Lily from continuing onwards.
They were gatekeepers, and this was a real problem.
Lily wasn’t a fighter, not like some of the Realm were. She nurtured. She lived for life. But with those thoughts also came the images of her home now, how she had turned away from all she once believed in.
As the conflicting thoughts passed through her, she understood exactly what was happening now. They were using her own doubts against her, to make her leave, to turn from her path and retreat.
Lily straightened up, shook out her wings and took a deep breath … “I have been invited. Let me pass.”
“You shall not pass.”
Her tail swished behind her in agitation now … “The calling is clear. They speak my name so I may be with them.”
“You are not wanted.”
Her wings fluttered and then spread broadly behind her … “I am wanted. I am asked for.”
“Tell me why I should.”
“They do not know what they ask for.”
Lily thought about this for a moment, but then held up the note, folded again, that Tera had brought to her. “They … Know.”
For a time none of the beings said or did anything. Lily was as much a statue as the two that blocked her path. After a time she realized that, while she had been asked for, the gatekeepers didn’t believe what she told them.
And the doubts returned to her thoughts once more. Was she right? Really right? No one had ever called for her before, not specifically for her. Then there was the fear, deep inside, about doing wrong, about making a mistake, about …
… about causing another disaster.
Her tail lowered, her wings withdrew, and Lily felt the fires that had begun to burn within her start to fade away once more into the ashes she had been living with for so long …
“You shall not pass.”
The note bent slightly between Lily’s fingers as she thought about turning away. One gatekeeper she might be able to get by … but two … Two would cost her if it came to it. She was turning away, to leave with her tail between her legs when she heard the voice again …
,.. and stopped. The doubts that swirled within Lily’s mind left her, and a serene smile appeared as she turned, straightened her back, and took a step towards the two angels.
Her tail was swishing once more. “Someone calls to me.”
Her wings were wide and strong again.
“That call gives me strength.”
And finally, at long last, the glow of life returned to her, surrounded her, and her own power, the power that was needed, came to encompass her once more. “And I will see them.”
She stood now inches from the two beings and held the note to them, the note itself now beginning to glow … “Try to stop me.”