Outside the temple, a shower of rain drops loosened from an overhanging branch hung motionless in mid-air like a suspended necklace of diamonds. The creature gazed at it sadly.
‘You would really end all of this?’ it asked, gesturing to the surrounding forest and wider world.
‘Yes, if that’s what it takes,’ I replied stubbornly.
‘But don’t you love your home?’
‘I hate the angeli more.’
I found no judgement in its voice, just a sigh that seemed to linger on the early morning mists. It pointed up to the heavens and a bright star there that I hadn’t noticed before.
‘They call that “Wormwood”. Do you understand now?’
‘The sign of the last days?’
‘Yes. Whether you complete your task or not, it will be completed for you.’
I turned to look at it more closely. ‘Just who are you exactly? What do you want with me?’
The creature shrugged its misshapen form. ‘The beautiful creatures they call “angels” here are false – you understand this and they hunt you. But some of us are genuine. They once used to call me Uriel – God’s light and the bringer of destiny.’
‘Yes, we’re not quite so good looking, I’m afraid.’