Flying Wing Appears
It was midday
when the attack finally began. The cloud rolled and swirled and
pulled aside like a curtain. A mighty host of angels was revealed,
rank upon rank, several hundreds of them. Inside their protective
globes, they were almost too bright to look upon: white wings, golden
hair, glittering breastplates.
One angel sailed
out above the rest. He wore blue robes and carried a rod like a
sceptre. His voice rang out like thunder.
Let them pay for their crimes!'
Even at a distance
of half a kilometre, Miriael and Shanna had to clap their hands
over their ears. As the echoes died away, Miriael turned to explain.
Second in command of the Armies of the South. He's leading the Third
The host of angels
advanced with a wheeling motion. They regrouped vertically and formed
a towering column of light. The column hung suspended above one
of the telescopic structures on the plain.
Hypers and Queen-Hypers
raised their weapons and fired off a shower of projectiles. But
the column glowed with an overpowering radiance. Entering the radiance,
the projectiles lost momentum and fell short.
Still the radiance
intensified. A pure high note reverberated in the air like a chime.
Then the whole force struck downwards. A hundred angels swept over
the structure and loosed off simultaneous explosions of light.
Miriael and Shanna
looked away, blinded by the dazzle. For a moment they heard only
shrieks of pain. When they looked back, the defenders on top of
the structure had been incinerated. They were fixed in position,
fused to the steel tubes on which they crouched. Some still had
their weapons raised, even as their charred bodies crumbled away.
The angels ascended
again, except for three Cherubim. The Cherubim held burning sparks
of red fire cupped in their hands. They drifted down among the tubes
and vanished from view.
now?' asked Shanna.
'There are Plasmatics
in the tubes?'
'Of course. Telescopic
tubes that can extend or contract. The simplest way to disable the
structure is to destroy the Plasmatics inside.'
. . . . .
of the structure began with a dull clang. One of the tubular legs
telescoped inwards. Then another clang and a metal joint collapsed.
The structure sagged and listed to the side.
main host of angels had moved on. Now they formed a glowing column
above a second structure. Again the defenders loosed off a shower
of ineffectual projectiles, again the chime-like note reverberated
in the air.
thundered Baraquiel. 'Let them pay for their crimes!'
But even as the
column struck downwards, a shadow came racing across the sky. It
was travelling very low and fast. Miriael and Shanna felt a sudden
of light were dazzling, as before. But only for a split second.
In the next second, the light was extinguished by a vast delta of
darkness. Its leading edge sheered through the column, slicing protective
globes like eggshells.
Then it slewed
to a halt and made a roof over the sky. In the centre of the darkness
was a pale oval like an eye. Shanna gasped.
unable to utter a word. She stared at the oval as the dark dream
returned. It was like a cruel cold hand gripping her heart. She
couldn't see Asmodai inside the oval, but she could imagine him
there. Her beautiful angel, her tempter, her betrayer . . .