The Destruction of Beautiful Things

"They give our Master a crown of thorns, why do we hope for a crown of roses?" - Martin Luther

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15. Chapter Twelve

When Millicent entered the temple, she felt different. It was an indescribable feeling, one that you would have to feel to understand. She felt as though she weren’t alone, and so she drew her gun before her.

Why was she in the temple? Millicent hadn’t quite decided yet, but what she did know was that she wanted to talk with the King of Kings, Eidolon. She knew that she shouldn’t be down in the sewers in midday, because if someone had seen her go down then it would cause suspicion. But the Mayor had been shot, people were too busy worrying about that to worry about where his bodyguard had gone.

Millicent stopped in the centre of the temple, and looked around. How would she talk to it?

“Hello?” Millicent’s voice echoed through the temple, and there was no reply. She felt stupid, trying to talk to something that she didn’t even know existed. And yet, there was still that feeling that she wasn’t alone in the temple, and so she spoke again.

“I know who you are,” she said, “I’ve heard your name. Eidolon.”

As she said the name, a draft blew through the temple and ruffled her hair. She pushed it out of her face and tried again.

“King of Kings, that’s what they call you.”

Millicent felt something cold at her feet. She looked down, and realised that a dark mist had begun to loom on the floor. It was the colour of the night sky, and it seemed to move around her cautiously, as if it were alive.

That is what they have called me for an eternity, a whisper replied.

Millicent spun on her heel and tried to find the source of the voice, but nobody was there. She flicked the safety off her gun.

“What are you?” Millicent asked.

The voice chuckled, you have already called me by my name. You know who I am.

“Eidolon,” she said.

The voice didn’t reply.

“What is this place?” Millicent tried. To her surprise, her voice did not shake when she spoke.

It is the place they come to worship me.

“Why would they worship you?”

The voice, Eidolon, made a hissing sound, and the mist at her feet seemed to move angrily.

Because I am their God.

“If you’re their God,” Millicent said, gripping her gun tightly in her hand, “then how come people have only started to worship you?”

They have worship me since the beginning of time. And then they forgot me, so I withered away to nothing. But one day, the voice cackled, and Millicent shuddered, I was remembered.

“Who remembered you?”

The man who dresses in white. He will be back soon, he will bring me more.

Millicent heard a noise then, that sounded like a door opening. She hid behind one of the pillars, her back pressing against the bones.

“Who is the man dressed in white?”

There was no reply. Millicent stayed hidden, and she heard what sounded like a trolley being pushed over the cobblestones. She craned her head around the pillar to see, and her eyes widened at what she saw.

For it was Doctor Ellsworth pushing the trolley towards the altar.

Millicent swore under her breath, and watched him as he went back and forth from the corner of the temple to the altar, pushing trolleys as he went. And the trolleys themselves were stacked high with bodies.

She saw where he was getting the trolleys from. It was a door of sorts, right in the left corner of the temple. There must have been a way to open it from the other side, because from this side it looked no different from the wall it was attached to. Only now, Millicent noticed the two hinges that differentiated it from the wall. Why didn’t she notice it the first time she’d come here?

Doctor Ellsworth now stood at the altar with six trolleys surrounding him. He drew out a knife from his pocket and drew it across the palm of his hand.

“Eidolon, King of Kings,” he spoke, “Emperor of the land and sea. I sacrifice these lives to you.”

The blood dripped onto the floor at his feet, and Millicent watched as the mist that was once at her feet gathered before the alter into a whirlwind of darkness. Doctor Ellsworth spread his arms out as if he were flying, and then finally the whirlwind was taking shape. Millicent couldn’t make it out at first, but then she saw it. First, she saw the legs, then the arms, and finally the head.

The figure approached the trolleys, and one by one, it drained the life out of the bodies. When it had finished, it approached Doctor Ellsworth.

Bring me more, it said.

“I will,” Ellsworth replied, “soon.”

Millicent scraped her foot against the cobblestone by accident, and stood deathly still.

“What was that?” Doctor Ellsworth asked.

It is the girl that came to visit me, Eidolon said.

Slowly, ever so slowly, Millicent stepped into the centre of the temple. Doctor Ellsworth stared daggers at her.

“What is she doing here?” Ellsworth snapped.

Eidolon, who was merely a figure of darkness, turned to Ellsworth.

She is nothing, Eidolon told him, do not concern yourself over her.

“Do you know who she is?” He replied angrily, “She’s the Mayor’s bodyguard! You cannot let her leave. She’ll go and tell him, and then what? You’ve come so far, we cannot ruin this now.”

Eidolon simply said, very well.

And then, more mist drew up beside Eidolon. But this time, it wasn’t become a human figure. Millicent heard the growling before she saw the shape, and then suddenly the pack of wolves that had been created out of seemingly thin air was set loose upon her. Millicent ran. She didn’t dare look back as she leapt out of the temple and stormed through the sewers. She could hear the snapping of teeth, and pounding of feet on the ground. Millicent could not die down here. She had to warn everyone.

If it was easy to pluck a wolf pack out of thin air, then what could Eidolon do if he was released upon the city?

And Doctor Ellsworth. He was a part of this, which meant that Nathaniel was in trouble. She had to help him, and she had to find Silas.

Suddenly, she felt teeth bite into her leg and she fell, her face smacking into the ground with an awful crunch. One of the wolves was on top of her, it’s teeth snapping in her face. Millicent pulled her gun up to it’s head and shot. The mist disappeared, and in any other situation it may have been beautiful, but Millicent stood and winced at the pain in her leg and continued. She doubted that her shot would have killed the wolf if the wolf wasn’t even real.

She was so close now. Millicent could hear the sounds of the city above her, and she almost doubled over in happiness as she saw light filtering in through a drain. She knew it wasn’t the drain in the town square, but at this point, she didn’t care. The wolves were a little way behind her now, but they were still chasing. Millicent grabbed hold of the ladder that lead up to the drain and made her way up it slowly, her bitten leg dragging behind her. She pushed the drain lid up and breathed the fresh air of the city above her. But she didn’t wait long. The drain lid was back in it’s place before Millicent even had time to think, and she could still hear the wolves below her howling and growling, trying to find her. But they could not climb the ladder, and so for now, Millicent was safe.

The place she’d ended up was one of the back alleys close to where the Mayor had been shot. She stood up and inspected her wounded leg. It was bleeding slowly, and would probably need stitches, but she could make the walk to Silas. If only she could find where he lived. She would have to go to the Mayor’s office to find the list of Bodybringers, and there would it tell her where he lived.

Millicent limped through the streets, many people giving her looks as she passed by. She couldn’t decide whether the people wanted to help her or wanted nothing to do with her. Many of them probably thought she’d just gotten into some bar fight, or had come in from the Continent completely poverty stricken. Thankfully, Flint was nowhere in sight, probably because he was with the Mayor, wherever that was.

She made her way to the Mayor’s office and began rummaging through the folders in the cabinet behind his desk until she finally the found one labelled “Bodybringers”. She flicked through it, and the found Silas. Now knowing his address, she left the offices swiftly and made her way towards his house. When she arrived, she knocked on the door twice, and then finally a girl opened the door.

Millicent instantly recognised her as the girl that Silas had saved that night in the temple. Her hair was pale and her eyes were a piercing blue.

“I need to see Silas,” Millicent said.

The girl pulled a face, “Why? What happened to you?”

Millicent rolled her eyes and pushed the girl out of the way and let herself into the house, “Silas!”

The girl stood awkwardly in the doorway, and not long after Millicent shouted his name did he come down the stairs, wearing only a pair of black trousers. His eyes widened at the sight of her.

Millicent said one thing.

“We need to talk.” 

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