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   Chapter 16 A Journey to the Past

Resurrect Thy Heart By JMFelic Characters: 17857

Updated: 2018-09-05 22:15


Northeastern Region

Ancient City of Samaria

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Blood, blood and more blood painted the rocky ground. Dead bodies of different genders and age were scattered all over the area. It was a full moon and aside from it, the only thing that showed the grotesque sight in the middle of the night was the large fire burning in the houses, barns and plants.

Not one soul was seen because not one soul was spared. Even animals - pets or livestock - weren't given a chance to live. There was one man however that seemed to enlighten the lifelessness of the place. He was walking around the dead bodies, scanning them through his golden-like hazel eyes until he found one body he was looking for.

It was of a woman bathed in blood. Her knee and elbows had gashes resulting from crawling in panic to escape her captors. Her chest had a long blade slash along the sternum. Her face had an unsightly blackish-blue bruise near her left eye and a nasty cut from her cheek down to the jaw line. Her stomach, near the liver, had a metal sword embedded on it. It still oozed blood.

With one pull of the man's hand, the sword came free, out of the woman's throbbing wound. She cried but it was only brief for the pain shortly numbed.

"Rise woman, " spoke the hooded man with a gentle, lulling voice.

The woman blinked many times, although weakly. She almost thought she was in heaven for the man's eyes looking down at her were as ethereal as the moon shining above his head. She couldn't see his face clearly for the hood prohibited it, but she can see the long straight locks of red cascading down his shoulder. It complimented the scarlet robe he was wearing. If not for the coldness of the soil and the smell of metallic blood in the air, she would have really believed she was in heaven.

"Wh-at...happened..." she asked, blood leaking from the corner of her lips. Dry was her throat, and if only there was another cleaner fluid other than the red liquid in her mouth, she would have swallowed it long ago.

The hooded man answered her with silence. She waited and waited, patiently as much as she could, but he did not. After struggling for clean air to fill her lungs, she finally stood up on her own, slowly, in staggering motions, and that's when she saw the horrific sight before her.

"Oh, God, no..." she gasped, putting a hand in her mouth, willing herself not to vomit.

"Control yourself, " the man said, sensing her panic and growing heartache, "this is not the right time and place to grieve."

"But the-se peo-ple! My father and mo-ther!" she cast a look on him, face contorted with sheer distress. She lifted a trembling hand as if to show what was already visible. "Me..." Routing her eyes on the ground, she remembered then everything that had befallen on them. The sudden attack of her city, the horses, the swords, the vile men's evil smiles, and one soldier's potent lust for her. She fought and fought though, until she drew blood in his face, and that's when he plunged the sword and everything turned black cold. "Why am I still alive..?" she asked with unfiltered tremors of her voice. "I know I died. I know I did!"

And just like that, she remembered a time when she experienced this same confusion. The time when she was but little, trying to fought her way out of her illness, her labored breathing and feverish death. The time when a certain holy man called her forth from the darkness and pulled her out into the light. A time when she was given a second life...

"Woman, the gift of third life is not to be questioned. Do not doubt what the Heavens will so, " the unknown man reproached, sure with his words.

"No... I didn't ask for this!" she cried, broke into short sobs and knelt on the ground. "I don't—I don't want to live when my family is dead..."

Her wounds were still fresh and gaping, and though it was expected that intense pain came along with it, she didn't feel anything at all. All were numb surprisingly. There was an unbearable pain though that she couldn't deny, and it was the pain in her heart.

The man closed the gap and stood beside the weeping woman. He placed his left hand on top her head and gazed at her hopeless form. She'll come to know why she was given another life in the future... she'll come to know what her greater purpose is... he was bound to tell her that, yes, but for now, for now... she will have to be strong and he will guide her every step of the way, silently, hiding behind the clouds.

"Come now, sleep, Ysabelle, " he whispered and right then and there, a golden glow from his hand appeared and the woman felt a warm feeling before she lost consciousness.

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"Your Excellencies, " the red-haired man knelt in front of four aging men sitting in an oblong table. They were in a dark room where only torches lit the colossal beams that surrounded them.

One man, High Priest Eleazar, with a black long beard peered through his own hood and looked straight on the strikingly beautiful man kneeling some distance away from them.

Gone was his hood, showing his red, silky hair shining against the torch fire. Everything about his face was symmetrical; beautifully sculpted nose, eyes that pop out like newly-grown palm leaves, and a comely mouth that was a shy red.

"Mikha'el, our most trusted messenger. What news do you bring now, " the High Priest said with delight in his eyes. He knew their messenger for quite a long time now, maybe forty or so years to be exact, but amidst this, he found that this certain messenger was no normal man at all. He has not aged at all since they met. He suspected this Mikha'el was sent from the heaven's above to guide them, but being wise as he is, he kept his suspicion and observations to himself, allowing Mikha'el to do as he wishes - including acting like he was below their ranks, kneeling in their midst, when in fact he was holier than them.

"Sire, the carnage of King Manasseh has reached its limit. Many regions were burned down and totally destroyed, and the people in them..." he paused and lifted his face to meet their gazes, "were all killed."

A collective but quiet gasp from the group came as an expected response.

"Oh, God, my worst fear has finally happened, " another High Priest, Azariah, remarked sadly, his gentle eyes beginning to water.

"Men, women and children were all slain, Your Excellencies, save...for one."

"You mean there is a survivor?" Eleazar exclaimed with considerable emphasis. He eyed Mikha'el and watched how he easily opened his mouth.

"Technically, no, this one did not survive the massacre."

"But why do you say so otherwise? What are you meaning to tell us?" Eleazar's brows furrowed.

"The survivor — as you had called it — is a woman, sire. But she wasn't spared by the attack at all. She died, but the essence of life returned back to her. She lives again."

"Damnation!" shouted the third High Priest. He was Joash, the strict priest of the four, who had a shorter gray beard. He stood up and glared at Mikha'el, unable to accept his claim. "We are not fools to believe your words messenger!"

"You don't need to believe Your Excellency. You just have to see, " was Mikha'el's effortless barb. This made the lofty priest silent. "The woman is the one people call the miracle child once, " he explained further.

"No... but it had been years since that story was told!" Eleazar went through, shaking his head with reservations. "No one could prove that! We dismissed it as silly gossip in this very room!"

Mikha'el silently scoffed. He need not explain everything to these priests except for the information that they only need to know. "It doesn't seem to be gossip at all, " was his comment.

The fourth priest, who had been keeping himself taciturn for the most of the conversation, stood up and crossed the room where the messenger was.

"Is she here?" he said, looking down on Mikha'el with cold but compassionate eyes.

"Yes, High Priest Aaron. She is sleeping in one of the temple's quarters, " Mikha'el replied, staring at the old man. They both share the same understanding between them that the other three priests didn't know about or even have inkling to. It was their secret to keep forever... or at least in the remaining days of the High Priest's human existence. Aaron actually knows of the supernatural nature of Mikha'el.

"Then lead us there, " the priest ordered.

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A homely maid servant of middle age was busily preparing some bath equipment when Ysabelle woke up, sitting up slowly in her bed.

"Oh, you wake milady, " the servant said, stopping from folding a towel in the table.

"Where...am I?" Ysabelle asked groggily.

"You are in the High Priest temple milady, in Berean, Kingdom of the North, " answered the maid casually. She didn't even show any distress looking at her current guest with disheveled hair and s

kin covered in clotted blood.

"Berean? Priest?" Ysabelle parroted. A shooting headache happened to catch her attention but it was only brief. She palmed her head though amidst this, massaging her scalp as if to soothe it but in truth she was trying to gain her memories back.

"You were brought here by the High Priests' messenger, Mik'hael, " the servant said, granting her a lost puzzle of information, but it only ended there. "If you have further questions milady, please direct it to him. I am afraid I don't have the right answers for you except that I am here to help you wash all the..." she paused and examined Ysabelle from head to foot with curious eyes, "blood away."

She threw a small towel into her shoulders and then lifted a container of warm water with both of her hands. Ysabelle opened her mouth intending to object, but as soon as she did that, a knock on the wooden door came and then it opened revealing Ysabelle's five uninvited visitors.

Their presence made the servant bow low and scurry all the way into the farthest corner of the room. Ysabelle in the other hand watched as four aging men entered, her eyes were wide as she took in their appearance. All of them were wearing robes of white and gold, but of different colored stoles. One priest was holding a cane, while another possessed a staff. She was in awe in front of them, realizing she was surrounded by powerful men of their time. Her mother used to bring her in the City of Samaria's temple. Only then was she able to witness priests performing rites. This was the first time that she was up close to such holy men and because of that, she didn't even know how to act.

Ysabelle cast a look on the maid whom she found was already observing her. The servant gestured for her to prostrate, to bow her head or even to kneel, but Ysabelle chose not to, keeping her head high. Her insides though were already tightening, especially when she saw their awestruck faces. They were the same expressions as the ones she saw thirteen years ago, after she stood up from the cot, revived from death.

Now, she felt as if she was like some newfound specie of an animal.

The fifth man though who stepped inside the room caught her attention more than the four had. Her breath hitched after realizing who the man was. She may not have seen his face then, but she definitely could well recognize the beautiful red locks hanging on his shoulders.

Ysabelle would have called out to him but a voice suddenly broke after a sea of silence filled the room.

"My God!" High Priest Eleazar exclaimed. He was finally out of his momentary surprise. Dashing in her front, he quickly knelt and took her dirty arm with both hands, leaving the staff to lean on its own against the mattress.

Ysabelle gazed at him in surprise and bewilderment. She almost wanted to pull her arm away if not for the worry in his eyes.

"Child, you should clean yourself, " Eleazar stated, looking at her with compassion.

And that did it for Ysabelle. She was in the brink of breaking down but held her emotions in check.

"I don't see...the reason why, " she whispered, voice coming out raspy unintentionally. "The blood in my skin is from my parents and mine. I won't clean it for this reminds me of their death and what was supposed to be mine too."

Their eyes connected and it was the high priest's own who widened first.

"You...know what happened to you?" he asked, taken aback.

Ysabelle neither nod or shook her head as she went to look at the four other men towering above her, especially to Mik'hael, who had an unreadable expression.

"I am supposed to be dead, " Ysabelle started, pulling her arm from Eleazar and embraced herself. "The blade that pierced my stomach was a solid iron! I felt the pain... I felt my blood draining from my veins. It was real, very real, yet I am here... Why?"

The last word was intended for all of them to answer, including the maid servant who was clueless, and including Mik'hael who chose to be as silent as a mouse.

High Priest Aaron stepped in and released a deep sigh. "My child, we apologize, " he said, "We don't have the right answers for that. We don't know why you are still alive after your brutal death. The Heavens must have plans for you, it might be for a greater purpose above all of us here, but given the current circumstances, you have to be strong."

"No... I can't be strong. I have no family anymore! I have no one. No one..." Ysabelle sobbed.

"We are your family now, child. I know that the pain of loss you feel now is still fresh, but soon, time will take it all away, " was Eleazar said whilst patting her shoulder tenderly.

They were comforting words for Ysabelle, yes, but that didn't ease her heart for in this kind of life, she knew... she knew that it won't happen.

The pain will just be buried deep within her heart waiting to be relived again.

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Dobri Castle

Modern Day

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And relive it she did, crying to herself in her bed once she had finally reached her bedroom after a whole day activity at the gardens with Mehak's schoolmates.

Her camera and black sling bag was on the table, her day clothes and beret hat was tossed on the floor. She didn't bother drying her hair after taking a quick shower, choosing to slip on a comfy silk nightdress and hitting the bed immediately. That's when her emotional breakdown had struck her. She had kept it at bay the whole day after her conversation with Father Marcus and Mr. Grann that morning. It was a struggle. But when the walls of her room now taunted her unending loneliness and the promise of the same ahead of her years, tears spilled continuously on her pillow.

The pain of losing her parents was agony.

The pain of losing the families she had come to care for was the same.

But thinking of the pain she'll get when she loses Marcus was something different. Entirely different. It was more than agony and it was tearing her heart apart.

It was never her intention to... never allowed herself. She had guarded her heart against it successfully for many, many years. But, God, she knew she was falling for him, and it was already too late to stop it.

Unable to bear the facts presented, she continued to express it through her tears, and that continued on until she fell asleep.

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"Such a frail woman, " H commented to himself when he materialized inside Ysabelle's room and sat at the side of the mattress. "Even for an immortal, you still think of yourself as a human."

He scanned the length of her and gave out a delighted smirk when he found her nightdress pleasing to the eye.

"Wouldn't it be easier if you would just learn to accept the circumstances of your life and enjoy it? Huh? Ysa-be-lle?"

His eyes glowed red when he moved to touch her bare shoulder. Ysabelle's eyes lightly flinched.

"Do you really want to be a mortal that badly?" H asked and then, on impulse, squeezed her right arm, sinking his nails into her flesh. The tattoo of flames and vines under the sleeves of his cassock immediately moved like it had a life of its own. These vines crept up into H's fingers and crossed through Ysabelle's reddened skin. She whimpered weakly upon contact, but still remained asleep. Just as a thick vine circulated around her arm, H stopped it by releasing his hand.

"Ah, tsk, tsk, tsk, " he clicked, producing a devilish grin, "But no. Oh, no, not yet. I still want to play with you and Marcus." Standing up, he dragged the same chair from the armoire into the foot of the bed and sat there the same as he did yesterday night. "Our game has only just begun."

And then, a similar violet haze enveloped Ysabelle's bed.

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"Where—?" Ysabelle whispered, but stopped. She doesn't need an affirmation that this was another dream and that she was right in the middle of a desert with black sand. It was cold, very cold, and the air's coldness as nipping at her helpless skin. Even though it was of no difference, she managed to wrap her arms around her chest trying to warm herself.

Right over the horizon she could see a crescent purplish moon and the sky adorned with a sea of blue and violet stars. Sand dunes were everywhere and she was even standing in a big one too.

A sudden rush of wind got her hair to flow wildly. Groaning, she grabbed a mass as much as she could and clamped it down her shoulders. The wind grew stronger however and this caused her to panic. She doesn't need a millennium of experience to know that sands could be harsh when blown by such a speed.

Turning in circles, she found a small bedouin tent some distance away.

'Lucky, ' she thought and dashed there in the hopes of taking shelter inside.

What she didn't know though was that it was Marcus' makeshift tent.

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