by Max Barry

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by The Ishnar Legacy of Angelarium. . 11 reads.

The Z-Heralds

The Eleven Heralds

Lori Zvonimir - Age 1,186
It takes a remarkable amount of willpower to have some semblance of control over a terribly broken family. Yet she manages to carry herself with composure and elegance. Sure she may have become cold. Turn into a bleak mockery of what she once was. But alas it could be helped. The being let her live. Made a herald out of her. Groomed her into a fitting tool for whatever machinations goes on in their head. At the end of it all she came out still caring for her family. The elder sister's instinct to protect them is still strong and true. It didn't matter how many centuries she must repeat the same cycle. She'll bear it not only for her family but for whatever remains of her sanity. If any is truly left she doesn't know. She was forced to kill coworkers, friends, husbands, children. How could anyone be possibly sane after all that? What did it all amount to? For Freedom? That can't be it. It can't be all there is. They can't just commit lifetimes doing dirty deeds just to walk away from it all. It's not right. It's not fair. It's too cruel. But first thing first. She needs to protect her family.

Leni Zvonimir - Age 1,185
What is hell? There are places in this universe made up of red rock and flame. Populated by horned goats and fanged serpents. Built for the torment of souls. But these places are not Hell, they are only a place. Hell is not a place. Hell is the absence of god. Not atheism. A thing cannot be absent if it was never there. To be truly absent, God must have been present. God must have a face, to turn it away from someone. But is there another face that looks upon someone when God has turned away? Does God have a shadow? Leni once saw this shadow. And it stuck with her for every day of her life. The absence of sacrality. The faces she led to that shadow slip through her fingers like sand. How many streets had she gone down. How many gleaming towers of neon she walked under. The web of lies she left in her wake. As is she was a true void. An absence of a person akin to Lucy in a way. Yet somehow she came to grasp a glimmer of optimism in her life. The fact that she is empty means that she can fill that emptiness with as much as she wants.

Luna Zvonimir - Age 1,184
When Luna was a young girl, it was said she was frightened by storms. That she would cry fretfully in her bed whenever it thundered. And the one employed to watch over her became so enraged by this that once during a downpour, he had the girl hurled outside and forbid anyone to give her shelter. That night, thunder rattled every building in the realm. It was the fiercest storm anyone could remember. The next morning, little Luna was found, drenched to the bone, but without a tear in her eye. She never cried again at the sound of thunder. for the truth, what her foolish caretaker had missed so completely that Luna never cried because of the storm. The storm was her crying. Luna's first words were spoken with thunder. And so would be her last. The spirit of the sword is to cut. The spirit of the hammer is to smash. But what is the spirit of thunder? The spirit of thunder is to be heard. And lo how had her thunder reached far across the radiant nebula. While no one ever knew her name. They have heard her. Whether it be from mere albums or from grand Etherstorms.

Luan Zvonimir - Age 1,183
There are two people in every mirror. There's the one you can see. And there's the other one. The one you don't want to. That is what Luan is. She is an expression of everyone's dark side that they are too afraid to face. and people know it. Everyone is Luan at some point in their lives, but not everyone can face it like she can. Some spend all their lives running from their darkness never realizing that the sickness is already inside of them. She used to think that her life was a tragedy, but now she realizes it's a comedy. They laugh at her because she's different and she laughs back because they are all the same. Despite all her misery and isolation she smiles to everyone she meets. For it's easier than shedding light on what is killing her inside. Truly, she is living out the universe's greatest joke. Especially now that her family have been left out in the cold. No more words coming from afar. Never had she laughed with so much vigor before. Alas the show must go one. She and her family must find a new circus to amuse the masses. The universe does love its tragic figures.

Lynn Zvonimir - Age 1,182
War is sweet to those who have no experience of it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. Lynn does not know how long she has been fighting in an invisible war at times. Never knowing why she is tasked to wage hell on those she never met. Yet she was forced to dance to the trumpets of battle. Drifting from one battlefield to the next with no rhythm or reason. If there was one thing that she realized in all these years. Is to never think that war is no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. For what difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy. Or in Lynn's case, because some sparkling light told her so. She wondered whether she had been truly fighting for her family or for her own mere survival. There is no answer to her woes. All she can do is keep kicking and biting. For that is who she is. A pawn discarded to the side. Left to die on a scarred land of boiling tar and burning skies.

Lincoln 'Abraham' Zvonimir - Age 1,180
There is a small folk legend within Bloodmoon Industries. Of a mysterious figure arriving out of the blue with a dead bounty in tow. Bounties of the worst kind. The twisted abominations left by the Witch-Kings, the monstrosities that plague the Trikorn wasteland, and even morally bankrupt warlords who had a fully armed army at their back. The strangest of all, he leaves with no reward nor recognition. Instead he strolls back into obscurity as swiftly as he came. Like a white wolf in the mist. Whoever he is no one could truly see and stop him from leaving. For his appearances are so inconsistent and far a part that no one could realize in time who it was that came in. even his existence is doubted due to the fact that he was reported across the last centuries. While many tried to theorize, none could truly discern why this person would throw himself at the worst that Hoshizora has to offer for nothing in return. One group the Valrians which unbeknownst to them had came up with a theory of what he is earning. Justice Points. But if so that begs the question. Why does he need so much Justice Points?

Lucy Zvonimir - Age 1,177
The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. For they live on placid islands of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that they should voyage far. We are sickened by the unknown, yet knowledge can prove poisonous. The fear of the unknown, of the void between the stars, of the darkness that swallow worlds. No one can comprehend such vastness. The void called to Lucy. Whispering black words that sang of dead worlds spinning in the abyss with no name. Of the blasphemies that lurk in the shadow of stars. It taught her about the brilliant richness of nothingness. She entered the void and came out brighter. The void now a tool in her hands she had been tasked to carry out the orders of the profane darkness. And she carried them out sublimely. A hunter to those carrying abnormal traits. A bane to the mystic kin. For she was a scar on reality. A hole that no magic could reach. It did not matter to her how many had to fall into her absence. If it's for her family, she'll do anything for them.

Lana Zvonimir - Age 1,175
There is an old saying. We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be. The mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of humanity. So while Lana is close to a wolf, she is in fact very human. The cosmic energies given to her is the power birthed by the nonexistence of law and order, the justice of the wild. The only law that will bind her is the survival of the fittest. As they say, This is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. She has stalked among the trees for countless centuries. Rake her claws across her marked prey. Staining the ground with the stench of slaughter. Humans and beasts, unable to understand each other, are destined to face and kill one another. She ran through wide, grassy fields. Across snow-capped mountains. The wide expanse of the blue seas. All to return to her den at the end of the day to sleep with her littermates.

Lola Zvonimir - Age 1,175
The road to power is paved with hypocrisy, and casualties. One would say Lola was a fish in water when it came to finding her way among the upper echelons to carry out orders. But they would be terribly mistaken. For Lola is a leviathan. No matter how many bridges she burns, no matter how much she is forced to throw away, place pieces in the right spot and she creates a domino effect. A chain of events that when she returns to society to fulfill her next task. She can reap the fruit of her labor and repeat the process all over again. The trickle of falling domino turns into a cascade as centuries roll by. Beneath the red sea of stars she lurks in the dark below. Heeding to the words of the light without an issue, having been long conditioned to follow it. It took trial and error for her to figure out ways to align her goals with them. Thanks to her when her family were dropped on the side of the road it's because of her network that they didn't die on the spot with nothing but the clothes on their back. No, she ensured that her family will not rot in a ditch.

Lisa Zvonimir - Age 1,172
On some nights. Nights that don't involve conspiring and scheming. Nights that don't involve finding ways to dispose of a body. Nights that don't involve piloting a microscopic drone into a random peon to blow up his chest with a click of a button. On some nights she can dream. Dreaming of technologies that didn't exist yet, outsider science, futurist dreaming, half-magical. The things she could do beyond the bondage of some cosmological force. To not master the science of execution but rather to master another science, her science, wild science, robots and lasers and disembodied brains. A science that buzzed and glowed; it wanted to do things. It could get up and walk, fly, fight, sprout garish glowing creations in the remotest parts of the world, domes and towers and architectural fever dreams. And it was angry. It was mad science. To unravel the tapestry of the universe to peel it back. To uncover the truth behind the light. She will not wallow in insignificance. And neither will her family. As they say, with the right amount of genius and a touch of perceived insanity, science can conquer anything. She will conquer the placid sea of ignorance. Bring an end to the tyranny of heaven and hell.

Lily Zvonimir - Age 1,170
Painting calmed the chaos that threatened to shake her soul. Whether the entity intended or not. She came to towns and cities as an artisan of some manner. It was better this way she told herself long ago. To spend her days split in doing her mission and devoting the hours on a project. Statues, murals, art exhibits, construction, movies. Anything to keep her mind off the pain in her heart. Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves. In a life such as hers, she needed to be rooted. To have an anchor to not be carried away by the black maelstrom. It didn't bother her for her works of art to live on without her true name. For all it mattered that they exist. That her emotions and dreams were free out in the vast galaxy. To see people look up to her marvels in awe. Never realizing she made the foundations out of blood and bone. That the hands that gave form to a majestic statue was stained with scarlet.

The Ishnar Legacy of Angelarium