It was long after the common visiting hours for parishioners, but the man had run all the way there through a driving storm. He looked so bedraggled as he stood there, practically melting into the carpet, staring at Sister Caroline so pitifully that she acquiesced; who was she to prevent a wayward soul from setting himself to rights in the eyes of God? She was a servant of the church, not the personal secretary to The Almighty.
The man bowed his head and removed his hat upon entering the chapel. As soon as the nun departed to another wing of the church, the man barricaded himself in the room bathed in the warm radiance of the stained-glass windows. On one side, the Good Shepherd patiently guarded His flock; on the other, a mighty Archangel surveyed the chapel, wings and arms outstretched.
The man knelt before the Archangel and lifted his hands in prayer.
"Lorelei, the coast is clear. We have a situation."
A light brighter than the direct rays of the sun blazed through the window, so bright he had to bend his head and avert his gaze.
Thick-soled biker boots thudded to the floor in front of him. He looked up at the figure in black jeans and a hoodie standing over him, glancing around suspiciously as she shielded the two of them with the massive, multicolored wings sprouting from her shoulders.
Her mouth quirked as she glanced sidelong at him, focusing most of her attention on the door.
"You sure nobody's follow us?" She quipped.
He groaned as he hauled himself back to his feet. "If you were capable of time travel, I would send you back to the day I let you watch The Princess Bride, to warn my past self that I would never hear the end of it."
She flicked a lock of brown hair out of her face. "Are you kidding me? I loved that film! It has absolutely everything an adventure needs! Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters—"
"Okay, I'll stop!" She sighed and drew her wings back to resting position. The feathers held the same fantastic array of colors as the cut bits of glass representing them on the window—the one that now depicted an empty celestial throne.
The angel shoved her hands in the pocket of her hoodie. "What's the situation you mentioned, Conrad?"
He cleared his throat. "We found It," he stated.
Lorelei brightened. "We did? Oh! So it's good news; here I was, expecting to hear something terrible had happened!"
Conrad shuffled from one foot to the other. "Well... What I meant was, we know where it is, but we don't have it."
Lorelei squinted. "We found it but we don't have it?" She huffed. "I'm confused!"
Conrad rubbed the bridge of his nose. "It popped up on our surveillance system because somebody decided to start using it at daybreak this morning."
Lorelei's violet eyes shot open. "You're kidding! Someone is using the evil pen of crystal death? Who is it?"
"We don't know yet; the reason I came to get you is because you know where to find it." His gaze rested on her significantly.
Lorelei shook her head and heaved a heavy sigh. "Let me guess: the ancient ruins of the Castle Of A Thousand Turrets?"
"Bingo; just like the prophecy said."
The angel rubbed her face in agitation. "Why, when you humans are perfectly capable of inventing such fantastic worlds of your own, would you still insist on pursuing everything that would destroy the only one you could actually live in?" She cried.
"I know," mumbled Conrad. "But you have to realize, a magical crystal fountain pen with the power to alter reality is a little beyond our scope of comprehension."
"Ever heard of the rule 'If you don't know what it does, don't touch it'?" She snapped. "It's a pretty good rule."
"Just calm down, would you?" He hunched his shoulders and shuffled for the door and lifted the barricade. "Here, I'll make sure the coast is clear while you—"
"While I what?" Lorelei cut in. "Sneak out the front door?" She shook her head.
Conrad gestured around them. "There is only one exit from this room, Lorelei."
She snorted. "Humph! Says you!" She spread her wings, launching her body off the ground, and swooped to grab Conrad around his middle, and the two of them sailed right through the incorporeal window, emerging outside and taking to the skies before any witnesses had time to register anything more than a large bird. Conrad landed on the sidewalk, a bit flustered, but he did his best to appear as if he had been walking there the whole time. Lorelei was on a mission, and she would see it through.
Inside the chapel, Sister Caroline entered softly, to see if the man needed anything more than just a quiet place to pray—but he was no longer there. She tilted her head. There had been no one exiting the chapel, or she would have seen them from her usual place. Where did he go?
She glanced up at the window on the right side of the room, the one depicting the heavenly Mercy Seat; though other times, she seemed to recall an archangel with multicolored wings overlooking the sanctuary. But it must not be; windows did not change so frequently. She must have it confused with another window. Sister Caroline resumed her duties and thought no more of it.
High among the clouds, Lorelei flew with powerful beats of her wings until she arrived at the island containing ancient ruins of some grand, spacious castle.
At least, that's what it looked like from the outside.
No one in the current era knew anything of the history, but this place was really bustling metropolis, shielded from sight by a magical mist; it was a place where everything was possible--the perfect setting from which to alter the reality of the "real world."
Lorelei landed gracefully on a perch high over the red rooftops of the city, her keen violet eyes scanning every inch of the milling masses below.
“All right, you nefarious nemesis seeking to change reality,” she muttered under her breath. “Where are you?”
A ringing in her ears caused her to cringe and cover them. The noise resounded through her mind like steel claws raking over stone. It continued in a steady rhythm; someone was busy shredding what was left of reality.
The ringing stopped, but a huge weight seemed to drop suddenly onto Lorelei’s back. She glanced over her shoulder.
“Oh no,” she groaned.
Her lovely, light, feathery wings had reverted back to the stained-glass version of themselves—a sure sign that some part of this world’s history had been changed through the magic of the fountain pen. If the writer continued before she could find who it was, she would be reduced completely to stained glass.
That wasn’t the only thing she had to worry about, though. The weight of her stained-glass wings upset her center of balance, and Lorelei the angel toppled off the high perch and plummeted toward the ground.
Previously In This Series:
Crossover Parts: "Rendezvous" (SM 6/SL 2) "The Viking and the Lore-Master" (SM 9/SL 4)
#26 "The Tides of Battle"
#1 "Red of Morning"