As I ran down the stairs, my heart beating hard in my throat, Lucian came from the study and both of us joined at the foot of Dareon’s bier, facing the door. Lucian briefly glanced to me and made a small gesture with his right hand. A ripple set in as my blue Serein tunic washed over with black that appeared from nowhere, started at the neckline and washing down and across until the entire garment was a vaguely shimmering black, matching his clothes to perfection. I touched my stomach and looked at my fingertips but the change was within the fabric itself. He had turned it to black - another neat trick. A thought form from him called me to attention and I stood up straight, linked lightly into his extreme calm that had some undercurrents rolling in the background. He made a small gesture and both wings of the ancient blackwood door swung open wide.
Three Serein of a type I had not seen before floated in midair just beyond the threshold.
They were white and glowing from within, no telling where their human shape began or ended, their distortions cascading all across and shooting star fire that sparked off the entrance columns and the door frame.
I tightened the link to Lucian reflexively and this helped me to keep breathing. As one, we moved to the right hand side, standing aside so the three Serein had a clear path to Dareon.
They flowed across the threshold and took a triangular position around Dareon’s body, one at the foot of the table and one either side.
Their distortions sparked higher still until the entire entrance hall, right up to the highest reaches of the stairway, were over-illuminated in brilliant white light. The flares of white light merged with one another, then created a space around Dareon’s body which slowly began to lift off the bier, white stars shooting all around it, forming rings and spirals so bright that I had to close my eyes for the pain of the brightness and had to look through Lucian’s eyes instead that never blinked nor wavered in the slightest although the brightness was as painful to him as it had been to me.
Protected in that way I watched the brightness engulf the boy’s body altogether, flaring brighter still and then receding into the individual distortions. The space between them on the bier was empty but for a circular object I felt a peculiar familiarity and fear towards.
The three Serein did not seem to turn but just shift direction of their distortions without their bodies moving and flowed out of the hallway and into the night beyond. Only a little way towards the tree lined path their lights suddenly winked out as though it had never been.
They were gone.
I dropped the link with Lucian and let myself be supported by the rough stone wall behind me instead.
Lucian stood motionless for what seemed an eternity, then the doors swung to with a soft whoosh and he walked across to the empty table with the black cloth, now reminiscent of an altar. He picked up the circular object and held it in his hand. The two candles on the iron stands extinguished simultaneously and darkness arrived instantly.
I reached for him with my mind but there was a shielding and I could not link up. Well. I pushed myself off the wall and clicked a torch flame into place in one of the iron holders that sat empty and rusty high on the walls. The torch fire set light to ancient cobwebs and dust caught within them which flashed brightly for an instant. I set the feedback loop into position and noted that Lucian was glancing over his shoulder at me.
“You’re a quick learner,” he said, his voice dry and without emotion. He was still holding the circular object, at lower arm's length, in his hand open with the fingers only lightly curled as not to touch the face of it.
“What is that,” I asked, the knowing of it nudging me but I sent it back. I wanted him to tell me in his own words.
“This, my dear,” he said slowly and darkly, closing his hand into a fist around the object, “is both our invitation to judgement day.”