March 23, 2014: Virtues and Vices

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

You'd likely be surprised to know that I am a sucker for religious iconography. You'd likely be even more surprised to know that this whole story concept is based off of an old fanfic of mine. Both were named Shattered Glass because they are based heavily in mirror worlds and reflections. Personally, looking back on it, I think that I liked the fanfiction version much better than this one but maybe that's because at the time I was going to church and the likes and this is heavily steeped in that time period, of which I don't have the fondest memories.


But if you break it down to it's bare essentials:


An evil alternate version of the main character who haunts them in every reflective surface they pass. A universe of tragedy and awfulness that mirrors the main character's own where everything is just a little bit wrong. Where the main character is familiar with their surroundings and yet do not recognize them in the slightest? I think that's an interesting concept that maybe someday I'll return to. Perhaps I'll post the fanfiction version with different names at some point because I do have fond memories of that continuity.


But that's for another time, this version of Shattered Glass expands upon that concept, though leaning more into evil counterparts rather than twisted reflections, by bringing in the concepts of Virtues and their opposing Vices, each of which has a patron archangel or demon. It's sort of a shame that I have no connection with this continuity anymore because this section itself is written pretty well all things considered! It could use some polishing, sure, but there are some parts of it I even really liked ready again. I suppose it could be repurposed someday for another project, thus is the fun part of tucking every bit of writing away to be poked at again later.



Word Count: 2681

 

It is written that Lucifer was the most beautiful of all the angels, as well as God’s favorite, His right-hand man to be exact. It was a time when the world was at peace, demons were left to scour the earth for the barest scraps of society, and men were slowly making their rise to power among the others of creatures.


Lucifer absolutely loathed the humans, he hated their impurity and stupidity, the way they so openly and unthinkingly defied the Lord. But it was not until the same Father, that he had so much love and respect for, told him to be helpful to man and to serve them like they served Him, that the problems really began.


The day that God’s intentions became clear was the same day that Lucifer, angel of light, was cast from Heaven for disobedience, joining the demons in their quest for power in the world. His goal was to rid the world of the vile creature called ‘man’, who had so shamefully disgraced the image of God, and regain his Father’s love, once and for all.


And so the Forever war began…


It was a bloody one, casualties were heavy on both sides, and they evenly matched each other step for step, demon for angel, sword for shield. It was obvious that neither side was going to win, so the battles dragged on, not a clear end in sight.


Which was a fine problem for Lucifer to have, because the fight was soon dragged to the middle-field of Earth, humans slowly losing their lives to the divine energies that battled unseen around them. His plan was being played out better than he had hoped; the other angels were unknowingly helping him in the slaughtering of the creatures their Father held so dear.


It was not long after that the ‘angel of light’s younger siblings, the seven Archangels, found out of the scheme and set out on a plan to stop it in its tracks. The only problem was the were not sure how to outsmart someone who knew them as well as they knew themselves, who had learned many things from the all-knowing God and had been taught the way of angels and demons. There seemed to be no way, hope was slowly dwindling out among the protectors of man; it seemed that nothing would stop the loss of life from the world…


Until Michael stumbled upon it, a woman by the name of Castitas who was capable of fighting off demons and had spent months protecting her town from the darkened spirits ravaging the outside world. She was striking, beautiful and fierce in battle, while still maintaining an aura of purity and innocence. The most outstanding of her features was the pure white gown she wore; the way it flowed behind her gave the name of Dove to her, by human and demon alike. Castitas was said to be the daughter of a blacksmith, and had been taught to wield a sword from a young age, something many had thought strange at the time but was proven useful when the demons initially attacked. Michael was the one to teach her to use her unique abilities to fight with the Holy Sword, of whom angels were only worthy to touch. Not only was she accepted by the ancient sword, but her strength grew by leaps and bounds with it in her hands, many enemies unable to match her, let alone with an Archangel by her side.


“M-Michael… Mikes…” Rasped a gasping voice, a lit to it that spoke of better days before, and worse to come. Her head lolled dangerously to the side, normally long black hair sheared to the back of her neck, shoulders strained for the awkward angle. “I’m- I am so sorry, I thought- I really thought I could fight them on my own… I thought I was strong enough-” Her dreary apology was cut short by a hacking cough, pure dress stained red from a fatal wound, blood oozing from them with purpose, one that the dove trapped above her was not fond thinking about.


The creature of purity flapped his wings frantically and tore at the Brimstone bars surrounding him, knowing that there was nothing he could do but wishing differently all the same. “Castitas, no! Stay with me, don’t give up!”


A grim smile was on a normally cheerful face, amber eyes growing dull with each passing moment, “Come now, you silly bird, I’m half-human, I couldn’t live forever…” Amber eyes shut peacefully in the moonlight, pain lost and forgotten as a final breathe drifted through lips stained red.


Gabriel was the next to find his partner, unexpected as his elder sibling, but just as fitting to him. A priest, left for dead by bandits, cradling a small child underneath his wounded body, obviously protecting it from the same fate as him. He had come from a place the war had scarred, his whole village torn to shreds, scarred, and burned by the same demons that had possessed the bandits. The priest, Temperantia, and the young child were the only survivors of the massacre, both mentally and physically scarred but still fighting for their lives. Gabriel took the priest and child into his protection and taught them everything he knew of, hoping to be able to save many from being dragged unwillingly- and unjustly- down to Hell. Temperantia became one of the most well-known exorcists throughout the world of man, called the Wise Owl for teachings far beyond his years.


A breathy chuckle could be heard in the darkness of a cell, echoes making the small sound eerie and gruesome amide the cold stone. “Well, Gabe, seems like you won’t get to tell me about that joke after all,” the relaxed man commented lightly, hoping to lighten the mood before the trapped Owl hurt himself or worse. The talons the blonde man heard clicking across the hard surface of the cage was enough to tell him how panicky the angel was in that moment. But there was no point, after spending centuries studying the Word of God, the man knew that there was no way for him to cheat death, his time would come and there was nothing stopping it.


“Don’t you dare die on me Temperantia; I spent too long teaching you to have to start all over now!” Growled the archangel, yellow eyes flashing in the inky darkness, a warning that was clear to all. No one messed with what was Gabriel’s, and the man lying in a puddle of blood next to him was indeed his. “You just started to find your sense of humor, don’t go now,” this was pleaded, begged, the angel’s voice broken with worry and grief, unable to comprehend what was really and truly happening.


Another week laugh came from the corner of the cell, this one haunted and full of unhidden mirth, “Knock, knock…” A quick breathe dragged into damaged lungs, waiting for the only other creature in the room to respond.


“Who’s-”


“Ha, I… got you to say… ‘who’ …” A last breath, this one a short exhale, long and tired, showing the years of stress and worry. Of paranoia and constantly looking over his shoulder, of finally finding peace amid the others of his time.


It was during a great battle that a wounded Raphael found his human, a charitable, poor woman by the name of Caritas, who had been known to take in wounded soldiers. Despite her rudimentary knowledge of healing, and desperate need of money, the woman did everything she could to help the people she found on the abandoned battlefields. When he had recovered from the brunt of his injuries, Raphael took it upon himself to help Caritas heal those caught in the crossfire, and to teach her more so that she would be ready for anything to happen.


She dragged a mangled hand across her forehead, feeling the magic she had grown to possess move sluggishly to the serious wound. It took longer than she would have like for the skin to begin knitting itself back together, but she shouldn’t have complained because she had already managed to seal the worst of her wounds. She was surprised that they had been left alone for such a long period of time, she would have thought that their doubles would want to make sure that they had all died, but apparently they were confident in their ability to kill when necessary.


“Raphael, we must move quickly, the others were in dire need of care when they were brought here, who knows what condition they will be in now?” Using a trick Gabriel had once shown her to free herself, she managed to yank a single bar from the cage, making just enough room for the trapped Raven to escape through.


Though they were both very weary, Caritas knew that she had to go to her friends, she had to see if, and how, she could help.


These three were soon to be inseparable, always relying on each other and trusting the other to have their backs when they couldn’t defend themselves.


It was almost two years after the original three had been found that Uriel had come to meet a young soldier, by the name of Industria, who would be his partner. Industria had been a warrior among Castitas’ army, one that had readily fought back against the demon invaders, refusing to give in. He was severely wounded when he was unknowingly cornered by the Archdemon, Beelzebub. Who had not only taken shamed the soldier in battle, but had taken his right arm, so that he would never fight against them again. With Uriel’s help Industria learned to battle once more, this time with the Sword of Truth to guide him on his path. He soon joined the original three as a renowned prophet, knowing all that was to come but never speaking a word of it was the burden he was chosen to carry along with his sword.


The dying prophet stared at his friend in a solemn acceptance of what was to come, for he knew all, and had been warned long before any of this had happened. Short blonde hair was made a tinted red with lifeblood, not entirely his own, soaking in, but that didn’t both him. No, he had known for centuries that he would not live forever, that his time drew nearer with every passing day, but that did not make the death of his friends any less painful than if he had not known anything at all.


“Industria, please, tell me that you will not die here! That they will not be the ones to end your existence!” Called Uriel, small Eagle eyes pleading with his strong-willed companion to tell him something good, something that didn’t involve losing the only person that he had truly ever trusted.


The blonde sighed, curling forward, head to his knees in hope that the pressure would slow down the blood-oozing injury to his stomach, but knowing all the same that the deep stab wound would be the end of him, “Sorry, Ur, but only one of the Virtues will make it out of here alive today, and that ‘one’ is not me.”


It was not until the fifth Virtue had been discovered that their enemies made a counter attack. Taking in humans as well, except these humans had attributes that were completely opposite to their heavenly cousins, the attributes that were more in the realm of evil than good. These were to be called the Vices, enemies to the archangels and their Virtues in every way.


Patienta had a twin sister Ira, whom she had spent most of her life caring for. Fortunately enough for the both of them was that their remote village had yet to be dragged into the conflicts. This was not long lived though, because Ira was taken one day by Lahatiel, an Archdemon, one who rules over punishment, taking joy in another’s misery. When he heard of this outrageous act against humanity, Jehudiel promised to assist, presenting Patienta with the Crown of Salvation to bring the girl back from where she had been taken. But Ira refused; she joined the side of the demons, though her soul goal was to get rid of her pest of a sister for good.


Even as Patienta continued to be attacked by her sister at every chance, she could never bring herself to do anything but flee, for she could not hurt one of her own blood. No matter how many wrongs she committed.


“So… how does this feel?” Asked a cheerfully malicious voice, filled with sweet falseness and ugly promises. Promises that would no doubt be fulfilled before the end of the evening, especially as the sun was already beginning it’s slow descent into the sky, Ira could feel the change on her skin. Going from the bright, perky day, something of joy and happiness, making all smile with it’s arrival, to the dark chill of night, a time for thieves and murderers, the time where secret mistresses came out in search of the perfect master. Barbed tongue slid across dull pink lips, silver eyes flashing with a need that was all-consuming, pulling at her in pure blood lust, wanting to see her betrayer crippled in pain, eyes glassy and lungs still. No life left to squeeze out of her inch by inch, no screams to be wrenched from her parched throat while doing so. Just blissful silence and the peace Ira knew would come with the long awaited revenge. It made her twitch in anticipation as she watched her twin’s face drop, muscles strained and weak, head lolling from the possible broken neck, it made the Vice proud to see such pain wrought on the one person that had tormented her for a lifetime. “Because I want to tell me if you are at all uncomfortable… so that we can repeat the action as many times as possible.”


Patienta groaned, granite eyes sagging, becoming foggy as more and more of the knife wounds bled out, unable to keep herself from collapsing any longer, “I-ira.”


Before woman could take pleasure in the goody-goody’s final punishment, a man approached from the back of the room, shadows matching his footfalls, “Ira, we must be going, Lucifer said that the other three are growing restless. They would like to finish off these pests and continue on with the plan as soon as possible.”


The dark haired woman gave a heaving sigh, seeming annoyed by the interruption to her private time with her new favorite toy. She would just have to let to toy break, there was nothing more she could really do, no more fun ways to inflict pain and drag out screams, so Ira would let the poor creature die like the pest she had become. “Goodbye for the last time, sister.”


As the Vice left with her Archdemon guardian, another presence entered the room, spotting her companion with a grim expression, “Raphael, please, release Jehudiel while I take care of Patienta.” The dirty-blonde moved towards the weakening Virtue, brown eyes watching every movement of the shadows around her for anything unusual as she did. Raphael gripped the bars of his trapped brother’s cage, giving the angel-trapped-in-Hawk-form a reassuring look while using all his strength to pull as many bars out as he could before the Brimstone burning him became too much.


As the demons slowly began to regroup and recover from the extreme casualties that they had experienced during that time of utter lose, none having any clue of how to become strong again, the last two of the irreplaceable virtues were found by their archangels. Sealtiel and Barachiel located the two in the same place, with a nearly stunning story of faith.


Humanitas and Humilitas were brothers, oldest and youngest, the youngest was a shepherd, probably with


***


“Hehe… aren’t you two just adorable?” Snickered the voice of a young boy, a near mirror image of the youngest of the Virtue brothers,




5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Hm, this is an interesting find for me. This story concept is based off of a dream I had if I recall. People are put into multiple different teams and there's a series of bracelets - or some kind of j

Ah, one of the dragon phases. We've finally found one. It's somewhat of a surprise that we've come up a dragon phase before a horse one, to be quite honest. Though I'm sure that that won't be the case

This is a very short snippet and, from what I remember, is simply a very obviously genderbent version of popular fairytale characters. It was inspired by some art that I remember being absolutely obse