This a short story I wrote a few years ago. It’s a tribute to a hero of mine.
By Luc Haasbroek
Heaven was silent.
No trumpets chanted. No cherubs sang. They were bringing in the prisoner.
Inaritu was forced into the Clouded Hall by two hulking seraphim. He was shackled and when they thrust him forward, he fell to his knees.
The Clouded Hall’s beauty would drive a mortal to madness. Golden pillars supported a roof that never ended – clouds roosted in the heights. Ivory balconies looked down out into a sky lit by three suns. But Inaritu saw only a slaughter pen.
“Inaritu,” boomed a voice from above; a voice like a thousand war horns “you have been brought before the Tribunal to answer for your crimes.”
The voice belonged to the Archangel Azorian, He sat on a golden throne at the other end of the Hall and he was clad in golden armour. They said that armour had been forged from the shattered swords and shields of a million victories.
“I am aware of why you have brought me here,” said Inaritu, meeting Azorian’s gaze, “but if it is a criminal you seek, perhaps you should look to yourself.”
Azorian said, “I cannot defy our Laws.”
“And that is your flaw,” Inaritu whispered.
“Speak up,” Azorian said, drawing his sword, “I fear the Tribunal has not heard you.”
It was another angel who spoke. She sat beside Azorian on a pearl seat. Her voice was as icy as Azorian’s blade. She was Mella, Archangel of Wisdom.
“Inaritu,” Mella said, “you are charged with interfering in the lives of mortals in the land of South Africa, in clear defiance of our Laws. How do you plead?”
A shocked silence rippled across the Hall.
“You are accused of influencing the course of events on Earth…” said Azorian awkwardly, as if he was unsure Inaritu had heard Mella.
“I know what you accuse me of,” Inaritu said, forcing himself to his feet, “I don’t deny my actions. I did what was right.”
“You can’t lecture the Angel of Righteousness on what is right,” Azorian snarled.
“But I am. You watch from your ivory tower as the innocent suffer, but when I ease their pain you call me a traitor. Where is the righteousness in that, Azorian?”
“The Law states…” Mella began.
“The law is nothing,” Inaritu said, “I am the Archangel of Hope. Where hope is extinguished, I will be there to reignite it.”
“Heresy.” Even the Archangel Mella was on her feet now, “the law must be upheld.”
Her words hung in the air like a guillotine waiting to fall.
“Then uphold it,” said Inaritu softly, “but know this: it will not stop me.”
“This is treason!” Azorian roared, raising his sword.
“This is hope.”
“Then hope will be punished.”
“Inaritu, you are hereby stripped of your rank,” said Mella, but doubt shadowed her words, “your power and your wings. You are to be reborn as a mortal and to live out the rest of your days as one of them. As of this moment, you are no longer an angel of Heaven.”
“And when you die, Inaritu,” Azorian hissed, “you may find the gates of Heaven barred to you.”
“I will pray for you,” Inaritu whispered.
And then he fell.
Candlelight danced in the windows of a small hut in a faraway village. Inside, there were moans and words in Xhosa – “Push! Push!” Then screaming.
Jewels of sweat still clung to the mother’s forehead when her baby was handed to her. He was tiny, wrapped in a tattered blanket.
“What will you call him?” asked her sister.
The mother smiled down at her child. There was hope in those little eyes.
“Nelson,” she said.