Bane of DeathA woman whose presence prevents Death from taking a person. She also can pass on the ability to see Death to others if she touches another while in the presence of Death.
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About the Story
I know part of this directly contradicts earlier chapters, those are going to be changed in the rewrites.
Golms turned around to see Alicia standing in the doorway to the sanctuary looking apprehensive. He smiled to try and put her at ease. "Yes, Alicia?"
"I hope I'm not intruding," she said as she took a couple steps in.
Golms raised a finger, but before he could put words of reminder to his gesture, Alicia stepped back to the doorway. She bent over and took off her shoes as she had been instructed to do the first time she had been here. Then she walked in towards Golms.
"Never could you be intruding in a church of the Light," he told her with an ingratiating smile. "What can I do for you?"
Alicia looked around as she approached him. "I was hoping," she began cautiously, then paused. The lilies from before that had not been potted were now replaced with fresh cut ones. The potted ones were still around, but all the flowers were rearranged. Stargazer Lilies were now the ones on the alter. She suddenly felt more at ease. "I was hoping," she started again, looking back at Golms with a happier expression and normal tone in her voice, "that you could tell me what happened to the ones that came before me."
"Ah," Golms replied with a knowing nod. He steepled his fingers, holding them against his lips for several seconds as he tried to think of how to go about this conversation. Finally he looked back to Alicia and parted his hands. "Have you... saved more than one person simultaneously yet?" he asked.
Alicia's eyebrows dipped together with confusion. "No. At least, I don't think so."
Golms looked off to one side. "Hm."
"I mean, not intentionally," she amended.
He nodded. "The more you actively use your abilities, the more control you will gain over them." He leaned slightly towards her. "Tell me this. Have you felt what it is like to use them?"
Alicia shook her head slowly. "I have noticed I can feel how close a person is to death if I pay attention. I have also seen signs in D, her expression or mood or even how close she gets to people," Alicia answered instead.
"Hm," Golms replied again.
"Why?" Alicia asked. "What does it feel like?"
"I do not rightfully know," he replied. "Past Lights have given descriptions, but it is nothing anyone else has felt. The most common description is a surge of power."
"How did they-" Alicia started to ask again, but suddenly decided to switch to another question that she was momentarily more interested in. "So I can keep more than one person from dying at the same time?"
"Yes," he replied confidently.
He shrugged. "Only you can figure that out. But I can tell you that you need to look inside yourself. Find the center of your strength, connect to your soul, and you can do more than you imagine."
Alicia slid herself into a pew and looked to him expectantly. Her expression was the same kind a child gets when expecting to hear a good story. "Like what?"
"You want to know what happened to those who came before you," he stated rather than asked. She nodded. He smiled. "My god-mother knew the last Light." Golms looked up to the skylight as a wistful expression crossed his face. "He expended himself almost a decade before I was born, but her stories were so vivid I could have sworn I was there."
"Expended himself?" Alicia questioned with wonder.
Golms nodded slightly. "To stop the Spanish Flu."
Alicia looked at Golms in confusion.
He chuckled. "The flu pandemic of nineteen seventeen to nineteen nineteen. It didn't actually start in Spain, but that's who got the blame." He paused reverently. "It was the worst killer the world had seen in centuries, took more lives than the world war that was going on at the time." He looked back to Alicia. "The first year no one really died from it. But it grew in strength. By the winter of nineteen nineteen it had grown in the numbers it claimed too. Millions were dying. And all over the world, not just in Europe. The Light determined that was why he had been created, to stop the disease from becoming the next Black Plague."
"So he worked himself to death trying to save everyone?" Alicia summarized with a touch of awe.
Golms half smiled. "No, Alicia. He did what we call expending." Golms turned towards the alter. "That is when the Light casts him, or her, self beyond the confines of the mortal body." He gestured with his arms, then threw them up towards the sky. "That Light shone himself across the entire world as if he were the sun itself! Burning away the Spanish Flu!" Golms held his arms up a few dramatic seconds more. Then turned back to Alicia. "He disappeared, literally, in a blaze of light. Threw himself into his power, and sent it where it needed to go to do what he wanted, to stop the senseless death."
Alicia sat speechless just staring at Golms. He smiled lovingly back at her.
"You may not find your purpose to be the same as his was. It is rare for that to be how a Light expends, in a sudden flash of raw power. Some Lights expended themselves so slowly or methodically that they lived out long lives. Some stand up to be a constant beacon for a period of time, protecting an area as a lighthouse illuminates a coastline, before finally burning out. And some...," Golms shrugged. "Well, we don't have records of every Light. The ways some of them left us were not witnessed."
Alicia closed her eyes for a moment, leaned back and swallowed. "Wow." She opened her eyes again and looked around. "I.... Wow. Okay."
Golms pointed out of the sanctuary. "There is a library here, with information on the Lights of the past. You can read though it whenever you wish." He gave her an apologetic shrug. "It is incomplete though. The Master Church is the only one with a full set of information."
Alicia looked at him. "Where is the master church?"
"For the last four centuries it has resided in England," Golms told her.
"It moves?" she asked.
"It can," Golms nodded. "Our religion changes every hundred years. If a Light wishes the Master Church moved, then it is moved."
"Every hundred years?" Alicia echoed.
Golms smiled again, this time with humor at the situation of him teaching the Light. "That is how often a new Light comes. Every one hundred years. And while each of you have fundamental personality traits in common, you are all different in your own ways. So with each new Light, the religion changes to adapt." He gestured towards some flowers. "That is why the only flower we now display are lilies. Because they are your favorite, and to you flowers bring happiness."
Alicia looked over towards the lilies on the alter. "How did you know?"
He paused so as to phrase his reply in the best manner so as not to be taken negatively. "Because the reoccurrence of the Light is so regular, and the first sign is the same every time, we know when to look and what to look for." He regarded her to make sure she was okay with what he was saying. "We've known about you since you were a child, watching to see when you would become aware of yourself. One day, for no apparent reason, you walked up to one of us and said your favorite flower was the lily. It was taken quite seriously."
Alicia pursed her lips and nodded slowly. The she took a deep breath. "So, my personal preferences shape how the churches change," she recapped. "And I don't technically die, at least not in the same way as everyone else."
Golms nodded she was correct. "It helps the religion keep up with times," he added. "Each Light is affected by the ways of the world at the time, which in turns affects us. It's proven to be very successful arrangement."
Alicia shrugged. "Sure. Makes sense."
Golms gave a relieved sigh. "Oh good. Then... you wouldn't be adverse to providing direction?" he hazarded to ask.
Alicia looked up at him. "Direction?" She tilted her head to one side. "Wait, are you asking me to lead you all?"
Golms smiled. "Yes."
"No," she replied firmly.
Golms held up his hands. "That's okay. There is plenty of time if you change your mind."